The first time I used QuickBooks, it was the DOS version. That was over 20 years ago. Today, there are a multitude of versions for QuickBooks. QuickBooks Online doesn’t measure up to Intuit’s Enterprise versions. It isn’t even close. There are many issues the Online version has and thus the end reporting function is limited. However, there are a few interesting advantages. This accountant’s review helps the reader to understand the advantages and issues the Online version has.
Using QuickBooks in Construction Accounting
QuickBooks can easily be modified to use with contracting. QuickBooks and construction accounting is an ideal team when considering the alternatives. This site has multiple articles on it that explain how the software is set up and how to execute the processes to get great information out to assist owners of construction companies.
The whole goal of financial reports is to gain an understanding of financial performance and identify the key issues for changes to make improvements. In accounting we referred to this as a continuous feedback loop method of financial improvement. Insert data, report the data, discover opportunities for improvement; make changes and insert data and begin the whole process all over again. If you are even mildly alert to what is going on, you should easily identify opportunities and make financial improvements and ultimately maximize profitability for your business. It is not going to happen overnight but it will dramatically improve your bottom line within 2 years.
But all of this starts with the estimate for the project.
Just like a tip of an iceberg, a progress billing for a construction project is an invoice for a small part of the overall contract value. It needs to be recorded correctly and presented to management in a way that is understandable and beneficial for making decisions. This article will introduce the concept and cover how progress billings are presented on the balance sheet.
Construction accounting consists of three major groups of accounts. The first and most understood set are the accounts found on the profit and loss statement. Customarily referred to as Cost of Goods Sold or Costs of Construction, these accounts convey the total costs of construction against the revenue earned for those contracts. The second major group is located on the balance sheet in the current assets section. This group is called the ‘Construction in Process’ (CIP) accounts. The third major group is also located on the balance sheet down in the current liabilities section and is called ‘Construction Billings’ or ‘Construction Deposits and Draws’.
This article explains the balance sheet accounts related to Construction in Process. I will explain how they are designed, formatted and presented. In addition, I’ll explain the impact either the completed contract or percentage of completion method has on the corresponding project’s account balance. Finally, I’m going to explain to you how to interpret the information presented.
In another article I will go into detail related to Construction Billings and the corresponding deposits and draws. This article will focus on the Construction in Process/Progress or what is commonly shortened to CIP.
The trial balance is an accountant’s report used to identify issues with the respective ledger accounts. In general, the trial balance sums all the debits and credits in the footer section and the accountant verifies that the total debits equal total credits. This confirms proper entry in the dual entry accounting system.
QuickBooks does not have a seamless subroutine to transfer costs from construction in process control account to the profit in loss statement’s cost of construction section. Therefore, the accountant has to export data to a spreadsheet and then sum the respective functional costs of materials, subcontractors, labor, land etc. and then make a general journal entry to complete the transfer. This article explains this process in detail.