What to think about when selecting and implementing construction and accounting software

For construction business owners, technology must allow you to accomplish more with less. Often, construction businesses need help with selecting and implementing accounting software, when outdated or basic accounting software is no longer the best solution for their business. During the recession, many businesses put technology investments or upgrades on hold but are now ready to consider selecting and implementing construction accounting software to operate more effectively and efficiently in today’s construction market.

As you consider investing in accounting software, begin by answering the following questions.

1. Do you spend more time managing technology/software than building?
Limited internal resources for managing the accounting, job costing, estimating, financial reporting and project management functions make selecting the right software extremely important. It should integrate all of those functions into one tool, allowing you to use your time more effectively. If your company is growing, you may be ready to go to the next level with software that improves efficiencies and improves internal and financial controls.

2. Why should you consider industry specific accounting software?
Construction accounting software can help you improve operational efficiencies by centralizing information. Most general-purpose software relies on third-party applications to provide the customization that contractors need to operate their businesses.

3. What are the top must-haves for construction accounting software?
Operational efficiencies are extremely important, and any integrated accounting and construction software solution you are considering for your business should address the following must-haves:

  • Efficiency – An efficient system with document imaging technology allows you to electronically store all of the invoices, construction documents and reports in a central location. Further efficiency can be gained by utilizing electronic document routing and approval processes that tie together various departments and operations.
  • Integration – Integrate the system with Microsoft Office for easy internal organization and communication. Project emails and other correspondence can be filed electronically with search capabilities.
  • Mobility – Allow your team to access real time data from outside the office via their laptop, tablet or mobile device. Team members can better manage field resources by accessing project management information easily.
  • Streamlined Process – Maintain tight financial controls by entering all of the information once to save time and improve accuracy.
  • Access to Data – Get detailed information without printing multiple reports with high-level executive dashboard reporting and records. Construction software can also help you increase your bottom line by improving financial     reporting. With all of the necessary information housed in one system, financial reporting is automated, accurate and reliable.
  • Increase Profits – Improve your bottom line by not adding staff and maintaining accuracy in your data, estimating and invoicing. Cash flow is improved if job information is better organized.
  • Standardize Processes – Selecting software that standardizes the project management functions is also a significant time saver. A standardized method of managing jobs streamlines the process of project execution.
  • Cloud computing and remote connectivity – One of the most useful technology upgrades is cloud computing and remote connectivity. The ability to stay connected with your team, your suppliers and your clients from any location is a huge asset that enables you to improve productivity and improve communication. It also eliminates the need to invest in expensive hardware upgrades because web-based applications can be run from nearly any operating system.

With these features in mind, you should also query your internal team to determine any other specific needs the software should address. Develop a report that summarizes the needs that exist within your business. Talk to industry experts and inform yourself about the trends that exist within your competitive space. Make a list of products that you would like to learn more about. Develop criteria that you expect your potential new system to meet.

Spend some time meeting and discussing options with a few vendors. Participate in product demos to help differentiate product features. Develop a spreadsheet or a system for organizing the features of the various products. Determine if the software can meet the critical needs of your company. Take the time to follow up with references.

Selecting and investing in construction software is a critical decision for construction businesses. By educating your team about the current trends within construction technology and how a fully integrated system can improve profitability, you’ll be armed with the knowledge and guidance you need to begin the selection process. Consult experts within your industry for guidance on how to select and implement construction accounting and project management technology. Take the time to network with a variety of providers; your decision should lead to increased operational efficiency and enhanced profits for your business.