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CFO, Construction - 5 min read

 

“Give customers what they want, and your construction business will thrive.”

 

It sounds simple enough, but delivering successful outcomes to clients is anything but easy. Your books have to support projects before you receive payment. Your staff need to communicate well - with each other, with clients, with suppliers and stakeholders. You need long-term plans and strategies for growth. And most of all, you need systems to support your business vision.

 

How are you managing to please your clients while juggling these responsibilities? Here are five questions to ask yourself before you can delight your clients at every stage.

 

1. Do you have exact requirements for each project?

If you and your client have different project expectations, it’s unlikely that everyone will be happy with the results. It’s essential to set clear expectations right from the start. Unclear project scope will lead to misunderstandings and dissatisfaction in the end.

 

To make sure everyone is on the same page, gather stakeholders before the project begins and make it clear that the project scope is set in stone: once everyone has agreed, you won’t be open to “scope creep.”

 

2. Do you have a reliable scheduling system?

As you know, timing is everything in construction. Without a reliable scheduling system, projects can quickly fall into the red and run into problems.

 

Staying on top of your schedule is important for client satisfaction, but it’s also necessary for your cash flow. Will you have enough cash to order your supply shipment when you need it? Will your payroll be affected by underbillings if a phase is completed late? These questions can keep you up at night if you don’t have easy answers for them. Start with a reliable scheduling system so you can determine each project’s financial needs.

 

Your projects don’t exist in isolation, so you’ll also need an overall business forecast to help you achieve your big-picture goals.

 

3. Do you have an eye for detail?

Most contractors do, and that’s what makes them so good at their work. However, if you’re preoccupied with the nitty gritty on site, your back office can fall into chaos. Instead of trying to manage everything yourself, outsource the financial information to business experts with a background in construction. At Altus, we can create a custom solution for you, managing whatever tasks you prefer not to handle yourself.

 

4. Are you tracking accountability?

With so many workers contributing to your projects, it’s easy to lose track of who’s responsible for what. An effective way to monitor and control all aspects of a project is essential. If something falls out of line, you can address the problem before it affects the outcome.

 

When building an accountability system, include the following:

  • A way to collect progress updates
  • A visual method for evaluating adherence to the schedule
  • A way to receive feedback from stakeholders
  • Change request systems, along with the financial data that accompanies changes.

Without a doubt, increased accountability during the project leads to better outcomes for your clients.

 

5. What are you doing about reducing risk?

Project risk management can save you from big surprises. Most project management systems include provisions for team members and stakeholders to record and highlight project risks. When these are clearly documented, you can address them before problems occur.

 

Likewise, you can minimise the risk to your finances by taking preemptive actions to protect your cash flow and avoid fines for regulatory and tax breaches. The right insurance plan will also help you to manage your risk and provide the best possible service for your clients.

 

If you can answer these five questions with confidence, your best efforts are focused on delivering positive outcomes for your clients. For assistance with these structures, or to talk about any other business concern, reach out to us at Altus Financial.

 

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