I've been waiting for someone to post a response that will provide you with some guidance, but no one has. Please, be patient as I try to be helpful. You have more going for you than you might know. Follow me on this:
The highest risk industry in the US economy is the construction business. Sadly, most of their failures could have been avoided if they had done one thing: control costs. Unfortunately, getting a contractor's license does not require any level of proficiency in accounting or business management. (The same thing goes for doctors, by the way.) As a consequence, good people with great technical skills go into business and many of them lose their homes, family, self respect, etc. when costs get out of control and they lose money. These are smart people, and they know that you always use the right tool for the job, but few of them know there is a "right tool" for construction accounting (job costing). They go to the nearest department store and buy a "general" accounting package, something that was never intended for them. If they are lucky, they might find the one that claims it is for construction, even if it isn't. Truth is, a great number of those contractors end up looking for a real accounting program that actually does job cost accounting.
That's where you come in. You are apparently working in construction now. You also have a degree in accounting. Why not use your education and marry the two. What if you offered your accounting skills to some of the contractors you work with, even the one you are working for now? What if you begin small, working with a few companies, even on the side, doing their job costing and their payroll at night? I firmly believe that most contractors are smart, hard working, and honest. If you approach them with a solution to their problems (controlling costs), I believe that a number of them will be honest enough to admit that they literally lose sleep over cost control. You have a solution for them. Not only will you take the worries out of doing accounting and payroll, but you can provide them with cost variance reports, telling them where their actual costs are out of line with their estimates. That is what job costing does.
What's it going to take to do their accounting? A job cost accounting program. That's where I come in. This is not a sales pitch, it's background. A-Systems has been providing job cost accounting software to the construction industry since 1978, the first company to do job costing for the PC. Our software is rated 5-Stars out of 5 by The CPA Technology Advisor, experts in their field. We have job costing software in use in every state in the nation, some of them doing hundreds of millions in annual revenue. Many of our clients started on the unnamed general accounting program then dumped it when they outgrew it or figured out it wasn't meant for them. A-Systems has job costing software that you can solve a lot of problems with. Now, the obvious question is how much it costs. Let's make it easy. We have a copy for $79.95. Don't get the idea that it's low price means it can't do the job. We used to sell this version, The Small Builder Advantage (SBA) of A-Systems JobView for $1,495 and we added another $200 for the multimedia training. At the invitation of the United States Small Business Administration, I went to Washington, DC and visited with several senior officials in their organization. During those meetings, I offered to lower the price to the point that anyone could afford it. They were overjoyed and purchased a copy for every SBA office in the country. In response, we renamed that version of the software to have the SBA acronym. If a company outgrows the SBA Edition, they can upgrade (without any loss of accounting history) to The Standard or The Preferred Edition. There's a lot of room for growth. Our largest customer reports revenues in excess of $400 million. I believe we have larger companies, but they do not release information. Our software was not written so that it requires a CPA to run it. In fact, most or our users are bookkeepers. Still, they provide job costing reports that a CPA would be proud of. (By the way, JobView has an "import" function that pulls data from that "accounting" software in puts it into JobView. We had to create it because there were so many companies abandoning it.)
If you start small and grow your business, you may find yourself with a number of construction companies relying on you for their job costing information. You can make a difference in their lives, actually reducing their risks, and increasing their profitability. They can't afford not to use you. Let me be specific about cost savings. The payroll in JobView tracks Worker's Comp Insurance based on an employee's task, not their job description. Most contractors, especially the small ones, end up paying Worker's Comp at the highest rate an employee has. For instance, if an employee works 39 hours framing and 1 hour roofing, most companies end up paying the ultra-high rate for roofing on all 40 hours. With JobView, an employee's task is tracked and the Worker's Comp rate is task-based, they pay for 39 hours at the framing rate and 1 hour at the roofing rate, saving a fortune. This was a radical concept when we introduced it in 1980. It was so radical that our new clients were almost immediately audited by the Worker's Comp people when their insurance costs dropped through the floor. We has to add a special Worker's Comp Audit Report to document the information for them because of so many of them being audited. The auditors always left quickly, satisfied that the contractor knew how to reduce costs. One California contractor reported that they saved enough to pay for the top-of-the-line version of our software---every month! You can do this for them.
Now, let's take another scenario. Let's say that one supervisor constantly runs 25-50% over budget on man-hours with his crew. This needs to be dealt with, but how will an owner know it if they aren't using real job costing software? This is what job costing is all about. In fact, if a contractor is using job costing software, they can bid bigger jobs, more jobs, more complex jobs, and succeed. You need job costing to monitor all of those jobs at once.
One more scenario. Very often, builders are told by owners, "While you're at it..." and they add tasks, modifications, and changes to the job. Unfortunately, that change may not result in a "Change Order", a modification to the contract to cover the additional costs and make a profit at it. As a consequence, they may end up losing money on that job. Several years ago, I was approached by a contractor that was using general accounting software. He had just completed a job and he had lost $120,000. He had budgeted a $100,000 profit, but there was a $220,000 swing--to the negative. He was at a loss about how to correct it because he had not idea what he had done wrong. We introduced him to job costing and he is more profitable than he has ever been in his life. He's now using the right tool for the job.
Well, that's my advice. You may have an opportunity right where you are. If you would like a bit of hope, getting pumped up, I would suggest you read the speech called, "Acres of Diamonds." It suggests that the opportunities you seek are closer than you think, but few people recognize them. I would suggest that your "Acres of Diamonds" might be beneath your feet.
Subject: Accounting jobs suck!
Date: Tuesday, June 26, 2007 11:01 AM
I graduated from college with a BBA in accounting in May 2002. My GPA
was 3.87 on 4.0 scale. I have been a professional seeker of accounting
jobs for five years. Most employers will not even consider you for
good paying position unless you are CPA or have an advanced graduate
degree. The jobs I have been interviewing for are basically clerk jobs
in accounts payable, receivables, and the general ledger. The managers
that I have worked for are all women and are bitter and nuerotic-- and
the pay sucks.
I can't believe I spent four years of my life studying economics,
intermediate accounting, finance, taxation, and cost accounting to be
an accounts payable clerk. If you are college student, stay away from
undergraduate degrees unless your going to use them as springboard to
become a doctor or a lawyer.
My career is dead and I will probably be working entry-level
construction for the rest of my life.