Rob McGowan — STRUCTURE

Powerful practice management software

Rob McGowan: "We played around with a number of different practice management software… but they weren’t as powerful as what Synergy could do.

"Having used those other packages, Synergy is definitely up there. It’s definitely my favourite thing to use, anyway. It just keeps us organised."

More time for developing client relationships

"I’m keen to focus on developing relationships and nurturing existing ones, and bringing more work in. I want to do less of the admin side of things. I still love the engineering side of it, and that’s why I go into it. 

End to being bogged down by administration duties

"Before I had Synergy, I was getting quite bogged down in admin, which nobody really wants to do because if you’re bogged down in admin, you’re not logging billable hours. With cash flow being king, you need to make sure you’re not spending too much time on admin, and you’re actually getting invoices out, and at the end of the month, there’s actually billable time there to send out.

"I guess the biggest thing is that [Synergy] is efficient. It allows me to spend more time doing billable work, rather than getting bogged down in the admin really. That’s the biggest tick I think that I can think of."

Role/s in the business

"Pretty much everything you can imagine. 

"I do all the financial side of things – the invoicing, preparation of fee proposals, making sure that projects are profitable and are running to budget and time. That’s sort of all the admin side of things, then there’s the other side which is all the engineering work that needs to be done, compliance with standards, making sure that the documentation looks good as a product, and branding."

Why we need Synergy

"Once the volume of jobs come in, you need to organise those jobs – you need a database, you need to know what the fees are, you need to know how much time you’re spending on those jobs, you need to track profitability, you need to know who your clients are, how much work they’re bringing in, are they repeat clients, are they one-off clients, and all of this stuff you can’t really do on a spreadsheet. 

"Synergy solved all those problems. It’s a one-stop shop that allows you to do all of those things, and more. We needed to know we could run the business effectively.

Seamless Xero connection

"We use Xero for the back-end stuff… looking at my bank accounts basically and making sure all the invoices have been paid. Reconciling. So, that’s all operating in the background. Then, Synergy talks to it and it all seems to flow pretty well."


As things expand, I’ll have to do less and less of everything and be able to focus my time a bit more on what I want to focus on.

Better client service

"[Synergy] does help us to keep competitive. Really, it boils down to, it offers you more time to do whatever it is that you need to do. Service is our biggest driver of work. If we service people correctly and on time, then they’re ultimately going to come back to us. If we’ve got more time to service people appropriately, then I guess that’s good for business.

Core Synergy features used by Rob

Time saved as a result

"As things expand, I’ll have to do less and less of everything and be able to focus my time a bit more on what I want to focus on." 

Read the STRUCTURE interview on the blog

The value of cross discipline collaboration for structural engineers and the tools to do it.