Why Your Accountant Will Love an Online Construction Cost Estimating Software System
There are many reasons estimators love online construction estimating software like Trimble Quest. The ability to import bid information, build a custom rate library based on common tasks and processes. Being able to make changes and see their impact in real-time (and then change back again if you need to) and having built-in subtrade and vendor management tools are just a few of them.
When that software is cloud-based and can be accessed from anywhere, there are even more reasons to love it. After all, it’s nice to burn the midnight oil working on a big bid from the comfort of your own home, if nothing else!
However, while it’s obvious why estimators love cloud-based construction estimating software, they’re not the only people who benefit when companies use them. In fact, your accountant and finance department will love this kind of system too. Here’s why.
Planning and Projections
Winning big bids and making big profits on construction projects is the ultimate goal for any heavy civil or earthworks company. But long before the progress payment checks start rolling in, your finance team needs to be able to plan and project cash flow needs and make sure they have the funds available to get those jobs done.
Online estimating software like Trimble Quest allows you to create user accounts for your finance and accounting teams, so they can see what kind of jobs you have in the pipeline. If they already know your approximate bidding strike rate, they can make an educated guess about how much work will be coming down the line in the coming weeks and months. This allows them to make the necessary adjustments to their planning, apply for higher credit limits with suppliers or access additional lines of credit from the bank or other lenders if they need to.
So, when your project is ready to go, there’s funding available to make it happen!
Budgeting and Reports from Online Construction Estimating Software
Estimating packages like Trimble Quest combines estimating with scheduling, and have detailed reporting options, so it’s easy to estimate what the costs will be for the lifecycle of the project. While it’s true that there are no guarantees that the project will stay on schedule, real-time updates help to keep everyone in the loop too.
The finance department of your construction company is also the first line of defense when it comes to cost overruns.
The detailed estimating breakdowns a system like Trimble offers, and the ability to drill down to see individual cost allowances makes it easy cost your projects along the way. This allows you to flag
problems as they arise and discover the root cause. Whether it’s an estimating error, waste, or something else, when costs outstrip budgets, it deserves immediate attention.
Progress Billing on Time
Most construction companies find that progress billing time is stressful. Estimators and project managers have to rush to collect progress data, calculate quantities, prepare progress billing documents and compile supporting documents.
They probably also have to get management approval and pass them along to the accounts department for invoicing when approved.
Since most progress bills are due by a hard cutoff date (and usually all on the same date too!) that means there’s at least one week when everyone in your office is scrambling to get it all done.
Online construction estimating software like Trimble Quest makes this whole process easier for everyone. Estimators and project managers always have the latest numbers from the field. Rates are set and easy to access, and you can easily view past progress billing information, so you know exactly what has been billed, and what’s still pending. All your change orders are in the same place too, so you don’t have to sort through multiple binders and email inboxes to find it all.
All of that means that progress billing goes in on time, every time, during the correct billing cycle. Because let’s face it – when your 30-day payment becomes a 60-day payment, someone in accounting is going to be upset!
Approve and Collaborate
The fact is, getting any project billed on time is a huge task that takes many different people in nearly every department.
You need accurate progress information from the field. You need project managers to have all their change orders, notifications of intent, and other paperwork done on time and in the system. You need management to approve your billing, and you need accountants and administrators to send out invoices on time.
Trimble Quest has a built-in granular permissions system, which allows you to create users with different read, write, edit, and delete permissions. So, you can give everyone who needs it access to exactly the information they need, and because it’s all cloud-based, it allows easy online collaboration across all teams and departments.
They might not have coined the phrase “it takes a village” about construction progress billing and accounting, but that doesn’t make it any less true. This is why accountants and CFOs love Trimble Quest just as much as estimators do.