Lesson one: The Past and the Future

A Translation Management System (TMS) can provide you with immediate information on your business. More sophisticated TMS tools even provide a range of required reports.

I used this option in my everyday work as a CEO of my translation agency. I was extremely interested in the up-to-date trends of sales and production profits which I took as the difference between the total value of a project and the costs paid to all the providers involved.

I had such two reports generated every working day at 6 PM, i.e. after business hours. The system automatically summarized the value of all projects started in the last 365 days and the total costs of all providers involved in them. The generated reports presented the totals for each calendar month individually.

Fig. Monthly sales (projects started). Report generated on May 31.
Fig. Monthly sales (projects started). Report generated on May 31.

It was a brilliant tool for me to analyze the trends of our turnover and profit. The greatest advantage of such a presentation was the ability to forecast the future results of our business. This was possible because we had reports summarizing only the projects which had started.

On average our projects were completed, delivered and invoiced within 30-45 days of being launched. They were paid after another 30-45 days. Therefore the picture received from the accounting department was that payments were “late” by 2-3 months.

Accounting raised the alarm that the total amount invoiced had dropped significantly in April and May.

However, my TMS reports generated on May 31 (see figure above) gave me a clear picture that the period of very low monthly sales is already over (because the dip was in February) and the following months will give us a higher value of invoiced sales.

When exchanging our experience with other users of the same software, I was extremely surprised to see their settings for these reports. They were based on the “delivery date” rather than the “start date” of all projects.

It was a crucial difference – their reports gave the picture of the past, while our reports gave the view of the future.

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Jurek Nedoma
Jurek Nedoma has worked in the language industry for over 25 years. He is the founder and former manager of LIDOLANG Specialist Translations, which in 2015 was ranked the 16th translation company in the CEE Region (CSA Report 2015). In the period 2013-2015 Jurek was Treasurer of the European Language Industry Association (ELIA).

Jurek Nedoma is also co-founder of the professional TMS software development firm XTRF Management System.

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