Using QuickBooks for Construction Projects? 6 Tips to Help You Get the Most Out of the Software

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When it comes to finding an all-in-one construction accounting software solution as a contractor, QuickBooks is one of the leading cloud-based accounting software options for contractors. So much so, that the software is used by over 56,000 construction pros. 

Perfect for small- and medium-sized businesses, QuickBooks offers scalable solutions to make accounting for construction work simpler — from creating invoices and estimates for clients, to logging transactions, tracking your costs and much more.

On top of that, Quickbook’s software is easily accessible anywhere, whether you’re at home, the office, or on-site. 

Curious to learn more about why QuickBooks is the best accounting software for construction contractors? We’re here to walk you through how QuickBooks does the heavy lifting so you can focus on running your construction business better.

Quickbooks is used by over 56,000 construction pros

Key QuickBooks features for construction pros

QuickBooks provides a plethora of time- and resource-saving solutions to make contracting work easier, including: 

Tracking costs. QuickBooks is an end-to-end solution for managing all your costs, even if it’s just a first quote for a client. 

With a detailed overview of all your current projects, QuickBooks shows your profit margin, how much income is being generated, and what costs you’ve incurred — including labor costs of all your contractors, wherever they are.

QuickBooks also makes it easy to see just how profitable your construction company is, from estimates made for a client to versus much it actually costs, detailed breakdowns of your job costs (such as the cost-to-complete), and much more. 

By tracking everything in real-time, you can follow your bottom line and fine-tune your cash flow to maximize profits, all without having to wait until your construction projects are finished months down the road.

Invoicing clients. QuickBooks provides a streamlined invoice workflow, allowing you to convert an earlier estimate to an invoice. Even if you haven’t made an estimate earlier, QuickBooks uses the data added throughout your project to automatically calculate your invoice for you, and lets you track time spent to add it to your invoices.

Other features perfect for contractors managing many clients include Auto Invoice Reminders, and quickly editing and resending repeat invoices. If you need to get paid at various points throughout your project, QuickBooks also offers progress invoicing.

Creating estimates. Too many inaccurate estimates can make or break your business. While an estimate is just that — an estimate — you need to make sure that you make one that’s as accurate as possible. If you create an estimate that’s too high, you run the risk of losing a potential client. And if you underestimate? You could end up losing more money than you make when costs balloon.

With QuickBooks, you can eliminate most of the guesswork and do it automatically, as the more often you use QuickBooks, the more accurate your future estimates will be thanks to the job cost analysis.

Besides allowing your construction contractors to directly invoice your clients using estimates, inputting your estimates directly into QuickBooks gives you insights into other aspects of your workflow, such as job costs and time tracking. By taking a few minutes to create an estimate for your potential clients, QuickBooks will use your numbers as a solid cornerstone for the rest of your construction project workflow.

Tracking and paying workers. Whether you have 5 or 25 contractors, tracking and viewing tracked time through QuickBooks is straightforward. Not only can you connect your preferred payroll program together with QuickBooks, you’ll receive insightful real-time reports directly in one dashboard so you can maximize your profits and make proactive payroll decisions.

With QuickBooks’ software for tracking construction workers, you can make schedules per shift or job, quickly manage various teams using the Crew app, and even create a GPS map for geofencing to create a virtual work boundary. The end results? Improved accountability for all your employees, and invaluable insights to help you improve your financial planning for job costs and estimates.

QuickBooks also makes construction payroll fast and simple, through its integration of your timesheets and payroll. With automatic payrolls and tax payments and filing, easily pay your contractors after approving their hours, with either same- or next-day direct deposit. Plus, QuickBooks can calculate, file, and deduct your payroll taxes, making the chance of dealing with penalties less likely.

Bookkeeping to make taxes easier. Small businesses tax returns can be intimidating, but it’s important to make sure your financial records are airtight to keep your small construction business running successfully—even if you already have an accountant.

It’s important to collect, fill out, and mail all the tax forms necessary, such as 1099s and 1096s, many of which are due at the end of the fiscal year. While it can be complicated to have to deal with so many forms, QuickBooks’ software provides much of the important data that you’ll need for tax season as a construction contractor.

Still need extra help with paying your construction business taxes? QuickBooks Live makes bookkeeping digital, allowing you to file and report your taxes with your personal online bookkeeper that’s matched specifically to you. They’ll do the clean-up, routine bookkeeping, and reporting, whenever needed — so you can focus on doing what you know best. It’s that simple.

Convinced that QuickBooks is the perfect construction accounting software? Before you make the leap into the world of QuickBooks, here are some valuable tips to help set you on the path to success!

6 Tips For Using QuickBooks’ Accounting Software in Construction

1. Choose the right version for your needs

Within QuickBooks Online, there are 2 plans available for your construction business: QuickBooks Plus or QuickBooks Advanced. Both versions provide most of the features mentioned earlier in this article (other than Payroll services), and Plus includes up to 5 users. With Advanced, you also get business analytics, automated workflows, up to 25 users, a dedicated account team, and the ability to send batch invoices and expenses.

In other words, QuickBooks Plus is great if your construction business is still relatively small, but if you’re scaling up and do a lot of repeat contracting work, QuickBooks Advanced may be the better choice. With either version, you can add-on Payroll at a specific monthly fee.

2. Get trained on setting up and using the software

If you’ve only been using Excel sheets to balance your books, getting used to QuickBooks can be a challenge. With QuickBooks Training, you can get access to over 100 hours of training, live Q&As with experts, and more. QuickBooks also offers various webinars and events which you can watch live or on demand. After all, learning shouldn’t be intimidating!

3. Integrate QuickBooks with the construction software options you’re already using

Do you have a favorite construction management software? Many of them can be directly integrated into QuickBooks, meaning you won’t have to re-enter your data. Whether you use RedTeam to create contracts or Greenback for itemizing receipts, connect your favorite apps and tools with QuickBooks, so that everything works just the way you want.

4. Get your accountant and team on board

Even if you’re the boss, onboarding your team is essential so you can get the most accurate reports, which in turn can be used for accounting. When you add users from the QuickBooks home screen (or by inviting an accountant), make sure you choose the right user access settings, such as either “Time Tracking Only” to “Reports Only” or to a customized setting. You can also choose what items each user can view, as well as their admin rights—because you shouldn’t be forced to implement a “one-size-fits-all” solution for your construction company.

Instead of having information redundancies, minimize the amount of time you spend inputting data and information by exclusively using QuickBooks (or integrated software). Otherwise, you run the risk of forgetting to input valuable data into QuickBooks, which could affect balancing your books.

6. Take advantage of the software’s cloud and mobile features

Instead of being tied to your desk, up your productivity and work on the go. With the QuickBooks app, you can capture and upload receipts on location, view and edit reports anywhere, and more: you’ll receive real-time data, allowing you to take data-driven decisions anywhere, anytime. Whether you need to collaborate with your contractors or wrap up bookkeeping with your accountant, all your data is encrypted and private, just as it should be.

Getting Started with QuickBooks for construction accounting

While sticking with Excel spreadsheets can be familiar, QuickBooks provides insightful construction accounting software at competitive prices. Whether your construction company has just a few contractors or a dozen, QuickBooks can help make accounting for construction work a breeze.

BuilderGM’s seamless integration with QuickBooks eliminates double entry and human error. Quickly sync your QuickBooks account with BuilderGM so you can spend less time on admin work and more time building.