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Comparing Timekeeping & Payroll Reporting Solutions – Sage vs. QuickBooks vs. Penta vs. Microsoft Dynamics 365

As the old adage goes, time is money, and keeping track of it certainly pays dividends. According to Acumen Data Systems, organizations can save more than $666,400.00 per year by leveraging “time as a resource” and automating timekeeping and payroll reporting.

On the other hand, an inefficient or overly complicated solution to a everyday problem can cost an organization. As an example, research suggests that companies in the United States lose 50 million hours per day because they do not record the time employees spend on the job.

The construction industry, in particular, is notoriously plagued by many such practices, inefficiencies, and conflicts that can cause a company to lose hundreds of thousands in missed hours and  billing losses.

From complex planning and control requirements to addressing productivity and workflow constraints, a wealth of labor complexities exists within the industry that requires special attention.

And so, timekeeping and the associated payroll reporting become critical to the way business is conducted. However, not all time timekeeping and construction payroll solutions are created equal.

To stay ahead of the curve, construction companies must assess their needs, focus on upgrades required to increase productivity and profitability, and determine how much they are willing to invest in their system. To that end, keep reading to learn how Sage, QuickBooks, Penta, and Microsoft D365 stack up against each other.

Key Features of an Efficient Timekeeping & Payroll Reporting Solution

Before we dig into the specifics of each solution, there is some ground that must be covered regarding the features of any timekeeping and payroll reporting solution.

As a baseline, you should expect to find the following:

  • Accurate time data on every job site: Tracking, logging, and managing hours worked is critical not only for compliance purposes but also for accurately allocating labor costs and billing to your projects.
  • A centralized repository of employee payroll: To effectively manage, control, and optimize labor resources, you want to operate with a clear view of the entire workforce and their associated costs.
  • Timekeeping & payroll for compliance and audit: Compliance and audits of the documentation involving hours, times, and pay should be a priority. A host of factors, including union rates, overtime, and additional employee benefits, will be closely monitored, and controlled. You must be in compliance with certified payroll reporting for federal and state projects.

Point Systems & Their Limitations Prove Detrimental

Point systems aren’t built to handle the complexity of payroll, interact with other modules such as accounting, and maintain holistic visibility amid inherently complex project workflows. QuickBooks, Sage, and Penta are all point systems, meaning they are limited in their ability to scale, they don’t integrate easily into the companies ERP, and they simply don’t provide the level of accuracy and detail required for timekeeping and construction payroll. Contrarily, specific payroll solutions built on top of Microsoft Dynamics 365 excel at providing the required level of visibility, automation, and accuracy.

  Industry Adherence Scalability User-Centricity Functionality
Penta Does offer accounting, payroll, and timesheet solutions specific to the EPC sector. Built on legacy architecture and cannot scale for multiple projects. The software does not have regular updates The interface doesn’t make it easy for the departments to communicate, not to mention the weak mobile-device functionality. Lacks big time in HRIS functionality against the whopping $50,000 starting price
QuickBooks For small business and start ups. Quite inefficient when it comes to scaling. Always have been recommended for small teams and individuals.

Lags when the data grows.

It doesn’t necessarily cater to any specific industry. Must be employed in conjunction with industry-specific solutions. Inadequate data analytics and insights sharing capabilities, not to mention the vaguely defined user roles. Limited reporting functionality against optimal costs. The costs could increase drastically when you incorporate other modules.

No audit trails and hence unreliable for reporting

Sage Allows for tapping into the specificity of construction management. Does provide the capability to scale to the extent of EPC projects; however, it requires integrations at one point to accommodate for resource-intensive workflows. Features an outdated user interface, making it hard to navigate, and utilize, especially for those who are unfamiliar with the system. Lacks when it comes to operating on large files; the wait times increase; customizations are required to make the most of data.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Highly customizable functionality, granting almost all the necessary tools to cater to the needs of large-scale architectural and engineering projects. Most preferred tool across the contractor community.  A good fit for small businesses that can scale to enterprises on their own and adapt to the EPC industry without the need for third-party integrations. Extensive business intelligence and data analytics capabilities; tactical planning for both internal and external stakeholders. Users can take charge of performance analysis, isolate data permissions, and connect payroll and timekeeping to the overall reporting solutions. From deployment to scalability to payroll, it comes with limitless functionality and removes the need for configuring point systems.

Benefits of a Fully Integrated Microsoft Dynamics 365  Solution

By now, it’s apparent that most of the solutions aren’t built to tackle the complexities of payroll management and timekeeping. As efficient as solutions like Sage and QuickBooks may be, they aren’t equipped to handle the workload of construction companies.

However, Microsoft Dynamics 365 – based systems cater to the seamless integration of a multitude of modules, and it’s straightforward enough to use. It’s fully customizable and flexible enough to cater to construction-specific needs.
In terms of timekeeping and payroll, this:

Assists in the creation of time registration and attendance fields for recording clock in and out times, job-specific time consumption, and machine/equipment-specific time consumption.
Enhances the existing timekeeping modules by adding features such as keeping track of overtime and “indirect activities” such as meetings and cleaning.
Allows for payroll generation and distribution as a standalone software package as well as as a module integrated with financial and human resource solutions.
Encourages union payroll reporting, as well as its integration with time tracking modules and the inclusion of job-specific payroll data in the overall accounting software.

Enter the Future of Construction with CEM Business Solutions

CEM Business Solutions is a leading provider of integrated and customized Microsoft Dynamics 365 solutions. We combine the power of the world’s most customizable and flexible business suite with our knowledge and experience in construction management to deliver a solution that meets your needs while ensuring optimal  business performance.

With you in mind and a bias for practicality, efficiency, and accuracy, we develop a suite of software modules that streamlines your timekeeping and construction payroll processes. Each module is designed to make it easier for you to operate, manage projects, and improve profitability.

Book a demo today, and let’s start improving your bottom line together.