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Helping Your Construction Clients Grow and Thrive


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When working in an industry like construction, it’s necessary to be able to calculate all the sectorspecific
financial items, such as job costing. Accounting for every expense is also necessary, as it
helps a business ensure it is staying in the black. With the annual seasonally adjusted value of current
construction work hitting approximately $8 billion, the construction sector represents a huge market.
Since construction is currently one of the top CPA firm specialties, having the capability to serve the
industry’s needs opens a host of opportunities for accountants.1

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Helping Your Construction Clients Grow and Thrive

  1. 1. Helping Your ConstructionClients Grow and Thrive
  2. 2. Table of ContentsAccountants aim to serve every client as well as possible, right?.......................... 3Building a support base........................................................................................ 4Conclusion........................................................................................................... 5 2Helping Your Construction Clients Grow and Thrive
  3. 3. Accountants aim to serve everyclient as well as possible, right?When working in an industry like construction, it’s necessary to be able to calculate all the sector-specific financial items, such as job costing. Accounting for every expense is also necessary, as ithelps a business ensure it is staying in the black. With the annual seasonally adjusted value of currentconstruction work hitting approximately $8 billion, the construction sector represents a huge market.Since construction is currently one of the top CPA firm specialties, having the capability to serve theindustry’s needs opens a host of opportunities for accountants.1Providing specialized services to construction professionals can also offer a valuable angle formarketing—allowing you to present yourself as a “niche expert”—and can be a chance to brand yourfirm and build up name recognition.2,3One accounting firm that has been able to establish itself as a reliable CPA for construction companiesis Urquhart Acree & Cook.2 In addition to doing audits and record keeping for hedge funds, it alsoworks with companies that have a high net worth. But the firm saw that small businesses andentrepreneurs were being ignored because CPAs were too focused on big corporations. So it startedworking with construction companies and other businesses to assist them with accounting andfinancial management.Bryan Phelan, managing partner of AdvanceTEC LLC, a Chesterfield County-based high-techengineering and construction company, uses a CPA firm because it provides “big-firm expertise in thepackage of a small firm.”“You are dealing with experts and that is of high interest to me,” he said in an interview with theRichmond Times-Dispatch. “Their input is well thought out and solid. Accounting and financemanagement isn’t black and white. It’s more of an art form than a science, and they understand that.” 2Focusing on an industry-specific area of accounting can also enable accountants to catch deductionsand tax breaks that they may have missed if they are generalized. Having this expertise can be ofgreat value to construction professionals, who operate in a high-stakes world and need every costreduction possible to stay afloat.Some major CPA firms have already recognized the importance of having at least one of their divisionsspecialize in the construction industry. For instance, Plante Moran chose to reinforce its constructionexpertise by merging with another firm that specializes in contractors, Michigan-based Stuart FraneyMatthews & Chantres P.C.4“We’ve long admired their firm because they have a real expertise in contractors and the constructionindustry,” Plante Moran managing partner Gordon Krater told Accounting Today.4 “That’s the bulk oftheir client base. We have a very active construction industry focus with our firm, so it was a natural fit.They have excellent clients and excellent staff, and that’s what made this come together.” 31 Sage-provided brochureHelping Your Construction Clients Grow and Thrive
  4. 4. Just staying up to date on all the changes to construction accounting provisions can be a full-time job.Whether you’re merging with other firms or simply networking with fellow CPAs, pooling resources andknowledge on the topic is a smart way to make the most of the time and information available. In aworld where the demands on accountants increase by the day, having a little extra help from friends andassociates can mean the difference between getting swamped by work or having the room to build outthe practice further. Becoming certified is one way that CPAs can prove to prospective constructionclients that they are experts on the topic. The Construction Financial Management Association offersthe Certified Construction Industry Financial Professional designation, which it says “demonstratescommitment to excellence in construction industry financial management and dedication to continuingeducation and quality improvement.”5 With construction accounting becoming more complex,continuing your education and achieving this certification can make your services more desirable thanthe competition’s.Building a support baseHaving the skills to do a specific job is just the first step to becoming a true asset to constructionfirms. Accountants also need to have the right tools, tailored to the industry.Sage Construction and Real Estate can help construction and real estate companies grow. Thetools can facilitate the production of job estimates that are more detailed and reliable, boostingthe profitability of a project.3 Having access to the software also means accountants will have theinformation they need to best assist their clients.A great benefit of adopting construction accounting software is that it is a special tool designed formanaging the intricacies of recordkeeping for a construction firm.6Additionally, the software makes it possible to decipher the complex tax provisions regulating theconstruction industry, from equipment depreciation to managing payroll. In addition, Sage also offersthe Sage Accountants Network, which gives members a greater profile among construction firms,opens up their access to technical support services, and helps ensure that they are delivering thehighest quality service to their clients.3While spreadsheets and paper-based records were sufficient several decades ago, there is no needto struggle with outdated technology when much more sophisticated, useful solutions are readilyavailable. For construction companies, having industry-specific software can also make the financialrecord-keeping process faster, since it may no longer be necessary to go outside the solution to findan answer to a tax question or some other issue. Achieving greater efficiency and gaining insightinto your business processes and costs will provide the kind of information you need to expand thecompany’s reach and increase its revenue.Sage gives accountants access to a variety of resources and helps them build up their practicesand their productivity.7 Last year, the company announced that its network members would alsobe able to access Sage Timberline Office and Sage 100 Contractor, formerly Sage Master Builder,essentially allowing them to “maximize the productivity and reach” of their firms “while minimizing 43 Your Construction Clients Grow and Thrive
  5. 5. the overall financial investment.” With free online training in the first year of adoption and additionalguidance available through Sage University, events, and webcasts, accountants will have the opportunityto truly master the technology and take their service to the next level.5 An added bonus is the majordiscount on the retail cost, which will help you assist customers who also use Sage solutions.ConclusionAlthough the construction industry took a major hit when the housing bubble burst, it is making acomeback. Regardless of how busy it may or may not be, every business needs to maintain financialrecords, meaning their need for accounting services goes unchanged. A CPA who is able to pinpointevery expense and potential source of revenue will be of major value to his or her clients and will beable to provide them with the kind of information that facilitates better strategic business decisionsand a clearer understanding of their bottom line. Accountants who are specifically focused on theconstruction sector will be in high demand in an industry that remains budget-conscious and profit-oriented as it works to climb out of the recession and return to better days. 55 Your Construction Clients Grow and Thrive
  6. 6. Sage15195 NW Greenbrier PkwyBeaverton, OR©2012 Sage Software, Inc. All rights reserved. Sage, the Sage logos, and the Sage product and servicenames mentioned herein are registered trademarks or trademarks of Sage Software, Inc., or its affiliatedentities. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. 12-02330 06/12