Topic Thread

Accounting Staff Size

  • 1.  Accounting Staff Size

    Posted 11-29-2018 10:50
    We are a regional specialty contracting company that performs approximately 50 million in annual revenue.  We are made up of 6 operating companies  and 1 support service company (S corps) and perform all accounting functions in house including weekly payroll.  We also produce monthly financial statements for all entities.  Our accounting staff is made up of 1 controller, 2 general/staff accountants, 1 Dedicated A/P clerk and 2 billing clerks.

    My question is what do others have as their accounting staff for similar size and complexity of business in regional (multistate) specialty contracting?  Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

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    Michael Andreolli
    Chief Financial Officer & EVP Administration
    The Scalo Companies
    Pittsburgh PA

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  • 2.  RE: Accounting Staff Size

    Posted 11-30-2018 08:01

    We're a specialty trade contractor as well.  Our annual volume is higher, $70 to $80 million typically, but we don't have all the entities you describe.  Our total accounting staff, including me, is 5.  In addition, we do have some service related departments that do their own billings and some accounts payable entry, and weak attempts at collections.   So, if you include the personnel in those departments that do accounting related work, 7 total.

     

     

    Robert McManus

    Chief Financial Officer

    Direct: 404.965.9349 

    Main: 404.361.5154 | Fax: 404.965.9355

    PO Box 45717 | Atlanta, GA 30320

    www.msrs.com

                

     

     

     

     






  • 3.  RE: Accounting Staff Size

    Posted 12-10-2018 13:27
    Thank you so much for your input!

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    Michael Andreolli BSBA Major Accounting
    Chief Financial Officer & EVP Administration
    The Scalo Companies
    Pittsburgh PA
    (412) 928-3060
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  • 4.  RE: Accounting Staff Size

    Posted 11-30-2018 09:02
    Hi Michael-
    We have very similar firms. Chewning & Wilmer is an electrical contractor operating in several states, although 75% of our business is in Central Virginia. Our revenue volume is $45 million. We process all AP and payroll in-house. Currently we have a controller who handles billing and IT, 1 AP specialist, 1 payroll specialist and one utility person that supports our service group but also helps with administrative tasks. I (CFO) end up doing some of the nitty-gritty accounting work since no one on my staff has an accounting degree or experience in bookkeeping.
    When we get really busy, we will sometimes hire an assistant that will handle paperwork on large projects.
    This works for us but it can get stressful at times.

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    Jeffrey Lynch CPA
    Chief Financial Officer
    Chewning & Wilmer, Inc.
    Richmond VA
    (804) 565-3925
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  • 5.  RE: Accounting Staff Size

    Posted 12-10-2018 13:28
    Thank You for the feedback!

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    Michael Andreolli BSBA Major Accounting
    Chief Financial Officer & EVP Administration
    The Scalo Companies
    Pittsburgh PA
    (412) 928-3060
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  • 6.  RE: Accounting Staff Size

    Posted 12-03-2018 14:42

    Really good question -

    The "accounting team size" question comes up quite a bit.   To answer broadly, the answer is it is going to vary, depending on your exact needs, projected growth of the Company, and complexity. A few points to consider when you're creating your accounting team budget/plan  -

    • Growth – Where is the company headed and does it warrant an investment in more strategic financial resources as opposed to tactical resources?  Dependent on size, it may warrant a discussion on what a strategic controller/CFO would bring to the company.
    • Understanding Roles & Responsibilities -  How does the team work as a unit? Do you they mesh or are their constant conflicts?
    • Multiple Entities/Business Units – Classification of whether or not there are multiple systems and processes for each entity (and identifying the 'one-offs' that really take significant time)
    • Overall System Use – Does the current system work or are there functionality gaps?
    • Trial and Error - Like any system implementation, much of the success comes down to establishing a plan and making sure that it is fully functioning.  Unfortunately, as every accounting team is custom made, much of what works for you will not work for someone else and comes down to what works optimally for the company. 

     

    At the end of the day, we often find there is opportunity to better utilize resources.  This conclusion is not necessarily to eliminate headcount as it may be to re-allocate resources to focus on strategic initiatives. This list is not all encompassing, but should provide you with a jumping off point. 



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    Steven Freinberg, CPA
    Manager
    ClearView Group, LLC
    Owings Mills MD
    (667) 207-8725
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  • 7.  RE: Accounting Staff Size

    Posted 12-10-2018 13:29
    All valid points and great feedback.  Thank You.

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    Michael Andreolli BSBA Major Accounting
    Chief Financial Officer & EVP Administration
    The Scalo Companies
    Pittsburgh PA
    (412) 928-3060
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  • 8.  RE: Accounting Staff Size

    Posted 12-11-2018 09:52
    We are a specialty contractor that performs mechanical, electrical, plumbing and controls for both new construction projects as well as service and do approximately $110 million per year.  Our market is the DC, VA and MD (DMV), and to complicate matters, we are a public company.  We grew from a $42MM company to a $110MM company in only 5 years and for many of them, we struggled with a HR/PR admin, a AP manager and 1 AP specialist, a service accounting admin, and myself - Branch Financial Manger (equivalent to a Controller/CFO in a privately owned company).

    Over the past year, I restructure our accounting department to be more responsive and supportive to the project management teams.  I've since added an assistant controller and three project accountants.  In that time, we also added a receptionist and a project administrator was transitioned into our team from the operating team.  If you're following along, the team is now composed of branch financial manager, assistant controller, 2 AP, 3 project accountants, 1 service accountant , 1 HR/PR, & 2 admins for a total of 11 people for $110 million in volume.  I could probably cut the staff by at least 20% if we weren't public, but the SOX demands makes a huge difference.


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    Patrick Becker CPA, BS, MBA
    Financial Manager/Assistant Treasurer
    Limbach Company LLC
    Laurel MD
    (301) 623-4758
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  • 9.  RE: Accounting Staff Size

    Posted 12-11-2018 11:14
    Michael,

    Patrick brings up a good discussion point with the SOX compliance. The problem with comparing size of finance/accounting departments is that every company is looking for different data. You could have a range of companies from publicly traded, to contractors requiring audits or reviews for bonds, to contractors that have very limited external use of their financials. Internal use and data requirements can vary greatly as well, some companies only care about job cost, many others want more detail such as cost by phase or phase and cost type. The detailed tracking comes at a cost, but some contractors have the systems and processes in place to efficiently get good detailed data. Other contractors may have similar staffing levels, but struggle to get reliable data at a more general level. I'd encourage you to look at your systems and processes to consider if they are efficient and producing good reliable data at the detail level that you are looking for.

    In short, if you have an extra person in accounting that produces data that allows management decisions that result in a higher net profit it wouldn't make sense to cut the position. However if that extra person is due to outdated processes, you might want to revise the process and find another place for the staff member even if everyone else does it the old way.

    Best,

    Kevin Halme
    Constructive Tech Solutions
    Omaha, NE
    www.consttech.solutions