What is the Best Accounting Software for Construction Companies? Why Sage?

Time & Materials podcast - Sean O'Reilly

Episode 57 – Sean O’Reilly


What is the Best Accounting Software for Construction Companies? Why Sage?



In the second episode of our, ‘What is the best accounting software for construction companies?’ Ciaran sits down with Sean O’Reilly, CFO, McKeon Group to discuss why Sage?

Sean is the McKeon Groups Chief Financial Officer with extensive experience in construction and manufacturing sectors. As CFO Sean plays a vital role in creating value for the group by leading the strategic planning and control of the group’s finances, ERP and accounts team.

Sean spent 15 years working in practice before he joined McKeon Group concentrating in the construction and manufacturing sectors.

For more information visit:



Podcast Highlights


What does LiveCosts do for construction companies using Sage 50?

Ciaran Brennan:

You touched on a couple of add-ons there with Office 365 and Word and Excel. Have you come across any other add-ons that Sage offer that would be beneficial to construction?

Sean O’Reilly:

Well, look, I know we’re on LiveCosts, but the biggest add-on that’s out there is LiveCosts really that I see that really benefits construction companies.

There is the other things like the online bank reconciliation… I think it’s Yodlee or something they use. But when it comes to construction only, I haven’t found anything better than LiveCosts.

And it’s at what you asked me to start about the difference between working on numerous construction companies and working on one construction company. It’s getting that understanding of a day-by-day, job-by-job… that level of detail is what… that’s what the big guys… that’s how you’re going to know if you’re making money. That’s how you know what price increase are coming at us now and handling the PO system.

Before LiveCosts, I spent a lot of time customising Sage 50 for construction guys, where you’re using the likes of the departmental analysis, the nominal ledger within Sage, you could customise it so we could set up numerous sales nominals, numerous cost centres, numerous departments.

So, every time you had a new site to keep it down easy, you’d have a new department, and then you’d code the invoice against that department. So, we spent a lot of time customising Sage 50 so it could get a site-by-site, job-by-job reporting out the back of it.

But what LiveCosts is doing, it just blows all that away. Do you know what I mean? You don’t even need to get involved. You set Sage 50 out of the box, and you let LiveCosts do the project management piece. And the allocation of labor, just to say it, when you can put your labor cost against the jobs where LiveCosts does, that’s what makes a difference. The amount of manual journals and checking that you have to do to make sure that’s right without it, it’s a full-time job.

What are some of the issues construction companies face with Sage 50? 

Ciaran Brennan:

I mean, we all have our shortcomings. From your experience working with Sage, you’ve touched on one being the on-prem issue. Anything else that pops to mind?

Sean O’Reilly:

The one thing that I am aware of in the industry out there is, Sage to me, the backend is very hard to integrate to. So the likes of APIs and some of these updates that they release, it comes back to not being fully cloud-based to be honest with you. And having this kind of on-prem hybrid approach. The Windows update changes overnight, which Microsoft do regularly.

That can have an impact on your environment for Sage, that Sage is installed in. So it can be a bit of a nightmare for IT staff at times. And again, in all these kinds of small SMEs, who has an IT department these days?

And that is the biggest drawback that a Windows update could change something within Sage that affects Sage I should say. But it could also affect your third party plugin. So, likes of LiveCosts. If LiveCosts is plugged in, that can be an issue. You might have a CRM system plugged into it. And this little tweak from Windows, all of a sudden that’s not working.

I know other companies that have a manufacturing module or software that’s built into the back end of Sage and one little change from a Sage update or Microsoft update, and all of a sudden your manufacturing system, isn’t talking to your Sage accounts system. It’s a major problem. It’s that backend would be, I’d say, the biggest problem.



Discover more from LiveCosts