In the past, resource management was seen as an administrative and reactive practice, typically completed using basic tools like spreadsheets. Now, with large technological leaps in the industry and a dominant employee-centric culture within firms, the practice has repositioned itself to offer real strategic value to firms, especially those with billable resources.

What is resource management?

Resource management is the process of planning, scheduling, and allocating organizational resources in the best way possible to maximize the value and potential of your resources.

Although dealing with the organization of people, resource management is not to be confused with human resource management which involves the recruitment, training, development, and performance management of employees.

Why is resource management important?

Resource management is crucial for any accountancy firm and plays a significant role in ensuring both business profitability and sustainability. Effective resource management is vital to protect, support, and utilize the firm’s most valuable asset to its strategic advantage. Implemented correctly, an optimal resource management strategy can increase efficiency, improve profit margins and positively impact client and employee satisfaction.

Suboptimal resource management can lead to poor productivity, costly delays, client dissatisfaction, and revenue leakage. The resulting pressure placed on teams can lead to low morale, retention issues, and an inability to deliver to meet client expectations. Without the ability to leverage the right resources at the right time, a firm becomes unable to maximize its existing business or seize new value-generating opportunities. Effective resource management directly links the quality of its practices to the success of the firm.

Benefits of resource management

Now we have covered what resource management is and the importance of getting it right, let’s consider the benefits of resource management in an accounting context. An effective process can enable your firm to:

Maximise resource utilization and revenue:

Where employees are highly specialized, have multiple reporting lines and are spread geographically, leveraging these resources in the best possible way can be incredibly challenging. A good resource management system can help your firm to overcome these complexities, deploy resources strategically, and proactively identify revenue opportunities.

Improve employee engagement and retention:

Using the right resource management process, a firm can drive better utilization, employee satisfaction, and retention simultaneously. By taking into account individual preferences, interests, and career aspirations when allocating work, your firm can better support your employees’ development and growth.

Increase engagement visibility and business agility:

Effective resource management is essential to maintain visibility of capacity, monitor and adapt to ongoing changes, and identify resourcing risks. Resource management processes that increase transparency and visibility of capacity and utilization, will provide your firm greater control when faced with clashes or disruptions.

Data-driven decision making is vital for strategic resource management tasks. The insights gained facilitate the rapid re-optimization of resources and allow your firm to proactively take corrective actions ahead of time. Minimising disruptions and delays on projects will also benefit teams and client service as a result.

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Resource management techniques

Resource management relies on a range of interlinked processes and techniques, including planning, allocation, scheduling, utilization, and forecasting. While each technique measures and monitors resource-related metrics from a different angle, all share the common goal of maximising the use, visibility, and value of a firm’s resources. Let’s take a closer look at some of the key resource management techniques.

Resource planning

Planning is the foundation of resource management strategy and involves the strategic assessment of resource capacity, availability, and budget vs. the level of resource required. In other words, resource planning is the process of identifying and forecasting resource requirements and preparing a plan to secure the resources to meet them. The key to resource planning is developing a strategy that addresses ongoing resource requirements consistently, on time, and on budget.

Resource allocation

Resource allocation involves assigning appropriate and available resources to a task or project in support of business objectives. The aim of resource allocation in accounting is to achieve this in the most effective and efficient way. This means ensuring that the right skills, qualifications, and experience are matched to the right jobs at the right time. Resource allocation also takes into account the availability, capacity, and utilization of resources across a firm.

Resource scheduling

Scheduling is a crucial part of the resource planning process and usually follows resource allocation. Once resources have been identified and allocated based on the best match of skills and experience for an engagement, a resource manager will then schedule these resources for a specific time and task. The resource scheduling process should ensure that the resources with the skills, experience, and qualifications necessary are scheduled for the right task and at the right stage of the engagement. Effective resource scheduling is essential to maintain efficiency, avoid resource clashes, and keep engagement performance on track.

Resource utilization

In accounting, resource utilization measures the efficiency of resource usage and signals whether the resources, making up the core cost base of the firm, are being used as per their potential. Resource utilization also takes into account non-billable time, such as internally focused work such as training. Low overall resource utilization can hinder your firm’s ability to yield a positive return on your employees’ time and expertise. Conversely, consistently overutilizing your workforce risks staff burnout and leaves no room for additional revenue-generating work. Achieving the right balance is a complex and ongoing optimization process.

Resource forecasting

In accounting, resource forecasting is the process of predicting a firm’s future resource requirements to ensure that upcoming projects are adequately and effectively staffed. The resource forecasting process measures actual resource capacity vs. expected demand and informs strategic decision making on resource allocation and recruitment. Resource forecasting is also used by firms to help them assess whether they have the necessary skills and capacity to pursue new growth opportunities.

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Benefits of using software for resource management

Introducing the right resource management software solution can help your firm to optimize your workforce like never before. 

Key challenges resource management software can address:

An intelligent resource management system can help your firm to optimize your processes across resource planning, allocation, scheduling, utilization, and forecasting.

Key benefits of dedicated resource management software include:

Automated scheduling

Reduce the admin burden on your team and optimize your resource planning with automated engagement scheduling. To streamline scheduling, resource management software automatically deploys the best-suited personnel, considering skills, qualifications, availability, location, and key criteria. Automated project controls and alerts can also be used to speed up the process of resolving clashes or prevent them from happening in the first place.

Live engagement economics

Make more informed decisions, faster, with live engagement economics, automated project controls, and reporting all in one system. Intelligent resource management software allows you to see the impact any resource changes have on your engagement financials, monitor actuals in real time and make changes to prevent reduced margins and potential overruns.

Efficiencies and optimisation

Establishing, monitoring, and leveraging the right metrics is key to optimizing your resource management strategy. The most efficient way to measure and optimize your firm’s resource management practices is to combine in-depth, data-driven insights with a powerful software solution. In conclusion, resource management software can enhance efficiencies and free up time for strategic tasks by streamlining decision-making and reducing manual steps.

Read more to discover how resource management software can help you measure and optimize resource efficiency and utilization.

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