SAN ANTONIO TX, July 31, 2008: Customer invoices are much more than a revenue generator for Alterman Electric of San Antonio TX. They’re also a marketing tool, efficiency enhancer and cost-saver for the 85-year-old electrical contracting firm that serves commercial and industrial clients in San Antonio and surrounding areas.
Alterman prepares cost-plus customer invoices and back-up on CD’s instead of paper. The company saves time and money on the monthly billing process and demonstrates that it’s a savvy company that customers can trust and grow with. Alterman can be certain that it has billed for everything that’s legitimate, without double-billing. Meanwhile, an Alterman customer (typically a general contractor) receives an invoice and accompanying backup in a manner that it can easily peruse—rather than searching through hundreds of employee time cards, vendor invoices, inventory charges and other backup items.
Alterman Electric uses the Document Imaging capability and electronic substantiated billing feature in the Time & Material Billing module in Spectrum(TM) Construction Software from Dexter + Chaney (
www.dexterchaney.com). Substantiated billing in an electronic format is a simple and painless process, according to Vickey Geffert, Alterman Electric controller.
“Anyone who does substantiated billing is missing the boat if they’re not billing this way,” Geffert explained. “The beauty of providing substantiated billing on CD for our customers is that it fits right in with our normal processes, which is all Accounts Payable and payroll time cards with the job set up as cost-plus. Spectrum automatically captures all the images—time cards, invoices and the rest—that I bill through the T&M module.
“When I get ready to do my customer’s bill,” Geffert added, “everything is sitting there waiting for me. It doesn’t make me do anything outside our normal process, other than setting up the job as a cost-plus bill in the Time & Materials module.”
Of Alterman’s $68 million in annual revenues, almost half is cost-plus, requiring substantiated billings. Geffert credits Spectrum’s electronic substantiated billing capability as a factor in Alterman’s growth from approximately $40 million to $68 million in annual revenues over the last several years.
“It’s helped us increase our revenues because it allows us to work with sophisticated general contractors and owners,” Geffert said. “We can give them the information that they need at the simplest or most complex level—whatever they prefer. Of course, if you’re working with a sophisticated owner, they have a very sophisticated auditing staff—and auditors love getting the invoices on CD’s.”
Electronic substantiated billing offers considerable cost savings for Alterman. Geffert estimates that the company saves about 16 hours per month of clerical time on a single large bill. “That translates to savings of $400 to $500 per bill between clerical staff time and the copying and forwarding and the whole process,” Vickey said. “Multiply that by the number of monthly bills and then multiply that times 12 months.”
Geffert added that the integration of Spectrum’s modules is critical. “Document Imaging is not simply a stand-alone piece that’s been added to the software,” she explained. “Instead, when you scan a document into Spectrum, it’s totally integrated throughout the software and available anywhere you might want to see it. If, for example, you scan a time card in Payroll, you can see it in both Job Cost and Time & Material Billing.”
When invoices, employee time cards and other documents are entered into Spectrum, they’re immediately available in Time & Material Billing. At the touch of a computer key, those images are burned onto a CD that puts the bill in electronic form. Line items that are tied to an underlying transaction—an invoice or payroll time card, for example—are hyper-linked in blue. When a customer clicks on the hyper-link, the image of the document appears on screen.
The images burned to CD are in a software-executable format so that an individual customer can easily view or print the substantiation. Along with the CD, customers also receive paper copies of the top sheet or summary, lien waiver and the detail T&M bill. These are also provided on the CD.
“The ability to prepare customer invoices on CDs will continue to help us grow, both on an operational level and as a marketing tool,” Geffert said. “The fact that it’s a very simple process—there’s nothing technical about it—is an added benefit.”
ABOUT DEXTER + CHANEY
More than 1,000 construction companies throughout the United States use Dexter + Chaney’s Spectrum Construction Software. Spectrum includes 30 integrated modules that handle project management, construction accounting, equipment management, service management, human resources, document imaging, remote connectivity and data sharing tasks. Contractors who use Spectrum report they have improved profitability and have grown their businesses more than 300 percent without adding financial staff.
More than 7,500 total users make use of Spectrum’s Document Imaging software, which addresses a typically painful problem for construction contractors: giving management, office staff and project managers the fast, electronic access they need to important documents like contracts, change orders, time cards, invoices and others.
For more information about Dexter + Chaney or Spectrum, contact Brad Mathews, Vice President of Marketing, Dexter + Chaney, 9700 Lake City Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115-2347; phone: 800-875-1400 or 206-364-1400; fax: 206-367-9613; e-mail: