MRCE Streamlines Billing and Improves Project Management with Clearview InFocus

With Clearview, MRCE has modernized billing processes and increased productivity

We’ve achieved return on our investment in Clearview with efficiency improvements alone – we can get the detailed financial data we need quickly, right when we need it. Clearview has also added visibility and accountability. Now, every project manager knows exactly how much money is in their project budget and how much they’re spending, which is critical when you’re working big projects with tight budgets.”
Joseph Courtade Director of Finance & Administration

At the prestigious geotechnical engineering firm Mueser Rutledge Consulting Engineers (MRCE), “It all starts with the soil” is a common refrain.  As this highly experienced group of engineers knows, a foundation to properly support the structure is needed.  However in 2010 – while its engineers were creating strong foundations for buildings around the world – the foundation of the firm’s business operations was at its breaking point.

“We were running an antiquated ERP solution that had been acquired by Deltek but was no longer being supported,” says MRCE Director of Finance and Administration Joseph Courtade.  “What we were doing was state of the art 20 years ago – to move forward we needed something that was state of the art today.”

One of the biggest drawbacks to running the old ERP system was its inability to support electronic timesheets.  Project managers had to submit project timesheets by hand and timesheet data entry alone took at least six hours a month.  Even worse, project managers would often not properly code their tasks and accounting staff would need to track them down for clarification.  All told, it was costing the firm hundreds of lost hours each year.

Evaluating the Options

By 2010 the time had come to choose a new ERP solution, and Courtade began by evaluating options from both Clearview and Deltek.  In terms of features, Courtade was focused on project management: “The biggest thing was allowing project managers to know and track how much money they’re spending on projects.”  Cost was also a consideration, and “Clearview was clearly the better value,” says Courtade.

Ultimately, it was the personal relationship and level of service Clearview could provide that led MRCE to choose the all-inclusive Clearview InFocus ERP solution.  “It came down to trust,” says Courtade. “I knew Clearview would be easy to work with, and that they would support us in what we wanted to do.”

During the MRCE InFocus implementation, Clearview proved that trust was well-deserved with a nearly flawless rollout.  First, several small customizations were made, such as changes to billing schedule types.  Next, Clearview came in and backed up all the company’s data, some of which dated back more than fifty years.  When it was time to make the switch, the process went off seamlessly.  “In less than a month from the time we switched everything was running extremely well,” says Courtade.

Building a Strong Foundation

After implementation, Clearview InFocus instantly began stabilizing the foundation of the firm’s business operations.  Rolling out electronic timesheets was a game-changer for the accounting department, eliminating hundreds of hours each year spent on manual data entry and trying to figure out how to properly code tasks.  “Now, when the project managers enter a job number there is a list of codes and you have to pick a task to move forward,” says Courtade.

The finance and accounting department has also used Clearview InFocus to improve billing speed and closely monitor the critical accounts receivable process.  “Anyone in this industry knows that getting paid in a timely manner is often one of the biggest challenges, and the Clearview Accounts Receivable module helps facilitate that process,” says Courtade.  In addition, implementing Clearview has allowed the department to do more with less by limiting the need to hire additional accounting staff as MRCE has continued to expand.

MRCE’s clients have also benefited from the implementation of Clearview.  “It’s now much easier and faster to accommodate client requests for specific project financial information and give them increased access to the information they need,” says Courtade.  “That’s really important to our clients, and they appreciate our ability to accommodate their requests.”

Attaining New Insights

Perhaps most importantly, Clearview has allowed MRCE to improve accountability and productivity, particularly at the project manager level.  “Now that every project manager has a project dashboard right on their computer, it’s a different ballgame,” says Courtade.  “Project managers tend to focus on getting the job done and forget about the money side of things, but Clearview allows them to see exactly how much they’re spending and keep close tabs on their budget – it takes away any excuses.”

The firm’s partners have appreciated the ability to closely track productivity and profitability with Clearview’s reporting functions.  “We can see exactly what all our project managers are doing by generating productivity reports by person,” says Courtade.  “It’s an easy way to see objectively who the top performers are and help select the right people for advancement within the firm.”

In his conversations with other engineering firm CFOs, Courtade hears plenty of grumbling about the lack of support provided by many of the ‘big guys’ in the business, and he’s always happy to recommend an alternative.  “The staff at Clearview is excellent – everybody there cares and will go the extra mile to help you,” says Courtade.  “They listen really well, and if you want something they figure out a way to make it happen.”

Organization

Mueser Rutledge Consulting Engineers (MRCE)

Location

New York, New York

Industry

Geotechnical, Foundation and Waterfront Engineering

Organization Information

  • Provides geotechnical and foundation engineering and design of underground and waterfront structures.
  • Founded in 1910 as the nation’s first engineering firm to combine a geotechnical speciality with structural foundation design engineering.
  • Has completed more than 10,500 projects worldwide including high-profile projects such as the new World Trade Center, the United Nations Headquarters, the Golden Gate Bridge and Yankee Stadium.
  • Employs nearly 100 geotechnical and foundation engineers, with a total staff of more than 135 plus eight partners.

Solution

Clearview InFocus ERP

Business Benefits Realized

  • Modernized the firm’s outdated and time-consuming paper-based timesheet process, saving accounting staff hundreds of hours each year.
  • Provided a more efficient system for project management, including project management dashboards and remote time sheet capability.
  • Improved productivity tracking and management with the ability to create detailed productivity reports by project or individual.
  • Enhanced customer service for clients with the availability of detailed, project-level financial data.
  • Enables the firm’s finance and accounting department to ‘do more with less’, limiting the need to hire as the firm continues to expand.
  • Improves cash flow by improving billing speed and facilitating a robust accounts receivable process.
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