The Coach's Advice


By Jay Sukernek

On New Year’s Eve, I watched the basketball game between Wake Forest University and the University of Richmond, my alma mater. And who says accountants don’t know how to party?

Late in a close game, the color commentator (let’s just call him “The Coach”) said something that made me think about my job, and not just my job, but my clients’.

The coach said that the way for each team to win the game was for them to figure out what they do best, and then figure out a way to do that the most often in the last few minutes of the game. Simple enough, but how does that apply to business?

Well, since contractors can’t control the opportunities and project flow in order to give them the opportunity to do what they do best more often, I believe that now is the time to figure out what you have to do most often, and figure out how to do it better and more efficiently.

The recent economic environment has changed the competitive landscape of business, especially in the project-driven world that contractors live in. However, I see this as an opportunity to improve the way you do business. It is now a necessity to determine how to become more efficient in delivering your services in order to maintain profitably, and I believe that the contractors who will succeed in these times are those who embrace the idea of changing what they have always done in order to achieve efficiencies.

John Wooden, perhaps the greatest team sports coach of all time, once said “Big things are accomplished only through the perfection of minor details.” As such, I offer the following areas where I believe efficiencies could be realized by analyzing the details of processes that exist throughout almost every construction project:

1) Bidding: Have you considered reviewing and perhaps flow-charting your bidding process so that each job is bid in the most efficient manner possible?

2) Job Progress Meetings: Consider the use of technology, such as web-conferencing to reduce the amount of travel time incurred to hold periodic on-site meetings.

3) Time Entry: Have you considered how the use of a web-based, time-entry system could free-up the project manager from spending time gathering time cards and summarizing time, allowing more time to work on identifying and solving potential project issues that ultimately impact job completion and profitability?

4) Billing: Ultimately, everyone wants to find a way to get paid faster. Consider whether there are manual activities performed in your month-end process that could perhaps be automated, and, in turn, speed up your ability to generate billings, and, therefore, the receipt of funds.

Schneider Downs’ construction services and information technology professionals can provide the insightful, innovative thought processes to assist you in achieving all of your business objectives.

We can work with you to identify what you do most often, and determine how you can do it more efficiently. For a consultation, please contact Rich McKenna, Business Advisors Manager and Operations Consultant, at rmckenna@schneiderdowns.com or 412-697-5205. 

Schneider Downs provides accounting, tax and business advisory services through innovative thought leaders who deliver the expertise to meet the individual needs of each client. Our offices are located in Pittsburgh, PA, and Columbus, OH.

This advice is not intended or written to be used for, and it cannot be used for, the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties that may be imposed, or for promoting, marketing or recommending to another person, any tax related matter.

You’ve heard our thoughts… We’d like to hear yours

The Schneider Downs Our Thoughts On blog exists to create a dialogue on issues that are important to organizations and individuals. While we enjoy sharing our ideas and insights, we’re especially interested in what you may have to say. If you have a question or a comment about this article – or any article from the Our Thoughts On blog – we hope you’ll share it with us. After all, a dialogue is an exchange of ideas, and we’d like to hear from you. Email us at contactSD@schneiderdowns.com.

Material discussed is meant for informational purposes only, and it is not to be construed as investment, tax, or legal advice. Please note that individual situations can vary. Therefore, this information should be relied upon when coordinated with individual professional advice.

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