The company in question were a construction business turning over £2 million, employing 25 staff and assorted subcontractors, at the time of our consultation, the business was facing the following issues:

  • The business was using a 4-tab spreadsheet to manage the leads coming in, the agreed work and the work for the next 2 weeks, this was an incredibly antiquated approach and lead to errors and mis-management.
  • They had recently signed up to Xero to help in managing their finances, but as they weren’t familiar with its more detailed features or how to make best use of these they were struggling to see beneficial results from its employ.
  • They were suffering cash flow problems as a result of the limited sight they had over the profitability of each job undertaken as a result of the above two factors.
  • Their team of estimators were using an unconnected piece of software to manage quotations, however this compounded the above mismanagement issues as not all of the employed estimators were using the 3rd party software correctly and it did not integrate with Xero nor with their spreadsheet system.
accountants for construction


The company directors came to A4G looking to assess available software options to see if it was plausible to standardise the way they were costing their jobs to ensure profitability now and into the future.

A4G takes a holistic approach when it comes to assessing software needs for a client and always considers the end goal. In a great many cases, it is possible to solve a business’s immediate problem with the first ‘off the shelf’ solution that you consider, as a stop gap of sorts to patch up current problems.

The issue here is that as the business grows new challenges are bound to arise which the “patch software” will not be in a position to tackle and the company will end up back at square one, scrambling for solutions because the future was not considered when implementing the chosen software in the first place.

In this situation, the directors must choose between changing the entire software ecosystem or finding another piece of software which patches the next issue. The former is usually incredibly expensive, generating even greater expense than the business would have suffered to do the job properly in the first place, the latter can spark a vicious cycle of duplicated work and stress on the part of the Directorial team as over time a vast quantity of different software solutions may be required.

Joseph, our construction industry and software specialist, had an initial “discovery call” to understand how the business operated in its day to day activity, from tackling initial leads to the sign up stage, job management and finally invoicing and job closure.

A4G’s ‘big picture’ approach is not just about the software either, throughout our assessment process, we consider the roles and responsibilities of each person within the chain to ensure that any solution doesn’t have any adverse impacts on another area of the business.

Following the discovery call we took a step back and looked at the estimating software they were using to see if it would be suitable to roll out as their default software. During our research, we concluded that the software did indeed meet the requirements of the estimators, and was inclusive of supplier catalogues and take-offs, so, this presented an initial option.

However, the software in use was a standalone package with no capacity for integration with their accounting package (Xero) meaning that the company would still have no way to assess profitability through comparing the estimated costs against the actual costs incurred. It also didn’t provide a job management package that the company needed and would still require the management to be undertaken in Excel.

We therefore had to find a more comprehensive solution that would solve the companies’ current problems but was also scalable and could grow and adapt alongside the business.

Enter SimPRO.

Due to the size of the business and the multi-layered management structure, SimPRO provided the best opportunity for a solution outside of a bespoke custom-made software package.

Whilst SimPRO was not the only option available to us, we found that most entry-level job costing solutions have a relatively rigid process chain and businesses can be required to implement processes which conform to the software company’s “best practice”. Whilst this may be suitable for businesses with less than ten staff and turnover below £500k, this can cause issues for larger, higher turnover businesses.

We provided background information to SimPRO, who then gave the client a tailored demonstration to help them understand not only how the software would solve their existing problems but also to demonstrate how the software would enable their operations them to scale up.

As the client was happy with what the software had to offer, the next step was to agree an implementation and training plan. The plan set out the integration of SimPRO within the business processes to ensure a seamless transition with minimal business interruption. It then detailed who will require training and whether or not it would be better to train one-to-one or as a group.


The majority of the implementation was undertaken by the SimPRO team who customised the software set-up to best suit the workflows of the business and ensure any given new process followed on seamlessly from the previous.

Company data was then extracted from their management records and imported into the new system to ensure the system was ready to use as soon as the staff had been trained, thus reducing the need for manually entering existing customers information and suppliers’ catalogues.

A4G then integrated the SimPRO with Xero utilising the SimPRO implementor to ensure both systems communicated appropriately, reducing the need for duplication and double-entry of information, such as Sales and Purchase invoices. We had to ensure the appropriate Chart of Accounts were in place to account for the various elements of the business such as retentions and operating departments.


Training was undertaken in 3 groups:

  1. The first was a detailed training session for the senior staff and a “software champion”. This covered all features of the software and how each of the different areas are used to achieve the requirements of the business including an overview of how the software can be used to leverage time and how it could be best utilised as the business grows.
  2. The second was training with those involved in the finance side of the business. This included the finer points of job management, reporting on job costing and profit and losses per job or sector.
  3. The third was group training to those who would be using the app for data entry such as the engineers on site using the app for timesheets and purchase ordering. Alongside this we began working on a system to complement the training which would be given to any new starters to learn the basics of the software to again save time on the part of the business.

Once the system was up and running with everyone using the system, it was important to reassess if the software was working and meeting the requirements set out to ensure it had been effective.


In this case, the business consistently operated a standardised approach to estimating and as a result they had full control over the costs involved in each of their projects and were able to have better sight over the profitable and loss-making jobs, leading to better informed decisions with regards to quoting and tendering for each project.

The outcome of improving the business’s ecosystem and finance processes has meant that we are now able to obtain better reporting concerning not only overall performance, but departmental and job-by-job performance.

The introduction of a job management system has allowed the quality of the companies’ management accounts to improve significantly enabling them to make better informed business decisions. This in turn enabled them to improve their credit rating with a variety of credit agencies resulting in the company being able to tender for work which would not have otherwise been available.

We go above and beyond helping our clients with their problem

If your company has a problem we will take a holistic approach to finding the best solution for you.

If you’re a construction business, read more about our specialists services to you here.

Or get in touch with us now to arrange a free discovery call with our construction specialists. 

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Joseph Cutting


Principal Adviser

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