The value of real-time accounting data hinges on information that is automated, up-to-date and readily available any time a member of the team needs to access it. It has long been the norm for the majority of a company’s overhead costs to be spent on information management. Construction firms have traditionally relied on administrators and office personnel to capture, organize and store data, and then use that data to create a seemingly endless array of reports.
With multiple projects happening at once, the amount of information produced can be immense. These tasks are also expensive and can impact a company’s bottom line. No matter how organized a company is, inaccuracies inevitably creep in and become amplified as they travel through the system—creating a domino effect of avoidable mistakes.
In addition to staffing-related expenses, inefficient information transmission in the field can result in lost profits. Cost, payroll and schedule data are difficult to capture on paper during the fast pace of a typical day on the jobsite. Significant efficiency gains have been realized as project management and related administrative tasks move to computerized platforms, facilitating a smoother, more immediate transfer of information.
From dealing with RFIs, change orders and document control to up-to-date cost analysis, estimates and payroll data, project management software is the solution to saving countless hours and dollars for your business. And it’s not just accountants who find real-time data useful.
Hundreds of individual data categories feed into project management, dramatically influencing a project’s overall productivity and outcome. Matters ranging from contractor compliance to employee time collection can be handled more effectively in real time, rather than filling out paperwork and having it processed later by support staff. Accurate cost data gives project managers control over project budgets, allowing them to accurately forecast project costs and providing them with better insight into the financial impact of a project.
Therefore, it is best if real time tracking and data input, facilitated now by user-friendly software and mobile devices, is leveraged to promote adherence to drawings and to the construction schedule, as well as enable quick course correction when things go wrong. Updated project insights are available every time you log into your software, without the need to manually aggregate separate data sources to see the full picture.
Some of the biggest benefits of using management software are the automatic byproducts of the system, meaning no extended training is required. While basic training will still be required, the interface is built to be easy to understand and efficient to use, whether you are in the office or in the field. Three of the biggest benefits of automated systems include:
- Email chains are automatically preserved and filed, keeping a paper trail at your fingertips.
- Routing and approvals are expedited throughout your organization, improving turnaround time and reducing miscommunication.
- Real-time numbers make it is easy to instantly comprehend a job’s status. Potential problems can be staved off by having the information available before it’s needed.
Modern software solutions have straightforward user interfaces that are simple to use and understand. Commonly required information can be viewed on the screen in seconds just by using interactive inquiry tools. Value is quickly apparent even in the field, where workers appreciate the convenience and control of completing forms and paperwork from their phone or tablet.
Furthermore, most data entries carry across the entire system, creating a comprehensive, accurate platform. Cloud-based, collaborative software-as-a-service (SaaS), keeps documents current with real-time updates, while still allowing for offline work when necessary.
When choosing a software package or service, construction companies should look for one that allows flexibility and customization to meet your specific needs. For example, if your company handles many large jobs, the job cost module of your software should provide room for expansion beyond basic job and cost codes.
It should accommodate a complex structure with multi-tiered jobs and cost codes, as well as flexibility in the codes’ terminology. It should also be able to break down job-cost data into a variety of information subsets. Customized software is easy to find and fundamental to creating a tool that will be an essential resource for project managers.
Before collaborative software, there were many tradeoffs involved in taking the time to manually update multiple separate reports.
There were also tradeoffs involved in taking the time to track down the right folder or information to update simple things like a single fact or figure. Often those small omissions lead to significant work stoppages or can even add up to create even greater losses.
With real time accounting data, those trade-offs have vanished. Real-time data provides expedited information sharing for project management while simultaneously moving projects forward. In fact, aggregating and interpreting financial data is an essential component of project management.
Historically, mistakes, inaccuracies and rework have taken heavy tolls in terms of job performance and profitability. In today’s economic climate, that can mean the difference between success and failure.
By reducing the administrative burden of routine tasks, integrated systems free up your company’s resources and allow you to handle a significantly higher work volume. Your company becomes a leaner operation while also becoming more profitable. With real-time accounting software, your business stays as efficient and competitive as possible.