Cloud ERP: A Necessary Tool for the Canadian Construction Industry

Written by Ajoy Krishnamoorthy, Vice President of Platform Strategy at Acumatica

Technology adoption in the construction industry is still evolving, both in the U.S. and Canada.  While some companies embrace modern construction Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions and exciting new technologies, many are still relying on antiquated approaches like static project manuals, spreadsheets and emails to get the job done.

Many Canadian general contractors and other industry professionals are taking advantage of Acumatica’s much-in-demand cloud ERP solution.  They’re also utilizing the recently released customization package, which includes the French-Canadian language pack, tax configuration, special reports, banking interfaces, and more.

General contractors, home builders, land developers and subcontractors are on the road every day –keeping their projects and businesses on schedule and on budget.  Their ability to manage their projects is the key to ensuring profitability on single family homes, mixed use, commercial, multi-family, and other projects.  In order for teams in the field and in the office to stay on the same page, they must rely on a core system that allows access to the latest project reports, contracts, budgets, plans, specifications, change orders, invoices, purchase orders, and job costs.

There are many factors spurring the construction industry to implement cloud-based ERP solutions. First is their ability to easily share data between the office and the field.  Second, a younger workforce is eager to utilize integrated, automated and innovative cloud and mobile technologies to meet their needs.  And finally, the COVID-19 pandemic has proven that construction firms must have cloud construction software—designed with their specific needs in mind—if they want to stay in business when chaotic conditions occur.

As evidence of the growing need for cloud-based construction ERP, Acumatica has seen strong adoption rates and sales for Acumatica Construction Edition in the U.S. since its introduction two years ago.  A complete, cloud-based construction software for general contractors, home builders, subcontractors, specialty contractors, and developers, the product has experienced notable growth, including 200 percent adoption and sales growth each year.  The solution helps contractors easily share data between the office and the field. Every decision made in the field can incorporate accounting data, and every decision made in the back office can include field intelligence to drive coordinated, strategic outcomes.

As construction industry professionals continue to adopt industry-specific cloud-based ERP solutions, they will see an array of benefits.  Outlined below are five transformational benefits that Canadian construction businesses can expect to experience.

  1. Connect all aspects of the business to drive profitable growth: If a business is currently running an accounting system in addition to other applications that do not integrate (or don’t integrate well), then employees are working inefficiently, visibility into projects is severely limited and profit margins are shrinking. Connecting business processes with the right cloud technology (i.e. manage sales and opportunities, track costs, order materials, monitor daily project endeavours, capture time, schedule on-site visits, and so much more from one solution) eases headaches and increases profitability.
  2. Manage cash flow more effectively: Businesses need to balance their expenses with their budget but trying to manage cash flow without cloud construction and accounting software is a never-ending source of stress.  With cloud software, businesses can combine bank balances, billings, and invoices into a comprehensive view of cash flow that enables them to make contractual commitments, meet payroll, and manage the business.
  3. Establish tighter project controls: Want to simplify business processes?  Utilize cloud construction software with real-time dashboards with drill-down capabilities.  This ensures that users reduce risk, increase productivity, and improve customer satisfaction.
  4. Enable remote connectivity: Contractors without cloud-based technology struggle with inefficient, paper-based processes.  Essentially, information needed in the field is only available in the office.  However, mobile access to that same information at any time and from anywhere transforms the way contractors can manage project changes and alert their team to issues.  Delays related to lack of communication or outdated info will quickly become a problem of the past when they can see and respond to what’s happening immediately.
  5. Integrate teams and streamline workflows: Ordering materials for the job site manually and/or within separate applications becomes an automated task from beginning to end.  Users also benefit from business intelligence tools that allow them to analyze current and future projects.

Construction teams in the office and in the field must connect and be in sync.  This was true prior to and remains true during and after the COVID-19 crisis.  With cloud ERP, every employee has access to real-time data via an internet-connected device, at any time, and from any location.  Insight into project metrics, financials, job cost accounting, reports, job site updates and more keeps everyone apprised of each project’s status in real time.  Connected construction and accounting software saves companies and their employees time and effort, driving productivity and profitability.

Ajoy Krishnamoorthy

About the Author

Ajoy Krishnamoorthy has more than 20 years of experience in the industry in technical, marketing, and leadership roles.  Prior to Acumatica, Ajoy was at Microsoft driving business success across a wide range of product management and marketing roles. In a prior role, Ajoy was part of the product management and marketing team in Microsoft Developer Tools division.  Ajoy has co-authored half a dozen books on various MS technologies including ASP.NET and Visual Studio.