The Top Bookkeeping Tips for Contractors

bookkeeping for construction business

Completed contract – With this approach, revenue is only recorded once the project has been completed. Accounting software such as Quickbooks can help you manage your bookkeeping. However, without some background or experience in bookkeeping, it can be challenging to record all the complicated transactions within a construction company. Bookkeeping for construction companies comes with its challenges and requires a unique approach. One of these is that revenues are earned either by various projects or contracts with a long timespan.

After all, unexpected expenses can occur at any time that require immediate adjustment to a job’s budget or even your company’s overall budget. On a more positive note, a properly documented and processed change order could mean you’ll receive more revenue from a project than expected. When combined, these factors mean that bookkeeping for construction companies can be quite the challenge. Thankfully, there are some best practices you can put into place for your construction company. Also, it gives you sufficient information to make smart financial decisions. Evaluating your overhead expenses can help you decide whether you can double down on something to bring in more leads for example or to make the decision to cut back on certain spending.

How our unique approach to construction bookkeeping benefits your business

We charge an hourly rate to evaluate your books and fix the problems we find. Once we’ve developed an understanding of your business and goals we’ll establish a monthly fee for ongoing support. Hiring a part-time or in-house bookkeeper without experience doing construction industry accounting may save you a few dollars in the short-term, but it won’t serve your long-term interests. A bookkeeper lacking the experience and insights to generate meaningful and accurate financial reports hurts your ability to understand which jobs were the most profitable, and how to grow your business. With construction accounting, it’s crucial to keep track of costs from custom work in multiple locations.

  • At the end of any financial period, the bookkeeping department for existing projects calculates completion percentages.
  • This gives you a much more accurate financial picture of your company at any given time.
  • This builds their profit percentage into the amount and accounts for the cost of overhead.
  • Being a small business owner can be exciting and frightening at the same time.
  • A certified accountant can also help you structure your accounts in the most efficient ways to save money and avoid paying taxes.
  • This included features, such as offering quotes and estimates, job costing, PO management, budgeting, billing and invoicing and accounts payable (A/P).

However, since construction companies use a number of billing methods, specialized software might be required to track those billings. Construction contracts can often take years, which is longer than many other businesses. Depending on the contract terms, they commonly allow 30 – 90 days or more to pay invoices. Because of this, it is necessary for contractors to track and report costs precisely as well as having funds available for shorter-pay periods. There are benefits to having well-kept financial books in addition to the basic paying of bills. Good records will help to eliminate mistakes that could be costly to the business; having established trends and expectations in spending will help pinpoint transactions that may be incorrect.


Because revenue is recognized after expenses and revenue have occurred, this method of income recognition is not GAAP-approved. Our bookkeeping spreadsheet below includes sample financial statements for a construction company. A few of these are discussed real estate bookkeeping below and how they can help you analyze the financial well-being of your business at any given period of time. Apart from multiple prevailing wage and union rates, contractors commonly deal with multiple rates for numerous other reasons.

bookkeeping for construction business

With Shoeboxed’s Magic Envelope service, you can stuff receipts into a postage-paid envelope that you can keep on the dashboard of your company vehicle, collecting receipts as you go. At the end of the month, send in your envelope to get processed—and get notified when all your data is in your account. Having business expenses paid from a personal account can make it challenging to tell the difference between company costs and personal ones. A separate business account allows you to track business expenses, which creates accurate books more easily. It is especially essential when it comes time to catch up on bookkeeping at the end of the month or year.

How to Keep Track of a Jobs Ledger

By keeping a detailed inventory of the materials your company owns, you can better see where your resources are being spent and cut down on wasted materials and expenses. Danielle Smyth is a writer and content marketer from upstate New York. In addition to this content, she has written business-related articles for sites like Sweet Frivolity, Alliance Worldwide Investigative Group, Bloom Co and Spent. Materials are usually managed through some type of inventory, so that if leftovers from one project are used for another, costs are allocated correctly. Materials are usually straightforward to estimate going into a contract, unless something surprising is found while doing the work. Revenue recognition is how a a business determines when they’ve officially earned revenue from a contract or project.

  • Under regular business accounting circumstances, revenue recognition is simple because they sell a product or service and collect a fixed price right away.
  • It’s designed specially to help contractors track each job and how it affects the company as a whole.
  • These receipts should include a job name that the expense can be categorized under and a description of the materials that were purchased.
  • Time-and-material billing bases the contract price on a per-hour labor rate plus the cost of materials used.
  • Not only does your bookkeeper need to be on the same page, but so does every employee in the company that purchases materials or any job related expense.
  • When it comes to financials, the software offers bid management, change orders and purchase orders .

In comparison to other industries, like retail or manufacturing, construction contracting has several distinct traits from an accounting perspective. Labor is determined by multiplying your workers’ daily rate by the number of days estimated to complete the project. Every small business needs a bookkeeping system that takes into account all the variables that make that business unique. However, the process will go smoother if you have a clear paper trail for your business.

QuickBooks Outsourced Construction Bookkeeping Services

Construction bookkeeping is a crucial part of running a construction business. Billing and invoicing – Creating and sending invoices are also essential features you should look for in a bookkeeping solution. Some solutions, like Hubstaff, offer a free trial to provide you with an opportunity to test the software and determine if it’s the right fit for your needs.

bookkeeping for construction business

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