From the July 2010 Review of Construction/Contractor Accounting Programs.
Contractor Essentials from CUC Software was developed in the early 1980s by a working contracting company. Highly industry-specific, the program was developed for those in construction related trades, providing users with the specialized tools needed to run their businesses.
BASIC SYSTEM FUNCTIONS:
Contractor Essentials has an easily navigated user interface with a drop-down menu bar at the top of the screen that provides access to all system modules. A vertical menu at the left of the screen provides quick access to assigned tasks and frequently used system functions. My Appointments is an excellent interactive screen where you can record appointments, leads, customers or jobs. Appointments can be set as priority, geographical zones appointed and assigned, and icons assigned that display job status. Data-entry screens populate the entire screen and are easily navigated, with lookup options available throughout. The My Tasks area can be easily customized or hidden. Reminder notes can also be created and edited as needed. Contractor Essentials will work with Windows 2000, XP, Vista and Windows 7 on workstations, and works with Windows 2003 and 2008 Server editions.
CORE ACCOUNTING CAPABILITIES:
Contractor Essentials’ standard modules include GL, AP, AR, Purchasing, Payroll and Job Costing. The accounting menu includes the GL feature, as well as asset management, budgeting and banking functionality. The AP module processes invoices, sets up recurring invoices, handles all system purchase orders, and supports vendor direct payments. The AR module allows users to process payments received, utilize point-of-sale invoicing and print customer statements. Special job invoicing is also completed in the AR module. The Payroll module supports multi-state payroll, handles certified payroll reporting, and can handle multiple deduction types. Labor union payroll can also be processed and employees classified by their professional status.
Contractor Essentials also offers numerous add-on modules designed to work with the core product, including Equipment Tracking, Inventory, Flat Rate Pricing Interface and Point of Sale Invoicing. Contractor Essentials also offers multi-level system security where access levels can be added according to the primary menu, as well as the first and second submenu. Users also have the option to require password entry to access the system.
Contractor Essentials allows users to assign default percentages for job estimates where an estimate has not already been entered. Basic estimates are easily entered in the job estimating feature found under Specialties. Users can also edit existing estimates, convert previous jobs to an estimate for bidding purposes, and merge bids. The Estimating General Info screen allows users to enter information for all estimates to use as a default, which can be overwritten when necessary.
Job information is easily tracked using a variety of resources, including the posting activities, which provides a list of information such as material to jobs, phase units complete, and transfer warranty reserve. Job phases are easily tracked using a variety of reports, and the Progress Billing module allows users to enter invoices based on the costs posted during an allotted time frame. Customer, vendor, employee and subcontractor management is easily handled, with vendors tracked and assigned a specific category for easy costing. The customer module allows users to record basic information, along with contacts, deposit information, job information, service contracts and notes/files. Subcontractor information can be easily tracked in the vendor files, as well, and the Payroll module tracks different employee classifications for sales reps, service techs, and estimators, along with regular employees. Employees can be assigned a skill level, if desired.