When it comes to adopting economical and easy-to-use accounting software, many construction and EPC firms make a quick run for QuickBooks. As an open-source, entry-level accounting solution built for small businesses, QuickBooks offers a bunch of basic management tools. The software makes it easy for finance personnel to look up information, integrate data from across the business, and build decent reports. However, there’s a lot more to QuickBooks than meets the eye.
Although QuickBooks is sometimes called the “number one accounting software” for small businesses, there are many red flags that are often overlooked especially in sectors like construction.
If you’re considering adopting QuickBooks for construction payroll, you must be informed of these warning signs:
Red Flag 1: Costs Snowball Over Time
QuickBooks was designed to enable small businesses to easily track income and expenses using a bunch of accounting software capabilities. And while it might seem economical to adopt at first, QuickBooks gets very expensive quickly. Because there is a limit to how much payroll you can run in the system, as your accounting needs grow, costs tend to snowball. For instance, if you seek advanced payroll functionality, you will have to pay an additional monthly cost, along with a surcharge per user.
Red Flag 2: Visibility and Control Are Limited
QuickBooks’ constrained reporting capabilities make it difficult for organizations to get end-to-end visibility into their payroll processes. The lack of custom reports means finance professionals cannot tailor design elements, change the look of their dashboards, or create specific visualizations to interpret data and make informed decisions.
Red Flag 3: Functions Are Oversimplified
For a construction business that must handle complex union payroll, QuickBooks’ capabilities aren’t enough. Since the software is not made with accounting professionals in mind, most functions are oversimplified. For instance, HR personnel can’t track fixed assets in the online version. The software also lacks industry-specific features and doesn’t offer much for the construction and EPC sector.
Red Flag 4: Focus on Customer Support Is Low
Unlike other popular accounting software, QuickBooks’ focus on customer support is extremely low because it’s inherently a part of the open-source community. The most common way users can get answers to their queries is by accessing the online knowledge base and getting their hands on self-help articles. Another option is to post your questions on online forums and get answers from QuickBooks users.
Red Flag 5: There Are Limitations to the Number of Transactions You Can Handle and Reports You Can Build
QuickBooks was built with a small business mindset. Hence, there are limitations to the number of users you can support, the number of transactions you can handle, and the number of reports you can build. If you suddenly find the need to handle a large volume of data, it is highly likely for the software to become sluggish and susceptible to random crashes.
Red Flag 6: Backups Are Sporadic and Incomprehensive
Another issue with QuickBooks is that data backups are extremely sporadic. If an issue or downtime occurs, you risk losing critical information, which can affect the accuracy of your year-end closing. The software is also known to experience instability as load increases, leading to inevitable system crashes.
Red Flag 7: Data Manipulation Is Extremely Easy
Built for small businesses and a workforce with little or no accounting capabilities, QuickBooks allows for changes to be easily and quickly made. This works as a double-edged sword, as the software makes it easy to manipulate the data you feed. While it is easy to fix erroneous accounting entries, it is also very easy to make unneeded changes by accident. What’s worse is that users with nefarious intentions can seamlessly cook up company books with little effort.
Red Flag 8: Integration Options Are Few
If you think QuickBooks will easily and seamlessly integrate with other accounting and payroll systems in your business, think again. QuickBooks offers few integration options, making it difficult to connect the software with other tools as your business grows.
Look Beyond QuickBooks
Regardless of how economical and convenient it might seem to adopt QuickBooks for accounting purposes, the truth is that the software is incapable of meeting your evolving payroll needs. High costs, limited visibility, oversimplified functions, poor customer support, limited reporting capabilities, sporadic backups, easy manipulation, and limited integration options make QuickBooks inept at handling business expansion. In the long run, these challenges can cost construction companies dearly.
If you want a payroll solution that caters to the unique needs of your organization, allows you to build custom reports, and grows as your business grows, you need to look beyond basic accounting software. An advanced software solution like CEM that is designed with the complexities of the construction sector in mind can help you define and maintain a single source of truth and enable end-to-end visibility and transparency in your financial process. With capabilities such as automated data exchange, CEM can help in the efficient handling of all your payroll functions – from time tracking to project management and more.
Get in touch with us to explore a range of customized construction management solutions that CEM has to offer.