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Job Accounting

Feb 10, 2020

Accounting software for jobs and projects is a key part of corporate accounting functions. There are many situations where initiatives, whether or not they are purely internal to the organization, need to have income and expenses tracked against them. Depending on the complexity of the initiative, you may use a job or project.

Job Accounting

The use of jobs is generally for less complex situations. For instance, a home services business like a plumber may only be concerned with capturing income and expenses on a single day, for a single transaction. In this case, there may only be a few steps in the process. A scheduler creates a job, the technician adds merchandise and service charges to that job, then accounting reviews/approves.

This often doesn’t require much more than a few fields related to the job object in your accounting software. You mainly need that object as a means of tagging income and expenses as someone enters them into your software. Further, you can add items for inventory management purposes, without adding too much additional complexity.

Project Accounting

Projects, on the other hand, are a bit more complex. They typically have more moving parts and can last weeks or even years. For this reason, the use of project accounting is often in the construction industry. Some considerations are:

  • There are many different contractors, charging various labor rates.
  • The involvement of multiple vendors, with different types of expenses. Some of which can be capitalized.
  • The fee earned on the project can be variable, based on project progress, fixed, or some mix of variable and fixed.
  • Billing is rarely tied to revenue recognition. This creates complex revenue recognition calculations.

For these reasons, we recommend utilizing job accounting unless it’s absolutely necessary to use project accounting. Accounting for jobs is much easier in your general ledger accounting software, allowing your organization to have a controlled, straightforward job accounting process. Remember, this is even applicable if you have light manufacturing processes and inventory tracking needs.

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Ben Taylor
CEO & Co-Founder at SoftLedger

A CPA with more than 10 years of varied public and private accounting experience, Ben has led many complex financial projects to successful outcomes.

He began his career at Ernst & Young, followed by in-house management roles at Fannie Mae and other public companies.

Ben holds a B.S. in Accounting from the University of Maryland.

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