Case Study: Engineer Firm Structures

Job Costing and Commissions

An equipment engineer firm sought a better way to handle the complicated job costing and commission structures for its geographically dispersed sales representatives.

Since 1945, M.S. Jacobs and Associates has been a leading manufacturer's representative and distributor of industrial instrumentation and controls. From its start in the steel industry, the Pittsburgh-based company has grown to cover all major industrial markets, including power generation, chemical processing, pulp and paper, oil and gas production, water and wastewater treatment and nuclear power generation. The company serves western PA, WV and upstate NY.

The Challenge

M.S. Jacobs was working with an outdated customized accounting software system that was not being maintained – and therefore could not keep up with their work. They needed to track job costs and commissions at the salesperson and job levels because they had a team of salespeople that were geographically dispersed and represented ten to twenty companies. Vendors, commission structures and sales quotas needed to be captured and calculated for each salesperson, so the reports were complex.

One of the biggest challenges was moving from a system with which everyone was already familiar. The second was customizing specific workflows for their various offices in New York and Pennsylvania.

The Solution

To reach the granular level that M.S. Jacobs needed in their reporting, we drilled down to the database level. We customized QuickBooks® Enterprise from another system so that it was set up for M.S. Jacobs and then we enabled an add-on that could go into the database tables and pull specific information to calculate the job costs and commissions. Using this system, we could run gross profit by product, vendor and salesperson with tiers of filtering.

This approach was much more efficient than their previous method. It saved the company many hours of calculations and also ensured greater accuracy than the original software could provide. Even though employees were more comfortable with the legacy system, they quickly grasped the new system’s benefits and fully embraced them.

From the BPA Team:

It’s always exciting to help optimize a project and see a real impact on productivity. Since the older legacy software was no longer able to provide M.S. Jacobs with the important information they needed to compute commissions and job costs effectively, there was an immediate difference when we introduced the new software and also set them up with a hosting solution.

They could generate these complicated, customized reports on demand. Since time is money, those hours saved equate to dollars, and the ease of use added higher productivity as well. Since they’re workforce is spread throughout several offices, having a centralized and dependable software system to calculate these metrics sets them up for long term success.

Client Endorsement

Our old system wasn’t delivering the results we needed. When BPA was able to create a deceptively simple solution to solve our decidedly complex challenges, we wondered why we hadn’t made the switch sooner. It was the right move for us, and we now enjoy working with BPA on our tax planning and preparation as well.

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