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Snapshot: A Cost Analysis System for your Accounting Data

Accounting Package: StarBuilder from GEAC

Database: Microsoft SQL Server

Development Software: Microsoft Visual Basic

This Product Snapshot will show the Cost Analysis System (CAS) developed with Visual Basic and using the data entered into the StarBuilder™.  StarBuilder is an integrated construction management and job cost accounting software package by GEAC that stores its accounting data in Microsoft SQL Server, a relational database management system.  This example shows one way that accounting data can be enhanced to give a project manager and financial officer timely business information to ensure that each construction project stays on budget and produces the profit necessary.  StarBuilder allows the user to enter the original estimate plus add any additional change orders, quoted to the client.  It also allows the user to add the actual cost of a project.  However, construction project costs are never static.  For example, using the previous estimates of a contract, a project manager might like to look at how different change orders might affect the cost of the project before adding a new change order into Starbuilder.  Furthermore, a project manager might also like to analyze the different cost options for an item before they decided on a specific solution.  The CAS allows the Project Manger to do this "what if analysis" for a building project and therefore estimate the final cost of the project based on changes in labor, material or subcontractor cost.  Since CAS accesses the data used in StarBuilder, the data only needs to be entered once, which reduces data entry time and reduces data error. 

The CAS allows project managers to view the present costs and estimates of a job in four ways, by labor, subcontract, material or all.  It then allows the Project Manager to estimate future cost. 

The screen below displays the labor view.  In this view, the detail labor estimates and actual cost entered into StarBuilder are displayed, together with the totals by phase and job of estimates and cost.  The first three columns in the table on the screen describe the item by Phase, Job code and description.  The next columns allow the user to view and adjust the Star Builder job estimates.  Adjusted Estimate allows the user to input or change data while Revised Estimate displays the results of adding the original estimate to the Adjusted Estimate.  All column headings are underlined.  The middle columns display the labor costs where L Cost is the labor cost paid in the accounting system and ETC is the remaining allocated labor amount.  Anticipate Total Cost (ATC) Labor Input allows the project manager to adjust the amount that will be spent on Labor.  Anticipate Total Cost is the anticipated final labor.  Delta shows the user the difference between the estimate for the project and labor costs. 

In summary, the data entered into StarBuilder can be used to assist the project manger and financial officers in viewing the financial status of a construction project.  By constantly looking at the present data, comparing it to the original estimate and anticipating future expenses, they are better able to control a project budget and prevent costly mistakes in business decisions. 



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