Accounts department: Top five tips for a more efficient business

Keeping track of income and outgoings is more complex for construction companies than most other types of business, simply because payments are often staggered over periods of several years, while most project costs are incurred during the first stage. Construction accounting software makes retentions management far easier than it was the past, but software alone won’t make your accounts department efficient. These quick accounts department tips will help this crucial part of your business run smoothly.

Reduce paper documents

Ditch the filing cabinets and double-up on digital storage – either in the cloud or on-site. Storing more documents digitally is advantageous in many ways: it frees up office space, reduces misfiling, and, most crucially, makes it significantly easier to search for documents. When you have to dig out documents filed two years ago, a few quick digital searches through your database will be infinitely easier than having to dig through countless paper files. When you receive paper documents from clients or subcontractors, scan them in, attach them to the relevant contract file or folder, and give them clear, descriptive titles. This method may involve some initial time investment but you’ll soon make it back through improved efficiency. 

Consider the cloud

Cloud storage is arguably safer, more secure, cheaper and more useful than on-site digital storage. If members of your accounts team would benefit from being able to work from home or outside the office, cloud storage is the only way to give remote workers the tools they need to do their jobs. Remote access options may be particularly useful during the winter period when staff members may struggle to travel to and from the office. Keeping accounts data in the cloud means that your accounts team can operate from anywhere, ensuring the department can run efficiently regardless of the number of staff in the office.

Talk through processes

Business processes in the accounts department can be difficult to change – the department relies on a thorough, methodical, consistent approach to ensure that few errors are made. However, these processes shouldn’t be immune from scrutiny. Have the accounts team walk a senior manager or one of the directors through each process they undertake. Outside eyes may help to question established methods and identify areas of inefficiency. Aim to review processes every 12 months or so.

Use integrated software

If your accounts department uses several different systems, each covering a different aspect of the business, inefficiency is clearly present. Look for integrated software solutions that can deal with payroll, contracts and subcontractor management all in one. Data can be linked together automatically across databases – there’s no need to manually transfer data.

Revisit abandoned software functions

Your accounting software is powerful. All but the most basic systems will have plenty of features that you’ve never used. Periodically examine these functions. Could they help speed up a process? What’s the reason you haven’t been using them? If you’re not sure how some features work, contact your software provider. They will be able to advise you on how to utilise these features and ensure that you make the most of your software.

These tips can help to revitalise a flagging accounts department. Looking for more ways to use your construction accounting software more efficiently? Contact your account manager or give the Integrity Software team a call.

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