Factors to Consider When Upgrading Software: Employee Skill Set

March 10, 2015

upgrading your softwareIntroductory software systems, such as QuickBooks, are great tools for small and start-up businesses.    They require minimal training and set-up, are intuitive and easy to use and come with a relatively low price tag.  However, as your business grows and order volume increases, there may come a time where more robust accounting ERP software is required.  ERP systems provide functionality across a variety of departments and are designed to handle large amounts of data, increase automation and reduce the need for duplicate entry. As a result, the implementation process is much more complex and requires significant planning, the benefit being a system that will continue to grow with your company for years to come.  ERP software is a good solution for businesses who have outgrown their existing systems, but what happens when a company outgrows its staff?

Implementing an appropriate mid-market accounting ERP solution can reduce or delay the need to hire additional employees by providing opportunities for automation.  There is less need for manual entry as the system integrates data across all departments including inventory, accounting, contact management, and order entry and processing. However, there are two instances where employees with a more advanced skill set may be needed; (1) when IT management is required, (2) when no one at the company has advanced knowledge of accounting practices.

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Understanding the Differences between Introductory Software and ERP

December 22, 2014

Beginner vs. ExpertThe enterprise software industry is typically divided into 3 different tiers and/or segments: Tier One introductory systems, Tier Two mid-market ERP systems and Tier Three, top-tier or Blue Chip solutions. Each different Tier is geared towards companies of a particular size, with certain business processes and future strategic plans. A high-level understanding of the different Tiers and available systems will help your business plan for future growth and allow you to strategize when and if a move to the next level of software is appropriate.  In this particular article we’ll cover enterprise software solutions designed for small-medium size wholesale and distribution companies. Tier Three solutions will not be discussed, as they are best suited for large multi-national companies with global operations.

Introductory Software

Introductory software is any software solution specifically geared towards small businesses as the first solution implemented in an organization.  This would include systems such as QuickBooks, Simply Accounting and Fishbowl.  These solutions are marketed towards small companies and are most often used at the inception of the company or to replace entirely manual processes.   They provide basic accounting functionality and in some cases basic inventory management features as well.  Training is minimal and the software is designed to be used by employees with limited accounting knowledge and software experience.

Mid-market ERP Software

Mid-market ERP software is geared towards small-medium size wholesale distribution companies that have outgrown their existing introductory systems.  In certain instances – where there is available capital and significant growth plans – mid-market ERP is also a suitable solution for start-up companies. ERP is an acronym for “enterprise resources planning” and is used to describe a system that will manage all aspects of a company’s operations.  To accomplish this, ERP systems include functionality for; inventory management, accounting, order entry and processing, warehouse management and contact management.  In many cases, specialized features are also available that support specific industries, such as landed cost tracking, barcode scanning and eCommerce integration.  Users of these systems will need to have a better understanding of accounting practises and software technology in order to gain the most benefit.

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Looking to Replace QuickBooks? Consider the Following…

March 7, 2014

Considering Replacing QuickBooks?Investing in ERP software is a huge decision for a company of any size. Moving from manual processes or an introductory system such as QuickBooks to completely automated, sophisticated practices can be a costly, time-consuming, and often confusing, decision-making process. So where should you start? Consider this list of basic questions to ask yourself…

Cloud or On-Premises?

Today, one of the biggest decisions facing companies regarding ERP implementations is whether to run the system on-premises or as a hosted solution. There are pros and cons to each option – it really does depend on your business model and needs. Here’s a brief look at some of the differences:

Cloud vs. On-Premises

There is no “right answer” when it comes to choosing between on-premises or cloud, so just be sure to do your research! (Of course the software suitability and vendor’s service level are even more important). Consider looking at a provider who will offer both, so your company has more flexibility to make a decision, will be given unbiased recommendations, and has the option of moving from one to the other.

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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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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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How to Replace QuickBooks

May 14, 2013

How to Replace QuickBooksWe’ve previously written about Getting Over QuickBooks, and knowing when it’s time to move from an introductory system to a fully integrated ERP system. Now let’s discuss how to replace QuickBooks once you’ve made the decision to do so.   Doing this right involves determining your business needs, setting a budget, getting employees on board and evaluating vendors.  Be fully prepared and make the switch a priority; this will ensure that the transition is as successful as possible.

 The steps to help your business replace QuickBooks are outlined below:

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