Finding software can be overwhelming. We've helped hundreds of construction firms choose the right accounting software so they can track job costs by job and manage payroll for workers.

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Procore

Procore manages your projects, resources and financials from project planning to closeout. The platform connects every project contributor with the owner and general or specialty contractor. The centralized dashboard allows manage... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 88 recommendations

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RedTeam

RedTeam is a project management, construction financials and document control solution suited for midsize commercial general contractors. It is a cloud-based application developed by contractors to manage pre-construction, constru... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 48 recommendations

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SpectrumFrontRunners 2020

Spectrum (formerly Dexter + Cheney) is a cloud-based construction ERP solution for small, midsize and large enterprises. Primary features include accounting, document management, job cost, project management, equipment management,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 22 recommendations

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Jonas EnterpriseFrontRunners 2020

Jonas Enterprise is an intuitive, integrated solution for contractors that has been present in construction and service management for over 25 years. The application offers service, accounting, and operations project management ca... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 22 recommendations

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CMiCFrontRunners 2020

For over 30 years, CMiC has delivered state-of-the-art software solutions, purpose-built for the construction industry. Since its inception, CMiC has maintained a laser focus on automating essential back-office functions – such as... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 19 recommendations

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FOUNDATIONFrontRunners 2020

FOUNDATION is a job cost accounting, project management and scheduling solution available as traditional installed software or on the cloud. Plus, fully integrated apps like FOUNDATION mobile and Service Dispatch mobile sync remot... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 14 recommendations

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PremierFrontRunners 2020

Premier Construction Software is a true cloud, all in one accounting, job cost, project, document and drawing management solution, specifically designed to meet the needs of General Contractors, Land Developers, and Homebuilders. ... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 13 recommendations

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plexxis

Plexxis offers comprehensive solutions created specifically for the most demanding specialty sub-contractors. With on premise, subscription, cloud-based and mobile options, Plexxis delivers office and field efficiencies for accoun... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 10 recommendations

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Job Accounting Plus

Job Accounting Plus is a single-entry construction job cost software and accounting solution which helps in job costing, billing, bookkeeping and financial reporting for home builders and contractors. It can be purchased as a stan... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 6 recommendations

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Explorer Eclipse

Eclipse by Explorer is a cloud-based construction accounting and project management solution designed for contractor businesses. It caters to medium to large construction companies belonging to different construction businesses, s... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 5 recommendations

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Corecon

Corecon is a construction software suite that offers organizations a solution for estimating, project management, job costing and scheduling. The cloud-based system features multiple dashboards which offer users visibility into al... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 5 recommendations

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CrewTracks

CrewTracks is a web-based construction and field service software system. The system is suitable for mid-size concrete, heavy/highway contractor and paving companies in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, South Africa, Aust... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 4 recommendations

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Kahua

Kahua helps you manage processes, documents and cost on your construction programs and projects from inception to closeout. Purpose-built solutions for owners, program managers, general contractors and subcontractors help you mini... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 4 recommendations

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Maestro

Maestro Technologies has been delivering information management solutions to the Canadian construction industry for over 30 years. Made in Canada with over 10,000 users across the country, maestro ERP is a complete bid-to-bil... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 2 recommendations

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ECi MarkSystems

MarkSystems is a single-database enterprise resource management (ERP) and information management application for homebuilders and property developers. The solution offers a cloud-based system that integrates all functions, process... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 1 recommendations

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COINS

COINS develops, implements and supports enterprise resource planning software for the construction industry. It offers a full suite of accounting, job cost, human capital management and service management modules in a cloud-based ... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 1 recommendations

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eCMS

eCMS offers a comprehensive suite of software applications that help commercial contractors manage all aspects of their financials and operations. eCMS is specifically built for the construction industry delivering users business ... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 1 recommendations

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QuickBooks Desktop EnterpriseFrontRunners 2020

QuickBooks Enterprise is an accounting solution designed for SMBs across different industry verticals such as construction, nonprofit distribution, manufacturing, and retail. With QB Enterprise solution, any business owner can exp... Read more

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FreshBooksFrontRunners 2020

FreshBooks takes billing out of your hands and puts it on autopilot. Set up automated invoicing, online payment options (ACH and Credit Card), and late payment reminders to get paid 2x faster. Next, boost team productivity with pr... Read more

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XeroFrontRunners 2020

Established in 2006, Xero is a web-based accounting system designed for small and growing businesses. Xero connects small businesses with their trusted advisors and provides business owners with instant visibility of their financi... Read more

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2021 Construction Accounting Software Pricing Guide

Learn about the key aspects of accurate software pricing before you make your purchase decision.

Includes:

  • Pricing models & ranges

  • Unexpected costs

  • Pricing of popular systems

Buyers guide


Last Updated: April 13, 2021

 

Construction accounting is unique. Contractors need to track detailed costs by job and manage complex payrolls, among other things. In response to these requirements, roughly 100 applications vendors exist to serve the market. These range from low-end solutions for small companies to large enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. There are also unique vendors for different trades and divisions—general contractors, heavy/civil, MEP etc. We wrote this guide to help make sense of this complicated marketplace.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

What Is Construction Accounting Software?
What Type of Buyer Are You?
Benefits and Potential Issues
Market Trends to Understand

What Is Construction Accounting Software?

Construction accounting software offers sophisticated functionality for job costing, complex payroll processing, equipment management, subcontracting and other financial management processes. Systems are typically designed around a job costing module, which allows accounting staff to allocate job costs by job and CSI code. This capability is the core difference between construction accounting systems and the generic accounting systems that are more popular in other industries.

Many contractors may start their business with generic construction bookkeeping software, such as Quickbooks or Peachtree, but they will upgrade to an construction-specific system once they reach a certain level of sophistication—typically when they exceed about $3 million in revenue or more than five concurrent projects of meaningful size. 

The core of any top-rated accounting system includes: job costing, general ledger, accounts payable, accounts receivable, purchase orders, payroll management and financial reporting. Other common add-on modules include:

  • Fixed asset accounting
  • Equipment tracking
  • Inventory management
  • Contract management
  • Time tracking

Accounting software for a construction company will also support the industry's primary billing formats: time & materials, AIA, progress or percent completion, cost plus and retention. When accounting is implemented as part of a broader suite of applications, the system will often be integrated with service management, project management, project scheduling, document management, cost estimating, fixed asset accounting, equipment tracking, inventory management and time tracking. 

What Type of Buyer Are You?

To sort through the 100 or so systems out there and start your comparison, it helps to identify yourself with one of the specific types of buyers we see in the market:

Upgrading from Quickbooks. A majority of the buyers we speak to are small contractors evaluating construction-specific systems for the first time. They are currently using Quickbooks, Peachtree or another entry-level package. However, they are growing and need more sophisticated job costing and payroll management functionality. There are excellent mid-range solutions for this type of buyer. The most important thing for these buyers is that they find an affordable construction accounting software package price.  

Large construction enterprise. Large firms tend to have multiple corporate entities and need to consolidate their financials. They also tend to have different units performing different types of work (e.g. GC, MEP, Civil—all under one parent firm). Finally, they have many users and many different types of users. Generally, these firms are seeking to modernize by replacing aging legacy systems.

Service contractor. Service contractors typically seek systems that combine accounting and field service management. So, in addition to core accounting, they require service dispatch, scheduling, service contract management and spare parts inventory management. These contractors also self-perform work, so they have specific labor-related needs. A well-established set of vendors offer financial software for contractors. 

Heavy/civil contractor. Heavy/civil contractors also have very unique requirements. They perform unit billing, and need a system designed to bill this way. They also have substantial requirements around equipment management, fixed asset accounting, materials management and dispatching and tracking work crews. A specialized set of vendors serve this market well.

Benefits and Potential Issues

Construction accounting systems provide great benefit, if implemented and adopted correctly. These benefits include:

Improved visibility. Modern systems will provide better insight into the profitability of individual jobs, and the company as a whole. This results from more accurate collection of data—fewer errors—as well as better reporting tools to explore the data in the system. Job costing alone will provide a tremendous improvement in reporting relative to generic accounting systems. 

Better estimates. By gaining a better handle on job costs across projects, the firm will be better informed when developing estimates in the future. Job cost reports from historical jobs will help identify material and labor cost trends, unanticipated costs and areas where jobs tend to go over budget. All this leads to greater cost control. Estimators can incorporate these factors into their bids going forward. 

Fewer errors and less double entry of data. When contractors have inadequate systems in place, they typically resort to creating a range of spreadsheets to track job costs and other information not handled by the accounting system. This results in double entry of data, errors in the spreadsheets and lost information. When all of this information is handled in a single accounting and job costing system, there is a substantial reduction in errors.

The primary issues that tend to surface with new construction accounting software result from poor selection and implementation processes. Many buyers see technology as a quick fix to their challenges. In reality, even the best accounting package for construction industry is not a panacea. Only a combination of the right solution, a well-executed implementation and adoption process will fix their problems.

When selecting a new system, contractors need to reconsider their business process first, and then find the application provider that will most closely map to those processes or automate a new, more effective set of processes. They also need to get a wide set of users involved in the selection process so that each user feels invested in the new program and will adopt it when it goes live. Finally, contractors need to invest in proper training so that new users get up to speed on the system quickly and realize early benefits from the new system. 

Market Trends to Understand

These market trends should be considered when evaluating a new accounting and job costing system.   

Technology modernization. When we talk to buyers who are upgrading from an existing system, they typically tell us that legacy technology is at the root of their challenges. Systems built on proprietary databases or outdated programming languages often fail to meet firms’ needs for data export, integration and reporting. This tends to be a bigger challenge for large contractors, but all buyers should consider the platform technology of each product. 

Business intelligence. Construction accounting systems have evolved from simply recording transactions to providing key insight into the performance of the firm, project by project. Business intelligence refers to the more sophisticated analytics available in leading systems. Users should be able to run ad hoc reports and slice and dice data from the system to answer critical questions about the business. 

Increasing suite breadth. The term “construction accounting software” understates the breadth of functionality offered by most systems today. Leading systems offer project management, project scheduling, estimating, bid management and service management. Vendors continue to expand the breadth of their system through development and acquisition. Buyers should weight integrated suites versus best-of-breed applications.

Note that we do not mention software as a service (SaaS) as a trend in this market. While we are proponents of the SaaS model, we have not seen credible SaaS accounting software for construction business applications yet. We believe that the SaaS model will eventually make its way into construction accounting, but for now that is not the case. 

FrontRunners

Your Guide to Top Construction Accounting Software, July 2020

Software Advice uses reviews from real software users to highlight the top-rated Construction Accounting Software products in North America.

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“Usability” includes user ratings for Functionality and Ease of Use.“Customer Satisfaction” includes user ratings for Customer Support, Likelihood to Recommend and Value for Money.Reviews analysis period: The reviews analysis period spans two years and ends on the 15th of the month prior to publication.