Accurate job cost reporting is essential for successful financial management but, in my experience, many companies not using electronic field logs in construction are plagued by their inability to capture two essential data points from the field.
Labor hours and equipment hours, key building block of what are typically the two highest job cost items, are frequently inaccurate. This is because many contractors still rely on paper for construction time tracking and to record equipment hours. The paper must then be transported to the office, where someone enters the information into the payroll and job cost accounting systems. The manual data entry and handoffs introduce multiple opportunities for input errors and time delays.
Automation and an electronic process can eliminate input errors by cutting out the middle man, so to speak. Hours recorded in the field can post directly to job cost in the construction accounting system, without redundant data entry. This is also more timely, as the delay of sending in paper time sheets and manually entering the data is eliminated.
This process ensures that the hours intended to be entered by managers in the field are in fact entered, but it does not necessarily guarantee the hours are valid. Many systems for construction field tracking do not include built-in checks to validate the hours have been entered correctly. B2W Track does. Users can activate these checks of the original hours as they deem appropriate.
For example, the software can alert users automatically about potential errors in labor time when:
- An employee’s total hours are not equal to the number of work hours based on start and stop times.
- Employee start or stop times are outside the time frame for the field log
- An Employee is already associated with another field log for the same date and time
- Employees have overlapping start/stop times on the field log
Similar examples of this error-check capability for equipment hours include:
- Equipment already associated with another field log for the same date and time
- Equipment with meter has no reading entered on the field log
- Equipment meter reading entered on the field log is less than the previous reading
- Equipment meter hours do not match equipment operating hours reported on field log
- Equipment meter reading hours entered on the field log are more than the hours elapsed since previous reading
By replacing a paper-based process with a specialized, electronic solution like B2W Track, contractors can ensure that labor and equipment hours intended to be entered into their accounting systems are in fact entered and that those hours are valid. As a result, the accuracy of these key job costs is greatly enhanced.