Sometimes QuickBooks simply won’t do. While the accounting package has been a staple piece of the technology puzzle in construction for many years, some contractors are finding it’s time to move on to more industry-specific systems to handle core accounting and job cost functionality.

One option for contractors that find themselves in such a position to consider is Jonas Premier, a new cloud-based system from Jonas Construction Software, www.jonas-construction.com, Richmond Hill, Ont. This construction-specific ERP (enterprise resource planning) system includes job costing, subcontract management, T&M billing, progress (AIA Style) billing, GL, AP, AR, bank management, purchase order, inventory, time entry, and integrated document storage, all under one solution.

The solution targets contractors in the $1 million to $5 million range, which for the most part do not have such an option at their disposal. The key part of the offering is the fact it is built in the Microsoft Azure Cloud, which could be a very attractive option for contractors in this segment that do not have the resources to manage IT. In addition, the double data redundancy reduces another cost in maintaining the software related to back-up devices.

Jonas definitely sees a trend of contractors moving to the cloud and believes contractors in the $1 million to $5 million range stand to benefit greatly from such a delivery model due to the rising cost to manage and maintain IT on a daily basis. Plus, Jonas has built in the functionality that allows contractors to feel comfortable they are working with a system that will scale up to meet their construction-specific needs going forward.

Such functionality includes configurable job costing, accounting integration, and a full suite of reporting that comes standard. In addition, Jonas has written an add-on for Microsoft Excel that pulls data from the cloud straight into Excel. While there is currently no payroll option including in Jonas Premier, the company fully expects this option to be made available in the future.

Overall, the cloud is definitely a trend that is catching on with smaller contractors in general. Art Divell, CEO, Data-Basics Inc., www.databasics.com, Cleveland, Ohio, believes the cloud can be an ideal delivery model for software to contractors in this segment of the market. The company provides enterprise software for service, construction, and facilities management industries, with a focus on providing solutions that help such firms manage business-wide operations.

Divell believes the cloud, along with the adoption of the smartphone, will be two trends that will really change the way in which contractors operate going forward. In particular, smaller contractors that are looking for that competitive edge, while reducing cost and managing overhead more efficiently, could look to the cloud as a viable option to manage IT.

Contractors today have many different options at their disposal when it comes to technology. The cloud is presenting new and affordable ways to adopt technology, helping firms of all sizes fuel the fire to stay on a level playing field.