Developing Accounting Systems That Work

Through the gate to running a profitable construction company

Through the gate to running a profitable construction company

You need an accounting system for your construction contracting or service business because you need data. There are three basic reasons you need data.

  • Because the federal as well as state and local governmental entities require it. And, let’s face it, running your construction contracting business from a prison cell would be much harder than any issues you’re currently facing.

 

  • Because banks or lending institutions, as well as bonding businesses require it. Loan officers have a certain protocol for approving a loan and without accurate, current records getting a loan could be like trying to find a warm, sunny beach at the north pole.

 

  • Because growing or scaling your business depends on how accurate your financial information is. Knowing the financial position of your construction business, what some call understanding “the language of business,” sets you apart from the large number of construction business owners who fail.

 

Having accurate information, things like cost and earnings, liabilities and assets, profit and loss gives you the business guidance you need to either stay the course or take corrective measures. Well, sort of.

When records and reports aren’t enough

We’ve found that many construction contractors know well the systems required in their select industry, yet when they begin dealing with the systems necessary to manage their financial data, they feel as if they’ve run into a brick wall.

Even those who’ve managed to chip away at the brick wall creating windows of financial understanding have usually only gotten to “records” and occasionally “reports,” thus they’re lacking the “analysis” portion of the financially healthy equation.

Crunching the numbers

That’s when including a professional from the accounting world becomes necessary for the welfare of your business.

These pros make sure you understand the meaning of the financial information. They’re interpreters of a sort. They help you learn “the language of business.” They’re great at helping you develop the systems which are necessary to put you in the driver’s seat.

Putting a gate in the wall

Guiding you to create a system for measuring and summarizing business activities, interpreting financial information, and communicating the results is how your professional accounting team puts a gate in that brick wall. A few of the things you can expect to gain from a capable accounting pro are:

  • Guiding you through the SaaS options
  • Developing a tech stack best suited to your needs
  • Determining where you may be losing money
  • Showing you which types of clients are offering the biggest returns on your efforts
  • Enhancing your decision-making capabilities through better understanding of the numbers

Going beyond the brick wall

Because Schulte and Schulte, LLC is a professional accounting service specializing in working with construction contractors, we help our clients develop and use accounting systems which serve both their legal and their managerial needs in the wild and wooly world of construction contracting. And, because we’re a Profit First certified firm we take them beyond having a nice set of records and put them on the path to having a vibrant and profitable business.

You can reach us Toll Free: 866-629-7735 or get in touch the easy way right here.

Penny Pinching is Good for Your Construction Business

Becoming profitable through saving money

Becoming profitable through saving money

You’ve moved up from “Have hammer, or wrench, or paintbrush – will travel,” to running a construction contracting business. Now, you have much more to be concerned with than simply finding a project, doing it, and getting paid for your effort. You have a business to run, one which should be profitable.

And in the construction business, just as in other businesses, cash in king. That is simply how it is. To run a profitable construction contracting business you must learn how to master the cash, how to make decisions concerning the cash, and how to prudently use the cash.

Are you making a profit?

While there are a number of things which you can change concerning how your numbers are adding up (or not adding up,) in this article the subject will center on ways you, a construction contractor can tighten the belt, can be more frugal, can pinch a few more pennies on your way to making a profit.

And while we’re on the subject of decisions, let’s back up a minute and understand that those expenses in your accounting records represents a decision you’ve already made. It takes fortitude to look at a particular expense, challenge yourself, and think about the decision you made, then perhaps taking steps to change or improve it.

First things first

When you first started out you had ways to “get by,” to make ends meet, to keep going while you looked for that next job. Now, you have people working for you, running crews, driving your vehicles, using your tools, performing the back-office duties. You have jobs back to back or over-lapping and you have lots of expenses.

It is time to revisit your ability to “get by.” It is time to be innovative and to grow your ability to solve problems rather than throwing money at them.

Get out of the rut!

In some ways, this is a call to reduce inefficiencies in your own as well as your employee’s work habits. In other ways it’s a challenge to see if there are better, less expensive ways to get things done. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut. Yet, once you know you’re in a rut, you can take specific measures to get out of it.

Top 5 ruts to jump  

Vehicle or fleet

Whether you have only one business truck or an entire fleet of vehicles there are likely ways to reduce your expenses. One major way to save money here is to be cautious and certain before signing on the dotted line for that beautiful new pickup you’ve had your eye on for a few weeks. Do you really need it right now? We can help you determine whether or not your business can really afford that shiny new toy. Also, when it comes to vehicles, there are other ways to save, for example, in this article from Construction Executive, there is a list of 5 simple changes you can make to help control fuel costs.

Office tools and supplies

Whether you need to complete an RFP (Request for Proposal) with a few of the top suppliers, or you simply need to keep an eye on the cost comparisons of a few local office supply stores along with membership stores, get out of the rut of always buying supplies from the same place. One simple method you may choose is to maintain relationships with two providers that are competitive on price. And, because the ordering process is easy online you can switch providers quickly and easily. Check out these tips and tricks from Grainger concerning managing your office supply inventory.

Construction supplies and materials

Your particular trade will often dictate your choice of suppliers. Yet, just as in the office supply providers in the above section, you will do well to maintain relationships with more than one supplier. And, you already know who the heavy hitters are in the overall construction supply industry. Are you taking advantage of all they have to offer? While it may take some of your upfront time delving into all the benefits they offer to the pros, it will pay off in both time and finances to become familiar with and take advantage of their programs. You can start by getting to know your Pro Account Representative at Home Depot and checking out Lowe’s ProServices.

Tools and equipment

Determining whether you need to purchase or lease particular tools and equipment and the cost saving factors of either choice will have an impact on your ability to save pennies now and dollars down the road. This article from Construction Marketing Association will give you information you can use in the decision-making process.

Also, when you make the determination that you will purchase tools, be cautious about quality. Invest in the best quality tools you need and can afford rather than trying to get by with cheap substitutes. Just be sure you remember the need factor.

Credit card processing fees

Shop around. One of the first places you may want to check is with your trade organization many of which have an agreement with credit card processors to provide lower rates. Be cautious, some companies will try to lock you in for a long period of time in order to receive a better rate. Also, look for rates concerning leasing the equipment. When you use QuickBooks Online you are able to take advantage of their bank transfer processing through ACH (Automated Clearing House) payments. You may choose to accept only ACH payments at no charge, or to also accept Credit Card payments (with percentage fees) based on your needs.

More ruts to consider

Insurance

Be sure you’re getting the best rates for each of your insurance needs. Check around, look for providers that know and understand the construction industry. For example take the time to shop around for the best workers’ compensation prices you can find, especially if your company has a low accident rate that you can use to negotiate with carriers and agencies.

Marketing

When you’re low on money, marketing is one of the last things you should cut totally out of your thoughts or your budget. Yet, by being creative and using many of the options for marketing which are no or low cost you can remain in the game getting the word out. This article from Forbes gives you four creative and useful ways to save money on marketing.

Rent or mortgage on office and shop locations

Again, creativity is your best friend. Would you benefit by moving your operation to a different (less expensive) location? If your construction business doesn’t depend on walk-in-traffic why pay more for a location which touts traffic as a rental perk?

Temporary office structures and/or sanitary utilities

Should you own or rent your on-location structures? Is there a better rate for the portable toilet from a different vendor than you normally choose?

More money saving tactics to scrutinize

  • Determine if selling or leasing underutilized equipment will be of benefit.
  • Reexam your need for company owned vehicles.
  • Review your entertainment costs. (This is no longer an expense which can be deducted on your tax reports.)
  • Look for free or low-cost training for yourself and your employees. If you belong to a trade association take advantage of what they offer.
  • Adopt a just-in-time philosophy of material staging in order to deter waste as well as keep the money flow in check.
  • Save money by outsourcing your accounting and some other office tasks.

 Get in touch here, or give us a call 866-629-7735.

The Top 5 Critical Problems Schulte and Schulte Solves for Owners of Construction Contracting Companies

 

When you first became a construction contractor or construction service business owner it was pretty simple – get a job, do the job, get paid, see how much money you made. Now, things are different. You have people working for you, people who rely on you in order to make a living.

Knowing the whats, hows, and whys of construction accounting has become much more difficult.

Following are 5 critical problems Schulte and Schulte solves for clients on a regular basis.

Not knowing how to maintain cash flow

“Projecting future cash flow is something I’ve never understood how to do.”

Solution: Once the system is implemented you’re “in the know” daily concerning all the angles of cash flow.

Not having proper records for the IRS and for other potential needs – like proving credit worthiness

“I’m not even sure what I should keep, much less how to keep it.”

Solution: Your records are brought up-to-date and kept current so you’re always ready for both the IRS as well as for investors or loaning institutions.

Constantly having to chase work to build revenue

“It seems if I’m going to make money I always have to find new work (some I don’t even want to do) and it drains my time, energy, and capital. There’s got to be a better way.”

Solution: You’re taught smarter ways of maximizing revenue rather than the eternal work chase.

Not understanding their job costs

“I know it is more than just what I pay my people and how much I paid for supplies, but I’m not sure what all goes into job costing.”

Solution: You know what the job costs are for each job and for each type of job, giving you valuable insight concerning future jobs.

Not having enough time in the day to do it all as a small business owner

“I don’t hardly have time to breathe, much less time for figuring out all the ins and outs of construction business accounting.”

Solution: You’re relieved of trying to “figure it out.” The Schulte and Schulte pros take away much of the “drudge” of bookkeeping while informing you regularly about the financial health of your construction contracting or service business.

Solution: Maximizing Your Profits.

Now that you know we offer solutions for your critical problems, it is time to stop messing around and trying to figure it out yourself. Reach us through this number 480-442-4032 or get in touch here.

Do You Really Understand the Financial Position of Your Construction Contracting Business?

 

 

If you’re like many people who own construction contracting and service businesses, you likely have little to no financial training. That’s OK, you probably have a slew of other skills which allowed you to move into the realm of business owner.

It is also likely that you put a lot of time and thought into knowing where your crews are, what they’re doing, and which tools and supplies they’ll need for the day. Yet, you may be less likely to know where your dollars are, what job each dollar has, and how well they’re pulling for the team.

Run a better construction contracting business

While business management is a multi-faceted matter, one of the best ways you gain acumen in the business world is to know and understand how to make best use of the money you control. You know you’re “getting it” when you can:

  • Grasp the benefits of Job Costing

 

  • Discern the difference between Revenue and Gross Profit

 

  • Recognize the importance of Document Management

 

  • Increase your savvy in the Budgeting department

 

  • Focus on the Important Data

 

Getting to the money matters part of accounting means you can know (not just guess) when to put your marketing dollars to use or which types of jobs will never be your friend. It means you can make sense of what was once a whirlwind of numbers and terminology.

Why build your money management skills?

Develop your money management expertise so you can help your construction contracting or service business prosper. When you see where your company’s money is actually going, you’re better able to build a path toward success.

How Schulte and Schulte fits in

Our goal is to assist you in creating an easy to follow and understand bookkeeping process. Further, we explain what is happening along the way, giving you the benefit of discerning your financial standing and taking advantage of that knowledge.

Let’s build this together. Call 480-442-4032 or get in touch here.