5 things to consider when you have outgrown spreadsheets or packaged accounting software

Have you outgrown spreadsheets or your packaged accounting software?

Most construction contractors come to a point in their growth when using multiple software solutions like Excel, packaged accounting software and other function specific software solutions no longer suit the requirements of their business. Some of the main challenges faced by growing construction companies when they have outgrown spreadsheets or packaged accounting software that prompt a decision to review their current software systems include:

  • Limited or no visibility of activity across functions
  • Duplication of effort
  • Manual and paper based processes
  • Difficulties managing cash flow
  • Lack of control over critical processes such as purchasing
  • Limited ability to forecast
  • Existing systems are unable to deliver required functionality
  • No access to real time business data or reporting

Five things to look for when it’s time to update

There are several things to take into consideration when you decide to undertake a review of your current software and when the time comes to implement a new solution.

  1. Industry Specific

Look for a solution that is designed specifically for construction and that has dedicated functionality purpose built for the Australian construction industry.

  1. Integrated

An integrated solution that spans all business functions including job financial management, payroll, financial accounting, purchasing, general ledger, project and document management and service management. An integrated solution allows for accurate data collection from all company functions, embeds controls into key processes and provides insights necessary to allow informed decision making.

  1. Real Time Insights & Reporting

The ability to access consolidated data collected across all business functions, including accounts, payroll and project management. This will allow you to analyse data, manage change, delays or trends, which can be done anywhere, anytime, on any device. By facilitating an integrated flow of information across all business functions within the company in real time, you will gain access to:

  • Management reporting and dashboards
  • Cost and cash flow control
  • Improved coordination and flexibility across all company departments and increased efficiencies that will deliver reduced operating costs.
  • Management of project budgets and timelines to keep you informed of actual and potential cost over-runs. This provides the opportunity to take immediate action to address margin impacts before they occur.
  1. Risk Management

Business operating policies and procedures should be embedded into the system to facilitate risk management. This enables you to certify the accuracy of financial statements and disclosures and ensures that procedures are carried out in an efficient and effective manner, including:

  • Audit – necessary controls and audit are in place to minimise the risk of fraudulent activity.
  • Security – built-in security permissions systems, parameter settings and highly configurable user interfaces. Security levelling and authority limits facilitate sound procurement practices.
  • Work flows – integrated links between financial, project management and human resource data removes the risk of inaccuracies and the cost of amending inaccuracies. Control is increased with both documentation and financial data for all facets of company operations being clearly visible and easily retrievable.
  1. Modular & Flexible

A modular solution that has inbuilt functionality incorporated into the underlying technology platform like real time analytics, reporting, search and compliance. This approach allows you to add new functionality as your business grows with the implementation of additional modules as required.

Some of the most common areas of modular functionality to consider include:

  • Accounting
  • Timesheets, Payroll & HR
  • Workflow Approvals
  • Automated Invoice Processing with OCR Capabilities
  • Document and Drawing Management
  • Project Management
  • Milestone Schedules
  • Estimating
  • Forecasting
  • Service Management
  • Email Integration
  • Electronic Forms
  • Notifications and Alerts
  • Fixed Asset Management
  • Inventory Management

Other areas to consider include flexible technology options that allow you to choose between a SaaS hosted environment or on-premise deployment depending on individual business requirements.

Benefits of an integrated solution

There are multiple benefits that can be delivered from an integrated construction software solution instead of packaged accounting software:

  • Reduced costs and increased profits. Multiple point solutions added over time can end up costing more than one integrated system.
  • Increased efficiency. The use of paper forms, manual processes and multiple disconnected systems leads to errors and can be costly. Integration ensures that all documentation is complete, accurate and accessible in real time.
  • Enhanced customer service. Provide a seamless user experience with a single data view.
  • Improved service delivery. Shorter time to delivery means you will be able to deliver more projects.
  • Minimisation of project errors. Reduce operational costs with few errors.
  • Peace of mind for business owners. Knowing that systems are in place to control business processes, and the reliability of real time, accurate business information.
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