17hats: All-in-One Business Management Software

In this monthly post, it’s my pleasure to introduce you to one of the many apps that we at Schulte and Schulte endorse and recommend to our customers.

As a firm of construction accounting specialists, we love to help companies in the construction industry with their books and finances, part of that help is finding different apps or software that can help our clients out.  During this monthly feature, we take a look at several apps that we love at Schulte and Schulte, LLC, and dig a little deeper into our favorites.

This month, we would like to introduce you to 17hats.

As a business owner, there are multiple “hats” that you will wear as you go about running your business.  By hats, we are talking about the different roles you will play on any given day, from accounting, marketing, client communication, lead development, etc.  17hats is a brilliant piece of software that is designed to integrate each of these different hats into an easy to use business management tool.  We could go into detail talking about each of the different tools that are built into 17hats, but for the sake of time we will highlight a couple of the features that we appreciate the most; specifically the Overview Page, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), and Workflow Management.

Overview Page
This dashboard is what you will see whenever you log into your 17hats account.  It has been designed to incorporate a 3-day calendar view of all events and to-do’s that you have set up.  Underneath the calendar is a list of all action items from every ongoing project that you have, as well as a list of client email correspondence that is needing your attention.  This dashboard is customizable to include this above information, as well as other options available for you.  It is a really handy tool to get a bird’s eye view of what needs your attention on any given day.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
A lot of effort has been put into developing this CRM tool to make it easy to use.  As the above video shows in its example of adding a new lead and the development of that lead into a client, 17hats utilizes its CRM to assist you in keeping your contact information and projects accessible. It also stores all email communication and documents sorted by client.  This means no more searching through your email account for that important message from a client’s project you are working on.

Workflow Management
The video above gives a snapshot of the process involved within 17hats’ Workflow Management.  You are able to create templates for almost everything you will end up passing onto a customer, from engagement/proposal questionnaires and feedback forms, quotes, invoices, and more.  It has e-signature technology built into the app to allow anything that needs a signature or feedback from a customer to be sent from the app, and also allows you to track what has been sent.  17hats has a one-way sync that will allow you to sync invoices into QuickBooks Online, which is music to our accounting ears.

We love 17hats, and would like the opportunity to share it with you.  If this sounds like an app that you would be interested in checking out, please let us know!

CoConstruct: Custom Build and Remodel Software

In this monthly post, it’s my pleasure to introduce you to one of the many apps that we at Schulte and Schulte endorse and recommend to our customers.

As a firm of construction accounting specialists, we love to help companies in the construction industry with their books and finances, part of that help is finding different apps or software that can help our clients out. During this monthly feature, we take a look at several apps that we love at Schulte and Schulte, and dig a little deeper into our favorites.

This month, we would like to introduce you to CoConstruct.

CoConstruct is geared specifically for custom home builders and remodelers. This software is designed to include everything that goes into home building from initial client leads, all the way through punchlist and warranty work. The video above gives a brief overview of the software in action, particularly the financial setup of a project start. CoConstruct has a lot more features baked into it than we have time to get into here, but we want to highlight a couple of the features that we believe set CoConstruct apart from other similar apps and software.

Keep Your Clients Informed – “If the clients ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”
Keeping your clients informed as the project progresses is an essential part of any custom build, and CoConstruct takes a lot of the time involved in doing this off of your hands. Included in the software is a client-only web portal that shows them the information they are looking for; 24-7 access to selections, costs, photos, conversations, job calendar, and more. This gives them the opportunity to know exactly where the project is at, and also allows them to share progress photos and your work with their friends through social media, which translates to referrals for your company!

Improved Client Communication – Kiss the “he said, she said” goodbye
CoConstruct has patent-pending communication technology that allows all communication between your team, client, and trade partners to be found in one place. This allows everyone involved in the project to be on the same page, and if changes happen then everyone involved will be in the communication loop without having to worry about forwarding emails, IMs, or text messages to all of the relevant parties.

Finish Strong – Leave a great last impression on your clients
CoConstruct makes it a priority to see your client’s projects through to completion, even while you are moving on to new jobs. You won’t get caught dropping the ball with your clients and subcontractors regarding warranty work with the reports and reminders that will come up, months and years down the line. It’s the “little things” like this that can make or break a great referral for your company, and CoConstruct has your back.

We love CoConstruct, and would like the opportunity to share it with you. If this sounds like an app that you would be interested in checking out, please let us know!

Will QuickBooks Online work for my Construction Business?

I was originally asked to write this article for QBOChat where it was published back on March 8th. I wanted to share it here for our readership as well (with a few minor changes.)

Have you heard it won’t?

If you are a construction company owner who has been told that QuickBooks Online won’t work for your construction business, you may want to take a second look. There are still quite a few accounting professionals who tend to think of QuickBooks Online in the same way as they view the QuickBooks Desktop software package. Don’t get me wrong, QuickBooks Desktop is still a powerful piece of software and it is still being improved upon by the great folks at Intuit. However, to truly understand QuickBooks Online you must understand the idea of SaaS, cloud computing, and app integrations.

So, what is SaaS? No, it’s not the lip that you used to give your mom and for which you were sent to bed without your supper. SaaS stands for Software as a Service. QuickBooks Online is designed to be run from the cloud and one of the major benefits of this cloud computing model is the ability for QuickBooks Online to integrate fairly seamlessly with other cloud based apps. Cloud computing and SaaS programs – “apps” – are really the future of small business management.

OK, so what?

Why, you may be asking, does this matter to me in terms of my construction business. Back to our original proposition – if anyone has ever told you that QuickBooks Online just doesn’t have enough features for you to properly manage your construction business then you should know that they’re right.

Gulp. They’re right. As a Construction Accounting Specialist, I would say that the majority of construction companies (of any size) should not attempt to manage their construction business accounting solely through QuickBooks Online. Yet, the beauty of app integrations with other cloud based software is that now you can take your accounting software – QuickBooks Online – and link it directly to your project management software – for instance, Knowify – and have all the integrated project management and accounting data be magically imported into QuickBooks Online without having to do any manual data entry from one program to the other.

Just think

Think about the ramifications of that for a second. Just a few short years ago, the various aspects of running a construction company were broken up into various parts – estimating had their software tools, project managers had their software tools and accounting had their software tools. These various software systems operated independently of one another. So, estimating would work on an estimate (say they put that together in a spreadsheet program.) Then, they had to communicate that information to the project manager and to accounting – both of whom enter the same data all over again into their respective project management and accounting platforms. As the project progresses, the project manager had to communicate with accounting information about project costs, time and materials, what portion of the job is complete, and so on and so forth.

Let’s take a walk in the cloud

Now, step into the world of cloud computing, Knowify and QuickBooks Online. With these two powerful tools integrated nearly every step of a project (no matter how complicated) can now be managed in one simple tool. Accounting still has the ‘back end’ system of QuickBooks Online for maintaining non-project related items such as payroll and bank reconciliations, but everything pertaining to the projects is now flowing through the one, easy to use system of Knowify and the accountant never needs to do double data entry work to make sense of the numbers because Knowify pushes that information into QuickBooks Online without even having to click a button. Estimating enters their estimate directly into Knowify using as much or as little detail as necessary. The project manager can manage every piece of the project from scheduling to materials invoices to billing right within Knowify. All along the way, every detail that needs to post to QuickBooks is posting to QuickBooks. The accounting department (or your knowledgeable QuickBooks ProAdvisor or Construction Company Network Advisor) can see every piece of the accounting puzzle as it pushes into QuickBooks. Financials, job costing, and other reporting tools can be accessed much more quickly because there is much less time spent between when something happens out on the jobsite and when it is accounted for in the books.

Not only that, but if you need to prepare AIA type billings on a regular basis and they give you headaches trying to figure out what the exact percentage of completion will be for that month, then you will really fall in love with Knowify’s AIA billing capabilities. Not only does Knowify track your costs and progress on the job so that you can have a very accurate picture of percentage of job completion, it even has built in AIA style forms that most general contractors will accept. (Does your QuickBooks Desktop do that?)

Now you know – and,

The next time someone tells you to stay away from QuickBooks Online because it isn’t the right tool for the job, remind them that a drill with no bits is never the right tool forthe job either!

JOBBER: Business Management Solution for Field Service Companies

 

At Schulte and Schulte, our passion is in working with any company that fits under the construction umbrella.  This includes construction service businesses like plumbers, HVAC techs, roofers, landscape techs, etc.  Some of the apps that have been, and will be, featured in this blog series are feature filed and do have elements that would be beneficial to construction service businesses.  However, we feel strongly about finding an app or software solution for each of our clients, and this month’s featured app, Jobber, is a great solution for anyone in the construction service industry.

 

 

 

Jobber is geared toward any company that focuses on construction field service. It is a comprehensive business management solution that will aid any small to medium-sized construction service company. There are three main areas that we’d like to focus on as we dig into this app: Client Features, Team Features, and Business Features.

Client Features
Jobber has some features that will impress your clients and help keep your client information organized. It has an excellent customer relationship management (CRM) tool to keep your client’s information and communication organized. As you communicate with your different clients, whether by sending a quote, getting an e-signature, or reminders to follow up with clients, Jobber keeps track of all communication and saves it in each specific client’s file to help keep you as a construction service business owner more organized.

Team Features
These Team Features integrate both the Jobber computer software as well as their mobile app, which is available for both tablet and phone on iOS and Android. Included are various tools like Scheduling that allows you as the construction service business owner to easily create new jobs for clients and assign them to your team with only a few clicks; Map View Routing that will automatically send notice to your team as they are out in the field giving them the information that they need to get to and work the next job; and GPS Tracking so that you get a clear picture of where your team is at throughout the day as well as tracking employee hours and labor costs.

Business Features
Jobber gives you the ability to send out customized invoices so that you are in control of what your clients see on their invoices. It also has the option included of accepting payment for service right at the jobsite. Also included are Reports that provide a bird’s eye view of how your construction service business is doing, Time Tracking that makes it easy to review and complete payroll, and Accounting Sync that seamlessly integrates with QuickBooks Online to assist with your monthly bookkeeping.

We love Jobber, and would love the opportunity to share it with you. If this sounds like an app that you would be interested in checking out, please let us know!

KNOWIFY: Manage Your Entire Contracting Business in One Place

In this monthly post, it’s my pleasure to introduce you to one of the many apps that we at Schulte and Schulte endorse and recommend to our customers.

As a firm of construction accounting specialists, we love to help companies in the construction industry with their books and finances, part of that help is finding different apps or software that can help our clients out. During this monthly feature, we take a look at several apps that we love at Schulte and Schulte, and dig a little bit deeper into our favorites.

This month, we would like to introduce you to Knowify.

Knowify is an app that is a huge help to any subcontractor, whether that be commercial or residential. Some of the features that won us over at Schulte and Schulte:

Job Costing & Estimating
With Knowify’s powerful estimating tool, you can plan your jobs, itemize your material budgets, and schedule your people to create comprehensive cost estimates. These estimates can be translated into bid line items with a single click.

Bids, Contracts, & Service Work
You can quickly create bids and contracts on your own letterhead and send them through Knowify for electronic signature. You can also easily create service tickets and schedule technicians on work orders.

Time Tracking & Scheduling
Replace the whiteboard, create and maintain your schedule in Knowify so that all your people can see what needs to be worked on while they are in the field. As your people work on work orders, they can punch in time and reimbursements via Knowify’s mobile app. As your people put in time, Knowify will track how you are performing on each job compared to your budgets and estimated costs.

Knowify is truly cloud-based. You can access your Knowify account on your desktop computer, laptop, or tablet; it’s time tracking is most easily handled through the mobile app that is available for either Android or iOS.
We’ve been impressed with Knowify’s truly unified, fully integrated platform. All of its different modules (contracts, time tracking, purchasing, and invoicing) integrate seamlessly to ensure that the products and billable time covered by our client’s contracts are billed correctly.

We love Knowify, and would love the opportunity to share it with you. If this sounds like an app that you would be interested in checking out, please let us know!

HUBDOC: All Financial Docs In One Place

In this monthly post, I’d like to take some time and introduce you to one of many apps that we at Schulte and Schulte endorse and recommend to our customers.

As a firm of construction accounting specialists, of course we would love to help companies in the construction industry with their books and finances, but we also would like to suggest different apps or software that we feel may help our clients out. During this monthly feature, we will be taking a look at several apps that we love at Schulte and Schulte, and dig a little bit deeper into our favorites.

This month, we would like to introduce you to Hubdoc.

 

 

Hubdoc has been an absolute lifesaver for us and our clients in tracking down all of the different financial documents that our clients create and receive. Hubdoc automatically pulls your online bills and bank statements into one secure hub so that these don’t have to be chased down anymore. These documents can be pulled right from your email account, or if you have paper documents, they can be scanned onto your computer and then uploaded to Hubdoc by using a unique email address you are given or by dragging and dropping from your files. They also have a smartphone app that will allow you to take a picture of a receipt or document and upload it to your Hubdoc. Pretty slick!

 

Some of the features of Hubdoc that we have come to love and depend on are:

  • Data management, not data entry
    • Every time a document is fetched or uploaded, Hubdoc extracts the key data and seamlessly creates entries in QuickBooks Online with source documents attached.
  • Automatically audit-proofs your business
    • Through integration, Hubdoc transactions are automatically matched with the bank feed in QuickBooks Online. Audit-proofing your business has never been so effortless.
  • Supercharged automation with vendor rules
    • Vendor rules are a powerful way to take greater control of how receipts, bills and statements are coded into your cloud accounting and cloud payments solutions.
  • Easy collaboration with your advisers – like your friends at Schulte and Schulte!
    • With Hubdoc, your advisers have the documents they need, when they need them. And you have confidence your docs are organized, secure in the cloud and accessible from anywhere.

 

If this sounds like a helpful app, please get in touch with us! We would love to assist you in getting a free trial set up, as well as an opportunity to walk you through the ins and outs of Hubdoc.

Continuing Education in the Schulte and Schulte Camp

QuickBooks Online Advanced ProAdvisor BadgeYou may have noticed that we proudly display the badges we receive for our efforts in continuing education concerning our QuickBooks knowledge and expertise. They’re not easy to obtain, and quite honestly we’re glad that is the case. We don’t (and no one can) purchase those badges. They must be earned through study and testing.

But, those badges are only a small piece of the continuing education we’re committed to here at Schulte and Schulte.  

Continuing education is a vital component to providing our clients the best possible care

  • Continuing education allows us to clarify and better understand the processes and procedures of bookkeeping as advanced by and through technological updates and renovations.
  • Continuing education gives us the opportunity to acquire both theoretical as well as practical knowledge and to improve our problem-solving skills.
  • Continuing education allows us to establish and uphold our commitment to the occupational standards for professional bookkeepers.

Yet, there is more to it than that.

Keeping up to date on regulations and trends in the construction industry is an important way we work to properly assist you

Although we are experts in our area of specialization (bookkeeping for small to midsize Construction Contractors and Subcontractors,) we still have to stay on top of what’s new. We spend several hours each month reading, attending webinars and teleseminars, as well as participating in a weekly QuickBooks ProAdvisers group.

Thus, our continuing education benefits both our business as well as the businesses of our clients. One example of how we work to support your business is the article we wrote Playing Like One of the Big Boys Just Got Easier (3 Apps to Choose From) concerning the pros and cons of three different apps after a great deal of self-education on the subject.

We also “break it down” for you when considering what is happening concerning regulations and rules, for example this article – MRRA doesn’t stand for My Real Rare Adventure – Really! – concerning MRRA and TPT.

Our continuing education focus

Our continuing education is focused on three areas:

  1. Keeping up with the newest and best ways to process and engage in the bookkeeping we provide for our clients.
  2. Learning about the ways our clients can stay ahead of the curve whether it be housed in their financial reports or the latest tech devices and systems geared toward the construction industry.
  3. Gaining understanding of the best ways to assist our short term customers* through consultations and one-on-one training.

*We provide ongoing bookkeeping for a few select firms, and we also provide training and consultation for others who wish to do their own bookkeeping but need occasional information and guidance.

How we acknowledge and celebrate when we achieve a learning goal

Crazy as it seems, after we clink the glasses together, take the last bite from our celebration plate, and speak words of congratulations the final part of our celebration is to establish a new learning goal. Yeah, we’re crazy like that.

Do you need to continue your education in order to be able to use your bookkeeping system to its fullest? Give us a call and we’ll be happy to set up a consultation or one-on-one training for you or your staff. 480-442-4032

3 Bookkeeping Risks You Shouldn’t Take

desktop-constructionYou own a Construction Contracting or Subcontracting business, and by definition that means you are a risk taker. Yet, once you own your business, and you’re ready to grow you learn which risks to take and which to avoid. Taking care of your own bookkeeping is a risk you need not take.

Taking care of your bookkeeping yourself means you take the risk of missing something which costs you money. Three ways you may miss something vital concerning your bookkeeping are:

  1. Incorrect record keeping
  2. Lack of knowledge concerning various aspects of financial statements
  3. Misunderstanding of the restrictions, rules, and laws concerning construction bookkeeping

Incorrect record keeping

Everything from not understanding the process to simply making incorrect entries can be a source of lost time, money, and (let’s face it) your sanity.

Lack of knowledge concerning various aspects of financial statements

While generating financial reports may seem like an odious enemy to you, when you understand the reports are not only there to keep you within the bounds of the law or for the satisfaction of your financial institution, but also to help you see and understand your business’ financial position better they become more like a welcome friend.

For example, a profit and loss statement isn’t only for your bank’s review, but also an excellent tool for you to use when gauging what areas of your business are performing well and which aren’t.

Financial statements are an easy way to track money owed to your company. For example, you can look at your accounts receivable aging and see who owes you money for products and services you’ve already provided. When client A consistently pays late, or not at all, you notice quickly through the use of your financial statements and can address the problem in a timely manner.

Misunderstanding of the restrictions, rules, and laws concerning construction bookkeeping

Because our focus is Construction Contractor and Subcontractor bookkeeping we also make it our business to stay up to date concerning what is already a law or rule and what is coming down the track. Keeping you abreast of what is required is part of what we do, thereby saving you time and headache.

For instance, we recently encountered a business owner who didn’t know the MRRA rules were in effect and how he could take advantage of them to help his business.

Because TPT and MRRA both can create murky waters concerning your bookkeeping needs and requisites you risk penalties and interest in late, or unpaid taxes which can add up rather quickly.

Even more importantly, when you offload your bookkeeping duties to us you’re less likely to risk missing the opportunities which await you and your business in the form of job supervision or finding more jobs on which to bid.

Client Highlights: Arizona Washroom Partitions

Washroom StallsCan function and convenience also be classy? Perhaps!

When you visit the restroom while you’re out and about do you ever consider how important those washroom dividers are?

We know one guy who makes it his business to make sure you can do your business in a private environment.

Let us tell you a little about our client Dale, over at Arizona Washroom Partitions.

  • He is a man of integrity. When he tells you he will do something he does.
  • He is an honorable man. For instance, he always pays his vendors on time and without contention.
  • He is a man of passion. He cares deeply about maintaining his business and serving his customers well.

Arizona Washroom Partitions is able to deliver what is needed in both public restrooms as well as breakrooms with everything from repair parts and pieces to complete installations.

A few of the restroom and breakroom items they provide are:

Access Panels

Baby Changing Stations

Corner Guards

Cubicle Track & Curtains

Fire Extinguishers & Cabinets

Grab Bars

Hand Dryers

Lockers

Mirrors

Toilet Accessories

Toilet Partitions

Wall Protection

We are delighted to include Arizona Washroom Partitions among our clients and are happy to recommend their services.