August 4, 2017 Adam Minow

The CPA’s Role in Upgrading Construction Accounting Software

Upgrading Construction Accounting Software

A local residential builder in a fast-developing area saw 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 encouraged his continual investment into the business but wondered whether he might turn his attention from the field to the office.

Time For A Upgrade

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.”

But the system ran sluggishly. It was unable to generate dynamic, powerful reports that could help the company. It was constantly freezing up and crashing and worst of all, support was no longer provided for the product.

The contractor agreed to look into the matter.

The first step was to consult a CPA for help. The major areas of concern we discussed were:

  • Determining what improvements would be most beneficial
  • What software systems would best meet his company’s needs
  • How to transition smoothly to the new system.

To accomplish all the above while keeping the upgrade within a feasible budget required the need for professional help.

Narrowing the Choice

It became apparent 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.

This is where the role of the CPA comes in. With years of hands on experience, 3 or 4 systems were suggested for the builder to investigate.

He was advised 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.

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