I've Outgrown QuickBooks, What Now?

 
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Old 07-19-2007, 10:45 AM   #1
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I've Outgrown QuickBooks, What Now?


I am a drywall contractor with about 40 employees. For several years now I have been using Excel for estimating, scheduling, and equipment management and QuickBooks Contractor Pro for accounting. My frustrations have grown as the complexity of my jobs grows. I need software that integrates the entire process; estimating, contracts, change orders, PO management, scheduling, job costing, accounting, reports, etc.
I have looked at the Sage Master Builder demo and it seems to have a lot of what I'm looking for. However I have been reading some horror stories about users who paid big money and were never able to get it to function. Granted these are older posts, before Sage took over, but still I have not seen any recent reviews from actual users. Is there anyone using MB? What do you like or dislike about it? Are there other programs out there I should consider?
 

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Old 07-19-2007, 06:44 PM   #2
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Re: I've Outgrown QuickBooks, What Now?


The builder I worked for used TimberLine. They seemed to like it. Did all the accounting, estimating, POs, etc..

However as their IT guy, I really did not like the database backend they had as it seemed to cause a lot of memory clutter.

I can certainly attest to their support though. If you get the service package with them, they are amazing to deal with. Extremely helpful.

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Old 07-19-2007, 10:00 PM   #3
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Re: I've Outgrown QuickBooks, What Now?


I personally am not big enough to have outgrown the regular contractors edition quickbooks, but my cousin did and went to Timberline.

He went through all their classes and paid to teach it to his in house bookeeper then they proceeded to hate it. They could never figure it out. Apparently it could do wondrous things but was so difficult to use that after a year of nothing balancing or reconciling they went back to quickbooks and got their top level program which I believe is that sage master builder.

So far they love it.

Hope that helps.
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Old 07-21-2007, 01:16 PM   #4
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Re: I've Outgrown QuickBooks, What Now?


Correction, The quickbooks he got is called enterprise and comes with unlimited support plus a bunch of new features.

The sage program is similar to timberline.

I know my cousin spent about 100k total last year on Timberline and is now abandoning it. When I asked why all the big boys use it he said "because once you put that kind of money into it you can't bear to throw it all away so they stick with it and try to make it work".

But he's not going to get stuck like that so he's going back to quickbooks.
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Old 07-21-2007, 03:08 PM   #5
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Re: I've Outgrown QuickBooks, What Now?


I've used Peachtree way before Quickbooks ever existed, and continue to use Peachtree. It is a superior product, but harder to learn when compared with Quickbooks.
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Old 07-21-2007, 06:01 PM   #6
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Re: I've Outgrown QuickBooks, What Now?


I wanted to do the same but the designers of computer systems all have agendas of thier own or back ground experiense that make them percieve and concieve in a certain theme. So after a thourogh investigation I have concluded you really cant have one system do it all because it cant. An accounting system may be able to job track and cost but it wont estimate the way you need or want it to, and vise versa for an estimating system. They advertize as such but I dont see it happening. BTW I would love to see your scheduling system if you dont mind sharing. Its my weak point and i can use help here.
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Old 07-23-2007, 11:19 AM   #7
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Re: I've Outgrown QuickBooks, What Now?


Whatever you use, make sure your accountant is on the same page.
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Old 07-26-2007, 08:17 PM   #8
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Re: I've Outgrown QuickBooks, What Now?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Susan Betz View Post
Whatever you use, make sure your accountant is on the same page.
I totally agree with that


Has anyone ever tried quickbooks technical support what a darn joke that is... I mean wow call 6,000 miles away to some freaking country that can't understand a darn word you are saying. I would love to find different software than quickbooks but it is very userfreindly so I plan on sticking with it, just dont sign up for the customer support unless you know how to speak arabic.
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Old 07-26-2007, 09:43 PM   #9
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Re: I've Outgrown QuickBooks, What Now?


Quote:
Originally Posted by welovepainting View Post
unless you know how to speak arabic.
Actually, they are in India where the language is Hindi and English.

Arabic is more a collection of languages and primarily spoken in arab countires, such as Syria, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, UAE, etc..
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Old 08-15-2007, 08:40 AM   #10
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Re: I've Outgrown QuickBooks, What Now?


try moneyworks, it also gives you a free copy to ur accountant if that is the route u wanna take so all the info can be email to him and he can verify it thru the same program that you use... also, it is around he same price as quickbooks but has great technical support..
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Old 08-22-2007, 07:01 AM   #11
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Re: I've Outgrown QuickBooks, What Now?


Quote:
Originally Posted by BuildingHomes View Post
The builder I worked for used TimberLine. They seemed to like it. Did all the accounting, estimating, POs, etc..

However as their IT guy, I really did not like the database backend they had as it seemed to cause a lot of memory clutter.

I can certainly attest to their support though. If you get the service package with them, they are amazing to deal with. Extremely helpful.
I went to a sales seminar for Timberline and they definitely have a complete package for estimating and accounting. I'm computer savy, and found it a little tough to use, but it was a 1 day seminar, so if I had more time, it probably would have gotten easier. They have take-off integration, database for pricing, and accounting, so I would look into it.
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Old 09-10-2007, 08:42 PM   #12
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Re: I've Outgrown QuickBooks, What Now?


The employer I am with uses ComputerEase for all of their accounting, payroll, etc.. Kinda $$$$ but the office manager says its worth the cash if you are a larger company.
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Old 10-19-2007, 09:50 AM   #13
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Re: I've Outgrown QuickBooks, What Now?


We've been using Master Builder (MB) for a couple of years now. We outgrew QuickBooks when we decided that we needed to do much more thorough job costing.

As with any software, getting the software going was tough. Our approach was to hire someone who had experience with MB and then use a combination of online training and an occaisional consultant to help us for 1/2 a day. Using this method, our conversion and training costs were about $2-3K, including hiring a MB CPA to walk us through the conversion.

The double entry accounting and reports are excellent - especially some of the custom reports available out there - like 12 month P&Ls.

However, entering data is more difficult than QB - though our ops mgr says that once she got familiar with it, it was just another accounting system.

Training makes all of the difference and having someone familiar with it made it much easier.

So ... now that we've been using this, we now have a new problem. We've downsized with the rest of the industry - now I'm wondering if we should go back to QB. We spent about $8K on the software - and have kept up on the support and new releases - sure would be nice to be able to just sell it off and start over ... wonder if there's a web site for that.

I've heard QB does job cost better, but don't believe they touch the estimator and service management parts of MB. We just don't need that functionality.

Overall, the reports available from MB like utilization, profit by project, etc is great for pin pointing where costs and profits are and being able to fine tune the business.
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Old 10-19-2007, 04:46 PM   #14
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Re: I've Outgrown QuickBooks, What Now?


Quickbooks has 'add-on's' from other venders designed for specific purposes-not sure if one of those venders has made something that might suit your needs. the website had a list of programs all though I'm unsure of the address.
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Old 11-18-2007, 06:36 PM   #15
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Re: I've Outgrown QuickBooks, What Now?


I used to be a certified advisor for Master Builder when it was with Omware, then Intuit. Now I am a certified consultant for American Contractor by Maxwell and QuickBooks by Intuit. I have to agree with someone else in this thread, it's all about working with your trainer and your trainer being good and being there for you. Intuit has recently beefed up the money they are investing in their Enterprise Edition, they are marketing it thru reps and have never done that before. Now that they have sold Master Builder to Sage, they know the in's and out's of it and how it works so I would expect to see Quickbooks Enterprise Contractors Edition stepping up to the plate real soon if it hasn't met your needs yet.
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Old 11-18-2007, 10:58 PM   #16
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Re: I've Outgrown QuickBooks, What Now?


Used timblerline with no problem when I use to work for a $50 mill/yr GC. Not cost effective for small business. Timeline is the best for scheduling, big or small.
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Old 11-25-2007, 08:29 PM   #17
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Re: I've Outgrown QuickBooks, What Now?


Wow PMI, that's a tough blow. I sure wouldn't attempt to build a house on my own without some expert advice.

No one is saying that young tech savy folks don't know how to use a computer. Training is for those who need to understand how to read their statement of cash flows and how to map all the GL accounts to the correct type of cash flow? How to integrate their Quest or Estimation software with their accounting software so that they can get detailed estimates in a program they have used for years and that information can flow into summarized budgets to create proposals and cost to complete reports and AIA billings? Many construction companies (majority in fact) are owned by husband wife teams and usually neither has been educated in accounting. Consultants are not for the tech savy who want to figure it out for themselves, it is for those who don't want to spend 25 hours figuring it out or would rather pay someone per hour to tell them the right order to set up their books for the most efficiency?

I do agree that the cut the big company takes from what the trainer gets is hard to bite on both sides of the coin. But there is nothing better for new user than someone who shares their knowledge and has years of experience setting up accounting/estimating/pm/scheduling/doc control, systems.

There is also a nightmare client for a consultant, one who doesn't do their homework and expects the consultant to take the responsibilty. The most efficient use of a consultant is to spend 2-3 hours with them (on line is most cost effective believe it or not), ask them for a list of what they believe is your "homework". Get that done, then do another 2-3 hours of consulting. Ask for the expected results in a given number of hours if you do your homework before you sign on with the consultant.

On-going consulting is great for those who want to expand their use of the software they have, to more fully utilize what they are using now. No one is suggesting you pay someone to do everything here. You are paying for expertise and only for the amount of time you want it. What you do with that expertise is up to you.

Don't worry, I'm not offended, I also have kids in their 20's who know everything and I am a partner in a computer store and have techs that occasionally have to be reminded that people deserve to be spoken to in a way they can understand. We all have our strengths and not everyone knows about everything. I would never attempt to knock down a wall in my home to expand it, nor would I attempt to pave my own driveway. But, I have built my own computer and set up my own software and do my own taxes.
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Old 11-26-2007, 12:42 AM   #18
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Re: I've Outgrown QuickBooks, What Now?


The only reason I don't do my own taxes as a s-corp is because I don't need any red flags. Been audited before, when my mother, a certified tax auditor herself, got done with them, the owed me 2 grand. Just because I can do my own taxes, doesn't mean that's the best thing to do.
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Old 11-26-2007, 06:15 AM   #19
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Re: I've Outgrown QuickBooks, What Now?


Quote:
Originally Posted by sumdry View Post
I am a drywall contractor with about 40 employees. For several years now I have been using Excel for estimating, scheduling, and equipment management and QuickBooks Contractor Pro for accounting. My frustrations have grown as the complexity of my jobs grows. I need software that integrates the entire process; estimating, contracts, change orders, PO management, scheduling, job costing, accounting, reports, etc.
I have looked at the Sage Master Builder demo and it seems to have a lot of what I'm looking for. However I have been reading some horror stories about users who paid big money and were never able to get it to function. Granted these are older posts, before Sage took over, but still I have not seen any recent reviews from actual users. Is there anyone using MB? What do you like or dislike about it? Are there other programs out there I should consider?
although i don't use quickbooks contractor edition for all the things you list, i believe that the contractor edition does most if not all of the things you just requested. i know it does change orders. not the way i like to do them, so i just continue to invoice change orders with a separate invoice. i know it does job costing, reports etc. it's just a matter of taking every single receipt from every job and putting them in manually attaching it to the customers name. i could spend a lot more time using quickbooks to show me all the reports I want, but I don't. as long as i know i'm making good money, i don't bother printing all those reports out all the time. it's hard to really make them true and accurate if you really break it all down.

what year contractor edition do you currently have?
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Old 11-26-2007, 01:18 PM   #20
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Re: I've Outgrown QuickBooks, What Now?


We have been Master Builder customers for 6 years now. While there are some areas that need improvement, it is a AWESOME product. There is a small learning curve, but if you are doing a million plus a year in sales, you most likely have the staff to help master the system. All of our office staff uses it but we keep the accountants in the accounting portion and the estimators and PM in those sections too. There is no need for every one to master the entire program especially the way all areas tie in together, etc.

The systems is the best on the market right now for medium sized contractors and with Sage purchasing the program last year, even better changes are on the way. The horror stories most folks have heard about are usually due to the fact that the user expected to just plug and go or had and "we are experts" syndrome. Our Pro Advisor is worth her weight in gold and has helped our firm become even more profitable and detailed. I highly recommend it above QB Contractor or Timber Line.

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