Andrew Davis has been with C.W. Driver Companies for almost four years as a Project Accountant and supports a large variety of projects. His first exposure to construction accounting began when he started working at C.W. Driver Companies. He quickly found out that transitioning away from the traditional accounting role allowed for more responsibility and room for growth.
What are the main differences between traditional accounting and project accounting?
Traditional accounting is crunching numbers day in and day out at your secluded desk. In project accounting, you must take the initiative to process payments and stay in contact with the entire project team, including the owner and subcontractors. Accounting is not just numbers at this job. You have the sole responsibility for all payments for multiple jobs at once. This job requires constant communication and foreshadowing of issues, which is the exact opposite of traditional accounting.
I believe this job fits into my skill set perfectly. Being in the accounts payable world, it forces you to go outside your comfort zone. I enjoy solving problems and ensuring all needs are met for the entire project team. I learn something and grow every day on this job. I never feel bored or stagnate here. I also enjoy communicating with and getting to know every project team. Even though every project has a different vibe, the work ethic and integrity in everyone is inspiring.
What is the most challenging part of working as a Project Accountant in the Construction industry?
Communication is by far the hardest part of my job. Since I handle several projects at one time, all with different schedules, it is challenging to keep a balance with all parties on all projects. Many laws and policies have been updated in recent years. It is my job to ensure nothing falls behind. I must stay up to date on all the policy changes and ensure compliance with these new codes are going into effect. It can be challenging to get all parties to adhere to these constantly changing codes.
For example, the projects under the CSU Long Beach Task Order Contacting Agreement have been challenging for me to process. This includes 12 mini campus-wide projects, including the Student Health Services Building Renovation, Lighting Upgrades, ADA Upgrades, Wayfinding Signage, Parking Lot 16 Renovation, and others. All these complicated projects have different project managers and DIR numbers. On top of this, certified payroll has now been introduced on all projects. A certified payroll form lists every employee, their wages, the benefits they are entitled to, the type of work they did, and the hours they worked. Luckily this project has been a success due to the entire project team’s buy in to effectively communicate and work together.
Is there anything that you believe everyone in this industry should be working towards?
Efficient communication is getting easier to achieve with today’s growing technology. I believe everyone in the construction industry, regardless of department, should be working towards better communication. Especially as a project accountant, constant communication is key to keeping all stakeholders informed on when they will receive their next payment. Subcontractors always appreciate when we let them know their payments are coming, even if it is weeks in advance. Communication makes a project accountant’s job run a lot smoother.
What’s your favorite part about what you do?
Project accounting is a very hectic and deadline driven department. The job entails many phone calls and interactions with the project stakeholders. I am naturally an introvert and am happy just working with numbers. I appreciate that this job takes me out of my comfort zone and helps me become more extroverted. Every day, I learn more about how different people operate and what I can do to help them succeed in their role. Another favorite part of what I do is visiting the jobsites. It was so rewarding to tour the CSU Long Beach Health Exam Room and New Locker Rooms for women’s softball and soccer projects within the Task Order Contracting Agreement. Seeing the finished project made every late night and headache worth it.
If you could go back and do anything differently on your career path, what would you do?
I would go back and take jobs that scared me. In college, my major was Kinesiology where I mostly worked by myself. It was not until I took a career change and started working for C.W. Driver Companies that I saw tremendous growth in myself professionally and personally. My current role includes client interactions and supporting the project teams. I wish I had taken the leap into a more interactive and team-oriented career sooner. Working with a collaborative and successful team has helped me form better relationships and transform into a better person.
Who inspires you, both personally and professionally?
My parents are my biggest inspiration. They immigrated from Jamaica when I was two years old and worked hard every day of their lives. They were always supportive and kind to others no matter what. Working at C.W. Driver Companies, I see these traits within my department and across the entire company. I feel lucky to have coworkers that keep me accountable and vice versa. C.W. Driver Companies is more than just a career. We share values that inspire each other to be better people daily.
C.W. Driver Companies has not only helped me provide for my family, but has given me the skills to be a better man. When I first started at the company, I was in a transition period of my life. I got married, went on my honeymoon, and had a baby in a short span of time. Never once did I feel like I had to rush back to work. Coworkers even got mad at me for checking my emails! They wanted me to focus on my family and take my time getting back to work. Everyone in my department genuinely cares about my family and me.