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QuickBooks Accountant Niche Practice Specialties: Tools for Accountants Working With Contractors

QuickBooks Niche Practice Specialties:

Tools for Accountants Working With Contractors

For accounting and bookkeeping in a small business, Intuit QuickBooks is still the “go to” solution.  QuickBooks has functionality needed by most businesses, and some editions of QuickBooks offer more in-depth process support for specific industries and business types.  Accountants and bookkeepers working with QuickBooks may rely on essential bookkeeping and reporting features to get basic accounting done, but supporting the processes and offering the functionality business owners and managers need – processes and functions which are specific to the business type and how it operates – is essential to developing a solid business management and reporting system.

Accounting and bookkeeping professionals can be instrumental in developing these systems for their clients, and can use the data collected within these solutions to provide more detailed reporting and actionable advice relating to business activities and trends.  Creating a niche practice and specialty means knowing how to address the needs of the niche client and having the tools to make it happen, so accounting professionals working with QuickBooks clients should seek to leverage the Intuit partner network of developers and QuickBooks-connected solutions and extensions to orient their services to the needs of specific industries and client business types.

The most obvious example of applying an industry-specific orientation of QuickBooks is to use the Premier Industry offering of QuickBooks desktop edition.  With the Premier Industry editions, additional functionality and reporting for specific industries is addressed directly within the application.  Industry editions exist for non-profit, manufacturing, and contractors, among others.  A lot of practitioners have met the additional needs of their business clients by using these industry-specific editions.

With QuickBooks Premier Contractor edition, for example, businesses can go beyond general accounting and address specific needs of a contractor or construction business, including tracking and reporting on job costs and profitability, handling estimates and change orders, and billing clients by time and materials, job phase, or percentage completion.  Accountants and bookkeepers working with construction businesses can help their clients more accurately and efficiently address the unique requirements of this type of business by offering the user functionality which is relevant to their daily tasks, such as making deposits, entering and tracking bills, and reporting on the progress and status of jobs.

Contractors may also have unique payroll reporting requirements, most of which are not adequately addressed within the QuickBooks solution directly.  It is in this area of compliance and complex reporting where the accounting professional may be of particular value, ensuring that these additional business requirements are met and that the data is complete, accurate and timely.

By utilizing the Intuit partner-developed application from Sunburst Software Solutions to extend the functionality of QuickBooks, contractors and the accountants who support them are able to create comprehensive and accurate prevailing wage payroll reports, including the most frequently required WH-347 Payroll Certification Form and the WH-348 Statement of Compliance Form.  Further, the solution also provides reporting for nearly all municipal, state, and federal paper forms required in each state. The solution even includes electronic certified payroll submission, compatible with LCPtracker, Hill International {formerly TRS Consultants}, Elation Systems, and other agencies.

QuickBooks has the framework for holding information about customers and jobs, tracks estimates, progress invoicing from current accounts receivable and work complete, and a means to accurately record and track retainage payable and/or receivable.  To complete the requirement for AIA billing and other construction business-specific needs, Sunburst CAPS application for QuickBooks holds additional project information, architect information, retainage method data, and billing forms to print in linked records.  CAPS also provides a mechanism for percentage of completion calculations with full accounting for stored materials.  The information is then merged together from both programs to generate the final billings – ready for signature, notarization, and mailing.

Addressing this additional level of complexity and compliance for contractors is a critical element, and an essential benefit, of working with accounting professionals who understand the needs of construction businesses and employ the tools and applications to meet those needs well.  It is through specialization, and knowing how to address the unique requirements of (and to capitalize on the opportunities presented in) the client industry and business, that accountants and bookkeepers will demonstrate and retain their value in today’s challenging economy.

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