Understanding construction accounting
Construction accounting differs from standard business accounting. In the construction industry, contractors tend to work on various projects at the same time. Each project requires individual tracking when it comes to labor costs, subcontractors, materials costs, change orders, and more.
Unlike other types of businesses, separate accounting is done for each construction project. And while these will likely have many similarities, each job site is unique and comes with its own set of variables.
In addition to being able to handle significant variation from project to project, your construction accounting system must generate financial statements, such as:
- Balance sheets
- Income statements
- Cash flow statements
Good construction management software should have real-time financial information available at a glance.
Here’s our list, in brief, with a full explanation of each below.
- Buildertrend: Best for companies that need accounting software with a focus on project management.
- ComputerEase: Best for construction firms that need a customized package that can include accounting, job costing, project management, and more.
- Premier: Best for construction companies that need all-in-one software solutions.
- ProCore: This cloud-based software is best for construction project managers.
- Quickbooks Online: Best for those who want a do-it-yourself (DIY) accounting solution.
- Sage 100 Contractor: Best for firms that want a streamlined, construction-specific software package.
- Xero: Best for construction companies that want a DIY solution at a budget price.
- Bench: Best for those who want to spend the least amount of time managing their books and accounting.
Top 8 accounting software packages for construction companies
Here are eight of the best construction accounting software options available for small-to-medium-sized construction companies.
Buildertrend, a leading cloud-based construction management software company, helps contractors in every step of the building process. That ranges from sales, to tracking project costs, to communicating with clients.
Buildertrend’s accounting software integrates seamlessly with top platforms, including:
- Chief Architect
Three plans are available:
Starts at an introductory rate of $99 per month, rising to $399 after two months. The Essential plan is designed for those looking for simple project planning and more efficient job sites. This is a robust initial construction accounting software system for construction businesses focusing on project management.
Starts at an introductory rate of $399 per month, rising to $699 after two months. The Advanced plan contains all the financial management tools available from Essential and allows construction firms to confidently create estimates.
This plan allows customers to create or input change orders, purchase orders, lead proposals, labor costs, timecards, and surveys. Subcontractors can sign off on necessary purchase orders in the field.
The Complete plan starts at an introductory rate of $899 per month, increasing to $1,299 after two months. This plan centralizes the most complicated processes, including RFIs for clarifications, warranties, and securities, into one platform. According to reviews, it’s noted for its ease of use.
Every package includes access to the Buildertrend Learning Academy, featuring online training courses and certifications. Customer support is available 24/7.
Buildertrend offers a 30-day risk-free trial. There are no setup fees or contracts.
ComputerEase ERP construction accounting software is dedicated to providing easy-to-use software for construction-based practices.
Its job-costing software allows builders to keep track of the costs of every project and identify problem areas beforehand to help with cash flow.
ComputerEase accounting features include:
- Project management
- Payroll administration
- Contractor management
- Equipment tracking
- Service management
Contact ComputerEase for pricing information.
Premier Construction Software, a cloud-based software solution, offers integrated modules including:
- Accounts payable and approvals
- Financial management
- Document management and unlimited storage
- Subcontract management
- Job costing
- Custom electronic workflows
- Create instant credit card, check, and direct deposit payments
- Cash flow forecasting to plan ahead
Pricing is $249 per user per month with no annual commitment required. For an annual commitment, pricing is $199 per month. There is also a third option. Premier charges a one-time $30,000 implementation fee which includes six weeks of staff training.
A free trial is available.
Procore is construction management software that can manage project costs from start to finish. Its cloud-based platform allows users to get away from on-premises servers. It was created primarily for project managers, and allows for real-time changes. Back-office forecasting is possible via the data received from field managers.
- Bid management
- Design coordination
- Project management
- Financial management
- Workforce planning
- Invoice management
The company’s mobile app permits users to access project information anywhere, anytime.
Procore pricing depends on the customer’s unique needs, and custom packages are put together for each situation. There is an upfront annual fee based on the customer’s Annual Construction Volume. Choose from a suite of products targeting different construction business needs, allowing collaboration across teams. All choices include an unlimited number of users, unlimited data storage, implementation services, and 24/7 customer support.
Quickbooks Online construction bookkeeping offers two plans, with add-ons, such as payroll, available.
This most popular option, at $85 per month, allows up to five users to:
- Track income and expenses
- Accept payments
- Manage cash flow
- Maximize tax deductions
- Send estimates
- Manage 1099 contractors
- Allow subcontractors to add tax ID information via QuickBooks
At $100 per month, this plan increases the number of users to more than five. It also includes:
- Tracking project profitability
- Inventory tracking
- Business analytics with Excel
- Exclusive mobile app integrations
- On-demand online training
- Dedicated account team
Sage 100 Contractor
Sage 100 Contractor helps small to medium-sized construction companies manage all construction and service management phases with one simple accounting solution. With Sage 100 Contractor, users can generate construction-specific billing, including:
- Time tracking
- Job costs
- Automate certified payroll and workers’ compensation
In addition, all customers automatically receive Sage Membership, which features Masterclasses from construction experts, learning resources and certifications, and help from community peers.
Pricing for Sage 100 Contractor is $115 per month per user.
This $13-a-month plan is designed for the self-employed and new businesses. With your mobile phone and Xero, you can:
- Capture expenses
- Send 20 online quotes and invoices
- Enter 5 bills
- Reconcile bank transactions
- Track short-term cash flow
- Capture bills and receipts with Hubdoc
The most popular plan, at $37 per month, is aimed at growing small businesses. Along with features offered by Early, the Growing plan places no limit on the number of invoices or quotes sent along with entering unlimited bills.
As the name implies, this plan is best for established construction companies. At $70 per month, Established also allows you to:
- Track multiple currencies
- Track projects
- Claim expenses
- View in-depth analytics
At all plan levels, there is 24/7 online support. Add Payroll with Gusto to all plans for $40 per month. You can cancel any plan with one month’s notice.
Xero offers a 30-day trial in which users can access all features. Once the trial is complete, you can determine which plan best suits your construction business.
Bench is North America’s largest professional bookkeeping service for small businesses. We work with construction businesses to generate the reports they need and stay on top of their books, so tax time is a breeze. Our team of experts learns your company quickly, so they can manage your bookkeeping using our proprietary software with minimal input from you. Bench will also complete one month of your prior bookkeeping and generate one set of financial reports for your business as a free trial.
Our Essential plan is $249/month billed annually, or $299/month billed monthly and includes:
- Monthly bookkeeping
- Dedicated bookkeeping team
- Year-end tax-ready financial statements
- Unlimited communication (including phone calls) with our in-house research team
The Premium plan is priced at $399/month billed annually or $499/month billed monthly. It includes everything in the Essential plan, plus:
- Unlimited income tax support
- Yearly income tax filing for businesses (S-corps, partnerships, C-corps) or individuals (sole proprietors, independent contractors)
The bottom line
When choosing a construction accounting software package, it’s important to pay attention to a few different criteria: How hands-on or hands-off do you want to be? How many integrations does your company need (or do you expect to need in the future)? And what features are non-negotiable?
Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll be closer to choosing the right solution for your business.