There was a time when contractors and construction companies worked from clipboards and file cabinets (many still do!). But those days are passing, and many of the most successful construction companies, both large and small, are moving to construction accounting software to help them run their business effectively and efficiently.
But as many construction companies and subcontractors are only now making the shift to automation, the number of software programs can seem overwhelming. This guide will help software shoppers choose the best construction accounting software programs to fit their needs and businesses.
- BEST OVERALL: Jonas Premier
- BEST FOR SMALL BUSINESSES: Sage Accounting
- BEST PAYROLL MANAGEMENT: QuickBooks for Construction
- BEST ADVANCED SERVICES: Foundation Software
What to Consider When Choosing One of the Best Construction Accounting Software Programs
Choosing a construction bookkeeping program involves more than throwing a figurative dart at a search engine result page. The following are some of the most important considerations that construction management and ownership will want to consider before choosing the best software program for construction accounting.
Pricing and Trial Period
Construction accounting software is known as SaaS, or Software as a Service, and software in this niche can get expensive. It’s important that construction companies compare pricing to ensure that the amount they’re paying is sustainable and will pay for itself in improved efficiency.
How can one tell if accounting project management software will improve their efficiency? A trial. Many companies allow users to try their software on a trial basis to ensure that there is enough value for the customer. Once the value is apparent, construction companies can expect to pay anywhere from $10 to several hundred dollars each month. Many software companies will also allow the customer to purchase annual licenses for a discounted rate.
Integration With Other Software
Many of the best accounting software for contractors programs allow users to integrate their existing systems. For instance, if a company is using a time-card software program to track its employees’ payroll, its accounting software may be able to monitor inputs automatically, resulting in to-the-minute balances and job costing. Some programs may be able to integrate with design software, like some of the best design software for interior designers or best landscape design software, to streamline the quote creation process.
In many cases, users can continue using their current software as the input point, allowing the bookkeeping for construction to run in the background. The software can then act as the dashboard or hub, keeping track of all the data and managing it so it’s easy to read and understand.
It’s also important to understand that some of these programs can, and should, take the place of older software platforms. If a construction company isn’t using electronic invoices but rather inputting data manually into an older platform, transitioning accounts payable and receivable to the modern platform will increase its efficiency tremendously.
Even the smoothest transition into using a new management software for construction will come with a few hiccups or require time to hammer out some details. Knowing there are resources to lean on can make a difference when it comes to choosing one software program over another.
Finding accounting software for architects or construction firms that won’t leave new users in the dust the second their trial ends is critical. Shoppers will want to look for user resources to reference like blog posts, e-books, whitepapers, videos, and personal private training. This ensures that any questions that come up along the way will be easy to find answers to, whether it’s through a blog post or a company rep.
Our Top Picks
With all that background on how to choose a construction accounting software program, it’s time to compare some of the top options.
Why It Made the Cut: With a comprehensive array of features and capabilities as well as a hands-on approach to help companies transition, Jonas Premier grabbed the top spot.
General contractors, subs, and construction management personnel looking for an all-around- capable construction accounting software will want to check out Jonas Premier. This program offers a wide range of features, including accounting, reporting, and project management features, allowing users to lean on one product rather than multiple programs that don’t mesh together.
While there is an implementation fee, Jonas Premier team members guide its customers through the transition process. This includes helping them tailor the software to their business and workflow needs, as well as assisting with data transfer and any potential software integrations (which are not specified on Jonas Premier’s website). Once the 6-week training program ends, customers have access to a personal account manager to ensure they always have a point of contact.
Jonas Premier customers also benefit from the extensive library of blog posts, videos, whitepapers, and webinars that they can reference if they have questions that don’t require their account manager. Monthly rates start at $249, and customers can save money if they pay for an annual license.
- Pricing: $249 per month or $2,388 per year plus $30 implementation fee
- Trial period: No trial; free demo available
- Software integrations: Not specified
- User resources: E-books, whitepapers, videos, webinars, blog, group and private training, live support
- Comprehensive lineup of accounting, reporting, and project management features
- Guided data transfer
- 6-week hands-on training for company owners and employees
- Dedicated support team available
- Robust library of user resources
- Implementation fee
- Software integrations not specified
Why It Made the Cut: Sage Accounting blends affordability, ease of use, and flexibility into one software package.
Small businesses just breaking into the construction accounting software market might consider Sage Accounting software. This program is affordable, with costs ranging between $10 and $25 per month, and new customers can take advantage of a 1-month free trial. And with a setup time of just a few minutes, they can start taking advantage of the software right away.
Sage Accounting doesn’t come with some of the features that large corporations might need, but it’s set up for smaller businesses. It also integrates with Stripe, which means that users can start taking credit card payments in the field or through the accounting software to make payments easier. Also, as the contractor grows and requires more from its software program, Sage offers additional programs and modules to help bolster its capabilities.
- Pricing: $10 or $25 per month
- Trial period: 1 month
- Software integrations: Stripe
- User resources: Community forum, technical resource library, training videos, live support
- Minimal setup required
- Stripe integration for convenient mobile payments
- Relatively affordable cost
- Generous 1-month free trial
- Somewhat limited capabilities for larger enterprises
Why It Made the Cut: Rather than outsourcing payroll or handling it manually, QuickBooks for Construction automates the process and streamlines subcontractor and tax document management.
Construction payroll can be a headache. From tracking employees’ hours to handling independent and subcontractor compliance, it’s better to lean on a software program that can handle it than outsource or handle it in-house, and that’s what QuickBooks for Construction is best at. Customers can expect to pay $85 or $200 per month, depending on their needs.
QuickBooks for Construction does more than just payroll, but its payroll add-ons are what make it most convenient. It also helps track compliance documents, ensuring that subcontractors and independent contractors keep their W-9s and 1099s on file, allowing users to stay on track and easily export tax documents. Unfortunately, there isn’t a demo available, but there is a host of video tutorials, blog posts, webinars, a community forum, and live support.
This program integrates with many other software programs, including AutoEntry, Buildertrend, Corecon, Greenback, Housecall Pro, Knowify, and RedTeam, allowing users to keep their current tools while streamlining their accounting.
- Pricing: $85 or $200 per month
- Trial period: No trial
- Software integrations: AutoEntry, Buildertrend, Corecon, Greenback, Housecall Pro, Knowify, RedTeam
- User resources: Video tutorials, blog, webinars, community forum, live support
- Convenient payroll add-ons available
- Streamlined management of independent contractors
- Easy tax document exportation
- No demo or trial available
Why It Made the Cut: Foundation Software offers customers the ability to organize all of their most important data and relay it to their CPAs with a handy CPA Audit/Review dashboard.
Whether a company hires its accounting personnel in-house or uses a third-party CPA for its accounting, managers will appreciate Foundation accounting software. This program features advanced functions and integrates with programs like Procore, Estimating Edge, Payroll4Construction.com, eSUB, and many more, streamlining all the data into one program. A CPA is able to access all the accounting data from the CPA Audit/Review dashboard. This allows them to quickly make adjustments to the general ledger and enter two-sided transactions, keeping budgets on track while also organizing tax data. And while the resource library is somewhat limited, customers have access to a dedicated client services and consulting division. New customers also get 6 months of unlimited support, helping them navigate any growing pains. Customers may need to reach out to a company representative to get more information on pricing.
- Pricing: Quote required
- Trial period: No trial; free demo available
- Software integrations: Estimating Edge, Payroll4Construction.com, WorkMax, eSUB, ExakTime, Followup CRM, InEight, Procore, Workyard
- User resources: Blog, videos
- Personalized CPA audits and reviews available
- Dedicated client services and consulting division
- Robust lineup of software integrations
- No pricing information available
- Somewhat limited resource library
For companies that want a wide range of services and plenty of hands-on support, it’s hard to beat our top choice, Jonas Premier. For smaller companies that need something a little less expensive but that still offers flexibility, we suggest Sage Accounting.
How We Chose the Best Construction Accounting Software Programs
We know how important a construction accounting software program can be to a contractor, so we took the task of putting this list together very seriously. We referenced experience in construction and management software to identify some of the most important features to look for in the best construction management software.
Once we knew what was most important, we performed hours of extensive product research to come up with a list of the best programs. We compared them based on features, integrations, costs, and support to determine which companies would make the cut. Those that did were given awards based on their strengths, while those that failed were removed from consideration.
Before You Use One of the Best Construction Accounting Software Programs
It’s important to understand that transitioning to new software is rarely smooth. There are always some growing pains while figuring out a new product. However, management personnel that can get their staff on board with the new changes (while showing patience) stand a better chance of integrating new software into their workflows. The best way to garner this support is often to learn the program at the top first, champion its benefits, and help staff with the transition.
For smaller contractors and subcontractors wondering if a particular software program will work for their company, they can try calling the software provider and ask what the average annual revenue is for its customers. If the annual revenue is much higher than the contractor’s, the software probably has more power than is needed. If it’s significantly lower, the program might not meet the inquiring contractor’s needs.
Cost of Using One of the Best Construction Accounting Software Programs
The cost of using one of the best construction accounting software programs can range from just over $100 a year to many, many thousands of dollars. The cost depends on the program and what modules or extra functions the customer needs.
Customers who can get away with the basic program or software for small contractors will pay a base rate. However, customers who need any additional features will usually need to buy modules to boost the program’s capabilities. Small companies can expect to pay between $10 and $200 each month, but large companies can spend several thousand dollars each month to meet their software needs.
The Advantages of Using One of the Best Construction Accounting Software Programs
Switching to some of the best construction accounting software allows users to customize workflows. Users can program the software to automatically send invoices and documents. Furthermore, construction accounting software removes most of the risk of human error. Automated data entry and mathematics ensures that all values, names, account numbers, and other data are accurate, saving time in entry and fixing mistakes. Construction accounting software also allows users to track their actual progress in real time. This means they’ll be able to check Work In Progress reports, job-costing data, outstanding balances both receivable and payable, and other data.
- Allows users to set up custom workflows for automated efficiency
- Saves time by removing the risks associated with human error and data entry
- Tracks progress in real-time, keeping users up to date about job costs, account balances, and other data
Even with all that background on the best construction accounting software, there may be some additional questions that need answering. The following are some of the most frequently asked questions about construction accounting software and what it can do for a business.
Q. What is the best type of accounting for construction companies?
There are two types of construction accounting methods: cash basis and accrual basis. Cash basis recognizes revenue when cash is collected and when it’s paid. Accrual basis recognizes cash based on when it’s earned and spent, not when actual cash is exchanged. Which method to use depends on the individual construction company’s needs.
Q. Can accounting software increase my overall productivity?
Using accounting software for home builders will most likely come with a slight learning curve at first, but it will quickly increase productivity. These programs remove human errors in data entry and mathematics and they are able to generate reports faster than any person or team of people could, saving lots of time that can be used elsewhere.
Q. Can I use construction accounting software on my own?
Yes, construction accounting software is best used in-house. While questions and issues may require reaching out to the manufacturer, the real efficiency comes with the team being able to use the software to its full potential on their own.
Q. How much should I pay for a construction accounting software on average?
Construction accounting software can cost anywhere from around $10 a month for small- business software for contractors to several thousand dollars. It depends on the company’s needs and the extra modules required for its particular circumstances.
Q. Does construction accounting software offer time tracking?
Some software programs allow users to track time. However, many are able to integrate with time-tracking software, allowing the user to find an additional program that can handle and report its data back to the accounting software.
Q. How long is a construction accounting software license valid for?
Most companies pay for licenses on a month-to-month basis or pay for an annual license to save money.