A vital communication tool for your company is the accounting system.
Too often it does not give us what we want. The frustration from everyone needing the information and the system unable to provide it can be overwhelming. The following defines when you may want to abandon your current system or keep it and make some changes in the way you are using it.
Must haves and grounds for abandonment!
Not designed for the construction industry.
Job Costs with a Integrated Work in Progress Statement
Production Measuring (Units of Measure by Cost Code)
Certified Payroll or Union Reporting
Local Withholding Taxes
Proprietary Database (You can only get what they allow you to see)
Flexible (User defined fields that allow you to enter data you want and need tracked)
If your current accounting system lacks the above items, you should consider changing. This is more prevalent if you are pushing growth over the coming years. It is much easier to do it when you are smaller with less active jobs rolling and fewer employees then to wait.
Lets try and keep the current system!
But, what if the problem is the way we are using the accounting system, and not the system itself? When the system was bought years ago, someone made decisions on how to set it up based on conditions at that time. Another factor was from reasons and restrictions establish based on old technology. How the software is sorting can drastically effect the reports and how they can be shown. What I have found is, most construction accounting systems have the needed functionality, they just need adjusted to serve their purpose better.
More specifically, how is the numbering of the employees or the jobs being done? Did we use alpha characters or numbers? Does the job cost data have the ability to get the queries and sorts needed? The numbering sequence of the jobs/phases/cost codes can usually solve the reporting problems and increase the value of the system. A simple call to your software provider to see if they can help in re-numbering your database to allow for better organization and display of the data can be done. Also there are overlooked fields that are not being used in most systems that could solve many frustrations.
Today’s construction accounting systems have gone through incredible changes with the
technology boom. The largest change is the sharing of the database. In the past, the data was the software company’s (or proprietary) and the only way to get your data was through the accounting company. Today, most accounting systems have moved from these types of databases to SQL (Structured Query Language), which allows you to easily see your data the way you want to. The data in most construction accounting systems today can be viewed in “live” in Excel or spreadsheet program. Custom web-based programming solutions today can integrate with the system and provide a better experience and less redundancy.
Completely changing your construction accounting software isn’t always necessary. That
time and cost could be saved by a more thorough analysis of the current system and looking at minor changes that will have a major impact. Getting someone that has SQL or database knowledge involved to help in the process will help in the analysis. The first place I would start is your current software provider. The results might just surprise you.