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Unlock the Full Potential of Your Construction Business – Ditch QuickBooks for a Modern Solution

Unlock the Full Potential of Your Construction Business – Ditch QuickBooks for a Modern Solution

QuickBooks is widely recognized as an accounting software that supports small businesses with managing accounts, inventory, payroll, taxes, expenses, and budgeting. For companies starting out, deploying QuickBooks is a good first step towards operational improvement. But there comes a point in each expanding company’s journey where QuickBooks doesn’t support the changing needs of the organization. Perhaps it’s an increase in manual processes and offline spreadsheets to track information outside of QuickBooks. It could be the need to add third-party software to handle repetitive tasks that QuickBooks is lacking. Maybe the data needed to make decisions isn’t available from QuickBooks. Or, reports aren’t actionable, with a snapshot of the past rather than a real-time view into your operation.

Additionally, many construction or project-based small businesses require more than QuickBooks to meet their needs right off the bat. We’ve worked with construction companies who have found QuickBooks hindered their operations due to the lack of project-based accounting features, field service, and payroll capabilities.

Our clients have often come to us frustrated with the limitations of QuickBooks, including:

  1. Limited functionality for job costing and progress billing.
  2. Inadequate reporting capabilities for tracking project expenses and profitability.
  3. Difficulty in tracking change orders and managing subcontractor invoicing.
  4. Lack of integration with scheduling and estimating programs.
  5. Limited support for multi-currency transactions and foreign currency exchanges.
  6. Difficulty in tracking retainage and progress payments.
  7. Limited ability to handle complex job-costing and inventory management.
  8. Inability to handle complex union compliance and certified payroll requirements.
  9. Limited ability to track and manage equipment and asset management.
  10. Limited support for construction-specific tax regulations.

If you’re using QuickBooks now and experiencing any of these frustrations, read how Acumatica, the Cloud ERP construction solution is helping construction companies solve issues and grow.

Compare QuickBooks to Acumatica for accurate project-accounting and construction software.

The pressure to stay up to date on current projects has been a thorn in the side of many contractors. Poor communication has derailed countless construction projects, causing them to finish late and over budget. Acumatica’s cloud ERP software tailored to the construction industry has advantages that QuickBooks does not. Here are a few:

  • Real-time access to project data from anywhere, on any device.
  • Modern accounting features can help you streamline and automate Accounts Payable workflows, such as entering invoices and obtaining approval for payments. Additionally, it provides real-time project costs related to labor, materials and equipment.
  • Project Management allows both office and field teams to access current information from a central, streamlined system, improving field-to-office communication.
  • Reduced response times with instant notifications and message alerts.
  • Robust document storage – view and store important documentation such as RFIs, jobsite progress photos, and project issues.
  • Ensure adherence to regulations by processing waivers, certificates, and status changes quickly. Additionally, create alerts for staff and vendors about expiration dates and other essential data.
  • Customer Management offers real-time customer activity management (e.g. contacts, quotes, orders, invoices, payments, support cases and service calls) as well as a customer self-service portal.
  • Adaptable workflows to automate, control and increase the efficiency of accounting and back-office processes.
  • Thorough and up-to-date reports that keep you informed about the progress of each project.
  • Comprehensive view of your business with Role-based Dashboards.
  • Comprehensive Connections: Link with popular construction applications.
  • Unlimited users.

Switching from QuickBooks to Acumatica Cloud ERP: A Big Change, But Worth It

When you look at the pros and cons, you realize the benefits that newer technology can bring to your business.

For example, communication – with the right tools, your field teams can complete their construction projects more efficiently allowing you to manage your projects more effectively.

We know that switching the system that you run your business on can seem like a risky, big endeavor. For this reason, partnering with an experienced solution provider is a wise choice. The team at GFC knows construction and ERP, and believes that Acumatica for Construction is a right-priced, low-risk solution.

Let us show you how a modern solution can give you the tools you need to grow your business, keep projects running smoothly, make your customers happy, and turn a reliable profit.

Read more about 5 Benefits of Cloud Construction Management and then give us a call to discuss your unique business needs.

Construction firms can no longer stay competitive by relying on paper-based processes, manual workflows, and an endless barrage of emails. Smart, forward-thinking firms are moving their businesses to the cloud. With cloud-based solutions, they’re finding the powerful communication tools and automated workflows they need to maximize the profitability of every project.

Don’t get left behind on yesterday’s technology. Take the first step towards a better bottom line today.

 

Best KPIs for Manufacturers

Best KPIs for Manufacturers

Technology has made powerful, flexible measurement systems with KPI capability both affordable and user-driven. 

“KPIs are a standard business management tool that is becoming both more powerful and at the same time easier to use thanks to packaged Business Intelligence and Executive Information Systems applications that are part of a comprehensive back office software system.” 

Every kind of manufacturing company, in all industry segments including automotive, food and beverage, health and beauty, electronics, industrial machines, metal fabrication, plastics, etc., rely on measurements to monitor business activities and performance, document successes and challenges, and help direct management decision-making. 

Of course, while we measure a number of parameters simply to comply with mandatory accounting and reporting requirements, smart management will incorporate those measurements into valuable intelligence that helps run the business more effectively and more efficiently.  

“KPIs are a standard business management tool that is becoming both more powerful and at the same time easier to use thanks to packaged Business Intelligence and Executive Information Systems applications that are part of a comprehensive back-office software system.”  

Download this free whitepaper from Acumatica and learn: 

  • What is a key performance indicator 
  • Types of KPIs and those specific to manufacturing 
  • How to use and reap the benefits of KPIs 
  • Ongoing KPI maintenance including adjustments and expansions 
  • anytime, anywhere. 
Historical and Predictive KPIs – Which Should You Use? 

There are two basic types of KPIs.  First, ones that tell you where your business has been and where you are headed.  The other, shows you the overall health of your business.  

Historical KPIs allow you to easily measure past activity, and showcase where your business will likely go in the future based on that history. They can be set up with alerts and warnings to monitor and detect exceptions, based on historical data, and call attention to issues.  These systems can even alert you via email or text. 

The second type of KPIs are predictive.  These can provide multiple lines of insight into where your business could go in the future.  By utilizing all your business data, predictive KPIs can help you make better decisions for your business.  In other words, predictive metrics don’t rely on the experience of previous tasks.  These metrics show future results according to which the optimal production scenario for the whole factory is made evident. For example, when production runs smoothly, peripheral departments such as sales, supply chain management, etc. are affected positively, as their value-added activities are conducted in alignment with the shop floor. 

As performance indicators of the future, Predictive KPIs usually contain information around: 

  • Inventory – Total inventory value, raw material inventory, WIP inventory, finished goods material value, and others 
  • Resources – Productivity, OEE, manufacturing time, setup time, capacity load and others 
  • Products and Customers – Production quantity, manufacturing cost, contribution margin, profitability, and others 
  • Orders – Earnings, profit, profit ratio, cumulative employee costs, cumulative total costs, and others 

One thing to note, you want to make sure your predictive KPIs exist for the entire planning period as well as pre-determined shorter planning periods. This forms an important pillar for making effective management decisions in every case, which is the reason that every manufacturing company today requires an end-to-end planning solution. 

Example KPIs for Manufacturing 

Plan vs. Actual Hours & Cost 

This KPI compares different areas of the shop, different processes, and different products.  By keeping a close eye on these metrics, you get an indication of how effectively your business is operating and how to improve overall results. 

Utilization & Capacity 

The ability to plan optimum utilization of resources is key to a lean shop.  Resource load balancing can help save on costs and improve on-time products, reduce overtime and expediting costs, and improve on deliver promise dates.  Utilization and capacity KPIs, also referred to as Work Center Dispatch KPIs, can easily be modified to fit your business so you’ll always know what each center is working on and what’s in the queue for completion. 

Production Scheduling 

This metric is a little bit more granular but offers better insight into workflows and resource utilization.  Many manufacturers use this as a starting point for defining a display of released orders in the plant and the current location and status of each. By using this production schedule KPI and the work center dispatch KPI, you can easily see the overall status of each work center and schedule across your departments or the entire shop. 

Profitability by Customer by Category by Item 

We all know that not all customers are created equally.  Some of them are highly profitable and others might cost your company money.  And this is true for products too.  It’s wise to review profitability of both customers and products on a regular basis.  This example of Sales and Profitability by Item Class and Item gives you plenty of data to better understand your business. 

 

KPIs may have originated in large, complex organizations but their value us universally recognized, and technology has made powerful, flexible measurement systems with KPI capability both affordable and user-driven so smaller organizations can benefit as well. 

Many KPIs are historical in nature, focused on summarization, presentation, and analysis of data commonly found in manufacturing management systems. User-managed alerts and alarms highlight activities and business areas that need attention, relieving busy managers from the need to pore over endless reports and screens. Built-in tools enable fast, intensive analysis to get to the heart of the problem and make sound, informed decisions. 

If you need better insight into your manufacturing business, talk to GaleForce.  We have the experts you need and solutions to match your unique business and pricepoint.  ERP solutions have evolved immensely over the past years and enterprise level features like KPIs are readily available for SMB level businesses.  Let’s talk.  Contact us today. 

 

How to Future Proof Your Business

How to Future Proof Your Business

If we’ve learned anything over the past few years, it’s to never know what to expect.  The almost overnight redesign of our world from the pandemic, stressed the need for businesses to be quick and flexible. Now, business leaders everywhere are faced with many issues to keep their businesses competitive and growing.

  • Fast-changing customer demands
  • Inventory surplus of deficit
  • A fast pace of keeping up with competitors
  • Expanding products and markets
  • Acquisitions

Anything is possible and you have to quickly adjust.

What technologies do you use to keep your business future-proofed?  What does that really mean and how can you take advantage of the benefits too?

The main goal of any company is financial stability.  Creating a multifaceted future-proofing strategy will increase your chances as your business works to establish the foundation for ongoing success. By doing so, you’ll be able to tackle problems in the future from various perspectives and have the highest chance of succeeding.

Many businesses also implement cutting-edge structural elements and procedures, such as a modern ERP solution to run their business on.  You have a better chance of succeeding if you have protocols ready to address different scenarios and spend money on formal evaluations of your processes as your business prepares for the future to understand your strengths and limitations. By investing in a true ERP solution, like Acumatica, you can strengthen your processes, automate procedures, and then focus on your weaker areas.

It’s all about how Acumatica listens to you and how quickly they respond. They really do want to hear from users to understand our business processes so they can incorporate new features and enhancements to make things even easier. It’s just amazing!

Kelly Burns, ERP Developer & former Chief Operating Officer , M3 Technology Group

When discussing future-proofing ideas, keep these 5 things in mind.

 

1. Comprehensive features

Top ERP solutions provide all-encompassing answers to your business problems.  From planning, budgeting, purchasing, to financial operations, you have all the information you need in a structure that will meet every demand.  Don’t outgrow your new ERP solution.  Make sure it meets your evolving needs without expensive upgrade, fees, and integrations.

2. Structural changes

Future-proof your business by making sure you don’t create huge IT projects if your company undergoes structural changes.  For example, you may decide it’s better to run your warehouse as a separate corporate entity, or that the branch office in another state should be a wholly owned LLC.  Acumatica offers flexible, multi-entity accounting functions that make structural changes simple.

Alternatively, internal organizational changes are common, but without the right tools, they can be disruptive. A full ERP solution can ease the transition and help automate things like, approvals over expenditures, contracts, and so forth. With Acumatica, you can modify user roles to reflect reporting relationships and approval authorities.

3. Evolving processes

Businesses are constantly improving and changing their processes.  Whether to adjust to economic impacts or internal variables, but this should not trigger a major software update. Choosing a modern ERP solution, gives you the ability to modify automated workflows—including being able to integrate with separate systems. Using standards-based APIs, you can connect to external partners easily.

4. Reporting is the key to success

Choosing an ERP solution to provide you endless, flexible analytics seems like a no-brainer.  But the problem is, you probably have no idea what you will need in the future.  Many systems have key reporting tools and visual dashboards, but you want to invest in a product that is putting development into this area as well.  This way you are assured that you can make and remake your reports and dashboards as they change over time.

5. Changes in IT

Legacy ERP systems are notorious for creating obsolete software/hardware environments. Even when the core functionality is still relevant to the business, the underlying infrastructure can become slow and costly to maintain. It can be very expensive to upgrade. Acumatica solves this problem by being cloud-based and cloud-native. You never have to worry about outgrowing your systems. It scales elastically on demand.

The future may be hard to predict, but Galeforce Consulting Partners can help future-proof your business, starting with an ERP solution.  With Acumatica, the cloud ERP, upcoming changes are easy to handle and ensure a smooth transition to unknown future states. Contact us to discuss your business needs.

Download our free whitepaper on how to deliver lasting value through the right ERP solution.

 

5 Key Factors When Selecting a Construction ERP Solution 

5 Key Factors When Selecting a Construction ERP Solution 

Now more than ever, technology advancements in the construction management software area have given us lots of choices for systems.  But that makes it even more difficult to choose which one is best for your business. If you’re in the market for a new construction ERP solution, you need to be strategic and pick a solution that provides you the greatest return on investment (ROI). 

Here are 5 key features to look for when evaluating different systems. 

1. Productivity.  You want the new system to be easy to learn and use, with the ability to work from anywhere and anytime.  Make sure your construction ERP solution has an easy to use, intuitive interface. Solutions requiring extensive training to learn how to use them cause frustration, even for high-end users. Your teams will be relying on this software, often on the go, so accessing important information must be simple and fast. Look for software that makes it easy for data entry, updates, and exchange of project-critical information.  

Modern construction solutions should also provide a platform for collaboration regardless of physical proximity, which is why most are now cloud-based systems with centralized data. Firms that have adopted cloud-based construction software reap the benefits of streamlined workflows, greater productivity, and higher visibility into their projects.

Why do construction businesses choose cloud-based solutions? Cloud-based software works from anywhere, reflecting the way people work today. Teams can work collaboratively in real time, or even offline when in remote locations. Using cloud services isn’t only about data storage; it’s about embracing a new way of working—one where accessibility, automation, and collaboration come first.  

Additionally, automation has become more advanced, freeing up resources, reducing errors, and making sure your processes are not being forgotten.

Success relies on not only getting the right data into the system, but the ability to report and interpret the data you gathered.  Reporting and other visual tools like dashboards give you a competitive advantage in your business. Because construction is primarily project based, make sure solutions offer enhanced financial reporting including the following elements: 

  • Maximized resource utilization analysis 
  • Multi-company 
  • Multi-location 
  • Profit & Loss management by unit, location, product mix or project manager 
  • Granular asset tracking 
  • Liability and equity management by project/corporate entity 
  • Balance sheet management by project/corporate entity 

2. Specialized Functionality.  There are numerous things to evaluate in terms of software functionality. Compliance management, multi-entity, integrated business intelligence, field service, CRM, sales order, and purchase order management, to name a few.  The biggest area to evaluate is the financial management features.  Aside from typical GL, AR, AP, and Inventory functions, construction ERP also requires more sophisticated tools to include the following: 

  • Contracts management 
  • Contractor indexing 
  • Materials management 
  • Equipment management 
  • Time and billing 
  • Taxes and state/federal policy management 
  • Vendor indexing 
  • Purchase and change order management 
  • Operational inventory management 

3. Future-proof Technology.  The technology platform of your ERP solution should embrace your growth needs and give you full access to everything you need.  Besides remote access, there are numerous other benefits of a true cloud solution, like Acumatica.  Acumatica offers flexible licensing and hosting options, upgrades on your schedule, and a full relational database with access and export options for reporting, backups, and transferring of data. Additionally, being built on a true cloud platform, Acumatica has a highly responsive design, meaning you can view and interact with every page of the application on any device with a minimum of resizing, panning, or scrolling.

Acumatica has also been ranked as one of the most user-friendly ERP solutions on the market. Its user interface is modern and intuitive, allowing users to access tasks with minimal clicks. 

4. Value. This is a no-brainer.  We all want to get the highest value from our investment possible. Make sure the solutions you are considering maximize features and functions for your business and weigh those against the cost for the usable lifetime of the product.  Look at your total cost of ownership (TCO) for the new system.  It the TCO reduced over the lifespan of the product?  Most people look 3-5 years ahead and factor in things such as hosting, licensing, support, upgrades, hardware, and other add-ons if needed.

5. Risk. Security is at the forefront in every business.  It’s a big factor to consider when choosing a new system to house all your critical data. Your first question should be, how does the ERP system minimize risk for your business while facilitating network and financial security.  Ask for customer references, is there a solid backup and disaster recovery plan, how often are updates and upgrades…it’s these and more that will make you feel confident the solution you choose is securing your business. 

A Solid Partnership is Key 

You need more than ‘just a software solution’ to stay competitive and get the most value out of your data. You need to partner with a team who is invested in your long-term success. GFC has the experts for you.  We are here as a guide and educator, to get you where you need to be, quickly and competently. Not sure where to start? Download our free ERP Construction Checklist and then contact us to discuss your business needs.  

Free Download:  ERP Construction Checklist 

 

Acumatica 2022 Roundup: 9 Best New Project Accounting & Construction Tools

Acumatica 2022 Roundup: 9 Best New Project Accounting & Construction Tools

Acumatica, the cloud ERP solution helps to keep projects on track and drive business growth.  Not only is Acumatica a powerful business platform but they are committed to consistent user enhancements and improvements with each version. The two releases in 2022 did not disappoint. We’ve gathered our favorites all in one place below.

“Acumatica Construction Edition had everything we were looking for. We are different from a regular construction contractor and liked that we could add our own specialty fields and customize it to the way we do business.”

Sean Barnett, Chief Financial Officer, Spohn Associates

Acumatica 2022 R1

Support of Multiple Base Currencies in Projects – Acumatica’s powerful multiple base currencies feature is now compatible with projects.  Businesses with different base currencies can be configured withing the same tenant and the system verifies that the base currency specified in the project documents corresponds to the base currency of the branch.

Multiple Currencies

Enhancements in Tracking Changes to Commitments – now users can track changes to project commitments that have been created based on purchase orders for the project drop-ship orders.

Commitments

Project Quote Improvements – enhancements have been made to the quoting process making it faster and easier for users to create project quotes for multiple customers related to the same opportunity.  You can now change the business account, location, and contact in any project quote in draft status.

Project Quotes

Additionally, you can link the project quotes to the same opportunity as shown here.

Link Project Quotes

Progress Billing Based on Quantity – Acumatica added in some needed billing flexibility for projects. In Acumatica 2022 R1, invoices can now be prepared based on pending quantities from budget lines rather than only the billed amount.

Progress Billing by Quantity

Project-Specific Taxes – calculating taxes for project sites just became a lot easier. Many times, the tax zone of the vendor or customer differs from the project site location. Now, Acumatica can be configured to use project-specific tax zones for calculating taxes and defining the ship-to addresses for projects.

Project Taxes

Acumatica 2022 R2

Tracking Project Progress by Unit – Acumatica 2022 R2 now includes a new form, Progress Worksheet, for employees on a site to capture project activities by units and track the installation or project progress.  Additionally, if specified, users can add cost budget lines. This information satisfies needed quantity billing and carries over into recalculations of the project budgets and shows on the daily field reports.

Tracking by Unit

Enhancements in Change Management – Acumatica has simplified the workflow when change requests are rejected or need to be revised and resubmitted by adding the ability to cancel a change order but keeping the full history.  For example, if we did not get paid for something, we can go in and cancel the change order and any change requests tide to it will get updated and removed from that change order when we release it. We keep the history of the change request but can now revise and resubmit the change order and can always go back and look at the full audit trail of a change order.

Change Management

Mobile App Improvements – much needed project features are now accessible via the mobile app giving project managers and field workers the information and flexibility they need.  Now included, users can view, create, and update drawing logs and submittals on their mobile device. Additionally, in a managed release version, you can also annotate blueprints.

New Mobile

comaIntegrations for Construction Financial Management Association – Acumatica 2022 R2 now includes automation for submitting information to the CFMA bench marker.  Not only can you easily submit data, but Acumatica has a pre-built dashboard with the results of the annual surveys so you can compare how you are doing to your peers.

CFMA Reports

If you’re a construction or project-related business and need a full-feature ERP solution, or you’re thinking about upgrading your Acumatica ERP solution, now is the time.  Talk to our experts about your options. Let’s grow your business!