6B — March 27 - April 9 , 2020 — Owners, Developers & Managers — M id A tlantic Real Estate Journal


O wners , D evelopers & M anagers

onstruction and com- mercial real estate development profes- Say Good-Bye to GuesstimatedCosts, DelayedCommunication and Loss of Project Profitability Construction Firms: It’s Time to Let Go of Your Legacy Accounting Systems C

onto decades-old technology and relying on guesstimated costs, delayed communication with the field and, ultimately, loss of project profitability while their peers step up to the new generation of cloud-based solutions. Does this sound familiar? If so, it is time for a change. To- day’s best enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems – with software designed specifically for the construction industry – can help companies increase margins and tighten proj- ect control from estimating through closeout – handling

the full range of project and ac- counting management needs, providing real-time views, and consolidating data in one complete back-office system. They also deliver seamless integration of multiple pro- cesses – including job costing, contracts, change orders, docu- ment management, compli- ance, retainage, inventory and customer management. And they make all this available on any device, wherever and whenever it is needed. Yet change – even change for the better – is never easy. And once the decision is made

to adopt a new system, there are several competing product options (many with similar features). Deciding what is – and isn’t – important Consider five key categories when evaluating a construc- tion and development core ac- counting system. Here are just some of the questions to ask: ● Productivity: What can the product do to make you and your staff more productive? What’s the learning curve like? Is there 24/7 accessibility from anywhere on any device? Does it work in multiple lan-

guages and currencies? Does it automate workflow and facilitate information sharing? ● Functionality: What fea - tures does the product have that perform daily accounting and business management functions? Can it support multiple entities as your busi- ness structure becomes more complex? What about end-to- end construction project man- agement? Does it offer strong third-party software support to extend product functions? Can it combine customer re- source management (CRM) with ERP into a single shared database? ● Technology: Does the product leverage technology for usability, client-specific configurations and maintain - ability? Is it fully cloud based (with no need for additional software licensing)? Does it support both on-premise and cloud deployment, allowing you to switch models when you are ready? Does it offer responsive design, a contem- porary user interface and a full relational database? ● Value: How does the prod - uct maximize features and functions vs. cost for the us- able lifetime of the product? What is the total cost of own- ership? Is the system scalable? Are the licensing options flexible? Will you be charged by resources used or by user count? ● Risk: How does the prod - uct minimize risk and facili- tate security? Can you count on predictable monthly costs? Can the system be deployed quickly? Will it integrate with other web apps? Does it provide rock-solid backup, failover and disaster recovery functions? Can the vendor handle updates and upgrades? Are client references available for your review? Choosing a new system is a decision that impacts a business for years. Above all, take the time to make it an informed one that both meets your company’s specific needs and enables your team to take full advantage of an increasingly mobile and in- terconnected world. IBS offers a free checklist that provides side-by-side comparisons of leading products – visit ibsre. com/checklist. Michael Mullin is presi- dent of Integrated Busi- ness Systems (IBS) in Totowa, NJ. 

sionals know that the right equipment is key to a suc- cessful proj- e c t – a n d u l t ima t e l y to the long- term health of a company.

Michael Mullin

It is a given they would never use a shovel for a job that calls for a backhoe. Yet many prac- titioners continue to use legacy accounting systems, hanging

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