Integrating time, production and equipment data with accounting has long meant deciphering handwritten notes or re-keying information on spreadsheets and forms to data-entry screens. Contractors now are cleaning up that workflow with mobile data-collection systems.

One enabler is ACS Connect, Brandon, Fla.,a construction software developer and consultant. Data from ACS's time-, production- and equipment-tracking product, Resource Commander, can feed into many back-office systems. The product has a growing list of users and is about to get a boost from Viewpoint Construction Software, Portland, Ore., which is preparing to release an iOS- and Android-compatible Mobile Field Manager extension to its V6 ERP system, which will be powered by Resource Commander.

Rob Humphries, Viewpoint's vice president for product management, says his customers want to capture field data on connected or disconnected devices and be able to review entries before they are passed to accounting. And, he adds, they want a single-vendor solution. Viewpoint partnered with ACS to create the extension and a "seamless integration" of Resource Commander, with Viewpoint's payroll, job-cost and equipment modules, he says. It plans to start taking orders on Aug. 7 for late September delivery.

Eric Elfner, IT director at CG Schmidt, a general contractor in Milwaukee, uses both Viewpoint and Resource Commander on laptops and desktops. He says Resource Commander supports the Microsoft SQL server, which eases data sharing and acts as a staging server so crews can verify reports before they go to accounting.

Elfner says he likes Resource Commander and looks forward to Viewpoint's mobile extension. But, due to the screen size, he expects it will be better on a tablet than a phone. He likes best the production-tracking feature because its data can be quickly made available for analysis. "Some jobs are very tightly estimated. If we are not making the rates, we need to figure it out early on and make corrections," he explains.