As we stated in the opening paragraph of this article, during our research we found no shortage of articles and blog posts stating just how important the WIP schedule is in construction accounting. One of the most persistent things we found regarding the importance of the WIP concerns the project stakeholders that pay the most attention to it (other than the owners and managers of the company itself). We’re talking about the “money guys,” the bankers and other lenders, the bonding agents, and the surety underwriters that may be involved on a project.

In addition, the CIP balance includes advance payments a company makes to parties such as its general contractor or architect to fulfill contract requirements or to ensure that the project remains on schedule. The CIP procedures dictate the proper recording of construction costs in financial statements. In the company’s balance sheet, construction in progress is most commonly found under the head of PP & E( Plant, Property & Equipment).

Construction companies deal with different types of jobs that require different types of billing. The first type of billing we’ll focus on is called time and material billing. We hired a residential contractor/home builder to remodel the master bed and bath and redo the landscaping on an almost 4 acre property located in Rancho Santa Fe, CA. He has us paying the employer burden for his five employees one being the project manager and the other…

No matter how progress billing is done, any continuation sheet or schedule of values will also break down how retainage is being held. If the business will the asset when it is complete, it will be a fixed asset. If the business is building assets under contract to sell, they are inventory assets. CIP accounting is important because it can easily be used to manipulate financial statements.

If a company does not track these costs accurately, its finance department may wonder why the company is generating expenses that do not immediately produce profits. If the financial statements have ‘construction in progress or process’ under the head of PP&E, it is a ‘build to use’ asset. Whereas, if the account appears under the heading of ‘Inventory and assets,’ it is probably a ‘build to sell’ asset. Banks use your financial statements before they will issue a loan or a line of credit.

Understanding Construction-in-Progress (CIP) Accounting

There are many perks to using software, such as automated job costing, better financial tracking, and workers in the office and field having instant access to files like timecards and change orders. Depending on the software, it can also include security and auditing features to help avoid risks. Overall, utilizing a software with accounting integration can help to improve the speed and accuracy of your reports. IAS 11 regulates the accounting treatment of construction contracts. The appropriation of revenues and expenses should be made in the relevant accounting period according to the work’s percentage completion. It also dictates which revenues and costs related to a construction contract should be recorded and when to record.

  • Because construction projects necessitate a wide range of prices, CIP accounts keep construction assets separate from the rest of a company’s balance sheet until the project is complete.
  • 1) On March 11, 2021, Business A received a $100,000 bill from Builder’s Warehouse for construction materials.
  • After the construction has been completed, the relevant building, plant, or equipment account is debited with the same amount as construction in progress.
  • If a company is constructing a major project such as a building, assembly line, etc., the amounts spent on the project will be debited to a long-term asset account categorized as Construction Work-in-Progress.
  • Using Construction Management Software with Accounting Integration can make your business more efficient, reduce errors, and enhance productivity.

Financing costs range from interest payments made during the construction period to closing costs, lender fees and recording fees. The CIP balance also includes land acquisition costs and legal fees directly tied to purchasing the property or negotiating construction and related agreements. Environmental impact fees and permit fees also appear in the CIP balance, as do any bonding costs.

Summary of IAS 11

1) On March 11, 2021, Business A received a $100,000 bill from Builder’s Warehouse for construction materials. A financial professional will offer guidance based on the information provided and offer a no-obligation call to better understand your situation. Someone on our team will connect you with a financial professional in our network accounting invoice template holding the correct designation and expertise. The steps required in a project’s journey to completion are importation to how successful the project will be. As anyone reading this surely knows, the construction industry loves its documents! – Managing CIP accounts require proper knowledge, experience, and advanced bookkeeping tools.

These 4 Financial Statements Help Contractors Hold Onto Their Cash

As such, it is a more accurate reflection of what is going on financially. Assets include your bank accounts, accounts receivable (customer invoices you haven’t collected yet), inventory, and any fixed assets you own (vehicles, buildings, equipment, etc.). Obviously, the more assets you have, the better your company looks financially. As we discussed in the Levelset article on overbilling, there is a natural, pragmatic tendency in the construction business to front-load, or overbill, towards the beginning of a project. Companies overbill to help offset the negative impact on cash flow caused by slow-paying customers (unfortunately a common occurrence in the construction industry).

Construction Work-in-Progress Accounting Process

Many unique costs are involved in construction projects, and mixing them with others on the balance sheet only creates disarray. The cip account is basically just an account for recording all the different expenditures that will occur during a construction project. Because of this, it can be one of the largest fixed asset accounts in the books. Businesses must prepare accurate, up-to-date financial reports that account for their expenses and profits. A balance sheet shows a company’s net worth at any given time and includes all of its assets, even those not currently in use.

Generally speaking, if the completion date is expected to be within 12 months, then it would be considered a current asset. On every balance sheet, the total of the liabilities and the equity accounts will always equal the amount of assets. Most software programs will figure the equity account balance (usually retained earnings) for you, so no need to stress too much about this. This post covers the certified payroll requirements for contractors working on federal construction projects. – Construction companies must also track anomalies like job costing, retention, progress billings, change orders, and customer deposits.

Here is an example to help you visualize what construction-in-progress may look like in your accounting books. For instance, if a cement manufacturing company is expanding the manufacturing unit. It will use cement from its own inventory, therefore, debiting the inventory account.


CIP accounting describes the methods used to properly show construction in progress on the financial statements. Some of the costs of constructing additional PP&E (property, plant and equipment) are capitalized to depreciate over time, and some are expensed in the current accounting period. The capital costs are held in the construction in progress account, which is a fixed asset account shown on the balance sheet as a subaccount of property, plant and equipment. The capital costs include construction costs such as materials, labor and benefits, freight costs, interest incurred on construction loans, costs to prepare the site and professional fees related to the project. Expenses that are not specifically tied to the asset should be expensed in the accounting period they occur.