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Industry Specific Software, Inc. — ISS Construction Manager

From the April/May 2006 Review of
Construction Accounting Software

ISS Construction Manager – Version 6 from Industry Specific Software,
Inc. (ISS) is designed for small to midsize construction companies. Add-on modules
also make ISS an attractive product for service and warranty management.

Liz Rigney of Forefront Construction, a builder in southwest Florida that
currently builds 200 homes per year, has found the most beneficial aspect of
ISS to be the job management module. “You can track each job to the penny
based on budgets, sub-quotes or customer allowances,” she says. “The
managers love getting reports that they can understand without having to know
a lot about accounting. At a glance, they can see where the job is and what
is over budget.” Rigney also points out that the program is very user
friendly. “With a little bit of computer knowledge, you can learn to do
anything with it,” she notes. “We use it to track almost everything
in our business.” Rigney recommends that new users get the Platinum support
package because it includes the complete support line. “It’s a great
feature,” she says, “and you can learn about the features of the
program from miles away.”

Installation is completed in stages. It may be handy to print the installation
instructions that are included on the CD. You will need to first install database
components, launch the installer, install the product, install SQL databases,
and then attach the database to the server. ISS also gives you the option to
have its support people install the program remotely. The ISS Quick Start Wizard
guides you through company setup and lets you choose the chart of accounts,
whether to use discount calculations, and lets you choose posting accounts,
as well. Multiple divisions can be set up in ISS, along with individual job
identifiers to track expenses for each job. The main screen of ISS has a drop-down
menu bar at the top. Modules are found by clicking on the Functions option.
You can also access the contact management, document management and calendar
functions from the menu bar. Clicking on Menu reveals a module menu that expands
to display features found within each module.

ISS runs on the Microsoft Data Engine (MSDE), which is designed for up to
five users, but can also be run on SQL Server without any program modifications.
Various customization functions are built into ISS, including the ability to
set system defaults and system colors, and modify journal entries. This function
should be password protected to safeguard against abuse and to protect your
audit trail.

The basic system of ISS includes GL, AP, AR, Subcontractor Management, Job Management
and Banking modules. Add-on modules include Contact Management, Document Management,
Inventory Management, Payroll, Purchasing, Scheduling, Time and Materials Billing,
and Warranty Management. New features in Version 6 include an upgraded database
engine (Microsoft Access to MSDE), the ability handle payroll direct deposit,
the ability to apply cash to an account in advance of an invoice, and a new
contact management module that tracks leads from prospect to post-sales follow-up.
You can also now track system usage using the system logging function, which
maintains a log of all user activity.

When entering a new job file, you can enter the default markup percentage;
the projected starting and ending dates; any certification or warranty expiration
dates; the client, if applicable; the location of the new job; who is responsible
for financing; and any notes you want to attach to the job file. You can also
enter square footage, any HVAC information and phase numbers. Your job phase
numbers can contain up to six numerical digits. Subcontractor quotes can be
tracked in ISS, and the system will warn you when payment exceeds the quote
entered. ISS will also produce AIA draw requests and general contractor affidavits.
Job budgets are easily maintained, and all over-budgeting expenses will be highlighted
in red. Using ISS, you can also reactivate a closed job and bill clients on
a time and materials basis. The optional Payroll module handles direct deposit,
multiple pay accounts, and multi-state payroll and tax details.

All modules, including add-ons, are designed to seamlessly integrate. On the
vendor’s web site, ISS provides a list of partner programs that will integrate
with ISS, which includes Easy Est estimating software, EZ Homebuilder, Cadsoft
Design software, and National Payment. As well, the Web Link Management module
lets you manage vendor, customer and job-related web links.

New users of ISS receive free installation, free implementation planning, 60
days of free telephone support, and one day of one-on-one training at ISS or
via the Internet at your place of business.

ISS offers the Platinum Service Plan, which provides you with two certified
analysts to resolve any questions you may have. You will also receive discounts
on new products, upgrades and all training services. Your discount will increase
according to how many years you have subscribed to the Platinum Plan. Internet
support is also available, and you will have access to updates and enhancements,
as well as the option to set up a training or service appointment during or
after hours.

Numerous standard reports are included. Reports are accessed from the menu bar
and are listed by module. Clicking on one of the tabbed modules brings up a
display of available reports. ISS uses Crystal Decisions to format its reports
so reports are easily customized. You can easily change reporting formats and
report line types so you can have your sub-totals where you want them.

ISS Construction Software ranges in price from $2,700 for a single-user to $9,650
for five users. You should expect to invest a little bit of time to get the
system up and running properly. With its basic system, add-on modules and integration
with a variety of construction industry third-party programs, ISS definitely
deserves a second look.

2006 Overall Rating — 4.5 Stars