2009 Review of A-Systems -- A-Systems JobView

From the July 2009 Review of Construction/Contractor Accounting Systems

In a market seemingly dominated by programs that attempt to serve all types of businesses with the same basic software, the JobView system from A-Systems is a refreshing option. Geared specifically toward construction firms and contractors, the program provides extensive job costing and project management functions that enable users to more closely follow and manage labor, materials, time and progress. JobView includes a full array of accounting modules, including GL, AP, AR, payroll, inventory and cash management, along with scheduling, subcontractor management tools and custom reporting functions. JobView is available in three versions, starting with a basic Small Builder Advantage version for $79.95. The Standard and Preferred versions of JobView, which start at about $2,995 and $4,995 respectively, provide much greater functionality and management capabilities, with extended features in each of the modules.

Learning Curve/Ease of Use:
JobView is a fast and simple install that includes demo companies, then opens to a friendly and well organized interface that offers intuitive graphical icons for accessing the key modules, including the Job Viewer, which provides a variety of summary screens for company financials, AR, AP and projects, with the ability to quickly drilldown to specific accounts, projects or other details. Other module icons offer access to the GL, the full payables and receivables sections, sales, payroll, job and equipment costing, inventory and other options. Among several additional navigation functions across the top of the screen are a spell checker, backup, favorite reports link and program update feature.

Users can access selection lists for customers, vendors, jobs, equipment and other items from their appropriate module (AR, AP, etc.), with lists displayed in a spreadsheet format sortable by various categories. Tabs provide further sorting options, enabling filtering by name, ID and address, along with the ability to tag specific entries. Most data-entry functions are performed on screens that provide lookup buttons and selection lists, along with multiple tabs for categorical information.

For job management screens, these include job budget information, change orders, certification, architect, financing, billing phases, notes and user-defined information fields, while a job overview screen provides top-level cost summary information on labor, material, subcontractors and equipment. Additional tabs on the Job Summary screen allow access to more detailed job information on bonding, costs, financials, breakdown, AP, AR, purchase orders and attached documents. JobView includes a wizard function for setup tasks.

Key Modules & Management Tools:
The specific modules that are available with the program is dependent upon the version being used, with the top level Preferred Edition offering everything from traditional GL, AP, AR, sales, payroll and purchase orders, to more advanced contractor-oriented modules for job and equipment costing, subcontractor management, inventory, fixed asset management, cash flow, and contact management. Other features include a custom report writer, the ability to accept credit card payments and a PDA/smartphone interface.

The system’s Job Costing features are central to the program, integrating costs, billings and budgets into the AP, AR, Payroll, PO and other modules. JobView’s overview screens offer excellent dashboard type views of summary information for several key business areas, including financials, AP, AR and projects, along with a view specifically geared toward job superintendents/foremen. The program’s subcontractor management features offer a simple way to keep up with billing issues, change orders, retentions, back charges and other issues. Equipment costing functions simplify the tracking and assigning of hours and costs associated with specific items.

Also noteworthy is the system’s inventory module, which offers FIFO, LIFO, average cost, last cost, standard cost and support for serialized inventory. JobView’s payroll module is designed for the unique nature of construction and contractor payroll, providing easy-to-use timesheet entry, posting to specific jobs, support for piecework, and flexible labor overhead allocation. The system can manage any number of employees and contract workers with any number of pay rates, and supports workers’ compensation, liability insurance, unions, expenses and benefits programs. It handles multi-state taxation and any pay frequency.

JobView offers an overwhelming selection of reports, from financial and managerial options to advanced job cost reports that can analyze profitability and keep track of over and under budget processes. These reports include job level summaries, bonding reports, detail listings and analysis reports. Additional managerial reporting offers AP, AR, aging, AIA billings, trial balance, histories, payroll reports and numerous lists. With the system’s DataView custom report writer, users can customize or create any number of reports, with the ability to save favorite output or create batches. The program includes a full-time audit trail.

JobView’s modules share information automatically as needed, with data flowing between various areas. The system offers an import function for QuickBooks data, and can also pull in data from third-party estimating systems. It includes ODBC drivers for additional export capabilities.

Support & Training:
JobView is generally very easy to navigate and work in and offers intuitive functions for users accustomed to construction terminology. The system includes a traditional Help utility along with useful documents such as the Procedures Guide and Bean Counting 101 (a basic accounting principles reference). Online Help options include line-specific assistance, along with downloadable payroll tax tables, program files, technical bulletins and FAQs. The company offers several support packages, along with 60 sessions of free multimedia training on CD.

Relative Value:
JobView is one of the most construction/contractor-focused programs on the market, providing great job and equipment costing features, along with the general business management modules that these entities need. The system is flexible enough for small firms, but also scalable and powerful enough to meet the needs of larger, multi-state construction business.