While initially designed to manage very large industrial projects, Abio is also a great choice if you’re ready to transition from a basic accounting package to a full featured job costing system. By choosing Abio for your Canadian construction firm, you ensure your accounting system can handle increasingly large and complex jobs. In this post we’ll show you how to get started.

General Ledger

The G/L (general ledger) is the backbone of any accounting system, and your accountant will have structured yours appropriately. Read how to bring your G/L into Abio here. Some things to consider:

  • Will you be running more than one company out of Abio? If so, you’ll set up Shared Accounts. These create a roadmap for each time you set up a new company. If you’re only setting up a single company, you can create the accounts directly in that company.
  • Typically, Abio automates all updates to the account balances. However, the first time you are setting up your company, you’ll want to transfer over the balances from your current set of books. You can either use the ‘Z’ action to do this, or you can ask us to do it for you.
  • You’ll also want to identify which accounts Abio automatically directs money to. We call these ‘Control Accounts‘. These are accounts that cover things such as job costing expenses and revenues, and payroll remittances.


Who are you currently building projects for? You’ll add these as new clients. Going forward, invoices and statements will be directed to these clients.


Where are you buying your materials? Add companies you purchase goods from as vendors. When you record purchases, you’ll post the A/P invoice to a vendor, and assign the cost to a job’s cost centre. You’ll also categorize the cost type as a labour, material, equipment or subcontract cost.

Current Jobs

It’s easy to set up cost centres for new jobs with Abio. If you are currently using a spreadsheet to track your costs, you can reformat your spreadsheet to match the ‘Direct’ style of budget imports. The budget import mechanism is designed to interface with estimating software and spreadsheets. Each line of the spreadsheet represents a cost centre, and each column identifies cost estimates for each component of the cost centre.


There are a lot of nuances around payroll, but essentially the people you pay an hourly rate to can be staff or craft workers. You’ll start by setting up a trade union and occupation wage schedules to identify how you pay people. A staff union won’t be subject to union deductions the way craft workers are.


You can pay people either through payroll, as employees, or through the A/P (accounts payable system) if they’re subcontractors. Both will be subject to union remittances as laid out in their assigned unions. Subcontractors won’t incur CRA deductions such as EI, CPP, and income tax. Employees will receive payroll cheques each pay period, and a T4 at year end.


Record the hours each employee works on timesheets. These can be initiated from Abio’s web application.


Once everyone’s time has been recorded, run payroll.

When payroll is costed to the G/L and job costing, an A/P invoice will be created for each subcontractor. When payment is approved, their invoice can be paid.


And there you have it. Or, if you still need more help, let us know. We can find you a bookkeeper in your area to help you get started.