8 Questions To Ask About Construction Accounting Software

If you’re a builder, you want to build. You don’t want to do accounting. Unfortunately we often hear tales of woe from GCs and subcontractors who encountered a billing problem (often one that isn’t even their fault) and had to waste undue time and stress fixing it.

What’s the answer? Look for software to help you stay organized. Small construction businesses—where you might be both the boss and the bookkeeper—often rely on accounting software. The right software can help you get the billing cycle under control, save money, save time, and manage your estimates more accurately.

There are a lot of choices for billing software, including accounting programs made for businesses of all sorts, such as QuickBooks, and others that are more task- and industry-specific, such as zlien and Smart Contractor.

Unfortunately, most of us aren’t experts on billing software, so we’ve borrowed some advice from Find Accounting Software to help give you some pointers. We won’t attempt to recommend one specific program—they all have their pros and cons—but these questions can help you make an informed decision:

1. Will my information move easily between different programs?
If you have several pieces of software working together, integration is very important. Not having to convert your estimation document before moving it on to quoting and work orders makes your job a lot easier.

2. Can I find what I need quickly?
Your software should provide a robust search function, along with customized reports to make every step of the billing cycle easy to analyze and adjust as needed.

3. Can I set different access levels for different users?
Look for a software program that lets you decide who can access which parts of the software.

4. What can I automate?
The more your software can do for you, the more efficient your billing system will become. For example, look for software that provides calculation tools, document conversion, and updating the whole system when you make changes.

5. Can I use it without reading the manual?
The most powerful software in the world is just wasted money if nobody can figure out how to use it. Look for a friendly user interface and easy access to comprehensive help functions.

6. Can I set up different tools for different projects?
Unique jobs will require different elements, such as cost variations and negotiations. Your software should be flexible enough to handle these changes.

7. Will it work on my smartphone?
You can’t always be sitting at your desk, so your software needs to include a mobile option so you can check in on your smartphone or tablet. This is especially important when you need to make changes to orders and quotes when you’re on the jobsite.

8. Will I look professional?
Software that can generate clear reports make it easier for you and your team to communicate, and will help you present the right image. Look for reporting templates and customization tools that will enhance your professionalism.

Of course, the best advice sometimes comes from your colleagues, so ask around for personal recommendations. But these questions will give you an informed point of view when you evaluate accounting software for your construction business.

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