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How to Increase Data Reliability in Construction

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insightsoftware is a global provider of reporting, analytics, and performance management solutions, empowering organizations to unlock business data and transform the way finance and data teams operate.

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Between soaring material costs and the impact of inflation, the construction industry has had to practice extra agility and resilience in recent years. Market upheaval, including skills shortages and supply chain disruptions have made financial reporting in the construction industry even more challenging. Manually exporting data into static spreadsheets adds another roadblock–when reports are manually exported or input, information grows stale quickly. How can you overcome hurdles like outdated data to create more reliable, up-to-date reports?

Under Market Pressure

​​According to ​Trimble ​Viewpoint’s Quarterly Construction Metrics Index, there has been a 35% decline year-over-year in new construction projects in North America. Heavy highway and civil contractor projects also went down 60% compared to the year before, and new projects for general contractors decreased by 44% in the same period. Across the industry, net hiring has been flat, leaving construction grappling with the pain of skills shortages. The outlook for this year, however, is optimistic. Dodge Construction Network predicts a 7% gain in construction this year.

For construction companies facing uncertain markets, accurate financial reporting is crucial for sustaining healthy revenue. In tight times, cost control takes center stage. Precise reporting pinpoints areas for efficient spending, ensuring quality without draining resources. Cash flow management, critical for construction, becomes transparent with accurate reporting, preventing liquidity struggles from delayed payments or unexpected costs. Ultimately, sound financial reporting builds trust with stakeholders, securing funding and business opportunities even during downturns. It’s the key to navigating tough times, making informed decisions, and paving the way for long-term success.

But how do you achieve more agile reporting when teams are reporting manually, doing more with less, or depending on IT for crucial reports?

Manual Processes and IT Dependence

While Viewpoint is a strong foundation for construction finance teams, it can be challenging to customize to the unique reporting requirements of your business. Viewpoint is built to collect data it isn’t built to report on it. When your everyday users don’t understand SQL, it leaves your finance team depending on spreadsheets for reporting. When customization is required, finance team members must lean on the IT departments to generate vital reports.

Then there’s the IT bottleneck. IT dependence is a major challenge. According to insightsoftware and Hanover Research’s recent Finance Team Trends Report, 66% of finance professionals find they’re too reliant on IT. Non-technical finance staff become chained to their spreadsheets, leaning on IT for every ad hoc report or adjustment. This dependence creates significant delays, slowing down essential financial tasks and amplifying the vulnerability of spreadsheet-based systems. A single crash, a data breach, and the entire cash flow can be crippled, eroding stakeholder trust at a time when it’s needed most.

The lack of agility is perhaps the most insidious value drain. Adapting to a shrinking construction project landscape becomes a monumental task with inflexible spreadsheets. Monitoring risks, tracking changing costs, and identifying new opportunities are lost in the maze of formulas and manual manipulations. While your competitors adapt, pivot, and win more business, your company is left clinging to spreadsheets, equivalent to using a compass to navigate while others are using Google Maps.

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Data Inaccuracies from Manual Reporting

Manual reporting often results in data inaccuracies. Although information from Viewpoint is accurate at the time of exporting it into a spreadsheet, it lacks the detail and organized format that answers specific questions from leadership. It often requires finance teams to manually input or double check information, leading to more lost time.

Inaccurate financial data in construction progress reports can be a ticking time bomb for project stability and maintaining healthy customer relationships. Errors, however unintentional, sow seeds of doubt: was that budget overrun a genuine mistake or a hidden cost? Delayed updates leave customers in the financial dark, hindering critical planning and decision-making. Inconsistencies spark confusion, breeding disputes and stalling progress. Trust wavers, running the risk of strained communication. This breakdown in collaboration leaves construction teams feeling blindfolded, unsure whether the project marches towards completion or hidden financial landmines lie ahead.

Work Smarter with More Reliable Data

Between managing ongoing projects and navigating strategic decisions, there’s an urgent need to adopt new tools that can elevate data reliability. Spreadsheet Server by insightsoftware can help you achieve faster, more accurate reports from your Viewpoint data.

Spreadsheet Server provides fast, real-time access to the ERP data you need and without the complexities of using native reporting tools for custom analysis. Spreadsheet Server combines the familiarity of Excel with the power of your ERP data. Empower your finance team with the ability to create self-serve custom reports, bypassing the need for IT’s help entirely.

With Spreadsheet Server, you can:

  • Reduce risk of inaccuracies. Spreadsheet Server’s automated reporting that pulls data straight from your Viewpoint ERP, meaning you can be confident that the latest project or leadership report is error-free.
  • Boost customer relationships with airtight reporting. Deliver interactive, refreshable financial reports on time and with 100% confidence in the results. During uncertain economic times, with shrinking project availability, your existing revenue streams are even more important.
  • Enable non-technical users. You don’t need to hire the next Steve Jobs to get the custom or ad hoc reports your customer or leadership requires. Construction finance teams who already have the business context will be able to generate reports without needing to know complex programming languages, making for a smoother reporting process with more thorough results.

When grappling with skills shortages, supply chain upheaval, and IT dependence, you need refreshable, accurate insights that leverage your current spreadsheet skills to keep up. With Spreadsheet Server, gain the self-service you need with interactive, refreshable reports that offer unparalleled construction finance insights. Ready to learn more about how you can gain more data reliability for your reports? Read our Financial Reporting Made for the Construction Industry brochure to learn more.

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Financial Reporting Made for the Construction Industry

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