Software for trades and construction: Are you using a hammer or a nail gun?

28 May 2021

Although not traditionally known as a hi-tech industry, the trades and construction industry is no different to any other industry when it comes to selecting the right software to help streamline operations and give you back more time.

With time a precious commodity, selecting the right software can be an effective way to help you save more of it by freeing you up to work on other areas of your business, while also helping to mitigate your compliance risks.

Get it right and it’s like moving from a hammer to a nail gun. Get it wrong and it’s like trying to hammer a nail with a piece of wood.

The part many trades and construction struggle with is knowing where to start and what options they have. In fact, there are many software options available in market - if you search trades in the Xero App Market Place, there are currently 66 options!

With such an array of choices, it’s important to base your purchase decision on more than price. You should also consider:

  • Your business requirements.
  • The functionality of the software.
  • How much time that piece of software can save you.
  • How easy it is for you to use.

To help you get started, here are some of key matters to consider when selecting software for your trades or construction business.

Map out the functions of your business that you wish to streamline.

There are many different facets to a business and it is likely that one piece of software will not be able to cover all of them. So, it’s important to map out the key areas of your business that cause you the most headaches and consider what the optimum solution looks like for each of those.

Some software providers offer apps that your employees can use out in the field to track their time and the jobs they are on. Whether or not this is important to you, will depend on the types of functions your employees perform.

The areas most trades and construction business will want to consider include:

  • Job costing and management.
  • Time tracking.
  • Staff scheduling.
  • Supplier integration.
  • Quoting.
  • Invoicing.
  • Payroll.
  • Health & Safety.
  • Accounting/IRD Obligations.
  • Document storage.
  • Getting paid.
  • Performance management.

Ensure the software you choose integrates with your other systems.

There are some great systems available however not all of these may integrate with your other systems.

Integration is where your business stands to gain the greatest benefit from time savings that can be made. If you can put in place a job costing and management system that links with your accounting system, you could save a lot of double entry.


Internet (cloud) based software is seen to be more reliable than desktop as the software provider manages all the maintenance and users do not need to worry about performing backups and upgrades. It also makes it easy for users to access the software across all smart devices such as phones, tablets and laptops.

Access for multiple users.

Internet based packages can allow several users to have access which means you can access information in a timely manner.

Mitigate compliance risk.

Many operational systems have options to upload and manage your health and safety requirements, and with the correct accounting software you will be able to file payroll and GST with the click of a button.


Once you move your business’ financial information into accounting software, a huge amount of data becomes immediately available to you. This information can help you obtain greater insights into your business and you can start planning what you will spend your profit on, whether that be a plan for tax payments, life savings or growth in your business.

When selecting a software, it is important to consider what the best fit for your business is now, as well as into the future. It is possible that the size of your business today may not be where you want it to be in five or ten years, so you need software that can grow with you.

Working with an accountant or business adviser can help provide you with valuable insight on your options and functionality required by your business. With their assistance, you’ll soon be able to map out a list of requirements and objectives, so you can select a software solution that will help your business thrive.


The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the thought or position of Findex NZ Limited

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May 2021