What is Abio?

Abio is enterprise software that tracks the revenue and expenses for large construction projects.  What do we mean by enterprise?  It means that many people from different departments can sign on to Abio simultaneously and record their transactions.  The same, or different people can then run reports against that information.

By recording all information relevant to the business and its finances in one place, Abio saves time, prevents fraud, and facilitates sound financial decision making. Abio makes the process of tracking expenses and invoicing them to clients simple and secure. It ensures every expense is invoiced to a client. This prevents revenue leakage.

How are Financial Transactions tracked?

The primary record-keeping system for financial data is the General Ledger.  Abio maintains the General Ledger by way of Control Accounts.  Each time a user records a financial transaction, Abio creates a pair of transaction records that record a credit and a balancing debit to the appropriate accounts.  It knows which accounts to debit and credit because they are identified as Control Accounts.  We’ll learn more about Control Accounts as we look at each subsystem within Abio.

Abio saves a record of the transaction each time it updates the general ledger. This means that you can track every update that affects a general ledger account, all the way back to the source of the update. For example, if you buy materials for a job, the cost of the materials is posted to the job cost materials account for the current reporting period. You can then click on the balance for that account for a reporting period and see all the purchases made. If you click on any of the purchases, you will see the invoice for the purchase, and any supporting documentation that was recorded.

How are Job Costs Recorded?

In addition to the General Ledger, expenses and revenue amounts can be posted to Jobs.  A job represents all the work done to complete a client’s building project.  The costs are generated from payroll, purchasing, equipment, and subcontractor amounts.  The revenue is realized when you invoice your client and your client remits payments for your invoices.  This represents the heart of Abio.  Knowing how much everything costs, forecasting how much things will cost, and maximizing your revenue by passing costs on to your client.

Labour expenses

Payroll is a big component of any construction project.  Abio lets you administer complex, multi-union payrolls with ease.  Define benefits, vendors, and dollar amounts for each union.  Create timesheets for each worker, either through our desktop app or using our web app.  Then with just a few clicks, timesheets are converted to cheques. Next, union remittances are itemized for each employee and summarized for each vendor.  Finally, accounts payable invoices are created for each union fund.  Abio handles Electronic Funds Transfers and paper cheques.  CPP, EI, Income Tax, bonuses and many other payroll amounts are automatically posted to their own General Ledger accounts.

As well, the labour components of job cost centres are also updated with the labour costs.  Labour dispersion rules allow you to split out overtime premiums, subsistence, meals, living out expenses and more to their own cost centres, so they don’t skew the labour costs unnecessarily.  When you reference past jobs in order to quote similar jobs, you can isolate how much it actually cost to do the work.  If you don’t plan on working overtime on the job you’re quoting, you don’t want to include that extra expense in your quote.

Do you have employees who work for more than one union in the same pay period?  Even the same union might have different wage agreements for different geographical regions.  If you send a team to a different region, they may have to be paid under a different union contract.  Abio can handle any number of unions on the same cheque. 

Purchasing Materials

Abio lets you buy materials on the fly, for small jobs, but it also provides you a mechanism for a highly controlled and defendable approach to purchasing.

The starting point is a requisition.  A requisition will be a list of items required for the current job.  You can enter the items by hand, or you can import from spreadsheet.  The format for the spreadsheet is the same as the template produced from the Purchase Order entry screen.  Cut and paste an Engineer’s “takeoff” list into the template and you can easily import it into the requisition.

Requisitions let you generate RFQs, or ‘Request for Quotes,’ that you can send to vendors of your choice.  You can import their quotes back into the requisition, then turn that requisition into a purchase order.  Purchase orders can be received and invoiced.  And at every step of the way, you can store supporting documents.  Perhaps your contract requires client signatures on requisitions.  Upload signed documents and store them with the requisition, or the purchase order.  Store packing slips with the receiving entry.

When it’s time to invoice your client, Abio will collect materials posted to the job, including their supporting documents, and package them into a professional invoice you can send your client.

Equipment Tracking

Transfer equipment onto a job, and bill for it being available and dedicated to that job, or bill daily equipment timesheets to small jobs.  Either way, you’ll know where your equipment is and you’ll be reimbursed for its use.

Start by identifying groups of equipment.  For example, “air compressors” are a group, and any specific air compressor would fall within that group.

Then, negotiate a billing rate for air compressors.  It might be one rate on one job, but you might also negotiate a lower rate on a larger job.  Assign the equipment rate to the job.  Now, every time you bill for that job, Abio will pick up the rates you’ve negotiated.

If you bill on a daily basis, with equipment timesheets, Abio will include those timesheets when you produce the reimbursables for the job.  Like materials, the equipment will be included in the billing and subsequent invoice for the date and job.


We’ve touched on the component expenses that contribute to the cost of a construction job.  How do you keep track of what’s been billed and what hasn’t?  And how do you know what rates to bill people out at? 

Set up your Time and Material billing rates, your materials markup, and your equipment rates.  Abio will collect the expenses associated with a job for a given period of time, apply the markups, and collect them into Day Sheets.  Day Sheets can be generated right on the job site and shared with clients the same day.  Get your client to review and sign the Day Sheet, and it’s immediately available for head office to invoice. 

Or, if you’re not using our web app, the same functionality is available on the desktop.  The only difference will be in the way you get your client’s signoff.  You’ll have to email the Day Sheet and upload the signed copy.  If your field supervisor has written up a paper copy and the client has signed that, you can scan and upload the paper document.

Select any number of Day Sheets to invoice, and Abio will collect all the supporting documentation associated with items on the Day Sheet and package the documentation, the Day Sheets, and the invoice into a convenient PDF for your client.

Quoting Work

Abio’s Job Costing informs what kinds of expenses future jobs will incur.  Review hours and costs of similar jobs before you put together quotes for new work.  Once you’ve done that, use our convenient estimating templates to put together professional quotes.

Checklists and Estimate Templates can be customized to suit the type of work you do.  Incorporate any number of components in your estimate, generating a separate cost for each component.

When you’ve completed that, Abio can export your quote to a MS Word document.  Personalize your quote with your own style sheets and branding.

If your client accepts your quote, Abio will convert it to a job, complete with budget amounts determined from your quoted hours.  Having budget amounts associated with jobs means you can take advantage of Abio’s forecasting feature.  Periodically record your progress, either on Abio’s web app, or on the desk top, and Abio will forecast how much it will cost to complete your job.

Additionally, when the job is complete, the Job Budget vs Actual report will show how accurate your quote was.

Integrating With Estimating Software

If you’ve used estimating software to cost out your job, you can use those estimates as a starting point for your job in Abio. Upload your estimates into the cost centre budgets. Abio forecasts your work based on your budget, your progress, and how much you’ve spent. Snapshots ensure you’re only including work done at the time of progress was measured.

You can also import a takeoff list into a requisition and send it as an RFQ to selected vendors.

Can everyone see what I’m doing?

Some users can see what everyone is doing, but for the most part users can only see what they need to see.

man peeking through blinds
Just taking a little peek…

Someone working in purchasing doesn’t need to see salaries or profit margins.  Even people working in payroll don’t necessarily need access to everyone’s salaries.  Abio provides a mechanism to restrict access to sensitive information.  It also lets you define what components and reports different user groups can access.

Executive Dashboard

Get a high-level view of the financial health of your organization with our web-based executive dashboard. Profit and loss by region, earnings, and analysis of accounts receivables are presented in easy to read graphs.

Web App

We’ve added key features from our desktop app and made them available on the web.  Field supervisors can set up new jobs, recruit new employees and organize their crews.

They can also record materials they’ve purchased and equipment they’ve used on the job.

At the end of the work day, when timesheets are finalized, produce Day Sheets for that day’s jobs.  Labour, materials and equipment can be identified, marked up, and presented to the client for sign off.  Once the Day Sheet is submitted, invoices can be generated back at the office and submitted to clients.  All the component items for the Day Sheet are marked as part of that Day Sheet, so it’s easy to identify any costs that haven’t been billed.

Mobile App

Once a field supervisor has organized his crews, crew members can use Abio’s mobile app to view their job assignments.  Start and stop a timer to record your hours against a job.  If you forget to clock in or out, you can override the time for a job.

Abio’s mobile app doesn’t require an internet connection to run, just when it gets its job assignments.  Periodically it will update the hours worked so far to the main database.  The field supervisor can apply those hours to the timesheets, saving him or her the trouble of filling in each timesheet.