Planning and Forecasting

Plan for success with automation and AI: The benefits of continuous planning

Construction companies can achieve continuous planning with Briq, improving outcomes and quickly adapting to changing market conditions.

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Construction activity doesn’t happen in six-month spurts, so why should planning?

Traditionally, it’s because the work the finance team must perform around money workflows is lengthy, slow, and tedious. Some traditions, like Thanksgiving and Super Bowl Sunday parties, are great — spending long hours repetitively plugging numbers into spreadsheets is not one of them.

And the results of all those hours of work? Reports and data that are weeks or months out of date, resulting in an unclear and inaccurate view of the current financial health of projects, and almost no time left with which to do anything with the information. Think about it, if 80 or 90 percent of your time is spent making reports, how much time do you have to use them? (No spreadsheet is required for that math.)

Traditional money workflow management simply sucks. Fortunately, construction companies can tap into AI-driven construction finance solutions to do things faster, more efficiently, and with greater accuracy.

By reducing the need for human involvement, automation streamlines financial processes such as invoicing, payments, and expense tracking. Automation collects data from across the many disparate systems the company keeps and — as if by human hands only faster — processes in the various workflows, streamlining budgeting in construction.

Financial reports, WIPs, forecasts, and analytics based on them can happen in near real-time since the bots collecting the data don’t have to wait, or find the hours to get the job done — it’s immediate and also free of human error.

Generative automation and predictive AI

Briq takes things a bit further with what we’ve dubbed generative automation, which combines the efficiency of automation and the dynamic potential of generative AI. It results in an AI system that responds to situations, generates new ways to automate tasks, and — through machine learning — continuously improves and becomes more efficient. It doesn’t just collect and share data, it assists in processes like budget control, expenditure analysis, and revenue forecasting, improving the big picture and aiding in planning. It has a snowball effect, gaining momentum and becoming bigger and better the more it’s used.

Take the example of Shamrock Electric, and how its CFO and President Kevin O’Shea uses Briq to integrate with his legacy systems and generate the specific reports he needs in his dual role — without spending hours every week. While Shamrock Electric started “simple” with WIPs, job cost reports and revenue forecasts, it has evolved into much more, with custom reports being developed to draw on historical data and past performance and give O’Shea better visibility into the business’s health.

Briq doesn’t just use generative automation to help construction companies like Shamrock Electric get control of their finances but also leverages predictive AI to predict cash flow, help control costs, and build expense forecasts in real time. It takes out much of the gut estimation and guesswork around these critical financial processes and helps eliminate fee erosion.

Continuous planning for construction finance

S-curves (or sometimes just curves) are a commonly used, powerful tool for the planning of construction projects. Traditionally — there’s that word again — they provide a visual representation of important data points like manhours and costs but are one-and-done reports with relatively basic information.

Imagine if S-curves could be created in minutes through automation rather than taking several manual hours. No longer are you limited by labor and time constraints to creating just a single S-curve on a project.

The ability to easily create S-curves and other reports in real time with little or no human intervention introduces the possibility of continuous planning for construction finance.

Suddenly, you can create S-curves on the spot, but not only that. You can draw from multiple different data sources — including historical job data — to map out many different curves to test ideas, perform what-if scenarios, or see how different decisions would affect outcomes. After all, we are now just talking about investing a few minutes of work.

The planning potential this offers is so impressive that we call it time travel because it feels a bit like science fiction and gives such an improved view of the business’s past, present, and future to work from.

Armed with crystal-clear visibility into your past and present state, and a less cloudy view of the future, construction financial leaders can make crucial decisions and pivot and adapt to ever-changing situations with data-driven intelligence, alacrity, and confidence.

Want to learn more about why using AI and automation is soon to become one of your most important construction finance management strategies? Contact us at