Do You Even Need New Construction Accounting Software?
31 March 2017

Do You Even Need New Construction Accounting Software?

Software companies sell software, so vendors will always be happy to sell their application to whoever raises their hand. Well, almost always. The truth is, not everyone needs new construction accounting software, and we think that’s important for contractors to know, because the software you don’t need isn’t going to help you be successful.

How do you know if you even need new construction accounting software? Begin by asking two questions:

1. What are our business needs?

2. Am I using my current software to its potential?

Determine what you need from your accounting software.

Start with a blank slate. Pretend you have no accounting system at all. Think through the type of jobs you manage and how you operate. What feature sets are needed to handle your accounting processes?

Certified payroll?

AIA billing?

Purchase order controls?

WIP and bonding reports?     

Cash flow analysis by job?

Create a complete list of your company’s needs and your realistic wants.

Know what you have with your current vendor.

Next, make sure you’re using your current system to its potential. Before you invest in a transition, be certain that it doesn’t already have what you need and that you’re as effective on it as possible. Reach out to your current vendor with specific questions.

“We want to begin billing for DOT contracts. How can we make that happen?”

“We want our reports to break out fringe rates by trade. Can the system do that?”

Put the vendor to work. Let them recommend other ways you can get more out of their software. That might mean pursuing additional training and consulting on features you need but aren’t using yet.

Finally, compare their capabilities with the needs you identified. If your software still only ticks two out of ten boxes, then it’s time to investigate other options. If it turns out your system can actually do more than you’re currently taking advantage of, however, the question now becomes, “How can we move to becoming higher-level users?”

Maximize what you have with your current software.

If you’re not maximizing your current system, work with your vendor to set a measurable, actionable game plan. Like you, they’re experts in what they do, so use their expertise to set realistic expectations and hold yourself to them. Together, you might decide that six months from now you want to be using three additional features or in one year you want to be using 60% of the system’s capabilities. Find out how they can help get you there through additional training, continuing education or consulting.

Whatever your game plan, be committed to following through.Bringing a trainer on-site for several days or multiple trips can be well-worth the investment — as long as you implement what you learn and put it into practice with your processes.

Get what the construction accounting software you need.

There’s no perfect out-of-the-box solution. Even custom programmed software can be an endless, expensive project in need of constant updating. The truth is, if just 10% of your functions have to be performed outside of your system, it might make more sense to stay put, rather than take on a big transition and possibly some trade-offs. For now, there may be some operations that need to be run in a spreadsheet in order to enjoy continuity with your software, your vendor and any of the features you’re still able to grow into.

On the other hand, if your current system can’t do half of what you need, don’t pound your square company through a round hole. Your list from earlier indicates what a “square” system might look like. The task ahead is for you to identify a realistic game plan for what transition and implementation might look like, given your time, team and budget.

So do you need new construction accounting software? If so, we can help determine if we’re a fit for you. Schedule a live product tour to start the conversation, or call us at (800) 246-0800.