For years, the construction industry has always been considered to be behind on technology, leading many software companies to focus on other industries instead. Ajoy Krishnamoorthy, chief strategy officer and executive vice president of ERP provider Acumatica, said that’s just not the case. “When we talked to the customer, the story was completely different,” Krishnamoorthy told reporters during a press conference at World of Concrete. “They were longing for a solution that can truly help them use technology as a true differentiator and help their business run in a very efficient manner.”
In addition, the need is particularly urgent considering more young people are taking over their parents’ companies, and they have grown up with technology. They’re used to taking a picture to deposit a check, so coming into the office to a stack of paper invoices, which require work to input, leading to lost time and potential inaccuracies, is just not acceptable to them.
Acumatica sought to remedy this challenge when it launched its construction initiative in 2018, with a cloud-based ERP system that combines core financials, project accounting, and all the necessary features important for general and specialty trade contractors, including compliance, invoicing, change management, and more.
At the time, there were good providers for product management, project management, field services and more, Krishnamoorthy said, but “nobody was looking at it from 360 standpoint, all the way from accounting to job costing and so on. So we saw an opportunity.”
By the end of 2021, construction made up about 29% of the company’s customer mix.
“One of the things that is a differentiator for us as the investment in technology,” Krishnamoorthy said. For example, machine learning: If an invoice comes in, you can take a picture or attach a PDF to an email, and it automatically gets processed and the data gets recognized, and that technology gets applied to each new feature. A construction company in Minneapolis uses this feature for expense receipts—associates can snap a photo and throw the receipt away; Acumatica scans the receipt and identifies the vendor and the amount, and creates an expense plan. This not only saves employees time, but eliminates the need for accounting to double check every receipt.
Acumatica announced it will be offering two new releases of its ERP software this year, in Q1 and Q3, with capabilities specific to concrete contractors.
Krishnamoorthy and Joel Hoffman, senior manager of product management, reviewed some of the features users can expect.
The 2022 R1 release will feature a few key updates for construction, most notably:
- Progress Unit/Quantity Billing: Users will be able to customize progress billing to invoice by quantity. Linear footage, square footage, cubic yards, unit pricing and more are available to meet specific business needs.
- Project Cost and Revenue Tax Zones: This simplifies the process of calculating taxes for a project, as tax zones can be specified directly in the project and automatically retrieved and calculated for all invoices, purchase orders, subcontracts, and expenses.
- Project Drop-Ship within Change Order: Improved drop shipment workflows now include change order functionality.
In addition, Acumatica and HCSS software now can work together, allowing civil and heavy construction contractors to integrate employee, equipment, job, and cost data from Acumatica to HCSS. These capabilities will allow users to:
- Analyze daily costs and production quantities in real time and compare them against the budget and schedule.
- Identify profitability on the project by capturing labor and units of inputs for actual production.
- Increase profitability through improved future estimating and production planning.
- Improve communication between the office and field and increase data transparency but removing data silos.
To learn more about Acumatica’s solutions and services, visit www.acumatica.com.