Career Story: Project Planning Specialist

Project Planning Specialist

Job Title: Project Planning And Control Analyst

Type of Company: My company is a leading provider of mission-critical technology management services and solutions for government programs.

Education: BS, Management, University of Phoenix •• AS, Purchasing, Northeastern University •• Certified Professional Property Administrator (CPPA), NPMA •• Certified Professional Property Manager (CPPM), NPMA

Previous Experience: I worked as a purchasing clerk and then moved into the field of government property, purchasing and maintaining inventory for government contracts. I then moved on to work on the financial maintenance of government contracts.

Job Tasks: My primary responsibility is to track the financial funding of government contracts. Contracts are awarded to the department and duties are performed by the workforce. I am responsible for all funding issues on a contract. I work directly with the project manager and keep him informed of how much funding he has, how much he is allowed to spend on labor, travel, and material. I monitor the lifecycle of the project and generate monthly financial reports for the government customer. I approve all invoices before they are sent to the customer to ensure proper charging is occurring. I track the labor hours that will be charged to a contract to ensure that the work can be performed within the scope of funding and forecast future planning for budgetary purposes, as well as working directly with the group controller on departmental budgetary issues.

As new contracts are awarded, tracking plans are created, hours are forecasted for the entire period of performance, funding is allocated to ensure there is a proper amount of funding for each segment of the project: that the proper amount of travel dollars are segregated from the labor dollars, for example. I then issue work authorizations to the employees who will work on that particular contract so that proper time charging can be completed. I then set those people up in the company's electronic business system so they have access to charge the contract.

As the contract begins, I ensure each employee is correctly charging his or her time to the contract project on each contract. If a mischarge occurs, I initiate labor or travel adjustments to be processed through the system. Each month I do a financial report to be sent to the government customer of each contract. I currently work on 25 contracts. I then ensure the invoices that billing sends out are timely and accurate. If there is an error, I work with billing and have the invoice corrected. There is constant monitoring of the finances through labor and travel queries. Other miscellaneous reports are run to make sure profitability and costs are reported correctly.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of the job is working with the many different program managers. That can also contribute to the bad part, as everyone has their own styles and preferences. There are many program managers who are off-site which can make communicating a bit difficult but also provides satisfaction at the thought of helping those who are at a disadvantage because they are off-site.

Job Tips:
1.) Understand the contract. Some projects have one lump-sum payment but others break out payments for labor, travel, material and other direct costs. It is important to know this up front so that you do not use funding meant for travel in your labor forecasting.

2.) Understand your project managers. Those who are off-site need more assistance than those on-site but each has different styles of reporting. Some will want graphs for their financial reporting, others will want tables. Knowing what is expected from you will go a long way.

3.) Question the contract. Do not assume anything. If you see something that looks strange ask about it. It is bad for everyone if work cannot be billed because of a misunderstanding. The company is in business to make a profit, and my job is to ensure that the finances for each contract run smoothly so that a profit can be made. The program managers must be made aware of how the funding on their projects is moving to make sure that there are no over-run or under-run of funding. It is important to be right on the money, you don't want to under spend and you don't want to overspend

Additional Thoughts: Knowledge in finance is a must. It will only help the employee understand the dimensions of the profit and loss reports and cost reports that are required. It is also important to be a people-person. Working with the different program managers requires self-discipline in distinguishing the different qualities of each one.

Popular Schools offering Finance Programs

quickinfoThese schools offer particularly quick info upon request, and we have written detailed profiles for each (click school names to see the profiles).

Request info from multiple schools, by clicking the Request Info links.

Matching School Ads

Colorado State University-Global Campus

Colorado State University-Global Campus (CSU-Global) recently received state approval to enroll students with little to no prior college experience. To help ensure student success, the university has created a program especially for these students who plan on starting their college experience for the first time with us.

  • Programs: Master - Finance, Master - Professional Accounting, Graduate Specialization - Accounting, more...
  • Degrees: Master, Bachelor
Argosy University
Los Angeles, Ontario, Orange, Phoenix, San Diego

Welcome to Argosy University

Argosy University offers doctoral, master's, and bachelor's degree programs to students through its eight colleges:  College of Behavioral Sciences, Graduate School of Business and Management, College of Education,  College of Health Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Creative Arts and Design, College of Clinical Psychology and Western State College of Law at Argosy University as well as certificate programs in many areas.

  • Programs: Business Administration - Finance (BS) (Online), Business Administration - Accounting (BS) (Online), Business Administration (AS) (Online), more...
  • Degrees: Bachelor, Associate

Liberty University provides a world-class education with a solid Christian foundation, equipping men and women with the values, knowledge, and skills essential for success in every aspect of life.

  • Programs: BS in Business - Finance , MS in Accounting, MBA - Accounting, more...
  • Degrees: Bachelor, Master

Baker College is proud to be the largest independent college in Michigan with the most focused approach to education and training available. With one of the highest graduate employment rates in the country, our mission is to help our students find meaningful employment.

  • Programs: Finance - Bachelor, Finance - MBA (Master's), Accounting - Associate, more...
  • Degrees: Bachelor, Master, Associate

See What’s Possible When You Earn a Degree at Florida Tech 100% Online

  • Programs: MBA Finance, Bachelor of Arts in Accounting, Associate of Arts in Accounting, more...
  • Degrees: Master, Bachelor, Associate

Saint Xavier University, Chicago’s oldest Catholic university, has a long history of educating students to prepare them for professional success and lay the foundation for personal fulfillment.

  • Programs: MS in Finance
  • Degrees: Master

Johns Hopkins University Carey Business School has brought the philosophy of business with humanity in mind to a part time format.

  • Programs: Master of Science in Finance, Flexible MBA - Financial Business, Flexible MBA, more...
  • Degrees: Master

Earn your graduate degree online with Northcentral University.

  • Programs: Financial Management - PhD in Bus. Admin., Financial Management - D.B.A., Advanced Accounting - PhD in Bus. Admin., more...
  • Degrees: Doctorate, Master
National Career College
Panorama City

Choosing a school and a new career path can be a very overwhelming process.

  • Programs: Business Management and Accounting
  • Degrees: Associate

For over 35 years, Keiser University has provided student-centered, quality career education. Keiser University Online offers degree programs online to prepare students for in-demand professions.

  • Programs: Business Administration, BA - Finance
  • Degrees: Bachelor
Matching School Ads

Additional Career Stories for Financial Specialists

The inside stories from people actually working in the field.
Click a story title to show the story, and click the title again to hide it.

All Types

You are visiting:

Find a school near you

What are Career Stories?

Career Stories are concise, real-world career overviews written by people relating their personal career experiences and wisdom. They provide invaluable insights and mentoring advice to students and career changers.

Most stories include:

  • a typical day or project
  • tips and advice
  • best and worst parts
  • educational background
  • previous experience

Browse hundreds of Career Stories

More Details On This Career

Please also see our detailed information about Financial Specialists, including:

Back to Top
SPEAK TO AN ADVISOR 1.844.285.6104