It’s hard to imagine working without a computer, a phenomenon and necessary tool for every imaginable modern industry including construction. As technology needs evolve, so do the job duties of a CFO. Marrying strategy, technology, and financial duties with what technology to invest in to stay ahead of the competition can be overwhelming, especially for those who have been in the industry long before email or computer data systems were imperative to operations. As new generations of construction financial professionals graduate with degrees and fresh ideas, both them and the seasoned pros without formal education need to be on the same page, but sometimes, that’s a little easier said than done.
Beyond Hammers and Nails
Emerging technology for construction has evolved leaps and bounds in a short amount of time, making even the most set-in-their-ways’ CFOs, who do everything with pen on paper, take notice.
“For an industry that is known for its unwillingness to change, the influx of new technology has increased the rate of change so much that contractors are beginning to see technology as an asset and not a necessary evil,” said Bruce Orr, Founder of ProNovos Construction Analytics. “The conversations that I’m having with contractors now are much different than seven years ago. The majority of contractors had a mindset of, ‘If it ain’t broke, then don’t fix it.’ Now, the conversation is more like, ‘Our goal is to improve in these areas, this is how we’re currently doing it, and I’m looking for a better way.’”
The better way of doing things comes in the form of getting faster, more thorough, and more accurate information into the hands of those who need it in all aspects of a company. Technology is no longer reserved for just the home office but extends to job sites, making them safer and more profitable. Historically, technology was primarily used for accounting to streamline and speed up the lengthy process of handwriting, collecting, and faxing timecards. Very little was used in the field at all, but now technology is incorporated through all the divisions. Software supports construction from the beginning with estimating and bidding on jobs, to the field operations with data collection, to equipment maintenance and management, to scheduling and dispatching of resources ensuring people and equipment are on the job when they need to be, to daily tracking against budget, and more in record, organized time.
“The jobs themselves are becoming more complex, as are safety requirements and compliance requirements,” said David Flynn, CFO of B2W Software. “Technology is allowing folks to access information faster than they ever have before, and that allows them to make better, more informed decisions. What’s critical is that they’re able to do that in real-time. For that to happen, they need to have the right tools in place to capture that information, analyze it, and see how they’re doing against various performance metrics.”