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How Do I Choose the Best Job Costing Software?

Jo Dunaway
Jo Dunaway

Job costing software programs come in a variety of configurations, so the best choice would be the one that matches your current and future business model, the additional accounting modules that you might need to add now or later and the investment that you are willing to make to set up your financial accounting office for years to come. The process of job costing enables you to have the information you need to do accurate estimating, materials purchasing and equipment and labor allocations, so the correct fit is paramount. If your business might expand into other areas, choose one that will be flexible enough to incorporate these future changes. Many types of job costing software allow for updates from the field using remote tablets and smartphones, so consider one that will receive information from these devices automatically. There are excellent programs designed for users from the single remodeling subcontractor to the largest construction corporation, so the correct fit is available.

Specialty construction trades as well as general contractors have a wide variety of effective job costing software to choose from, and some of these software programs have gotten rave reviews from users and professional entities. Any review by other users or publications will help to inform you in your decision, and it would be wise to investigate these, because they might point out the strongest advantages or most frustrating disadvantages that you might want to avoid. Your accountant will thank you if you choose a job costing program that has flexible and easy-to-use report functions and easily read audit trail capabilities. Many programs allow instant access to the database by any employee from within the office or out in the field to increase efficiency and make your operations more paperless.

Man holding computer
Man holding computer

A good job costing software program can tell you how profitable former jobs have been and can project for you how much profit you are likely to clear on each future job. The program should show you where you were making money and where your estimate was cut too fine. By keeping you up to date as the project progresses, you will know at any given moment what your true costs are. Good job costing software also can point out where your company’s strengths are so that you can pick the jobs that utilize those strengths and build up your company’s reputation for reliability in those fields. It also can point out your weak spots in the organization so that they can be addressed and worked on toward improvement of the organization as a whole.

Job costing software can be most useful in projecting potential cost overruns and pointing out in any considered project, whether it is one for which you would want to take time to give an estimate or develop a proposal, or whether you should step back and allow someone else to garner the job. Whether entering each cost to a particular project or to the overhead account, you will know what the big picture is before deciding whether your estimates have taken all factors into account and whether you are within budget at any point. You can talk to other trusted contractors for their recommendations and read trade journals' reviews of job costing software programs and integrated program modules. Take some time online examining each program’s website for its offerings and terms, then choose wisely.

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