Microsoft News

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20
Jun

Use Microsoft Power Platform to Enhance your Operations

Use Microsoft’s power platform to enhance your operations

The Microsoft power platform offers the opportunity to digitally transform your operations with a combination of:

  • PowerApps
  • Flow
  • Power BI

These easy to use functions can improve the way you access and automate your data. In terms of your organisation, these functions will allow you to see where you’re at and how to implement them in order to enhance business operations.

To get the best leverage out of the Microsoft power platform, ask yourself the following questions. How can the Microsoft power platform:

Microsoft Power Platforms Improve Staff Effectiveness

Do you have users who require access to data from multiple systems in order to complete their daily workload? As your employees service your prospects and customers they will probably be accessing and updating data in multiple locations. This could include:

  • Tracking sales in CRM software
  • Marketing in marketing automation software
  • Accounting in ERP software
  • Customer service in ticketing software

Microsoft’s Power Platform, Flow, Power Apps and Power BI will enable you to improve staff effectiveness whatever data they require access to.

Automate Notifications and Transactions

Do you spend a lot of time on repetitive tasks, moving data between systems, sending notifications and transactions? Microsoft’s Flow can perform these tasks automatically for you and free up time so you can do other things. Notifications and transactions can be automated with the power of Flow.

Flow and Power BI also work well together. If one of your repetitive tasks is to alert people on particular data, then Flow and Power BI can do that for you.

Microsoft Power Platforms Enhance Decisions Oversight

Do you have business processes which lack oversight and approval? During different stages in a customer lifecycle, key decisions need to be made. This can occur where customer-facing employees don’t possess the know-how in making the right decision at the time in question. For instance, let’s say an employee is trying to close a sales deal. He or she might heavily discount one area to get the deal without understanding the impact of that discount to your business. With the Microsoft power platform, you can build review and approval into your business process. This will allow a manager to receive notification of a quote and approval or reject the quote before it actually gets to the customer.

Optimise Operational Reporting

Do you or your employees spend hours compiling data from multiple sources to obtain operational reporting? Do the reports differ from your colleagues in other departments due to different data sources? It can be very time consuming to compile operational reports. This time could be used to focus on other areas of your organisation like:-

  • Business strategy
  • Marketing strategies
  • Customer feedback

With Microsoft’s Power BI you will be able to build a dashboard and transform your data to create visuals. These can be used to optimise operational reporting while combining data from multiple sources. If your data is in unrelated systems, you can leverage Flow and CDS to compile any relevant data automatically before reporting through Power BI.

So there we have it. Microsoft’s power platform can transform your operations to save you time while improving the effectiveness of your staff.

18
Jun

Make the most of Power BI – A Powerful Microsoft Office 365 Tool

Make the most of Power BI

Power BI is Microsoft’s cloud-based business intelligence technology. It’s part of the Office 365 suite – a cloud-based suite of productivity applications. This particular Microsoft feature is a suite of business analytics tools which analyse data and share insights. The Power BI dashboard also provides a 360-degree view for business users helping to highlight metrics in one place.

Whether in cloud or on-premise, Power BI can be used to unify all of your organisation’s data. It will connect you to a wealth of Microsoft Azure services which you can use to power up your apps and data analysis beyond visualisation services like:

  • Machine learning
  • Cortana Intelligence Suite

The power tools within this particular Microsoft application include:

  • Power Query – to extract and transform
  • Power View and Map – this visualises data
  • Power Pivot – models and analyses

Experience data in new ways

Power BI can enable you to explore data in vivid new ways. From reports to graphs and charts, your data takes on an entirely new perspective. This will help you and your organisation make informed decisions, while at the same time monitoring your company’s growth.

Whether your data lives in a cloud service or on-premises, Power BI can connect, clean, shape, model and visualise live reports as well as dashboards. You can get started in minutes with Content Packs, reports for popular services including pre-built dashboards.

Data at your fingertips

At the heart of Power BI, is data. This Microsoft cloud-based business intelligence technology brings all of your business intelligence together. It allows users to interact and visualise data in one place. What could be better than to analyse and share insights in real time? You’ll also have the ability to access your data at anytime and anywhere.

Interaction your data across all devices

Your business has the ability to access data across all devices with:

  • Power BI Desktop
  • Mobile
  • Gateway

With Power BI mobile apps, you can streamline your data and reports from anywhere in the world. Expect update changes to your dashboard to be processed automatically. By integrating Power BI into your organisation’s office tools, your data will be transformed to enable greater insights for quicker, more focused, informed decisions.

Cut down on operational time

It doesn’t matter whether your data comes from Excel spreadsheets, big data, the cloud or on-premises. Power BI will allow you to connect with all of your current data sources in one centralised location. As Power BI is shifted to a cloud-base and stand-alone framework, it’s easily integrated with existing data such as that found in SQL Server cubes.

Businesses can now access and gain insights from existing data without the need to have to move this data. This concept cuts down on operational time while helping to make the actual analytic process much more streamlined.

Why not get in touch with one of our consultants about the prospect of implementing Power BI into your organisation? Training can be provided where needed such as teaching you how to use Power Queries and charts. It pays to get the best out of Microsoft’s Power BI software.

22
Mar

Mythbuster: Upgrading your ERP

If you’re still using Microsoft Dynamics NAV, it’s time to upgrade to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central. It’s the latest and greatest version of Microsoft’s ERP suite, covering financials, purchasing, inventory, operations, warehousing, and projects.

You can extend Business Central with pre-built apps covering functions such as payroll, scheduling, and materials planning. If you can’t find what you need in the app store, you can add your own customisations.

We commonly hear four misunderstandings about upgrades. So, let’s bust some myths!

Myth #1: I’ll lose my customisations

Many organisations have customised their ERP solution so it perfectly fits their business. That’s to be expected: no two companies are identical and off-the-shelf solutions can’t cater for every niche process.

There are three approaches you can consider for upgrading any given customisation:

  1. Migrate to using standard functionality in Business Central, where available. You may find that a built-in process meets your needs with minimal changes to your existing workflow.
  2. Switch to using pre-built apps, encapsulating the expertise of leading niche software providers, where available.
  3. Implement customisations in your new ERP suite in partnership with an expert software consultancy.

Our team of business software consultants can help you to identify the right approach for your business. If you require customisation, our team can help you to specify your requirements clearly so our team of developers can implement them effectively. We can carry out your customisations using the Extensions feature in Business Central, to help make future upgrades much smoother.

Myth #2: Upgrades are risky

Risk is relative: using an outdated ERP solution also carries risks. Old solutions may no longer be supported, which means any security flaws and bugs are not being patched. Without an ERP solution, many businesses are paralysed, so it is reckless to use a solution that could become vulnerable to attack. Unsupported solutions won’t be updated for the latest business, tax and regulatory changes, either, forcing you to use workarounds and risk falling out of compliance. If you’re using Dynamics NAV 2013, for example, you don’t have built-in support for GDPR or Making Tax Digital.

Obviously, there is a risk inherent in any change, but you can minimise it by choosing an expert team to implement your upgrade. We use robust project management methodologies that are designed to deliver upgrades on budget and on time. Because we focus on serving businesses in the North East, Cumbria, and surrounding areas, we have a presence near our customers. We can meet you as often as necessary, and we’re on hand to quickly address any queries or concerns you have. After your new ERP launches, we can continue to support it for you, and implement any new customisations you require as your business evolves. We have a dedicated in-house support team, comprised of fully qualified IT technicians, so we can provide first class technical support to help you avoid downtime.

We offer a fixed price upgrade package to insulate you from the cost of any unforeseen issues, reducing the financial risk of an upgrade project.

Myth #3: Upgrades are expensive

Actually, if you have a Business Ready Enhancement Plan (BREP) for Dynamics NAV, you don’t have to pay any additional licence fees. It’s already covered. So, after implementation, you get the peace of mind and enhancements of Business Central at no additional cost. Your upgrade costs are limited to the cost of implementation.

Myth #4: It’ll upset users

In our experience, users want to be using the most effective software. They don’t want to be using workarounds or software that’s outlived its useful purpose, which is a feeling often evoked by legacy ERP solutions.

Business Central has an interface similar to Microsoft Office, so it immediately feels intuitive, and users can quickly find their way around it. The software helps by automating and streamlining processes, so your team can be liberated from some of the administration that might be required in your existing ERP solution. With ready access to the information they need, they can make smarter decisions to drive your business forwards.

We’ll help you by training your team too, so they can quickly get up to speed and start taking advantage of the new features that are available to them.

What’s holding you back? Contact us, and we’ll be pleased to talk over your concerns.

26
Jul

It’s not about technology, it’s about making your strategy future ready

In a day to day environment, you often get to hear, “I’ll just mail the spreadsheet to you.”

A fairly harmless expression by itself, but if you stop for a moment to consider, it highlights a vital point, not so much a flaw but definitely a shortcoming.

Emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence, conversational bots, Digital Twins, Blockchain and Machine Learning are practically redefining the way businesses are getting more structured, accurate, definite and efficient, eliminating more scopes of uncertainty and mitigating risks of errors. Besides, the use of spreadsheets, instead of an enterprise-level resource planning software, underlines a major drawback in management as it highlights the lack of foresightedness that is required to equip the organisation to battle challenges that inevitably come with gradual expression over time.

It’s okay to love Excel spreadsheets

When it comes to spreadsheets, Microsoft Excel is inarguably the most popular one. Numbers don’t lie: over 750 million people are using it worldwide to record, track and calculate. And not for no reason. It is easy to use, flexible and largely reduces dependency on the IT department, especially for storing, calculating, tracking and accessing data. Think about a world without Excel. It seems impossible. That’s because Excel has enabled the masses to make sense of the numbers.

But you shouldn’t love it too much

However, while spreadsheets might be phenomenal for personal productivity tracking and arguably for small businesses, they are not designed to manage enterprises. Expanding enterprises eventually arrive at a juncture where they, albeit begrudgingly, have to admit that their dependence on Excel is not serving their business purpose adequately. There are limitations on Excel, and nobody should be doing anything 100% in Excel.

Accurate revenue recognition requires outgrowing spreadsheets

It has been reiterated that the fundamental requirements of a business changes as the company grows. It’s obvious. However, businesses don’t do it. They continue to use spreadsheets, increasing complexities of business operations which can impact tasks as vital as revenue recognition.

This is how:

  • Billing process is spread across multiple spreadsheets, dependent on manual processes which significantly increases risks of errors and frequency of delays, thereby resulting in a slow opp-to-cash cycle.
  • Revenue data is scattered across multiple source spreadsheets which has to then be collated manually. This magnifies compliance risk, which in turn, leads to an audit process that’s not only costly but time-consuming too.
  • Maintaining expansive spreadsheets means recording customer details, project details and contracts. Over time, data integrity may get compromised in Excel.
  • Limitations and difficulties of reporting through spreadsheets makes it practically impossible for you to have a clear and accurate picture of revenue.

Thus, most back office personnel managing departments like HR, Finance, Marketing and IT struggle to track the progress of each process, clear backlogs and identify opportunities leading to a mammoth bottleneck for the decision making. The challenges of errors in data entry are a grave concern as well. Additionally, in a competitive environment of today, businesses are relying on data analytics to arrive at accurate insightful decisions which is practically non-existent in spreadsheets, thereby hampering business growth.

Today’s spreadsheets can be tomorrow’s databases, with ERP:

Why spreadsheet users are so intensely attached to their files is quite understandable. After having spent weeks, maybe even months to prepare and keep them updated, it is not easy to consider not using them anymore. That’s why, the first response to a proposal to use an enterprise resource planning software or ERP, is often, “what’s wrong with spreadsheets?”

It is important to understand that enterprise software doesn’t entirely do away with spreadsheets. Instead, it actually helps to ensure that the data has been carefully entered and updated, managed well, made more secure, maintained consistently and rendered accessible across the organisation. ERP ensures that the spreadsheets of yesterday can successfully be converted into databases for tomorrow.

Executives can still export data into spreadsheets when they want to take a quick look at information or run ad-hoc analyses. Alternately, they can use the software’s built-in business analytics and reporting features to generate the same information in half the time.

Besides reducing data entry errors, ERP also helps to eliminate repetitive data entry between users, which is a real possibility in Excel. If no one recognises these errors, there may be a risk of the company making less than favourable decisions, based on conclusions drawn from inaccurate information.

ERP helps to resolve collaboration challenges. Since all users draw data from a centralised source, chances of confusion are less. Moreover, computing protocols prevent the possibility for users to duplicate efforts or confuse updates to product information.

It improves visibility and communication between departments, divisions and suppliers, which in turn, can integrate various business processes and reduce time to market, thereby improving return on investment.

Spreadsheets vs. ERP

Spreadsheets

  • Temporary, short term
  • Unstable environment
  • Simple data sets
  • Static data
  • Localised use
  • Decision support

ERP

  • Medium to long term
  • Stable environment
  • Complex interactive data sets
  • Real-time process/data flows
  • Pan-organisational use
  • Decision execution

How can ERP serve as a critical element in getting future-ready?

ERP solutions can not only benefit those who are implementing it for the first time, but also can be beneficial for those organisations that are updating and adding incremental operations like HR management or CRM. In fact, some ERP softwares have built-in HR or CRM modules that can be activated or used only when a company grows and reaches a certain level and the need for enhanced coordination and collaboration becomes prominent.

Digital transformation is only effective when it is seamless and company-wide and such ERP solutions ensure that this seamlessness can be achieved by enabling capabilities to be added when the time is right. Back office has always played an instrumental role in aiding the front office achieve business goals.

It’s only now that ERP is integrating the two and encouraging digitally-transformed businesses to focus on the front-office and the customer experience by ensuring that back-office tasks are being conducted smoothly with enhanced efficiency and heightened accuracy.

Making the move from spreadsheets to ERP is not as much about technology as it is about strategising for future growth. And as businesses grow they need to assess the need for fewer systems. If spreadsheets are still holding your business back, now is the right time to consider implementing new age ERP software. It can be the major component of a sustainable, scalable IT strategy that evolves with your business and strengthens the foundation for future growth.

Ready to take the next step? Get in touch with us today to set up a meeting so we can help you help yourself. Call us on 0191 500 8150 to speak to one of our friendly Business Software Consultants.

3
Apr

Have total control over your business with Opera 3 CRM

Pegasus Opera 3 is a fully integrated application of Opera 3 that gives you clear visibility into all stages of the sales process.

From the first point of contact, you can manage prospects, convert prospects to customers, manage the customer relationship, report on their profitability and increase your business potential with them, all from one solution.

By streamlining your marketing activity and sales cycle, Opera 3 gives you the power to manage progression from prospect to customer. It helps make sure you never miss an opportunity or lose sight of a customer, and gives the sales team vital access to all prospect and customer information, even when on the road.

Once a prospect becomes a customer, you can continue to log activities such as mailings, conversations, tasks and promotion. Opera 3 CRM integrates with Outlook, Excel and Word so that you can manage your communications.

Seamless integration with Supply Chain Management and Financials eliminates rekeying and ensures account information is always close at hand.

Opera3 CRM makes it easy for you to generate specific quotations for a customer or prospect. You can also create tailored mailshots using contacts filtered by criteria or pre-defined groups,for more intelligent marketing. It analyses opportunities by referral method, type and competitor.

Features of Pegasus Opera 3 CRM include:

Total control over customers and prospects

The ability to win new customers and successfully manage existing ones is an essential part of the business growth. Opera 3 CRM is an integrated end-to-end solution which can help your business develop more profitability and increase customer satisfaction by promoting long-term relationships.

Winning new business

The sales cycle can be a long and complicated process and it’s easy to lose prospects in the sheer volume of activity your sales and marketing people are generating. With Opera 3 CRM you can capture prospect and contact information, identify the opportunity and closure profitability and increase your business potential with them, all from one complete solution. Opera 3 CRM will help to streamline your procedures and manage the progression from prospect to customer, quote to order, so that you will never lose sight of an opportunity of customer again.

Intelligent forecasting and reporting

The ability to track opportunities and accurately forecast against them is essential to business growth. Opera 3 CRM builds a full, clear picture of your sales pipeline and the value of those opportunities broken down by owner, contact, referral method, sales type and area.

Plus, the powerful reporting ability of Pegasus XRL allows you to report on all aspects of the sales cycle and analyse any other area of the business using Microsoft Excel.

Total accountability

Once a prospect becomes a customer, Opera 3 can convert the record into a Sales Ledger account so you can immediately invoice or convert quotes to orders in Sales Order Processing.

The cycle is completes with the ability to continue to log activity such as mailings, conversations, tasks and promotions to existing customers in order to manage these more effectively.

Remote access

When your sales team is out on the road, it is essential to be able to manage CRM data on the move. With CRM Remote, users can download prospect and customer data onto their laptop; they can process, edit and amend contact details and histories, then synchronise the changes back to the central office via the Internet.

If the above isn’t enough to persuade you to utilise all the features of Pegasus Opera 3 CRM, then keep on reading to discover the key benefits that Opera 3 CRM can offer its users:

  • Eliminates the key need to maintain data on several systems.
  • Single point of entry for new prospects and existing customers and suppliers, which can be cross-referenced from the Sales/Purchase Ledgers.
  • Integrates with Sales Ledger, Purchase Ledger, Sales Order Processing, Purchase Order Processing and Stock Control.
  • Maintains unlimited contact details (including site addresses) within a company.
  • New contacts can automatically update your Microsoft Outlook address book.
  • User-definable fields and look-ups for Contact, Company and Opportunity forms.
  • Send emails and import incoming email from Microsoft Outlook.
  • Record notes and history against a contact.
  • History is automatically updated by activities that take place, such as letters and mailshots.
  • Record and track sales opportunities against a contact.
  • Generate quotations against a sales opportunity.
  • Book appointments with a contact. Send meeting requests via Outlook to internal and external contacts and automatically update your Outlook calendar. Log ‘to do’ tasks against contacts, opportunities or contracts.
  • Send mail merge emails via Microsoft Outlook for a contact or group.
  • Generate mailshots (using Microsoft Word) for lists of contacts/groups.
  • Convert prospect/quotation details to live customer/sales orders.
  • Sales and Activity reports.
  • Import or update existing customer and supplier records from the Opera 3 Sales and Purchase Ledgers.
  • Remote access for sales people on the move.
  • Integration with Excel for sales pipeline reporting, and with Business Intelligence tools such as Pegasus XRL, PIM and Dashboards for analysis.
  • Integration with document management.

If you would like to discuss Pegasus Opera 3 CRM in more detail, or would like to book a free demo, get in contact with us here, or give us a call on 0191 500 8150 to have a chat with one of our Business Software Consultants.

22
Mar

Find out how you can transform your business with Pegasus CIS

Pegasus Construction Industry Solutions (CIS) delivers complete control over all aspects of contracts management, from costing and timesheets through to payment applications, VAT, invoicing and cash receipt matching.

Fully integrated into the Sales, Purchase and Nominal Ledgers, Cashbook and Payroll, Pegasus CIS conforms to the requirements and regulations of HMRC’s Construction Industry Scheme.

When you consider that the average construction project suffers 150% cost overruns and completes more than 175% late, there’s clearly a great need for software that can help you deliver projects on time and within budget – and transform your business.

Pegasus CIS recognises the complex business requirements of the construction sector, offering an unparalleled level of management control over contracts and subcontractors. It integrates with Opera 3, Opera II, Sage 50 and Sage 200.

Features of Pegasus CIS include:

Gives full control over every aspect of contracts

  • Profit: performance reporting and analysis
  • Actual to budget variance reporting
  • Projected costs to complete
  • Aged retention
  • Aged debt
  • Contract revenue

Produces job performance and profit reports to any level

  • Detailed monitoring of job financial performance
  • Records direct costs as well as those from labour, purchases, plant hire, stock and subcontractors
  • Handles sales invoicing, payment applications, cash receipts and retention

Links to the market-leading accounting systems

  • Pegasus Opera 3, Opera II, Pegasus Opera 3 Payroll and Opera II Payroll
  • Sage 50, Sage 200 and Sage Payroll

Suitable for small, medium and large-volume installations

  • Designed for efficient high-volume data entry
  • Data entry routines cater for a choice of simple or complex entries, most with alternative super-fast posting

Presents data in the way you want to see it

  • Unequalled on-screen information retrieval capabilities
  • Powerful and easy to use worksheet creation
  • One-click integration with MS Word and Excel

Contract Costing

Effective cash management can make a serious difference to the profit on a job. Pegasus CIS Job Costing captures all contract information across every stage of a job and makes it immediately available for analysis.

Job Heads

Each job can be divided into an unlimited number of Job Heads, each of which can be linked to nominal accounts for automated journals. Each Job Head will hold separate information on budgets, revenue and costs to date, allowing actual-to-budget variance analysis and reporting.

You can set up original and revised budgets, and budgets can be split across periods. You can also set up revenue budgets that can also be split across periods, allowing cashflow forecasting. All cost transactions are posted to a Job and a Job Head. Job Heads can represent cost categories such as labour or materials, each with an unlimited number of subheads.

If more detailed analysis on a job by job basis is required, you can make use of Job Phases (both for costs and sales) to represent the stages, variations or subsequent orders for a job. In addition, jobs can also be linked to a Project to give a further level of grouping and analysis.

This flexibility allows costs to be tailored in a way that best suits the analysis needs of your business.

Revenue Transactions

A detailed audit file is held for all revenue transactions on a job, whether this is from direct invoices or from invoices generated via the payment applications and certification routines. You can also view and re-print any of the historic contract applications. If retention is held against an invoice or a contract, you can report on this and apply for the retention to be released on the correct date.

The system caters for:

  • Internal valuations
  • Applications and certificates
  • Direct sales invoice
  • Multi-currency
  • Retention
  • Retained tax for CIS standard rate contractors
  • Period cost and sales forecasting

Cost Transactions

A detailed audit file is held for all costs posted to each job. This information can be displayed per Job, Phase, or Job Head, which can be stored, filtered and grouped, giving instant on-screen analysis of all costs; this in turn can be linked to Microsoft Excel for further analysis.

The system caters for:

  • Work in progress
  • Overhead recovery
  • Committed costs from suppliers and subcontractors
  • Accruals
  • Calculated costs to complete
  • Main contractor discount
  • Multi-currency
  • Document attachment
  • General site, surveying, engineering and operations notes held against a job

Posting Costs

Costs are posted to a job as a detailed transaction with summary totals maintained at Job, Phase and Job Head levels. Flexible on-screen enquiries are available for all transactions.

Costs can be posted from the following sources:

  • Time recording
  • Payroll
  • Subcontractors Ledger
  • Purchase Invoice Register
  • Plant hire
  • Stock Control
  • Internal Cost Allocations, Job Journals Direct Costs, Petty Cash

Contract Purchasing

Purchasing requirements for each contract can be controlled and monitored by raising purchase orders to a supplier. Purchase orders can be raised as a call-off against a pre-defined Bill of Requirements for a Job, from stock or generic material group, or as a free text descriptive item.

Purchase orders can also be raised to replenish stock, order external Plant or as a nominal posting for overhead expense. Purchase orders can require authorisation prior to being printed or emailed.

Purchase orders items can be sorted by criteria such as due date, supplier and job, making it easy to monitor what is outstanding against a job and when it is due to be delivered.

GRN and Purchase Invoices

Purchase orders are updated as goods are received and invoiced, maintaining an accurate picture of committed costs against the job. The Purchase Invoice Register also allows you to allocate costs directly to the Nominal Ledger, as well as to jobs. Approved purchase invoices are posted seamlessly to the Purchase Ledger.

The system caters for:

  • Purchase orders/committed costs
  • Direct delivery to site
  • Purchase Invoice Register
  • Purchase accruals with reversal
  • Supplier price lists
  • Credit Notes
  • Multi-currency
  • Full supplier purchase history

Contract Sales

The Contract Sales Ledger seamlessly links to the accounts Sales Ledger to access trading terms and to post sales invoices. Contract Sales maintains details of the current Applications (through valuation, application and certified values) as well as a history of all previous Applications.

For added flexibility, a Job can be set up in a particular currency and that currency will be used for all contract sales.

Each Payment Application controls current and cumulative Revenue Values, Retention and Main Contractor Discount. Applications can be classed as Interim, Final and Agreed Final Measure.

Payments Received

Cash received can be entered into batches and allocated to one or more Certificates. For Certificates, VAT can be taken into account at the time of a payment. For standard invoicing, VAT is recorded at the date of the invoice.

Aged Debt

A complete audit trail of each Application and Payment is maintained, providing detailed aged debt analysis and reporting against jobs. Knowing when payments are due is critical to managing cashflow, whether these are from certificates, invoices or retentions that become due.

The system caters for:

  • Measurements and valuations
  • Variation
  • Internal and external valuations
  • Applications and certificates
  • Direct sales invoicing
  • Application nominal journal
  • Retention release
  • Aged debt of certificates and invoices
  • Aged debt of applications against certificates
  • Pre VAT Contra
  • Cash receipts
  • Full history of applications and certificates
  • Internal customers
  • Multi-currency

CIS Subcontractors

The Subcontractors module can be used as an integral part of the cost-capturing functionality of the full Pegasus CIS solution. It can also be used as a standalone solution by contractors who only need to control their subcontractors more efficiently and ensure that they adhere to HMRC rules for the Construction Industry Scheme.

Comprehensive CIS Subcontractor Control

The Subcontractors Ledger combines the functionality of a Purchase Ledger with the regulatory requirements of HMRC Construction Industry Scheme. Pegasus CIS stores full information on the CIS-approved subcontractors, including details of their Unique Taxpayer Reference, National Insurance or Company Registration Numbers, Verification Status, and default Labour Rates to be used for Timesheet only subcontractors.

HMRC Construction Industry Scheme

When engaging new subcontractors it is necessary to verify their tax status with HMRC to ascertain whether they are to be paid gross or net of tax, and of net, whether this is at the standard rate or higher rate. With Pegasus CIS, you can verify these subcontractors online with a simple click. Pegasus CIS will connect to the HMRC website and retrieve a subcontractor’s tax status and verification code quickly and easily. If you don’t intend to use the online service, this information can also be entered directly into the system.

Applications, Invoices and Timesheets

Applications from subcontractors are processed in a register, so that incomplete applications can be included in management reports. Each application records current and cumulative values of net, gross, pre-VAT Contra, discounts and retentions, together with details of tax that is being retained against ‘Net’ paid subcontractors, Labour and material content is recorded separately, conforming to HMRC regulations.

A separate posting routine is provided for subcontractor invoices and timesheets. If the subcontractor issues timesheets for work carried out, these can be entered; the system holds details of labour rates for the subcontractor/job and applies these at the entry stage. This allows for rapid entry of timesheets, especially if these are split over a number of jobs.

Labour

Employees and their pay rates are entered in your Payroll solution and are accessible to Pegasus CIS so that timesheets can be processed. Timesheets are posted to the individual jobs and to the Payroll, so that payslips can be produced. These costs can be posted to the job as a net, gross or charge-out rate all with an optional overhead recovery percentage.

Stock Control

Linked to the Contract Purchasing module, Pegasus CIS Stock Control provides a powerful way to monitor stock levels and to allocate or issue stock to jobs. Stock movements are recorded in an audit trail, and costs are posted against each of the jobs. The stock system is multi-warehouse, multi-location and can be broken down into multiple categories and groups. You can assign multiple suppliers to a stock record, define alternative stock codes, maintain supplier price lists, and link Bill of Quantity call-offs to the Job record.

Instant Access to your Data

Pegasus CIS is a powerful, user-friendly data analysis tool, designed to retrieve information held anywhere in the system easily and quickly. List Views are provided throughout the system so that you can look at any data: your job costs, subcontractor payments, purchase order receipts, or any other area. This data can be stored, filtered, grouped and totalled to be displayed in the format you require.These Views can be linked to Microsoft Excel for further manipulation and saved for future use.

Direct Integration with Excel

Pegasus XRL is one of the most powerful and flexible reporting tools you can find in the market today: it will transform the way you analyse your data.

Launched from within Excel, Pegasus XRL allows you to access directly the live data stored within Pegasus CIS. Any data stored in Pegasus CIS can be dynamically interrogated in Excel. This includes use of headers, details, subtotals and footer sections, so you can quickly apply Excel’s data manipulation techniques and diverse range of report styles, formats and printing options to your entire contract costing data.

So, what next?

Pegasus CIS has been specifically designed to give instant access to up-to-date information that allows you to manage your contracts. Knowing what is owed and when it is due and who needs to be paid when are critical issues. Pegasus CIS addresses these and many others as part of its effective management of your contracts.

For more information regarding Pegasus CIS, or to organise a free demo, contact us here, or give us a call on 0191 500 8150 to speak to one of our friendly Business Software Consultants.

20
Mar

What Sage 200cloud Business Intelligence can do for you

Sage 200cloud Business Intelligence as a module forms part of the Sage 200c Suite, working alongside other modules including, Financials and Commercials and CRM.

Everyday activities feed unstructured data into the Sage 200c Business Intelligence module, whereby it can then be transformed into dynamic and actionable data insights. From this, opportunities can be identified and developed.

What is Business Intelligence?

Business Intelligence can be defined, as per business and economic theorist, Gartner:

In the economic downturn there is a heightened need to make better, fact-based decisions – BI is a vital competitive tool of increased importance in an environment where doing business more smartly, in order to maximise share of the reduced revenue in circulation, is a necessity.

The Sage 200c BI module

In essence, this module uses pre-determined data cubes to offer up full perspective, multidimensional views of your business information. These data cubes provide the facility for you to analyse your business by:

  • Interrogating data
  • Identifying and acknowledging trends in data
  • Investigating anomalies or out of the ordinary occurences
  • Making informed strategic decisions

Additionally, Sage 200c BI is accessible by everyone as it requires no prior technical knowledge and uses non-jargon based terminology. Furthermore, Sage 200c BI exports data to Microsoft Excel for easy manipulation of data.

Sage 200c BI for Commercials

Business Intelligence for Commercials is the latest addition to Sage 200c BI. This new release considers a greater range of data whilst making the analysis available from Sage 200c BI more comprehensive. As an upgrade to the five existing data cubes, Sage 200c BI for Commercials includes eight commercial data cubes, comprising:

  • SOP Invoice Credits
  • POP Invoice Credits
  • Stock Movement
  • Sales Order Book
  • Sales Despatches
  • Purchase Supplies
  • Stock Levels
  • Stock Discrepancies

What is Sage 200c Business Intelligence and how can it work for you

There are a number of features and benefits that exist within this module that can aid your business in the long term:

Reporting and Analytics compatible with Excel

Analyse your data quickly and effectively on a familiar platform. Sage 200c BI exports data into Microsoft Excel, allowing you to augment the reports by using standard Excel formatting, such as calculations and macros, for an end result that is usable for you. This functionality minimises the training required as the majority of users will already be adept at using Excel, so is complementary to an enhanced reporting method.

Out-of-the-box reports

Pre-defined reports come as standard with Sage 200c BI, allowing the administrator to quickly determine and understand financial information within their Sage 200cloud solution, e.g through profit and loss, worst paying customers and average sales benchmarks. These reports are time saving in that they remove the need to create reports from scratch and does away with redesigning of reports for different occasions.

Utilise a Report Wizard

With the Report Wizard you can adeptly change the layout of a report to meet your requirements, providing flexibility in the way in which you need to view certain information and by enabling you to extract the information required, whilst being displayed in the way you like. The report is therefore usable for your purposes and takes into account the necessary information.

Drill Down functions

From each report in Sage 200c BI you can drill down through increasing levels of detail. An example may be if you are looking at an overview for a specific year, you can drill down through increasing levels of details. An example may be if you are looking at an overview for a specific year, you can drill down by a particular month and further at a daily level. View your data within the exact parameters you need to be in.

Conditional Formatting functions

Anomalies in your data can be highlighted by colour and based on your specific criteria, enabling you to spot exceptions within a report quickly. Make efficient use of your time by identifying extraordinary details for easy reference.

Make faster, better informed decisions

The multi-view analysis tools within Sage 200c BI is an added extra to the software in that it allows you to view data from many angles, e.g, by sales by region, customer and month. The report fields can be changed in seconds providing quick and easy reporting analysis, and this functionality is unlike any other module within the Sage 200c Suite.

Operates within the reliable Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services Technology

SQL Server Analysis Services is a market leading OLAP technology. Therefore, Sage 200c BI is built to operate on a reliable and robust platform, so delivering a high specification module that won’t let you down.

As you can see from the above, the Sage 200c Business Intelligence modules is one that comes in very handy when you want to drill down into the analytics and insights you need to run your business efficiently.

Here are some more reasons why you should utilise Sage 200c BI:

Effectively analyse critical business information

Use powerful analytical tools to inform your decision making and share business data widely across your organisation.

Easily build your own reports

Change report fields in seconds to give you key information such as Profit & Loss by cost centre and department; sales by customer by month; stock valuation for the last three months; trend in overdue orders; stock movements by product group; and much more. Bring your business data to life using charts and graphs.

Effectively manage your customer relationships

Offer the highest quality service and support and measure the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns with advanced customer relationship management tools.

Benefit from greater business intelligence

Sage 200c BI can help you identify customer and product trends and understand any variations. You can measure performance against different benchmarks and analyse data and connections between different parts of your business.

  • View key performance indicators
  • Plan for business growth at minimal risk
  • Highlight additional revenue opportunities
  • Discover areas where you can improve productivity
  • Respond to changing business conditions

With Sage 200c BI, you can plan strategically for growth and change with tools that help you identify key trends and patterns. Spot opportunities for innovation and identify improvements in productivity and growth in every area of your company.

If you are interested in finding out more information about Sage 200c, or want to discuss integration of accounting software within your company, reach out to us here, or call us on 0191 500 8150 to discuss it with one of our Business Software Consultants.

15
Mar

Take control of your business with Pegasus Opera 3 Financials

Financials are key to any successful business.

Pegasus Opera 3 lets you take control of your business. Its enriched features allows you to get the full benefits of complex financial analysis on all your accounting requirements. From monthly profit and loss to KPIs, all in an instant. Your management reports can even be sent directly to Microsoft Excel for greater flexibility.

Financials are core to any business, whatever its size. With Opera 3, you can continually track your revenue when it is due. Equally important, it reminds you who you owe money to and when it has to be paid. You’ll find the visibility of your cash flow invaluable for your profit generation. What’s more, reports from the Financials can be output directly to MS Excel.

The applications within Opera 3 Financials are:

  • Sales Ledger
  • Credit Management Centre
  • Purchase Ledger
  • Nominal Ledger
  • Multi-Currency capabilities
  • Cashbook
  • Costing
  • EC VAT
  • Fixed Assets

Sales Ledger

The Sales Ledger has built-in credit control facilities so that customer account information is all at your fingertips. And it makes revenue forecasting easy with the automatic calculation of average debtor days for both individual customers and your entire company.

You can email statements, copy invoices and debtors letters. You can view your sales information in a way that is meaningful to you, as Opera 3 offers Views that you can customise. And, of course, it caters for multi-currency and handles all your customer profiles and trading terms, as well as invoices, credit notes, receipts, refunds and adjustments.

The Retrospective Debtors report in the Sales Ledger produces a list of outstanding customer debts as at a date specified, aged according to the length of time the debt has been outstanding. For example, to rerun your Debtors report at 31 December 2017, you simply enter that date and the report calculates the debtors position at that time. The report can be printed and output to Excel.

Purchase Ledger

With Opera 3, all your supplier transactions are thoroughly and securely managed from start to finish. Your cash flow is automated and improved with comprehensive cheque and BACs payment routines, email remittances (individual or batched) and the calculation of creditor days.

It gives you dynamic access to purchase information across multiple periods and you can view the information you need in the manner you choose.

The Integrated Purchase Invoice Register allows invoices and credit notes to be posted and remain in the register until they are authorised, giving you greater control over every document received.

Payment workflow is enhanced through BACs and cheque payment routines combined with email remittance. What’s more, with back-to-back processing to the Fixed Assets application, you can create an Asset record when posting an invoice to save rekeying information.

The Retrospective Creditors report in the Purchase Ledger produces a list of outstanding supplier debts as at a date specified, aged according to the length of time the debt has been outstanding. The report can be printed and output to Excel.

Nominal Ledger

Nominal Ledger includes analysis of Account Type, Sub-Type, Cost Centre plus two further user-definable levels as standard, giving you access and in-depth analysis at transaction level for the past 9 years.

Get management information and reports from Financials, Supply Chain and Payroll & HR. You can apply budgets at all four analysis levels, for current or future periods and years, with full percentage variance analysis and reporting. You can even easily change your year start date and maintain your data integrity.

The Nominal Ledger offers the Open Period Accounting functionality. Transactions can easily be posted from other applications such as Sales, Purchase, Cashbook and Payroll into any open period of the last, current or next three financial years. Other applications post to the Nominal Ledger by either batch update or real-time transfer. Even mis-posted nominal journal entries can be reversed and rectified quickly and accurately.

Cashbook

With Cashbook you can post transactions directly from Financials, while the reconciliation function allows you to post unexpected entries, interrogate transactions and save incomplete reconciliations so you can finish them later.

Costing

With Opera 3 Costing, you can track job costs and revenues against budgets, and you can break down costs against a variety of categories including Labour, Contractor, Direct Expense, Stock and Interim Billing. Group jobs under contract headings or post against option phase, and stay easily in control. Any timesheets raised for work on jobs can easily be transferred into Payroll to update employee records.

Multi-Currency

Opera 3 handles unlimited currencies, exchange rates per transaction type and the calculation and recording of exchange rate fluctuations.

EC VAT

If you trade with the European Union there are complex VAT rules you have to comply with regarding the importing and exporting of goods. These rules can be hard to follow and failure to comply can result in financial penalties. To help you, these complex rules are automatically built into Opera 3 EC VAT to make it easier for you to trade in Europe.

You can define and maintain the information to produce the EC Sales List and Supplementary Declarations including country codes, modes of transport, terms of delivery, commodity codes and nature of transaction codes for Intrastat purposes. The EC Sales List can also generate an XML upload file for submission via the HMRC website.

If you are using foreign currency accounts, appropriate VAT rate codes for EC sales and purchases can also be set up. This application will then collect the information needed to produce the returns for trading with other EU member countries.

Fixed Assets

Keep track of your assets from the minute they become part of your company, right until you dispose of them. Opera 3 Fixed Assets will track their depreciation rates and maintain the correct net book value for them throughout their life cycle.

It caters for all types of assets, including Finance or Operating Lease and Hire Purchase or Lease Purchase assets. What’s more, the import routine makes it simple to import existing asset lists from a spreadsheet in bulk.

So, what’s next?

For more information regarding Pegasus Opera 3 Financials, or the Pegasus Opera 3 Suite as a whole, contact us here or call us on 0191 500 8150 to speak to one of our friendly Business Software Consultants.

8
Mar

Why Pegasus Business Intelligence Software?

To remain competitive in today’s business environment, it’s essential that your reporting system gives you the information you need, exactly when you need it. If you’re not able to make up to the minute decisions then you’ll be left behind.

That’s where Pegasus Opera 3 Business Intelligence software can help.

Why Pegasus Business Intelligence Software?

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

With Opera 3, you have advanced intelligence working for you. And it’s not just us saying that. Pegasus XRL has won awards for its features, while Pegasus Dashboards will revolutionise the way you view the information you need.

Pegasus XRL

Pegasus XRL module allows Microsoft Excel to access live data from within Opera 3 at the click of a mouse, so you don’t have to copy and paste, re-enter data or work out formulas. For many years, users of accounting systems have had to struggle with complicated and inflexible reporting tools that were supposed to make things easier. In reality, they make extracting data into Excel a real trial.

Pegasus XRL brings these struggles to an end. Pegasus XRL is an award-winning Business Intelligence application which seamlessly links your Opera 3 financial data in a couple of simple steps.

Pegasus Dashboards

Pegasus Dashboards provides a visual representation of key business data in real time, in a wide range of formats and with powerful drilldown to the underlying data. This allows the business management team to identify trends and issues in an ease of use environment and to take immediate action as required.

Each Pegasus Opera 3 operator can define their own individual Dashboards, depending on their role and responsibility. Critical information relating to each area can easily be tracked such as sales performance, KPIs or stock levels. Pegasus Opera 3 enables Managing Directors, Financial Managers or Heads of Sales to have their own dashboard designed to fit the way they see the business.

Pegasus Opera 3 – Instant Messenger

Pegasus Instant Messenger (PIM) helps release the business-critical information held within your system via pro-active alerts. PIM is Opera 3’s unique, real-time reporting, scheduling and instant messaging tool, designed to address the everyday challenges that organisations face when attempting to manage and distribute business data.

Pegasus helps businesses to avoid the timely monthly or weekly management reports needed to determine the health of their business; PIM automatically distributes real-time, business-critical information in the form of a discreet pop-up instant message, as and when you need it.

Any good BI solution will offer a range of reporting tools to help you view and manage your data.

We’re going to look at some of the key reporting tools and features which you might want to consider when looking for a new BI solution.

When looking at BI software, it’s important to consider the functionality it offers. Ask yourself; who will be accessing your data, how can it be extracted and ultimately, is your chosen system going to give you the information you need to run your business effectively?

Dashboards

Are you a graphs and charts person? Dashboard views are great for showing your KPIs in easy-to-view graphs, without showing you everything. They can give you real-time information so you can quickly see what’s doing what, without having to crunch the numbers first.

Excel Functionality

Why make life harder than it needs to be? If you’re a whizz at Excel, then why not look at reporting solutions which have the capability to integrate with the environment you’re familiar with? Outputting reports to Excel will allow you to drill down and manipulate your data further to get the information you need so you can easily share it with other decision makers in your business. Plus, you’ll find it more productive when focusing on the figures rather than which buttons to press.

Customisable views

Will several employees be using the system? Different departments will be looking for different information so the ability to customise columns and rows is a helpful feature to ensure your business intelligence system works for everyone in your business.

Active grids

Do you like to play around with your data and compare figures against each other? Active grids which allow you the flexibility to move data around and order columns as you wish can give you a much deeper insight. Avoid more restrictive solutions which only display your data in fixed views and make it less flexible.

Hidden reports for printing

Do you have meeting after meeting and top-level executives requesting information for discussion? Hidden reports showing your key information in a printable format are ideal for sharing with colleagues and stakeholders in those important meetings.

Still not persuaded? Read on to find out how it can help grow your organisation.

Business Intelligence can be a valuable addition to any business strategy to drive growth; not only can it aid decision-making, but it can improve productivity and ROI too. So, let’s delve deeper and explore the benefits of Pegasus Business Intelligence:

Make faster more important decisions

In days gone by, , individual departments would record and store their own data, making it difficult and time consuming to collate data from across the business. Business Intelligence software that can access data from all areas helps you stay one step ahead by allowing you to access real-time reports, graphs and spreadsheets, giving you complete visibility of the entire organisation in one place. This means you can make up-to-the-minute decisions confidently and quickly.

Satisfied customers and better customer retention

You think you know your customers, but do you really? Do you know what products they buy and when they buy them? How long does it take them to reach the decision to purchase, and what other products to they look at? How often do they return to re-purchase from you? Business Intelligence software can help you get to know your customers, giving you an insight into their buying patterns and behaviour, so you can offer the best products and service to retain them.

Plan for the future and be proactive

Businesses always have, and always will, face uncertainty about the future. With Brexit underway, this is particularly topical at the moment. By giving you insight into how your business has performed historically, Business Intelligence can help you take proactive action to predict and manage future changes and reduce their impact.

Empower employees

If business information is accessible for everyone to see and use, it can help them make insightful decisions or suggestions from the ‘shop floor’, which can have huge benefits for the overall success of an organisation. Plus, it’ll empower and motivate your employees and drive productivity in the longer term.

Make the data you need

The beauty of Business Intelligence software is that it gives you access to the exact information you want, when you need it. No more guesswork or hours of crunching the numbers. A well-implemented Business Intelligence solution will give you the ability to correlate your data how it suits you, and share it easily with other employees and managers across your business.

Save time

One of the simplest, yet biggest benefits of a good Business Intelligence solution is the time it saves. Inputting data to use in report creation can be a laborious and costly task, especially in time-poor, budget-conscious organisations. Business Intelligence software can generate reports at the click of a button, removing the most arduous part of the process, so you can focus your time where it really matters.

Do you think your organisation could benefit from some of the above? Maybe it’s time to think about investing in a new Business Intelligence solution?

Opera 3 has an award-winning business intelligence functionality which can provide valuable insight for your business. Contact us here to learn more and to discuss your requirements, or call us on 0191 500 8150.

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]

5
Oct

WHY ARE BUSINESSES RESISTANT TO UPDATING THEIR SYSTEMS?

Employee resistance is the greatest reason for businesses being reluctant to change or update their systems. 81% of businesses not using a CRM say that not knowing where to start is a change management face. 41% do not know where to start when it comes to change management.

That’s why we’re here to tell you why keeping your accounting software up-to-date is an important consideration. Especially when running a website or server and how it affects usability, security and compatibility with other software.

System speed

As you use your computer system, you get used to the response time of your server. When your business changes and evolves, there is more strain put on your server. More people are accessing it. There is more information on it and it may not have the necessary system requirements to run your software applications.

According to Microsoft Business, all of these elements will add up to slow your server down. After a while, not even regular maintenance of your server and your system keeps it at an acceptable speed. Once this point has been reached, it is time to update your system with processor and memory upgrades to the server.

Business Processes

If you have a hybrid system that requires you to perform several steps just to place an order, then it is probably time to upgrade to a single, more efficient platform.

If your systems network requires you to input some data manually rather than allowing the orders to be processed automatically from a single point of sale then your systems may need to be upgraded.

Employee Input

When a system is used only because management has hung onto it, and not because employees feel like it is the best possible system, then it is a huge indication that your system needs to be updated.

Listen to your employees when they try to explain the difficulties they are having using your system. If employees are not feeling productive, then you are losing money by not updating the system.

The Competition

If your vendors and customers are moving to more powerful systems then you need to update. If your system is having difficulty keeping up with the new programmes, then you need to update.

When you hold onto an older accounting system to avoid having to pay to update it while the world around you is moving onto faster and better systems, then you risk losing customers and having problems interfacing your vendor’s systems if you do not update.

Are you interested in finding out more about how accounting software can benefit your business? Contact us on 0191 500 8150 or email [email protected] One of our friendly Business Software Consultants will be able to answer any of your questions or book you onto a free demo.

25
Feb

5 WAYS CRM CAN BOOST YOUR MARKETING

According to Sage.co.uk, “CRM stands for customer relationship management, and it is a way of tracking and managing interaction with prospects, leads and customers as they move through every stage of a company’s sales cycle.”

 

Customer relationship management helps businesses improve relationships with their customers by organising and automating communications and activities across all customer-facing departments including sales, marketing and customer service.

 

CRM for Marketing

The relationship marketers have with their customer is more important than ever in a very competitive and commercial environment. At the head of a typical customer journey model, customer loyalty is key. With the rise in popularity of digital marketing and growing number of channels, especially search engine marketing (SEM), consumers have a lot more options than they used to when it comes to purchasing a product or service. For this reason a customer’s needs, wants and desires must be met in order to attract prospects and keep your retention rates high.

 

CRM software enables businesses to market more effectively by allowing organisations and brands to develop strong connections with customers, by providing them with information directly suited to their needs and interests. When used to its full potential, CRM software can be used as a strategy to foster customer loyalty, interaction and long term engagement.

 

Here’s 5 reasons how it can support your marketing strategy:

 

  1. Send highly targeted email marketingA CRM solution can be used by marketers to store customer information and plan targeted campaigns. It allows you to segment contacts depending on their interest so you can rest assured you’re getting the right message, to the right people, at the right time. 

    Take Microsoft for example. Customers and prospects that have shown interest in Xbox products will have different needs and wants to those interested in Office. Microsoft would therefore segment their customer lists in order to be more specific and relevant when marketing its products.

     

    CRM software such as Sage CRM supports email marketing, which is a powerful strategy for telling customers about product releases, updates and promotions.

     

    MailChimp, which is a popular email marketing service provider explains, “It’s common knowledge that segmenting your email-marketing lists helps you get better open and click rates. By narrowing your focus and sending messages to targeted groups within your lists, your recipients will find your campaigns more relevant—and relevant campaigns get better results.”

 

  1. Record every action with customersCRM is built to manage your information about contacts. For each contact, you can store information like phone numbers, email, postal addresses and even social media contact information, such as LinkedIn profiles and Twitter handles. 

    CRM software helps you store your customer data, including email and communication histories, sales quotes, orders received, opportunities, and open and resolved support cases. Because this information is in one place, you can feel confident you’re acting on up-to-date information and not wasting your time.

 

  1. Effective communicate across all departments
    According to the Harvard Business Review, when sales and marketing work together “…companies see substantial improvement on important performance metrics: ‘sales cycles are shorter, market-entry costs go down, and the cost of sales is lower.” It is therefore important that all departments in your business are working in harmony. 

    CRM software enables your marketing, sales and customer services teams to work together, to share information and to manage every interaction with prospects, leads and customers. Because every customer interaction is stored in the one place, you and your team can nurture these relationships at every stage of the process.

 

  1. Different message for every stage of the cycleGreat marketing strategies should take into consideration every stage of the customer journey and sales cycle. Here’s a simple model which demonstrates the different stages and why marketing should be amended accordingly: 

    Customer journey model

     

    Using CRM software, your marketing and sales team can manage leads from first contact through to final customer acquisition. It allows you to optimise sales and marketing resources and ensure you’re spending more time on profitable opportunities and less on those matter least.

 

  1. Real-time information and reportingWhen customers place orders for your products or services after these marketing campaigns, you can track these orders using your CRM solution. Managers can also gain insight into how sales and marketing campaigns are performing, helping to make more informed business decisions. 

    According to a 2014 report by IDG Research Services, companies with more effective data grow 35 percent faster!

     

    Using CRM software, your marketing team can identify the source of leads, opportunities and close sales. Identifying the source of leads alone is a great analytical tool which will help you make better informed decisions on where to focus your energy and what channels to invest your budget. For example, if you the majority of your conversions come from organic search rather than networking, you should spend less time networking and put more time into your SEO strategy.

     

    It seems obvious but a lot of companies do not use analytics or reports and continue doing the same activities day in day out and wonder why their marketing “isn’t working”.

 

In a nutshell, CRM enables marketing teams to better understand customers, create highly targeted campaigns, collaborate with other departments and gain real time information.

 

Want to see how CRM could work for your business? Get in touch for a free demo!

2
Feb

5 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULDN’T USE EXCEL

As specialists in small business accounting software we often receive enquiries from growing SMEs who require an accounting system to cope with their sudden or progressive growth. One of the questions we ask upon initial discussion is “What are you currently using at the moment?” and nine times out of ten we hear the words “Microsoft Excel”.

 

This brings music to our ears, because although Excel is great for a large number of tasks, there is no way a business with ambition can survive using spreadsheet software for its accounting.

 

Although Excel might be sufficient at present, down the line as processes get more complex and the volume of invoices and transactions produced on a daily basis increase, companies will outgrow spreadsheets and be required to look for a more robust system.

 

The key to growing your business therefore is to think ahead and have a long-term strategy in place. Ask yourself:

 

If I continue doing what I’m currently doing, will I be able to reach the goals I want to achieve?

 

If the answer is yes and you already have an efficient system in place, you don’t need to read on. If the answer is no and you’re currently using Excel for accounting, continue reading…

 

5 reasons why you need to ditch the spreadsheets immediately!

 

1. Manual data entry

Excel spreadsheets require you to manually enter data rather than import it. If you process transactions and use Excel, you will be required to rekey information which is time consuming and can give you a headache. Rekeying information can also result in human error, whether you’re using formulas or not.By investing in an efficient accounts system you will benefit from fewer manual processes, eliminate human error and streamline your business accounting. You can choose to create fields and produce codes related to your business requirements so you don’t need to manually input data at all.

 

2. Time consuming

Using spreadsheets can be time consuming for a number of reasons. When you are originally setting them up they require a lot of thought and planning. When your business grows your contact list and number of transactions will grow and it will become difficult to drilldown and search for information. Spending time creating and updating spreadsheets can result in a back log of work which will hinder your growth.Accounting software increases productivity in the workplace by automating processes and procedures. It makes reporting quick, VAT returns easy and you’ll always be in the know about the financial position of your company, which in turn will allow you to make better informed decisions.

 

3. Poor reporting

When creating a spreadsheet for your accounting you need to think about the end result. Ask yourself what am I using this data for? It’s ideal to have a strategy in place before you start so you can create the reports you need down the line. Excel isn’t very flexible and won’t allow you to configure reports automatically as you would with accounting software.With a sufficient accounts system you will be able to quickly identify how money flows through your business. Dashboards and tools will allow you to view your company information in real time and give you a running total of your current accounts.

 

4. It’s not secure

Excel spreadsheets do not have an audit trail and don’t monitor who is making edits and changes to data, which makes them susceptible to fraud.Accounting software allows you to store important information securely, and with a cloud based solution you will benefit from daily backups. Users can be assigned different access levels so only people with authorisation can edit information, giving you peace of mind when it comes to security

 

5. Doesn’t integrate
Excel is unable to integrate with applications that are necessary to run a growing business.One of the benefits of an accounts system is that it integrates with other parts of your business, such as stock management, payroll, job costing, time sheets, etc. As your business grows you may require additional modules, such as a CRM system, which can be easily linked when using accounting software.

 

By saving time, giving you peace of mind and offering you flexibility as your business grows, accounting software is guaranteed to give you a return on your investment. It will allow you to focus on the important things and eliminate time consuming admin tasks.

 

If you’re ready to embrace change and let your business grow, contact Monpellier on 0191 500 8150 or email [email protected]. We’ll discuss your needs and find the best solution for you and your business.

14
Jan

REASONS TO CHOOSE A LOCAL SAGE PARTNER

Sage 200 is a modular based Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software solution that enables you to manage all of your key business processes and functions in one place. This allows business owners and key decision makers to make important, strategic decisions based on robust, up to date information from across the business.

 

Selecting the right partner is therefore a hugely important step in ensuring your solution provides the functionality and information you require.

 

So, if you’re in the market for a Sage Business Partner, here are four key questions to consider.

 

Has your Business Partner got a longstanding history of successful integrations?

 

With more than a decade’s solid foundation in accounts software, business IT services and EPOS systems, Monpellier Ltd is one of the largest providers of computerised business solutions in the UK.

 

We are proud to have been working with clients across the UK for over 20 years, expertly installing Sage Software into multi-million pound companies across a huge range of sectors.

 

When in discussions with your potential Business Partner, it’s important to ask about successful installations and review stories, videos and testimonials of past and current clients.

 

Does your Business Partner understand your specific business requirements?

 

From financial management through to customer relationship management, stock control and online sales add ons, Sage 200 has everything you need to systemise, co-ordinate and drive efficiency across your operations. It is not, by any means, a ‘one-size fits all’ solution and for this reason, it’s really important that your business provider sits with you to understand your needs before they begin outlining the options available.

 

At Monpellier, we work with you to define a clear specification of requirements before running through a clear demo of Sage 200 with you.  This gives you the opportunity to view the Sage 200 software firsthand, and test the various elements of functionality.

 

What ongoing technical and training support is your business partner able to provide following the installation?

 

We are proud to be a leading Sage Strategic Business Partner and we provide our clients with software and hardware support, consultancy, account management and customer services teams.

 

We can offer you the flexibility of support face-to-face, online or over the phone – giving you the confidence of knowing there’s always someone nearby who understands your business.

 

Within the Monpellier group, we also have a longstanding IT Business, which has over 15 years experience in providing technical support services with Microsoft Certified Systems Engineers (MCSE), Microsoft Certified Professionals (MCP) and Novell Netware Engineers.

 

When you work with us, you can be really assured you’re in good hands!

 

Is your Business Partner commercially savvy and able to help you maximize the commercial benefits of Sage 200?

 

The flexibility of Sage 200 means it’s ideal for companies with a turnover of £1 million to £50 million or typically 10 to 200 employees, across all business sectors and delivers scope to grow and it’s important that your business partner can work with you to deliver the functionality and commercial benefit needed for your scale and requirements.

 

If you’d like to find out more, call us on 0191 5008150 and we’ll arrange to visit you to find out more about your specific business requirements and challenges.