Construction companies work off of already thin margins, which means technology will be increasingly important as they grow if they want to remain profitable – even in challenging times. Many small but growing construction firms remain on multiple software solutions: QuickBooks for financials; Excel for reporting, tracking and other manual tasks; a CRM for sales; and other siloed systems for job costing, payroll and more.
At some point, if you’re growing, this isn’t sustainable.
When is the right time for construction firms to move from QuickBooks to a modern cloud ERP like Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central?
Here are six signs it may be time to consider moving to an integrated solution.
You can’t grow without adding people to your back office.
The more jobs you add, the more of everything you need to manage – labor, subcontractors, bids, materials, visibility, etc. And if you can’t scale without hiring more in the back office to keep track of all of that (and ensure continued profitability and cash flow), that’s a sign you need to upgrade your systems. Otherwise, you’ll burst at the seams.
You don’t want increasing revenue or improving profit margins to be entirely consumed by operations. It’s better to implement technology like Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central that can scale with your business without adding work to your back-office crew and focus your dollars on more strategic hiring.
You’re using multiple applications to run your business.
Disjointed solutions mean you need more people to do manual data entry, and, in many cases, re-entry into multiple spots. It also increases the chances of errors and inconsistencies across systems. Having siloed applications also makes it much harder to pull aggregated reports to see, for example, the impact of job costing on overall profitability or how the numbers shift when you enter change orders into the system.
Too much data in too many systems to quickly pull or aggregate reports.
If creating a report that gives you the actionable insights you need feels like pulling teeth, it’s time to make a change. Other signs it’s time to move: Month-end, quarterly or year-end reporting consumes your team’s time, and your systems may be running slower, as you feed more data into them than they were designed for. By the time you’ve manually pulled all the data you need to build your report, it may no longer be relevant to the question at hand. You need an integrated solution such as Business Central that gives your team back time to spend on analyzing and acting on the data, not pulling it.
Finding the information you need is like navigating a maze.
If finding the information you need to make a decision is challenging, to say the least, it may be time to move off of QuickBooks. (Double that if you find yourself questioning the timeliness or the reliability of that data.) You need a solution where you can quickly and easily find the data you need. What happens when your team can’t get the information they need? How does that affect your relationships with customers relying on your budget and timeline to complete their projects?
You have no audit trail.
Compliance with industry standards, regulations and more is critical, but that becomes more challenging as you grow, especially if you’re growing quickly. QuickBooks doesn’t provide this functionality.
You’re using a lot of workarounds because QuickBooks can only do so much.
If your team has a lot of workarounds to accomplish daily tasks, it means that the system isn’t working for you. You need an integrated solution and construction industry-specific features to run efficiently and grow without straining your resources.
Where Do You Go from Here?
The technology you use may have worked for a long time, but as you’re growing, working on new types of projects or even dipping your toes into manufacturing, it may not meet your needs anymore – or won’t for long.
If you’re finding yourself checking a lot of the boxes above, it’s time to look to a more robust integrated cloud-based ERP: Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central.
Business Central will carry your construction business to the next phase of its life and then some. Here’s why.
- QuickBooks provides basic, foundational functionality to run your construction business, but a more complex business needs a true ERP such as Business Central. Business Central ties together job cost (labor, materials, overhead, etc.) with service and warranty to give you a full picture of job profitability and overall company performance.
- Reporting is simple with Business Central, bringing together data from all of your operations to provide a true 360-degree picture of your business. User-friendly dashboards in Business Central combined with Microsoft Power BI make it easy to track your most important KPIs, and to share them with your team for better decision-making in real time.
- To scale, you must break down siloes between applications. Sikich can help you integrate Business Central with just about any industry-specific, best-of-breed application that is required to run your business.
- In today’s market, with supply chain uncertainty top of mind, Business Central provides the ability to integrate customer and vendor portals for greater communication and visibility.
- And, finally, Business Central works natively with other Microsoft products such as Outlook, Excel, Word and Teams.
Unlike QuickBooks, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central gives construction firms the agility and visibility to accomplish more with limited resources and finite budgets. Reach out to Sikich; our consultants, who have deep experience in the construction industry, will work with you to assess whether and when your organization is ready to take its technology to the next level.