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In other pieces, we’ve talked about why it’s beneficial and necessary for construction companies to adopt new technologies. However, choosing to adopt is different than knowing where to invest. Construction finance managers (CFMs) may not know where to start or how they should approach conversations with prospective tech partners. Sometimes, this challenge can halt the process altogether, deferring it indefinitely. It’s not hard to understand why. Upgrading your construction company is an important process that impacts profitability, operations, and internal systems. There’s a huge incentive to make sure that the 65technology you select is the right fit for your company. CFMs spearheading these updates will want to get it right the first time to support future initiatives.
Luckily, it’s easier than ever to find the right technology fit. Practically every industry is shifting into the digital age. With that change comes insights on how to make the shift, where the opportunities exist, and how to identify the right solution as quickly and accurately as possible. We’ve put together a list construction companies can use to help them on their upgrade journey. Let’s go over the key identifiers CFMs can use to pick the best tools for their business.
One of the reasons construction is slow to adopt new technology is the complexity of their processes. Construction finances are unlike any other, and not just on an industry level. Every company has its own way of creating forecasts, drafting a WIP, and managing its cash flow. Get a room full of CFOs from different companies to talk about finances and it’s likely they’ll all have different answers. It’s not possible to create a one size fits all solution for construction finance.
While this situation may seem like a challenge, it’s actually an opportunity. It means that your business won’t have to settle for a rigid solution. You can confidently advocate for your unique needs and set it as an expectation for whatever new technology you adopt. With all of this in mind, CFMs should put personalization as a top priority in their search for the best technology. Flexibility and utility will be directly correlated. The more you can customize each workflow, automation, and financial process, the more effective it’s going to be for your business.
Construction has a communication problem. Work silos are all too common in the industry. Though these silos are effective at specialization, they can stifle communication and collaboration between your departments. This can create delays in key processes, a downward trend in efficiency, and change orders that fall through the cracks. In some cases, managers seeking to improve business processes may not even know where to find the source of the delays.
Let digital tools be the antidote to collaboration confusion. Technology is famous for its ability to connect and align people, especially teams. CFMs should seek out solutions that enhance communication and collaboration between various teams. Not only will this create employee buy-in on tech initiatives, but it also enhances productivity, efficiency, and operational clarity. Tools that connect your business are sure to be a win for your employees, managers, and leadership alike.
While collaboration tools are a huge step forward, they aren’t guaranteed to get everyone on the same page. It’s not uncommon to hear frustrations about how the data that teams on-site have access to is different from the data being used in the office. Communication and collaboration rely on accessibility to accurate data. With vital information spread out across computers, inboxes, spreadsheets, and receipts, your teams may have a low level of visibility on the information they need most.
Focusing on connectivity can bring some of the best results when adopting new technology. Whether it’s cloud software that collects your documents or automation tools that move data from software to spreadsheets, anything that makes information more accessible creates noticeable gains for your business. In some cases, that connectivity can lead to as high as a 61% efficiency improvement. For CFMs, the guiding principle here is clear. Invest in software that intelligently collates your project, finance, operations, and people data into one place.
The financial pipeline in construction moves slowly. Typically, forecasts are based on information that’s almost two months old, and the books are closed in a long, monthly process after fee erosion has already occurred. Financial departments work hard to create reports and keep the business as up-to-date and informed as possible. However, your teams may face operational bottlenecks based on the tools they’re using. A human can only input so many numbers at a time into a spreadsheet.
When choosing new technology for your business, find solutions that simplify processes and reduce repetitive tasks. For example, you can allow AP automation to handle the data entry process for you, or use AI analytics to update your forecasts. When using these solutions, your teams move away from bulk data entry and towards analysis and verification tasks. Not only are these tasks preferred by your employees, but they also add more value and allow you to scale your business up at an affordable cost. There’s a good rule of thumb you can use to find these technologies with ease. Don’t look for a system that adds a new, additional process. Look for systems that simplify and reduce existing processes.
A platform built for the industry
CFMs that follow these guidelines can set themselves up for success when investing in new technology. It’s important to find companies that understand the needs of the industry and align with your key goals. That’s why Briq was founded by construction for construction with all the tools we’ve listed here.
Briq is a financial automation platform made to help construction companies run a better business. In fact, the tips we’ve listed here are part of our founding principles. If you’d like to learn more about what Briq can achieve for your business, speak with our experts and get a live Briq demo at briq.com/demo.