Owners will tell you, at times, the hardest part of the construction business is not doing the work, but it’s getting a project up and running. Once work comes in, contractors who do an excellent job of monitoring and managing work-in-progress will know where their profitability stands at any given time.
Here are two simple ideas to keep cash flow steady and in the black:
- Look for ways to keep communication between the field and office as efficiently as possible.
Whether you are keeping track of subs or maintaining W-2 employees, being on top of billable hours will mean the weekly payroll is not as burdensome. Nothing happens in the back office without timely and accurate field reports. How a job ultimately pans out will depend on a proper construction app that allows your team to work in real-time to keep update costs, input change orders, and access current scopes and budgets. Besides, good tracking software can help companies identify large overbilling or under billings. Cloud-based software solutions such as PeerAssist’s FWO keep time and materials accounted for, which is what you want. As the numbers come in, you’ll know whether you’re accruing costs on a job, or not. Ideally, you’re making more profit than you anticipated on a job, but, in any case, field apps can condense the time waiting for crucial accounting information, and analyze trends and performance. Data collected as a job is rolling along improves the ability to predict how profitable or unprofitable a job will be at completion and, if needed, allow owners and managers to resolve any billing or staffing issues immediately.
- Fully utilize and embrace your field applications. Apps like PeerAssist’s FWO store data in the cloud, making it affordable and easy to implement.
Such technologies help better anticipate receivables and cash inflow, and better time payments and cash outflow. FWO is a mobile app, so information can be inputted as it happens, and, as a result, delays in catching up to, or worse, in overlooking change orders, are greatly reduced. Some companies are using the apps to their fullest, for instance, issuing billings and invoices, taking care of materials inventory and orders, scheduling teams and coordinating subs, and keeping all of this in sync with project timelines and budgets. In addition, companies need to consider the legal complexities of the industry and managing a multitude of architects, engineers, manufacturers, installers, bonding companies, lending institutions, and permitting agencies. Chief among the reasons to get the right technology now is minimizing this risk by accurate and efficient reporting.
As Forbes.com writes, “The bottom line is that the process needs to ensure you have accurate cash flow forecasting, giving you actionable insights to improve your cash flow and the overall business’s financial health.”