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The construction industry is overdue for a tech update. Despite handling large amounts of revenue and playing a key role in the economy and infrastructure, construction profit margins are some of the slimmest in any industry. This isn’t the fault of any one business, and it certainly isn’t due to a lack of available funds. It’s almost entirely due to how construction finances are handled.
At Briq, we’ve dedicated ourselves to using technology to solve this core issue. We’ve built a financial automation platform that helps construction companies automate and win for better profitability and business outcomes. With Briq you can plan what you spend, and manage how you spend it with greater accuracy and efficiency than ever before. But that isn’t the end of the story.
While our core products have allowed clients to eliminate many agents of fee erosion, they didn’t cover everything. That’s why we recently hosted a webinar to reveal the next addition to our platform. Our new Billings & Receivables product completes the financial cycle by allowing you to fully automate every step of your project financials.
At the reveal, we did more than just debut our product. We discussed why construction companies must find a way to automate and improve their accounts receivable process. It all fits into that bigger construction finance picture that impacts your company's bottom line. Let’s go over why your business needs to automate its accounts receivable process.
Even the most detail-oriented employee, given enough time, will make an error on a spreadsheet. It’s impossible to fully eliminate human error in the process of data entry, especially when your employees are pouring hours of time into this repetitive flow. At best, these mistakes extend the time it takes to get to accurate billing. At worst, it could cost tens of thousands of dollars to be lost along with an even more time-consuming process to set things right. With every instance of double data entry, your business is rolling the dice on whether or not an expensive error will occur, but the error itself is inevitable. While most construction companies know this, it’s always been regarded as an unavoidable part of doing business.
Fortunately for construction, technology can eliminate this problem. Financial automation tools can now handle manual data entry for you with a near-perfect degree of accuracy. Automations don’t get spreadsheet fatigue, and they can’t copy over numbers that don’t already exist on the screen. On top of that, the computer can regularly check the spreadsheet against the data in the ERP to ensure that all details are correct. This allows construction companies to say goodbye to Excel Hell and the associated spreadsheet errors that cost your business time and money. When it comes to improving billing accuracy in data entry, financial automation can’t be beaten.
Retain and empower your employees
Construction companies today are regularly challenged with labor shortages. Whether it’s due to market conditions or industry turnover rates, getting the right people into the right position is a big priority for construction companies. Project managers who spend their evenings going over hundreds of spreadsheets may struggle with staying in their current position. Accountants who are closing August’s books in October may be feeling burnt out by the process. Businesses spend a great deal of effort trying to strike a balance between getting work done fast and keeping their employees engaged at their job. The billing cycle can add to this challenge by increasing everyone’s workload to ensure maximum accuracy and timeliness.
There’s no greater remedy for this challenge than automation. By adopting financial automation tools, you can free your operations and accounting department from the stress of the billing cycle entirely. It frees up your company's talent to do the parts of their job they love the most and keeps them more engaged in their daily tasks. Automation can even allow your employees to outperform themselves with the additional resources they can now spend on value-oriented tasks. Companies won’t have to choose between faster billing or reducing overtime for their staff. For the first time in construction, financial automation allows businesses to choose both.
Increase your cash flow
In construction, cash is king. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that cash flow management defines the winners and losers in construction. A business's ability to manage and maintain a steady stream of revenue so it can consistently deliver across projects makes the difference between surviving and thriving in the industry. While there are many components to effective cash flow management, everyone agrees that the faster you can get paid, the better. However, managing your billing through spreadsheets is the opposite of working fast. Even with the best team working as fast as they can, Excel has an inherent speed bottleneck that can’t be overcome. After all, the greatest horseback riders still can’t compare to the speed of just about any car.
Automation sits on the opposite end of this spectrum. Where spreadsheets require hours of labor, analysis, and manual data entry, automation just needs a few clicks. The process of moving billing information from an ERP into a spreadsheet or invoice is instant with financial automation. This allows companies to achieve an exceptional cash flow by greatly reducing the time between a job and payment. With enhanced speed and accuracy, there are no billing roadblocks between your business and getting paid.
Improve business relationships
In an industry where everybody knows each other, client relations are of the utmost importance. This is especially true as construction gets more competitive at a time when business as a whole is scaling up. There are few assets greater than a reputation of quality assurance, dependability, and excellent execution on a project. In the same vein, there’s no greater representation of that than the billing process. The accuracy and timeliness of your billing speaks volumes about your company. It reveals your attention to detail, quality assurance, and how much you value the other party's time and cooperation. Conversely, problematic billing hurts your reputation and has even led to contractors becoming persona non grata in extreme cases. Regardless of the outcome, billing is an important part of business relations.
Financial automation tools like Briq’s Billings & Receivables can help your company make sure it never misses a deadline or creates an error again. Your business will be able to produce accurate documentation in a single business day or less, thanks to automation taking care of the process for you. This allows you to create a seamless experience for all parties involved, and gain a reputation for a smooth, dependable and accurate payment process. Everybody working with your business will know that billings are correct and that payments get done fast.
Automate and win
What we’ve discussed here is just a small part of a larger conversation about the industry. The core principle is that financial automation is revolutionizing the industry. Whether it’s automating a WIP, a labor forecast, a budget allocation, or an invoice, it’s all enabling construction companies to enhance their profit and build the future of the industry. Briq stands committed to not only providing these tools but to continue to develop and support products for the new wave of tech-first construction companies.
If you’d like to learn more about how Briq can automate your accounts receivable process, check out our full webinar here. It expands on the points listed here and includes a live demo of Billings & Receivables.
For those who are ready to automate and win with their business, speak with our experts here to schedule a demo and find out what Briq can do for your company.