What is an Actual and Estimated Consulting Hours Report?

Professional Services reports showing actual and estimated hours are considered operational analysis and planning tools and are used by consulting managers to track consultant hours delivered per project. Some of the main functionality in this type of report is that it is parameter driven and can be run for any month, entity and project(s). It compares the actual hours each consultant delivered by project versus the estimated hours and displays the variance amount and percent with exception highlighting. The rows can be expanded and collapsed and they group projects by consultant and region/entity. The chart compares the grand total hours delivered for the chosen time period versus the estimated hours. You find an example of this type of report below.

Purpose of Actual and Estimated Hours Reports

Technology companies use Actual and Estimated Hours Reports to easily monitor each of the organization’s locations and their ability to achieve or exceed the professional service hours they targeted. When used as part of good business practices in Project Management departments, a company can improve its estimate accuracy and therefore increase its ability to drive revenues with optimal human resource planning, and it can reduce the chances that managers react slowly, or not at all-, to trends and outliers.

Example of an Actual and Estimated Hours Report

Here is an example of an actual and estimated hours per consultant report with roll-up by project and region.

Example of an Actual and Estimated Consulting Hours Report for a Technology Company

Example of an Actual and Estimated Consulting Hours Report for a Technology Company

You can find hundreds of additional examples here

Who Uses This Type of Report?

The typical users of this type of report are: Project Managers, Project Management Offices (PMO), Directors of Services, Consulting Managers.

Other Reports Often Used in Conjunction with Actual and Estimated Hours Reports

Progressive Executive and Project Management departments sometimes use several different Actual and Estimated Hours Reports, along with detailed project reports, utilization reports, project dashboards, billing reports, project budgets and forecasts and other management and control tools.

Where Does the Data for Analysis Originate From?

The Actual (historical transactions) data typically comes from enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems like: Microsoft Dynamics 365 (D365) Finance, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central (D365 BC), Microsoft Dynamics AX, Microsoft Dynamics NAV, Microsoft Dynamics GP, Microsoft Dynamics SL, Sage Intacct, Sage 100, Sage 300, Sage 500, Sage X3, SAP Business One, SAP ByDesign, Acumatica, Netsuite and others.

In analyses where budgets or forecasts are used, the planning data most often originates from in-house Excel spreadsheet models or from professional corporate performance management (CPM/EPM) solutions.

What Tools are Typically used for Reporting, Planning and Dashboards?

Examples of business software used with the data and ERPs mentioned above are:

  • Native ERP report writers and query tools
  • Spreadsheets (for example Microsoft Excel)
  • Corporate Performance Management (CPM) tools (for example Solver)
  • Dashboards (for example Microsoft Power BI and Tableau)

Corporate Performance Management (CPM) Cloud Solutions and More Examples