I just returned from a week in my happy place - Michigan's Upper Lower Peninsula, Burt Lake specifically. Cool weather, sandy beach, pontoon, north woods - the perfect place for staring, unfocused, into the distance. But back to reality ... Corbu is three months old, and it is time for an update.
Remember Corbu? The little project to make accounting for architectural firms quicker, better, cheaper. Three months ago that was the vision. Today, while the vision is still a bit fuzzy, the parts that have come into focus are telling me that there is a need. None of us went into architecture so that we could do accounting, accounting being just about as far from architecture as you can get. And yet 15,000 of us who have our own firm are pulled into the necessity of accounting for about two man-days a month. About 2.5% of us like, and even enjoy, the challenge of accounting. 97.5% of us - not so much. I think we will be able to help that 97.5%.
SO WHERE DO THINGS STAND?
Since the last update in early June:
Getting a website launched will be the next big thing for Corbu. The main purpose right now is to provide a place to park information, mainly in the form of a blog, and a sign-up form to get on the mailing list for updates and announcements. The blog will give me a place to start sharing what I have learned about effective tactics when it comes to accounting chores.
SURVEY RESULTS OVERVIEW
I now have input from over 100 people. 67% of respondents are from firms of 10 or less. The most popular accounting tool in use, by far, is QuickBooks. Not surprisingly, very few QuickBooks users are making full use of the software. QuickBooks has a reputation for being unfriendly. So unfriendly that a majority of the QuickBooks users add time and reimbursable expenses by manually transcribing the data. This is one 'pain event' that we will eliminate. A quick summary of the survey results looks like this.
31% submit time sheets weekly
29% use software on their network to collect time, followed by paper forms at 25%
34% use software on their network to prepare invoices, followed by 22% using word processing templates.
43% manually transcribe time into invoices.
7 hours is the average time to prepare invoices.
Invoices are sent an average of 5 days after the close of a billing period.
The majority use software on their network to track expenses.
Paying bills is evenly split among weekly, bi-weekly and monthly.
49% add reimbursables to invoices manually.
The majority pay bills by check.
The most popular answer, at about 40%, is “It’s Good”, which is equivalent to a 4 out of 5 ranking.
60% would consider changing their systems.
If you are curious about other statistics, just ask in the comments. It is easy to get the answer for you. I am hitting the highlights here in the interest of brevity. A PDF of the results to date can be downloaded here.
In case you want a recap of the Corbu journey so far, here are the previous posts to catch you up.
5/13 - I Didn't See This Coming
5/21 - These Interviews Are Very Enlightening
6/08 - Code Name: Project Corbu