What’s So Different About Accounting for Contractors?
As we all know, having an accounting system is a vital piece of any successful business. An accounting system provides an automated and easy way to track how much money you are making vs. how much money you are spending.
Creating proper accounts in your accounting system to track your businesses Assets, Liabilities, Equity, Income, Cost of Goods Sold and Expenses will allow you to see an overall picture of your company’s worth or value from a financial standpoint – not only for yourself but also when you apply for a loan or have to be bonded.
A construction company, like any other company, has numerous responsibilities – to their employees, customers, vendors, subcontractors, investors and even the government.
This is where the similarities end!
The construction industry has some very specific accounting requirements. In addition to payroll, Accounts Receivable, and Accounts Payable functions, they need to be able to have systems to handle job costing, overhead, billing and/or invoicing, and if you use QuickBooks for your basic accounting you’ll also need integrated applications to handle project management, scheduling, customer management, etc.
No two contractors will have the EXACT same need for functionality OR use the exact same cost coding system for billing. So don’t let anyone tell you that every contractor uses a specific Chart of Accounts or Cost Coding system.
A typical construction specific accounting program (which carries a big price tag) includes Accounts Payable, Job Cost management, Accounts Receivable, payroll (including Union payroll), detailed job budgets, time and material billings, general ledger, AIA billing, subcontract status, custom job reports, certified payroll, over and under billings, purchase orders, Union reports, inventory, equipment tracking, work in progress, Retainage Receivable, Retainage Payable, etc.
There are many software packages available for the construction industry – ranging from $5,000.00 to $50,000.00 in price with expensive annual updates that do not include any support. Because of this, especially in this tight economy, more and more contractors are looking at switching to QuickBooks Pro, Premier, or Enterprise to fulfill their bookkeeping and accounting needs.
QuickBooks, while not specifically developed for the construction industry is:
- extremely user-friendly
- can provide a very strong accounting structure “backbone”
- can be operated by personnel who have little computer knowledge (bookkeeping and accounting knowledge, however, is important – you need to know your “debits from your credits”)
- and with the use of reasonably-priced QuickBooks integrated applications to provide some of the higher level functionality
All of these items combined make QuickBooks when used in conjunction with 3rd party integrated applications a viable and cost-effective choice for most contractors.
2 Responses to What’s So Different About Accounting for Contractors?
Leave a Reply
- The Great Debate – QuickBooks Desktop vs. QuickBooks Online
- Using Account Numbers in Your QuickBooks Chart of Accounts
- QuickBooks Creating a More Meaningful Payroll Expenses Section
- Calculating & Displaying Fringe Benefits on a Certified Payroll Report
- How To Turn On and Use Manual Payroll in QuickBooks
- QuickBooks Payroll Tip - Tracking Employee Advances or Loans
- Create a QuickBooks Job Cost Report With Hours & Payroll Costs
- QuickBooks Tip - Child Support Garnishments
- QuickBooks Tip - Job Costing Starts With A Simple Item
- QuickBooks for Contractors Tip – Basics of Progress Invoicing
- QuickBooks Tip-Creating a Functional Payroll Liabilities Section
- Welcome to the QuickBooks for contractors blog
- QuickBooks Tip: Important Facts About Items Left as Billable
- QuickBooks Tip-Handling Employee Reimbursements for Expenses
- QuickBooks Tip - Determing Cost of Goods Sold
- Straight from the IRS - Social Security Tax Reduced to 4.2%
- QuickBooks 2013 Upgrade Do's, Don'ts & Frequent Questions
- QuickBooks 2012 - Frequently Asked Questions About Upgrading
- QuickBooks 2015 Announced - Important System Requirements
- QuickBooks 2015- The Good, Bad and Ugly, Part 1