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Introduction to QuickBooks for construction

Intuit, the developers of QuickBooks software, discovered that small businesses simply wanted to conduct business and let accounting take care of itself -- well, almost take care of itself. QuickBooks offers small businesses an easy way to manage their books. Today, the products continue that tradition, and many firms are using QuickBooks for construction accounting -- but making accounting easy for anyone in a construction business comes with some tradeoffs. In this first of three installments of this article, we provide an overview of the three QuickBooks software packages most used by construction firms -- Premier, Pro and Enterprise.

Ruth Perryman, president of The QB Specialists in Roseville, Calif., said QuickBooks works "very, very well for the construction industry." She emphasized that the softwares migration path allows for effortless upgrades from the Pro version to the Premier version and through to the QuickBooks Enterprise version.

Dan Apgar, owner of Apgar Construction in Stockton, N.J., said he chose QuickBooks software partly because of the word-of-mouth buzz that surrounds it -- a lot of his subcontractors are QuickBooks users -- but also because of ease of use. You dont have to be an accountant or computer whiz" to be using QuickBooks, he said. It is really geared toward home-based businesses, contractors and people that run small businesses.

Construction accounting software vendors also see some value in using QuickBooks Pro for construction. [It] is inexpensive and simple to use, said Greg Kirk, president of Universal Construction Software in Orlando, FL, developers of The PowerTools software suite. It is a good solution when companies are just starting, and the owner knows everything that happens. As the company grows, the need for reporting and controls grows with it.

That strong showing in the small business segment was born out in a recent Construction Financial Management Association IT survey, which showed QuickBooks Premier with a 24% share of the job cost accounting software market for construction firms with annual revenue under $5 million.
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