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QuickBooks Tip – Working With Contractors – Part 1

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An infusion of federal infrastructure funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) have had and will continue to put more contractors and their employees back to work.  Federal investment in Public Works projects will create jobs throughout the country and not just construction jobs.

American Recovery & Reinvestment ActWhile additional public infrastructure projects will allow the construction industry to maintain their current workforce and will even necessitate hiring more workers.  You will also see contractors who have previously worked on other types of construction projects (residential and/or commercial) begin bidding on newly created Public Works projects.

This will also encourage contractors to purchase equipment, thus preserving and creating manufacturing jobs.

As a Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor or Accounting Professional who is working with construction clients – you are entering into a very challenging experience!

More demand for construction savvy accounting professionals.

Contractors who will perform work on these government funded public works construction projects will face new bookkeeping, accounting, and compliance issues that they may not have faced before, therefore, they will be seeking help and advice (aka consulting time) from construction savvy accounting professionals who support QuickBooks – specificically in the areas of improved job costing and the preparation and submission of certified payroll reports; which are required on government funded construction projects valued over $2,000.00.

The terms “construction and contractors” are vague and widely misused terms which cover everyone from the local handyman who makes repairs/improvements on your house to the contractor who is building or repairing a bridge on your local highway.

Let’s talk about construction projects

In general, there are three types of construction projects that contractors can be involved in, each having their own unique accounting and compliance issues:

  1. Non-Residential Building which includes the actual process of building, creating, or repairing commercial, manufacturing, educational, religious, administrative, recreational, hotel, dormitory, and other actual buildings.  These types of project may require the submission of AIA format billings and/or certfied payroll reports – in order for the contractor to be paid.
  2. Residential Building which includes the actual process of building, creating, or repairing single family homes, multi-family homes, and apartments and other buildings of this nature.  These types of projects may require the submission of AIA format billings – in order for the contractor to be paid.
  3. Heavy/Highway, Industrial, or Non Building construction which includes the building or repair of streets, highways, bridges, dams, reservoirs, river and harbor developments, sewage and water supply systems, missile and space facilities, airports, utilities, public works projects, and communication systems; just to name a few.  These types of projects may require the submission of AIA format billings and/or certified payroll reports – in order for the contractor to be paid.

AIA format billing is a “standardized” method of billing developed by the American Institute of Architects.

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About Your Host:

Nancy Smyth, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor

Nancy Smyth, Sunburst Software Solutions, Inc.
QuickBooks Construction & Payroll Expert


I've been using and supporting QuickBooks products since the early 1990's. I've worked with thousands of contractors, assisting them with QuickBooks setup, Certified Payroll Reporting requirements, AIA Billing and Weighted-Average Overtime.


QuickBooks is a powerful product, but learning how to use it in your construction business can be difficult. I hope you find resources available here to be helpful.

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