CCN Consultants Offer Professional Project Management

Thanks to some talented finance and accounting consultants, CCN now offers professional project management services. To learn more, we spoke with Todd Wagner, a CCN consultant and project management specialist…

What kinds of projects typically need management?

Project management is most valuable for cross-functional projects that require some level of change. Even if it’s technically considered an IT project, something like new software will impact business accounting and operations. Our projects can include things like:

  • Replacing an old software
  • Identifying and implementing new or additional functionality within existing applications
  • Process improvement
  • Integrating automated accounts payable
  • Upgrading an antiquated ERP system
  • Building repeatable workflows
  • Consolidating redundant solutions

People tend to think of project management only for significant, complex endeavors, but smaller projects can also benefit from a fresh perspective. Sometimes we come in for a week or a month. Sometimes we manage only part of the project, like the initial planning phase.

The finance world is constantly changing. That outside set of eyes can help you find the right path and organize thoughts. New accounting guidance like ASC 842 will impact things upstream and downstream. You can talk to a project manager to ensure you’re set up correctly, asking the right questions, and anticipating the full impact.

Why bring in external professional project management?

When you really need to focus on a project, you don’t always have the internal resources to do it right. Your personnel already have day jobs. There’s always a risk: either their day-to-day work or the project will suffer. An outside manager can focus all their efforts on getting things done.

Sometimes, leaders realize that their teams don’t have much experience with change management, or they are afraid things will fall through the cracks. They need that layer of experienced guidance.

Professional project management also adds a valuable external perspective. You want someone who can communicate with all levels of an organization — who listens and gathers information. A good project manager will take those pain points and business problems and map the path to solutions. We want to align the different areas of the business and avoid siloed decisions.

What are some projects you have managed recently?

Recently I worked with an oil and gas consulting firm. They needed a pro services automation solution to capture costs, build a budget, and create quotes based on the resources they would need for a project. The platform also needed to calculate sales and revenue and bring everything into one. This project involved a lot of change for senior leadership, department managers, and end-users. We had to stick with it for three years. We researched, found the pros and cons, made a strategy, and implemented the solutions. Ultimately it was a game-changer, and they all saw real value in the solutions.

I recently managed another project involving a new pro services solution. They were making things work with a bunch of independent tools, and they knew they needed a consolidated solution, but it had been on the back burner. I went through the research and preliminary work, but they decided to hold off on implementation. That’s a possible outcome too. We help business leaders make smart decisions about when and how they should make a change. Sometimes it doesn’t make sense at that time.

How does CCN approach project management?

We’re unique in that we can combine business analysis with project management. Often those are two different tasks — two different people.

We always start with an assessment and due diligence. We will ask what problems you’re trying to solve and then methodically approach the solution. As an unbiased third party, we don’t have a stake in any specific software or solution. We’re simply going to find out what’s best for your company.

When you pause for due diligence, you sometimes realize the solution is different — or even easier — than you first assumed. The tools you have in place may be fine, but you might be missing consistent processes or haven’t fully implemented the software.

At CCN, we’re also flexible and relational. Project management is all about people. We know your team has multiple things going on. We’re going to take a practical approach to help them balance schedules and concerns to get things done.

How do you know when you need a project manager?

People often wait to reach out until things get bad. They know they’re wasting time and money without progress. Their current solutions and processes might not be able to respond quickly or consistently, and they are missing opportunities.

Your employees also might not have the bandwidth to take on a new project. If your project keeps getting pushed back over and over, that’s a good sign that you could use some outside help.

Other times companies have extra time or funds, or they incorporate the project into the next budget cycle. They can take those opportunities to take care of those wish-list projects that have been on the back burner.

When this happens, give us a call. We’ll help get you on track towards real solutions.

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