Sage 100 vs Sage 300 - Which is Right for you?

Which Way to Go - 3 Colorful Arrow SignsSage 100 Contractor and Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate are both excellent, construction specific, integrated accounting and business management software solutions. Each of these programs give you the ability to manage your accounting, create estimates, make schedules, generate reports, and correspond with vendors, subcontractors, and clients. However, if you are buying your first accounting software solution, or if you are upgrading from a general accounting solution (i.e. QuickBooks) to a construction specific solution, you may find that sorting through the different features and option in order to select the right software solution for your construction company to be a daunting task.

In this post I will outline some of the common factors that may drive a construction company to select either Sage 100 Contractor or Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate. While the examples below focus on those two products, the issues to be considered apply to any software solution you may be considering for your company.

Required Functionality vs. Company Size

Recommendations for construction management software are often made based based on the size of your organization. Vendors will measure size by number of employees while others like to measure company size in terms of revenue.

While company size may provide an indication of where to start in your construction software selection process, we find that it is much more important to focus on the functionality you need to run your business. You will also want to consider the relative complexity (or sophistication) of your internal accounting processes and procedures.

For example, some consultants will tell you that if your revenues are $25 million or greater, you should automatically purchase Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate. However, there are plenty of construction companies in the category who use Sage 100 Contractor and are able to meet all of their accounting and project management needs.

While the needs of each builder and construction company will vary, here are some guidelines you can use to help you decide which solution if right for you.

Size and Specialization of Your Accounting Department

Rather than looking at your overall company size, it is sometimes more helpful to look at the number of employees and the division of labor within your accounting and project management departments. If your business has a few employees who “wear several hats” and therefore need access to and information from several areas of your construction management software, then Sage 100 Contractor may be the place to start.

On the other hand, if you have employees with specialized, dedicated functions (i.e.different people handle payroll, accounts payable, accounts receivable, sub-contractors, etc.) then you may want to take advantage of the specialized modules available in Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate.

Experience of Staff or New to Construction Software

If your company is making the move from a general accounting solution (i.e. QuickBooks) to construction specific software solution, then you may want to opt for the ease of use of Sage 100 Contractor. Ease of use may also be an important factor based upon the experience of the staff who will be using the software on a daily basis.

On the other hand, if have your accounting department includes a CFO or controller in addition to staff accountants and/or bookkeepers who have experience with construction specific software solutions, you may find Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate to be a better fit.

Workflow and Documentation Needs

Sage 100 Contractor and Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate are project management solutions. Managing documents is part of managing construction projects but different companies have different needs when it comes to document management.

Each module in Sage 100 Contractor gives you the ability add file attachments and notes associated with a particular project. This is a great feature for keeping everyone informed and having a central location for all of your project documents.

If you have more sophisticated document management needs, such as workflow, document routing, or contract management, Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate may again be a better fit.

Other Business Needs

There are many other factors you will want to consider when evaluating construction management software solutions

  • What requirements do you have for managing equipment?
  • Do you manage property after it is developed?
  • Do you need to be able to quote (and track) in units?
  • What are your project management needs?
  • How sophisticated are your change order management and reporting needs?
  • Are there multiple company accounting and reporting issues that need to be addressed?

As you can see, there is no one determining factor that goes into selecting the correct solution for your construction business. Trying to select a solution based on a list of features and technical specifications can be a frustrating exercise. To find a solution that fits your company, start by assessing your needs – not only your accounting needs, but the information you need to run and grow your business.

Finding Additional Help

For over 20 years, CBSNW has been helping builders and construction companies select, install, and customize software solutions that provide the information owners need to make better decisions. If you have any questions about finding the right solution for your business, feel free to contact us for a free consultation or request a free copy of Finding the Right Fit - A Guide to Selecting the Right Software Solution for Your Construction Company