It’s no secret that managing progress claims is one of the most complex and frustrating processes contractors face today.
Data shows the construction industry has been slow to innovate and add technology-based solutions, but I think that’s changing. The truth is, paper-based methods create bottlenecks in your workflow, and bottlenecks cost time and money. General contractors are in a competitive environment and can’t afford to lose time or money over subcontractor payments.
5 recommendations for contractors to reduce stress around processing progress claims applications:
1. Schedule a Meeting with your Accounts Payable Team
First and foremost, I recommend sitting down with the team that manages incoming progress claims.
For many accounts payable teams, processing progress claims is a manual process that takes hours every week. While the process itself may work just fine, I imagine your team admits they spend the majority of their time chasing down missing or expired stat decs, letting subs know they can’t bill against unapproved change orders or recalculating retention that has been figured wrong.
The endless communication that your team has to conduct for each progress claim is one of the biggest reasons the process becomes a bottleneck. If you’re at all unsure about what’s slowing you down with payment processing, ask your team.
2. Review your Stat Dec Process
Stat decs are often to blame for stress in progress claims management. While the bulk of the work on these and other compliance documents rests with the subcontractor, there are still ways you can improve the process.
- Are you providing the most up-to-date stat decs for your subs to use?
- Are you making it clear when declarations must be submitted?
- Do you have a submission system in place, or are stat decs coming in several different ways?
- Do you have automated emails that go out to your subs to remind them to submit their documents?
Streamlining how you provide and receive stat decs can significantly reduce the amount of time subs (and your accounts team!) have to spend on them.
3. Communicate with your Supply Chain
I know it’s easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day of keeping all your jobs running smoothly, but open communication is paramount to a successful supply chain.
Connecting with your subs is a good way to identify pain points or speed bumps that could be smoothed out, while identifying key ways to keep owners happy along the way.
Alicia Barbas, accounting manager at T. Morrissey Corporation in California, comments that the general contractor is often a “middle man” between the owner and the subs on a project. They have to be sure there’s appropriate visibility for the owner to see progress and payment information on the project as well as transparency for the sub to understand the contract and project details. For T. Morrissey, GCPay helps provide an organized overview of necessary information both up and down the supply chain.
4. Consider Electronic Payments
Paperless invoices are the future, but it’s taking our industry some time to catch up. Electronic invoice processing is a simple way to save time and increase visibility across your supply chain. Not to mention the added level of security with a trackable electronic payment versus a physical check.
Electronic payment significantly speeds up the processing needed for each invoice, which helps get payments out the door and keeps projects running on time. This process also ensures that the exchange of a stat dec and electronic payment happen simultaneously in order to reduce liability risk.
5. Automate Subcontractor Payment Management
You can cut the time spent on progress claims and stat dec management in half.
Integrate with your ERP or accounting system to eliminate the need for manual data entry as contract data is shared automatically.
See real-time contract and project data to stay on top of your projects and keep things running smoothly.