Windows XP No Longer Supported after April 8, 2014

August 29, 2013

Windows XP No Longer Supported After April 8, 2014Guest post by Raymond Desjardins

After many warnings from Microsoft, it appears that they are going to completely stop supporting (including through Windows update) Windows XP on April 8, 2014.  Microsoft prefers to refer to this end of support as “sunset”.  For larger companies with a lot of their current computers running XP Pro it could be “twilight” before they can manage to upgrade to a supported version of Windows.  To fully realize the magnitude of the change required one must appreciate that XP presently occupies 37% of the installed desktop operating systems.  There are twice as many legal XP installations than Windows Vista, Windows 8, and all the versions of Mac OS and Linux COMBINED.  Since accountants in general would not be considered “early adopters”,  I wonder what the percentage of our installations are still running XP?  Since there is no straightforward one-step upgrade from XP to Windows 7 or 8, this will be a very time consuming upgrade.

 Although the first reaction would be that we don’t really need to change from XP if it still works, the reality is that XP is a relatively vulnerable operating system with nowhere near the security underpinnings of Windows 8,  or even Windows 7 or Vista for that matter.  Once they stop patching XP with weekly updates, it will be even more open to hacks and security breaches.

 When upgrading, XP users will have to decide whether they want the relative familiarity of Windows 7 (which is due for sunset in 2020), or go all the way to Windows 8 with a projected sunset date of 2022.  They will have to measure the few additional support years of Windows 8 against the learning curve as opposed Windows 7.  Notwithstanding how much I prefer Windows 7 to Windows 8, I would personally upgrade my existing (active) XP installations to Windows 8.

 Whatever one decides, one thing is clear – it’s well past the time to retire Windows XP.  It was a fine operating system in its day and may it rest in peace.


What is Business Management Software?

August 27, 2013

Business Management SoftwareBusiness management software is a widely used term, and has been applied to various different types of software systems.  However, a true business management system will be one that streamlines and manages most, if not all, aspects of business operations as an end-to-end, all-in-one solution. For this reason it is often used interchangeably with the term “ERP software”.

Both ERP and business management software are designed to accomplish a variety of tasks across an organization such as:

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How to Solve Inventory Problems

August 23, 2013

Solving Inventory ProblemsDo you find yourself constantly rushing through a backlog of orders that never seems to diminish? Are you experiencing problems in shipping the right products to the correct customers? Are you making sales, only to determine that you lost money on them after all the costs are considered? These are just some of the common problems experienced by inventory managers in the wholesale and distribution industry.

Let’s explore 3 approaches to solving these inventory problems:

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Common eCommerce Integration Mistakes

August 20, 2013

Guest post by Samantha Hornby

eCommerce Integration MistakesMy colleague, David Silva, and I recently presented at Demac Media’s eCommerce Meetup to discuss common eCommerce integration mistakes.  Although Dave and I only presented on the most common mistakes that we see when engaged with prospects, the discussion quickly grew as others at the meetup expressed their concerns and pain points when it comes to integration. Below is a recap of some of the most common mistakes we discussed.

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How to Pick the Best Import Export Software for Your Distribution Business

August 16, 2013

Import Export Software SearchChoosing the best import and export software for your distribution business can be a cumbersome task for any company, but can get even more complicated when industry specific functionality is needed.  Many systems include basic accounting, inventory and customer management functionality, which may help your business operate on a day-to-day basis, however manually handling industry specific processes without the use of a proper system won’t allow your business to effectively compete within the industry. Choosing the best system for your import export business will not only mean evaluating vendors with the industry specific functionality you need but also determining which vendors can provide other industry specific benefits.

In terms of functionality there are various components that are important within import export software.  These include landed cost tracking, multi-currency functionality and automated customs processing.  However, aside from functionality it is important to evaluate vendors on their level of support, customer satisfaction and of course software costs.

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Excel For Inventory Management?

August 7, 2013

excel-for-inventory-managementI recently visited a company that uses Excel for inventory management which is not unusual as many small businesses use Excel to manage areas of business for which they do not have a purpose-built system. But this visit reminded me how dangerous it can be to use Excel for certain types of business activity.

(To be clear: Excel is an outstanding business tool and I use it all the time. But like any tool, it works best when used for appropriate purposes.)

At this company, their Excel spreadsheets are manually updated when shipments arrive, when they get around to it. And they’re updated again when products are shipped out, some time after the fact. They use these spreadsheets for information about inventory: what’s in stock, when to replenish and how much to order. They also use them for costing inventory, including landed costs like duty, brokerage and freight. So these are pretty important business tools, right? Now read this question and answer exchange with the business owner:

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Pros and Cons of QuickBooks | QuickBooks Limitations

August 5, 2013

QuickBooks Pros and Cons

QuickBooksUsers.com recently conducted a survey to determine “What users like about QuickBooks” (pictured above) and “What Users Do Not Like About QuickBooks” (pictured below). Using this data, we can discuss the Pros and Cons of QuickBooks.

QuickBooks Limitations | Pros and Cons

You may have noticed, interestingly, that some of the pros are the same as the cons. It appears that mileage varies greatly. However, in summary, here are the generally accepted pros and cons of QuickBooks:

Pros of QuickBooks Cons of QuickBooks
  • Easy to use
  • Efficient
  • Good accounting reports
  • Flexible with 3rd party applications
  • Affordable
  • Missing industry & business-specific features
  • Lack of key reports outside of accounting
  • Instability / crashes
  • Lack of direct professional support
  • File-size issues

Just about everyone would agree that QuickBooks is a great introductory system for new and very small businesses. It is only as your business grows and your requirements become more diverse that the limitations begin to show through. Let’s briefly explore QuickBooks’ Limitations:

  1. Limited reporting and transparency of your business health
  2. Double entry and keying errors
  3. Limitations with file size and data
  4. Generic and impersonal support
  5. Standalone application Lacks integration

For more information, be sure to visit the Top 5 Reasons to Replace QuickBooks.

QuickBooks Problem: Inventory Management

QuickBooks tends to be particularly problematic when addressing robust inventory management concerns. If inventory management is crucial to your business, QuickBooks may fail to meet your needs. At this point it may be time to seek out an appropriate inventory management software package that includes integrated accounting etc. If you find yourself in this position, download this Replace QuickBooks kit to get started or read the following post: How to Replace QuickBooks.

Replace QuickBooks Download

 

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