General Advice

will
6
Apr

Financial Business Support

What help is available for my business?

During these uncertain times increasing numbers of SMEs are under pressure to find support. Monpellier has gathered some of the top sources of help and advice at this time.

Information regarding financial SME support is changing rapidly. Here are the current schemes and options available as of 1st April 2020.

Deferring VAT Payments – The UK Government has offered to support businesses by deferring Valued Added Tax (VAT) payments for 3 months. If you are a UK VAT registered company and have a VAT payment due between 20th March 2020 and 30th June 2020 this offer applies to you. For more information click HERE

Self-assessment payments – If you are due to make a payment by 31st July 2020 but are financially affected by the corona-virus you have the option to hold off payment until January 2021. Please note if you can pay by the 31st July you should do so. Eligibility can be found HERE 

Self-employment Income Support Scheme – Also referred to as SEISS, has been designed to support self-employed individuals who have suffered income loss due to COVID-19. The scheme allows the self-employed to claim a taxable grant worth up to 80% of your trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month. For further information and to apply click HERE

Sick pay support – SME with fewer than 250 employees will soon be able to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay for sickness absence due to COVID-19. The reimbursement will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP and is currently being finalised. To keep up-to-date with the latest information regarding this rebate click HERE

Business rate holiday (retail, hospitality & leisure) – If you are eligible this scheme will automatically be applied to you. However, local authorities may have to reissue your bill to provide this support. For more details and to estimate your business rates click HERE
Cash grants (SMEs) – The small business Covid-19 grant has been increased from £3,000 to £10,000 as of April 2020. This is part of a £330bn package of support for businesses, equivalent to 15 percent of GDP.

Cash grants (retail, hospitality & leisure) – This grant is for businesses in the stated sectors and offers a grant of up to £25,0000 per property. For eligibility and how to apply click HERE

Interruption loan scheme – This temporary scheme supports SMEs by giving access to loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £5 million and for up to 6 years. The government will also make a Business Interruption Payment to cover the first 12 months of interest payments as well as other beneficial support. Full terms can he found HERE

Commercial eviction ban – Commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of COVID-19 will be protected from eviction. This is not a rental holiday. All commercial tenants will still be liable for the rent. Further information can be found HERE

Helpful resources

We suggest reaching out to all of the below before you apply to double-check they are still taking applications.

NBSL – Business grants for North East based businesses. Visit the NBSL website.

North East Growth Hub – A useful resource containing business support information, advice and organisations that are providing funding, loans and financial help. Visit the North East Growth Hub website. 

Made Smarter – Support for Manufacturing businesses (North West) who are interested in digital development. Visit the Made Smarter website. 

For help relating to remote working including Microsoft Teams, SharePoint and keeping your team working efficiently while at home, Monpellier are here to help. Call us on 0191 500 8150 or drop us an email, [email protected].

30
Mar

5 top tips to keep employee engagement high

 How to keep your team together while working remotely

Managing remote employees can be difficult, but with the addition of a global pandemic, this task has become a lot harder. Although many organisations have been geared up for remote working for a while, many businesses have been thrown into the transition leaving teams disjointed in these uncertain times.

 

Understandably having the right IT solution is essential to remote-working but having those tools is just the beginning. A large proportion of the population is now in lock-down within their homes with their family’s meaning that distractions are abnormally high. If you also consider that many have heightened emotions due to health and economic concerns, as an employer it’s now more important than ever to take a moment to be mindful and factor these aspects into expected productivity levels.

 

To help employers through this difficult time we have pulled together our top 5 tips for keeping engagement high amongst home-workers during the COVID-19 outbreak.

 

  1. Online meetings – Keep weekly meetings going and keep teams together by using video conferencing tools (such as Microsoft Teams). Studies have shown that seeing each other (even virtually) has a positive effect on our mental health, helping us to feel connected whilst we work apart. Even a 10 minute morning check-in is enough to add a touch of normality to proceedings and will encourage team members to get ready for the day and mentally switch to ‘work’ mode.
  2. Collaborate – Ensure your team has access to everything they need by using a shared cloud application such as Microsoft SharePoint. SharePoint gives you the ability to create team sites for each of your ongoing projects allowing remote team members to share files, data, news and resources.
  3. Kitchen moments – The kitchen is the social hub of any office where employees catch -up and grow closer and share their lives. As we all work remotely this vital part of the day is missing. Be sure to encourage ‘light’ chat using tools such as Microsoft Teams, you could even introduce lunchtime quizzes or other fun activities to keep spirits high and team members connected.
  4. Reflection – A positive aspect of this current situation is that we have time to reflect on existing processes, systems and business procedures. Encourage your team to take time to think big picture and envisage an ‘ideal’ solution to areas that need improvement.
  5. Office budget – To boost productivity your team needs the right tools and supplies. From sending out office stationery packs to investing in cloud applications or even splashing out on new monitors there are plenty of ways you can help improve home-working for your team.

 

While we navigate through these testing times technology can help with engagement, collaboration, productivity and most importantly keeping us connected.

 

If you would like more information on remote working or solutions that could help your business during this time please get in contact with our experts on 0191 500 8150 or drop us an email at [email protected].

 

1
Nov

Is your team communicating effectively?

What is Microsoft SharePoint and how can it help me?

When it comes to communication within the workplace, technology continues to reshape the way we collaborate. But with an app for almost everything these days some businesses are suffering from communication fatigue. Make no mistake, technology is an amazing addition to any workplace but only when it’s the right solution.

With a market flooded with communication and collaboration tools, many businesses are resorting to sticking with outdated methods and processes.  

Microsoft SharePoint has over 100 million users worldwide and is used by a whopping 78% of the Fortune 500. 

 

What is Microsoft SharePoint  

Developed by Microsoft, SharePoint launched in 2001 and is a web-based document management and collaboration tool. SharePoint works with Office 365 to create a server type environment designed for sharing. 

If you choose to implement SharePoint into your business it is typically deployed onto your company’s network as a selection of intranet sites. Each site is designed specifically for each department with its own security, functionality and data. 

 

Reasons to use SharePoint 

Improve efficiency The most common way businesses use SharePoint is as an intranet portal. SharePoint gives its users a powerful, fully-searchable centralised location from which to run operations. By dividing your SharePoint into separate team sites you can organise information and documents by department, ensuring data is but a click away. Unlike other intranet systems, SharePoint follows the same Office 365 style you are acclimatised to but adds additional intuitive features such as; highlighting upcoming deadlines and team scheduling data. 

 

Cultivate positive collaborationSharePoint is a content management system (CMS) and is used to store and share information. Its’ features include version management, business workflows and social aspects, which can all be accessed remotely. You can use SharePoint to accelerate productivity by transforming everything from a simple task to complex operational workflows.

 

Increase business intelligence Your business collects so much valuable information, wouldn’t it be amazing to view all this data at a single glance and in one location? Through SharePoint’s integration capabilities, users can connect the platform with just about any existing information output from different applications. SharePoint is your one-stop-shop for custom-made business intelligence reporting. 

 

Microsoft SharePoint by Monpellier

Monpellier (based in Cumbria and the North East) are experts in providing custom, integrated solutions, delivering first-class support and solutions across a wide range of areas from accounting & payroll to intranet and CRM solutions. Give us a call on 01228 550 167 or email [email protected] for a free onsite consultation.

 First published: In Cumbria Magazine’s October’s 2019 issue. 

2
Oct

Are you making the most of OneDrive?

Tips to boost your OneDrive experience

 

What is Microsoft OneDrive?

OneDrive is Microsoft’s storage service facility for hosting files in the cloud. Although you can sign up for OneDrive for free, you gain more as an Office 365 customer. OneDrive has been designed to provide a simple solution to store and share various types of documents and files.

 

How to make the most of OneDrive 

 

Expiry Links 

If you need to share a file with confidential data for a fixed period of time you can create a shareable link that is constrained by a set expiry date and time that you’ve pre-set. 

 

Password Protected 

Want to share very sensitive data? Microsoft has added password functionality so that the data you share has another layer of security. 

 

Scan & Go 

By using the OneDrive app you can scan, save and share documents that you can snap straight from your camera phone. It also lets you save these images as PDFs or directly into other applications such as OneNote. 

 

Offline Mode 

OneDrive gives you the option to make folders offline so that you can work on the go without an internet connection and back-up to the cloud once you’re back in the office. 

 

Version Control 

Whilst it’s important to make sure you are always working on the most up-to-date version of any document it’s also beneficial to refer back to older versions. OneDrive lets you look back at previous versions of each document to make sure no vital information is lost. 

 

Outlook 

We are all guilty of clogging up our inboxes with emails that on their own are useless but they have an attachment we want to keep. OneDrive lets you save these attachments straight to your chosen folder on OneDrive so that your Inbox stays clean and you don’t misplace important documents. 

 

Microsoft Office 365 Apps & Monpellier

Are you interested in what Microsoft’s Office 365 Apps can do for your business? OneDrive is but a drop in the ocean when it comes to the capabilities provided by the Office 365 suite. If you are interested in finding out more and how they can integrate into your business give us a call today to arrange your free onsite consultation. 

2
Oct

Welcome to the fourth industrial revolution

The age of automation

Industry 4.0 refers to the fourth industrial revolution, (the first industrial revolution involved mechanisation through water and steam, the second electricity and the third nuclear power). The fourth industrial revolution is all about the internet and emerging technologies such as the Cloud, Big Data and Artificial Intelligence. In summary, Industry 4.0 is the age of smart manufacturing and atomisation.

 

Industry 4.0 in practice

Manufacturing organisations are a wealth of data however, according to IDC, only 30% of manufacturers are currently investing in transforming the digital operations of their businesses. Monpellier believes this is due to the sheer scale of the data and processes held by most manufacturing businesses. The idea of digitalising all this information and implementing a future-forward solution is daunting, and in some cases not always necessary. Here are our top 5 tips for ensuring your business stays ahead of the curve during the Industry 4.0 revolution.

 

Assess

Firstly, you need to take the time to step back and assess. Spend time (don’t rush) taking stock of existing processes and software/ hardware. Map out how each process currently flows and how you would like it to flow (in an ideal world). After all this work is done, it’s time to reach out and speak to a specialist solutions provider. Your chosen provider can help you devise the best plan to fit your needs and budget, whether that’s a modern ERP solution, moving to the cloud or simply streamlining what you currently have.

Plan

Changing or updating your current solution in any way can cause teething problems. The best way to manage this is to start by assigning a small, invested team to manage the project from start to finish. Ensure your team is perfectly formed with key players from each department, communication is fundamental in the early stages to guarantee the new solution will satisfy the predetermined needs. During the planning stage, you may also want to take the opportunity to cleanse your existing data, this will put you in a much easier position going forward.

Connectivity

Industry 4.0 is all about smart manufacturing and making the most of new technological developments, which has led many organisations to move to a cloud-based system or hybrid architecture (a combination of cloud and on-premise). According to Aberdeen research, manufacturing early adopters are migrating faster than ever due to faster implementation speeds (61%), efficiency in total life-cycle costs (59%) and scalability (44%). Cloud connectivity truly resonates with Industry 4.0 as it supports the operational structure needed for optimal efficiency.

People

Roles once occupied by people are increasingly being handed over to robots and AI (Artificial intelligence), but where does this leave our current workforce? The reality is that humans will still play a vital role in manufacturing but there needs to be a shift in skills. To guarantee your business is ready for the coming change look to recruit people with skills such as knowledge of automation, data, analytics, programming and software.

Implementation

Why not start small? Some manufacturing businesses are kicking off their journey into Industry 4.0 by adding something small such as a sensor to their machinery. Even minor innovations like this can greatly influence a company’s success by gathering all sorts of intelligence. Starting small also gives you a longer period of time to convert your entire workforce to a new automated way of thinking readying them for future change.

 

Manufacturing solutions by Monpellier

Experts in providing custom solutions to manufacturing businesses Monpellier (based in Cumbria and the North East) deliver support and solutions across a wide range of areas from accounting & payroll to CRM and EPOS. Give us a call on 01228 550 167 or email [email protected] for a free onsite consultation.

 

 First published: In Cumbria Magazine’s September 2019 issue

10
Sep

Join the Team – Most Loved Microsoft Teams Features

Number 3 in our Jargon Buster series: Microsoft Teams

Another tool within Office 365’s robust suite of services is the popular Microsoft Teams. Teams is a chat-based collaboration tool released by Microsoft in 2017. Although the tool is still somewhat ‘new’ to the market it has flattened the competitors and is now leading the space with the highest number of raw-user. 

Microsoft Teams gives you and your team the space to collaborate, creating a shared work-space where you can chat, meet, share files and work with business apps. 

The question is how does Teams help your business and which of its features would you find useful? We have pulled together our favourite features that our clients love for you to better understand if Teams is the right choice for your organisation. 

 

Meetings

Microsoft Teams really shines when it comes to meeting functionality. Teams gives you the ability to host audio, video and web conferences with anyone inside your company or an external third party. 

Features like scheduling assistance, note-taking, desktop sharing, uploading files, and chat messaging really highlights that Microsoft are focusing on making Teams the best-in-class tool for collaboration. Microsoft have announced Skype’s end-of-life date for July 2021 so for those that predominantly use this for their business conferencing needs it may be worth looking at making the switch to Teams. 

In addition to its regular meeting features Microsoft Teams also has the capability to host live large meetings and events. For example, if you needed, with Teams’ help you could give a virtual presentation to up to 10,000 attendees! 

 

Calls

The phone system within Microsoft Teams has PBX (Private Branch Exchange) capabilities and can even replace your on-premise PBX. Specialist calling features allows you to create call groups so that a specific colleague can answer your calls and gives you the ability to create and configure shared numbers.  

 

First-line Benefits 

First-line employees are often mobile, Microsoft Teams gives you access to training materials, handbooks, policies and on-demand video content via a mobile device. Compatibility with apps such as ‘Shifts’ creates seamless integration with your workforce management system.  

 

Security & Compliance 

Microsoft Teams was designed with your organisation’s advanced security needs in mind. Admin functionality grants you the ability to make granular changes and includes capabilities such as; data loss prevention, information barriers, retention policies, eDiscovery, legal hold, and more.

 

Free Consultation 

If your business is ready to make the switch to Microsoft Teams, Monpellier are here to help. Monpellier are a trusted Microsoft partner specialising in providing an end-to-end solution and support. If you would like more information on Teams or any of Microsoft’s products,  give our team a call on 0191 500 8150.

30
Aug

With over 100 million users worldwide, what is SharePoint?

Number 2 in our Jargon Buster Series: SharePoint 

It’s hard to avoid a mention of SharePoint these days with many productivity experts hailing it as a must-have collaboration tool. But what exactly is SharePoint and how can it be used to help your business?

 

What is SharePoint?

In very simple terms SharePoint is a web-based document management and collaboration tool. It works with Office 365 and has a core set of functionalities including; document storage, intranet capabilities, and organisation sharing. 

 

Benefits of using SharePoint 

    1. Collaboration – Using SharePoint allows users to stay connected, even during live projects with the use of document version history. Losing information in a cluttered inbox becomes a thing of the past as all employees have access to critical and up-to-date documents at their fingertips. 
    2. Security – Integrated security within the platform protects your data from unauthorised access. You can set permissions per user giving you ultimate control over user visibility. 
    3. Customisation – SharePoint is jam-packed with unique tools that allow you to tweak your organisations build to look and function in a way that works for you. Add custom features, widgets, calendars and request forms to your organisation’s intranet in order to maximise productivity. 
    4. Less Training – By working seamlessly with Office 365 SharePoint feels familiar from the start. In addition to support from your solution provider, Microsoft have free training courses available via their support site to help with the integration of your new collaboration tool. 
    5. Informed Decisions Use SharePoint to create personalised dashboards that allow your employees to see information from different sources and make better-informed decisions. For example, you could create a dashboard that acts as a live report area that allows you direct access to things such as KPI’s, critical financial data or even current stock levels. 

Free Consultation 

Monpellier are a trusted Microsoft partner specialising in providing an end-to-end solution and support. If you would like more information on SharePoint or any other Microsoft products give our team a call on 0191 500 8150. 

26
Aug

What’s the difference between Microsoft 365 and Office 365?

As part of our Jargon Buster Series we’re looking into the world of 365

Microsoft is galloping ahead with their business software solutions and are constantly adding to their plethora of products and add-ons. But in this minefield of new offerings, it’s hard to make sense of what each product is, what functionality they include and how it can be applied to your business. 

Our Jargon Buster Series has been created to cut through the noise, explain each solution in real terms and give you the information you need to make the right decision for your business.  

 

Microsoft 365 VS Office 365

Microsoft 365 and Office 365 seemingly the same thing right? Unfortunately not… 

Office 365 is Outlook plus the usual Office suite sold as a Cloud-based service through a subscription model. There are lots of different Office 365 plans (Business Essentials and Business Premium) that cover your different needs as a business. Subscriptions are calculated per number of users and have the benefit of always providing you with the most recent version making compatibility and upgrades a thing of the past.  

In comparison, Microsoft 365 includes everything you get with Office 365 plus Windows 10, Enterprise Mobility + Security. This bundle gives you Microsoft’s latest operating system paired with a suite of mobility and security tools that gives your data extra protection. 

 

So which option is right for me?

Realistically, the best option is to speak with a Microsoft Partner to ensure your chosen solution is the right fit for your needs. We recommend this because of the amount of options that can be added to your subscription is so vast a consultation with an expert ins simply invaluable.  

However, in basic terms both solutions give you the full Office 365 package, but Microsoft 365 gives you even more (Windows 10 and Enterprise Mobility + Security). Apart from the additional features the only differences appear when it comes to device management. Unlike Office 365, Microsoft 365 comes with a single console to manage users and devices. This added feature lets you manage Windows 10 PC’s with an easy-to-use setup wizard. 

 

Free consultation

Monpellier are a trusted Microsoft partner specialising in providing an end-to-end solution and support. If you would like more information on Microsoft 365, Office 365 or other Microsoft products give our team a call on 0191 500 8150. 

26
Jul

Does your ticketing system measure up?

How to better meet customers’ ticketing expectations

Customer experience (or CX) is crucial in contributing to various factors including customer satisfaction, loyalty and increased footfall. All business models can stand to improve by working on customer experience but for this article, we are focusing on tourism and attractions. Both these sectors have point-of-sale and ticketing at their core and as this interaction happens at the start of the customer journey it can have a lasting imprint on a customers’ expectations.

An ideal guide detailing how to guarantee outstanding customer service does not exist as each attraction and its visitors are unique. There are, however, key pillars that should be considered by businesses based within tourism and attractions that can help them meet and hopefully exceed expectations.

Trust

Stories regarding scam sites are unfortunately a common occurrence, therefore building trust with your potential visitors is key to giving them a pleasant ticketing experience. Two simple ways to do this is to ensure your ticket page looks like the rest of your site and to have integration with major banks. Software like Digitickets works seamlessly with your KCPOS solution allowing you to maintain brand integrity with a ticketing system that’s a visual match to your own website. This design element paired with bank and payment provider integration helps retain the customers’ trust and encourages the best possible conversion rate of website visitors into paying customers.

Control

We all have busy lives and our plans are often made on lunch breaks or late at night. Giving customers the ability to buy tickets directly from your website (without being redirected) has become best practice. Potential visitors are smart and expect all the information they require to be easily accessible, clear to read and available to them without having to make human contact. You must also consider that many visitors may be from different time zones or work unsociable hours meaning calling to book may not be possible. Having all this information available along with the option to buy tickets online puts control in the hands of the visitor (or the appearance of control). If your visitor can go through this entire portion of the customer journey without any difficulty, you are already creating a professional standard that can be continued on arrival.

Ease

Mobile ticketing is no longer the future, in fact, in some cases, it’s now expected. Giving visitors the freedom to choose how they redeem their ticket adds a layer of ease that can help meet customers’ expectations. By implementing software that works with your EPOS system (such as Digitickets) visitors can take advantage of mobile technology by buying and presenting their tickets on iPhone, Android or iPad devices.

 

For more advice on how to meet customers’ expectations during the ticketing process or to learn more about our point-of-sale software and hardware solutions please give us a call today on 0191 500 8150 or email us at [email protected].

 

27
Nov

EPOS BUSINESS BENEFITS

Advantages of EPOS

There are several advantages for using an EPOS system in your business. If you are just starting out as a business owners or vendor, it can be hard to understand why you should invest into more expensive hardware rather than opting for the cheaper version, such as a simple cash till.

An EPOS system is an integrated system that can organise, control and analyse various parts of your business, from cash transactions to backend reporting, staff monitoring and inventory control.

The additional features an EPOS system offers over a cash till are interesting enough, however it is predominantly the integration of all features in a single system that makes life so much easier for the merchant.

With a sophisticated EPOS system, it is possible to get reports about best-selling items, best-performing staff, peak sales times and the best-performing sales channels, allowing you to optimise your business flow easily.

The five business benefits of EPOS

Financial accuracy

One advantage of EPOS systems is the increased financial accuracy when charging customers. Traditionally, businesses rely on their staff’s competence to correctly calculate sales transactions, which can lead to mistakes and omissions.

This can result in customers being overcharged, reducing the likelihood of them returning, or undercharged, resulting in a loss of profit. EPOS systems greatly reduce the possibility of such staff errors, ensuring that a business’ pricing and charging structure remains consistent.

Accountability

Electronic Point of Sale systems allow businesses to accurately monitor and record staff activity. Being able to pinpoint which staff members were responsible for specific transactions can prove extremely useful for employers.

For example, employers can identify employees with the strongest sales figures, or those displaying unusual sales activity, such as unusually high levels of voided transactions, can be easily identified.

Speed and efficiency

EPOS systems greatly improve the speed and efficiency of transactions, which will appeal to your customers and help your employees focus on serving more people. This can improve your customers’ overall experience and encourage repeat custom in the future.

Stock management

Modern EPOS systems can also be used to manage stock. Businesses have the ability to quickly review their current levels of stock, and easily identify areas in which a greater level of stock is required. The advantage of an EPOS system is that it can save a noticeable amount of time compared to traditional, manual stocktaking operations.

Reporting

A final advantage of EPOS systems is their ability to produce a variety of business performance reports. Such reports can range from a basic analysis of daily or annual profit margins, to an identification of the top selling products or services in a company’s range.

Such information can provide a business with a useful picture of their overall performance, and can help influence marketing campaigns. For example, you can apply discounts to less popular sales items at certain times in the year.

Making the most of your EPOS system

An EPOS system can bring huge advantages to your business, and there are steps you can take to ensure you maximise these benefits. Doing some research beforehand to understand exactly what you are looking for will help you find what you need more easily and ensure that you are not paying for unnecessary features.

The right EPOS system

While almost any EPOS system is an advantage over no EPOS system, you can maximise the benefits of investing in an EPOS system by making sure you buy the right system for your business. What kind of system you need depends on many factors including the industry you serve and the size of your operation.

The cost of an EPOS system

Understanding the costs associated with an EPOS system will help you choose the right product and pricing structure for your needs.

Cheap EPOS systems

Buying the cheapest EPOS system you can find can often turn out to be a false economy, because the advantages of your EPOS system can bring you will be compromised if you are missing vital features.

Understanding how EPOS works

Understanding fully how EPOS systems work will help you make the most of the benefits an EPOS system can offer. You will be able to pick up the system that complements your business the most and make the best use of its features.

Next steps

If you are interested in hearing about EPOS prices for your business, then give us a call on 0191 500 8150 or email [email protected] so you can speak to one of our Business Software Consultants.

16
Nov

HOW EPOS CAN HELP YOUR BUSINESS

The primary concerns of businesses revolve around cutting down on costs, enhancing their employees’ productivity and boosting their sales. With these goals in mind, businessmen and retailers are determined to seek ways to implement the most convenient, practical and efficient system to run their stores day by day.

These concerns are basically the same issues that an EPOS system can resolve. They were created in an effort to utilise technology to solve the ever increasing problems faced by companies on a day-to-day basis. That is, an EPOS system offers a reliable, accurate and economical way to handle the demands of today’s businesses.

What is EPOS?

EPOS means Electronic Point of Sale. This is a computerised system commonly utilised by the service management industry. It is a self-contained equipment capable of performing the tasks typically assigned to a checkout counter. This system generally accepts payments made via debit or credit cards. In a nutshell, an EPOS machine can be used by businesses to let their customers pay for goods or services.

Apart from functioning as a checkout counter, an EPOS machine offers benefits beyond this. It can also verify transactions and create sales reports. The system can synchronise the inventory data. Overall, an EPOS system essentially provides similar services business owners gets from their employees.

Here are more ways an EPOS system can help your business

EPOS offers heightened accuracy and efficiency.

Businesses traditionally depend on their employees’ aptitude when handling sales transactions. Regardless of a staff member’s skills, errors can still be committed at any point. Customers face the possibility of being overcharged. Due to these mistakes, businesses are in danger of losing their clients who become disgruntled after experiencing such mistakes. Meanwhile, errors resulting to undercharging a customer would cause a loss in the company’s profits.

These concerns can easily be eliminated by using an EPOS system. The use of the equipment guarantees improved financial precision when dealing with customers’ transactions. By cutting down the costs brought about by an employee’s mistakes, an EPOS could encourage customers to return due to the improved experience in the store.

EPOS improves stock management.

Utilising an EPOS system allows businesses to quickly check the current status of their stock. Being able to easily determine the levels of need in the stock room provides a huge advantage for business owners. This saves a huge amount of time as employees would no longer need to go through hours of painstaking manual inventory.

Businesses constantly need to hit the right balance of holding just the minimum level of stock and meeting the demands of clients right away. Achieving this goal means that the company manage to reach their maximum productivity and decreased margins. Moreover, an EPOS system assists businesses to determine their most popular items or products in the warehouse and deliver these to the store in the shortest time possible.

The system tracks the information from the moment a sale is made and the transaction details are entered into the EPOS terminal. The data will automatically be sent to the manufacturing and supply facilities. Subsequently, the system’s prompts will signal the businesses to replenish their stock. This will result in an accurate and organised account of the company’s inventory.

EPOS increases workplace accountability.

An automated system like the EPOS provides business owners with an accurate record of their employee’s activities during work hours. This machine allows companies to determine which staff member should be held accountable for particular dealings on a day-to-day basis.

Apart from the accountability benefit, an EPOS system can also contribute to the growth of the employees. Business owners can utilise the machine to recognise who among the staff members earn the highest sales. This information could lead to better employer-employee relationships. Meanwhile, those who land at the bottom of the list could be identified as well. Employers could easily distinguish who are engaging in sales activities and who isn’t.

EPOS provides direction to your business.

Utilising the data gathered from an EPOS system, a business owner has the potential to turn his store into a bigger venture. EPOS systems are capable of providing business performance reports to users. These statements can not only provide rudimentary breakdowns of the profit margins of a company, but also determine the most sought after product or service of the company.

By using the information from the machine, businesses can conveniently determine the best ways to maximise their sales. At the same time, the data could help in formulating measures to better manage the company’s resources and cut down on expenses. On top of these, business owners can also use the information to manage their employees and implement better systems.

Conclusion

An EPOS system offers a lot of benefits that can push your business to reach the next level. By utilising this machine, you definitely lower the possibility of human errors affecting your profits and overall experience of your customers. You also manage to implement a system that provides quicker, accurate and more efficient transactions.

This system can provide you with better ways to manage your employees as well. By knowing who among your staff members perform the best and the worst, you can seek more effective ways to improve their performance at work.

All things considered, an EPOS system offers a myriad of possibilities to business owners. Its capacity to organise, coordinate and evaluate several aspects of your business makes it a valuable investment. The data it provides could cover various facets of your company from cash dealings to back end assessment, employee monitoring and inventory management.

So, what next?

If you’re starting to think that investing in an EPOS system could be for you, get in contact with one of our friendly Business Software Consultants and they will be happy to talk you through any questions you might have. Either give us a call on 0191 500 8150 or email [email protected]

 

24
Oct

MAKING TAX DIGITAL FOR BUSINESS

There is a change looming, and it is probably going to affect you and your business. Earlier this year, HMRC announced an overhaul of VAT 100 submissions.

The Government recognises that businesses will all want to get their tax right, but the latest tax gap figures show that too many otherwise compliant businesses struggle and as a result, over £8 billion a year in tax is lost.

HMRC wants to do more to help businesses get their tax right and these changes are an important step in the right direction. It will help businesses steer clear of avoidable errors.

Businesses will be able to keep records of their income and expenditure digitally, and send summary updates quarterly to HMRC from their accounting software.

Businesses, self-employed people and landlords will be required to start using the new digital service from:

  • The start of April 2018 for income tax and National Insurance contribution (NIC) purposes if your turnover is over the VAT threshold
  • April 2019 for income tax and NICs purposes if your turnover is below the VAT threshold
  • Also, April 2019 for VAT purposes for everyone who is VAT registered
  • Finally, April 2020 for Corporation Tax purposes for everyone who pays it

What are the changes?

Making Tax Digital for Business is a Government project that will put all your tax information together in one place. It’s one of the most significant reforms to the tax system, affecting all businesses with a turnover of £10,000.

The biggest change will be the replacement of the annual tax return with quarterly reporting from April 2018 for small businesses with a turnover above the VAT threshold of £85,000.

Why is the Government making tax digital?

Accurate Tax Information

Replacing paper-based bookkeeping with digital tax accounts will let you check that the information HMRC holds about you is 100% correct.

Reduced Errors

Making Tax Digital’s new reporting function will allow HMRC to look at accurate tax information almost immediately, reducing human error from data input.

Easier to Understand

HMRC believes taxpayers will better understand how much tax is owed within the digital tax account – similar to online banking.

Easier Contact with HMRC

Making Tax Digital will make it easier for you to contact HMRC online via webchats and secure messages.

These changes will provide the legislative framework so that businesses will:

  • Keep track of their tax affairs digitally using accounting software or apps. Regulations will specify what records must be recorded using digital tools.
  • Provide summary tax data to HMRC quarterly, using digital tools. The summary tax data will be automatically generated for the business from the electronic records. For VAT, these quarterly updates will effectively replace the VAT return. For Income Tax and Corporation Tax, these updates will cumulatively build an in-year picture of the business’ tax position for them.
  • Gain a clearer view of their tax position in-year.
  • Provide a finalised end of year position to HMRC of their tax affairs, again, using accounting software and digital tools.

So, what next?

Don’t think of making tax digital as just another obligation. This is your opportunity to regularly check income, expenses and profit in your business which will help you make better decisions. Take these two steps to help make the transition smooth:

  1. Figure out when you have to make your tax digital. You can make your tax digital right now, and there’s no reason to wait till the last possible moment to do so. But you do need to know when it will become compulsory for your business.
  2. Consider accounting software. You don’t have to use accounting software to comply with making tax digital but it will make things easier. It will also give you access to other powerful tools.

Making tax digital could be really good for your business

Change can often seem daunting, especially when it requires you to adopt new technology. However, quarterly tax filing could actually lessen your workload and by updating your accounts more often, you’ll be able to react faster to opportunities and threats in the business!

We can help you when it comes to the best accounting software for your business, and as outlined above, you can see the benefits of using accounting software when moving towards the new VAT 100 submission changes!

To have a chat with one of our Business Software Consultants, give us a call on 0191 500 8150, or email [email protected]

23
Oct

FIVE REASONS WHY YOU NEED TO BACKUP YOUR DATA

There are all sorts of backups that help you get out of various situations. Think of the spare tyre in your boot, or the power bank in your bag for your phone.

There are various reasons for having backups. In some situations, it can save your life, but with data, a backup can save your business.

We’ve recently had a few calls from various clients indicating that they have forgotten to submit their Full Payment Submission (FPS) and have ran the payroll update. They have contacted HMRC & all they’ve had back from them is “you can only submit the FPS electronically”.

Their only option is for us to restore a copy of their data from our end, recreate the FPS file and send it back to them, so they can submit it via their Online Filing Manager.

So, here are a few things to consider:

  • We cannot stress enough how important it is for this backup to exist. Without it, you don’t really have any options.
  • When do you take your backup? We would suggest taking it before you run the FPS, or certainly before you run the update.
  • You cannot have too many backups when it comes to payroll. These are compressed files that are stored in a folder on your server.
  • Only take the backup for the company you’re running payroll for.

So, considering this, let’s take a look at the top five reasons why you need to backup your data:

Simple recovery

People are not infallible. They make mistakes, and they make them quite often. Emails containing viruses are accidentally opened each day and important files are often mistakenly deleted.

There’s no reason to fear these issues if you take frequent additional snapshots of your systems. You can simply restore to a snapshot taken before the virus happened. Or you can recover the file from a time before it was deleted. It’s easy to protect from the little things and there’s the added benefit of being ready for big things as well.

Audits, taxes and archives

Many, if not most businesses, are required to keep business records for an extended period. This is either for tax purposes or because of various regulations. You might just need to look at what was going on a few years ago.

It’s easy to assume that your computers have you covered just because they’ve got your last few years’ worth of information on them. But as you might know by now, having one copy is generally a huge mistake. Ensuring you’ve got an offsite backup of critical client information can really save you if something goes wrong locally.

Competitive advantage

In the untimely event of a disaster, the first business to get back up and running will take all the business of those that aren’t back on their feet. As we’ll discuss in a moment, not having a plan can mean your doors are closed for good.

Proper planning means that your doors stay open to those that worked with businesses that couldn’t survive during a disaster.

Deadly downtime

43% of businesses that suffer major data loss never reopen. Many of these companies end up closing their doors for good within two years of a major data loss. Even large data loss scenarios aren’t always the result of a disaster.

Human hands are very capable of destroying a business through silly mistakes or oversights. Don’t think Mother Nature is always responsible. Simply backing up data and having an effective backup recovery plan in place can help mitigate these types of threats. You can be on of the surviving businesses if you think ahead.

Doing work twice

The first rule of doing work is “do it right the first time”. If you suffer a minor failure and don’t have backups, you may be able to recover certain things, but you never know what those “certain things” will be. In almost any case, you’ll have a boat-load of work to redo whether it’s setting up your systems all over again, or recreating spreadsheets you or your employees have been working on for months.

If you’re unsure on any of the above, please do not hesitate to get in contact with one of our Business Software Consultants by either calling 0191 500 8150 or email [email protected]

17
Oct

SAGE VERSUS PEGASUS

If you’re reading this blog, it’s likely that you are starting to consider investing in accounting software, but you’re not sure which is best for you.

This post is going to focus on Pegasus and Sage, comparing the benefits of both, hopefully resulting in you being one step closer to making your decision (something we can also help you with!).

Sage Modules

Financials

The essential financials package to manage your cash flow with the four key ledgers and invoicing.

Commercials

Stock, POP and SOP, price lists, price book and managing your supply chain.

Workspaces and Connected User

For data mining and reporting in the office or on the go. Use simple dashboards and customisable views to find the information you need, specific to your role.

Excel Reporting

Better reporting and more detailed analysis, accessible online.

Sage Payments

Manage and make supplier payments straight from your software.

E-Invoicing with Sage Pay

Integrated invoice payments that work seamlessly from within your software.

Sales, Marketing and Service

For customer management marketing automation, pipeline management and marketing campaigns.

Project Accounting

For managing projects and customer/supplier relationships. View profitability and easily view costs budgets at a glance.

Web Timesheets and Expenses

Enter, print and authorise timesheets and expenses online. Links with Sage Payroll.

Bill of Materials

For simple manufacturing processes.

Manufacturing

For complex manufacturing processes – full manufacturing resource planning solution.

Business Intelligence

Powerful trend analysis and intuitive reporting. Simple to create your own reports and dashboards.

Pegasus Opera 3 Modules

Financials

With Average Debtors day calculation per customer, Opera 3 helps you manage aged debt for a realistic revenue forecast.

Supply Chain Management

In Opera 3, Purchase Orders, Sales Orders, Delivery Notes, Sales Invoices and Statements can be batched created as PDFs and emailed directly from within the system.

Business Intelligence

With the Opera 3 Business Intelligence tools, you get precisely what you need to know without wasting valuable time.

CRM

Opera 3 CRM integrates fully with Financials and Supply Chain applications and can also be accessed by remote workers.

Payroll & HR

Opera 3 Payroll simplifies your key tasks and has HMRC PAYE and RTI recognition so you will always have peace of mind.

Service & Helpdesk Management

Opera 3 streamlines your customer contract management, helpdesk functions and communication with staff on the road.

How we can help

It is not just as easy as picking whether you prefer Sage or Pegasus. When choosing a new accounting software system, it is wise to do your homework and find out everything you can about the potential systems that you are considering. That is where the team at Monpellier come in handy.

Here are some things to consider:

  • Is the software built for a particular size of business? For example, a micro business’ needs will usually be different to those of a large company.
  • Is the software a good fit for your specific industry or business sector?
  • How much does it cost and are there any add-on expenses for maintaining the software?
  • What features does the software offer? Can you customise it if the basic components don’t fit your specific needs?
  • Will the software help you comply with statutory requirements, such as audit trails, tax returns or annual accounts?
  • Is the software accredited as compliant to a standard or code? The HMRC Payroll Accreditation Scheme, for example, shows that the package correctly carries out the PAYE functions.
  • What support is available for the setup, staff training and running and maintenance of the system, and at what cost?
  • What security measures are in place to back up data and keep business and customer information safe?

You don’t need to answer all of these questions yourself. Our Business Software Consultants are at hand to talk you through what is best for your business.

Here at Monpellier, we find out exactly what you need and want the system for, and then advise based solely on this  fact.

For more information, and to see what we can do for you, please give us a call on 0191 500 8150 or email [email protected]

7
Apr

Common KCPOS Support Questions

The most common KCPOS questions our support team get asked.

KCPOS is a fully integratable EPOS software solution. Although KCPOS support queries are rare, Monpellier have compiled the most common questions our support team get asked. Here are the top four issues:

 

1. You’ve changed something in administrator but it isn’t showing on the till.

Sometimes, you might change something in KCPOS Administrator, but it doesn’t appear on the till like it should. This is because you need to do a branch data refresh in the KCPOS Link. If you or your colleague have access to the KCPOS Link, go into the branches tab and find the little arrow in the right-hand corner. Click on this, and go to branch operations. At the bottom, you’ll see branch data refresh, and you need to run this. Then restart your till and your changes should show.

 

2. You’ve created a menu page and it isn’t on the till after a branch data refresh.

This is quite a common one, and I have made the mistake myself. When creating menu pages, you must make sure you are in the Head Office section of KCPOS. If you mistakenly create a page at branch level, it will overwrite the page with head office data as soon as you do a branch refresh.

 

3. You’ve received a new receipt printer but it isn’t working.

If you are using a receipt printer with a serial/COM port (a trapezoid shaped connector with little holes), then this is set up in KCPOS Administrator at branch level. If you need to get a new printer and install it yourself, you must make sure you are plugging it into the right port. To check this, go into KCPOS Administrator at branch level, and select till configuration. Go to the Hardware tab, and where it says receipt printer it should tell you which port your printer should be plugged into.

 

4. You’ve changed the name of a menu page and now the button doesn’t work.

If you have a button on your till that opens a new menu page, you must make sure the button can find this page. When you change the name of a page, go back to the page that has this button and link it up. That way it will be able to find the new name of the menu page.

If you are interested in a new EPOS Solution or have any questions regarding KCPOS please contact our expert team on 0191 500 8160 or email us [email protected].

7
Apr

MANUFACTURING SOFTWARE TIPS

Software Types and How to Choose

The best type of Manufacturing Software for your business will be heavily determined by what your business needs. Although this may seem like a very obvious statement it is easy to lose your footing when it comes to the vender process. Some businesses find themselves choosing the latest, flashiest software available in a bid to ensure their investment lasts the test of time. However, the newest software is not always the right decision for your business. Monpellier have put together some top tips to help you determine what type of software you should invest in.

 

Types

 

Cloud Software – The immediate benefits of cloud software are normally quick implementation, lower total cost of ownership and a more modern interface. A cloud option is normally a good fit for emerging businesses. It gives the user the flexibility to be agile and the space to change and grow as the business does.

 

On Premise Software – The installation for on premise software is often longer as the system operates from your company’s in house server and computing infrastructure. Having said that this option offers more control in terms of security and boasts faster response times.

 

Hybrid Cloud Software – As the name suggest this solution sits between the two options, it uses  elements of your own computing resources on-site and pairs them with the cloud to create a ‘private cloud’. The main reason a company may chose a hybrid cloud option is due to data as this option allows you to keep information that you may deem too sensitive for a cloud environment on your local system.

 

Things To Consider

 

Out of the Box – This kind of software is often sent straight from the vender and is full of pre-set workflows and tools. This system would suit a business that doesn’t deviate from the ‘norm’ and is happy to amend their existing processes to fit with the software.

 

Configurable – This option normally allows functionality to be created using add-ons and built in tools. Monpellier find this to be the most common option. It allows you to take a well know product such as Sage 200 or Pegasus Opera and mould it to your business.

 

Custom – Customisable software can be heavily influenced by the vender but may not be compatible with future versions. This options is perfect for unique processes and businesses with unusual structures, however this is normally the most costly of the three options.

 

Whatever you choose it is important to ensure it’s the right choice for your business. Don’t be afraid to ask for multiple demos, talk through your important processes and make sure your new solution has the capability to grow with you.
For advice or information regarding the Manufacturing Software Monpellier offer please call us on 0191 500 8150 or email us [email protected]

10
Feb

SHOULD I UPGRADE TO SAGE 50C?

The latest Sage 50 offering was launched at the end of last month but what is Sage 50c and as a Sage 50 user why should you upgrade?

 

Sage 50c Accounts was designed with one key goal, to combine all the powerful elements of desktop Sage 50 with secure online access. Sage 50c gives the user the freedom to control the business from wherever they are without being tied to the office. This flexibility gives Sage 50 users the ability to make smarter, faster decisions as they can access their data on the road using secure cloud data access through the Sage Drive.

 

In addition to the ‘cloud’ feature Sage 50c also offers a range of value added benefits designed to save you time.

 

Free Office 365 Seat (12 months)

Office 365 gives you access to all of your essential office tools on the go including; Excel, Word, Sharepoint, Outlook etc.

 

Sage Capture

Take photographs of your expenses, invoices and other paper work and then use Sage Capture to save them to One Drive and post the transactions on Sage 50c Accounts.

 

Sage Contact

All of your customer records, contact details, balances and recent transactions will be available in Outlook so there will be no need to jump between Sage and Outlook.

 

Sage Intelligence Reporting

This means a richer, deeper understanding of your business through powerful Excel reports and Office 365.

 

Cloud Storage

Connecting to Sage 50c Accounts with Office 365 means you can now store all of your documents in the One Drive. This means your documents can be accessed via mobile, desktop or web browser.
The final reason, and possibly one of the most convincing arguments, is that there will be no further development on Sage 50, all future work and improvements will be carried out on Sage 50c only. If you are interested in seeing how much it would be for your business to upgrade to Sage 50c please give us a call on 0191 500 8150 or email us at [email protected]. Due to introductory launch offer we are finding in most cases it is cheaper for customers to move from their existing Sage 50 licence to Sage 50c so please do not miss out on the opportunity to save.

26
Jan

PICKING THE RIGHT EPOS SYSTEM

Whether you are investing in a completely new system, expanding your current set up or upgrading your existing solution, choosing the right EPOS system for your business can play a large role in your future success. The key to finding the perfect EPOS solution lies in finding the solution that best suits your business. This means not settling for an off the shelf solution that expects all businesses to follow the same processes.

 

When it comes to EPOS solutions the word custom does not always mean expensive. With so many EPOS solutions to chose from companies have had to adapt and become mold-able. However, with so many customisable solutions out there, how do you narrow down the system that is right for you?

 

Monpellier have compiled the 5 steps you need to follow in order to ensure your next EPOS solution fits your business like a glove.

 

Define Your Needs  

If you have a current system try making a list of all the features that your system lacks. If you are looking at a new system use feature websites to create a list of all the essential and desirable features you require.

 

Hardware

Think about what hardware you require. This will change depending on your industry and your needs but will also help you when looking at the available systems. You might want a system that can be transportable, or a contactless system. Remember it is all about what is right for you.

 

Set Up

The last thing you want is to be burdened with a complicated setup process. Make sure you check with the EPOS provider to ensure you will have help on hand. Monpellier provide many different options depending on your individual needs. We can do anything from manually setting up everything for you to a simple web based walk through.

 

Set Your Budget

EPOS solutions vary greatly in price so make sure you research what’s out there and set a realistic budget based on your individual needs. Traditionally desktop-based software is more expensive than cloud based systems but the systems price will depend greatly on the complexity of your requirements and the size of the solution you need.

 

See It In Action

If you’re going to invest time in finding, purchasing, implementing and training staff you need to be certain you have chosen the right EPOS solution for your business and you can’t do that by simply looking at it on paper. Get the provider to demo the system for you. Watch out for the speed and be sure to ask the important questions such as, ‘talk me through the transferring of customer data’ and ‘how does it marry with my existing software?’

 

If you wish to find out more about the systems Monpellier offer please give us a call on 0191 500 8150 or email us at i[email protected]. We would love the opportunity to help you find the right EPOS solution for your budget.

16
Jan

IMPROVING PRODUCTIVITY: HELPFUL ADVICE FOR ACCOUNTS

After working with accounts departments for over 15 years Monpellier know that every second is vital. The workload is often heavy and staff have to juggle multiple tasks at once, especially around month end and the end of the tax year.

 

Everyone will have their own tips and tricks for managing busy periods and hectic schedules but here are a few techniques that our clients find most useful.

 

Double or Nothing

A recent survey found that employees can improve their daily output as much 20% a day by investing in a second monitor. Having that extra monitor space also allows you to extend large spreadsheets and ledgers which saves you scrolling and toggling between tabs. If your manager needs a big of convincing in order to make the purchase there are loads of studies into the befits of additional monitor.

 

The Paper Problem

It’s now 2017 and surprisingly Monpellier still find businesses rely on paper to drive their accounts payable process. These businesses do understand the risks that using a paper based system brings but the thought of moving to an integrated document management system is daunting. But adding a product like Spindle Document Management is easier than ever. You can even add documents using your mobile device!

 

Turn Off

It may seem trivial but everyone is guilty of glancing down at every new email that comes through. Why not allocate blocks of times throughout the day where your email notifications are turned off allowing you to commit your whole attention to the task at hand. If you use Outlook here is a step by step on how to.

 

Stay Connected

Automation is the best way to keep on top of all of your daily tasks. It may seem like a mammoth job to start with but once you find the right integration tools for your processes you’ll wonder how you ever managed before hand. The good news is integration does not have to be expensive! Whether it’s a CRM, document management system or EPOS solution find out what tools your accounting software links to and ask your provider or Monpellier what the process would be and more importantly how much it would cost.

 

For more tips on productivity surrounding accounting software and process please give us a call on 0191 500 8150 or email us at [email protected].

1
Dec

THE BENEFITS OF PAYROLL SOFTWARE

Advantages of Payroll Software

When a small business decides it’s time to move to an on premise payroll system it can often be a very stressful situation. But do the advantages of a payroll system outweigh the negatives?

 

Small business owners who are proficient in paper based payroll or that use a bureau may argue that their current solution is more cost effective. However, completing paper based payroll requires training, staff time and a high level of accuracy. It is for these reasons that a lot of small businesses turn to payroll software

 

Benefits

Payroll in a small business can be time consuming. Monpellier have collated a few benefits associated with payroll software to help you decide whether it is right for you.

 

Reduce Error: Save money by avoiding human error

Visibility: Staff can login and view their payslips online

Up to date: Tax and pension legislation is kept current and correct

Paperless: Electronic payslips offer better communication

 

What To Look For

When looking for a payroll system, apart from finding a solution that fits your budget, you need to ensure the new system has the following features.

 

HMRC Compliance: HMRC recognised software helps ensure you stay up-to-date and fully compliant with the latest payroll and pension legislation.

Support: Access to a payroll expert by phone, email or live chat.

Flexible Payment: If you don’t want to be tied to 12 or 24 month contract look for a solution with a monthly subscription option.

Speed: Look for a system that will save you the most amount of time. For example a solution that allows you to pay employees straight from the software.

 

If you wish to find out more about the payroll systems Monpellier offer please give us a call on 0191 500 8150 or email us at [email protected]. We would love the opportunity to help you find the right solution for your budget.