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construction accounting software

Contributor(s): Kara Brosnan

Construction accounting software is collection of programs, processes and information that serves all the essential job functions of general accounting software, such as accounts receivable, accounts payable and general ledger, with the addition of modules for construction-specific functions such as equipment service and usage tracking, time and material billing, and consolidated general ledgers. Most construction accounting software vendors let customers choose which construction-specific accounting modules best fit their company. This option enables companies to expand the software they are using as their company grows and their needs change.

Construction accounting software can be used in strategic planning and operations management and can function similarly to an ERP system. By using construction accounting software, contractors are able to improve project execution by providing project managers with the information needed to efficiently manage projects, reduce business vulnerability by keeping project expenses and claims defense costs organized, and improve accountability and efficiency by constantly monitoring cash flow, profitability, and total costs per project.

It is common for a construction company's first software purchase to be a generic accounting package such as QuickBooks or Peachtree. From there, a contractor is likely to add additional applications, such as construction estimating software or construction scheduling software, to augment other construction-related responsibilities. However, contractors that buy software in this manner can find themselves using numerous applications that are not integrated, which can adversely affect business practices.

Several factors push construction companies to switch from generic accounting software to construction accounting software that includes an ERP software module and that integrates with other construction software. These factors include an inability to easily calculate job cost data, a tendency to devote more time to data entry than data analysis and a concern that general accounting software will be unable to handle a construction company's expansion.

According to the CFMA's 2008 Information Technology Survey for the Construction Industry, almost 100% of contractors today use some sort of accounting/costing/payroll software. Based on CFMA survey data, the leading construction accounting software packages today include Sage MasterBuilder, Sage Timberline Office and Maxwell Systems American Contractor.

 

Learn More About IT:
> ConstructionSoftwareReview.com offers information about numerous construction accounting software vendors.
> Also on ConstructionSoftwareReview.com is the Construction Job Cost Accounting Software Buyers Guide.
> The site Find Accounting Software also provides a directory of accounting software for the construction industry.

This was last updated in June 2008

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