Integrated Cost Management (ICM) solution
What makes our ICM solution unique?
One-to-one cost matching made possible through:
- Estimating from basic resources for seamless integration with procurement
- True integration of projected cost and time for dynamic forecast budgets
- A Cost type/Activity matrix to overcome the limitations of segmented codes
- Management of ALL costs without site cost add-ons or custom development
- Extending activity based costing by contract to both plant and payroll
- Seamless accrued/actual cost reporting for forecast budget comparison
And ONLY this can produce:
- Timely and detailed cost variance information to guide effective cost-control
- And a true calculation of earned value
The ICM solution elements
Pre and Post Tender Budgets
- Estimating – from first principles producing basic resource budgets
- Planning – integrated with the estimate for resource levelling and critical path analysis
- Valuations – post tender resource utilisation for budget and earned value determination
- Cash Flow – projected from the integration of resource budgets and planning schedule
- Forecast Cost to Completion – projection of actual cost added to budget remaining
- Labour – integrated with Time & Attendance and Human Resource management
- Materials – integrated with the estimate (base line) continually updated from valuations
- Plant & Equipment – integrated with the cost ledger including plant division, internal and external plant hire, maintenance, workshop, servicing, utilisations and availability
- Sub-Contractors– integrated with project and financial controls and cost ledger postings
- All other Cost elements – including preliminary, company and project overhead costing
Procurement and Accrual Costing
- Integrated procurement from the budget and allowables in the estimating model
- Controlled procurement quantities and budgets throughout the project life cycle
- Allocated procurement to contracts, plant, workshops, job cards, overhead or debtors
- Managed procurement with a tight workflow and approval process
Payroll and Human Resource Management
- Using time & attendance information with activities to allocate daily labour costing
- Fully integrated with human resources and compliant with labour legislation
- Integrated project and enterprise accounts including accounts payable and receivable, sub-contractors, general ledger, cost ledgers, cash book, bank reconciliations, journals, invoicing, trial balance, income statement, balance sheet, business intelligence and profit recognition using IAS-11 to comply with international accounting standards for construction
In summary, our ICM solution has been designed over 30 years, exclusively for the Construction industry, using state of the art technology to provide the organisation with daily project cost information, including accrued costs on ALL cost elements, coupled with effective project controls, all integrated with a feature-rich back office enterprise accounting system.
The Elements of a Cost Management System
Cost estimating, forecasting, and planning are a part of Project Cost planning. Cost planning is the projection of future costs. Cost tracking is backward-looking: it is accounting for what has already occurred.
Cost tracking refers to following the cost of various activities through the Candy and BuildSmart integrated cost management (ICM) system and is accomplished through the use of cost coding of activities and their associated costs. It includes methods such as time collection (the use of resource time sheets) and expense accumulation. This type of data collection associates costs and activities for the various activities being performed, enabling accurate analysis and optimal decision-making. While every stage of the cost management system is important, cost tracking is one of the most critical stages, because weaknesses in data collection will have the most detrimental effect on the other stages. Inaccurate data will lead to poor risk assessment and poor planning.
The Project analysis stage of estimating and planning considers individual costs and related activities, while the decision stage evaluates and forecasts the entire cost management system and provides an opportunity to make appropriate changes and initiate best practices. The Candy BuildSmart system offers an opportunity to improve the risk management as a whole.
The Candy / BuildSmart cost management is central to the idea of cost management. While Candy includes the ability to show how resources are committed, BuildSmart shows when and why resources were committed to a task or project. Through a comprehensive review of the entire portfolio of resources available, cost monitoring leads to an improved understanding of how resources can effectively be used in optimal cost benefit on a project through task and cost code management.
The related concept of resource utilisation on a project is especially applicable to planning and forecasting, because many changes can be implemented to have a direct effect on the cash flow. Keeping a cost-monitored system is an on-going process that requires continuous review, not only on site but at management level too. Similarly, a cost management policy can also be seen as a risk mitigation policy and is therefore a part of everyone’s job.
While different cost accounting systems include different components that may seem essential to financial management level, the indispensable element is an overall understanding of the interrelationship between project activities and actual costs as well as the ability to manage and track these cost relationships is to an organization’s advantage.
Identifying activity-based costs
Identification of actual costs against the budget is a critical element throughout the cost management process. Identifying actual costs begins with understanding the difference between direct and indirect costs.
A direct cost can be seen in various ways:
- Fixed costs are costs that typically do not change in response to changes in volume of activity. Examples include depreciation, supervisory salaries, and maintenance expenses.
- Variable costs are costs that change in response to the changes in the volume of activity. It is generally assumed that the relationship between variable costs and resource utilisation is proportional. Examples include the utilisation of direct labour, direct materials, and direct expenses.
- Mixed costs are costs that contain both a variable cost element and a fixed cost element. These costs are sometimes referred to as semi-variable costs. One example is a Digger loader rental that is billed at a base rate plus standing time.
- Direct costs are costs that easily can be linked to a specific service, activity, or department.
- Indirect costs are costs that cannot easily be linked to a single specific service, activity, or department.
Candy has a unique ability to combine complex worksheets with multiple resource allocation in the Bill of quantities rates. Direct and indirect costs are broken down among labour, material, plant, overhead and subcontractors, each of which has a unique resource code. These costs are all easily traceable to specific activities through each activity having a Cost code and provide accurate cost information one imported into the BuildSmart cost management system.
The allocation of indirect overhead costs is often more complex, since overhead costs can be used by many project activities and across many projects. Maintenance costs for example are incurred regardless of whether or not the barriers are used in any specific events, and need to be managed within the BuildSmart ledger and allocated to particular resources codes.
Cost recovery of project activities is essential: However, regardless of the extent to which an organization engages in cost recovery, it is beneficial for each organization to have a well-defined cost accounting system. Having such a policy will facilitate financial control, including procurement, pay roll, plant and human resource management, ensuring an equitable financial structure, and distinguish an organization’s on-going success.
Good cost management and risk mitigation is an integral part of good project management and an organizational and individual responsibility. Cost management monitoring is an on-going and interrelated process that requires frequent review to continue functioning successfully and being able to monitor risk mitigation.
Why choose BuildSmart AND Candy
What the integrated CCS Cost Management Solution can do which others cannot
We have an interactive link between our Estimating and Planning tools that is like no other system. We also share critical information between Estimating/Planning and Cost management/Accounting functions like no other system.
Candy Estimating integrates with BuildSmart Procurement for precise quantity and rate information to achieve accurate purchasing, the first step in effective cost control.
The integrated system organizes cost information simultaneously by task/activity as well as by cost type, so as to allow a one-to-one comparison of cost information that must be organized in different ways for the purposes of estimating, project management and accounting.
BuildSmart is web-based where needed, to allow information to be entered where it is produced and to allow real time comparison of actual costs to expected costs, so as to be in time to take effective corrective action.
BuildSmart facilitates the return of actual costs to estimating to improve the accuracy of future estimates and the securing of more profitable work.
BuildSmart is built on best practice and can therefore be implemented in a few weeks with guaranteed costs, not the months and years and often open ended costs that other solutions often require.
A few of the many other needs that the combined system also facilitates:
- Tender responses with powerful management of mark-ups and error control
- Planning information exportable into popular formats
- Adjudication of supplier and subcontractor submission
- Manage Payrolls and Payment of Creditors
- Efficient production of standard business accounts
- Feed popular ERP systems used for diversified group accounts
- Superior product support
- Powerful Business Intelligence reporting
Taken together, these uniquely powerful tools provide management with superior information with which to produce more net revenue and benefit from a strong competitive advantage.
The more one knows about the unique challenges of construction, the more it is obvious there is only one choice in systems to secure work, control costs and protect margins – CCS.