The final account is the conclusion of the contract sum (including all necessary adjustments) and signifies the agreed amount that the employer will pay the contractor. It includes any works that are paid to the contractor through the main contract.
It includes any loss and expense associated with any extensions of time and any other claims the contractor feels he or she is due under the contract.
It also indicates the finalization of any disputes that may have arisen and in that sense draws a line under the financial obligations of both parties, save in respect of defects.
The preparation of the final account occurs throughout the contract period. Financial statements prepared by the quantity surveyor will generally serve as the starting point for final account discussions. As a matter of preparation, the professional Quantity Surveyor (QS) should ensure that all contracts instructions have been accounted for and that all other potential cost-related items are scheduled out. This may include, but not be limited to:
- Provisional Sums
- Agreeing prime cost sum
- Any loss and expense associated with extensions of time
- Adjustment of provisional/approximate quantities
- Any set-off/contra charges (typically a subcontractor issue)
- Any other items affecting total cost.
The contractor should be ensuring that all possible variations from subcontractors and suppliers are picked up and reported to the employer. The contractor will not want to enter final account negotiations without having accurate costs from their supply chain, although there may be no direct contractual link between the contractor’s entitlement to be paid by the employer when compared with an obligation to pay their subcontractors.