An Interview with Robert Scherer, President of Plumb, Sage Authorized Partner & Outsourced Accounting Firm for the Construction Industry
In this video, we introduce Robert Scherer, President and Founder of TAG, an outsourced accounting firm and Sage partner for accounting software for construction industry. With over 20 years of business and financial experience planning and managing complex programs for contractor clients ranging from general contractors, subcontractors, landscape contractors, and real estate developers with revenues ranging from start-up to over $100 million.
Prior to founding Plumb, Scherer was the CFO for one of the largest reinforcing steel contractors in California. His expertise in the construction real estate and development industry has resulted in over 100 national and local speaking engagements on construction financial management and planning. He is the former President of the CFMA of San Diego and is a presenter for the AGC, Association of Subcontractors, Surety Association, and the Association of Builders and Contractors.
Accounting Software for Construction: Top Reasons to Choose Plumb as your Sage Construction Software Partner
Question: How did you come up with the idea to start Plumb (The Accounting Group)?
Answer: I initially came up with the idea to create Plumb (originally known as The Accounting Group) as part of my final project to earn my MBA at San Diego State. It was writing a business plan to start a new company.
I wanted to provide small and medium sized construction companies the ability to have the same reporting systems and accounting processes that larger construction companies have. This lead to working with a variety of accounting software for construction companies, which lead us to becoming a Sage Business Partner.
Question: Tell us about your background in the construction industry?
Answer: I began my career in the construction industry working in contract administration and accounting, dealing with contract and change order negotiations, then working my way up to CFO for a large steel contractor. We had residential, commercial, and FOB divisions, along with two fabrication facilities and one manufacturing facility.
In hindsight it was a great background to start my career, because I had experience at every level in the accounting department in the construction industry.
Question: What are the top areas of concern or accounting (financial reporting) issues that you see with new construction clients?
Answer: The main accounting and reporting issues that many contractors face is that they don’t have the fundamentals in-place. I always tell our potential clients that in order to do a lot of the “cool” forecasting, labor productivity reports, equipment utilization reports, etc., it all starts with “boring” accounting and administrative processes and procedures so that we can capture the data and turn it into meaningful information.
Once Plumb helps a contractor get sound fundamental reporting in-place, we can then work on dashboards, alerts and all types of fun stuff in their accounting software for construction industry.
Question: Why is it so important for contractors to have (daily, weekly, monthly) reports and better job tracking?
Answer: It’s just the tip of the iceberg for contractors to have accurate and timely reports. The technical “book” answer is that it enables management to have timely information to react to, things like equipment utilization, crew mix on a given job, labor productivity, extra / change order work being done that needs to be billed / negotiated.
The rest of the iceberg is that it reinforces a culture of accountability.
Within all companies you have your top performers, your “A” players. These are the ones that are going to be successful no matter what. You also have your “C” players, the ones that play in the cracks. Lastly, you have your “B” players. These are the players that we can truly increase their productivity and their team’s productivity with weekly shared reporting.
I’ve always said that if you track it, I know in my soul that you will save 5%-10%, it’s just how it works. Human nature. Finally, as most business books will tell you “If you can’t track it, you can’t improve it.” Once contractors have timely, recurring reporting, we can bid future work more efficiently, we can plan better, we can improve and have “best practices”.
Question: If a company is trying to evaluate the best accounting software for construction, what are the main considerations you would recommend?
Answer: I tell my clients and prospects that when it comes to choosing an accounting software for construction that First, pick the software products that have experience in your industry and/or trade first and foremost.
Second, look at the software company itself. Understand their track record in your industry, how long have they been around, are the continuously improving their product, are the always expanding their customer base? Next, look at the implementation team that will work with your internal team. Are the local? Are they remote? How do they work with other customers?
Finally, once you have chosen a product/company/team, dedicate the resources internally to make your implementation a success. This is the start of a long relationship with your new software partner.
Question: There are many construction-specific accounting softwares in the market, so why did Plumb decide to become an Authorized Sage Partner and focus selling Sage 100 Contractor and Sage 300 CRE?
Answer: Plumb originally chose to become a software partner with Timberline, now Sage 300 CRE, because it was the industry leader then, and it is the industry leader now.
We added Sage 100 Contractor (Master Builder at the time), because Sage added it to it’s product line and poured a lot of money into the further development of the product and made it into an industry leader in the small / medium contractor market.
I have worked for many of the people at Sage for 15+ years. Having long term relationships means a lot to me and the rest of our team here at Plumb.
For additional information and Sage Tips, check out Plumb’s YouTube channel: Plumb Construction Software & Accounting Experts