Thanks for the reply.
I've heard of Deltek and looked at their website, but got the impression
their products were oriented more towards big companies. By any chance do
you know how expensive (generally)? Their website provided no cost
information. Having something that works well would be worth paying a
little more for.
We do mostly SBIRs and are pretty small (although we use a lot of
subcontractors), so one of the QuickBooks add-ons might be the most
practical solution. Have you heard anything good or bad about any of those.
There appears to be several oriented towards gov. contracting.
e.g. ICAT: http://www.fcservicesnetwork.com/products.aspx
Thanks again for the help. I appreciate it.
We're basically a startup developing a new design for an electric actuator
(so basically doing product development). So far we've managed to fund most
of this through gov't contracts (SBIRs and BAAs) which, up until now, have
all been fixed price. So the accounting (and reporting) requirements have
been pretty simple. However, we just won a larger (Phase II)
"cost-plus-fixed-fee" type contract that will involve tracking time and
materials, as well as determining overhead rates, etc. So the accounting
needs will be more complex (and hence the reason for this inquiry). We
eventually plan to go into production with our design, and expect our first
sales to be to the military (who's been our primary sponsor). I'm sure this
will entail a whole other set of accounting issues, so (ideally) it would be
nice to find something that could evolve with our company.
Thanks for any help you can provide. I have both a bookkeeper and tax
accountant that I work with, but neither has had much experience with gov't
contracts. I'm finding not many have!
It sounds like what you need is a "job costing" function. It works like
this: First, if you have an "estimate" for each phase of your project,
use those numbers as budgets for Labor, Materials, Subcontracted amounts
(if any), Equipment (rented), and a catch all, Other expenses. Then, as
you receive invoices from vendors and enter your payroll, you assign
each expense and employee timesheet to the appropriate budget. The
result is a comprehensive set of cost data that can be analyzed.
Reports then show a comparison of budgeted costs against actual, with
variances calculated for you. If you do your billing on a cost plus
basis, there are ways to accomplish that too.
If you don't have an "estimated" amount for each of these costs, it's a
matter of creating a budget category for each expense, but with "zero
dollar" budgets. Then you let the actual costs accumulate in their
respective categories. This can be done using the job costing function
instead of cluttering up your income statement with lists of expense
categories for individual projects. Of course, overhead and other
expenses are tracked on the general ledger.
If you want to assign a portion of the overhead to each job, you can
create a "burden" function that adds a fixed percentage to each actual
expense, spreading out the overhead to the jobs or projects you are
working on. This may be a step further than you want to go, but you can
do it. Job costing can be very sophisticated.
There may come a time that you need a "certified payroll", a function
that complies with the Davis-Bacon Act, showing that you are paying
"prevailing wages." This may or may not be part of your government
contract. That should be part of your job costing.
A-Systems has been providing job costing software since 1978. Our
software is rated 5-Stars out of 5 by "The CPA Technology Advisor",
obviously a specialist magazine. Companies in every state in the
country use our job costing software to track costs. We have versions
that are extremely sophisticated (for large companies) and we have a
version for start-up companies. Because we are very pro small business,
we practically give away the version we call The Small Builder Advantage
to smaller businesses. It includes job costing, general ledger (for
financial statements), payroll (including W-2s, and free tax table
updates), accounts payable (including 1099s), accounts receivable,
contact management, forecasting/modeling, sales order, a built in report
generator, and on and on.
We include comprehensive multimedia training on the CD with the
software. We even include a "getting started Wizard" to help you set up
your company. Finally, the software has one of the best "Help Files" in
the software industry. Every time you hit the Help Button, a full color
picture of where you were comes into view. Every data entry field is
explained in straight-forward English, no computerese, no jargon, just
simple to understand instructions. If you are not an accountant, we
even have a training session called, "Bean Counting 101, a crash course
in accounting." It is an introductory course in accounting, designed to
introduce novices to the terminology and processes of accounting.
If you want, you can download a free-trial copy of our software from our
website at www.a-systems.net or we can send you a free-trial CD. We
recommend the CD because it includes all of the training. You can
request a copy from our website at:
or you can call us toll-free at (800) 365-6790 and give us the mailing
By the way, we sell The Small Builder Edition for $79.95. We have
priced it so everyone can afford the software they need. We used to
sell this package for $1,500, but we dropped the price to make it
available for everyone. We are proud of the fact the the United States
Small Business Administration bought a copy for every SBA office in the
country. They told us they had never done such a thing in the past.
That covers everything I can think of, including my unabashed sales
pitch. I believe you need to use the right tool for the job and it
sounds like you need job costing.
Please let us know if we can assist you. When you call, the first thing
you will notice is that we do not use voice mail. We are as high tech
as anyone, but we still provide old-fashioned personal service.
Thanks Arnold for your very detailed replied. You're right in that "job
costing" capability is what I need.
I've never heard of A-Systems, but will give it a look. The price certainly
seems to be right!
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