Plumbing Contractors Have Unique Options in Bookkeeping Software
This Article Will Focus On Pros And Cons For Keeping Your Plumbing Accounting Software On Your Desktop / Notebook / Tablet Verses In The Cloud.
In the interest of full disclosure we use cloud based construction accounting software and yet I promise to do my best to present the Pros and Cons of both methods to provide you with some perspective for deciding what is best for your plumbing company. There is no right or wrong answer. You will always know deep inside yourself what is best for you and your Plumbing Company and when and if change is appropriate.
Desktop Plumbing Accounting Software – Pros
- Control – As long as you are in the same room with your desktop, notebook, tablet or other device that has your construction accounting software on it you have a lot of control over it.
- Software Updates – You decide when to update the construction accounting software. This is not the same as upgrading which means buying a newer version of the same construction accounting software and moving all of your construction accounting data files into a newer version of it.
- Save Money – Having your construction accounting software resting on a remote server in the cloud costs money because legitimate remote software hosting services cannot sell advertising and spam in order to pay for the costs of a software hosting environment.
- Security – If the desktop, notebook, tablet or other device is not connected to the internet, not even wireless, there is little chance anybody outside the reach of the devices can access your construction accounting data files.
- File Backup – Can be stored on the desktop, notebook, tablet or whatever device has your construction accounting software.
Desktop Plumbing Accounting Software – Cons
- Control – You could lose all of your Plumbing Company construction accounting data in an instant. Your desktop, notebook, tablet or other device is always at the mercy of severe weather, floods, fire, hard drive crashes, electrical power surges, theft, malicious intent, bookkeepers other than the Plumbing Company owner who “Takes a copy of your accounting data on a flash drive for safe keeping” (you don’t want to want to know about all the risks involved there because it would keep you awake at night). And the worst risk of all…a child or friend who just wanted to play with your desktop, notebook, tablet or other device and accidently erases or destroys all of your accounting data.
- Software Updates – Software updates are NOT FULLY TESTED before being released. The construction accounting software companies do their best to make certain as many “bugs” are worked out before the release is issued. Reality is they never know for sure until the users upload it, waste time testing it, get angry and tell them about it. This means it is up to each user to decide when to update their construction accounting software. And you really should be aware of how the software update will affect all of your existing hardware and software including printers and scanners.
- Security – If the desktop, notebook, tablet or other device is connected to the internet in any way including wireless there is a good chance hackers can access your construction accounting data files.
- Multi-Access – Unless you have a properly setup and secured computer network environment including a dedicated server, desktop or notebook which is always on and configured as server for housing your construction accounting software and data files then only one person at a time can access it. This is like having one bathroom in a house with more than one person. Thank goodness for Plumbing Contractors!
- File Backup – Stored on the desktop, notebook, tablet or whatever device has your construction accounting software is dangerous because if the device fails it will take all of you data files with it. At minimum have an external hard-drive and better yet an automatic offsite backup service.
Cloud Accounting Software – Pros
- Software Updates – Are tested and verified by the network technicians at legitimate remote software hosting services BEFORE THEY ARE INSTALLED. Having a team of computer and server networking professionals looking out for you and fixing things before you even knew there is a problem, priceless!
- Save Time And Money – Accessing your construction accounting data 24/7 from any web enabled device saves you time and money. Check up on your Plumbing Company while on vacation, out of the office, at the job-site or anywhere you have internet access.
- Security – Legitimate remote software hosting services have multiple layers of encryption and network security that is constantly being tested and upgraded. And from having toured a cloud based server facility I can say with confidence they have very large men with guns that have no sense of humor. They appear meaner and tougher than anyone I have ever seen at the airport!
- Multi-Access – Most construction accounting software will allow many people to be in the file at the same time without being in the same room, or state including your outsourced construction accounting service. We use a cloud based construction accounting service that allows all of the authorized users to work in the construction accounting file at the same time.
- File Backup – Is automatic and redundant in multiple locations so that if disaster strikes the main building everything can be switched to another location hundreds or thousands of miles away in a matter of hours or less.
Cloud Accounting Software – Cons
- It Costs Money – There is NO FREE LUNCH! Everything including good Plumbing Contractors charge for their services.
- Cheap And Free – Cloud based accounting software services are tempting. However as I have said many times “There is no free lunch” and “An honest person cannot be cheated” – Randalism. This is because an honest person knows everything has a price to be paid and someone has to pay. Many men and women have paid the ultimate price to secure freedom for their homeland and country. In fact a long time ago a Carpenter paid the ultimate price and beyond to provide a retirement plan that is out of this world for those of us who choose to accept it. In my opinion putting your construction accounting data on cheap or free cloud based software is as bad as putting on public display and inviting massive problems into your life. Low price leaders in any profession including cloud based accounting software and Plumbing Contractors are usually people who have their heart in the right place and most of them are just trying to earn a living in the only way they know how. The issue I have is more often than not their solution ends up being more expensive in the long run than paying a fair price in the beginning and getting the services you need. There really is no “Free Lunch”.
Cloud Accounting Software To Consider
QuickBooks Online, Wave And Freshbooks Are Best For Plumbing Contractors:
- When it is run like a hobby
- It is only one person operation
- Owner sole focus is saving money
- Needs basic simple financial reports
- Who enjoy doing everything themselves
- Who have free time to learn the software
- Who don’t need QuickBooks Desktop Version
- Who don’t fit client profile “Contracting For Profit”
Xero Accounting Online With Our Enhanced Contractor System Is Best For Plumbing Contractors:
- When it is run like small business
- It is at most a three person operation
- Owner primary focus is making money
- Needs better management financial reports
- Doesn’t need QuickBooks Desktop Version
- Needs to invoice at the job-site and email it now
- The owner is skilled in using smartphone technology
- The owner does not have free time to learn new software
- The owner fits our client profile “Contracting For Optimum Profit”
QuickBooks Desktop Version In The Cloud Is Best For Plumbing Contractors:
- When it is run like an emerging small business
- It is at most a twenty person Plumbing Company
- When the focus is generating ever increasing profits
- The owner needs Job Costing and solid Financial Reports
- The owner needs the power of QuickBooks Desktop Version
- The owner ready to have a Business Plan for controlled growth
- The owner is focused on saving time and money with innovation
QuickBooks desktop in the cloud – Is one area where you can reduce your overhead and increase your productivity fast and easy. You can work from anywhere, anytime, with a single source for all of your data which means you can:
- Use a PC or Mac to access the windows based QuickBooks desktop version
- Reduce your travel time and expenses
- Create, print and/or email invoices at the jobsite and get paid immediately
- Simplify PC maintenance and not have to deal with network issues in your office
- Access to remote support so you are never alone
- You are in business for yourself but not by yourself
- Increased efficiency because you can have access to your live company files
QuickBooks Desktop In The Cloud vs. QuickBooks Online
- QuickBooks Online – Is a totally different version of QuickBooks. It is different than QuickBooks Pro, Premier, or Enterprise.
- You Can Lease QuickBooks Desktop Version – Month to month and you will be upgraded to the latest versions every year at no additional cost.
- QuickBooks Desktop In The Cloud – Allows access to multiple users at the same time and they do not have to be in the same location, city, state or country for that matter.
- QuickBooks Online – Does not offer the full features of QuickBooks. QuickBooks cloud computing offers every feature available with QuickBooks.
- QuickBooks Online Does Not Have As Of Now:
- Purchase orders
- Inventory tracking
- Sales order tracking
- Job costing or estimating
- Customized price levels
- Integration with Excel, Word, or Outlook
- Online bill payment
- Payroll input
- Business plans
- QuickBooks Online Does Not Have Add On Programs As Of Now:
- Construction Project Management Software
- Business Plan Software
- Marketing Plan Software
- Paperless Document Management
- Scheduling Software
- Job Costing Software
- Time Tracking Software
QuickBooks Hosting – Can save you and your staff time, energy and money by using exactly the same QuickBooks interface you use on your local PC.
Why We Recommend Cloud Accounting For Plumbing Contractors Like You
There Are People – Who make things happen, people who watch things happen, people who don’t know anything happened until it is too late and they are out of luck, money and forced to change or fade away.
Pioneers – Are on the “Leading Edge”, “Cutting Edge” and “Bleeding Edge” just like the early pioneers in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s explored the newly acquired land west of the Mississippi River all the way to the Pacific Ocean who ended up with the arrows in their backs. They buy the latest devices and technology while it is still full of “bugs” and spend an enormous amount of their time, money, blood, sweat and tears making everything good for the Settlers.
Settlers – Wait until the Pioneers have tamed the landscape and they find fertile ground and plant crops, build buildings, develop processes, procedures and processes and over a course of time become very wealthy and hire Plumbing Contractors and turn the area into a civilization.
We Are Construction Accounting Settlers – In the early 1970’s during my time at Central Washington University where I majored in accounting everything was done by hand using large “Book Ledgers” measuring roughly 9” x 17”. In the early 1980’s once personal computers (PC’s) became useful our firm invested in a “Commodore 64” and later a “TRS-80”.
Subsequently We Upgraded – To more powerful and faster computers and eventually to a proven DOS based construction accounting program called “CMS” which was fantastic for its time. When QuickBooks first appeared in the early 1990’s we bought a copy of the first version and shortly thereafter switched all of our construction accounting data into it. We normally do not get the first version of any software; however, QuickBooks was developed by the same company that developed Quicken which meant it was a not a completely new software.
Frankly We Have Tried Dozens – Of desktop and online construction accounting programs including QuickBooks Online, Timberline, Master Builder and Peachtree and we keep coming back to QuickBooks Desktop version as being the best application for contractors and Plumbing Contractors.
Over The Past Several Decades – We have developed an innovative construction accounting system built entirely on QuickBooks and can be used in all desktop versions of QuickBooks including Pro, Premier, Contractor Edition and Enterprise.
Our Cloud Based QuickBooks For Contractors – Outsourced Construction Accounting System works for all Plumbing Contractors, general and specialty contractors, home builders and commercial tenant improvement contractors who have special requirements:
- Job Deposit Tracking – Single and Multiple With Complex Allocations
- Work-In-Progress (WIP) Reporting
- Schedule of Values Tracking and Reporting Requirements
- Payment Applications similar to G-702 and G703 reports.
Cloud Desktop Accounting – Has been available since the mid 1990’s and lots of pioneers have worked tirelessly to make it useful. In the early 2000’s we looked in it and found it was still too much like the Wild-West without good solid security and stable backup systems in place.
Intuit Commercial Hosting Program – Intuit, the parent company of QuickBooks seeing a demand and a need for cloud based services introduced a program with rigors guidelines to develop standards for any company who wants to offer cloud computing using QuickBooks. We watched, monitored and waited for the market leaders to emerge and subsequently have tried all of them and are currently using one in the southern part of the USA. I cannot recommend them because situations change and if someone better, not cheaper, better comes along we will switch and I would really hate to learn someone had taken my recommendation and be stuck with someone that no longer works well.
About The Author:
Randal DeHart, PMP, QPA is the co-founder of Business Consulting And Accounting in Lynnwood Washington, www.FastEasyAccounting.Com He is the leading expert in outsourced construction bookkeeping and accounting services for small construction companies across the USA. He is experienced as a Plumbing Contractor, General Contractor, Project Management Professional, Construction Accountant, Intuit ProAdvisor, QuickBooks For Contractors Expert and Xero Accounting Specialist and Bill.Com Guru.
I leave you with this heartfelt blessing – “Your best days are still ahead of you! I sincerely believe in you and know for a fact that you have what it takes to stand guard at the portals of your mind. You will continually and steadfastly soothe and nurture your protective conditioned mind with love and kindness and gently redirect its fear creating mechanisms to focus on tapping into the limitless power of Universe and allow It to provide you with ever increasing internal strength and wisdom which will inevitably manifest the bright and prosperous future which is your destiny.”
Randal L. DeHart, PMP, QPA