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Frank Gerome

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How To Shorten Your Invoice Cycle With Financial Accounting Software

Posted by Frank Gerome

Nov 20, 2017

For many small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), longer invoicing cycles cause confusion, accuracy issues and serious cash flow problems.

Without powerful financial accounting software to rein in these complications, SMBs wrestle with maintaining the integrity of their bookkeeping. This struggle makes it difficult — if not impossible — to forecast or make sound business decisions without questioning the validity of the data.

Here are three key invoicing issues that SMBs frequently deal with, along with an explanation about how financial accounting software helps to eliminate these problems, effectively speeding up the cycle time and saving the company money.

  1. Some SMBs store their invoicing information in more than one location: Keeping financial information on several spreadsheets or in more than one system makes it difficult to track anything. What money is coming in? How much money is actually in the bank to pay the bills? Is there enough to make payroll? Without storing all of this information in one location, or at least integrating the different systems that require financial data, it’s much too easy to make mistakes. That’s because these spreadsheets and systems are not communicating with each other. In other words, there’s a lack real-time updates between the systems.

    Let’s say, for example, someone in accounting pays a bill for $1,000. Unless that accountant logs that payment into the spreadsheet and all four of the company’s various systems, someone else in another department could go into one of these systems — which haven't been updated — and assume there’s $1,000 more in the bank than is the case. Without integration between the systems, the second person could easily bounce a check.

    With financial accounting software, all financial data is updated in one location and in real time.
     
  2. Storing invoice data in multiple locations means your accountants must use time-consuming processes to maintain accuracy: This particular invoicing issue — which is related to the first problem listed above — happens when the accountants must invest significant effort to make the data on each of the different spreadsheets and systems produce the same truth.

    If the accountants have to update two spreadsheets and three systems for every transaction, they’ll spend far too much precious time juggling manual processes. Plus, should they forget to update even one of these locations, the accuracy of the bookkeeping goes out the window.

    A fully integrated financial accounting system doesn’t require any data to be tracked on spreadsheets. So when you correct the information in one system, it’s corrected across all of them. You don’t have need someone to enter it in system A, system B and system C. When a change is made in any of these systems, everything is updated. This ensures that no matter what system you’re in, you’ll receive the correct and most up-to-date information.
     
  3. Longer invoice cycle times cause customers to take longer to make payments: Studies show the longer you wait to send a bill, the harder it is to receive full payment. By using disparate systems to invoice customers, the process takes longer and delays payments.

    Financial accounting softwareincludes fully integrated sales order processes. This means accountants have fewer steps and no manual processes to send an invoice, drastically speeding up delivery time and billing cycle time.

Here’s the bottom line: SMBs don’t have to endure the confusion and headaches that come with long invoicing cycles. Thanks to its integration abilities, quality financial accounting software is able to vastly improve the quality of your data, enabling business leaders to make better decisions.

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Too Small For Big Data? No Problem! Use Cloud ERP Dashboards To Get Ahead

Posted by Frank Gerome

Nov 2, 2017

Most small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) don’t produce what the industry would call “Big Data.” They just don’t aggregate that amount of information — yet, anyway.

But these smaller companies do have some data that’s able to offer them powerful insights into their business. So while SMBs don’t need mega software to process Big Data, they should use technology to produce powerful, actionable information

Here are six reasons for SMBs to jump ahead of the competition using cloud ERP dashboards. 

  1. You can start small: Depending on your role at the company, you can pick anything to track. Take this finite data set, track it and then add more pieces. People often feel intimidated because data analytics seems so complex. They think they don’t have time to do it and feel like they’re already stressed out so much that it seems impossible. But starting small with your data analysis efforts makes it more manageable and removes that stress. 
     
  2. The technology is easy to use: The nice thing about cloud ERP’s built-in dashboards is that they’re very simple to use. Configuration capabilities with this platform are tailored to the nontechnical user. In most ERP and CRM platforms, it’s quite simple to pull data into a graphical representation or chart that shows trend lines or other metrics. The ease of creating these in a modern-day financial accounting system is definitely a big benefit. 
     
  3. It’s affordable: Not only does the cloud offer a user-friendly environment, but you’re not required to “break the bank or “sell the farm” to get these sophisticated platforms that offer dashboards. Subscription-based models provide consistency to your IT budget as well. 
     
  4. You can try before you buy: It’s important to find a solution that offers a user-friendly, familiar environment, and one that’s able to integrate with other software application platforms you use to run your business. Unlike legacy ERP systems, where companies need to invest thousands of dollars immediately, cloud ERP tools are subscription-based. So, try it for a while and if it doesn’t work, you haven’t invested too much money or time. While the 30-day trial seems to be status quo for many software providers, others offer a more accelerated approach with trial environments already set up for companies to test data, post journal entries and run reports. In other words, it really only takes a few days before you know if the system is right for you.
     
  5. Technology can help you gather information about marketing sources: For SMBs, it’s very important to track marketing and sales efforts, build KPIs around those areas of the business and then set goals. During this information-gathering process, determine your marketing sources and website referrals. Find out who’s coming to your site and where they’re coming from. It’s also a good idea to track keywords. 
     
  6. Cloud ERP can monitor bounce rates and landing page data: These KPIs are critical for SMBs. Is the majority of your traffic coming in on the wrong landing page, or is your format and content impactful? You’ll want to track the effectiveness of your landing pages so you’re able to start critiquing your content. 

SMBs need to understand their data so they’re able to confidently measure their desired outcomes. That’s why it’s critical to track marketing trends, customer feedback and all financial information such as outstanding invoices, cash flow and inventory. The key to this effort is using cloud ERP dashboards to gain deeper insights into the business.

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Why Small Businesses Should Move to the Cloud

Posted by Frank Gerome

Oct 25, 2017

If you run a small business, you are probably aware of the increasing demand for cloud based software. Perhaps a lot of you are wondering how your business will benefit.  Let’s discuss some of the major benefits of implementing a cloud based system:

Security and Reliability

Security seems to be the biggest concern that small business owners have when considering cloud based accounting. If you have any concerns about security in the cloud, using a cloud system is actually much safer and reliable than storing your data on your own server. A decade ago, people had the same fear about internet banking. Today, internet banking is ubiquitous.

Convenient Access

If you own a smartphone or a tablet, you’re probably willing to conduct as many of the daily activities as possible on your handheld devices. It helps you run and monitor your business efficiently while you are on the road. For example: you can easily enter a sales quote into your financial system in real-time from anywhere and anytime. Imagine yourself doing a random check on your company’s financials, while you’re on vacation at the beach in Tahiti!

One File, Multiple User Access

If you have a more than two people operating in your office, then you’re probably looking for a system that can give multiple accesses to all the files at any time.  With just a few clicks you can provide data access to your accountants and bookkeepers, so that each one of them is able to do their work on time. This way you won’t need to carry files from one place to another physically or have five versions of an Excel Spreadsheet. You can simply share the data with your accounting team and let them do their work while you can handle other more important assignments. You can log in and look at their work at any time to check on their progress.

Affordable and Quick

Your business can save a lot of money with cloud software, regardless of its size. All of your business’ data is stored in the cloud, which means it’s stored in a remote server. Thus, you don’t need to spend money on purchasing, upgrading, or maintaining hardware and software. You also don’t need to hire technology staff  to install, configure, maintain or monitor the software! This  allows you to hire resources to focus and grow other areas of your business. Cloud accounting has emerged as an affordable and safe way of managing a business’ financial data.  Contact SMB Suite today and learn how migrating to a cloud based financial accounting solution can help your business grow smarter.
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5 Keys To Preparing For A Successful Migration To Financial Accounting Software

Posted by Frank Gerome

Oct 18, 2017

For organizations finally ditching their hodge-podge spreadsheet system for quality financial accounting software, preparing for the big move can feel like a daunting task.

Moving your reporting, payroll, receivables, payables and a thousand different financial figures from one system to another — without messing anything up — is an incredibly challenging task. Fortunately, companies that take the time to prepare properly are more successful and experience much less stress than those that try to migrate without a solid plan.

The truth is that you simply can’t do enough preparation for a move. With that in mind, here are five key ways to prepare for a successful migration to financial accounting software.

  1. Clean up your data: Don’t bring messy data into a nice clean system; if you do, you’re running the risk of making the same kinds of errors your spreadsheet system made. Instead, spend time to remove misspelled words, unwanted prefixes and other silly mistakes that are easy to fix, but take a long time and a careful eye to spot. Use “find and replace” to search for double entries. Eliminate blank rows. Remember, it’s important to back up your data before trying to “fix” anything; you can never be too careful. Some third-party providers also offer data cleansing as a paid service. If your information is particularly messy, it might be a good idea to hire someone to fix it for you.
  2. Organize your current spreadsheet system: Evaluate your current workflows and internal processes and determine if they’re in order or even necessary. It’s a good idea to only import the data you actually need into your new system. Old data, such as previous customer information, may not be necessary to import into your new system.
  3. Improve your existing financial processes: Any time you’re going to put your information into a financial accounting system, the best thing you can do is perform a process improvement. If you’ve done something simply because that’s the way you’ve always done it and not because it’s the best way to do it, it’s time to rethink how to best change the process. Consider workflow, information storage, permissions and backup procedures as places to evaluate and improve. Where do you store receipts? What are the requirements of your approval process? Now is the time to work out the bugs in the entire financial management process.
  4. Make sure the timing for the movement is perfect: From an internal business standpoint, timing is everything. Even in the best of circumstances, a migration effort is going to be disruptive. That’s why for retailers it’s probably a good idea to avoid migrating during the busy holiday season. Companies in the financial services industry, on the other hand, will want to stay clear from the end of the fiscal year or during tax season. Always pick a time that’s conducive to the business where the internal resources and business process owners might be more readily available. They’ll need time and mental capacity to manage the move.
  5. Pick a champion: Many cloud providers have discovered the migration process goes smoother if the company has a person within the business who is responsible for the success of the migration. They’ll be the expert and a go-between for the provider. 

Here’s the bottom line: The best way to make a successful migration is to find a software vendor that makes the transition as easy as possible. Quality providers will work with you to make these painful processes a bit easier for everyone involved. While no migration is easy, it doesn’t have to be a daunting task that everyone in your organizations dreads.

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Is Cloud-Based Dynamics GP The Right Financial Accounting Software For Your Organization?

Posted by Frank Gerome

Oct 9, 2017

When Microsoft Dynamics GP was updated and became available in the cloud, for the first time, companies could purchase a subscription to financial accounting software built on Dynamics GP. 

But is Dynamics GP in the cloud the right fit for your company? Here are several key facts to consider about cloud-based Dynamics GP as you research options for accounting software.

  1. Dynamics GP in the cloud is no different from the on-premises version: The only difference is how it’s accessed and paid for. With some vendors, access is as simple as logging on to a portal via a mobile device. The application launches right out of the portal. But, again, remember that the application itself is the same as the on-premises Dynamics GP.
     
  2. Subscription costs are less: Cloud ERP is cheaper because you don’t have to pay the support costs that you do with on-premises solutions. On-premises upgrades typically require new hardware, which is expensive.
     
  3. The cloud allows for flexibility with the number of users: The cloud solution is more agile, allowing companies to adjust the number of users up or down, while on-premises solutions only let you add users. Companies often want to consolidate the users they have. For instance, they might have 15 users today, and therefore 15 licenses they’re paying maintenance on. Later, they may realize they only need seven licenses, but with the on-premises software they can’t reduce that number. With a cloud solution, companies can lower the number of users, which saves the business money. 
     
  4. Upgrades are easier: Customers have reported that Microsoft seems to roll out updates for its cloud solutions faster than for its on-premises solutions. This is true. Cloud ERP software is designed to be upgraded automatically. With on-premises solutions, you’re paying for the rights to the software, but you also have to pay for someone to set up and implement upgrades such as new hardware, database updates and Windows Server software upgrades. This effort costs a lot of money and time.
     
  5. Integrations are instantaneous: When you’re using Dynamics GP in the cloud, integrations with other applications are built in. This integration is much cheaper than using an on-premises scenario, where if you want applications to work together, you have to pay an IT development firm to write the integration. And remember, application development work is about the most expensive type of work. Large organizations have spent millions on enterprise application development. Now, small- to medium-sized businesses can get it inside a cloud environment, enabling all customers to benefit from the integration. In the cloud, integration from your ERP to your CRM is already there. Companies don’t have to pay to get it built from scratch. There’s a monthly fee, sure, but this fee is far less than the cost of paying someone to build the integration for you. 

Building your company’s financial accounting efforts on Dynamics GP is a smart idea. And considering the flexibility with the number of users, upgrades, integration and built-in IT support, using a cloud ERP vendor to access the software is even better.

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How To Speed Up Your Month-End Close With Financial Accounting Software

Posted by Frank Gerome

Sep 29, 2017

“How can I close my books faster?” This is the question that so many companies, especially small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), ask all the time. 

But dealing with complex reporting, missed reconciliations or outdated information is certain to throw the timing of even the best-planned closes out the window.

The challenge for many SMBs is that their accountants conduct month-end closes manually. Often, they do this because that’s all their financial accounting software will allow. Other companies simply don’t have a financial solution that allows them to automate. With both of these situations, the margin of human error plays a role in compromising the accuracy of the close process. And mistakes slow everything down. 

You can’t blame these companies, of course. There are so many moving parts that the accountants must complete — necessary financial adjustments, account balance calculations and financial position reports, for example — that mistakes are nearly inevitable. 

The key to eliminating these mistakes and speeding up the process is to use powerful financial accounting software. Here are two ways that these kinds of solutions help to speed up your month-end close.

  1. Reduce human error: Not only is it time-intensive to manually entry data, but all of this shuffling significantly increases the risk of human error and redundant data entry. In the computing process, people are usually the weakest link. Without a high-powered tool to apply best practices and structure to your accounting processes, the ability to compare apples to apples is nearly impossible. Advanced technology can be programmed to require users to perform the correct tasks and achieve consistency. This means there’s no more tracking down versions of documents. You’ll be able to access and share real-time data in a single repository, and eliminate mistakes caused from emailing documents back and forth. 
     
  2. Automate processes: Financial accounting solutions offer the ability to build month-end closing procedures ahead of time. This means companies are able to build the reports once and then access and run them again as needed. By using one integrated system and not bouncing around from spreadsheets to QuickBooks, automation is much easier for performing weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual procedures. 

By organizing data in a central location, simplifying reports and working seamlessly with your existing business software, financial accounting software improves the operational efficiency of your company. Human error plays a role in compromising the accuracy of the close, so it’s critical to use powerful tools, eliminate the manual approach and speed up your month-end close.

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3 Ways Cloud ERP Technology Can Help Improve Business Continuity

Posted by Frank Gerome

Sep 15, 2017

Just because your company’s data is stored in a server closet in your basement and is “protected” by your expert IT team doesn’t mean the information is safe. In fact, just the opposite is probably true.
 
Here are two true stories that illustrate why using cloud ERP technology to back up your information can drastically improve business continuity.
 
First, a horror story: Before switching over to the cloud, one company’s chief information officer (CIO) — someone you’d think would be among the most well-trained in handling technology — decided to do some dusting in the server closet. Sounds innocent enough, right? Not quite. While he was wiping away the dirt and grime, he managed to wipe away critical financial data.
 
When the CIO pulled out a hard drive from the shelf, the action caused the entire server to fail and the company lost all the data on the unit. And with none of that information backed up, the company lost weeks — maybe months — of work and transactions. Even worse, the company couldn’t process transactions for days, so it wasn’t getting paid and wasn’t making needed payments.
 
It took a team of financial accounting technology experts four days straight, including the weekend, to try to get the business back up and running. The company then spent another week or two manually entering in old transactions from previous months to catch up. It then had to buy new (very expensive) equipment to replace the fried unit.
 
Fortunately, not all accidents are quite so damaging and costly.
 
Another company also experienced a downed server. Early one morning, the employees discovered that none of them could log in. Fortunately, the company housed its financial data in the cloud and immediately called the provider. Within minutes, the provider discovered that, yes, the login server was down, and it restored access within 12 minutes. As it turned out, employees were using bad login information and the company designed its system to purposely block all users after several failed login attempts.
 
It was a security issue, but the provider was able to quickly diagnose the problem and restart the server to restore operations. The employees had 12 minutes of panic, but then they immediately appreciated the value of the service when it came back, especially since it could’ve taken hours or days to figure out what happened on their own.
 
This second example best illustrates why using cloud-based financial accounting software is very much like paying for car insurance. It’s easy to complain about the regular payments, but as soon as it’s needed, we’re very glad to have it. Often, people don’t recognize the value until bad things happen.
 
The point is this: Cloud providers are monitoring the information on the server 24/7. They perform patch management, maintenance, upgrades and system performance constantly so if something could potentially become an issue, the provider can find and fix the issue before it has a chance to become problematic. Often, the customer never sees the problem, because the provider is proactive about averting issues.
 
If your company’s crucial system goes down, how will you keep the business going? Backing up your system in the cloud in case of disaster or theft can keep costly issues from happening.
 
Here are three ways that technology can help improve business continuity.

  1. Regular backups: Having the information backed up daily or every few minutes prevents loss.
  2. Theft protection: The cloud provider is in the business of securing data and making sure it’s safe, protected against human error and natural disasters, at a level well beyond what you can do yourself.
    Try getting in the front door of a data center if you don’t have a keycard; try getting into a rack that’s not your rack. You can’t. So you can sleep well knowing that data centers specialize in this kind of protection. And if a tornado hits one data center, the provider likely has another one in a different part of the country, and redundancy protects your information.
  3. Speedy restoration time: Think about the equipment. What if the server fails? In a provider’s data center, you’ll have a backup and restore process. As soon as you know the system is down, you can be back up, typically within 12 to 48 minutes. If you have your own server in your own office — regardless of your IT department’s brilliance — do you have another server where you have everything backed up and ready to go? One of the many values of the cloud is the risk mitigation it provides.

Despite the above stories, if you’re still unsure about the cloud, there’s a baby step you can take: Have a really good off-site backup system. Don’t use an external hard drive for media; they’re prone to failure and malfunction. Invest in a mirror server. Use the hardware even if it’s doing nothing more than backing up your data. That will go a long way toward providing much-needed business continuity and peace of mind.

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How Can Your Small Business Start Using Analytics With Your Financial Accounting System?

Posted by Frank Gerome

Sep 12, 2017

Data analytics is a huge deal right now, and most small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) agree that delving deeper into their own financial accounting business information is a requirement for success.
 
The good news is that although most SMBs don’t have significant resources to dedicate to mining Big Data, they can get more insight out of the data they already have without specifically paying for this kind of effort.
 
The need for improved business analytics is one of the primary drivers that SMBs consider when upgrading their enterprise resource planning (ERP) financial accounting software. QuickBooks and spreadsheet systems work great for a while, but they aren’t powerful enough to provide the insight and business intelligence that most companies need to stay ahead of the competition in today’s landscape.
 
In addition to a general need for more and better information, there seem to be two specific business scenarios that drive companies to invest in new financial accounting software, and thus small-scale analytics capabilities.
 
For starters, growing SMBs frequently have two or three companies they’re managing. Often, each of these companies uses QuickBooks, which means the parent company may have three separate sets of QuickBooks to manage.
 
The companies in this scenario can’t consolidate the data quickly or efficiently enough to perform timely analysis. Remember, without advanced software, consolidation can only occur by exporting the data to Excel, and then merging the companies’ data into a giant spreadsheet. This process can take hours, even days, just to get the information in one location.
 
The second most common reason that SMBs need analytics is that they’re operating multiple types of applications to help run their businesses, and none of these programs are compatible with each other.
 
In today’s world, most business applications needed to run a company are siloed. For example, if a company were running Salesforce.com as its customer relationship management (CRM) solution, or using Excel or a database to keep track of customer information, then to manage its accounting efforts it might use QuickBooks or some other kind of spreadsheet system. Finally, if it were selling products online, it might run an e-commerce solution to manage the effort.
 
Suddenly, a company has three independent applications to keep financial data, and none of these programs can talk to each other.
 
Many SMBs may take in as much as $1.5 million annually, but by running all these incompatible applications, they’re missing opportunities. They have no ability to analyze customer data in terms of billing, e-commerce, inventory or a hundred other indicators. Essentially, they’re flying blind. They have multiple applications keeping the business afloat, sure, but they can’t actually view the data and make strategic decisions about the future.
 
This is a huge loss for companies. Performing analytics on their financial data — including closes and trends — is where they’ll discover their best value and greatest insights.
 
So how does a small business begin to incorporate analytics? Assuming it has a powerful financial accounting system, where should it start?
 
First, financial data should be the anchor of a company’s analytics efforts. Financials contain the most important customer data, including receivables. They house contact information, billing, purchase orders and everything related to how a company interacts with its customers. This kind of data is in an accounting system. In other words, the most important first step for quality analytics is to invest in a quality accounting system.
 
Second, be sure to incorporate and analyze customer information by purchasing a CRM system that salespeople will actually use. Unfortunately, most companies won’t use their CRM system to facilitate business transactions and so salespeople aren’t inclined to really get the most out of the application.
 
To find one that will actually benefit the company, compile a list of the information or key performance indicators (KPIs) that will drive success in the business. What does that data look like — is it customer or inventory data?
 
Next, identify the location of the data that you’re trying to access. Is it housed in one financial application or in multiple applications? Is all the data in a separate system or just a spreadsheet? Is the business built around an e-commerce billing system? Where’s the data today?
 
Once you know the information you need and where the data’s located, figure out how to get the information out. Remember, if your company is running QuickBooks or just using spreadsheets, it’ll be difficult and time-consuming. It’s better to find a system that can better provide access to the needed data.
 
Performing data analytics is one of the most important things that an SMB can do. And fortunately, investing in Big Data isn’t a requirement to collect quality insights from the data the company’s already generating. The key is to invest in a quality financial accounting system.
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Could A Cloud ERP System Save Your Business Time And Money?

Posted by Frank Gerome

Aug 11, 2017

So many small- and medium-sized business (SMB) leaders aren’t thinking about what their on-premises ERP solutions cost the company.

They have other “more important” financial issues to worry about such as the price of fuel, health care costs and tax increases.

Except, if you really think about it, knowing the cost of your on-premises system is critical, especially if there tools out there like cloud ERP systems that could save the business significant time and money.

At the very least, it’s important for SMBs to know the hidden “gotchas” about on-premises solutions. For example, who supports the system after the consultant has set it up? And how much does it cost for that support?

Here are five hidden costs that every SMB executive should consider before buying or significantly upgrading an on-premises ERP system. This is important because you just might discover that cloud ERP solutions are significantly less demanding on your time and wallet.

  1. Maintenance and support: There is huge difference between what you get with a cloud subscription model compared to a traditional on-premises program. Ongoing annual maintenance, patches and updates to the accounting application are included in cloud ERP. With an on-premises system, you’re usually billed for ongoing support after the initial setup.
  2. Hardware and software upgrades: With on-premises models, when you upgrade it feels a bit like going through the implementation all over again. The cost, time and potential scope crawl are there for a second time.
  3. Hardware and extended hardware support: Will your on-premises solution work with your current printer or device? If not, you’ll need a patch here or an upgrade there, and on-premises vendors typically charge for such changes. This is not often considered a hidden cost, per se, but it’s dismissed by vendors as a real problem for these kinds of solutions.
  4. IT resources: While you may already have your IT staff to manage other parts of the business, some SMBs are tempted to consider it a sunk cost. But if you think about how much time they’re spending to support and maintain your equipment, then that changes everything. You have to allocate a percentage of what you’re currently investing or hire additional people to help your IT staff maintain everything else you’re doing on your on-premises solution.
  5. Data backup: It costs money to store information, restore it or back it up. You don’t want to lose even a day’s worth of data. Buying a terabyte backup drive and plugging it into your basement server is just not going to cut it as a safe backup method.

So how do you circumvent these five issues and avoid hidden costs? The answer is by using a subscription cloud model.

All of the costs and functions associated with providing a comprehensive solution are bundled into one single monthly, quarterly or annual payment. All of those items assumed by the customer are included in the cost of a single bundled subscription offering in the cloud-driven market. Subscription models remove the need for upfront capital, offering a controllable operating expense. 

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Smarter Reports Make Smarter Decisions

Posted by Frank Gerome

Aug 4, 2017

If you polled small and midsize businesses and asked them which reports they use most frequently to monitor and track performance, you’d almost certainly get hundreds of different answers.  It’s pretty obvious that the goals any business wants to achieve impact the decision-making process and, therefore, the data they need to make the best decisions.  However, most businesses exhibit the “80-20 rule”:  20% (or less!) of the reports that the business utilizes likely drives 80% (or more!) of the performance monitoring and decision-making process.

So which reports do you think are the top 5 or so to help you get the complete “high-level” overview of what’s going on with the company?  Some of the classics:

1. Profit & Loss Report with all the typical data points (current month actuals, last month, last month prior year, budget, year-to-date, etc.)

2. Balance Sheet

3. Cash Flow

4. Narrative management summary report (very unique—check it out)

5. KPI/Scorecard report for your top metrics

6. Top 50 sales transactions for the month

7. Payables report showing the largest payments made this month

8. Receivables report showing the oldest aging receivables

9. Graphical trend reports or dashboards (from Dynamics GP or right in Excel!)

Assuming you have a set of “favorite” reports that you and your managers consistently use to help manage the company, here are the next questions:

•  Do you have the technology to produce all of these reports as part of an automated process, or is it a manual process to pull everything together and to deliver it to your management team?
• Do you have a process to capture the discussions once managers have reviewed the reports?
•  Do you have agreed upon thresholds in your report package that can trigger management actions based on the thresholds (for example, if free cash flow passes a certain level, a manager can make a certain investment without delaying the decision with approvals and meetings)?

Hopefully this could spark ideas for anyone trying to put together the “ultimate” management report package.

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