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Landscapers: Project your profitability

Article provided by EasyBiz

How cloud accounting software helped this landscaper grow his business

Landscaping isn’t a career, it’s a calling. The types of people drawn to horticulture are driven by a love of beautiful spaces and a need to create and find the beauty if it’s not there to begin with.

This is according to James Hedding of Eden Projects, a provider of turn-key landscaping solutions in Johannesburg that offers end-to-end services from design and planning to outside landscaping and paving.

“Being passionate about landscaping stems from being inspired by seeing something come from nothing,” he says. “It was in 2010 that I took my last paycheque and invested it in Eden Projects as a way of ensuring inspiration became a larger part of my life, but many lessons have been learnt over the past nine years.”

Small businesses all face similar challenges, regardless of the industry they serve, says Hedding. “Effective time management, controlling paperwork and building cash flow that enables you to compete with larger, more established competitors are all areas that require focus in order to keep our businesses afloat.”

However, he adds, one of the main areas requiring intense focus lies in ensuring project feasibility and profitability in a trying economy.

“The state of the economy has added complexity in that many are faced with having to adapt to shrinking customer budgets, which have resulted in a defined shift from outdoor garden projects to requests for indoor office plants and green walls or vertical gardens. All of this, coupled with pressure from government to ensure our gardens are water-wise, means I’ve come to rely more on technology and its ability to assist me in ensuring project profitability and budget adherence.”

Hedding says he depends on his cloud-based accounting software when it comes to managing and tracking all of his company’s projects and says he makes full use of the solution’s ability to help him connect with clients and suppliers at the touch of a button and from any device.

“QuickBooks has introduced a new feature, called Project Profitability, and it has extended my ability to quote from anywhere and at any time while keeping a constant eye on the true costs of every project,” he says.

With this feature, Hedding is easily able to create projects, track income versus expenses, add and track timesheets (both billable and non-billable), track profitability in real-time and, of course, create and send quotes and invoices. All of this on-the-fly and on-demand.

“This has given me an edge over the competition,” he says. “All of my company information lives in the cloud and follows me wherever I go – gone are the days where being out in the field meant being unable to respond to customer queries or requests.”

Head of emerging markets at Intuit Quickbooks, Jolawn Victor says tracking and analysing the profitability of each job at project level is critical for project-based businesses.

“The Projects feature within QuickBooks lets businesses like Eden Projects organise all components and resources from one dashboard making it easier to accurately track and monitor individual projects or jobs,” she says. “It also provides businesses with a quick view on profits and losses – allowing them to take corrective action in real-time, which is an immediate boon for businesses who are watching the bottom line.”

For more information about how QuickBooks Online helps businesses of all sizes manage projects more cost-effectively from start to finish, please visit https://quickbooks.intuit.com/za/.

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