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Accounting for Construction Companies Definitive Guide

bookkeeping construction industry

Tax deadlines can sneak up on busy business owners faster than you might think. Keeping accurate records throughout the year will make year-end tax accounting easier if you plan to do it yourself. You may also decide you want to pay a quarterly estimated tax, which can result in a lower overall tax burden. Doing so requires an organized tax system, however, and you must stay aware of four tax deadlines throughout the year instead of just one. Proper bookkeeping is a skill and professionals work for years to learn the right methods and strategies for efficient record-keeping that satisfies all the necessary legal and financial requirements.

bookkeeping construction industry

Every small business needs a bookkeeping system that takes into account all the variables that make that business unique. Reporting requirements for a particular union may exist on a national or a local level. Contractors can typically determine their requirements, especially when entering another jurisdiction, by checking with their local union business manager. In comparison to other industries, like retail or manufacturing, construction contracting has several distinct traits from an accounting perspective. After assessing your company’s financial situation and barriers, we will provide recommendations and outline the next steps.

Tip #7: Automate your construction bookkeeping by using accounting software

Here are a few bookkeeping tips from the professionals at AppleTree Business Services for construction companies. Golden Apple Agency offers tailored accounting and bookkeeping services for construction companies and general contractors. We cover everything from QuickBooks accounting services to job costing and financial data analysis. With our professional bookkeeping services, you’ll never have to worry about a lost receipt or spend time pouring over construction job costs again. Construction bookkeeping is a unique form of accounting and financial management. Complex costs from labor, transportation, equipment, materials and insurance all determine profitability.

bookkeeping construction industry

Modern accounting software can simplify financial management while helping contractors comply with tax laws. Good construction accounting software should automate much of the otherwise laborious work of job costing. Reporting capabilities enable you to track projects and analyze overall business finances in real time, so you can quickly identify problems and take steps to correct them before it’s too late.

QuickBooks for Construction

Finally, contractors can face numerous payroll reporting requirements, even if they don’t have to file certified payroll. These can include union reports, workers’ compensation, new hire reporting and equal employment opportunity minority compliance. Contractors need to have a keen awareness of these requirements for each jurisdiction they bid and work in, from the federal down to the local level. For most contractors, retainage is simple enough on paper, even though by nature it’s an exception to the rule. In practice, when a contractor earns revenue under an accrual method like CCM or PCM, they have the right to issue an invoice and record the amount as an account receivable (A/R) until it’s collected. It tracks these not only to each job but also within each group of job activities and each type of cost.

What is the best accounting method for construction?

Large contractors must use the percentage of completion method, which is a type of accrual accounting. The percentage of completion method involves estimating the finish date of the contract and recognizing income based on the work completed.

By keeping a detailed inventory of the materials your company owns, you can better see where your resources are being spent and cut down on wasted materials and expenses. Join over 1 million businesses scanning & organizing receipts, creating expense reports and more—with Shoeboxed. Turn your receipts into data and deductibles with our expense reports that include IRS-accepted receipt images. When working in your general ledger, be sure to add your income and expenses for each project. Overhead costs are determined by adding rent, utilities, in-office salaries, professional fees, travel costs, advertising, and marketing expenses together.

Our Construction Accounting & Bookkeeping Services

Golden Apple Agency is a bookkeeping and accounting provider with more than 15 years of experience helping small business owners get on top of their finances. As an elite QuickBooks ProAdvisor and IRS enrolled agent, our firm can help with everything from setting up your in-house QuickBooks bookkeeping to preparing tax returns and helping with IRS tax audits. Whether you need help with assessing your profitability,strategic tax planning or strengthening yourfinancial reporting and internal controls, the Giersch Group can help. Book your free consultation online to get answers to your questions and find out how our services can benefit your business while working within your budget. Many of theprofessionals at The Giersch Group come from families of entrepreneurs and have first-hand experience with small and family-owned business.

  • As a project progresses toward completion, the contractor can bill for the work they’ve performed.
  • Evaluating your overhead expenses can help you decide whether you can double down on something to bring in more leads for example or to make the decision to cut back on certain spending.
  • Call them now and schedule a meeting with one of our expert bookkeepers to discuss your construction accounting requirements.
  • Keeping track of what is happening in your account can prevent you from being overdrawn, and identify any discrepancies in spending.
  • Contractors often work on and manage multiple projects at once – all of which are in different stages of progress.
  • You’ll want to ensure that this is accounted for and that you have a plan in place so that you don’t lose profitability and compromise your profit margin.
  • What can seem like a complicated or tedious process actually brings your company stability in the face of fluid revenue.

With accrual basis accounting, you record revenue when it is earned and expenses when they are incurred, regardless of when money actually changes hands. Continuously fluctuating direct and indirect costs make it difficult to estimate project expenses. The price of labor and materials can change considerably over the life of a long-term project, and those changes are often not easy to predict. Contractors are particularly vulnerable to changing costs for materials because it’s difficult to stockpile building supplies in advance. Even indirect costs, such as administrative overhead and insurance, can change during a multiyear contract. Cloud-based financial and project management software can streamline everything from job costing to tax reporting.

Keep Digital Backups of Records

Don’t leave money on the table that could go toward your retirement fund or a family vacation. On top of the mobile (non-fixed) nature of construction work, sales can have multiple categories within it. Cost of goods includes direct and indirect costs, with a multitude of categories within each. An item that may be a straightforward expense for a regular business could actually qualify as ‘cost of goods sold’ in the context of construction work. Accurate, insightful financial reporting helps business owners pursue the most profitable jobs.

Financial forecasts are essential if you are looking to borrow money or attract investors. It’s crucial for construction bookkeeping to forecast financials because you’re often dealing with large value contracts and relatively low margins compared to other industries. Any slight deviances can drastically affect the profitability of a project. Bookkeeping for construction companies comes with its challenges and requires a unique approach. One of these is that revenues are earned either by various projects or contracts with a long timespan. These situations can make it difficult to decide when revenues should be recognized.

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