Financial Management

November 09, 2023

It May Be Time for a Back Office Renovation: 10 Signs it’s Time to Move from QuickBooks to a Construction ERP

construction ERP

You’ve heard the talk: construction companies are slow to adopt new technology—they live in an analog world. The truth is more nuanced. The construction companies we work with all understand the enormous efficiencies technology offers. From BIM, 3D printers, and drones to augmented reality goggles, construction companies actively embrace new technology. But (there’s always a but, right?) there’s definitely a tendency to invest in tools associated with the core business—with less emphasis on, say, the back office financial management software.

In an age where digital transformation is reshaping industries, modern construction and real estate companies must embrace technology across every aspect of their operations—including their accounting applications. Is your construction firm in need of a back-office renovation? Here are 10 signs it’s time to move from QuickBooks to a construction ERP like Sage Intacct.

10 Signs It’s Time to Upgrade from QuickBooks to a Construction ERP
  1. Lack of real-time insights
    Lack of real-time visibility is one of the most detrimental byproducts of older technology. When a company can’t access up-to-the-minute data, decision-making slows, errors increase, and projects can go over budget. In construction, timely decisions often make the difference between profit and loss. If you’re relying on manual reconciliations or waiting periods to get accurate financial insights, it’s time to consider a move from QuickBooks.

    Modern cloud-based solutions like Sage Intacct for Construction provide real-time dashboards tailored to construction needs and myriad other reports and key performance indicators to keep your entire team up to date and fueled with the information they need.

  2. Manual workflows
    As a company grows and its transaction volume increases, the time wasted on manual workflows multiplies. To keep up, your staff needs to work longer hours—or you need to hire additional staff. If your finance teams are spending time on routine and repetitive tasks, it may be time for a move from QuickBooks to a construction ERP.

    Using Sage Intacct, you can automate many workflows, saving time and reducing the risk of errors using triggers. Triggers in Sage Intacct are event-based actions triggered when specific conditions occur. The conditions can be based on changes in data, time-based events, or user-defined events. For example, we’ve helped companies set up a trigger to generate invoices automatically when a specific condition is met, such as reaching a particular milestone or completing a project. Similarly, you can configure triggers to send email notifications, update records, or perform calculations based on predefined rules. By automating these tasks, you can reduce manual effort, maximize productivity, and minimize the chances of oversight or delays.

  1. Trouble following the money
    The average profit margin for construction companies is just 6%—compared with 10% for all industries. When there’s less to play with, you must play to win. When we speak to construction and real estate companies using QuickBooks, they often complain about being in the dark regarding essential metrics such as projected cash flow, cost variances, AP turnover, and working capital. If you’re finding it challenging to gain rapid, accurate access to the profit-fueling metrics in your construction business, it may be time for an upgrade.

    With a construction ERP, you have continual access to the metrics that matter. Configurable dashboards and automatically generated and delivered reports keep teams informed about what’s coming in, what’s going out, and how that impacts the bottom line.

  1. Over-reliance on spreadsheets
    We read once (years ago) that Excel is the most common construction estimating tool. You, likely, are using an estimating application, like Sage Estimating, but your back office may still be buried in spreadsheets. Since QuickBooks lacks broad reporting flexibility, most users continue to perform a majority of their financial and operational reporting in Excel. If this sounds like you, it’s time for an upgrade.

    A recent Close the Books Survey from Sage revealed organizations can shorten close process times by 36% by switching from spreadsheets to cloud financial management. Cloud solutions automate data calculations and integrate disparate systems, eliminating the need to pull information into Excel to manipulate or reformat it for reporting. Plus, Sage Intacct’s dimensional chart of accounts helps speed up reporting with the ability to quickly sort, slice, and dice real-time data.

  1. User limits
    This one is a bit of a hard stop for companies. When you need to add more users than QuickBooks supports, it’s time to upgrade. We’ve seen companies ask employees to “take turns” in QuickBooks—and it’s not pretty.

    When you make your move, look at an application like Sage Intacct for Construction that is built to scale—and scale effortlessly.

  1. Compliance and best practice concerns
    With stricter regulations around construction financing and the need for detailed audit trails and separation of duties, a basic accounting tool like QuickBooks might leave you vulnerable.

    Upgrading to a construction ERP like Sage Intacct ensures you’re always compliant and audit ready. With its audit trails, role-based access controls, continuous updates, and automated revenue recognition capabilities, Sage Intacct ensures that businesses using the platform can maintain financial integrity while meeting the demands of regulators and stakeholders.

  1. More than one entity
    QuickBooks quickly gets cumbersome for growing construction companies operating across different projects, locations, or entities. Managing financials across multiple entities requires a more sophisticated system that seamlessly handles consolidated reporting.

    Sage Intacct handles multiple entities in the most elegant and efficient way possible. Many Sage Intacct clients we work with effectively manage dozens—even hundreds—of individual entities, producing consolidated financial statements for any or all of them in seconds.

  1. Integration issues
    While QuickBooks can integrate with various tools, as your tech stack grows — especially with construction-specific tools — seamless integration becomes a challenge. Switching to a platform designed for the construction industry ensures all your tools talk to each other without duplicate data entry is disparate sources of the truth.

    A construction ERP like Sage Intacct offers out-of-the-box integration with dozens of third-party applications, including construction industry-specific tools like Corecon (recently acquired by Sage and renamed Sage Construction Management), Procore, Sage Intacct Real Estate (property management), Sage Intacct Construction Payroll (developed in partnership with Penta Technologies), Autodesk Navisworks, and more. With Sage Intacct, you can integrate this data with your project financials and track the metrics critical to your organization’s financial and operational success to create a single version of the truth.

  1. Tedious month-end close
    This one’s quick: If your monthly close takes most of the month, it’s time for a move off of QuickBooks.

    Ever hear of the “continuous close?” It’s when your monthly close becomes a process that runs independently in the background instead of an all-consuming effort. Many BT Partners clients achieve the continuous close by integrating all financial data and accounting activities onto a single cloud-based platform with extensive integrations to other business tools. Any data relevant to the close flows directly into Sage Intacct before automation takes over. A good example is the Dynamic Allocations feature. It can automatically take data from source balances and assign it across dimensions (divisions, teams, projects, etc.) based on whatever calculation methods you specify.

  1. Expensive and burdensome audits
    As regulations and other compliance standards evolve, accounting teams that have to rely on spreadsheets discover preparing for audits is time-consuming and subject to risk. When the auditors come in, many businesses find it takes longer and costs more than expected. If you’re dreading an audit, it may be time to change your accounting application.

    Maybe it’s the support for best practices or the existence of a cast-in-concrete audit trail, but auditors just seem to love Sage Intacct for Construction. Every time we ask our clients about their before-and-after audit experiences, they relay the successes. A shorter audit cycle, lower audit fees, faster prep times, and simple data accessibility all make the list of wins.
Built for Builders

Sage Intacct for Construction is built on the bedrock of over 50 years of construction experience. It’s the only cloud construction ERP solution available with that type of history. Drawing heavily from the industry-leading capabilities of Sage 300 CRE (formerly Timberline) and Sage 100 Contractor (formerly Master Builder), Sage Intacct for Construction is a modern, cloud-based solution that combines job costing, integrated payroll, reports, and automation with world-class financials.

We work with construction and real estate companies to renovate their back-office technology, ensuring their business foundations are as strong and well-constructed as their projects. How can we help you build better and more profitably?

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