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QuickBooks & Your Construction Business – What’s Your Gripe?

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What’s your biggest gripe, problem, or issue when it comes to using QuickBooks in your construction business? Is it the Myth of Do-It-Yourself Accounting?  Is it the fact that there really isn’t a lot of construction specific help or training available?  Is it confusing terminology? 

frustrated with using QuickBooks in your construction business?QuickBooks is a powerful software program — but the key to your success in using it depends on how well it’s setup and then how well you utilize the features that are built in.

QuickBooks® is a generic bookkeeping and accounting program, designed to be used by every type of business that you can imagine.  If it was industry specific, well it would have the same big price tag!  Sure Intuit makes a “Contractor” version, but even then it’s designed to meet the needs of every type of contractor – from the handyman to the bridge builder.  When it can’t handle a certain portion or segment of your construction business, you must then look at learning advanced tips and techniques and/or 3rd party integrated applications that will fill those needs.

Because your construction business is unique – it goes without saying that your bookkeeping and accounting requirements will be different as well.

We’ve talked with contractors who are frustrated with QuickBooks only to find that they aren’t utilizing many of the features that would provide them with the information that they were looking for.  Likewise, we’ve talked with contractors who have taken that step into purchasing new construction-specific software and only use the base features of it because it was too difficult to learn, ended up resenting their purchase and came back to QuickBooks.

What are your biggest gripes, problems, or issues when it comes to using QuickBooks in your construction business?

  • Is it a functionality issue like the lack of a built-in cost code list?
  • Is it a feature issue – such as the lack of a “really” good way to handle Change Orders?
  • Is it a usability issue – such as you don’t know how to do something, like perhaps get your equipment costs into job costing reports?

Use the comment option to tell us your problems – but you need to be specific!  We’ll then take these comments and develop some training videos, live webinars, or eBooks – which will be offered through our Learn to use QuickBooks in your construction business website.

Did you find this post to be interesting or thought provoking?  If so please share it with others who may be interested on your favorite social media site.


7 Responses to QuickBooks & Your Construction Business – What’s Your Gripe?

  • Can someone help me with my problem? I want to track the total quantity of inventory parts items used in a job, but i don’t know where to find the report with the total quantity used. The custom summary report only shows the total amount but not the quantity. can someone help me? Thanks i advance!

  • I want to second the idea of a Job Dashboard where you can enter ALL transactions and forms plus get reports on the job.
    Another “gripe” is not being able to sort entries on an Estimate/Invoice/Purchase Order Forms and not being able to combine Time in “Add time/costs” in a meaningful way.

  • Thanks for the extra info Jamie – have a great weekend!

  • This one’s kind-of half baked, but here goes: A Job dashboard that has job specific info listed on one screen. In construction, our daily perspective is 100% by job but QB is by company. It would be really, really valuable to have a generic and customizable dashboard for each active job.

  • What I mean by metrics are items that do not have a dollar value but the quantities are meaningful. I think I would be able to get what I need if there was a report that only had quantites (by Customer, Job and Date). I use it to track productivity numbers of my crews in a way that is different than the way items get allocated.

    In a perfect world, I’d like to track numbers by Customer->Job->SubJob on a daily basis and be able to report those numbers from QuickBooks.

  • Hi Jamie
    That’s a great list! Could you explain a little more about what you mean about “metrics” though? Thanks~~Nancy

  • 1. Like to have sub-jobs/phase codes for job costing. For instance: LargeGC (customer) » Big Building (Job) » Level 1 (phase)

    2. A way to track and report on “metrics”. Currently do this with zero-dollar items but it’s less than ideal.

    3. Enter payroll on a grid rather than employee-at-a-time. 1. Pick a week 2. enter employee in 1st column, all the rest of the columns the same. Button to group employees for QA before doing payroll.

    4. Allocate credit card charges to items directly from download. Why this is different in Online banking is so puzzling to me. (Right now I “tag” every download w/ a temp account and run a report on that temp account. I then process each transaction one-by-on until report is empty.)

    5. Add inventory by location to Premier Contractor edition

    6. Get access to QB data w/ some kind of report writer in Premier Contractor edition

    7. Add default items to vendor. (Now that I wrote this, I can get close w/ a memorized transaction. I think.)

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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