We've helped many engineering firms choose the right accounting software so they can track billable hours and gain greater insight into their finances. How does it work?

Engineering Accounting Software


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NetSuite logo
 
NetSuite is a business management software suite offered as a service that performs enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) functions. It is a horizontal package designed for an extensive range... Read More
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NetSuite is a business management software suite offered as a service that performs enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) functions. It is a horizontal package designed for an extensive range... Read More
 
Multiview logo
 
For organizations seeking a solution that conforms to their existing operations, Multiview offers a suite of financial solutions. With Multiview, companies gain visibility over corporate data. The solution includes 14 modules that... Read More
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For organizations seeking a solution that conforms to their existing operations, Multiview offers a suite of financial solutions. With Multiview, companies gain visibility over corporate data. The solution includes 14 modules that... Read More
 
Sage Live logo
 
Sage Live is a cloud-based and mobile ready accounting platform for small and mid-sized businesses. Key features include multi-company, multi-currency, and multi-legislation support, personalization based on user role, bank integration,... Read More
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Sage Live is a cloud-based and mobile ready accounting platform for small and mid-sized businesses. Key features include multi-company, multi-currency, and multi-legislation support, personalization based on user role, bank integration,... Read More
 
Deskera logo
 
Deskera is an enterprise resource planning software formulated to run manufacturing operations. The system is suitable for companies manufacturing for a variety of industries. Textiles, automotive, distribution, metal processing, pharmaceuticals,... Read More
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Deskera is an enterprise resource planning software formulated to run manufacturing operations. The system is suitable for companies manufacturing for a variety of industries. Textiles, automotive, distribution, metal processing, pharmaceuticals,... Read More
 
SAP ERP Core Finance logo
 
Over 30,000 companies, spanning 120 different countries, are using SAP ERP Financials to conduct their financial management.  Noteworthy names include General Mills and Office Max. SAP ERP Financials is a part of SAP’s Business... Read More
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Over 30,000 companies, spanning 120 different countries, are using SAP ERP Financials to conduct their financial management.  Noteworthy names include General Mills and Office Max. SAP ERP Financials is a part of SAP’s Business... Read More

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SAP Anywhere logo
 
SAP Anywhere integrates sales, marketing, e-commerce, and inventory activities into one complete front-office system. With SAP Anywhere users can manage and track inventory, manage orders, manage the procurement process, and more.... Read More
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SAP Anywhere integrates sales, marketing, e-commerce, and inventory activities into one complete front-office system. With SAP Anywhere users can manage and track inventory, manage orders, manage the procurement process, and more.... Read More
 
Acumatica ERP logo
 
Acumatica ERP delivers an adaptable cloud and mobile-based enterprise resource planning solution with a user licensing model which enables a real-time view of business operations at any time from anywhere. Through a worldwide network... Read More
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Acumatica ERP delivers an adaptable cloud and mobile-based enterprise resource planning solution with a user licensing model which enables a real-time view of business operations at any time from anywhere. Through a worldwide network... Read More
 
Sage 100 Standard and Advanced ERP (formerly Sage ERP MAS 90 and 200) logo
 
Sage 100 ERP (formerly branded as Sage ERP MAS 90 and 200) is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) software system for small and midsize businesses. The solution is typically recommended to companies with annual revenue between one... Read More
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Sage 100 ERP (formerly branded as Sage ERP MAS 90 and 200) is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) software system for small and midsize businesses. The solution is typically recommended to companies with annual revenue between one... Read More
 
Oracle JD Edwards logo
 
JD Edwards Financial Management is the accounting component of Oracle's JD Edwards EnterpriseOne (JDE e1) product line. This component can serve businesses of any size. The system is horizontal; it is designed to serve the needs of... Read More
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JD Edwards Financial Management is the accounting component of Oracle's JD Edwards EnterpriseOne (JDE e1) product line. This component can serve businesses of any size. The system is horizontal; it is designed to serve the needs of... Read More
 
SAP Business One logo
 
SAP Business One is an integrated enterprise resource planning (ERP) software suite designed primarily to serve small to midsize businesses. SAP Business One is used to address the needs of many industry verticals including manufacturing,... Read More
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SAP Business One is an integrated enterprise resource planning (ERP) software suite designed primarily to serve small to midsize businesses. SAP Business One is used to address the needs of many industry verticals including manufacturing,... Read More

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FinancialForce Financial Management logo
 
FinancialForce Financial Management (FM) is a cloud-based system built to provide a complete financial management solution for sales and services-orientated companies of all sizes. FinancialForce FM has several inherent applications,... Read More
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FinancialForce Financial Management (FM) is a cloud-based system built to provide a complete financial management solution for sales and services-orientated companies of all sizes. FinancialForce FM has several inherent applications,... Read More
 
Microsoft Dynamics GP logo
 
Microsoft Dynamics GP is a financial accounting system designed to meet the requirements of small to midsize businesses. Microsoft Dynamics GP was originally developed by North Dakota-based Great Plains Software and was acquired by... Read More
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Microsoft Dynamics GP is a financial accounting system designed to meet the requirements of small to midsize businesses. Microsoft Dynamics GP was originally developed by North Dakota-based Great Plains Software and was acquired by... Read More
 
Exact Macola logo
 
Macola is the ERP and business software that manufacturers and wholesale distributors trust to automate, grow and streamline their business workflows. Macola meets the unique needs of growing SMBs ─ automating and managing core... Read More
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Macola is the ERP and business software that manufacturers and wholesale distributors trust to automate, grow and streamline their business workflows. Macola meets the unique needs of growing SMBs ─ automating and managing core... Read More
 
Microsoft Dynamics AX logo
 
Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 is an ERP system suitable for midsize to large enterprises. The solution has particular strengths in manufacturing and distribution but is also capable of serving buyers across multiple industry verticals.... Read More
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Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 is an ERP system suitable for midsize to large enterprises. The solution has particular strengths in manufacturing and distribution but is also capable of serving buyers across multiple industry verticals.... Read More
 
Sage 300 ERP (formerly Sage ERP Accpac) logo
 
Sage 300 ERP (formerly Sage ERP Accpac) is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) software system that serves small and medium-size businesses in professional services, financial services, public sector, and other markets such as distribution... Read More
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Sage 300 ERP (formerly Sage ERP Accpac) is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) software system that serves small and medium-size businesses in professional services, financial services, public sector, and other markets such as distribution... Read More

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Infor CloudSuite™ Financials & Supply Management logo
 
Infor CloudSuite Financials & Supply Management is a solution suite that provides financial functionality coupled with a source-to-settle supply management offering. The solution is role-based, mobile responsive and delivered in the... Read More
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Infor CloudSuite Financials & Supply Management is a solution suite that provides financial functionality coupled with a source-to-settle supply management offering. The solution is role-based, mobile responsive and delivered in the... Read More
 
Unanet Project Portfolio Financials logo
 
Unanet Project Portfolio Financials consists of one software application with integrated capabilities to manage, plan and track projects, people and financials in real time. Available as a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offering or an... Read More
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Unanet Project Portfolio Financials consists of one software application with integrated capabilities to manage, plan and track projects, people and financials in real time. Available as a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offering or an... Read More
 
Microsoft Dynamics SL logo
 
Microsoft Dynamics SL is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system designed for project-based small and medium-sized businesses. The solution offers industry-specific capabilities for professional services, government contractors,... Read More
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Microsoft Dynamics SL is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system designed for project-based small and medium-sized businesses. The solution offers industry-specific capabilities for professional services, government contractors,... Read More
 
Unit4 Business World logo
 
Unit4 Business World is a scalable ERP solution designed to address the unique demands service organizations face. It offers multi-lingual and multi-currency capabilities, and is a fit for higher education, nonprofits and NGOs, professional... Read More
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Unit4 Business World is a scalable ERP solution designed to address the unique demands service organizations face. It offers multi-lingual and multi-currency capabilities, and is a fit for higher education, nonprofits and NGOs, professional... Read More
 
Exact Globe Next logo
 
Exact Globe Next is an end-to-end business management solution. It offers accounting, inventory management, billing and invoicing, financial reporting, and more. This ERP system can be deployed either on-premise on a local server,... Read More
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Exact Globe Next is an end-to-end business management solution. It offers accounting, inventory management, billing and invoicing, financial reporting, and more. This ERP system can be deployed either on-premise on a local server,... Read More
 

Buyer's Guide

by Lisa Hedges,
Content Analyst
Last Updated: September 13, 2017


It can be daunting to try to find the right software for an engineering firm. Whether you’re a first-time buyer or you’re replacing a current system, there are a variety of factors to take into account. Between cost calculations, functionality evaluations and deployment considerations, it could take longer than you originally expected to narrow down your software options into a manageable shortlist.

Luckily, we’re here to help you save time as you choose a solution that meets and exceeds the whole company’s needs. Those needs may include time tracking, job costing, billing and project management in addition to core accounting modules. It’s possible to find one specialized system that performs all these functions.

In this guide, we’ll show you how engineering accounting software vendors are optimizing the workflows of businesses like yours. You’ll also learn all the different ways software can be implemented. This knowledge can empower you to make the best decision for your team.

Here's what we'll cover:

What Is Engineering Accounting Software?
Common Features of Engineering Accounting Software
Benefits of Engineering Accounting Software
Evaluating Engineering Accounting Software
Deployment Options

What Is Engineering Accounting Software?

Engineering firms will need project-based accounting software, often with time-recording and billing functions to track billable hours and create the corresponding invoices. Job costing functions to track labor, equipment use, subcontractor usage and materials are also helpful.

Invoices generated by systems in this category should be composed in a readable fashion for the client. These systems should also break down expenses by service provided, performer of service, location, equipment and materials. Implemented correctly, this allows for the optimal accounting and billing efficiency.

Engineering accounting software should be able to serve any sector in this industry, such as:

  • Power
  • Telecommunications
  • Petrochemical
  • Renewable energy
  • Utility
  • Transportation

Common Features of Engineering Accounting Software

Engineering accounting software typically includes industry-specific features in addition to the basic accounting functionalities all businesses need to succeed. Here are some examples:

Core accounting These are the main modules needed to manage financial operations, including the general ledger, payroll, accounts receivable and accounts payable.
Project management Engineering software’s project management capabilities allow the user to automate scheduling, allocate resources, build accurate project budgets and manage staff time effectively.
Time & resource billing The system should be able to meet the different billing needs of an engineering firm, billing by hour or by project and tracking employee time. It should also let you track your billable and non-billable resources to maximize cost recovery.
Engineering inventory modules An engineering accounting solution will contain straightforward categorized line items—including pictures—for each of the thousands of different kinds of products and materials used. This way only the correct item will be purchased and/or billed.
Client communication Effective customer relationship management can help you attract new business and strengthen existing relationships. This includes automating client and contact management and tracking leads, marketing campaigns, contacts and sales all using the same system.
Comprehensive audit trail This describes the ability to track any item from opportunity through usage/completion, providing a complete account that can be drilled down for more detail.
Data visualization Many systems allow users to view financial or operational information through visual tools, such as graphs and charts. The data can be customized and is usually presented in a dashboard interface.

Benefits of Engineering Accounting Software

Professionals can realize multiple benefits as a result of adopting engineering accounting software, such as:

Greater inter-company coordination. This benefit is especially valuable to engineering firms that have multiple locations or that employ staff who regularly work off the company premises. Having one unified software system that is easily accessible to everyone means data can be entered and analyzed simultaneously in different departments. Nowadays, many software solutions offer native mobile device applications to give clients even more accessibility on the go.

Easier compliance reporting. When contracting with government agencies, such as the Department of Transportation or the Department of Defense, it’s very important to ensure every project meets a particular set of regulations. Software can simplify regulatory compliance by providing robust reporting tools that can show time and expense tracking by employee, transaction histories and more.

More transparency. Software users are able to view costs and expenditures in a clear and concise way, which enables business leaders to make informed decisions more quickly. Accounting systems for engineers integrate line items for products and materials used, so you get a more comprehensive view of how resources are being used.

Increased productivity. When a system is designed in an intuitive and user-friendly manner, it helps employees zero in on the exact information they need. This eliminates the need for duplicate data entry. It also allows staff to spend more time focusing on improving the business and less time hunting down spreadsheets or project status updates.

Evaluating Engineering Accounting Software

As with many other service providers, this software benefits from the option to categorize certain expenses in customizable ways, such as billable or non-billable. Engineering firms can also benefit from features that streamline communication to employees and customers to prevent confusion following changes made to a project.

When evaluating these systems, buyers should consider the following:

  • Does it fit the billing strategy (usually billable hours)?
  • Can criteria such as materials and equipment be tracked and stored by the software?
  • Does it include the data necessary for your specialty?
  • Can it assist in producing documents that ensure client comprehension?
  • Does it fit a project-by-project accounting scheme?

Deployment Options

One of the most important decisions engineering software buyers must make is whether to buy a cloud-based or an on-premise system. Cloud software is typically hosted remotely on the vendor’s servers while on-premise solutions are maintained on your company’s own servers.

Cloud-based systems are becoming increasingly popular in the market, largely due to the following benefits:

  • Remote access
  • Lower upfront costs
  • Vendor takes care of software updates
  • Vendor takes care of system maintenance

That said, some engineering firms already have the IT resources necessary to host an on-premise solution and they enjoy the increased control it provides them over the SQL database.

Free Download:
Accounting Software Pricing Guide

Free Download:
How to Assess Accounting Software Vendors' Viability

 

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