Project Planning and Reporting Made Easy

A project status update report is shown lying on a desk.

Do you need to create a project plan? All businesses have projects that require project planning and management. Through clear communication, and careful planning and tracking, you can plan and manage any project successfully from start to finish.

When I landed my dream job, I was asked to work on a six-month project in addition to my usual responsibilities. The same week I was hired, I found out I would be responsible for planning and executing the project solo, as my teammate was leaving the company in two weeks. This meant I would be responsible for all of the sales, marketing, hiring the speakers and producing the show. My boss was out of town for the next six months and would be walking into the conference just in time to speak!

Instead of panicking, I decided to view this turn of events as a high visibility career opportunity and broke down the project into manageable steps based on timelines for delivery, working from the date of the conference backward six months. Here are the steps I took and use for any project I am working on.

Clear and Consistent Communication

I knew that I would be getting calls for status updates from the Board of Directors so I came up with a weekly tracking system to monitor the progress of the project. I called our bookkeeping and accounting firm and asked them to create special accounts for this project and worked with them to customize reports that tracked all of the sales and expenses against sales and budgetary goals for the duration of the project.

Prepare the plan and get approval from the team.

I created a project plan outlining exactly how I was going to produce this conference from start to finish, and what my focus would be for each month, and scheduled a call with my boss and the Board of Directors.

I met with our bookkeeping and accounting firm, and they created a customized report that would be issued weekly until the project was completed. We took the sales and expense numbers from the last conference and created a spreadsheet that showed what was spent in each area (sales, marketing, venue, speakers, etc.) in that year, and added a column for the current year’s projections, and a column next to that to track the actual expenses for each line item. I did the same with revenue projections for ticket sales and vendor booth rentals.

A week before the call, I sent a copy of the plan and a sample of the accounting reports to the Board and asked them to review and provide comments to me ahead of the call. This allowed everyone the opportunity to review the plan in advance and allowed me to make any adjustments ahead of the call to ensure the call went smoothly.

Break the project into manageable steps and deadlines.

I broke down the project into manageable steps based on delivery dates and timelines and focused first on the parts of the project that would take the most time. I created a status report template that allowed me to send updates on one page weekly along with a customized budget and sales tracking report.

The customized accounting report was attached to the weekly status update report I sent to the Board and my boss each week. This communication and reporting system helped me to stay on budget and to meet the sales goals as well as prove my projections were sound by comparing my projections to the actual expenses for each line item. By anticipating the reporting needs of the Board and providing weekly status updates, I avoided lengthy and time-consuming calls and emails requesting information.

With careful planning, consistent communication, and good bookkeeping and reporting, any project can be managed successfully. A good bookkeeping and accounting firm will be able to assist you with creating customized reports to help you track and monitor expenses for any project, so before you start the project, schedule time to meet with your bookkeeping and accounting firm and let them help you create the customized reports you will need to stay on budget and monitor the project from start to finish!

EVA Business Solutions love to help our clients build profitable businesses and keep them running smoothly! We are a virtual bookkeeping and accounting service ready to assist you with all of your bookkeeping, project planning, and accounting needs. Call us today at (615) 461-7157.

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