Many contractors start out managing their business with an off-the-shelf accounting program like QuickBooks®. For small businesses, this is a terrific program, in fact, I’ve used it myself. It’s easy to use and fairly inexpensive. But as the company grows, ultimately a more robust program may be needed to manage every aspect of your service business.
You may have outgrown your starter software program if the amount of customer data you have accumulated over the years has grown very large. QuickBooks® is limited to 14,500 vendors, customers, products and other names. Also, you cannot enter more than 10,000 account numbers in QuickBooks. Before you even reach these thresholds however, you may begin to experience delays when you print reports and try to open forms and menus within the program. *1
Tracking inventory is another area where you may need more capability than a generic accounting program may offer. Consider how much more efficient you would be if you could dispatch service trucks based on the inventory they carried. In other words, being able to ensure that your service truck has the correct parts to complete a repair before that truck is actually sent to the job site. Look at the number of equipment installations that include warranty-products such as water heaters, air conditioners or heat pumps. Tracking these items by serial number makes it much easier to schedule maintenance calls and to send out timely marketing pieces to your customers.
Have you ever wanted to be able to open multiple work orders or invoices at the same time? Think about a busy service company where the bookkeeper is creating an invoice for a customer. The phone rings and it’s another customer wanting to know how much yesterday’s furnace repair bill was.
Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to schedule daily service and repair calls without closing out of your accounting program? With Total Office Manager®, the drag-and-drop schedule board is built in so there is no time-wasting toggling between multiple programs to manage your service calls. What’s more, you can even send important client details, including turn-by-turn directions via text message or e-mail to the technician in the field.
Service agreements are a key to success for many contractors. Selling these agreements to your clients ensures client retention and the opportunity to earn more business. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to hold back the income from service agreement sales until the work is actually performed? With a contractor-specific program like Total Office Manager®, you can do just that.
Have you ever felt like your company would benefit from contractor-specific support or training? Many generic software programs cannot provide this. Total Office Manager® from Aptora can. It was created by contractors who understand what it’s like to run service.
If you recognize these examples, it may be time to look into all-inclusive management and accounting software that can provide powerful accounting, payroll, dispatching and inventory control in a single program. There are a number of options available, but of course I’m biased in favor of my own company’s award-winning management and accounting software, Total Office Manager®.
Practical Advice for Companies That Have Outgrown QuickBooks, J. Carlton Collins, CPA
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