PBK has been in business for over 40 years and specializes in educational architecture – primarily K-12 design and higher education. PBK is headquartered in Houston, Texas and has offices throughout the state of Texas and California, with plans to enter the Georgia and Florida markets soon. With acquisitions in 2020 and plans for more in 2022 and 2023, PBK has experienced a lot of recent growth that prompted them to evaluate their processes and procedures and make strides toward improvement.
We spoke with James Uhl, CFO at PBK to better understand the challenges EleVia is helping to solve at PBK. James has been with PBK for nearly a year and a half and prior to his time with PBK he was Director of Project Accounting at Leo A. Daly where he helped implement EleVia Payables Approval & Tracking. James is familiar with the benefits of EleVia and has seen first-hand how EleVia products can make financial processes more efficient.
James explains, “Everything, I cannot stress enough, everything was very manual, and paper-based at PBK. This means invoices, drafts, and mark-ups were all done on paper. Through each step in the invoicing process, stacks of paper were manually routed from desk to desk which increased time to invoice and stifled visibility.” Typically, about 25% of PBK’s fees go to outside consultants which could mean anywhere from 100-200 consultant invoices a month. “Inevitably, invoices would fall through the cracks, we couldn’t find them in Deltek, everyone starts pointing fingers, and very quickly we have mass hysteria and chaos”, James notes. “EleVia solutions can be leveraged to solve such problems very quickly.”
Why EleVia Software
Scalable technology that supports growth
“With the growth we have experienced in the past few years and the growth we are expecting into the future, I was hired to analyze our financial processes and find areas for improvement. EleVia was selected as a solution that offers us that out of the box structure that’s easy to use, easy to implement, and easy to train. The standardization and automation we rely on EleVia for extends our investment in Deltek.”
Increased visibility & accountability
“One of my favorite features is the “Days in Stage” tracker. We can easily see what is on each person’s plate and immediately determine how long invoices have been in their queue, and what the total value of those invoices are. We won’t get on someone for an invoice that has been in their queue for a few days, but it gives you the visibility to say ‘hey, you have 20 outstanding invoices totaling $150,000, can you please take care of that’? It would have taken a long time to gather that information before and now we can figure that out in seconds.”
Accurate revenue forecasting
“Financial predictability is very important to me and if we are not processing invoices in a consistent manner then there can be some wild swings in revenue. EleVia brings consistency to our invoicing process by eliminating approval delays and getting things into the system faster. It also allows us to forecast when consultants will invoice. This leads to consistent revenues that are far easier to accurately predict, which is a huge benefit for me.”
Avoid errors in the billing process
“We have someone on staff who focuses primarily on forecasting and a big component of that is comparing revenue projections to actuals. Electronic Invoicing provides a one-stop-shop for the information we need and enables us to quickly compare draft invoices to projections. This means we can spot variances and adjust accordingly before the invoice goes out the door to avoid losses in billing.”
“Part of my job involves referencing invoices every day. Before implementing PAT and EI I would have had to go to the file cabinet and flip through folders to track down invoices. With EleVia, I can simply see all those invoices in Deltek. Deltek has this functionality as well, but uploading invoices is quite a bit more manual than it is with EleVia.”