6 Best Construction Accounting Software Programs for 2023
This article is part of a larger series on Accounting Software.
In addition to general accounting, construction firms need specialized features, such as the ability to track job costs, create estimates, and bill clients through specialized billing methods, such as American Institute of Architects (AIA) and time and material billing. Contractors also need an accounting solution that’s easy to use and has excellent customer support, especially if they manage their own books.
Below are our top six recommendations for construction accounting software programs:
- Jonas Premier: Best overall construction accounting software
- Sage 100 Contractor: Best for easy project estimation
- Buildertrend: Best for construction file management
- QuickBooks Online: Best low-cost option for tracking costs by project, location, and class
- JOBPOWER: Best for tracking employee location with GPS
- QuickBooks Desktop Premier Contractor Edition: Best for tracking bill of materials (BOM) and job costs
Best Construction Accounting Software: Quick Comparison
Employee Location Tracking
$199 to 299 per user, per month*
(fee per additional user)
$399 to $1,299 per month
$30 to $200 per month
1 to 25
$799 to $1,999 per year
1 to 5
(fee per additional user)
*Plus one-time implementation fees ranging from $15,000 to $50,000, depending on the plan.
Jonas Premier: Best Overall Construction Accounting Software
Jonas Premier provides an all-in-one accounting and project management solution for contracting businesses of any size. It has excellent accounting features, such as the ability to set up recurring accounts payable (A/P), track retainage payables for subcontractors automatically, and create custom workflows and approvals for payment. It also has strong project accounting features, including the ability to generate job cost reports with drill-down capability, create request for information (RFI) documents easily, and track time from the mobile app.
- Lets you drill down into job costing line items
- Handles any billing contract type
- Offers unlimited document storage
- Can track equipment and inventory costs
- Allows you to create, send, and track RFIs
- Manages subcontractor agreements and payments
- Expensive implementation fees
- Lacks payroll management features
- Lacks a client portal
- Lacks customer relationship management (CRM) features
Plans & Pricing
Jonas Premier offers three subscription plans:
- Starter: $299 per user, per month, plus one-time implementation fees starting at $15,000 per user per month
- Premium: $249 per user, per month, plus one-time implementation fees starting at $25,000
- Enterprise: $199 per user, per month, plus one-time implementation fees starting at $50,000
Jonas Premier Overview
General contractors, home builders, and land developers needing an all-in-one accounting and project management solution
Phone and email support, paid implementation program with unlimited staff training, and self-help resources like frequently asked questions (FAQs), e-books, and whitepapers
4.6 out of 5 on Software Advice
- Project management: Jonas Premier has a centralized project management module that allows you to create and send estimates, manage RFIs and submittals and track your crews’ progress with daily logs, create and send purchase orders (POs), and more.
Job costing: The job costing module allows you to do multi-level job cost breakdowns—helping you better track job cost-related information, like cost items, cost types, and division codes.
- Construction billing: The program supports various billing types, including progress billing, cost-plus billing, and time and material billing.
- Document management: You can store and manage an unlimited number of construction files, create and customize folders with security settings, and share your files with your staff.
- Time tracking: The Mobile Time Entry app allows your crew to clock in and out from their smartphone, and then supervisors or managers can approve those time entries before submission.
- Contracting businesses with a remote workforce: The Time Entry app is great for construction firms with remote crews. They can log their time wherever they are, as well as enter expenses, meeting minutes, and daily job logs, and upload photos in real-time.
- Project managers: Jonas Premier breaks down project costs to micro levels, helping project managers gain meaningful insight into their expenses for better cash flow and budget management.
- Large contracting businesses with many new crews: Large contractors with a big budget can sign up for the implementation program to provide unlimited group training for their team.
Sage 100 Contractor: Best for Easy Project Estimation
Sage 100 Contractor helps you create estimates quickly and accurately using various formulas, templates, and variables. It has Microsoft Windows features—such as cut, copy, and paste—which allow you to create estimates easily in a few clicks. You can even import information from other estimates, copy and paste an estimating grid into your Excel worksheet if needed, and export estimating notes to purchase orders, change orders, work orders, request for proposals (RFP) documents, and subcontracts.
- Uses Windows features to easily create estimates
- Includes remote time tracking by employees and equipment management
- Supports construction-specific billing, such as AIA and time and material
- Has a mobile app that can be used for sending change and dispatch orders
- Has no client portal
- Lacks mobile accounting features
- Is unable to track employee location
- Has no upfront pricing
Plans & Pricing
You’ll need to contact Sage on its website to get a definite price. It doesn’t have a free trial, but you can “test drive” the full version of the software by visiting its website.
Sage 100 Contractor reportedly costs over $100 per month, making it the most inexpensive option among all the software on our list, considering it supports an unlimited number of users.
Sage 100 Contractor Overview
Construction companies needing an easy way to handle estimating and bidding on projects
Phone support, online ticket, community forums, virtual conferences, Sage Knowledgebase and Sage 100 Contractor InfoCenter
4.1 out of 5 on GetApp
- Estimate management: Sage 100 Contractor makes it easy for you to create estimates and complete bids. The Microsoft Windows functionality and import features help you save time and reduce the chance of data entry errors.
- Full accounting software: Sage 100 Contractor combines the reliability of Sage bookkeeping with the accounting features needed by construction companies. You get the chart of accounts, financial reports, journals, banking, ledgers, inventory, payroll, and others.
- Job costing: Its job costing features are integrated into its modules, and you can review job costs by generating cost reports and checking job cost journals, labor journals, and billing summaries.
- Project management: You can create task lists and operation statuses, generate daily field reports and create correspondence.
- Equipment management: Sage 100 Contractor lets you allocate equipment costs to specific jobs, helping you track job profitability better. You can also run maintenance reports and analyze depreciation with detailed reports and disbursements.
- Contractors working with large projects with many variables: Sage 100 Contractor’s estimation feature can help determine the cost of equipment, materials, and labor for big projects, such as commercial buildings.
- Small contractors needing basic enterprise resource planning (ERP) features: The program has basic ERP management features, such as the ability to collect and analyze data, automate job orders, and manage inventory.
- Contractors seeking comprehensive reports: You can create more than 1,000 reports using 100 form designs. Reports available include accounting reports, payroll reports, and equipment and project management reports.
Buildertrend: Best for Construction File Management
Buildertrend isn’t a complete bookkeeping system per se, but it integrates with QuickBooks Online and Xero to enable accounting features, like invoicing and income and expense tracking. However, its construction-specific features are hard to beat.
It offers unlimited document and photo and video storage in all plans, making it a great option if you have a lot of miscellaneous files to handle daily. You can import progress photos or document issues, store files in job-specific folders, access files from the mobile app easily, and share documents with your clients to maintain good relationships with them.
The document management module also expands the functionality of the Daily Logs feature. For instance, when entering a daily log, you or your team can add files or photos and videos to verify important project details of completed projects.
- Offers unlimited file and photo and video storage in all its plans
- Includes a CRM feature
- Has a time clock feature that tracks employees’ locations on a map
- Integrates with QuickBooks or Xero for enhanced accounting features
- Requires a separate fee for your QuickBooks or Xero subscription
- Cannot manage equipment
- Can’t manage bills and purchase orders in its Essential plan
- Is more expensive than most construction-specific accounting software
Plans & Pricing
- Essential: $399 per month; $99 for the first two months
- Advanced: $699 per month; $399 for the first two months
- Complete: $1,299 per month; $899 for the first two months
Companies needing great cost accounting features with an excellent document management system
None, but has a 30-day money-back guarantee
Phone and email support, training through Buildertrend Learning Academy, and online resources, like webinars, eBooks, and blogs
4.5 out of 5 on Software Advice
- Estimates and proposals: Buildertrend makes it easy to prepare proposals. By using a worksheet-based interface, you can modify your proposal and choose which columns will appear in the actual document.
- Project management and online storage: Track important information with your team, subcontractors, and clients through daily logs. You can make notes and send updates to concerned individuals easily and access files anywhere.
- Budgeting: Buildertrend enables you to create budgets, compare estimated and actual costs, and integrate with other financial software.
- Document management: Buildertrend provides unlimited storage for construction-related files, photos, and videos. Files are organized and stored in designated folders, helping you easily locate the document you need.
- Construction administrators: Buildertrend helps office administrators monitor contractors, track documents, arrange schedules, and process billing.
- QuickBooks or Xero users that want integrated construction management features: If you are currently using QuickBooks or Xero and need specialized construction features like equipment management and customized construction reports, then you can integrate your system with Buildertrend.
- Companies that need CRM software: Buildertrend has a built-in CRM tool to help you manage customers, leads, contact information, sales history, and service records.
QuickBooks Online: Best Low-cost Option for Tracking Costs by Project, Location & Class
While QuickBooks Online is our best small business accounting software, it can be an especially good option for contractors—even without any construction software integration. In addition to strong general accounting features like invoicing and bill payment, it has a class and location tracking feature that provides value for contractors who offer various types of services and operate in multiple locations.
Since estimates cannot be converted to budgets, you might want to save the estimates in Excel and then compare them to the actual job costs report, which can also be exported to Excel. If comparing actual to estimated costs is important to you, consider alternatives like Sage 100 Contractor instead. Read our Sage 100 Contractor vs QuickBooks Online comparison to see how the two programs stack up against each other.
- Tracks income and expenses by class, location, job, and custom tags
- Has comprehensive accounting features
- Can create and email estimates
- Allows employees to submit time from the field
- Has vast support network in the form of QuickBooks ProAdvisors (ideal if you need extensive bookkeeping support)
- Support multiple users with a single subscription price through its higher plans
- Cannot convert estimates to budgets for comparison with actual job expenses
- Lacks ERP features like project or tools management
- Doesn’t allow you to call customer service directly
- Lacks a client portal
Plans & Pricing
QuickBooks Online comes in four versions, but you’ll need either Plus or Advanced to track revenue and expenses by project. We recommend Plus for most contractors—unless you need more than five users.
- Simple Start: $30 per month for one user
- Essentials: $55 per month for three users
- Plus: $85 per month for five users (recommended for most contractors)
- Advanced: $200 per month for 25 users
QuickBooks Online offers 50% off for three months if you buy right away or a 30-day free trial with no credit card required.
QuickBooks Online Overview
Small and medium-sized contracting businesses needing class and locating tracking
30 days, or get 50% discount for three months when you sign up right away
Phone support (callback only), live chat, chatbot, online resources, like setup guides and videos
4.7 out of 5 on App Store
- Class and location tracking: QuickBooks Online lets you create classes to classify your transactions. Classes can be a profit center, such as the roofing division, or an aspect of your operations, like the assembly department. You can also set locations to monitor income and expenses per location, especially for branches.
- External accountant access: With QuickBooks Online, you can invite an external certified public accountant (CPA) to manage your books and fix your records to comply with reporting requirements for the IRS or concerned government agencies.
- Invoice tracking: QuickBooks Online allows you to track client invoices and add billable hours to invoices easily. Its invoicing tracking feature can help you manage invoice status, collection reminders, and payments.
- Time tracking and payroll management: QuickBooks Online Plus lets you track how many hours your crew spends on a particular job and run payroll for employees and contractors with QuickBooks Payroll.
- Contractors that want a comprehensive invoicing solution: QuickBooks Online is our best invoicing software because it allows you to create highly customizable invoices and calculate sales tax rates automatically based on your customer’s location.
- General contractors: If you have facilities in different locations or you are a full-service contracting firm that offers different types of services, such as electrical, general, or design, then QuickBooks Online’s class and location tracking features are extremely useful.
- Larger contractors seeking extensive bookkeeping support: When you purchase the QuickBooks Live add-on, you’ll get access to a dedicated account manager who will help you manage your books. Alternatively, you can find a local bookkeeper easily that is proficient in QuickBooks since it is by far the most popular accounting software in the US.
JOBPOWER: Best for Tracking Employee Location with GPS
JOBPOWER offers an ERP solution with an integrated GPS location tracker and a map. The GPS tracker helps field supervisors and managers track the location of their employees, especially if they’re working in the field.
Also, JOBPOWER allows you to set up hourly rates to charge to jobs when owned equipment is used, as well as track repairs and maintenance by equipment. It can be deployed as an on-premise program or as cloud software through private hosting. For an additional fee, JOBPOWER can host your software in the cloud, allowing you to access your files from anywhere.
- Lets you choose between on-premise or cloud-based software
- Has integrated job costing and accounting
- Includes document management features
- Has a robust construction payroll system
- Supports AIA and time and material (T&M) billing
- Doesn’t integrate with accounting software like QuickBooks
- Lacks a client portal
- Lacks upfront pricing
- Lacks a built-in estimation module
Plans & Pricing
You’ll need to request a free demo on its website to receive exact pricing information for the desktop and cloud versions.
According to JOBPOWER, when you choose the desktop version, you’ll receive unlimited and toll-free telephone support for one year. After that period, you may purchase a support plan. The cloud version includes support, unlimited updates, and cloud hosting fees.
Construction firms with multiple employees working across various sites
Cloud or desktop
Phone and email support, online form, and blogs
4.4 out of 5 on Capterra
- Job costing and budgeting: JOBPOWER combines job costing and budgeting in a single platform. You can create budgets in the software or import data from Excel. Also, you can conduct variance analysis of projected and actual budgets to measure performance. You can also track specific job details like job progress and job cost history.
- A/R and A/P: JOBPOWER offers expanded A/R and A/P features to help your construction company keep track of customer invoices and vendor billings. For A/R, you can bill clients through various means like AIA billing, unit billing, or time and material billing. For A/P, it has a subcontract module that lets you track retainage, change orders, and payments.
- Change order management: If you need to make contract adjustments, JOBPOWER can help you record changes, such as updated schedules and contract prices.
- Cloud accessibility: Through JOBPOWER’s cloud platform, you can access the software whether you’re in the field, office, or working from home. We like this feature for construction accounting because it can be accessed even during fieldwork.
- Construction firms with many employees working across several construction sites: JOBPOWER includes a GPS tracking system to prevent time theft and buddy bunching—resulting in improved productivity.
- Contracting businesses wanting a hybrid solution: JOBPOWER can be deployed as a cloud-based or locally-installed software.
QuickBooks Premier Contractor Edition: Best for Tracking BOM and Job Costs
Just like the general business edition of Premier, QuickBooks Premier Contractor Edition includes BOM and job cost tracking features that are especially useful for construction businesses. It also has exceptional job costing features, including the ability to run reports on income and expenses by job and convert estimates to budgets and then compare them to actual costs.
- Lets you create detailed BOMs using the inventory assembly form
- Is very affordable for one or two concurrent users
- Manages an unlimited number of companies without additional charge
- Has excellent job cost reports
- Can create estimates and convert to job budgets
- Lets employees submit time from the field
- Requires an additional license for each concurrent user
- Is locally installed, so it requires setup and installation
- Lacks ERP features like equipment management
- Has a limited mobile app, which can only capture receipts
Plans & Pricing
QuickBooks Desktop Premier Plus 2023 costs:
- $799 per year for one user
- $1,099 per year for two users
- $1,399 per year for three users
- $1,699 per year for four users
- $1,999 per year for five users
Premier comes with a 60-day money-back guarantee.
QuickBooks Premier Contractor Edition Overview
Construction companies wanting a desktop solution with strong job costing features
None, but has a 60-day money-back guarantee
Phone support (you wait for a callback), live chat, chatbot, and online resources, like blogs and videos
4.5 out of 5 on Software Advice
- Estimates: You can create and send estimates to clients and even include details in your proposals to show the client the cost breakdown for the job.
- Robust reporting: QuickBooks offers industry-specific reports for construction accounting. You can create reports to analyze job profitability, actual versus budget reports, job progress billings, and much more.
- Job costing center: If you handle many jobs in your company, QuickBooks Desktop Premier’s Job Costing Center provides an overview of the three most profitable jobs and the three least profitable jobs. However, you can see the profitability of all jobs as well. It even has job costing highlights that present actual cost variances, unassigned expenses, and outstanding bills.
- Budgeting and forecasting: You can create a budget from scratch or from your previous year’s actual data, helping you forecast your company’s financial future.
- Inventory management: Premier lets you create different inventory types, including assembly. When creating inventory assembly, you’ll be able to provide detailed information, such as the costs of all parts and components and product descriptions.
- Contractors with multiple companies: With QuickBooks Premier, you can add as many companies as you want for free. Other software like QuickBooks Online require an additional fee for setting up multiple organizations.
- Architects: The BOM cost tracking helps architects track raw parts and labor materials needed to construct a building.
- Project managers and stakeholders: QuickBooks Premier Contractor can help you understand how your construction company performs on a job-by-job basis. Job costing details—such as estimates vs actual costs, profitability, and revenues—are important to predict upcoming problems and resolve them before they get out of hand.
How We Evaluated Construction Accounting Software
We considered a range of construction accounting software and evaluated each based on pricing, ease of use and customer support, general features, and user reviews. The contractor features include some items that should be included in good construction accounting software, such as job costing and estimates, plus other items generally available in ERP software like project management, employee location tracking, and managing equipment.
10% of Overall Score
Construction accounting software is sophisticated and generally requires the most expensive version of most software. Pricing is only 10% of the score because it’s more important to focus on getting the contractor accounting software that fits your business than to fixate on price.
30% of Overall Score
General features are weighted to give more importance to features particularly important to contractors, such as tracking project income or loss, tracking employee time and assigning it to jobs, and integrated payroll.
30% of Overall Score
Contractor features include accounting features like creating customer estimates and budgets for individual projects. They also include enterprise resource planning features like managing jobs and service departments, tracking employee locations, managing bid requests, and managing equipment.
15% of Overall Score
Ease of use is an important factor, particularly if the owner or other nonaccountant will be keeping the books. In addition to our subjective evaluation, ease of use includes the availability of customer support and whether common integrations require third-party software.
10% of Overall Score
Most construction companies have crews working on the field, so it is important to have a mobile app that allows them to record their activity anywhere from their smartphone.
5% of Overall Score
We use software ratings from several review websites, but note that these ratings may change quickly depending on user reviews.
What specialized features are found in construction accounting software?
Construction accounting software have unique features like the ability to create change orders, track job costs, and accept specialized billing methods like AIA and time and material billing.
Can I use general accounting software for construction billing?
Most general accounting software aren’t customized for construction billing. In construction, billing can be much more complicated, so you need construction-specific software like Jonas Premier or Buildertrend.
Can I use free accounting software for my construction business?
Yes, you can use a free program like Wave if you only need basic accounting support for tracking total expenses, automating invoices, and receiving payments. However, if you want to track costs by job, you’ll need a more sophisticated program like QuickBooks Online or Jonas Premier.
How do I choose the best construction accounting software?
The best construction accounting software should be easy to use and have the customization levels and features you require to support your business—like the ability to track job costs, create estimates, and bill clients through specialized billing methods, such as time and material. They should also offer convenient and reliable customer service options.
Managing a construction company is complicated, so it’s important to look for accounting software with integrated construction-specific features, such as job costing, equipment management, and specialized construction billing. If you think general accounting software is enough for you, choose QuickBooks Online. However, if you need specialized contractor features, you should consider Jonas Premier or Sage 100 Contractor or even integrate QuickBooks with Buildertrend.