Which QuickBooks Edition Is Best For A Construction Business

QuickBooks is one of the most widely used accounting software applications for businesses to track their financial transactions.

With so much financial data to keep track of in a business, the appropriate software makes all the difference. Not only do clients receive the highest-quality software with QuickBooks, but they also get it at an affordable price.

While many businesses utilize this beneficial software, you may be wondering if it is helpful for construction companies. 

With so much unique data and details to track, does QuickBooks consider these when determining accounting efficiency?

QuickBooks Contractor is a construction-specific edition of QuickBooks Premier desktop software.

It contains unique features and data that assist in planning and accounting for the costs associated with significant jobs. 

All of these additional features are included in the price of QuickBooks Premier.

QuickBooks Premier Contractor Edition offers a one-time purchase or an annual subscription that includes online backup, unlimited customer support, and version updates. 

After purchasing QuickBooks Premier, you can select the Contractor Edition during the software’s download process.

QuickBooks Premier Contractor Edition is the version of QuickBooks that is most beneficial for you as a general contractor or subcontractor. 

However, the Contractor Edition includes all of QuickBooks Premier’s advanced accounting features.

QuickBooks Contractor Edition is one of the top construction accounting software alternatives because it is excellent for general contractors and subcontractors who struggle with managing job expenses or who spend an excessive amount of time tracking job costs. 

However, the Contractor Edition is limited to computers on which the software has installed.

QuickBooks Contractor Edition is best for

Contractors who retain a separate record of job costs from their accounting: 

By merging the activities of job costing and basic bookkeeping with QuickBooks Premier Contractor Edition, you may streamline your work. 

As is the case with many small contractors, you may attempt to keep track of job costs using an Excel spreadsheet. Not only will the Contractor Edition save you time by merging duties, but it will also prevent you from missing charges, as job costs are related to total company expenses.

Contractors with several crews: 

Experienced owners are relatively good at forecasting profit on projects in which they are significantly involved, even if precise task costing is not completed. However, as your business grows and various crews’ forms, you lose daily engagement in each work, making job profitability estimation considerably more difficult. Therefore, it is critical to have exact task prices to review and aid your project managers in cost control with multiple crews.

Contractors looking to save money: 

QuickBooks Contractor has the same inventory functionality as QuickBooks Premier’s base edition. Materials turned from a job site can be archived so that your project managers can plan to reuse them on subsequent jobs rather than ordering unnecessary materials.

QuickBooks Contractor Edition is not fit for

Cloud accounting: 

Your business may require that some accounting tasks performed on-site. For instance, a construction company may need a repair technician to generate invoices while on the job. If this is a top priority, QuickBooks Online is a better option.

Inexperienced bookkeepers: 

Unlike with online software, your off-site certified public accountant (CPA) or bookkeeper will not be able to view your accounts from their office computer. 

Instead, you must create an Accountant’s Copy and email it to your CPA while using QuickBooks Contractor. Although this is not a wrong method, it is not one you want to deal with daily or monthly.

More than five users: QuickBooks Contractor Edition has a maximum concurrent user limit of five. However, suppose your construction company has a more extensive accounting department that requires constant access. 

In that case, you’re better off with QuickBooks Enterprise, which supports up to 30 concurrent users and includes a contractor-specific edition.

Core Features of QuickBooks Contractor

Estimate jobs: 

You can develop and distribute job estimates to prospective customers. It is critical to include as much data as possible in the estimate because it will serve as the foundation for subsequent change orders, invoices, and budget analyses.

Make a change order: 

Large projects rarely go as planned. When a change is required, you can make changes to your original estimate, and QuickBooks will immediately generate a change order to deliver to your customer.

Create purchase orders: 

Purchase orders can be generated immediately from the estimate screen. This keeps your project managers from forgetting to order necessary materials, which results in costly add-ons and lost time. Your project managers can also use purchase orders to identify required supplies but not included in the estimate.

Create invoice: 

From the estimate, you can generate an invoice. You can create an in-progress invoice by choosing a predetermined percentage to bill for each item on the estimate, or you can invoice only specified items on the estimate. For example, you may choose to invoice only the materials stated on the invoice. When it’s time to invoice the outstanding estimate, return to the estimate, click Create an invoice, and QuickBooks will prompt you to invoice the remaining amount.

Allocate employee time to each job and service item: 

You can attach an employee’s pay cost to a specific work and a service item that corresponds to the service items specified on your estimate. When earnings assigns to a particular task and service item, QuickBooks automatically gives any payroll taxes to that work.


There are numerous reports available to assist you in managing and evaluating your construction projects:

  • Job profitability: 

Describes the actual revenue and costs of the job. Income and expenses for all selected tasks can be summed or displayed per service items for a specific project.

  • Job estimates vs. actual: 

Compares real revenue and expenses to estimates. The report can summarize by job or divided into service items for a specific work.

  • Estimates vs. job progress invoices: 

Compares the total amount of progress invoices to the estimate by job to detect any jobs that have not fully invoiced.

  • Item profitability: 

Displays actual revenue and expense for each service item across all jobs. This will assist you in determining which service products are the most and least profitable.

  • Item estimates vs actual: 

A comparison of substantial vs. expected revenue and expenses by service item across all jobs provided. This assists you in determining which service items are overestimated.

  • Unpaid bills by job: 

Displays a list of outstanding bills broken down by job. This is critical to correctly wrap up jobs and avoid any errors resulting in a customer warned with a claim from your vendor.

  • Expenses not assigned to jobs: 

Provides a list of costs that should check to ensure that they do not contain direct materials or other charges that can invoice to work.

Job costing centre: 

The job costing centre displays the top and bottom three jobs in profitability during the last three months. It also includes some highlights of your recent performance as well as links to important job costing reports:


QuickBooks Premier Contractor Edition combines QuickBooks Premier’s powerful bookkeeping features with solutions that allow general and contractors better track expenses, evaluate performance, and reduce errors. 

The software is comprehensive and sophisticated, and it will almost certainly necessitate the hiring of a full-time bookkeeper, but that is the nature of cost accounting for massive projects.

You must first purchase QuickBooks Premier before you can purchase QuickBooks Premier Contractor Edition. Before downloading the software, you will ask if you want a free industry-specific edition. 

Choose Contractor Edition, and you’ll be on your way to more accurate work costing.

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