These are some of the industries in which I am experienced, along with the unique characteristics involved:
Real estate development and commercial and residential rental properties
Unique characteristics: Acquisition, development and renovation costs, subdivisions of properties and financing matters. Major area is the capitalization of costs and compliance under the new tangible property regulations. Structuring accounting software to provide the ability to segregate properties into separate profit center reporting, especially applicable to commercial and residential rental units. Preparing projection models to predict the profitability of real estate ventures and return on investment.
Unique characteristics: Management of inventory under perpetual system for potentially hundreds, if not thousands of separately saleable items that need to be tracked and accurately accounted for through the entire purchasing and sales cycle of the store; capturing along the way a detailed database of valuable customer information to predict buying habits and generate repeat business.
Unique characteristics: Are job or project based businesses that transform materials and supplies through the application of labor into a finished result. In addition to being able to monitor the overall financial profitability and liquidity of their operations, they also need the ability to do this on a project by project basis. This involves an accounting workflow cycle starting with accurate estimating of all the physical materials and payroll labor required for a job, transforming into a customer proposal. Accepted proposals transforming into purchase orders of all the separate materials and supplies. Scheduling of labor resources. Progress billing as work commences and meets predetermined phases of completion. Possible modifications during the process due to change orders. Completion and close out of the project. Review of project financial results and adaptation to the estimating process on future job proposals.
Unique characteristics: Must be able to accurately track the workflow of raw materials through one or more production processes undergoing work in process to finally emerge as a finished product. The challenge present is in accurately recording all the movement of accounting costs through a system that accurately tracks the physical movement of the goods through a process. Along the way being able to factor in overhead costs and account for waste and variances under different costing methods such as job order or process costing. Enterprise Solutions can be quite effective in "light manufacturing" based businesses.
Professional and service based businesses
This is a actually quite a broad classification. It encompasses medical practices of various types, veterinarians, attorneys, architects, consultants, entertainers, salons and many others too numerous to mention. While each can have its own unique set of needs, often there are time-billing and scheduling administration of one type or another which is central to the company's function. But, again its a category that's really too broad to generalize.
Unique characteristics: The connecting of transactions which are occurring on the internet with your accounting system in order to properly be updating the purchase of goods, tracking of inventory, sale of the goods through a shopping cart, the collection of various state sales taxes and remittance of those taxes. In this operating space it's all about connecting of transactions and matching up appropriate payments with customers and making sure all accounts are reconciling accurately. There are various online tools to automate the accounting process and link transactions to programs such as QuickBooks Online.