Construction Accounting 101: A Basic Guide

bookkeeping for construction companies

Job costing allows you to evaluate your business from project to project and make minor or major adjustments in your budgeting to keep your business on track to your goals by the end of the year. If you keep organized records and receipts, this can be a simple report that allows you to understand how the project is progressing or how profitable the project was upon completion. You can identify whether or not your estimating on material costs was correct and if you were over or under on your estimate. This is a much better payment plan than getting paid in a lump sum at the end of a project. Having money flowing in periodically throughout the project significantly enhances your cash flow. Contract retainage is a portion of the final payment withheld until a later date to ensure the contractor has correctly and completely finished a construction project.

bookkeeping for construction companies

Having an organized system allows you to keep track of the financial health of your construction business. Not every system online can take into factor the complexities that is a construction business where every job is different and no two jobs are exactly alike. In terms of choosing a method of organizing your accounting, you can choose a cash basis or accrual accounting to document your numbers. Basically cash basis organizes your numbers when the money actually changes hands, whereas accrual documents these numbers when they happen. If something is put on account to be paid later, you can still document that in accrual accounting whether coming into or out of your account. It’s important to set aside time to keep these journals always up to date so that you can easily track business expenses and business receipts at any given time.

Scattered custom projects

That’s not to say it’s hard to find, but finding a reputable source in the Internet age is sometimes less than straightforward – especially if you have a specific problem to solve and limited time. Many problems can be traced back to the “Halo Effect,” which happens when a contractor thinks, “We are so good at we should expand into .” If you’re a small business owner or thinking about starting a small business, you’re likely focused on saving as much money. Being a small business owner can be exciting and frightening at the same time.

Learning resources, including online and in-person training, webinars, and documents, are provided to contractors to aid the proper use of the software. Finding the best bookkeeping platform for your construction company depends on recognizing your company’s needs. Being able to bid on or below the cost of the job will greatly improve the reputation of the construction business, leading to referrals by word of mouth. Below you can find our bookkeeping spreadsheet that includes a construction profit and loss statement template that will be automatically generated with every transaction that is inputted into it.

Important Concepts for Construction Bookkeeping

Even though it follows the same principles of general accounting, it has multiple distinctions that are crucial to run a successful construction company. The most important aspect of bookkeeping is knowing that you’re not required to figure it out yourself. Depending on your experience or desire to learn, it might make more financial and business sense to hire a professional accountant or bookkeeper to look after the intricacies of your records for you. Having a bookkeeper to monitor and process expenses, bills, and invoices can help you manage multiple accounts at a time, allowing you to focus on meeting deadlines, managing employees, and getting your job done.

In other years when the company is showing a loss, it may make sense to elect out of this depreciation to save deductions for future years. Getting your taxes done properly ensures that you are paying the lowest amount of tax possible under current tax laws. Let Casey Moss Tax help you prepare for tax time and avoid any unwanted surprises at year-end. We specialize in job costing, estimating project costs and managing outflows.

#4. Improved Cash Flow Management

In addition, this spreadsheet helps you keep track of production rates that will allow you to accurately estimate projects moving forward in your business based on your previous efficiency results. Having all of your construction company’s money in one account leads to a lot of frustration and confusion. If you have different accounts designated specifically for payroll, taxes, payments received from clients, and expenses, then you will have a better picture of where the company stands financially. Receipt management is an important aspect of keeping track of business expenses and receipts. With a service like Shoeboxed, you can outsource receipt scanning and integrate receipt data to QuickBooks Online or other popular accounting software.

bookkeeping for construction companies

Most existing bookkeeping solutions automate one or more aspects of bookkeeping. However, there’s still no software available that can automate the entire bookkeeping process. This method of revenue recognition allows you to recognize your gains and losses related to the project in every reporting period during which the project is active. Milestone payments are payments paid out after achieving a defined stage of progress on a project. Whether you decide to do job costing manually or using software, the same steps apply.

Tip #8: Hire a professional if you need bookkeeping for construction

Many construction companies use a “completion percentage” approach, meaning they calculate estimated taxes based on quarterly income and expense reports. Each month your bank will send you a record of your income and expenses. You can use that bank statement to reconcile your transactions to make sure they match up with your own accounting system, invoices, payments, etc.

How do you account for a construction company?

  1. Separate Personal and Business Expenses.
  2. Break Down Project Costs—Job Costing.
  3. Record Day-to-Day Financial Transactions.
  4. Select Revenue Recognition Methods.
  5. Track Business Expenses.
  6. Reconcile Bank and Supplier Statements.
  7. Pay Estimated Taxes.

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