Do small teams need professional service automation?
by Juliette Lagerweij on November 25, 2022
Professional service automation– aka PSA software– is an integral piece of the tech stack for most medium-sized service businesses.
Professional service automation does what it sounds like it does– it automates tasks and processes for PSOs.
Professional service automation delivers smart solutions to help streamline day-to-day operations, especially as they relate to your financials.
For example, most PSA solutions will provide invoicing that connects with your project data. Smart invoicing aka automated invoicing from PSA is one of the most valuable features. You can automatically create, send, and even approve invoices if you so desire. This translates into getting paid correctly and on time for your team's work.
While it’s obvious that professional services automation for medium-to-large firms is non-negotiable to keep track of many team members and clients, what about small teams?
Do small PSOs even need professional service automation? Or is it superfluous to the tech stack?
We’ll explore the answer in this article. Here’s where professional services automation can be helpful for small teams, even if you are a freelancer or have just a couple of people on your team.
What is professional service automation?
Professional service automation is a specific type of software tool– aka PSA software– that helps professional service businesses manage the financial aspects of projects with automation.
As the name suggests, professional service automation is geared toward the professional services industry.
PSA tools automate various processes related to project management. This type of software is used by many businesses in professional services, including:
- Digital marketing agencies
- IT services
- Legal firms
- Consulting firms
- Creative agencies
- And more
FYI– You may have also seen this written as ‘professional services automation. Professional service (no ‘s’) automation is the same thing; you can use the two terms interchangeably.
4 Ways Professional Service Automation Helps Small Teams
Here’s the thing–
Professional service automation can get pricey if you’re not careful (some PSA solutions come in at around $40 pu/pm).
Understandably, small teams may consider putting off onboarding a PSA until they grow a little bit and earn some more clients.
However, professional service automation offers value at the jump for small teams, even freelancers, in most situations.
Here’s how professional service automation can help small businesses and how they provide value for these organizations.
1. Automate your invoice management
Invoicing can be a sloppy process for many freelancers and small teams, regardless of how adept they are at delivering an excellent customer experience.
The thing is, invoice management can actually improve the customer experience. Your clients will always know what to expect.
For your small team, you can say goodbye to spreadsheets and have to sift through communications to figure out when and how you should be paid for your work.
Professional services automation includes invoice management that can effectively create, send, and track invoices for you. That means you and your team don’t have to waste time creating invoices yourselves, and your clients are more likely to pay on time. Without invoices floating in space, you can keep your cash flow healthy and get a better handle on where and how money is coming in.
- Keep a healthy cash flow
- Ease admin burden on the team
- Avoid human error
2. Built-in time tracking
It’s super common for startups and small businesses to start out using a siloed time tracker like Harvest or the stopwatch on their smartphones.
But like invoicing, shoddy time tracking sins will show up in the form of missed revenue. Without a solid system in place, you may be putting in more hours than you think.
If you’re meeting with your team after the project is completed to discover how much time everyone actually worked, you’re doing it wrong.
With professional service automation, you don’t need to use an outside time tracker, since this functionality is built-in. The major benefit here is that your team’s time will now be automatically connected to the correct project, also the right task, if you want to get that granular.
You can even automate time tracking to the max with what’s called self-driving time tracking. In this feature, your team’s time is automatically tracked based on their Google or Outlook calendar. So any meetings that occur are automatically entered, and your team can time block if they want to enhance productivity.
From there, self-driving time tracking will automatically generate an invoice from this time and bill the client upon approval (or automated approval, if you wish).
Free time tracking is offered by a lot of solutions, but professional services automation will track your time as it relates to your contracts and projects, without payroll having to send a bunch of emails inquiring as to who did what for which client.
To boot, your time tracking data is automatically connected with all your relevant project data, so you can easily see where you stand timeline-wise on projects with just a glance.
- Stay productive
- Ease admin burden on team
- Avoid human error
- Track the right time to the right project
3. Keep it together with task management
It’s easy to get task management confused with project management. That’s because some of the most popular project management solutions are really glorified task management tools.
Task management should be straightforward, with a clean interface and options to add dependencies.
Instead of going to an Asana or Trello, you can save money and time by using task management offered by professional services automation. Easily create, assign, and manage your tasks in the same place where your project data lives.
With professional service automation in place, tasks can ‘talk’ to other areas like resource management, for example. PSA solutions offer capacity planning tools as part of resource management that will let you see in real-time who on your team is at capacity and who could use more work.
- Share information around projects
- Assign tasks & add dependencies
- Stay on-time and on-task
- Save $$ on your tech stack
4. All-in-one project management
Professional service automation is moving more and more toward functionality that includes all-in-one project management. Since PSA tools historically have managed the financial moving parts of projects anyways, it makes sense that they would encapsulate more of the project management process.
For example, not only will professional service automation handle your invoicing, time tracking, and tasks, it will also include the other elements you need to manage projects. Planning, budgets, contract management, and even delivering project quotes can be accomplished by professional service automation that’s integrated with your CRM.
Small teams in particular can benefit from these all-in-one PSA platforms. Leveraging an affordable PSA that’s more holistic will allow you to get rid of other software licenses you’ll no longer need. Time trackers, Gantt chart software, and task management software are just a few examples.
Using a ton of different solutions is not only more costly than a slimmer tech stack; it’s bad for your team’s productivity.
All-in-one project management with professional service automation can effectively keep everything in one place, from the funnel to cash.
- Integrated with your CRM
- Save $$ on your tech stack
- Manage contracts, budgets, etc in one place
- More efficient
PSOhub: Professional Services Automation for Small Teams
At PSOhub, we launched our professional service automation for small teams in the middle of the COVID quarantine. Today, we have users in over 40 countries who love our awesome features and highly affordable price. Starting at under $10 per user per month, you can get everything you need for project management with the powerful automation offered by PSA.
It’s the best of both worlds for small professional service firms!