How construction accounting professionals can reclaim time for strategic work

Finance professionals in construction industries first need to reduce or eliminate the work that’s currently consuming too much time.

It’s no secret that finance professionals play a pivotal role in shaping the success of construction companies, doing the essential work that moves businesses forward.

If you’re like most busy finance professionals, that work probably includes:

  • Entering timesheets and invoices.
  • Reconciling bank accounts.
  • Checking credit card charges.
  • Chasing down missing information.
  • Correcting errors and reviewing anomalies.

As important as this work is, however, this is not what most accounting professionals working in the construction industry really want to do.

They’d rather be doing something else.

In the Sage Intacct 2022 Close the Books Survey of finance professionals, 60% of respondents said they would rather spend their extra time on more strategic work, such as data analysis to uncover insights or trends.

And there’s plenty of other things finance professionals wish they had more time for:

  • Cash flow management: analyzing project timelines, checking expenditure forecasts, and arranging financing to avoid liquidity issues.
  • Risk assessment and mitigation: negotiating supplier contracts, creating contingency budgets, and securing insurance coverage for potential project distruptions.
  • Capital budgeting and investment analysis: comparing alternative investment opportunities, considering long-term financial implications, and aligning investment decisions with business objectives.

To do more of these strategic activities, finance professionals in construction industries will first need to reduce or eliminate the work that’s currently consuming too much of time.

Technology Will Set You Free

Automation can free up your time to focus on the strategic side of finance.

Accounting automation eliminates manual, time-consuming processes that drain your productivity. It can eliminate error-prone spreadsheets, broken formulas, and chasing emails.

Finance departments in construction businesses are leveraging artificial intelligence to find new time-savings in several accounting processes, including:

  • Multi-entity accounting. Cloud-based systems automate inter-company transactions, saving time by applying entries to the appropriate entity.
  • Automated data entry. An automated system streamlines routine input of invoices and timesheets, eliminating tedious and error-prone tasks.
  • Automated reports and checklists. Streamlined financial reporting through automated checklists, reminders, and pre-built dashboards saves significant time.
  • Automated accounting processes. Daily bank reconciliations and transaction feeds reduce month-end pressures with flexible scheduling throughout the month.
  • Anomaly detection. AI enables early error detection by flagging anomalies, such as unusual expenses or changes in income streams.
  • Image and pattern recognition. AI enhances invoice processing by learning to recognize patterns in PDFs, assigning GL codes, and tagging invoices accurately.

With automation, your finance team can stop spending hours, or days, on painful consolidations in Excel—in fact, your construction company may never again perform a multi-entity consolidation in Excel.

Creating that kind of extra time frees you and your team to work on other, more strategic aspects of the business.

Faster Closes in the Cloud

And there’s mounting expectation to get the close done even faster.

According to that same Sage research, an overwhelming 93% of finance professionals are under pressure to close the books faster, despite the availability of cloud accounting solutions that offer time saving features such as built-in automation and AI.

Because cloud systems are web-based, live, and real-time, they greatly accelerate crucial financial processes like collections, consolidations, and period closes.

If your multi-location organization faces complexities—such as decentralized payables, inter-entity transactions, multiple currencies, global consolidations—you may be ready for Sage Intacct. The cloud-based platform for multiple entities automates financial consolidation activities including currency conversions, inter-entity transactions, local tax reporting, and more.

Sage Intacct customers can consolidate hundreds of entities in minutes, instead of days, without exporting and combining data in Excel.

Sage Intacct can slash monthly close workload by 75%.

With Sage Intacct, you can close the books faster and view interim summary figures at any time, so your financial statements are ready when you are.  This can go a long way toward eliminating productivity busters like manual data entry, paper-based processes, and spreadsheet maintenance.

Continuous Close Eases Month-End Stress

The continuous close (or continuous accounting) is another way to ease stress at the end of the month and free your time.

Continuous or ‘rolling’ close is the process of keeping accounts up to date on a daily basis and being able to provide financial information at any time during the monthly reporting cycle.

It’s an approach that captures data in real time, enables continuous reconciliations, and allows you to adjust as you go. The continuous close gives you a clear and accurate picture of your financial numbers at any given time—without going through time-consuming period end close procedures.

Easier Receipt Management

Construction firms typically handle a multitude of receipts for materials, equipment, subcontractors, and various project-related costs. The sheer volume of paperwork can lead to inefficiencies, errors, and delays when relying on manual receipt tracking and data entry processes.

Additionally, construction projects often involve multiple stakeholders working in different locations, making it challenging to centralize and standardize receipt management.

With its advanced features, Sage Intacct enables construction firms to digitize and organize receipts seamlessly, reducing the burden of manual data entry and paperwork. This not only saves valuable time but also minimizes the risk of errors, ensuring accurate and reliable financial records.

  • The cloud-based platform facilitates remote access, empowering teams to collaborate effectively and manage receipts from various locations.
  • Automated receipt management optimizes financial workflows, enhances compliance, and ultimately frees finance professionals to focus more on their core business activities.

Sage Intacct provides real-time visibility into expenses, allowing stakeholders to make informed decisions based on up-to-date financial data.

More than 50,000 construction customers rely on Sage Intacct for real-time visibility, reporting, insights, and integrations.

Final Thoughts

The adoption of accounting automation in your construction firm can eliminate the need for laborious, manual processes that drain productivity.

Beyond efficiency, automation plays a pivotal role in boosting finance team morale by liberating time. You and your team can use this newfound time to delve into the strategic facets of finance, and along the way perhaps enjoy the enhanced gratification of delivering even greater value to the company.

Learn more about Sage Intacct for Construction and Real Estate.