A growing HR consulting firm improved visibility for its hybrid team and revamped its estimate creation, retainer management and client communication with Accelo’s automations.
Fitzgerald HR, headquartered in North Devon, England, has helped employers of all sizes and in all industries recruit, manage, train and develop employees since 2008. Its people management experts handle grievances, retention, culture, HR policy and process and more.
At any given time, they’re managing one-off projects like employee handbook creation for a small local business simultaneously with high-level, complex organizational development consulting for high-profile clients such as the British Red Cross.
Since 60% of the Fitzgerald HR team are consultants and its full-time employees follow a hybrid work model, the firm struggled to seamlessly connect each step of the client journey. Manually producing estimates, sending timesheets to clients and renewing contracts, plus relying on spreadsheets for invoicing, were inefficient processes and lacked the potential to drive future growth.
Assignments and time logs didn’t link to client requests and project milestones. As a result, Beccy Soderlund, Head of Finance and Business, suspects they were losing billable minutes.
When she joined the company in 2019, she says it had outgrown its previous software — primarily a time-logging platform that couldn’t break down data into useful resourcing reports.
Fitzgerald HR’s leadership team set out to find a solution that could streamline operations and logically organize projects and tasks to enhance the business’s productivity and reduce frustrations across the organization.
Founder and CEO Lucy Fitzgerald discovered Accelo and, in 2020, decided to adopt the platform to support the consultancy’s client work.
Beccy noticed its versatility right away.
“It can do almost everything you need it to do — from a CRM perspective, from a task management perspective, from an invoicing perspective — and it’s been really simple to integrate into our processes,” she explains.
After a few trainings with Accelo’s Professional Services team, Fitzgerald HR’s staff started managing assignments and recurring contracts in the platform. Once they were comfortable with the interface, the benefits were evident.
Using the ticketing system to organize work by service type, they could automatically align time logs for each task with the appropriate part of their (somewhat complicated) estimates. Beccy is a big fan of Accelo’s time tracking because it eliminates the pressure of having to remember what you’ve done and for which client — an especially helpful factor for busy consultants.
“We’re more accurate with our time logging now because there’s the function of being able to press ‘play’ when you start a piece of work,” she says. “Now, every minute is being captured.”
The team at Fitzgerald HR is much quicker because they’ve made use of Accelo’s customizable automations. They automate task assignments, sending timesheets to clients and auto-closing retainer and billing periods for ongoing work. When it’s time for a consultant to conduct a review meeting, statuses automatically progress to “Due for Review,” and the consultant receives helpful notifications.
On top of all the tangible changes to internal workflows, Beccy appreciates how Accelo helps the business appear consistent and maintain industry standards with branded and editable emails.
All of the above shifts have saved Fitzgerald HR time and provided the distributed team with essential visibility, but Beccy says there’s much more potential for the business to fully utilize Accelo.
“The software takes a little bit of time to get used to, but there’s so much functionality — much of it that we haven’t explored yet.”
Having started with Sales, Tickets and Retainers and implemented Billing in 2021, she looks forward to expanding her understanding of the Reports product area next. Then, the team will dive into additional resource management features, including auto-scheduling.
This successful consultancy has no plans to slow down and no need to seek out new smart tech any time soon.
I don’t think we’d be able to do what we do now without having this complete, interconnected system. I don’t see us outgrowing Accelo.
Beccy Soderlund, Head of Finance and Business
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