Construction Accountants CPA Hartford: William Brighenti
Certified Public Accountant, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor
Sage Master Builder Consultant
Hire A Construction Controller Without Costly Recruiter Fees

46 Mildrum Road, Berlin, CT 06037               Telephone: (860) 249-1323               Email:  info@cpa-connecticut.com

Hire a Construction Controller without Costly Recruiter Fees
by William Brighenti, Certified Public Accountant, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor

Are you looking for a controller, an accountant, a full-charge bookkeeper, an accounting clerk, or administrative assistant for your construction company?  Why pay expensive commissions to employment recruiters, who typically charge between 20% to 35% of the hired employee's first year salary, when we would be willing to assist you without charging you any fee at all?
  Save as much as $35,000 in recruiting fees by hiring a construction controller yourself.  As an accounting, bookkeeping, tax, payroll, Quickbooks and Sage Master Builder consulting services firm, we know and interact with a host of talented individuals, many with experience in the construction industry.  In addition, we would welcome the opportunity of meeting you, assessing your accounting needs, and making some suggestions to you without any cost or obligation to you.  And if you are pleased with our no obligation, free service, perhaps you will remember us in the future or recommend us to someone who may be in need of our services.

If you are a contractor seeking the right individual for a controller position at your company, we recommend that you hire a certified public accountant with considerable construction experience. Construction is a very unique industry, with a highly specialized job costing system.  An individual without the dual background in public accounting and construction accounting may have very costly consequences to your company.  The construction industry is fraught with risk enough without adding to the risk by hiring a controller without the appropriate background.  The most obvious criteria in the qualifications of a construction controller are CPA credentials, and construction accounting knowledge and experience.  Furthermore, having a certified public accountant in-house can save you thousands of dollars every year in external accounting fees, which average $150 per hour.  Controllers are typically required for construction companies with annual revenues exceeding $10 million per year.

Premier controllers do more than prepare historical financial statements and jobs cost reports, AIA requisitions, tax filings, etc.  Besides interfacing with bonding companies, insurance agents and workers compensation auditors, bankers, et al, they are your "eyes to the future" and ideally should be preparing reliable pro forma reports on an ongoing basis.  Effective management decisions require as much information of future results and conditions as is humanly possible.  A well-educated (at least a graduate degree in a business discipline and certification in public accounting), experienced construction controller should know the construction drivers for your company's demographics, and should be expected to provide financial projections with the full assistance of the key management team at your firm, including those in sales, estimating, purchasing, and executive administration.  With a focus on the future, and always with accurate historical information as a touchstone, reliable forecasts and budgets can be produced, subject to periodic review and revision.  Similarly, since the job cost reports are the jurisdiction of the controller, an open dialogue between the controller and estimators is essential in the continued promulgation of on-target estimates and bids.  A construction project management information system requires an integration of all its components, and the controller should be a key figure in this system.

If you are a smaller construction firm with less than $10 million in annual revenues, you probably will not require the services of a controller with a certified public accounting background.  Hiring a construction accountant rather than a controller may save your company $20,000 per year in salary expense, although these savings in salary are offset to a degree by the additional support services that will be required from your outside certified public accountant without having a controller in-house.  A construction accountant usually has a degree in accounting and has a minimum of two to three years of experience in accounting in the construction industry.  Although construction accountants rely heavily, if not entirely, on external accountants for tax preparation and planning services as well as the preparation of financial statements, they ordinarily prepare all monthly in-house financials and job cost reports.


If your construction company's annual revenues are less than $3 million per year, a full-charge bookkeeper may be sufficient for your accounting needs.  A full-charge bookkeeper typically is not qualified to prepare interim financial statements but should be capable of producing a monthly adjusted trial balance and job cost reports.  The savings of $15,000 in salary realized from hiring a full-charge bookkeeper rather than a construction accountant, again, may be offset somewhat by additional support services required from your outside certified public accountant.

Accounting clerks typically perform one or more accounting roles in the construction accounting company:  payroll clerk; payables clerk; accounts receivable/billing clerk; etc.  Desirable candidates have experience in that particular area of accounting, and possess strong data entry and computer skills.  They are typically paid $10,000 to $20,000 less in salary than a full-charge bookkeeper, contingent upon the number of accounting support roles they undertake, their experience, and the amount of supervision they require.

What has been omitted until now is a consideration of the "human element" of a candidate: i.e., excellent work habits, character, reputation, communication and people skills.  Although these less tangible, quality attributes are often more difficult to evaluate than the training and experience qualifications of candidates, personal and work references, background investigation of credit and police records, and a series of interviews in order to personally become familiar with the candidates, are all essential measures to undertake before hiring any employee and should never be overlooked in the hiring process, no matter what position in the company you are seeking to fill.  The costs of failing to do so--that is, negative impact upon your project management information system, training, potential legal liabilities, employee turnover, etc.--far outweigh the minimal additional costs of a thorough character and personality assessment.

We at Hartford Construction Accountants would be pleased to assist you in your search process for the appropriate individual at your construction firm.  William Brighenti started his career in public accounting in 1979.  He has approximately twenty years of experience in construction accounting and management, having served as a controller for several construction companies.  As a certified public accountant, Bill specializes in construction, and has audited, reviewed, and compiled financial statements and prepared tax returns for contractors for years as well as offered software assistance to those using Sage Master Builder and Quickbooks.  For more information on the construction accounting services available at our firm, please contact William Brighenti, Certified Public Accountant, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor.

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