Mangement For Design

Quarterly eMag

Management for Design and ACA Business and Practice Management Systems Survey Results

Management for Design and the Association of Consulting Architects Australia (ACA) have recently conducted our annual independent survey of business and practice management systems used by architects, engineers and consultants in the Australian marketplace. This is the only comprehensive survey of this information undertaken in Australia with the actual users.

We have collated the results of over 190 businesses across Australia varying in size from 2 people to over 500 people. This is a similar response to the previous year. Thanks to those of you that responded to the survey.

As expected, there are numerous systems in use across the industry. Typically, as businesses become more complex — more business units, more departments, more locations, more people — there is a tendency to move to integrate the various functions of finance, project accounting, client, and document management (commonly termed an Enterprise Resource Planning [ERP] System).

The smaller the business, the less integration occurring across the various functions of the business and more application of stand-alone systems such as Xero for accounting, Total Synergy for time entry/project accounting and MS Project for project planning.

As per last year, we have summarised the results and categorised the effectiveness into the following for categories, based on a weighted average of respondent feedback.

Insights from this year’s survey include:

  • Xero is the only accounting system considered “very effective”
  • There are myriad systems that manage time and invoicing, and most are considered “effective” or “very effective”
  • Over 32% of our respondents did not have a resource management system in place
  • Almost 45% of businesses do not have a system for managing client relationships
  • Almost 40% of businesses do not have a formal document management system
  • The most common platforms for managing contract administration are MS Office and Excel

This year, the full results report has only been made available to survey participants. However, if you would like to request a copy of the results, please contact Management for Design Founding Director Robert Peake —

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