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It’s no secret that payroll costs represent the single largest operating expense for most contractors. What’s surprising, though, is that so many contractors struggle to manage their payroll—and their job costs—when construction-specific software technology can make easy work of this increasingly complex process.

Whether a construction business is considering new construction accounting software or simply evaluating its current accounting system, contractors should consider 10 major features and capabilities to help in automating and streamlining payroll.

1. Timecard Entry

When it comes to payroll timecard entry, contractors need a flexible system. Construction companies vary greatly in how they collect payroll data (paper, spreadsheets or remote timecard systems), what kind of data they collect (by crew, job, employee or a combination), and how the information is transmitted to the office (via fax, phone, the Internet or intranet). Therefore, construction payroll software should support unlimited timecard styles and methods, and it should seamlessly integrate with third-party timecard applications.

Some construction-specific systems offer their own timecard designs with pre-defined defaults and protected fields to help prevent errors and save time. In addition, good construction payroll software provides proofing reports as well as equipment and production tracking from timecard entries.

2. Multi-State, Multi-Locality and Multi-Job Processing