Construction Success Story: Residential Builder Upgrades Accounting Software While Sticking to Sensible Budget

by: Smith and Howard

September 21, 2016

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A residential builder in a fast-developing area had seen his business grow substantially for the past few years. He hired more employees, expanded his fleet of equipment and even redesigned the signage on his job sites. One morning, his longtime bookkeeper asked to meet with him. She said she was glad to see him investing in the business but wondered whether he might turn his attention from the field to the office.

She’d been working with the same accounting software for a decade. “Don’t get me wrong,” she said. “It still works, and everyone knows how to use it.” She noted that the system ran sluggishly and was unable to generate certain types of reports that could help the company. Furthermore, it was constantly freezing up and crashing — and support was no longer provided for the product.

The contractor agreed to look into the matter. The first step was to consult his CPA for help determining what improvements would be most beneficial, what software systems would best meet his company’s needs, and how to transition smoothly to the new system. He knew his accountant could also assist him in establishing and adhering to a feasible budget for the software purchase.

Narrowing the choices

The CPA noted that, since the last time the contractor bought accounting software, many more products had hit the market — including dozens developed specifically for the construction industry. Most of them had the same essential features, so the contractor had to gain a detailed understanding of the software itself and consider his company’s specific needs and capabilities to make an educated choice.

The advisor suggested three or four systems for the builder to investigate, advising him to get a feel for the software and vendors and compare prices. Having these recommendations saved the builder a lot of time and guesswork, and gave him the confidence he needed to make a decision.

Implementing the change

When the purchase was made, the builder’s accountant helped facilitate the transition to the new system. When changing accounting systems, construction companies have to walk a fine line between:

  • Rushing the timeline (potentially mishandling setup issues and not providing sufficient training), and
  • Dragging their feet (potentially falling behind on financial reporting).

The CPA also helped oversee the data transfer from the old system to the new, making sure to clean up errors and improve accounting procedures to maximize the new software’s capabilities.

Succeeding wildly

Involving his accountant in the upgrade process helped the contractor’s purchase succeed wildly. His growing company had better control over its financial reporting — and his bookkeeper was ecstatic.

For more information on additional construction advisory services, please contact Marvin H. Willis, CPA/CITP, CGMA, at 404-874-6244 or leave us a message below.

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