26th May 2016

Five essential accounting software features for large construction companies

There's no 'one size fits all' software package. For example, generic accounting systems don't work for everyone. In the construction industry, your payment structure is more complex than those used in typical business transactions. Additionally, those basic accounting systems won't offer construction-specific features such as allowing for retentions and applications.

Five essential accounting software features for large construction companies

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The construction accounting software you use shouldn't be generic, either. Large construction companies have very different needs to small contractors, for example.

When choosing a new software package for a large construction company, look out for the following features.

#1 Ability to handle massive user volumes

Many software providers place limits on the number of registered software users, whilst other systems will slow to a crawl when more than a handful of users try to access the software simultaneously. Given that your large business most likely has dozens of administrative staff, your software must be able cater to that number of users.

Speak to software providers about the maximum number of users that can realistically access the software simultaneously before the system grinds to a halt.

#2 Flexible setup

As businesses become larger, they become more complex. Software providers should be willing to completely personalise your system depending on your needs. The software must be able to reflect your unique workflows and company structure – don't settle for workarounds or compromises. You should also discuss how the system handles multiple sites and divisions, and how the software would need to be changed to reflect any future business expansion.

#3 Thorough reporting options

As more layers are added to your business, the risk of miscommunication increases. Reporting is therefore essential if you're to accurately communicate your financial results with the board of directors. Additionally, it's likely you have many more KPIs than SMEs do – so ensure the software is able to calculate and report the relevant metrics. Finally, your accounting software should be able to draw data from multiple sources to ensure reports are truly reflective of the current state of your business.

#4 Integration with other systems

Large businesses may be using dozens of different systems across the organisation, but many of these may be isolated to the extent that combining their data with other sources is a highly time consuming process that barely seems worthwhile. When choosing a software provider, ensure you discuss how the software integrates with other business systems. What format is the data in? How is it shared? Find the answers to these questions before choosing a provider, else you may regret your decision...

#5 Flexible access levels

Your company has to take cybersecurity seriously. You understand that employee negligence leads to the majority of data breaches, so you've created a thorough cybersecurity policy for your employees to follow. Your accounting software must work with this policy. Some software only allows for very rigid security levels such as 'administrator', 'manager' and 'employee'. Choose software that allows for more flexibility in access levels, such as systems that define access levels as numbers in a certain range (say, 0-100). This approach will allow you to differentiate levels of employees with more precision; something that's particularly useful if you work with interns or other temporary employees.

Of course, the above features aren't the only essential accounting software functions. You need good foundations, too. The core software features must meet all your needs and allow you to complete tasks efficiently and accurately.

Take a look at the full feature list of Evolution Enterprise, our advanced construction management system for large companies.


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