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Construction Bookkeeping Unique Features

Posted by Randal DeHart on Fri, Aug 16, 2013

Construction Bookkeeping Vs. Regular Bookkeeping

All Accounting Uses The Accounting Equation

Fast Easy Accounting 206-361-3950 Contractors Bookkeeping Services Accounting Equation 

Business Owners - Need three basic reports, Cash, Profit and Equity

Cash On Hand................(Bank Balance - Un-cleared Checks) = Cash

Profit And Loss Report.........................(Sales - Expenses) = Profit

Balance Sheet Report..........................(Assets - Liabilities) = Equity


Regular Bookkeeping - Is roughly 80% of all accounting for businesses in the world. So it is practically the only thing taught in schools, colleges and universities.

This Type Of Bookkeeping Is Used - Where customers comes to the place of business or at most you ship or deliver a packaged product. In essence you are selling a product or a service from a fixed location.

Regular Bookkeeping Has These Things In Common:

  1. Sales - With 1-4 categories

  2. Cost of Goods Sold - If they sell products with 1-4 categories

  3. Expenses - Overhead required to maintain business operations

  4. Breakeven - Is fairly easy to calculate because there is a direct relationship between income and expenses on every item. It is easy to run reports to determine which items are profitable and unprofitable and make adjustments quickly as needed.


Construction Bookkeeping - Is roughly 15% of all accounting and Accounting with manufacturing making up roughly 5%. So it is given very little attention in schools, colleges and universities. What little of it I have seen makes me very upset because I see the damage caused to contractors making management decisions on inaccurate reports. The System Is The Solution

This Type Of Bookkeeping Is Used - When the entire place of business is packed up and taken it to the customer. In essence you are selling, assembling, delivering and installing a customized product from a mobile shop on location. Think of it like shooting a movie on location without all the glamor, resources and money to go with it.

Construction Bookkeeping Has These Things In Common:

  1. Sales - With 1-10 categories

  2. Cost of Goods Sold - Has Direct and Indirect Job Costs with 25 - 200 categories with 1,000s of sub categories

  3. Expenses - Overhead is extremely complex because some expenses in regular Accounting are actually Cost of Goods Sold in construction accounting

  4. Breakeven - Very difficult to calculate because most projects are one-of-a-kind custom jobs. Proactive contractors have systems and cost libraries with pre-priced assemblies for bidding which works in conjunction with Strategic Construction Accounting to provide management with progress invoicing, job costing and job profitability.

  5. Job Costing Reporting and Job Profitability Reporting - Is similar to the Company Profit and Loss report except that it is specific to each particular job and has different expense codes. These reports in combination with the Five Key Performance Indicators are what help the contractor understand which projects to pursue and which ones to ignore. They form the foundation of a Business Process Improvement Plan and Construction Business Strategy.

Shown Below Is A Short List Of Titles commonly used for construction bookkeeping and regular Bookkeeping. The list is intentionally short in order to make the point without being completely overwhelming.

Construction Accounting Titles = 233

Regular Accounting Titles = 115

Construction Accounting Titles Vs Regular Accounting Titles Fast Easy Accounting

We Never Cease Being Amazed - When we find someone who provides bookkeeping services for a contractor and other unrelated industries and treats the construction business like any other business.

Example #1 - The contractor asks the bookkeeper "How much money did we make on the John and Mary Doe house remodel?" The bookkeeper generates a report showing $5,000 profit when in reality it was a ($15,000) loss! QuickBooks setup was done like every other Accounting business and $20,000 worth of transactions was put in the wrong category. In this case some direct costs and some indirect costs were misallocated and not assigned to the job. 

Example #2 - The contractor asks the bookkeeper "How much money did we make on the Bob and Sally house remodel?" The bookkeeper generates a report showing ($5,000) loss when in reality it earned $5,000 profit! QuickBooks was setup wrong and $10,000 worth of transactions was put into the wrong category. In this case some overhead costs were classified as direct costs and assigned to the job.

The Inevitable Result Is - The contractor makes bad decisions on what to bid and not to bid on and eventually runs out of time and money.

Two Options To Consider - We offer QuickBooks training specifically designed for QuickBooks For Contractors or outsource part or all of your contractor bookkeeping services to us.

Professional Accounting Services At An Affordable Price

Profitable Construction - Companies have known about the value of outsourced bookkeeping services for a long time and now you know about it too!

Need Help Now?

Call Sharie 206-361-3950


QuickBooks Expert Specializing In Construction Bookkeeping Services

About The Author:

Randal DeHart, PMP, QPA The Construction AccountantRandal DeHart, PMP, QPA is the co-founder of Business Consulting And Accounting in Lynnwood Washington. He is the leading expert in outsourced construction bookkeeping and accounting services for small construction companies across the USA. He is experienced as a Contractor, Project Management Professional and Construction Accountant and Intuit ProAdvisor. This combination of experience and skillsets provides a unique perspective which allows him to see the world through the eyes of a contractor, Project Manager, Accountant and construction accountant. This quadruple understanding is what sets him apart from other Intuit ProAdvisors and accountants to the benefit of all of the construction contractors he serves across the USA. http://www.fasteasyaccounting.com/randal-dehart/ to learn more.

Topics: Construction Bookkeeping Unique Features, Contractors Bookkeeping Services

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