Foundation Construction Case Study

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Proietto Companies’ vice president, Sandra Michael, didn’t choose FOUNDATION® — at least, not at first. The Florida-based Proietto Painting already had FOUNDATION in place when they hired Sandra as their general manager over HR and training. She couldn’t have guessed that a job cost accounting application would play the enormous role for her that it did. “I always have to tell people, I’m not paid to say this,” she explains. “It saved me.”

Catching up the Accounting

When Sandra started at Proietto Painting, her responsibilities soon included more and more pieces of their payroll. It gave her a taste of FOUNDATION, but that was just the beginning. After a couple of absences in their staff, Sandra also had to pick up accounts payable, then step in as acting controller. It was at that point she could really see what she’d inherited within their system.

“It was completely underutilized,” she remembers with dismay. Despite FOUNDATION’s integrated set of core accounting modules at their disposal, Sandra’s predecessors had chosen to use it mostly to process payroll. The majority of their accounting was still being done outside of the system. “All of the information wasn’t even being put in. I had a lot of clean up to do from an accounting standpoint.”

Before Proietto, Sandra had been acting controller for a manufacturing company and a banker for 12 years before that. This was her first experience with construction accounting, but she was grateful for every bit of financial background she had. “I just stepped into this situation,” she remembers. “We hadn’t been balancing our bank recs; we weren’t using the internal controls.” Sandra recruited her former CFO to help her sort through their general ledger: “He even started learning FOUNDATION and was saying to me, ‘This is really good software — this is really user-friendly.’”

Finding a Partner for Success

Leveraging FOUNDATION to get her company’s accounting back on track, Sandra used every tool at her disposal. “I was constantly on the phone with people. All of the staff there has always been responsive.” Consultants from Foundation also made trips out to Proietto’s offices to train the staff. One of the first steps Sandra took, though, was going to a user conference, and that blew her away. “I was just trying to be a sponge to soak it all in. That’s when I became a fan of the company, of the people, of Fred and Mike and everybody.”

It paid off. Soon enough — and not a moment too soon — their accounting got where it needed to be again. “This is one of the reasons I love the product and I love the people at Foundation.” She adds, “Part of what helped anchor me and save me was really just FOUNDATION.” Using FOUNDATION got even easier with the right data and processes in place. “As we started putting more and more information in, we were able to get more and more information out.”

Now Sandra has so much data on her jobs, she feels like she’s in the field — and her project supervisors can’t be sure she isn’t. “I can read a report and pinpoint exactly what’s going on in a job. They ask, ‘How did you know that? Do you have spies on us?’” she laughs. “It’s just so key when you can’t be physically out at a jobsite that could be 100 miles from another. These reports let me know in advance if we’re headed into an issue, and you can’t put a value on that. FOUNDATION makes that possible for me.”

Of course Sandra knows from experience, reporting like that is only possible with a solid accounting foundation — one you can have confidence in. “I’m a high-compliance person, and I’m always about best practices,” she says. “I feel like FOUNDATION really helped me put things in order for the company. I can just say it helped me keep my sanity.”

Leading the Change

“We’re always a work in progress, and we’ve come a long way,” Sandra says. Today, the two businesses under the Proietto Companies umbrella are making some big, structural changes. She says that includes bringing new and different types of work into their portfolio, automating new processes, and adding new key staff members. “We’re restructuring everything, so we’re really in a big year of change, and FOUNDATION is very much at the front of how we’re rolling out those changes.”

As one example, Sandra expects Proietto’s new assets and materials manager to play a major role using FOUNDATION’s Fixed Assets and Inventory Modules. She has big plans for the FOUNDATION mobile® field log, Project Management Module and Scheduling Module too. “We’re going to start doing more and more with the field, giving them access to stuff live and getting stuff back to the office more quickly,” she says. “I’m very much using FOUNDATION to help me benchmark the changes I’m trying to bring about the company.”

In the meantime, Sandra’s also been enjoying Foundation’s continued support in Proietto’s day-to-day operations. She recalls one recent instance: “I had to get billings out that night, and it was already 4:45. Foundation put a priority call through for me, and a representative called me right back and walked me through the process.” Everything went out in time. “It doesn’t matter what department or what the crisis is. I appreciate all of the people there — they’re just wonderful, wonderful people.”

“I can’t say enough about how FOUNDATION is supporting us through the process of change,” Sandra concludes. “It gives me peace about how we’re doing it and the things we want to do for the future. It’s really a pivotal piece.”


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