Construction and Contractors: The Basics of the Month-End Close

Contractors benefit from having a regular monthly closeout of the company’s accounting because having accurate, up-to-date financial reports helps executive management with forecasting, and improves decision making.

The closeout process consists of reconciling significant balance sheet and income statement accounts including but not limited to:

  • Cash
  • Accounts Receivable
  • Fixed Assets
  • Accounts Payable
  • Credit Cards
  • Debt
  • Payroll

The monthly close process also includes the preparation and analysis of the Work-In-Progress schedule.

Step-By-Step Procedures for the Monthly Closeout

1) To reconcile cash, each deposit and withdrawal item from the monthly bank statement is reconciled to the accounting system to ensure all transactions were recorded and agree to the bank. It is also important to analyze any outstanding checks or deposits that did not clear the bank in a timely manner to ensure the transactions are recorded properly and received by the payee.

2) The accounts receivables balance should be reviewed by making sure all invoices have been posted for the current period and making sure all  payments received have been applied properly. Additionally, it is important to review the accounts receivable aging report for items that have potential collectability issues, which are typically invoices that are older than 60-90 days past due depending on your typical payment cycle of your customers.

3) Fixed assets accounts need to be reviewed to record any fixed asset additions or disposals for the period and to record the necessary depreciation adjustments. The Income Statement should also be reviewed for large expense items that may have inadvertently been expensed that should be capitalized.

4) To calculate the accounts payable, first, a cut off day is chosen (which is usually after the first week of the month). Next, vendor invoices that come in before the cut off day are posted to the general ledger. Any invoices coming in after the cut off day are posted on the following month. Any other vendor liabilities that are not invoiced but are known to the company are accrued at the monthly close with an adjustment to the accounts payable account. It is important to review monthly vendor and subcontractor statements to make sure all invoices are in the accounting system and properly job costed. A review of the accounts payable aging report should be done for credits that can be taken and review of any old unpaid invoices.

5) The monthly credit cards statements are reconciled to the general ledger making sure transactions are posted to correct expense accounts and job costed as necessary.

6) For other debt accounts, such as loans, notes payable, and credit lines, the balances should agree to the loan amortization schedules and lender statements ensuring the principal and interest payments have been applied properly.

7) The payroll accounting entries are verified to make sure each employee’s time is allocated to the correct job or expense account. All payroll liabilities are reviewed to make sure any required withholdings are paid to the employee tax authorities on time.

8) The Work-In-ProConstruction/Contractorsgress (WIP) schedule accounts for the progress of construction jobs from their beginning to completion on a percentage basis. Using the WIP schedule is necessary to convert revenues from an accrued basis to a percentage-of-completion basis in order to determine any under or over billings to the clients. Verifications of the current year’s revenues and job costs are made by adjustments to the general ledger. This makes sure the cost to complete each project is accurate and that the revenues and profits from each job are recognized correctly. The WIP schedule is used to help the company’s management track profitability and can provide information about profitability by job type, project manager, customer, job size, location, and other factors.

9) After all the adjustments have been made to the general ledger accounts, the financial statements are prepared as reports for management’s review, which include a balance sheet, income statement, A/R aging for collectability analysis, and the up dated WIP schedule.

Klein Hall CPAs specializes in helping contractions and construction businesses with accurate accounting to better manage their operations. Contact us for any of your accounting needs.