Financial Acumen for Construction Contractors

Getting all the signals right when it comes to financial acumen.

How Financial Acumen puts you ahead

When you gain financial acumen, you understand how to use financial reports along with all the accompanying metrics to monitor your commercial contracting company’s performance and make proper adjustments.

Think about it. When you make decisions based on both historical and predictive indicators you gain a better outlook for success.

Therefore, gaining financial acumen means you possess a solid understanding of what drives your company’s profits. You “get” how financial decisions form the backbone of your business.

Therefore, it is about following the signals – and knowing which signals to follow.

It affects your employees  

Your employees and subs want to know that your business is viable and capable. They want a secure company which provides stability for them and their families. Check out this article from businesscollective.

It isn’t enough that you’re a “nice guy” who has an “excellent vision.” If you don’t have the moxie to pull off the difficult financial decisions, finding good people who will stay the course goes up in a puff of smoke.

General Contractors must see your Financial Acumen

While there are different requirements made by different general contractors it is typical that they want to see financial data. They will collect and analyze it to determine the stability and adequacy of your construction company’s financial resources to perform the work.

They will look at your financials in order to gauge annual sales volume and present net worth. Often, they will go on to analyze financial ratios such as working capital, total assets, sales assets, and retained earnings.

This is a quick example of what general contractors are looking for.

You benefit by growing your Financial Acumen

Of course, the down-and-dirty is being able to support yourself and your family. Yet, there are other, more subtle ways you benefit through growing your financial acumen.

  • Able to hold your own in a conversation with fellow contractors or other business leaders
  • More ability to analyze data and interpret key performance indicators
  • Greater understanding when dealing with lenders
  • Better able to develop business plans or personal objectives in line with your goals and strategy
  • Growth of decision-making skills
  • Increases your financial understanding and confidence

Final notes  

It isn’t our job to wipe your plate clean of financial concerns. It is our job to help you put the right things on your plate. We’re here to help you follow the right signals.

The signals which will aid you in building a healthy construction contracting business through gaining financial acumen.

 

It is our desire this article (among our growing library of construction-centric informational articles) is helpful in assisting commercial construction contractors build better building businesses. 

Providing Accounting, Contract Document Management, and Advisory Board Level counsel for small to medium commercial construction subcontractors.

So you can Run With the Big Dogs. 866-629-7735  

3 Reasons You Should NOT Work with Schulte and Schulte

Reasons for working with Schulte and Schulte lead to excellence

3 Reasons You Should NOT Work with Schulte and Schulte

Reason 1 – you have it under control

You have your accounting under control. Your contract management goes off without a hitch. And, your company systems are top notch.

It’s understandable, you run a tight ship. You stay up to date with the latest strategies and available tech support in all accounting functions. Plus, you attend accounting conferences, take systemization classes, and understand all the features of your office tech devices.

You have several hours a day to devote to data entry, preparing and understanding financial reports, and dealing with the nuances of contract management.

And, to top it all off, all your company systems and processes are documented, stored, and easily accessed.

Best of all, your spouse, or your neighbor, or your second cousin’s ex-wife’s mother-in-law just finished a course in QuickBooks and he or she now knows exactly what job costing, quarterly taxes, payroll, change order, progress billing, and WIP reports are all about. Not to mention, he or she produces the financial reports your lending officer is likely to ask for – or the “tax man” demands.

Reason 2 – you like things the way they are

You don’t want no dumb girl telling ya “You can do this and that to make your commercial construction company more profitable and easier to run.”

Reason 3 – you can’t afford us

While the first two reasons were written tongue-in-cheek, this is indeed a real reason some must consider. We aren’t cheap. And, the reason we aren’t cheap is we are quite valuable!

Our clients remind us all the time of how glad they are that we work with them. We straighten up long miss-managed books as well as answer small questions concerning software nuances.  And, we work out the data entry solutions and develop entire systems to manage their construction business processes. Plus, we can take over the contract management duties as well as find one-on-one solutions to accounting dilemmas. We are the go-to partners for all things accounting and many things back office related.

“Thank you so much! Our CPA told us he had never seen a more complete and nicer set of books from any of his construction customers.” – a client who had been with us only 4 months when he told us this

“When we first decided to go with you, I told the other gals in the office, ‘This girl knows what she is talking about, she is good.’ I was right!” – a client who has been with us almost from the time we first opened our doors

“Having you be on our team has already gotten us through a lot of issues I wouldn’t have known how to deal with. Thanks for getting this one straightened out too.” – a client who has been with us for about 6 months

The reason to outsource

Schulte and Schulte is the “corporate accounting department” for small to medium commercial construction contractors. We are their outsourced partner.

An article from the archives of the New York Times is enlightening concerning the benefits of outsourcing.

And, this article from Inc. says outsourcing certain tasks can be cost-effective for businesses of all sizes.

3 Reasons you Should work with Schulte and Schulte

  1. We understand well the junction between Construction Contracting Street and Accounting Avenue.
  2. Our company culture means we work hard to see to it that our clients run with the big dogs.
  3. We’re not cheap – because we’re worth it.

 

Now that you’re ready to see how we can add value to your commercial construction business give us a call Toll Free: 866-629-7735 or get in touch here.  

From Accounting to Bidding – Nailing It!

When you’re in the construction contracting business a lot rests on your ability to present an accurate bid.

Before you bid your next job consider how your financial records and reports can and should strengthen your bidding accuracy.

It isn’t about the luck of the draw, nor is it about hoping you get close. It is about knowing and understanding the basic numbers (i.e. how much the materials cost, how many people it will take, how many hours will be involved) as well as a slew of other numbers which must be considered.

Taking a holistic look at the numbers

Of course, numbers in and of themselves are useless; it is when you apply your understanding of the construction industry, add your knowledge of your team’s competency levels, and take into account the likelihood of Murphey’s Law plopping itself down in the middle of your job site that you begin to have a clear understanding of how to shape your bid. Still, your financial reports are your friends, you’ll do well to listen to them. Here are some of the things they can tell you:

  • The labor and labor burden rate for each of your field employees

 

  • What your equipment costs you to own annually

 

  • Your overhead percentages per job

 

  • Your cost of sales

 

  • Your gross profit

 

  • Your net profits

 

  • Your gross margin percentage

 

  • What your liabilities and debt are

Some further information your reports will divulge

  • How your fixed costs are affecting your bottom line

 

  • How well each department or division is doing

 

  • How your sales are affected seasonally

 

  • Your past history concerning number of hours needed to complete tasks or portions of projects

 

  • Which subcontractors have proven most beneficial to you on previous jobs

What’s the point?

When you use your financial records in your bid preparation you have an historical guide as well as an up to the minute guide to assist you through the process. Plus, knowing your numbers puts you well ahead of the “average” construction contractor.

Know your contract numbers. Listen to your financial reports. Top construction business owners know their contract numbers because they listen to their financial reports.

There’s an app for that

And as for bidding, of course, there’s an app for that! Well, there are quite a few apps for that. Yet, there is one which we highly recommend and use with our clients, because of its many features as well as its ease of use. “Use Knowify’s powerful budgeting tools to create detailed materials/labor/subs breakdowns for each phase of the job, then translate your budgets into a bid in no time. Fully customizable bid templates. Syncs with QuickBooks Online.”

Additional Knowify features

  • Quickly create cost estimates or bids, and use progress or AIA billing to invoice your clients

 

  • Never re-enter the same information again. Create service templates, build a catalog, and waste no time in getting your bid to the client

 

  • Accurately track POs, expenses and revenue per job

 

  • Manage multiple jobs simultaneously

 

  • Put an end to re-entering data with Knowify’s QuickBooks 2-way synching

 

  • Quickly email bids and invoices to your clients, or POs to your vendors

Do you need help making heads or tails of how your financial reports can make a difference to your construction contracting business? Want to know more about Knowify?

Schulte and Schulte can help! 480-442-4032 or Toll Free: 866-629-7735

10 Qualities Needed for Scaling Your Construction Contracting or Service Business

10 Qualities Needed for Scaling Your Construction Contracting or Service Business part 1

Being an entrepreneur in the construction field comes with a few challenges other entrepreneurs don’t face.

There are a lot of ideas concerning what it takes to be an entrepreneur. For example, you’ll hear things like:

  • You need to be motivated by challenges
  • You’ll have to be tenacious
  • You’ll need the support of your family and friends
  • You will be one who loves new ideas
  • You must see and fulfill needs
  • You should notice how things can be improved

And, those are all good ideas about entrepreneurship, (you’ll do well to heed them) yet there are 10 very specific qualities it takes to be an entrepreneur in the construction field, to be a construction contractor who is ready to scale.

  1. You need to get “shower ideas” – and act on them

Even if it means you need to bolt from the shower to call your superintendent to tell him the solution you’ve discovered concerning the nagging problem you been having with [you fill in the blank.]

Perhaps you need to keep one of those gizmos in the shower meant for writing on in wet conditions – although you’re more likely to make a few drawings then add a note to get true measurements.

Or, it could be you create a mantra in your head as you’re driving down the freeway, so you’ll still remember your great idea when you reach home. Therefore, you’ll have the basics of the good idea, and you can put it into action.

The main point is, no matter when (in the shower or not) you get ideas you’re willing to put the idea into action in order to make your construction contracting or service business better tomorrow than it was yesterday.

  1. You’ll have to love growth – in oh so many ways

The unique position in which you as a construction contractor find yourself is one in which growth; your own, your businesses, your employees, your community all meld together into one cohesive unit that turns out to be rather stunning.

As you and your employees work together to grow your business while being a part of the growth of your community there comes a moment when you can stand back and say, “I did that!”

It can start at the level of being able to say, “Because I and my team had the right system in place in my construction business, I took Joe Right from apprentice, to craftsman, to master craftsman, to supervisor.”

It might take the shape of understanding that because you and your employees showed up there are more families across your city who need not worry about how to stay cool or warm or protected.

Or, it could be you drive past the latest of your builds and see the finished project knowing you had an integral part of making sure that location houses a family, or provides a place of employment for many, or allows a space for medical personnel to care for patients, or improves the infrastructure of your city or state.

Growing your business is important to you, partly because you know you’re growing more than “just” a construction contracting or service business. You’re growing, your people are growing, your community is growing. Stunning!

  1. You need to understand you’re a leader – and lead the way

Whether or not you awaken in the morning thinking, “I’m a leader,” you really must possess the qualities of a leader if you’re going to pull this off. If you own a construction contracting or service business you’ve already taken a lot of steps in the leadership role.

Being THE leader means you’re the one with the vision of how your construction contracting business fits in the industry now, how it will look a year from now, and what it will look like in the long term.

You also have to be able to communicate the vision in ways that enlighten your potential customers, enable your employees, and empower you as well as your team to each next level.

You are the one who is creating the work culture for your employees, delegating, making decisions, encouraging your team, and (bottom line) working on your business, not in it.

It doesn’t matter if you know how to pick up and use the tools necessary to build for or provide a service your customers. You can and should get someone else to do that. It does matter that you know how to be an entrepreneur, how to use your financial reports to lead into the future, how to see the big picture and take the necessary next steps to scale your business.

You may wish to join a structured entrepreneur group where other members will be available as mentors or advisors concerning the specific issues you face as a business owner.

  1. You need to network with your colleagues – for their sake as well as your own

Let’s face it, people like doing business with people they like. Beyond that, when can you ever have too many contacts in your chosen field?

Join your trade association

Most trade associations host various conferences, events, and meetings on a regular basis. By getting involved you have an excellent place to make new connections. It takes more than just paying the membership fees, it takes becoming a recognized and trusted face. When you become known as the “go-to person” it just makes sense that when business opportunities do arise, so will your name.

Yet, if you live in a location where regularly attending meetings of your trade association (think – more than a 2 hour drive) requires too much time and travel you may want to consider the next option.

Join or develop a private group

I recently read about a fellow who had formed a private group which he said included eight to nine other subcontractors, developers, and a land broker. They call their group The Meeting of the Geniuses, and they get together every six weeks at a favorite (in his words) “watering hole to discuss what is going on and what we are working on at the time, and football, and cars, and…….”

The crucial aspect is they can support one another, discuss their problems or issues then talk about possible solutions.

Attend networking events sponsored by large contracting firms

When you’re invited to attend an event sponsored by a contractor for whom you’ve worked GO! It is a great opportunity to spend time getting to know other subs, suppliers, and vendors. Besides, there is usually food and drink on hand at these events.

Network on the job site

Don’t overlook the construction industry’s unique ecosystem of enmeshed, intertwined, and overlapping network of professional connections. Take time when you’re on the job site to check around for other subs. Who knows when a brief chat on a job site may lead to another job or a relationship which adds value to your construction company.

Maintain contacts

Having good relationships with former employers, coworkers, and subcontractors with whom you’ve worked in the past is a networking tactic worth the time and effort.

And, because most people do genuinely appreciate it when you seek them out with questions you have concerning their area of expertise you’re likely to get a good response when approaching them with your needs. BUT, more important than seeking them to solve your problem you may approach them when you have a connection you think they may be interested in or you’ve come across a solution you know they would appreciate seeing.

Your main networking goal

Your main goal when thinking about networking should be finding ways to help your new contact! Miss this important aspect of networking and the truth is you miss it all.  Don’t become the guy who interrupts conversations, thrusts business cards on everyone, talks incessantly about himself, and annoys the heck out of everyone.

Instead, be the guy who focuses on how he can help those he meets. The simple equation is when someone needs a contractor in your field and you’re the one he thinks of because he has been helped by you, and has seen what you’ve done for others he is most likely going to give you the call.

  1. You’ll have to surround yourself with advisors – who mean business

Getting the right business advisors in place as soon as possible helps any business grow. Getting the right advisors in place for your construction contracting business can make the difference concerning whether you live in the paycheck to paycheck lane, of if you move into the lane where the big dogs are running.

Some of the advisors you’ll need to consider are:

  • Attorney
  • Banker
  • Accounting Advisor
  • Information Technologist
  • Insurance Agent
  • Marketing Guru
  • Tax Preparer

Surround yourself with good people who offer good solutions to your bad problems.

Surround yourself with good people who are honest and have integrity.

Surround yourself with good people who aren’t afraid to stand up to you and let you know when you’re missing an important part of the picture.

There is more to come

Part 2 coming soon. We’ll present 5 more Qualities Needed for Scaling Your Construction Contracting or Service Business.

Construction Contractor, Got a Problem with Your Financial Reports?

Do your financial reports measure up?

Because your financial reports should tell you much more than what you’ve already done. Because your financial reports are more than numbers for the tax-man or the banker. Because your financial reports are all about guiding you to scale your business. We’re glad you stopped in.

Check Us Out!

Since Schulte and Schulte, LLC came into being we’ve been construction-accounting-centric.

We have knowledge and understanding concerning what construction contractors need when it comes to financial reports. With almost two decades of “being in the trenches” of construction bookkeeping and accounting, Tonya, the co-founder of our firm, has deep knowledge about what contractors need. She and her team all work diligently staying ahead of the curve concerning all the latest and helpful contractor accounting technology systems and support apps.

We know what you want and need

We have no desire to send our clients a mound of reports they don’t understand and won’t bother reading. Our intention is to instead work with each of our clients by providing reports which are meaningful, reports which answer the kinds of essential questions contractors have about managing their individual companies.

The well qualified “regular” bookkeeper has no experience with the specific requirements of contractors, they therefore aren’t able to make suggestions themselves. At the same time, many contractors are not familiar with the capabilities of the robust bookkeeping software or SaaS systems available and therefore aren’t aware of what to ask for.

This “two ships passing in the night” scenario leads to a communication gap that can be devastating to both parties.

Our services are designed to allow you to scale your business

Tonya, recently said, “I take great pride in my work. I love getting each piece of the accounting puzzle to fit in the right place. But, even more fun for me is seeing the lightbulb go off over a client’s head. I get excited when I can hear in their voice that moment of recognition when understanding dawns. I like it when they ‘get it’ about another important aspect of their financial documents. I love my job!”

If you’ve had it with the status quo, if you’re looking for the right bookkeeping and accounting firm to aid you in scaling your construction contracting or subcontracting business . . .well, let’s just say, now is the time. Call 480-442-4032 today. Or Toll Free: 866-629-7735