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October 29, 2019

How to Know When You Need New Accounting Software


accounting-4Before you invest many hours in research trying to discover the best accounting software for your business, be sure that it is time to get a new accounting software.  Here’s a simple way to know if your business needs the investment.

List Your Current and Future Business Needs

Start by asking the question, “What are my real business needs?”  You must know what you need to meet your daily business requirements and the features you’ll need when your business grows in the next 5 to 10 years.  Think about the job types and accounting processes you follow.  Then list out features you’ll need, which may include:

  • Cash Flow Analysis
  • Purchase Order Controls
  • Certified Payroll
  • Job Costing
  • Project Management
  • Service Management
  • Time Entry
  • Solutions in the Field

Can Your Present Software Meet Your Current and Future Needs?

Find out from your software vendor if your present accounting system is capable of providing you with the features you want.  Are the features you want part of the software or are they added on features that require interfacing and programming to get what you need.

If your vendor reveals that you’re not making the most of the software, then plan to use it to its full potential.  Maybe you’ll need to invest a bit in more training or getting an expert to show you how to fully use the features you haven’t been using.

If the software doesn’t offer the features you need or will need in the near future, then it may be time to take a look at what other software packages are available.

Does Your Software Vendor Offer Adequate Support?

For the task as important and sensitive as accounting, you must have a good relationship with your software vendor.  You may need to change your accounting solutions if:

  • There isn’t ability to speak or have an onsite consultation or continuous user education
  • The vendor is not knowledgeable enough to support your needs
  • Support is not prompt and adequate to solve issues you may have
  • You don’t receive regular program updates to stay secure, productive and meet new requirements in your industry

While there’s no perfect one-size-fits-all software solution for construction accounting, it may be necessary to choose a new software if you keep having to use spreadsheets and make manual adjustments to the output from your accounting software.

What Features Should the Software Have?

The features of your accounting software should meet your company’s goals and fit your office staff’s workflow.  The following features should be part of most construction accounting applications:

  1. Construction Billing: Having the ability to hold or pay retainage to subcontractors and track retainage is important. Other billing requirements may include:  unit price billing, markups on time and construction materials, and service billing.
  2. Construction Payroll: The software should have the capacity to create both print and electronic payroll to be submitted to state or federal agencies. It must also provide payroll reports for staff working in different localities and comply with local trade and union organizations.
  3. Purchasing, Subcontracting, and Job Costing: These features will enable you to determine what has been invoiced and the outstanding committed costs and retainage, as well as view each project independently. A well-designed construction accounting application will have a module where actual vs estimated costs, production reports, over/under billing are easy to access.
  4. General Ledger Reports: The accounting software must be able to give a snapshot of the General Ledger statements for each project, allowing for cash flow analysis and income and expense statements without extracting data into spreadsheet.
How to Choose Your Construction Accounting Software

There are many things to reflect on when choosing your software but here are some tips to help you find the most suitable software for your company.

  1. Do internal company research: Interview the personnel who will use the system including project managers who will use different reports from the end users in the accounting department. Update your previous list of desirable features from the results of the interview.
  2. Talk to software vendors: Go beyond vendor’s websites. Speak to the vendors directly and ask them questions.  Listen to the type of questions they ask about your business to know if they truly want to match your needs with the proper software.
  3. Ask for a live demo: Don’t limit yourself to marketing videos. Let the salesperson give you a live demo of the system.  This will allow you to discover more about the company and its culture.
  4. Check references: Follow up on three or more references who are doing projects of the same scale as yours. This will let you know the type of after-sales support that the vendor provides their customers.

There are many construction accounting packages in the marketplace but one you should consider is Sage Construction Software, a software that has been around for over 30 years and has designed the software based on the needs of the contractors that use the software.

Get a Live Tour or Demo

Contact us to speak with one of consultants. We will gladly schedule a demo so you can see how Sage Construction Accounting works!


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