About Northwest Construction Cooperative
Northwest Construction Cooperative is a construction business based in Olympia – Washington, specialized in residential remodeling and new custom homes. What began as a group doing maintenance and home repairs in 2014 has grown into a small but mighty team passionate about passive home building practices, a standard focused on high energy efficiency.
“We like things to look beautiful but also be useful in the future and have longevity”, said Micheal Snow, the organization’s administrative, financial manager and part owner. “We’re building homes for clients who want a home for the rest of their lives to feel comfortable in, feel good about and have a lower utility bill.”
Micheal is responsible for running the operational and financial aspects of the company. By merging Northwest Construction Cooperative’s technology stack with essential business functions, he’s able to cut down on time spent and more efficiently keep track of costs.
But before having these beneficial tools in place, Micheal had to determine the best approach for automating the company’s accounting and bookkeeping. We caught up with him to learn more about how he discovered Dext Prepare and what results he’s seen since integrating the solution.
In the construction industry, job costing is crucial. This involves manually gathering pieces of paper that are scattered in every direction. People are meant to hold onto these important receipts, but — as Micheal discovered — collecting them is easier said than done.
“Receipts get crumbled and destroyed, stained with coffee or grease, stuck under someone’s seat in their car”, he says. “It was laborious in terms of collecting the documents and making sure we had all of them.”
It was apparent that an automation tool was necessary to digitize accounting and maximize the company’s growth opportunities. To accomplish this, the team tried out other paperless accounting resources, but they weren’t viable fixes for what they needed.
So Micheal turned to Dext Prepare for help. They needed a system that could handle all their expense-related requirements and meet the needs of their industry — since, in construction, non-compliance and time-consuming processes can derail progress.
Micheal used Dext Prepare for bookkeeping in a previous role, so he was familiar with how the software works and that it integrated seamlessly with Xero. As Northwest Construction Cooperative implemented Dext Prepare, the team’s initial reaction was positive as Micheal expected.
“The platform works so well. It’s simple, it doesn’t have bugs, it doesn’t malfunction… The experience is there, it’s easy to follow and it’s self-explanatory.”
His previous experience using other paperless accounting tools left much to be desired, but Prepare gave him a clearer picture of what the right type of solution could do for Northwest Construction Cooperative.
When using another company, for example, the platform only allowed one person to collect and upload financial documents, putting a strain on that individual. Micheal is especially happy about how, with Dext Prepare, that job can be split among any number of people. “The user interface is so simple and easy. We have different user profiles so everyone in the field is able to manage their own submissions.”
Micheal created an alias email specifically for billing, which has the Dext Prepare email as well as his email attached to it, so there’s complete visibility for all parties at all times.
“I can just archive [a transaction] in my email once I see it, so I can keep track of what’s coming in, but I don’t have to look at it all the time”, he explains. “In piles of paper, you’re not really looking at it; you’re just keeping it in a pile.”
While there are many solutions the team implemented, Micheal says his favorite feature is Paperwork Match. “Whether you’re on the operation side and you’re looking in builder trend or the accounting side looking at Xero, both have the image attachments, we don’t have to go through and reattach them. I think it’s ingenious.”
“There are lots of cool features in Dext Prepare that I think everyone should use, but Paperwork Match was a pleasant surprise and it’s awesome. I love that.”
Micheal also highlights the benefit of easily storing and merging several documents in the same entry, which prevents duplicates when more than one person is submitting paperwork.
“I have the suppliers send the invoices, but I also have people uploading the paper versions and they can write in the description what job and what it was for. So I can costcode it and it just automatically shows up. We can merge them and have both of those records, which is great.”
Speed and accuracy are of utmost importance in the construction sector, which Dext Prepare has delivered to Northwest Construction Cooperative. Gone are the days when the team was forced to compile messy physical documents — now, Micheal can streamline his responsibilities with ease.
“Dext Prepare saves us a lot of time because we don’t need to manually enter all the information twice and reconcile the two. We’re able to do things with speed, accuracy and completeness that we weren’t ever able to do before.”
Additionally, Micheal believes the platform helps project managers and operations professionals quickly analyze situations. “They’re able to jump in and look at any transaction and make sure it’s there. They’re just more financially aware of what they’re spending and what things are coming in”, he says.
With all the time saved, Micheal gets roughly two days back into his schedule to focus on other pertinent business functions, such as helping with personnel matters, researching improvements to systems and technology and participating in financial meetings.
“It gives us a lot of capacity to do other things”, says Micheal. “Instead of talking about the process or spending time tracking down the information, we actually talk about our results.”
The Future of Northwest Construction Cooperative
Having real-time access to information is essential for any construction company, and Northwest Construction Cooperative is no exception. With multiple projects happening at once, Dext Prepare has helped the team better manage cash flow, streamline bookkeeping and prepare for the future.
As Northwest Construction Cooperative continues to create positive environmental change and build beautiful, long-lasting homes, Dext Prepare will be with them every step of the way — enabling the company to scale and grow over time.
Check out Dext Prepare and see why this is a must-have for your construction business.
Ready to give it a try? Start a free trial today.