We work with a lot of contractors and construction companies that have outgrown QuickBooks. While they recognize that that their accounting system is slowing things down and holding them back from real growth, they’re often not quite sure what the next step is. So in this article, we’ll explore what we think are the top 5 features that are typically included in construction software that’s designed specifically for the industry.
1. Construction Accounting
It’s probably a no-brainer, but we’ll start with the basics. After all, strong accounting features are at the heart of any good construction management system.
With the right construction accounting software, you can streamline basic accounting functions like accounts payable, accounts receivable, and payroll. You’ll also automate many of the core accounting functions you’re probably performing manually today so you can spend more time managing the business and less time managing paper and spreadsheets.
2. Job Cost Tracking
You’re not building for the fun of it – you’re building for profit. For those that are using basic accounting software like QuickBooks, you’ve probably discovered it’s great for tracking general ledger and basic accounting, but not so great at job cost management and tracking construction-specific activity. If you don’t have a good handle on the costs of every single construction project, you’re probably headed for trouble.
Not only does construction software deliver tools to closely track and monitor project costs, you get job cost tracking information in real-time so you know where you stand, can make adjustments on the fly, and avoid potentially unpleasant surprises at the end of the project (i.e. Surprise, you didn’t make any money and it’s too late to do anything about it!).
Job cost tracking features typically include:
- Tracking Committed Costs
- Change Order Management
- Labor Time Tracking
- Tracking Costs Against Contracts
- Tracking Work in Progress Costs
3. Project & Document Management
Project managers face many challenges throughout the construction process—especially if they are using manual processes. A lot of times, project team members don’t have access to critical documents in the field and office staff can’t get updated information or status reports. Team members quickly become confused and clients frustrated by your inability to complete projects in a timely manner.
Leveraging the cloud, today’s project management tools like Sage Construction Project Center allow your team members to share files (e.g. RFIs, submittals, punch lists, change orders, etc.), manage workflows (review, route and approval), track activities, and improve collaboration across multiple tasks and from multiple locations using a centralized online hub that serves as your paperless office. It all means that you can access the information you need when from anywhere, stay well-informed, and ultimately run a more efficient and profitable project.
4. Mobile Access
Today’s world is mobile. Almost everyone has a Smartphone, tablet, or other mobile device within reach no matter where they are. Modern construction accounting software allows you to leverage those devices as your lifeline on the jobsite so you stay efficient and on-track while making many fewer trips back and forth to the office.
For instance, Sage Mobile Projects streamlines field reporting tasks, making it easier for your superintendents to thoroughly log activity and issues as they happen on the jobsite including:
- Attach photos, with descriptions, to specific observations as well as full field reports
- Pull from a list of employees or subcontractors to log who is on the job that day
- View a list of your company’s equipment to quickly select what is currently onsite
- Log and then send production units in place and percentage complete directly to your accounting system
- Document materials received, including time of receipt, supplier, purchase order, quantity, and unit of measure
- Enter employee time for automatic transfer to payroll (no duplicate data entry)
5. Construction Reporting
Perhaps the most important aspect of all, we saved the best for last. After all, what good is it to have all these great features and tracking capabilities without some way of reporting on all that data and using it to make informed, profitable decisions? Especially for those using QuickBooks, you probably spend hours manually exporting data, slicing and dicing in Excel spreadsheets, and sometimes still can’t find the information you need. In short, basic accounting software produces basic reports.
The industry-specific reports and on-screen analytics that are built right into construction accounting software like Sage 100 Contractor or Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate provide most of the critical reports you need. Everything from detailed job costing, work in progress (WIP), and daily field reports to subcontractor compliance, business intelligence, and in-depth financial reporting are delivered to you right ‘out of the box.’ Armed with the right data and reports, you can make timely and strategic decisions that are going to drive profitability and grow your business.
Sage Construction Vs. QuickBooks
Compare Features Side-by-Side
Leave your name below and we’ll send you a copy of the QuickBooks vs. Sage Feature Comparison.
This document provides a detailed, side-by-side comparison of the benefits and capabilities of Sage Construction Software vs. QuickBooks.