Software Compatibility: Industry and Applicable Accounting Standards
Always keep in mind the accounting software one uses should be able to produce relevant and useful reports following the accounting standards applicable to the firm’s business.
Some software is specifically targeted to a given industry – Sage 300 and construction – for example.
Other software tools may be more general so as to be useful in many industries and may require fine tuning to follow the accounting requirements for a given business type. QuickBooks/QuickBooks Enterprise are the two most notable off the shelf packages which fit this description.
For construction companies in general, and property developers in particular, QuickBooks can work for you if the software is setup correctly and accounting staff understands how to properly deploy the program’s Estimate, Purchase Order, and built-in budget functions.
But for property developers and smaller to medium sized construction and design firms, DESKTOP Quickbooks for PC or QuickBooks Enterprise are equally useful solutions. With the DESKTOP program, spend the few extra dollars for the added tools in the Accountant version – they are worth the bump in price.
QuickBooks On-Line – It Differs from the PC Desktop Editions
At the time of this writing, if one uses (i) Purchase Order functions or (ii) needs to use budgets for developers, QuickBooks On-line is not really a good solution for you. Experiment with these functions and you’ll see what I mean.
And do not think that the QB On-line auto apply feature is fool proof! Many a week has been spent re-entering transactions and reviewing unposted bank downloads. Be sure to keep your transaction paperwork handy.
That said, the work Intuit is putting into the on-line product is tremendous. It is not as robust in the PO and budget functions as the desktop PC version just yet. For really simple businesses, it is a great tool, though.
QuickBooks Enterprise – Hosted by Intuit
Don’t have an IT department but your business has expanded so much it needs the database strength offered by the QB Enterprise product, then the Intuit Hosted solution might be for you. This is the exact same product that you would run on your own server, but Intuit takes care of the program updates, server software, and server hardware for you. You simply login and use the software.
Compatibility and Data Extraction
Generally speaking, there are limited ways to extract data from various accounting systems. Here are a few examples to consider:
Sage 300 (2017) – the newer, 2017 release of Sage 300 is supposed to ODBC compliant. This means data should readily export to Excel. With older versions, one may still have to export data in a comma separated value file and parse the data in Excel as Sage implemented its own proprietary database system prior to the 2017 release. Other methods of data extraction include the use of the report writer Crystal Reports or the Sage IA module (Information Assistant).
QuickBooks Desktop / Enterprise (2013 and later) – data, via reports, readily exports to Excel in pre-formatted, easy to read, spreadsheets complete with formulas. Most reports can be customized. But if a report cannot be readily created with the software, the data ports rather well to Excel for pivot table manipulation.
Accounting system software implementation can easily exceed $50k and one may still not be able to produce needed reports.
Don’t get me wrong, for large construction firms working on dozens of simultaneous projects, and with a dedicated IT department, products like Sage 300 / Timberline (or Jonas or Yardi or Sage 100) can be great solutions.
But most will likely find themselves porting data to Excel, or using a report writing tool like Crystal Reports, to generate industry, or project, specific documents anyway.
So why spend more than needed?
Contact me. I can help.