A construction company transforms late receipts and customer bills into improved financial control with Center.
About Clearwater Construction
Clearwater Construction is a heavy highway construction company that builds bridges, culverts, and specialty foundations that help connect communities.
Before Center: Manual and Time-Consuming
The Clearwater team had been using Key Bank credit cards for quite a while, but painstaking processes were bogging them down. Every single charge had to be manually entered into their accounting software—meaning every time an employee spent $4 on a bag of ice, they had to fill out a detailed credit card slip. The field would mail packets full of receipts back to the home office, but it typically took 2 months or more to get receipts in. Accounting then had to manually key all the information into their ERP (Foundation) and code it to the correct job. If employees hadn’t included the right info on their credit card slips, the accountant would have to track them down to get it.
This time-consuming process was impacting both cash flow and profitability. Clearwater couldn’t bill customers for expenses without receipts, but if receipts trickled in after a project or project phase had been closed out, they would end up eating the costs.
Clearwater president Brian Gorski knew it was time for a new system. After determining that Concur and other legacy solutions didn’t solve his fundamental issues of streamlining expense reports, simplifying accounting, and ease of use in the field, he decided on Center.
Customizing a Center Solution
The Center team worked closely with Betty Ward, Clearwater’s Accountant/IT Manager, to ensure that Center could track expenses by vendor in order to track trade credit and negotiate bulk discounts. Center also customized Clearwater’s GL export file to automatically sync important fields like job number, phase code, and vendor.
To keep data as accurate as possible and to make filling out expenses easy for field employees, Clearwater made use of Center’s Customizable Policy Controls to limit what projects and phase codes the field is able to select. When an employee plugs in a certain job number, they see only a short list of codes for that job instead of having to scroll through hundreds of codes.
To build alignment and ensure a smooth rollout, the Center account manager held a live training session with the Clearwater leadership team, who then trained the rest of the staff.
The Results: Accurate Job Costs and Real-Time Visibility
In the seven months since rolling out the Center solution, Clearwater has gained real-time visibility into how much money employees are spending, which helps the company zero in on the actual costs for each job. They’re also able to consistently close the books on time each month for the first time.
“Everybody loves it. It’s so easy. Employees don’t have to worry about losing their receipts anymore. They just take a picture of the receipt, code it, and move on.” Betty Ward, Accountant/IT Manager
With Center, it’s far easier to track expenses, understand exactly how much each job costs, and bill clients accurately. One of Clearwater’s biggest clients is the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. When Clearwater is working on a bridge for PennDOT, they have to make absolutely sure that all expenses have been entered and coded for each phase of the construction project before they send out the bill. With Center, that’s finally easy to do.
“Sometimes I wouldn’t get credit card slips for two or three months. Reconciling bank statements and credit cards was a nightmare. With Center, it’s instant.”
Having detailed, accurate information about expenses helps the company understand how much revenue is being generated from each job and what the total profit is. It also helps them accurately price future jobs and improve cash flow. And since finance knows the exact job costs, up to the minute, they have much more control. The CFO is able to hold teams accountable for the money they are spending.
“I can pull any kind of report I want on jobs right out of Center. If I need to see how much somebody put on a card for this job, it’s right there on my insights dashboard. It’s having control.”
With the help of Center, Clearwater was able to transform their expense management process very quickly, strengthening their financial foundation and empowering everyone at the company to focus on the work that matters most.
Find out more about how Center helps construction companies save time and money, or schedule an on-demand or live demo today.