General Inquiries

Construction Accounting Software Recommendations Needed

  • 1.  Construction Accounting Software Recommendations Needed

    Posted 19 days ago
    Edited by John Katona 17 days ago
    Hi CFMA Members: Do you have any recommendations for a construction accounting software? What are your favorites? By 6/1/19, I want to identify the next construction software for my company, with an implementation date of 1/1/2020. I'm looking for a program that is built to scale as we grow from a small to medium to large provider of construction-related services. We are considering Viewpoint (Spectrum), ProCore, Jonas Premier, CMIC, and ComputerEase. We are using Foundation Software, but it is not meeting our needs. I'd be happy to hear your thoughts. Thanks for your help!

    ------------------------------
    John Katona
    Accounting Manager & CPA
    BryComm, LLC
    Austin TX
    (512) 712-4008
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  • 2.  RE: Construction Accounting Software Recommendations Needed

    Posted 18 days ago

    John,

     

    Take a look at Computer Guidance.  We have used it over the years as we have grown, and it has grown with us and met our needs.

     

    I can discuss how we use this software if you would like.

     

    Luther

     






  • 3.  RE: Construction Accounting Software Recommendations Needed

    Posted 18 days ago
    I am very interested in seeing these responses as well.  We are currently in the first stages of identifying a replacement ERP system and I have Spectrum, ComputerEase, and Foundation on my short list.  Glad to know Foundation isn't meeting your needs so I can make note of that going forward.

    ------------------------------
    Staci Smith
    Chief Financial Officer
    RDI Mechanical, Inc.
    Houston TX
    (281) 448-1700
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: Construction Accounting Software Recommendations Needed

    Posted 17 days ago
    Yes, I'll be happy to share the responses I receive. After speaking more with a salesperson, I now know that my company would fit into the Spectrum version of Viewpoint. The two other versions of Viewpoint are ProContractor for companies with annual revenues of $15-20 million per year, and Vista for larger companies, around $80 million+ per year. My understanding is that Spectrum works well with companies between $20-$80 million of annual revenues.

    I think there are better products on the market than Foundation. 


    Since you're interested in ComputerEase, here is a response i received from Jody Delino:

    "I implemented ComputerEase in 2015 for less 30% of the cost of the previous implementation of a Viewpoint-like product completed 8 years prior.  It's look and feel is a much better fit for our organization than the other more "sophisticated" feeling products out there.  It is driven by plain language choices as opposed to accounting-lingo choices which makes it much easier for the rest of the business to use.  It's ability to import data is much easier in my experience than with other software.  Equally as important is that it provides  a variety of ways to get data out of the system (standard reports, an excel-like tool, ODBC, self-created report templates using XMS, MS Query and other options), and exports to MS Excel easier and quicker if that's important to you.  Also, we use NextSystems here in Austin for support which is hands down a much better experience that I have ever had compared to the support from a call center at a large software conglomerate.  An added benefit is that it buys me time:  instead of staff coming to me with "how to" questions they go directly to NextSystems who knows my company and setups so they can guide them for me.  NextSystems has even worked with users to implement new CE tools without my day-to-day involvement.

    I think you'll find both products can accomplish similar things - although we don't use much of the CE mobile apps, so I have limited experience there.  Both products are scalable although I'm not  sure if to a multi-national scale.

    I would warn you not to get caught up in the bigger is better idea - it's really about fitment with the culture of your organization.   If it's not abundantly clear, I recommend ComputerEase for an organization similar to our culture - and while I have a good business relationship with several of the CE people, I receive no benefit from my recommendation other than trying to help others through a challenging myriad of choices.

    ------------------------------
    Jody Delino
    Chief Financial Officer
    Texas 5th Wall Roofing Systems
    Austin TX
    (512) 926-3940"



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    John Katona
    Accounting Manager & CPA
    BryComm, LLC
    Austin TX
    (512) 712-4008
    ------------------------------



  • 5.  RE: Construction Accounting Software Recommendations Needed

    Posted 17 days ago
    Thanks so much, I have received a couple of calls already and will start researching ComputerEase and Spectrum.  Our company is somewhat smaller so the viewpoint version Procontractor may be a better fit.  We also provide service so would need a system to handle that as well in a mobile environment.  There are a lot of functions I want a system to be able to perform so it has been a bit difficult to narrow down the possibilities.

    Thanks for your help!

    ------------------------------
    Staci Smith
    Chief Financial Officer
    RDI Mechanical, Inc.
    Houston TX
    (281) 448-1700
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: Construction Accounting Software Recommendations Needed

    Posted 15 days ago

    Hi Staci,

    Specialty contractors have unique needs that require EXTRA services AND protections in agreements.  The following is a comprehensive list you should demand from vendors to include in the cost in contract as most software is GC centric (which often results in significant overages for specialists)

    Hope this helps...here are the services we recommend you get:

     

    1. Vendor should include highly defined road map that details scope and deadlines, so everyone is on the same page. There should be compensation provided to the contractor should the vendor miss deadlines.

     

    1. Material Items list development & validation: The software vendor should complete full items database with all relevant dimensions, vendor codes, company codes, cost codes, units of measure and conversions to ensure effective material management.

     

    1. Custom APIs, links and report mapping should be completed and presented prior to go-live.

     

    1. Estimating system mapping: If budget imports are sold to customer, the imports should include exact material quantities, subsections, cost codes, labor and production.

     

    1. Listings entry: customers, vendors, employees, subs, GL etc.

     

    1. Custom forms & PDF invoice mapping to enable he PDF invoices that come in so you can automatically match Pos AND automatically complete the AP transaction.

     

    1. Entry of full historical AIA billings to ensure accurate retention billing.

     

    1. Standard operating procedure and process mapping documentation so workers understand how their jobs are going to change.

     

    1. Gap Identification, scoping and custom programming 'prior' to go-live

     

    1. Accounting data format and import

     

    1. Tie off accounting and validation

     

    1. Job cost & budgets entry, review & validate

     

    1. Custom learning guides so guides have recognizable company data in them.

     

    1. Post cut-off data entry: This is usually manual entry on the weekend before go-live to so no parallel phase is needed.

     

    1. Onsite training & setup/security preferences validation

     

    1. Payroll details repair and validation

     

    1. Post go-live optimization training (This is extremely important as learning truly begins after go-live. Vendors should be including post-live teaching and optimization to ensure maximum ROI)

     

    1. Punch list creation and completion included in cost.

     

    1. 1st month end, 1st quarterly and 1st year end emergency data repair: These are the most frustrating periods of implementations so vendors should be including the labor to ensure clients navigate these periods easily.

     

    1. Development for emergency gaps should be included no extra charge.

     

    1. CPA review and final CPA sign off with CFO

     

    1. Specialty Contractor Specific updates:  Specialty contractors should be enjoying value that is in line with the annual payments they make to the vendor.  Most software vendors serve GCs first while the GC centric R&D is subsidized by the fees specialty contractors pay.    Specialists should not be subsidizing GC R&D.

     

     And here are some toxic sales tactics and related solutions that will help protect you:
     

    1)  Handcuffing: When vendors under-quote labor to sign deal at a low price, knowing the true cost will be 200% to 400% higher.

    1.a) Solution to Handcuffing:  Compel vendor to list all services required for pre-live, go-live, post-live and long term labor to ensure software is adopted and then have vendor included all services for GMP (guaranteed max price) in agreement.

     

    2)  Cloud Cuffing:  When a cloud provider hosting the solution denies client access to data unless client re-news subscription. (NOTE: sometimes a lifetime license was purchased but if the vendor changes the end user license agreement the lifetime license can be made null and void)

    2.a)  Solution to cloud cuffing:   Get data ownership and a lifetime license 'in writing' AND also have a term in the agreement that ensures the lifetime license is grandfathered into any and all future agreements should any change event, merger or acquisition occur.

     

     3)  Smoke Stacking: When integration of products in a tech stack or software ecosystem are oversold and the integrations do not function well enough for specialty contractors.

    3.a)  Solution to smoke stacking:  Do demos using YOUR data and have key people from ALL departments validate all workflows and witness the integration. Identify any GAPs that the integrations do not handle and have vendor include, in writing, programming to fill all GAPS 'prior to go-live' in the GMP agreement.

      

    4)  GC software being re-labelled and sold as specialty software:  When GC software is re-labelled as a trade solution despite inability to handle granularity of the said trade.

    4.a)  Solution to re-labeling:  Do demos using YOUR data and have key people from ALL departments validate all workflows and ease of use.  Identify the GAPs that the software does not handle and have vendor include, in writing, programming to fill all GAPS 'prior to go-live' in the GMP agreement.

      

    5)  R&D deflection:  When software vendors collect annual fees or subscriptions that are similar to the fees they collect from general contractors but the R&D and enhancements mostly benefit GCs and/or other markets.

    5.a)  Solution to R&D deflection:  Review vendor's previous 3 years of enhancements to determine fair subscription/annual fees for YOUR trade.  If only 10% of the released enhancements we're specific to your trade, negotiate a rate that is in line with that value.

     

    6)  M&A disarray:  When mergers and acquisitions fail to deliver on promises made to contractors and result in higher cost and lower service.

    6.a)  Solution to M&A disarray:  Have vendor promise service levels in a service level agreement that ALSO includes performance credits should they fail to deliver on any level of service.  This ensures that if service levels drop, the investment lowers as well.

     

    7)  Custom work cuffing:  When service providers and 3rd party consultants complete custom work and write custom reports to make a solution work better for a specialty contractor but fail to disclose the ongoing cost of maintaining the custom work when issues arise during software updates.  This results in perpetual and unexpected billable hours to keep the custom work functional.

    7.a)  Solution to custom work cuffing:  Find software that fit your workflows the best and ensure that the vendor and/or service provider includes, in writing, the cost to repair custom work when it breaks and cost to maintain functionality during software updates.

     

    8)  Weasel words:  Intentionally vague buzz words that misrepresent value.(ie:  real time data, connect field to office, single source of truth, seamless integration, end to end)

    8.a)  Solution to weasel word selling:  Extend due diligence as long as possible.  SLOW DOWN the decision!!!   Have the vendor create demos using YOUR data and have key people from ALL departments validate the workflows and ease of use. "Show! Don't tell")



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    Chad Pearson
    Director of Business Development
    Plexxis
    Brampton ON
    (416) 574-1677
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  • 7.  RE: Construction Accounting Software Recommendations Needed

    Posted 16 days ago
    Hi John,

    We recently went through a very similar process as our current software is no longer being supported.  We explored the same options you are, along with one additional software, COINS.  After researching all of our options very thoroughly, we have decided that COINS offers us the most flexibility and will grow with us as needed.  We are currently in the process of implementing the new software and are very pleased!  I would highly recommend that you explore COINS as an option before making a decision.  If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out.

    ------------------------------
    Deborah Betts
    Controller
    Anderson Howard
    Irvine CA
    (949) 756-3331
    ------------------------------



  • 8.  RE: Construction Accounting Software Recommendations Needed

    Posted 15 days ago
    We have been on Vista for 2.5 years and I used it for 3 years at another company.  Viewpoint is going through a transition right now (having been purchased/sold by two companies in the past 3 years) and I would hesitate going with that software at the present time.  They don't seem to be sure what direction they are going to take and we have invested in additional applications that were supposed to be the future direction which they are backing off of now.  Also, our implementation was made more difficult by their high turnover rate.  We had at least 7 different ​Viewpoint project managers.  We took a look at Glassdoor reviews for Viewpoint a couple years ago and it was very informative.  You might want to check that out too.

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    Susan Milner
    Corporate Controller
    Eldeco Inc.
    Greenville SC
    (864) 312-9896
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  • 9.  RE: Construction Accounting Software Recommendations Needed

    Posted 14 days ago

    Susan,

    My name is Bradley McAdams and my family built the Construction Imaging Application that later became Viewpoint Content Management.  It is my understanding that Eldeco is using VCM.  I am sure you are aware the VCM platform is going away.  As a former Viewpoint Employee, I certainly understand the concerns you mentioned above.  Our organization has a content management platform that leverages KeyStyles and has an API level integration to Viewpoint.  This would allow you to have a true content management platform independent of the Viewpoint Solution but still integrated.  

    Please let me know if you would like to schedule some time to discuss.

    Bradley



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    Bradley McAdams
    Account Executive Construction Vertical
    Requordit
    Chicago IL
    (312) 848-4767
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  • 10.  RE: Construction Accounting Software Recommendations Needed

    Posted 15 days ago
    Hi John, I am currently researching similar software packages, but have Foundation at the top of my list.  Could you tell me what about Foundation hasn't met your needs?  Thanks!

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    Brandon Porter
    CFO
    Overley's Services
    Gilbert AZ
    (480) 650-5552
    ------------------------------