Sage - Sage Master Builder

From the July 2010 Review of Construction/Contractor Accounting Programs.

Sage Master Builder is an integrated construction/financial product especially well-suited for mid-sized construction and contractor-related businesses. Easily navigated, with a user-friendly interface, Master Builder provides all of the features construction businesses need at an affordable price.

BASIC SYSTEM FUNCTIONS:
Sage Master Builder has an easy-to-navigate user interface, with installed modules listed to the left of the screen. File, View and Help functions are located at the top. Clicking on a module expands the menu to display the available options within that module. Journal entry screens are easily expandable, with function buttons at the top of the screen that allow users to enter new records, save the current record, attach documents to the file, or print the record. Templates can be set up and used throughout. Grids are also used throughout and provide a series of functions including copy and paste, along with row and column setup options. Lookup options are available in all data-entry screens, and tabs at the bottom of the display system user, period and transaction entry data.

The Executive Dashboard provides a summary of all cash accounts, cash position, receivables, payables and income from operations, and contains drill-down capability. Sage Master Builder works with Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7.

CORE ACCOUNTING CAPABILITIES:
The Master Builder GL supports up to a 10-digit account number. Users can post transactions to any period throughout the year. The AP module allows users to make partial payments on invoices, choose from a wide variety of check formats, and track workers compensation insurance expiration dates. Users can also be notified when going over job budgets. The AR module allows users to customize invoices, statements and all other documents. It also provides several different billing methods including AIA, contract, and time and materials.

The Payroll module handles regular and union payroll, workers compensation rates, and provides labor cost calculations. Payroll check stubs can be customized to suit business needs. Additional modules include Service and Inventory modules that integrate with the core financial product. Master Builder offers several audit features, including the audit error function that scans entries for errors, the payroll audit function and the audit history, where you can view historical data for each period.

Sage Master Builder offers excellent system security features, including the ability to create users and passwords for each company, along with user groups, where global access rights can be set up. Access can be permitted or restricted from company all the way down to features and functions within windows.

CONSTRUCTION/CONTRACTOR-SPECIFIC FEATURES:
Sage Master Builder offers three separate editions of estimating software, including Basic, Standard and Extended. Numerous estimating modules are also available that integrate with Sage Master Builder, including Cut & Fill, Database Editor, Digitizer Extended and ePlan Takeoff. Project management features are found throughout, including the Project Work Center, which is a customizable interface that offers access to information on each job, including Receivables Invoices/Credits, Change Orders, Purchase Orders, Subcontracts and Progress Billing. Users can also track submittals and transmittals, along with job tracking information such as cost to complete and hours to complete.

The Change Order function offers two separate options for entering change order information: prime change and budget and sub-change details. Users can also track changes separately from established job budgets. Change orders can also be added to subcontracts. Customer information is easily tracked using the Receivables Clients option, where users can enter client information, billing/shipping information and Payment information. Tabs at the bottom of the screen provide access to job lists, equipment, locations, AR invoices, service invoices and other information. The Vendors feature tracks personal information, allows users to set up specific invoice defaults, and tracks other information, such as contracts, POs, open and closed invoices, payments and certificates. The Subcontracts features allow users to enter item descriptions, cost code and cost type, along with original contract amounts. The Subcontract List allows for the printing of subcontract lists using a variety of sort criteria.

The Inventory module supports multiple inventory locations as well as multiple inventory valuation methods, and can track both stock and serialized inventory. Purchase Orders can be created for jobs or from work orders, change orders and RFPs. Users can also create master purchase orders, which combines all of the materials and supplies that are necessary to complete a job.

The Master Builder scheduling module allows users to create task lists for each job, manage construction schedules and process project notices. Users can also process supply notices, which provide detailed supply lists for each job. The optional Service Receivables and Inventory module provides the ability to handle service calls, dispatch technicians, schedule routine maintenance and monitor work order status. Integration with Inventory keeps item quantities up to date as items are used. The optional Equipment Management module allows users to allocate equipment usage cost directly to each job, track maintenance for all equipment, track and process loan payments, and post depreciation expenses, as well as monitor the profitability of each piece of equipment.

REPORTING & MANAGEMENT TOOLS:
More than 1,200 standard reports are included with Sage Master Builder. Frequently accessed reports can be stored on the desktop for easy access. All system reports offer drill-down capability. The Quick Reports option offers a series of basic reports that can be accessed with one click of a mouse. The Report Writer function allows users to create custom reports or modify existing reports. Excellent job cost reports are available, including Job Status, Work in Progress, Job Profitability, and Job Income Statement.

AIA billing is available in the AR module, with both generic and custom formats available. Templates can be created throughout for easy processing of invoices, statements and other customer correspondence. The new Attachment feature allows users to attach files and links to vendor, job and customer data on order to create a central location for all pertinent documents. The Sage Master Builder website provides links to a variety of third-party software vendors that can provide a variety of remote access options.

INTEGRATION/IMPORT/EXPORT:
Sage Master Builder now integrates with Microsoft Outlook, making it easy to email documents to vendors and customers. All Master Builder reports can be exported to either Word or a PDF file. ODBC capability allows users even greater flexibility to exchange database information between programs. Sage Master Builder is an integrated product, with all system modules, including add-on modules such a Service Receivables, Estimating and Inventory integrating with the core financial product.

HELP/SUPPORT:
Sage Master Builder contains excellent Help functionality within the program and also provides printable PDF files such as the Getting Started Guide and the User Manual. The Online Services option provides access to system updates, product enhancements and any patches. The Knowledgebase offers anytime access to advice and troubleshooting. Product support is based in Oregon and is available during extended business hours. Users can choose from several different support plans, with varying levels of phone support included.

SUMMARY & PRICING
Sage Master Builder starts at $5,000, with add-on modules costing extra. The product is well-designed and best suited for those in the construction/equipment management industry. An excellent selection of estimating modules, solid equipment management functionality, and a good financial core product make this especially attractive for mid-sized entities in this space.

2010 Overall Rating:

 

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