Recently the company that I work for made a request to change the focus and name of the Information Technology department. The focus of the department is no longer on Infrastructure but broken down further into Infrastructure and Decision Support or the buzz word out there “Business Intelligence”. Now, we call the department, “Information & Decision Support”.
By better understanding your business processes, business strategy and challenges, your “IT” department can better serve the business by delivering solutions that meet these specific requirements. If your “IT” department doesn’t get the “big picture” you will be delivering solutions and great ideas that no one needs.
Looks like the content of the site is going to be changing a bit. Recently, I have been asked to serve in an Information Technology capacity rather than Accounting. If you read through my posts you will see that I was getting into the technology aspect of accounting more than accounting itself. I found myself leveraging technology to do my job better and the company feels that I will have the ability to do this company wide. Next big subject that I will be writing about is Business Intelligence (BI). My task is do implement a Business Intelligence system into the company. My first step is heading back to school at Louisiana State University to learn a little computer programming.
If you go back and look through my posts, I often write about my work in automating the financial statements. Well, I am completely done with this project and I used it to prepare the statements for Q1 – now it is only 5 days from the end of the quarter and I have a draft of the statement ready to go. I have to give it a few weeks to allow for more cost and billings to post, but once that is done all I have to do is click the “Refresh” button to pull in the new data. I have substantially decreased the time it takes to prepare the financials for a >$200 million construction company – I have to say that I am hearing that small voice inside that lets you know that you have done your best.
In addition to increasing the efficiency on the accounting end, I have recently completed another excel project. At my company, the Project Managers use a cost variance report to make monthly projections on their projects. Typically, a PM will have to print the report out and manually make calculations and markup the report with projections. Now, a PM has the ability to pull project budget and cost data into Excel and make projections electronically. This is made possible through an Excel Add-in for Sage Timberline called “Office Connector”. This just puts a nice interface in front of the ODBC driver capabilities. I am currently experimenting more with Office Connector so hopefully I will have more reports to share!
It has been a while since I posted anything – the last few weeks have been very busy. Not only am I alive and doing well, but so are the projects I am working on. The first quarter financials for 2011 using the new excel financial statement builder have been issued and the excel worksheet is working great. I have already begun preparing next quarter’s report. Looking at the success so far, it looks like I will be able to have quarterly financials prepared less than a week after the quarter ends. This is going to give me more time to focus on other areas. I am currently looking for a topic to begin writing an article to submit to the CFMA’s (Construction Financial Management Association) “Building Profits” magazine. Anyone have any suggestions????
What would the world look like if we didn’t constantly learn from mistakes? I can definitely say that I have made many mistakes – but I have learned from them. I learned the lesson very early in my career that you must always be looking for ways to improve because there is always an opportunity to take good and make it great! The key here is that when you do make a mistake or turn something in that isn’t quite perfect – Do Not Get Discouraged and Keep Moving Forward.
After spending some quality time working as a Project Cost Accountant, I moved forward to my current position as an Accountant. I am currently responsible for book keeping, preparation of financial statements, as well as communicating key financial statistics each week to the organzation through financial dashboards that focus on areas such as labor cost and investment activity. I began working in this area about 1 year ago and it has been a blast. During that year I discovered something that I could implement that would streamline the financial reporting process. Within Microsoft Excel, I used the ODBC driver to access the accounting software database and pull that data in to create real time “dashboards” to send to key people in the company. This idea grew as I discovered more and more things to do with it. My latest project is the automation of the financial statements. I have transformed an excel spreadsheet to work like a webpage – I accomplished this by utilizing macros. A user can click a button on the home page to navigate to an area of the spreadsheet rather than using tabs. The user also has the ability to refresh the data so that he or she can know in real time the financial condition of the organization.
Welcome to my blog. You can read more about the reasons for creating this blog on my Purpose page.
So, what is Financial Management in the Construction Industry? Well, from my three years of experience (not many years, but I’ll get there) in the field, I would have to say that it is much more than managing the financial data of a construction project. In the past three years, I have had the opportunity to work in the Accounting department of a large Louisiana General Contractor. I have worked in Payroll & HR, Project Cost Accounting, Risk & Insurance, Contract Administration & Corporate Accounting. In my posts, I will begin with my first day of work and the challenges that I faced and talk about the steps that I took to overcome them. My goal with this blog is to share my accumulated knowledge based on my experiences in the field and that someone who reads this will benefit from the information provided. Lessons learned and accomplishments can not only be applied to this industry, but also to general business.
Please feel free to leave any comments or suggestions! My next post is coming soon!