General News

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16
May

10 Questions Profile – Nick Bevan Technical Director

Name: Nick Bevan
Job role: Technical Director
Time @ Monpellier: 7 Yrs

1. What did you want to be when you were growing up?
When I was growing up I quite fancied becoming a secret agent which then somehow turned into an Accountant.

2. What is a typical day like working at Monpellier?
My day can be quite varied depending on whether I’m in the office or at a clients site, my time is spent managing and implementing projects and quite often preparing for delivery of presentation to help clients find the right solution.

3. What do you enjoy most about your job?
Technology is evolving daily, I enjoy keeping up to date with emerging technologies such as the Powersuite and Azure developed by Microsoft. I then look at ways to incorporate these products into our solution offering.

4. What are the upcoming trends in the industry?
SAAS (Software as a service) has been around for a few years but we will start to see more companies making the transition to SAAS ERP and effectively putting their ERP systems in the Cloud. I also believe that we will see more reliance on applications integrated into the Cloud passing data between our ERP Solution and office systems

5. What advice would you give to someone who wants to work in the software/tech industry?
We are slowly migrating to an app based culture. I would suggest learning how to create apps and integrate data stored in the cloud is a good start for anyone wanting to develop a career within this industry.
Coupling this with a modern apprenticeship is also a great vehicle to gaining a career in this industry.

6. What advice would you give your younger self?
Probably to push my boundaries outside my comfort zone.

7. What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning?
Normally my two children have a say in this. I also love to find a solution to a problem and as you never know what problems you are likely to encounter then the only way of finding out is to get out of bed.

8. If you had a superpower what would it be?
Growing up I used to constantly be called Inspector Gadget and this seems to have followed me into adult life so I would have to say a modern version of him. Maybe Iron Man.

9. What’s your favorite quote?
A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there.

10. How would you describe yourself in one word?
GadgetMan

If you would like to learn more about Nick or the rest of the team Click Here

25
Mar

Preparing for Brexit: How Manufacturers Can Get Ready Today

If there’s one thing that defines successful businesses, it’s their ability to cope with change. In recent years, we’ve seen the rapid rise of cloud-based technologies, the reshaping of many industries by automation and artificial intelligence, and waves of regulatory change. Now, the UK faces its biggest change in decades, as it starts to separate from the EU.

Manufacturers can prepare for Brexit now by ensuring they have systems that give them a clear, real-time insight into their businesses. The aim is to ensure they can take effective and well-informed decisions, whatever changes in their supply chains or markets.

Companies that use just-in-time deliveries, for example, may need to adjust their lead times and inventory levels. The Road Haulage Association warns that additional checks at the border between England and France could result in significant delays and queues. Some companies will need to increase their inventory levels to avoid the far greater cost of downtime on the assembly line because parts or subassemblies are unavailable. For many companies, there will be a delicate balance to strike, ensuring they can continue manufacturing in the face of uncertain delays, without harming cash flow by overbuying goods. The only way to get it right will be to have real-time insight into the supply chain and stock levels, joined up with the company financials, so that business leaders can understand the impact of any delivery delays, and better understand how to mitigate them.

There may also be increasing currency fluctuation in the future. The Brexit process has already seen the pound devalue against the dollar and the Euro, and there may be further volatility to come. Sharp currency changes can affect the cost of imported goods, and the returns from exports. For companies that operate on tight profit margins, currency fluctuations can have a significant impact on their profitability. To manage this complexity, it will be important for manufacturers to have an ERP system that handles multiple currencies smoothly, so that the business can plan, price and negotiate based on a good understanding of the company’s currency exposure.

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the UK government has said that a temporary tariff regime would be introduced. Although most imports would be tariff-free, tariffs would be applied to the automotive industry and industries that are considered to be “vulnerable and exposed to unfair global competition”. That could see the cost of imported supplies rise. Cloud-based ERP solutions will provide the greatest flexibility to cope with changing regulatory requirements, because they can more easily be updated as new requirements are introduced.

Brexit is likely to result in new documentation requirements to cope with any new tariff, customs or taxation requirements. This may apply not only when trading with the EU, but also when dealing with other countries whose trade arrangements previously depended on an EU agreement. One way that manufacturers can minimise delays is to ensure that all shipments have the right documentation attached, so that pallets aren’t left sitting by the dockside waiting for missing paperwork to arrive. A robust document management solution will be necessary to tackle the increased complexity of international trade, and to avoid the assembly line downtime and customer dissatisfaction that might result from avoidable delays.

Much about Brexit remains uncertain, but businesses can prepare now by asking “what if?”, and working out the information they would need to operate effectively under different scenarios. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is a comprehensive ERP suite that spans financials, purchasing, inventory, operations, warehousing and projects. By introducing it to your business now, you can ensure you have the processes and visibility you need to make smarter decisions in the face of unprecedented change.

21
Mar

Preparing for Brexit

After two failed attempts to get the current Brexit deal through Parliament and now with the request of an extension is it becoming more likely that there will be a no-deal scenario? Whilst the government do not want a ‘no-deal’ scenario, it is the outcome that could demand the most rapid business preparation, and it’s appropriate to prepare for a range of outcomes. Sage’s recent whitepaper is aimed at helping businesses plan for a no-deal Brexit, focusing on key areas of impact on your business, along with actions to take to ensure that your business is ready for a possible no-deal.

 

Click here to download whitepaper

 

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24
May

Why selecting ERP software is like getting married

If you’re nervous consider it a good thing…

In one respect, selecting ERP is a bit like proposing marriage; you’d better be sure you’ll get along since you’re in it for the long haul barring a costly and bitter divorce.

Unlike a real-life bride or groom though, the ERP software vendor you fall for isn’t likely to turn down your proposal. The onus is solely on you to evaluate the options and select the one that’s right. We’d be concerned if you weren’t nervous.

We’re betting you’re considering ERP software because you desire to better manage supply chains, inventory and customer relationships while simultaneously offering a valuable and efficient ecommerce shopping and checkout experience.

We’re also betting a significant portion of your time is spent doing necessary yet seemingly trivial tasks that don’t add value:

  • Entering data manually
  • Retrieving data that’s siloed from complementary data
  • Enduring inefficient inter-departmental workflow or reporting

You know many of these routine chores can be handled much more rapidly and efficiently by integrated software systems.

It’s why you’re considering ERP.

These systems can automate business processes and make managing your business more efficient and profitable. However, ERP systems can also be costly, difficult to integrate, and challenging in terms of measuring ROI.

The secret to a happy ever after is choosing the right partner.

Here’s how:

What is ERP?

It might be helpful to think of ERP as the key that unlocks silos in which data is often trapped due to departmental affiliation, organisational structure, or human reluctance to share.

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software is engineered to collect, organise and interpret data from a variety of business activities including:

  • Customer relations
  • Supply chain
  • Inventory
  • Purchasing
  • Human resources
  • Finance
  • Sales
  • Manufacturing
  • Engineering

Without ERP, the bulk of your data is without context, perspective or connection.

Only when you’re able to mine, organise and develop it into insight can it deliver on its promise of helping you make better business decisions. Accessing the data, making sense of it, and doing so in real-time are formidable challenges.

The idea behind ERP is to help organisations become more agile, efficient and make data driven decisions that result in better business outcomes. The data compiled in an ERP system is often presented in a dashboard that decision makers can use to monitor and manage their businesses in real-time.

Even though enterprise software is a relatively mature vertical, the global ERP spend is expected to increase more than 36% over the next four years. Hidden within that growth is change. Increasingly, legacy in-house ERP systems are migrating to the cloud.

How can an ERP solution help you?

Think of your business activities as parts of an engine…

The ability to look under the hood while the engine is running can be invaluable when trying to decide whether to pull over and do preventative maintenance, take it to a shop for immediate repair, or keep going for as long as possible because all is well.

ERP software can provide the vision a business needs.

ERP systems are designed to provide rich overviews of the applications running on an organisation’s computer networks. Besides being able to track key performance indicators (KPIs) in real-time, ERP systems can integrate business departments by tracking workflow, identifying duplication, and ensuring data integrity.

ERP software can save organisations money by:

  • Automating certain employee job functions
  • Eliminating single-purpose software
  • Securing all company data in one place
  • Creating a single analytics or reporting location
  • Making it easier to accurately track inventory and sales
  • Speeding collaboration between employees in different departments

It might be helpful to think about ERP on three levels when trying to match software solutions to your organisation’s individual needs:

  1. As an ERP system or single solution relied upon for all of an organisation’s software needs.
  2. ERP as a supplement that may be integrated with existing software or tools.
  3. ERP as modules, or collection of related software (marketing/sales or finance/accounting), that may be used for mission critical business functions but also integrated with existing software that may be separate or possess a different level of sophistication or focus.

Besides the insight ERP can provide, it can also address some of the agility issues with which businesses must cope.

ERP software can provide an on demand real-time snapshot of what’s happening on the backside of your business. It’s not something customers will see, but it can provide a competitive advantage by helping you make faster, smarter, data driven decisions.

The drawbacks of ERP

If you’ve already spent big money implementing an ERP system over a number of years, you’re not alone.

As a rule of thumb, it is a good idea to budget for a certain spend per user per year. You might be able to negotiate volume discounts, but depending on the size of your company, understand it can also cost a significant amount to implement ERP systems. Consider the recurring costs as well as the fact you could spend between 10-15% of the total cost on yearly software renewal fees.

Other considerations that can impact cost, integration time, and functionality include:

  • Whether you’re integrating existing software with new ERP software
  • Whether you’re starting from scratch and weighing cloud ERP vs in-house ERP

The IT resources necessary for the scenarios outlined will vary and thus also impact cost and duration of implementation. The vendor you select may implement the software itself, partner with a third-party consultant, or leave it all up to you.

Additional ERP challenges may include:

  • ERP ROI – it can be difficult to measure efficiencies, value or the total return an ERP produces.
  • Data migration – it can be costly, difficulty and time consuming to transfer data and maintain quality and integrity.
  • Employee training – to take full advantage of ERP, employees must use it which could require training that reduces productivity and increases costs.
  • Reliance on lone vendor – the vendor you select will be responsible for upgrades and customisations and must remain in business for years for you to reap the full benefit of an ERP system.

Identifying exactly what your objectives are by implementing an ERP, evaluating the IT and infrastructure necessary to integrate and maintain the system, and mapping out exactly how you’ll track, and measure success are crucial in staying on budget and on time.

Identifying and understanding these items well in advance will not only help you select the right vendor but also contain costs and improve the odds that implementation won’t drag out for years to come.

Selecting the right ERP software

Selecting the right product and the right vendor hinges on intimately understanding your organisation’s needs and appropriately evaluating competing systems side by side.

Here are six things to consider that can help you make a more intelligent decision:

Objectives and requirements

Why exactly are you interested in an ERP system? What problem are you trying to solve?

Outlining ultra-specific objectives will help you identify narrow requirements ERP software must meet to be purchased. To avoid being influenced by vendor marketing, you might consider listing your requirements before you begin researching options.

Reminder: mobile ERP

When identifying your requirements remember to balance them with your employee policy on mobile devices. While mobile ERP isn’t new, the BYOD trend is and should be considered when balancing the advantages of using ERP on the go and ensuring data is secure.

Measuring ROI

When you begin researching ERP options you’ll notice no shortage of warnings regarding how difficult it is to measure ERP ROI. Fortunately, articulating ultra-specific goals as you’ll have already done will help.

You might measure ERP performance by:

  • Reduce headcount by X% in Y (months)
  • Increases employee productivity by X% in Y (months)
  • Reduce inventory by X% that results in Y accounting improvement
  • Increase customer touches by X times that increases lifetime value by Y (amount)
  • Improve accuracy of manufacturing cost quotes by X% in Y (months)

Reminder: cloud considerations

When figuring out how you’ll measure performance be sure to consider differences between in-house and cloud ERP. While cloud ERP is often user friendly and may require less in-house to maintain, it also means sensitive data will be stored off-site. Conversely, an in-house ERP may allow you to store sensitive data closer to home but doing so could require additional staff for system maintenance. Either decision can impact your IT culture and headcount.

Demystify the demo

You’re ready to see software demonstrations.

You may want to provide a demo script that outlines specific functions, workflows, or features you expect to see during the demo. You might feel as if directing the demo with precision will save time and help you better determine whether the software meets your goals.

An alternative approach is to simply provide the vendors with a goal and see how they respond…

Remember, you provided the vendor with several of the goals you expect ERP to help you achieve:

Do the salespeople spend time learning about your business, asking follow up questions about how you’ll use ERP, and voluntarily incorporate your goals in the demo?

The demo you receive can be extremely revealing in terms of what kind of partner the vendor will be over the long haul; implementation, customisation and support.

Get the real price

To select the right solution for your business, understand exactly how much the project will cost at each stage:

  • Upfront cost
  • Maintenance
  • Support
  • Recurring costs

Having a thorough discussion about price can prevent future surprises and disappointment. It can also help you shape a contract both parties can be happy with.

Reminder: customisation 2.0

Customisation is crucial in squeezing every bit of value from ERP software. However, too much can result in major cost, overruns and delayed implementation. Over customisation can also result in higher upgrade costs. Unless a specific customisation provides a competitive advantage or measurable benefit, consider saving the extra time and money custom coding often requires.

Gauge vendor viability

As the enterprise software space consolidates, companies may not wish to support all of the products they acquire in perpetuity. Acquirers may choose to sunset a specific product or notify customers it will no longer support a product after a certain date.

This is a risk that anyone considering ERP software must be concerned with.

For ERP providers that do not appear to be acquisition targets, it’s important to see their balance sheets so you can assess their financial strength and whether they’re likely to be around for the long haul.

Conclusion

Be sceptical when researching ERP systems online.

Much of the content claiming to help you select and implement the right ERP system is produced by the very people trying to sell it to you or by:

  • Outfits collecting leads to sell to ERP vendors.
  • Publishers who are paid by ERP vendors to be included in guides, handbooks or whitepapers.

This doesn’t mean the content isn’t accurate or potentially useful. Just be mindful of the source and whether a conflict of interest may exist.

Selecting the right ERP system requires disciplined attention to detail but a rather simple strategy:

  • Understand exactly what you need
  • Identify precisely how you’ll measure performance
  • Understand exactly what the vendor will provide
  • Check on the vendor including unconventional references
  • Pinpoint the price including recurring costs and incentives and penalties
  • Gauge vendor’s financial health and strategic direction

Good luck with the proposal. Just be sure they’re the one.

So, with all that said, we would like to propose to you that you get in contact with us as we might be the one and we don’t want to slip through your fingers and be the one that got away. Contact us here to organise a free consultation and demo, or call us on 0191 500 8150 to speak to a Business Software Consultant.

30
Jan

It’s time to upgrade your EPOS system

When was the last time you updated your point-of-sale (POS) system? Four years ago? Seven years ago? Do you even remember a time when you were able to refer to your POS software as being new?

If you can’t answer the last question, chances are pretty good that your POS software could use a good revamping. Even if you’ve updated your software within the last five years, you could still be missing out on some pretty ground-breaking technology.

But admitting your business could stand some streamlining is a far cry from justifying the time and money that inevitably goes into any major upgrade – especially one to your central means of sale. Business owners experience this kind of hesitation for a whole host of reasons, but sticking with a system that has been around long enough to have sold Fred Flintstone his footmobile may be causing more problems and costing you more than you realise.

If your POS system has fallen to the bottom of your priority list, you’ll want to be on the lookout for these eight signs that it’s time to treat your POS to a makeover.

Software is slow, buggy and complicated.

The first, and most obvious, sign you need new POS software is that your current system is just, well, old!

If customers have to question whether their transaction is even going to go through, or if you’re working with an ancient system held together with dirt and tape, it’s time for an upgrade. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Am I constantly battling with a platform that freezes or blinks out every time I issue a gift receipt?
  • How many times a week do I have to restart and reboot?
  • Is training new employees a hassle because of how convoluted each task is?

User friendliness has become an industry standard among even the most feature heavy systems. There are loads of ultra-simple, ultra-slick platforms out there; you shouldn’t continue pulling your hair out over old software. Customers will inevitably take note, so your system should instill confidence in your patrons and demonstrate the pride you take in your business.

Out-of-date hardware.

Think of how often you replace technology in your personal life. Most people wait no longer than two years before they start itching for the latest smartphone. While you may not want to replace your POS hardware quite that often, the average setup is going to be outmoded after four to seven years.

Most new software isn’t compatible with older hardware anyway, and that’s not just because POS vendors want you to spend more money. The actual reason is that older terminals, receipt printers, cash drawers, etc. just can’t accommodate the level of functionality available these days.

For instance, many of the newer POS systems operate on sleek tablets that have better operating systems than their much bulkier, much more expensive predecessors. New hardware is visually appealing, space-saving and convenient, allowing you to free up counter space even while giving your store or restaurant a little more style.

Outdated features.

Yes, at one point, tracking your inventory was cutting edge, but now it has become pretty standard. Depending on the level of functionality you’re working with, it may be time for you to step into the 21st century. For instance, think of how much time your average consumer spends on the internet. If you aren’t finding a way to connect with your customers online, a huge source of revenue is going untapped.

Here are some of the features you won’t find in older software:

  • E-commerce features (online stores, online ordering)
  • Social media integrations
  • Digital receipts
  • Mobile, real-time reporting
  • Customer loyalty programs
  • Email marketing campaigns

When it really comes down to it, if you aren’t offering these features, your competition will be. Think about that the next time you pass up on an upgrade.

Limited integration capabilities.

Do you spend time exporting valuable business information as CSV files that then have to be imported into third-party programs? Constantly jumping back and forth between multiple programs just to finish your daily paperwork isn’t doing you any favours. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to take care of all your back-office business within a single program? Well, you can!

Depending on your needs, there are POS systems out there with all the in-house features necessary to completely manage your business. Even if you need something outside the standard capabilities, most modern platforms offer integrations designed to supplement any areas your POS might not cover. Why work harder when you can reduce transferring errors and get all your work done in one place with a new system?

Outdated payment processing.

If you haven’t jumped on the contactless bandwagon, it’s high time to do so. Not only is it a good idea to upgrade your payment processor to protect yourself from fraud liability, but the way we pay for things is also diversifying. More people are expecting to use Apple Pay or Android Pay when they shop, and if your system doesn’t support NFC payments, you will lose their business.

Another element of payment processing is to consider integrating your credit card reader. External credit card processors can slow down transaction times and add extra steps to your reporting process. Most POS vendors have made it to a point to integrate with a selection of merchant services providers, and some even offer in-house payment processing, making it easier than ever to nail down a competitive rate.

Still not cloud-based?

Most recently, cloud-based technology has become increasingly entrenched in the business sector. By the year 2020, a study estimated that more than 80 percent of businesses will be using cloud-based systems, which makes sense considering how the cloud has already invaded the consumer tech realm.

There is a swath of benefits to using a cloud-based system, but if you’re not totally convinced, some POS systems offer hybrid technology, which incorporates the best of both locally-installed and cloud-based platforms.

Too expensive.

One of the perks of the technological jump is the increased affordability of POS systems. Not only is the software generally cheaper and offered at a month to month rate, but you’re also not having to invest in costly hardware. And when we say ‘costly’, we don’t just mean in terms of the monetary sacrifice you make when purchasing huge terminals, servers and backup servers. We’re also referring to the time, energy and frustration that older, high-maintenance systems demand.

This is where cloud-based technology can really come in handy and keep more money in your wallet. Technical support is either free or significantly less expensive, updates are automatic, and trained professionals are monitoring and maintaining the servers housing your data so you don’t have to.

You’re contributing to global warming.

Okay, so maybe that’s just a slight overstatement, but let’s face it, the ‘going green’ buzz words are all around us. Customers want to feel like they are leaving a smaller carbon footprint, and if your business offers them ways to do it, they are more likely to return.

Find software that emails electronic receipts, invest in a mobile POS that you can take tableside or onto the sales floor, send orders wirelessly to a kitchen display instead of printing tickets. Take it a step further by digitising your books with online inventory management, marketing campaigns, payroll management and accounting.

Final thoughts.

If you found yourself nodding along to any of the points in this article, then it’s probably time to consider an upgrade to your point of sale system. Whether you need new hardware, new software, or both, the system around which your entire business revolves is no place to skimp.

Here at Monpellier, we can help you recognise your business needs, and refer you to the best EPOS system, software and hardware that will help you to help your business. Call us on 0191 500 8150 or email [email protected] to organise a meeting today!

18
Jan

Why SME business owners need accounting software

Why most accounting systems don’t measure up to today’s business environment

As an SME owner, it is good to be updated and well acquainted with current trends in the business world. Using accounting software saves hours of time compared to handling the books manually and is usually more efficient than a spreadsheet.

It’s because accounting software reduces or eliminates redundant data entry, like entering the customer’s address on the quote, then the work order, and then the invoice.

If you are a sole proprietor with no employees, low or no inventory and a handful of customers, you may not even need accounting software, or there are free or low-priced accounting software options available. SME business owners who carry inventory, have more customers or employees will save time and have more accurate records if accounting software is used.

Most accounting software is much easier to use than it once was, and some small business accounting software was designed for ease of use by a person with no accounting background at all.

One of the emerging trends is cloud computing, otherwise referred to as web-based accounting or cloud accounting. It is one of the revolutionary things that has swept the world by storm since it has reduced some of the burdens that are sometimes associated with the use of traditional accounting systems.

Doing small business accounting online is something that everyone will eventually adopt and this is because of the following benefits that many SME owners enjoy.

It provides real access to your financial and accounting information.

The ease of access to accounting information of your business is what makes cloud computing a must have for your business. All you need in order to access your company’s up-to-date financial information is an internet connection.

When you  have the connection, you will be able to see the financial position of your business from anywhere in the world at any time. As the manager, therefore, cloud computing allows you to move around from one location to another, but still be informed about how your business is doing, as opposed to the past where this information was only accessible in the office.

Reduces overhead costs.

Accounting for the longest time has always added extra expenses to any business. This is because the business owner had to hire a service accountant. However, with cloud computing, what you need to do is pay the subscription fees and you are ready to go. This will save you a considerable amount of cash in the long run.

Remember to figure support costs into your accounting software budget. Some accounting software provides a fee-based support by email or phone from the moment you start using the software. The accounting software may have an online user forum where you can ask questions as well. It is often a good option to have fee-based  support when your question is about how to use a feature.

Easy and secure sharing.

The use of emailing accounting information belongs to the past. Presently, almost every small business owner is using cloud accounting to share the information about the financial position of the business to different business stakeholders. Furthermore, you do not need to back up all the files using the USB stick!

Data backup and security.

The cloud computing provider you choose usually ensures that the security for your data an never be compromised. In case of a system failure, the accounting information for your business is always backed up and you should never worry about data loss.

Automatic upgrades.

Using cloud computing for your business will never require you to update it. This is because the provider updates it automatically from the server. Isn’t this a great idea? It is because other accounting software will require that you updated them from time to time whenever a new version is available. The automatic updates save time and allow you to do constructive work or engage in other activities that would improve the business.

Enhances business efficiency.

When all the above benefits are taken into account, you can conclusively agree that the efficiency of the business will be improved. When the overhead costs are reduced, the business will definitely have better savings, provided that the income generated is kept constant. On the other hand, you will spend less time collecting and checking the accounting books.

It’s important to note some accounting software is designed specifically for industries such as construction, manufacturing and wholesale distributors. If your small business is in an industry with specific accounting requirements, they may be accounting software with features to meet those requirements, such as Pegasus CIS, or Sage modules such as Bill of Manufacturing.

Before you buy accounting software, talk to other people who use accounting software in businesses that are similar to yours. Discuss what they like about their accounting software, and what needs improvement. You may find that there is no perfect accounting software out there, but do not be discouraged.

The goal is to find the accounting software that best meets your needs.

So, what next?

If you are considering implementing a new accounting software service, and know what your business needs are, but not sure what the next step to take is, we can help.

Give us a call on 0191 500 8150 or email [email protected] and speak to one of our friendly Business Software Consultants.

7
Dec

HOW TO MANAGE STOCK LEVELS USING EPOS SYSTEMS

Smart stock management is easier said than done. Every retailer knows that optimising stock levels is a key part of running a successful business, yet few have truly mastered this exact science.

Today’s stock control systems aren’t just for big chains. As the technology has matured, it’s become accessible even for the smallest independent merchant.

The integration of stock control with a feature-packing EPOS system is now the norm, meaning that you don’t need to buy two separate systems or worry about integration. This setup also vastly improves the accuracy of your stock levels.

So, let’s take a closer look at how EPOS systems can help you manage your stock levels.

Overstocking versus understocking

Having too much cash wrapped up in stock causes a huge problem for business. Insurance and storage costs rise, while obsolescence threatens to create dead stock that you simply can’t sell. Eventually you may be forced to sell excess stock at a significant discount merely to make way for next season’s products.

Keeping too little stock can be equally damaging. Customers can’t buy empty shelves. An ‘out of stock’ notice acts as a direct incentive for customers to visit your competitors.

Stock levels in an EPOS system give you a highly accurate picture of current stock levels of every single product. Reporting functions let you comb through historical data to understand how quickly each product sells at a given time of year, allowing you to plan deliveries and purchase orders with precision.

Automated purchase orders

Furthermore, EPOS systems allow you to assign reorder points for individual products. At the end of a specified period, the software will check which stock levels are at or below their reorder points. Purchase orders are then automatically populated with the relevant products and quantities. The user can tweak the figures and send the purchase orders electronically.

This function turns stock ordering from a painful marathon into a straightforward sprint. It reduces human error, helps prevent overstocking and understocking, and frees staff time for more important tasks.

Promotions

Another key to stock management is discounting. Promotions, sales and seasonal events shift stock that’s struggling or can increase average order value. Of course, a poorly planned deal can dent your finances and cause cash flow problems.

Give your promotions the best chance of meeting their goals with an EPOS system. Look back at how previous events affected sales of certain items or product categories. Learn from what worked, and what didn’t. Examine profit margins and stock levels to determine which products to promote and the type of promotion you should run.

Summary

The stock data in an EPOS system is extremely valuable to your business, but it’s true worth is determined by how you use it.

To find out how to harness EPOS data to efficiently manage your stock, speak to one of our Business Software Consultants by calling 0191 500 8150 or email [email protected]

5
Dec

TOP TEN TIPS FOR EFFECTIVE CLOUD ACCOUNTING

If you’re thinking about setting up cloud accounting, it is important to consider some of the below points in order to get the most out of the cloud. We would also strongly advise that you discuss the move with us, so we can help identify the best software for you based on your needs.

Plan your approach

Before you start, be sure to outline your objectives and what you want to achieve through the use of cloud accounting. There is a lot of information available about best providers, as well as a whole host of add-ons to consider. If you clearly define how you want to utilise cloud accounting, you will avoid signing up for an add-on that you don’t need.

Find your match

Once you’ve identified what you want out of cloud accounting, you will be better positioned to select software that suits your needs. If you already have an existing e-commerce platform, it is important to consider how that will integrate with your chosen cloud accounting software. The choice should come down to the specific needs of your business, the accounting experience of the users, and your personal preference regarding the user interface.

Make sure your internet can handle it

Is your preferred product available offline? Does your company have sufficient bandwidth to handle hosting the cloud? It is important to check the internet requirements before your sign up to a software contract. A robust internet connection will ensure that your software operates efficiently to give you the best experience possible.

Know what your costs cover

It is relatively easy to become bamboozled by pricing structures when searching for the right software. Make sure you know what’s included in your package. That way you will avoid any nasty surprises, and won’t have to pay for any additionals that you thought were included. Most cloud packages and add-on providers work on a monthly subscription, but offer discounts for 12 month sign ups. By getting this right from the start you will be able to factor your accounting costs into the cash-flows, and make the most of any savings.

Make the most of training

Like any new software, when you first start using a cloud accounting it can be quite daunting. As you start to use it on a daily basis, questions will arise and it’s helpful to know that support is available. Whether through your software company or your accountant, it’s reassuring to know that you are supported.

Maximise your capacity for collaboration

Cloud accounting allows you to collaborate with your finance team and share data with your accountant. This combination of real time cloud technology and your financial advisor’s expertise allows you to get the advice you need when you want it. Make sure you use it!

Take advantage of your online storage

The majority of cloud accounting packages have the facility to raise and retain copies of sales invoices online, whilst being able to email them to customers. This saves on postage costs and space in the office. Similarly for purchase invoices, you are able to scan in the invoice and attach it to the transaction. The most common cloud accounting packages are HMRC approved.

Secure your data

One of the most common concerns when it comes to cloud accounting is data security. However, storing your data in the cloud actually increases your levels of security since the data resides in the cloud rather than on your hard drive.

Think beyond the finance function

A common mistake when moving to cloud accounting software is to consider it only from a finance perspective. The reality is that there are several efficiencies that can be made beyond finance, whether that’s stock control, point of sale or rota management. It’s therefore vital to contemplate how all operations of the business will be affected by cloud accounting, and how this will impact on all employees’ roles and responsibilities, not just those in finance.

Be ahead of the game

In a world where we want instant access to our data and expect instant responses to our questions, there’s no doubt that cloud accounting is the future of finance. Such a fundamental change can be a scary prospect, but the benefits of a successful transition both in terms of time and money can be vast. The earlier you and your team start on board with cloud accounting, the more comfortable you will be using the software, giving your business a competitive edge.

So, what next?

If you’re interested in discussing where cloud accounting software can take you, speak to one of our Business Software Consultants who’ll be able to help by either calling on 0191 500 8150 or email [email protected]

30
Nov

HOW A CRM SOLUTION HELPS SMES

To survive in today’s market, the relationship that you have with your clients is crucial. From acquisition to retention, your business growth depends on maintaining a strong connection with your contacts. As you might have heard before, it is five times more expensive to attract new customers than keep current clients. First, you need to evaluate your performance in building relations with your contacts.

Here are six metrics to measure your sales customer relationship:

  • Contact frequency
  • Sales closing rate
  • Cross-selling and up-selling rate
  • Customer retention rate
  • Satisfaction score
  • Lifetime customer value

CRM software can portray all of your customer relationship touch points

As an SME, you need strategies that will help you remain active with your clients. To meet this requirement, you should map all the interactions between your business and customers. CRM is there to help you set up this process and automate those interactions.

Organisations that are thoroughly familiar with their clients can build up custom responses and anticipate their requirements and needs. They can set templates or automate emails based on those frequent requests.

What should an SME want from their CRM?

Nowadays, SMEs use CRM to deliver measurable advantages that help the enterprise to drive profitable growth, attain operational excellence, and generate revenue. It provides seamless end-to-end integration, flexible implementation, and offers comprehensive functionality.

Also, CRM includes client-facing departments like marketing, sales and support. It provides meticulous reports and a 360 degree view across all interaction channels and customer touch points.

The advantages of using CRM for SMEs

Improved sales success and customer profitability

Reduce the sales cycle and increase close rates with automated sales processes, lead management, quote creation, and order management. Use powerful sales management tools to streamline the entire process. Manage and record new opportunities with relevant data, such as probability, potential competition, source of the lead and deal closing date.

Minimised costs

Costs are commonly high with sales and marketing operations. With CRM software, your team can increase efficiency, accuracy, avoid errors and reduce money spent on operations.

Track and run marketing campaigns

CRM makes it easy to view all marketing goals and activities plus lead generation and follow up. Users are able to drill down relevant activities within a marketing campaign like opportunities, communications, responses, projects, planned budget and actual cost. This comprehensive view of marketing campaigns minimises the guesswork and utilises the marketing resources to their highest potential.

Consistent and efficient customer service

Client service experts can run cases from the first contact to the final resolution. It can access a rich knowledge base of service information and can quickly and accurately cover all customer needs with automated routing and queuing of service requests.

Improved client relations

Armed with advanced and user-friendly CRM tools, companies are able to handle client requests more quickly, which enhances and improves the customer experience.

Seamless integration

The CRM solutions can easily integrate with all other business applications and systems. For example, your EPOS can integrate with your accounting software, giving you a better overlook of your business operations.

Improved decisions

Empower managers with comprehensive customer insights, relevant reports, and a complete view of marketing, sales and customer service history, so they are able to identify the opportunities, trends and issues that guide their decisions.

Business growth

Through seamless end-to-end business operations and processes, you can manage client-related business processes throughout the whole organisation and along the value chain. Starting from a marketing campaign and initial contact through payment and delivery. CRM gives an integrated view of potential and existing customers, opportunities, activities, competition, products and services, quotation and sales orders.

Improve service delivery and product development processes

With a thorough understanding of your customers’ preferences and buying habits with CRM, you can provide value-added services and best-in-class products that are difficult for competitors to duplicate.

Good CRM software is a compass for your SME. Know exactly where you are with your clients and prospects, what direction to take to keep them satisfied, and what obstacles to overcome to close deals with them.

Marketing, sales and support

Developing your marketing, sales and support department to their full potential is crucial for building excellent and robust customer relations. CRM extensively uses customer related information by integrating the areas of sales, marketing and service, and verifying the creation of client value.

With procedures and processes that build a business management model centred on a 360 degree approach to the customer, CRM solution enables SMEs to proactively run their customer interaction for maximum business profit.

The proper CRM product is capable of transforming the way SMEs are winning and retaining clients, by building an interconnected workplace that extends across business solutions and web environment.

The CRM system offers a platform for business agility, enabling the SMEs to adapt their processes smoothly to constantly changing market dynamics, orchestrate business operations across and beyond the organisation, and transform themselves into client-centric organisations.

It provides great breadth and depth of functions by assisting the most comprehensive range of end-to-end processes that address specific business needs. Most importantly, the CRM applications are user-friendly, versatile and cost-effective solutions, suitable for SMEs to improve their marketing, sales and support efficiencies.

Finally

CRM software helps SMEs turn prospects into customers, grow sales and client profitability and improve customer satisfaction.

To find out more about the best CRM for your business needs, or if you are ready to take the next step, it is time for you to speak to one of our Business Software Consultants by either calling 0191 500 8150 or emailing [email protected]

29
Nov

IS ONLINE ACCOUNTING SOFTWARE RIGHT FOR YOUR BUSINESS?

Businesses are increasingly opting to use cloud-based services and software to meet their business needs. Rather than purchasing software, businesses are logging in and accessing the software on the internet.

These services are a form of cloud computing. They perform the job of traditional accounting software, but work over the internet, So, is online accounting right for your business?

Online accounting software explained

Most businesses accept that they need some form of accounting software, especially if they’ve been going for a while. It can make it much easier to perform jobs like invoicing, and helps you keep on top of your record keeping.

A common accounting software set up is to have the accounting system running from a central network server on your premises. The people who need to use the system can then log in to the server to access it.

Online accounting software works in a similar way. The main difference is that instead of the data being stored on a server in your business, it gets stored on a server (or servers) which you can access over the internet.

Pay by the month for online accounting software

That means, of course, that you need an internet connection to log on and access your financial information. But it also means that you can log in from anywhere (as long as you have an internet connection). This is a real benefit if you have remote or mobile workers.

Using online accounting software can therefore offer more flexibility. Workers are no longer tied to the office. They can catch up on your bookkeeping or invoicing from home or on the road. In fact, many online accounting software packages even allow you to log in from a smart phone.

Unlike traditional accounting packages, there’s not usually a big upfront charge for online accounting software. Instead, you typically pay a flat monthly fee. Depending on what features you want from your online accounting software, the fee can be relatively low.

It doesn’t automatically mean that online accounting software is cheaper. But it does help to avoid big, one-off expenses. It can also make it easier to scale up as your business grows. You simply pay for the additional licenses as you need them.

Online accounting software helps your accountant too

Additionally, online accounting software enables you and your accountant to look at the same information at the same time but from different locations. This improves your communication and saves time.

One of the principal advantages of online accounting software is that teams working together have instant access to real-time data. It’s ideal for multiple branch operations.

But is online accounting software secure?

Businesses usually have one main concern when considering online accounting software: security and backup. With your data stored on an external server, how can you possibly know it’s safe?

The answer is to take the same safety precautions you would for any cloud computing service. When choosing a provider, do your homework carefully.

Make sure your chosen online accounting software has a good track record of keeping data safe. Look for an ‘uptime guarantee’ too – this promises that the system will be available when you need it.

Check for specific information about how and where your data will be stored. Ask the online accounting software provider how often they take backups and where they’re stored. If the answers to your questions are vague, think carefully before signing up.

Having said that, it’s worth comparing the risks of an online accounting software package with those of running software in-house. When you weigh up these factors, you may find that using online accounting software will actually reduce the risks.

So, what next?

If you are looking for a change of accounting software, whether it be cloud or on-premise, it is important to do your research. Here at Monpellier, we match the correct accounting software with your business needs. To find out more, speak to one of our Business Software Consultants by either calling 0191 500 8150, or emailing [email protected]

23
Nov

ACCOUNTING SOFTWARE VS EXCEL SPREADSHEETS

Some argue that off the shelf accounting packages aren’t as good as Excel spreadsheets to manage your finances. Although Excel can be customised to a way that could work for you, there are multiple reasons why software ranks supreme over the Excel spreadsheet method.

Ease of use

A Microsoft Excel spreadsheet is basically a blank slate on which you can store important financial figures. You can type in any numbers and use simple calculations to create the figures you want to tally. However, if you aren’t an Excel expert, then you won’t know how to tabulate your finances.

A safer option is to use accounting software, like Pegasus Opera 3 or Sage 200. This is more powerful software is just as easy to use as an Excel spreadsheet, with an added benefit of built-in analysis and automating features. You don’t need an accounting degree to keep your books when using accounting software.

Visibility to your economic health

Your financials may seem easy to track in Excel at start-up, but after years of experience, you begin to generate a much larger volume of figures.

Tracking and analysing important financial data becomes harder and more time consuming. With accounting software, it can provide you with balance sheets, income statements, profit/loss statements and reports on your products or services. A few clicks of the mouse and you can share reports with regulatory agencies or review the data that you need to make the quick business decisions that drive business.

Improve productivity and profitability

Accounting software can offer visibility into business operations that can improve productivity and profitability. Monitor supply chain, manufacturing operations, project or service management, human resources, and other business elements in this single software platform. Learn what products or services are your most profitable, streamline operations, and keep on track with your strategic goals. Excel simply can’t provide this type of insight.

5 reasons to use accounting software vs spreadsheets

Hit the ground running

An easy-to-use dashboard is one that you don’t have to set up yourself and it will give you confidence from the get go. When you have a clear financial view from the start, you don’t need to worry about making uninformed business decisions.

Your data is accurate

Your company’s real-time financial data is kept in one central place – online, in the cloud. Bank statement lines are fed into your software – it’s automatic, and reduces the amount of data entry and potential mistakes.

Out-of-box reports

Get most of the reports you’ll ever need, with a few clicks – no need to wait for month end. Real-time reports and budgets are easy to view and share. Tasks like sales tax returns can be completed quicker than if you did it using Excel.

Up-to-date information

Create the information any of your employees might need at a moment’s notice. Your SME will be equipped to manage its finances better and more accurately. This is especially important around tax time when data will be shared. Financial tax information is always up-to-date and ready to share.

You’ll have a clean audit trail

All of the historical information that your employees may need is available at their fingertips. A proper audit trail ensures your data cannot be compromised. It also records every business transaction. This includes sales contracts, payments to employees, and more. Having a complete audit trail reassures employees about the validity of the company and meets the tax department’s needs.

Conclusion

Excel is a great program for storing small amounts of simple data and it can provide basic levels of accounting functions. As your business grows and you have more data to track and monitor, you’ll find greater productivity and profitability with an accounting software solution.

Please contact us for more information about accounting software options that can improve your bottom line more effectively than Excel spreadsheets! Either call us on 0191 500 8150 or email [email protected]

15
Nov

CREDIT MANAGEMENT AND CASH FLOW

Cash flow: a definition.

Cash flow, the ability to generate enough cash at the right time to meet liabilities, is one of the most common inhibitors of business growth and the key reason for insolvency, affecting profitable and unprofitable companies alike.

According to research, small and medium-sized companies are owed nearly £40 billion as a result of late payments. The findings highlight that 60% of SMEs are now experiencing late payments, with the average overdue payment figure totalling £38,186.

10 tips for improved cash flow

Pegasus Software have put together a list of 10 tips for improved cash flow for SMEs:

  1. Where possible, capitalise on financing options such as loans, to help mitigate against the impact of cash flow volatility.
  2. Run regular credit checks on your customers. Circumstances can change quickly, so ideally this should take place every six months.
  3. Ensure you know the history of your largest customers. For example, if directors have a history of bankruptcy, a degree of caution may be necessary.
  4. Be bold. If a customer regularly defaults on payment terms, are they worth the resources it takes to service them and chase down payments? Turning away business might seem counterproductive, but could positively impact the bottom line.
  5. Consider your credit terms and look at introducing 14-day payments or small deposits for the largest customers. Look into offering a small discount for early payment.
  6. Invest in a software solution with robust financials, to generate invoices automatically and in a timely manner, provide alerts when payments become overdue, and facilitate immediate action to recover debts.
  7. Ensure you have a clear credit control policy in place and create a series of automated letter and email templates to communicate appropriately with customer and recover late payments.
  8. When chasing payment, always act appropriately. Be firm, polite and diplomatic.
  9. Monitor your cash flow closely and in real time. Dashboard applications will help you prepare for things going wrong by giving you a clear picture in an easy-to-understand format.
  10. Review cash flow processes and resources on a regular basis and set realistic targets to ensure continued improvement.

Managing customer debt effectively

Pegasus have Credit Control Software called the ‘Credit Management Centre’ which provides credit controllers and those involved in debt management with a centralised, easy-to-use tool which consolidates all of the information needed for effective credit control.

Easy to understand, real-time graphs display your overall financial status so you can quickly see what is owed, who owes it and how much money has been promised by customers. This gives you all the information you need to improve cash flow, reduce bad debts and improve the overall financial position of your business.

Key features of the Credit Management Centre

  • Easy to understand dashboard views of the overall financial position of your company and customers.
  • Drill down behind key financial information, customer accounts, and transactions.
  • Powerful filters allow you to manage customers that are over their credit limit and/or have overdue invoices.
  • Create and organise customers into user definable Credit Management Groups according to their Debt Define custom Action Types and Outcome Types to be used with diary actions for recording activities and follow up reminder via Notification Services.
  • Record and revise Promised Payment against individual transactions or at account level.
  • Integrates with the Opera 3 Sales Ledger with instant access to the Account view for historical information.
  • Easily put accounts on or off stop, increase or decrease credit limits, and reorganise accounts into different Credit Management Groups individually, or in bulk.
  • Dispute invoices and record the appropriate reason code.
  • Print Statements, Copy Invoices and produce Debtors letters.
  • Keep on top of actions due for completion with the Diary view.
  • Additional Credit Management reports including: Promised Payments & Diary Activities that can also be exported directly to Excel.
  • Integrates with Pegasus Instant Messenger (PIM) and Pegasus XRL.

Check out the video demo of the Credit Management Centre here

Contact one of our Business Software Consultants to see how upgrading to Opera 3 can benefit your business. Either call 0191 500 8150 or email [email protected]

 

6
Nov

5 REASONS TO USE SAGE ACCOUNTING SOFTWARE FOR YOUR BUSINESS

Until the 1980s when technology and computer software development really progressed, accounting was a long and laborious task, requiring all notations and financial data to be analysed, recorded and stored by hand. Accounting software introduced a quick and reliable method of tracking accounts that has revolutionised the industry.

What is a Sage accounting system?

A Sage accounting system is a computerised package that has numerous facilities to process your financial information. The system collects your information, classifies it and then summarises the data in an accessible way to allow the user to view their financial information in simplistic terms. Just some of the many capabilities of a Sage system include:

  • Ability to print out invoices
  • Updating customer and supplier records
  • Making payments
  • Automatic update of the general ledger
  • Automatic altering of stock levels
  • Automatic calculation of payroll
  • Summarises customer accounts with overdue balances
  • Valuation of stock
  • Analyse sales
  • VAT returns

Due to its early beginnings and market dominance, Sage managed to attract accountants before other packages had the chance. It’s an aging industry, full of traditionalists so those who started with Sage have mostly stayed with Sage.

90% of accountants in the UK recognise the Sage format because of this, either using it in the past or still use it today, passing it on to their employees and the next generation of accountants. Sage have concentrated on providing users with solutions which benefit them, they include features requested by their clients and have remained loyal to the small and medium sized businesses instead of going to what is more likely to be the more profitable option of the corporates.

Sage understand what their customers need, the industries they work in and advancements in a quickly changing technology. This allows them to improve their package to retain their current users whilst attracting new ones.

The benefits

Rule out human error

By having a completely computerised method of storing all of your financial information, you rule out the risk of human error, such as jotting down the wrong figures or misplacing information. These seemingly small errors can have a catastrophic effect on a business’s financial standing, so having an accurate system is hugely beneficial to the user.

Real time financial information

You can access your account and see all the transactions and your cash flow to date as the system is updated in real time. This is handy if you need to check you can afford unforeseen costs or to confirm which transactions have been processed.

Less time consuming

Data entry can be carried out much quicker than if it were done manually, and the information only has to be entered into the system once, even if it’s to be used for many purposes.

Keep things simple

When businesses grow and develop, accountancy becomes much more complex. Computerised accounting systems sift through all of the data easily and make the process much more straightforward than manual accountancy.

Cost effective

Sage accounting systems are quick and efficient, which makes them much more cost effective than paper based accounting as the work requires less hourly paid work. Furthermore, the systems are usually issued at a very low monthly subscription cost.

So, what next?

If you are interested in finding out more about Sage accounting software, call us on 0191 500 8150 or email [email protected] and one of our Business Software Consultants will be more than happy to have a chat with you regarding this.

2
Nov

WHY USE ACCOUNTING SOFTWARE AND HOW TO CHOOSE IT

Choose the right accounting software package and you will save time and money. You will make fewer mistakes, and you’ll gain an understanding of your business finances.

Why wouldn’t you use it then?

And don’t be so daunted. Good business accounting software is designed for people who aren’t accountants.

So, let’s pin down some of these real benefits.

Why use accounting software?

Basic accounting software is cheap and fairly easy to use. Unless your business processes fewer than 10 transactions a month, accounting software will almost certainly save you time and money.

It can make many tasks easier

  • Bookkeeping is simplified and automated. For example, when you enter an order, the software will stock levels and customer records. You can also translate the order into a sales invoice automatically.
  • Checking bank statements, VAT returns, monthly management  accounts and more can be completed quickly.
  • Some software supports online banking and online tax filing.
  • Most packages offer optional features to help you run on payroll.

It provides a range of real-time management reports

  • See who owes you money, check your bank account balance, or how much VAT you owe.
  • Generate your balance sheet, profit and loss or cash flow reports, or view performance against budget.
  • Some software nay let you estimate how profitable a particular job has been.

Identify your needs

We’re clear it’s a good idea for you to consider accounting software. But it’s also important to identify your own priorities before you start.

Think about what you want to do with it, and how it can help your particular business.

Being clear about your priorities helps you evaluate packages.

Here are five questions we suggest you ask yourself:

What are your business objectives?

For instance, you may set out to capture 10% of a given market over the next five years, or want to open 10 new shops.

Accounting software will include features to help with both these two example objectives.

Who is going to use the software?

Think this through properly ahead of making any purchase. Those people who are actually going to use the package should be involved in choosing it.

  • What would your employees like to see from a new accounting system? What issues are there with your current way of doing things?
  • Get your accountant or finance team involved. They may be able to suggest specific packages. It’s also important that they can work with the software to produce your end-of-year accounts and to satisfy audit requirements.

What management information is crucial to the running of your business?

Accounting software isn’t just about complying with the law. It can provide information to help you run your business and make decisions.

  • A retailer, say, needs instant access to stock information.
  • Your accountant or consultant may be able to use data to improve your business.

Can the software handle all the accounting tasks you need it to?

Accounting software can help you with day-to-day financial tasks including:

  • Sales, invoicing and receipts.
  • Purchases and payments.
  • Banking and cash management.
  • VAT, tax and accounts.
  • Stock control and payroll.

Finally, what special needs do you have?

  • For instance, do you have more than once business? Or trade internationally?
  • If you run an online business, can the software integrate with your e-commerce solution? If you buy and sell in different countries, you need software that can automatically convert currencies using the correct exchange rate.

Consider all these issues, before you choose your specific package. But we’re in little doubt the right accounting software will bring real benefits to your small business.

If you’d like to find out more about what Monpellier can offer you, give us a call on 0191 500 8150 or email [email protected] to speak to one of our Business Software Consultants.

 

19
Oct

WHY “WE’VE ALWAYS DONE IT LIKE THAT” IS BAD FOR BUSINESS

Struggles with an accounting system may be a sign that it is time for something new. Growing SMEs may quickly outpace an older accounting software system but only few companies are willing to make the move. All of the other companies are staying things like:

“We’ve always done it like that”

“This is what we’ve been told to do”

Using those canned answers tells us a lot about someone. The number of meetings we have had with different clients who say the above two answers to questions is astronomical!

If you are one of those people that find themselves saying any of the above, it is time to sit back and read through this blog post so you can reassess.

Here are several indications that will justify moving to an accounting system with more features and scalability:

User permissions

Some companies have a need to limit certain functions to certain users. Most systems come with basic functional limitations, such as restricting Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable functions. It may be helpful to have more granular user permissions such as access to only purchase orders or a certain bank account.

The key is to balance efficiency with security; that is, users need to be able to access areas of the accounting system they need in order to get their job done without having to constantly locate a supervisor. At the same time, there needs to be a balance so they don’t access areas unrelated to their job description.

Multiple companies and consolidated financial systems

Multiple companies that are the “children” of a parent company may need consolidated financial statements. A more robust accounting system makes it possible to open and view information for multiple companies at the same time.

Or, it set up correctly from the beginning, it is entirely possible to track multiple companies within one set of books which makes consolidated financials a snap. Be careful though, tracking multiple subsidiaries can quickly turn into a mess if not done properly and efficiently.

Number of customers and vendors

Keep an eye on the number of customers and vendors. Each system has their own limits and these limits can get complex quickly. Businesses need to be prepared to switch to a new accounting system before data limits impact everyday business operations.

File size and performance

There may be file size limits, especially if the company manages a high volume of transactions or multiple years of history in one file. It may be possible to condense files or set different preferences to speed up accounting system performance. Performance may be an issue if an older accounting system is installed on a newer PC.

Inventory features

Inventory issues are time-killers and create headaches. If a business needs a different method of calculating inventory or more advanced features than those provided in the “off-the-shelf” software, it may be time to upgrade.

Enhanced customisation

Most mid-market accounting systems provide better customisation such as additional custom fields, better reporting and improved form design. The based models offer standard reports with limited customisation options. However, if  the accounting system is designed correctly, using these reports can usually handle most business owners’ needs.

Manual processes

How many ‘touches’ does it take to pay a bill or create an invoice? If there are multiple approvers and/or data entry takes an inordinate amount of time, then it may be a good time to make a change.

Another clue is using manual spreadsheets to manage processes and information when a reporting feature could make the task simpler and more accurate. It’s easy for companies to get in the “we’ve always done it this way” mentality. Look at processes to see if manual processes can be automated.

Number of simultaneous users

The final reason to switch to a larger accounting system is to accommodate more simultaneous users. Most software packages start out at base level for the core package and offer add-ons as well as an additional charge for each user. There is also a substantial investment in conversion and training as well so it’s important to accurately predict the number of users before deciding to make a change.

Monpellier has extensive experience helping clients select the best accounting systems for their situations. If you need help determining what kind of system is best for your business, give us a call on 0191 500 8150 or email [email protected]

12
Oct

THE RISK AND COST OF MANUAL RE-KEYING

Manual re-keying implies that employees perform the whole accounting cycle manually on a periodic basis. They calculate trial balances, note transactions, prepare financial statement reports and other routines. This takes up a lot of time, resources and effort.

Today, a surprising amount of companies still work with a separate CRM, operations and financial systems that require them to manually enter data multiple times. The result is costly – and often embarrassing – errors that stem from bad or out-of-step data.

But how acute is this problem? How exactly does it bleed energy and money from your organisation? There are several ways in which poor or manual information flow can hinder your business.

The first issue it the cost of having a mistake creep into your information systems, customer orders, service or operation orders, or billing. You are particularly vulnerable if you have any manual “double-entry” of data from system to system.

Human error

If you take the human benchmark of a 1% error rate in manual data entry, what does that mean in your business? How many records or fields are your employee entering into the system each day?

If you now consider that 1 of every 100 instances is likely erroneous, you’ll get a sense of your exposure. Now multiply that mistake (and add subsequent ones) for every time information is moved from one  system to another.

1-10-100

Another common business concept is the 1-10-100 rule. This rule of thumb model highlights the hard costs to an organisation chasing mistakes and that failure to take notice and correct mistakes escalate the later they are realised.

It costs £1 to verify the accuracy of data at the point of entry. £10 to correct or clean up data in batch form. £100 per record if nothing is done.

Combine

There is huge value in combining data capture with workflow and integration with accounting software that will rapidly reduce the costs and improve financial control.

How do companies in the UK that still rely on manual processes, plan to cope with the additional demand on finance associated with processing the increasing volumes of invoices?

Many companies are unwilling to embark on the upheaval, cost and distraction associated with upgrading accounting software. So how can those businesses reliant on the traditional finance packages achieve the cost and control associated with end-to-end invoice processing that is standard on the market?

So, what are your options?

One option is to overload the existing Purchase Ledger staff, watch the backlog build and incur the wrath of suppliers at best, late payment penalties at worst.

Another option is to add a finance head – but this is a significant cost to the business and one that many SMEs are still loath to adopt.

The alternative is to look at the way invoices are processed and introduce some level of automation. This is where we come in. With our team’s knowledge regarding accounting software, we’re here to answer all of your problems when it comes to manual re-keying.

The main advantages of accounting software are:

  • High speed and mobility of reporting
  • Reliability
  • No routine work
  • Increased accuracy
  • Internal control system of increased productivity
  • Easy back up and restoration of records

By introducing accounting software into your business, it means that the problematic risks and costs of manual re-keying are one less thing for you to worry about.

Audit your staff and processes to determine how much time is spent on entering and re-entering data into your systems. In terms of efficiency, single database systems give staff the ability to enter new information once and have it immediately available to all departments in real time. It eliminates the need to go back and reconcile data in multiple systems and drastically reduces errors.

By eliminating the need for duplicate data entry and data reconciliation across multiple systems, you drastically reduce the administrative costs – and the chances for headache inducing, embarrassing customer moments.

You’ll also increase employee satisfaction as your accounts team spend less time typing away at their keyboard and more time doing the jobs they love!

For more information about accounting software, call us on 0191 500 8150 or email us on [email protected]

One of our friendly Business Software Consultants will be able to talk you through what we do and give you a free demo!

11
Oct

ACCOUNTING SOFTWARE VS. EXCEL

It’s a little ironic; Spreadsheets launched the personal computer business back in 1979 yet today, spreadsheets can sink your small business, if you insist on using them for your accounting.

Nowadays there are so many ‘killer accounting software systems’ and it gives millions of people an excuse to buy a computer for both business and personal use, and while it was great what we can accomplish with spreadsheets, when asked why to use accounting software instead of Excel spreadsheets, we have many reasons to offer:

Reason 1

Spreadsheets and spreadsheet formulas are only as accurate as the person doing the entries. It is easy to lock major mistakes in place and difficult to discover them.

Reason 2

SaaS (software as a service) accounting packages allow you to seamlessly access your data from virtually any device and location.

Reason 3

Accounting software is developed by professionals who understand accounting – most small business spreadsheets aren’t. For example, do you think DIY accounting spreadsheets enforce double-entry accounting.

Reason 4

It’s easy to download from your accounting software to a spreadsheet, but going in the other direction usually takes a lot of matching up of fields, which introduces more opportunities for errors.

Reason 5

You need to be working with an accountant. Accountants prefer to use one of the major accounting software packages. Your accountant will be able to automatically get the report they need. If your accountant has to fuss with spreadsheets, it will eat up more time and cost you more.

Reason 6

Accounting software is designed to grow with your business. If you insist on creating your own spreadsheets, you’ll soon have a data ‘house of cards’ that will collapse under its own weight if you manage to get big and successful.

Reason 7

You need good up-to-the minute reports to follow your key performance indicators (KPIs). Accounting software comes with multiple reports built in. Trying to create these yourself would be a nightmare.

Reason 8

If you plan on growing, you’ll eventually have several people who need access to your accounting program simultaneously. This is easy with commercial software, more difficult with a home-grown spreadsheet system.

Reason 9

Your time and your employees’ time can be better spent growing your business, don’t waste it on tinkering with spreadsheets.

Reason 10

A dishonest employee can make a few difficult-to-see changes in a spreadsheet and hide nefarious activity.

Reason 11

If you get audited, you’ll start out on the right foot with the auditor by using commercially accepted software.

Reason 12

Tax preparation will be much easier with commercial software, which is updated to stay in line with changes in the law.

Reason 13

Sending reports, invoices and payments to customers, vendors, investors and others is much easier and more dependable when you have all of your financials in a good accounting software package.

If you want to find out more about Pegasus, and how it could assist your company, give us a call on 0191 500 8150 or email [email protected] One of our Business Software Consultants will be on hand to give you a free demo.

10
Oct

5 THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING ACCOUNTING SOFTWARE

Business accounting software scraps human error that is part and parcel of doing everything manually. Instead, it enables you to easily access the vital information without the hassle.

Even better still, there are numerous cloud accounting software options available. Finding the right accounting software can be a difficult decision to make but there are five ways to help you in your search for the right solution.

Choosing the right accounting software

1) What are your accounting software requirements?

It is vital that you take into consideration how much money your business pulls in annually when it comes to choosing the right accounting software. A business that pulls in several million yearly will require a different software solution to a company that invoices thousands. The way your business operates is also something you must take into consideration as there are a large array of different accounting software systems available.

You need to consider software that is designed specifically for your business and what you do; there are plenty of systems that are industry specific and you need to find your niche and theirs. Whether it be manufacturing, hospitality, retail or commercial, there is a suitable system and plan available for you.

The software that you eventually decide on is going to make bookkeeping easier for you, you still need to be financially literate in order to use it effectively. Despite the software sophistication, it  is still only there as a tool to help and guide you, rather than do the work for you. You need to know what to do with the software once it’s in place.

2) Have you considered cloud accounting apps?

Cloud accounting applications come with an entire assortment of beneficial features:

  • They can be accessed anywhere
  • No software licenses or servers need to be purchased
  • Upgrades and patches are done automatically
  • You can access them from any device with a web browser
  • Your records are kept safe and secure at a data centre rather than a filing cabinet
  • Many cloud accounting apps integrate with your other cloud apps, saving you time

3) What is your accounting budget?

Business accounting software is available to you no matter what your budget is. Generally, you can access apps for a low monthly price that scales with your business so the larger your organisation, and the more features you require, the dearer the price.

Accounting software allows you to pay on a monthly or yearly basis. You can choose a subscription that meets your business needs rather than buying the software outright and having to update later. If you decide to purchase a year long subscription, you will also often pay a discounted rate.

4) Have you thought about accounting add-ons?

Add-on features generally allow flexibility, functionality and personalisation. The incorporation of an accounting app add-on may allow you to access the software remotely, accept payments online and link your e-commerce software with your accounting software. Additionally, you can incorporate your tax software as it’s generally compatible.

Before deciding on your accounting app, consider which software you are already using. Does it integrate with any accounting software? Integrations can save you significant amount of time on paperwork: as you avoid handling the same data.

5) Have you sought out expert advice?

Using your accountant when you are making the decision about which software would suit you is not a necessity, but it could help you choose something that is going to be compatible with what they have in place already. Additionally, your accountant is probably in a much better position in terms of knowledge and experience to make an educated decision on what would suit you and your business best.

Alternatively, you can ask us to make a recommendation based on your industry, business and specific requirements.

The team here at Monpellier have years of experience working with accounting software, and are partners of numerous software companies, allowing us to provide you with an agnostic recommendation.

Give us a call on 0191 500 8150, or email [email protected] and one of our Business Software Consultants will be able to book you onto a free demo today!

6
Oct

EIGHT TIPS TO MAKE THE MOST OUT OF YOUR ACCOUNTING SOFTWARE

Accounting software is simpler than ever to use. Many are designed with businesses in mind, meaning you don’t need to be an accountant to use them.

However, the more advanced features of your accounts software can still be intimidating. Once you’ve learnt how to perform key tasks, such as raising invoices, creating estimates and running payroll, you may not explore further.

Good accounting software can do far more than just automate regular tasks. It will make it easier to get a handle on your company data, in order to understand your financial performance and future prospects.

Here are eight tips to help you do more with your accounting software:

Reassess how you work with your accountant

Accounting software can automate some tasks that are traditionally performed by accountants or bookkeepers. For instance, you can use accounting software to generate your VAT return, rather than asking your accountant to do it.

If you start using accounting software without evaluating how you work with your accountant, you can end up in a situation where you are paying for software and an accountant to do the same tasks.

Don’t get this wrong; accounting software is no replacement for an accountant. However, it can help you reduce your accountancy bills, or free up your accountant’s time to analyse what the data is telling you (instead of crunching numbers).

Get your accounting software mobile app

Accounting software typically includes a mobile app. It’s worth installing this on your smartphone, even if you don’t think you have a use for it at the moment.

Why? Well, you might be surprised at how useful it can be to send a quick invoice or check whether a client has paid while you’re out and about.

Accounting software can do a really good job of bringing you closer to finances, so you have a better chance of really understanding what is going on. By having the app on your phone, you have the option to dip into your figures at any moment. And, if there comes a time when you really need mobile access, you’ll be ready to go.

Let other staff members use your accounting software

You might not want everyone to be able to see every aspect of your financials (especially if your accounting software includes details of people’s salaries).

However, you can often grant different levels of access to different people.

This increases financial transparency across your business and can reduce how often employees ask you (or your financial team) for accounts information.

For instance, you could allow your marketing team to have direct access to the company’s sales figures, let budget holders view and update details of their own spending and give the sales staff the ability to access client details.

Test and track with forecasts and budgets

Basic accounting software may not include budgeting and forecasting features, but if available, these are some of the most powerful tools in your planning arsenal.

Forecasts allow you to experiment with different scenarios to see what would happen to your business. Could you cope if you lost an important client? Under what circumstances would it be wise to hire an extra member of staff?

Budgets are vital to planning and controlling spending as your business grows, because they allow you to allocate funds to different areas.

Once you’ve allocated budgets, your teams can record spending in the accounting software so you can always see if you’re on track.

See what add-ons and integrations are available

One of the big draws of using accounting software is that it’s relatively easy to add functions by connecting other online services or add-ons.

For example, if you sell online, you may be able to connect your e-commerce software to your accounting software. That way, all your sales should automatically transfer to your accounts without requiring manual entry.

Often, there are hundreds of add-ons available for a single package. It can be well worth spending a few minutes browsing the most popular, in case you see anything that could make your life easier.

Anticipate and address the risks earlier

Nobody likes to think about problems their business could face. But forewarned is forearmed – and your accounting software makes it easier to identify small issues before they become big ones.

Cash flow can be problematic, particularly if you’re face with late payments or have tight margins. Your accounting software may provide a dashboard showing payment times and bills that will soon be due, so you can take action to avert a cash flow crisis.

You can usually use reports within the software to identify longer-term trends, such as declining orders from an important customer, or reduced demand for a key product.

Snap photos of your expenses

Calling accounting software magical might be stretching it a bit. But there are some really nifty ways it can make things faster and simpler.

Keeping track of expenses is a common problem, especially if you travel for business a lot. Many new apps let you record expenses by snapping a photo of receipts with your smart phone.

Although these tend to be standalone apps, most can connect to accounting software in order to upload expense details. If it means saying goodbye to receipt spikes or shoe boxes, it could be worth a few extra pounds each month.

Analyse your sales pattern

You might be surprised at what you don’t know about your sales. For instance, do you know who’s consistently your best sales person, at what time of the month most sales occur, or how long it typically takes to seal the deal?

Accounting software gives you powerful reports and dashboards to analyse sales data, so you can develop strategies to smooth demand and sell more of what you want, when you want.

You may even be able to identify when repeat purchases tend to occur, what products are bought together, and what offer or discount terms deliver the best results. It’s all information than can help you boost your sales.

 

15
Aug

TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR NEXT CONSTRUCTION PROJECT

The amount of information recorded and exchanged during any one construction project is monumental. It has been estimated that the average construction project suffers 150% cost overruns and that projects over run more than 50% of the time!  A lack of clear and accurate information exchanges can lead to project costs rising and mistakes being made.

 

By implementing software that complements each stage of your unique processes studies reveal you can increase motivation, quality, organisation and return on investment.

 

When choosing the right software for your business there are four main factors to focus on.

 

COST

Although the initial cost of implementing a new solution may seem daunting to any business the long term savings are undeniable. The logic remains simple,  by implementing software such as Pegasus CIS you can reduce delays, errors and frustrated employees. Software also increases the accuracy of your forecasting meaning you can budget effectively.

 

REAL TIME

The speed in which things change and progress within any construction project is vital but it is also essential to ensure all parties are kept completely up to date. Software assists with making sure deadlines are met and that the latest information is available to all those who need it at the touch of a button.

 

REPEAT CUSTOM

By using up to date software you will be able to provide a better quality of service to your clients which means an increased chance of repeat business and a larger revenue stream. An efficient, timely and cost effective project are founding pillars that any client looks for in a construction project and by ensuring your software solution fits your needs you can highlight this each time.

 

CASH FLOW

The construction industry suffers from higher levels of insolvency than almost every other sector. What’s surprising however, is that this insolvency is often due to a lack of financial control and poor management.  By following tried and tested financial models and monitoring your cash flow with sophisticated software you can break the construction trend and deliver projects on time and on budget.

 

If you are interested in reaping the benefits of a system that has the capability to adapt to your unique processes then give one of our specialists a call on 0191 500 8150 or email us at [email protected].