by Sunburst Software Solutions, Inc.
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Welcome to the QuickBooks® for Contractors blog!

Welcome to the QuickBooks® for Contractors blog, where we focus on short, simple articles and productivity tips to help you get the most out of QuickBooks in your construction business!

The construction industry still requires an enormous amount of “paper”work to keep track of everything, as a result, many contractors and/or their bookkeepers end up creating Excel spreadsheets – because Excel is quick and flexible; or they don’t know how to make a task happen in QuickBooks. As the business grows and changes, this results in an overwhelming amount of data that must be kept updated – located in different programs or locations – making it impossible to see the overall picture in one place.

Do you wonder if your QuickBooks® job costing reports are providing you with accurate information? Perhaps:

  • Your QuickBooks® Profit & Loss by Job reports only show a single dollar amount in Cost of Goods Sold and Payroll Expenses and you need/want more detail
  • You want to track a lot of detail in your QuickBooks® Estimate for job costing purposes; but have customers who want so see only a summary invoice when you bill them
  • Your bookkeepers says “I don’t know how to make QuickBooks® show you more detail on job costing reports” or “QuickBooks® can’t do that”
  • You are so frustrated and uncertain that you are spending hours updating complex Excel spreadsheets trying to get the job costing numbers you need – or worse yet, you are trying to keep it all in your head!

Wondering where all the cash is going and if all the job costs are being captured correctly is enough to baffle just about any construction business owner and some bookkeepers.

When the bottom-line profit from your construction business appears to be shrinking – it’s a given that you need to assess the situation and turn it around. Proper QuickBooks® setup is the key for evaluating the financial health of your company – you’ve got to know that the numbers you are looking at are accurate.

Quality, Efficiency and Experience you can trust.

We’ve worked with contractors, such as yourself, for many years. We’ve provided short, simple articles and productivity tips that will allow you to achieve the MAXIMUM possible results from QuickBooks® in your construction business, here on our blog. For more in-depth training materials, visit our companion site Learn to use QuickBooks® in your construction business.

Remember, QuickBooks® is a generic bookkeeping and accounting program, designed to be used by every type of business that you can imagine. If it was construction industry specific, well it would have the same big price tag as high-end construction specific software. Sure, Intuit makes a “Contractor” version of QuickBooks®, but even that is designed to meet the needs of every type of contractor – from the handyman to the bridge builder.

Below are some of the important topics that we cover in our blog:

Be a Better Bookkeeper

Excel often initially becomes our friend only later to become our enemy as a business grows.

Stop wasting time manually creating Excel spreadsheets to track job costing, get rid of the clutter on your desk, and learn to make QuickBooks® work for you!

Once inside this section, you’ll find we’ve broken the posts into categories for specific areas and/or tasks in QuickBooks®; such as working with Vendors and Accounts Payable, Customers and Accounts Receivable, Job Costing Tips, Reports and more.
be a better bookkeeper

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QuickBooks® & Certified Payroll

Generating accurate certified payroll prevailing wage reports IS a time-consuming and error-prone task that MUST be completed in order for your business to be paid on time. Creating certified payroll reports using QuickBooks® payroll data requires careful setup and consistent data entry.

Whether you are new to prevailing wage or have been filling out certified payroll reports for years, there is always something unusual that must be accounted for – whether it’s how to deal with employees who work under multiple classifications during the week or handling a wage restitution.

These tips will help you handle most all situations.
prevailing wage reports

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QuickBooks® Payroll Tips

Payroll is one of the MOST critical pieces of your business.You need to:

  • pay your employees correctly and on time to keep them happy
  • pay your payroll taxes and other liabilities on time
  • be prepared for a payroll audit and know what records you have to keep for how long
  • deal with wage garnishments and employee loans

Most importantly, you NEED to get the payroll dollars into your QuickBooks® job costing reports!
payroll tips

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QuickBooks® Setup & Cleanup

Setting up a new QuickBooks® file – OR – cleaning up an existing file, so that you can view your numbers in a meaningful way in reports, can be a daunting task!

QuickBooks® provides a very basic Chart of Accounts and Item List, for both General Contractors and Specialty Trades, and it’s up to you to customize them to suit your needs.

This section will provide you with tips for making your numbers mean something when you look at reports.
make your quickbooks report meaningful to you

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QuickBooks® Job Costing Tips

Money doesn’t grow on trees and neither does your profit on a construction project!

QuickBooks® can provide you with some good job costing reports, the Estimate vs. Actual is one of my personal favorites, BUT QuickBooks needs to be setup correctly and job costing information needs to be entered consistently.

Remember … Garbage in (to QuickBooks®) — equals garbage out (of QuickBooks® reports).

This section provides you with helpful tips to make the job costing capabilities in QuickBooks® work for you.

Browse tips

Questions from our readers

Working with QuickBooks® can sometimes be SO FRUSTRATING that you just want to tear your hair out! Especially when you are trying to do a specific task and can’t find any information on how to do it – or the information you find is totally worthless.

This section contains questions that have been submitted by our readers (and you are welcome to submit a question too). Just remember, some questions are easy to answer and others aren’t – ESPECIALLY if you don’t provide enough information!

NOTE: I’m happy to answer most QuickBooks® related questions, however, some questions will end up requiring that you purchase training/consulting time.

View questions