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Established in 1970, S-E-A is a recognized worldwide leader in forensic analysis and investigation. With over 300 professionals, the firm provides a wide range of services to reveal the cause of product, material, and structural failures. Its engineers and investigators have served nationally and internationally as analytical litigation experts.

S-E-A was facing a challenge – how to improve the efficiency of its billing processes. While performing their work, S-E-A’s investigators spend a considerable amount of time on the road. Because the company didn’t have a mobile time or prebill (proforma) management solution, investigators had to track their time and make modifications on paper. Then they would re-key the information in Elite 3E or try to connect to a VPN while on the road. This approach was inefficient, and re-keying information introduced the possibility of transcription errors. It also delayed when S-E-A’s accounting could start the invoicing processes, driving up work in progress (WIP) and slowing down receivables.

As part of the firm’s conversion to Elite 3E, it had implemented a paperless proforma solution. But the solution didn’t deliver as expected. That’s when S-E-A became aware of Wilson Proforma Tracker software at an industry event and decided to invest in a fresh initiative to digitally transform its prebilling processes.

“We watched a demo of Proforma Tracker and decided that it was the right product for us,” says Misty Marcum, Chief Financial Officer at S-E-A. “Plus, we had worked with Wilson before for Elite software services and valued their expertise. We felt confident that they would help to ensure that we made the most of 3E as well as Wilson Proforma Tracker to provide our users with a seamless experience.”

Rolling out slowly to establish best practices

Wilson Allen collaborated with key stakeholders at S-E-A to configure and implement the software to address the firm’s requirements. As Marcum explains, “Wilson Allen worked with us as a true partner — listening to our suggestions and incorporating new features based on our user feedback.” The firm slowly rolled out the software over eight months, starting with two timekeepers initially to work out its training approach and materials. It then added personnel each month. It brought the entire company live for personnel across 12 offices, including deployment of the software on mobile devices for the firm’s billable staff.

S-E-A was able to transition to truly paperless processes by choosing the right technology and following a realistic change management plan, as noted by Shishir Shetty, COO, Wilson Allen. “Through careful and methodical planning, the S-E-A team has successfully driven user adoption of Wilson Proforma Tracker. It was genuinely rewarding to find users so excited to start using Wilson Proforma Tracker based on the positive feedback they had heard from their colleagues,” he says.

Realizing the rewards of greater efficiency

Today, S-E-A reports that Wilson Proforma Tracker has dramatically simplified and accelerated its bill generation and review processes, allowing finance teams to manage and track the proforma process centrally. While the firm has achieved a 100% adoption rate, timekeepers can still use the software to print proformas and manually record time if needed.

“Thanks to Wilson Proforma Tracker, we’ve significantly improved the efficiency of our billing processes,” says Jason Baker, CEO, SEA, Ltd. “Our investigators can easily review and edit proformas from their mobile phones or tablets, submit multiple proformas at once, and respond quickly to client queries whether they are in the office or on the road.”

Centralizing proforma management

“Proforma Tracker has been a game changer for us,” says Leslie Butler, manager, business systems & evidence at S-E-A. “Our billable staff can do their proformas from anywhere, which allows accounting to meet our billing deadlines. Since adopting Proforma Tracker, we can complete our monthly billing in a week. Plus, our average quantity of proformas has increased by 450 each month – and we haven’t added to our number of billers. That speaks volumes about how the software has helped us.”

Also, with Wilson Proforma Tracker, S-E-A’s work-in-progress is at the lowest it’s ever been. “Before, when I would review the status of proformas at the end of each quarter, there would be a lot of WIP. That’s not the case now,” Butler explains. “There’s no way around the system. Deferrals and write-offs must be approved by a manager. We can see where proformas are in the workflow so we can make targeted nudges. With paper, you don’t know what happens to the proforma as soon as you distribute it. Now we have full transparency.”

Designed by Wilson Allen, experts in financial management systems, Wilson Proforma Tracker helps managers prioritize which proformas to pay special attention to, providing visibility into defers, holds, and write-offs, and enabling them to quickly search for and sort information. Managers can also see if there are special billing instructions for each client, and route proformas to additional reviewers outside the standard workflow.