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4 Ways Cloud ERP Reduces Manual And Duplicated Tasks For SMBs

Posted by Frank Gerome

Jun 1, 2018

Many small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) use pieced-together spreadsheets, applications and other tools to maintain their financial information. This kind of patchwork system requires a lot of manual effort and duplicated data entry.

Fortunately, streamlining your financial processes is as simple as using a cloud ERP solution. Such all-in-one platforms are robust enough to track all the data you need without limitations. After all, it’s better to maintain one system than five, right?

Here are four ways that cloud ERP systems help to reduce manual and duplicated tasks.

  1. Cloud-based platforms are integrated: This means one system handles everything from entering an order or reporting that something’s been shipped and delivered. When you have all your invoice information in several different systems that don’t talk to each other, the risk of mistakes is significant. Maintaining many financial spreadsheets is also time-consuming. To maintain accuracy between the sheets, accountants must take multiple steps to transfer data and verify changes are made at every location. For companies that want one source of the truth or one set of numbers that’s accurate, cloud-based ERP systems are the clear choice.
  2. Quality cloud ERP systems help ensure that proper audit trails are produced in your accounting system: If someone changes something in the system — adds a figure, delete funds, move accounts around, etc. — the action is tracked. The system tells you who made the change and when the change happened. This way, when something harmful happens, you can restore an earlier version of the system and determine how the error occurred.
  3. Cloud ERP systems are great for disaster recovery efforts: If your data is in the cloud, it’s getting backed up at least every day. For companies using an on-premises solution, which are not automated to back up data, the risk for error is significantly higher. Even if these legacy systems are programed to make backups, the data is still located in the same place as your office. That’s a problem if your office is damaged or destroyed. With the cloud, data restoration can be nearly instantaneous.
  4. Outsourcing your financial processes to the cloud means you have fewer IT issues to worry about: Service pack applications and patches, virus protection, data management and application upgrades are all included in your cloud subscription costs. If you take those tasks off of your internal IT department’s plate, it can focus on core business issues rather than day-to-day maintenance tasks. Cloud programs keep your limited resources from being constrained. It allows everyone to focus on big picture revenue-generating processes.

At the end of the day, cloud services free your company to spend more time building the business, and focusing on what you do best as an organization.

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9 Enhancement Solutions for Dynamics GP - Educational Series Webinar

Posted by Frank Gerome

Feb 21, 2018

We are inviting you to join our live webinar on Thursday, February 22nd for an educational series to learn about 9 GP add-on solutions.

Kim Peterson will lead an overview of 9 GP enhancement tools that is educational in scope, and your only investment is your time.  

She’s been around the table in working for Great Plains/ Microsoft, ISVs, a VAR organization and led GPUG for over 5 years.  She understands the GP market. 

This educational webinar will expose you to solutions that will help minimize your tasks.   

60 minutes you can't afford to miss!  Companies featured (you’ll be surprised at what you’ll learn):

  • Dynavistics (AR Management Software)
  • Envisage (Automated Post Batching & Project Tracking)
  • Encore (Project Tracking with Advanced Analytics)
  • Gorilla Expense (Expense Management)
  • Dynamics Budgets (Alternative to Management Reporter)
  • GP Power Tools (DB, Admin & Developer Tools)
  • Mekorma MICR (Multi-Batch Management)
  • Metaviewer (AP Automation)
  • Sierra Workforce Solutions (Time & Attendance)

 

If interested in joining, you can register below.

Thursday, February 22nd @ 1:30pm CST: Register Here

 

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Topics: Dynamics GP, isv solutions, GP add-ons

Looking To Boost Productivity? Let Cloud ERP Help You Better Prioritize Tasks!

Posted by Frank Gerome

Jan 18, 2018

It’s critical for staff at all companies to prioritize their daily tasks to allow as much time as possible to focus on the core competency of the business. After all, this is why the company exists; administrative tasks are part of life, sure, but it’s not supposed to eat up the entire day.

This is not easy, of course, especially for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) where employees often have so much on their list to sort through. Typically, these employees wear several hats, meaning many line items on their to-do lists are more about maintenance than productivity. They also spend significant time putting out “fires” (and in the SMB space, there are many) and dealing with “drive-by” disruptions (other people who interrupt the flow by asking questions and adding tasks to your list).

The only way to navigate this messy minefield and maintain clarity is to useto automate and streamline as many items as possible. You must condense this disparate and complex workload to a more manageable daily checklist if productivity is ever going to be achievable.

While just about anything on your list can be easily outsourced using the cloud — IT, financial management, human resources, marketing, sales and operations, etc. — some areas are more common to outsource than others. These days, IT seems to be the most popular and the most crucial for SMBs to hire out of house. The reason this is so common is because technology plays a significant role across the board.

The key is to find the balance between cost, flexibility, control and scalability. In other words, you want the time and money savings, but you also want to make sure you settle into a solution that can scale with the growth of your business.

For busy SMB owners, it’s important to remember that moving line-of-business systems into a well-managed hosted environment will improve several areas right out of the gate. Cloud solutions, especially cloud ERP, will help keep your overall IT spend at a minimum and moves the process to a subscription payment model, which is predictable. In fact, this ability to be a predictable expenditure is one of the biggest distinguishing features for a cloud subscription model; it spreads the potential line items in a software investment (software, support, licensing, etc.) across the course of the contract. What was once an uneven expenditure is now consistent each month.

Using the cloud to outsource also means that your disaster and recovery will be more secure and manageable. For example, if a server crashes today, how do you respond? How much time does it take to recover? Hosting takes this off the list of things an SMB owner should worry about, and solves this issue (among several others) with a predictable monthly investment. Remember, with the cloud, you don’t have to worry about constantly changing costs and managing upgrades.

If they are to succeed — and actually have time to spend with their families — SMB owners must eliminate administrative tasks and focus on the core competency of the business. The key to this is using cloud ERP technology to automate and streamline your tasks.

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Do You Have The Right Financial Accounting Software To Take Your Startup To The Next Level?

Posted by Frank Gerome

Jan 3, 2018

It’s been a few years now and your startup business is really starting to grow. Orders are coming in and several contracts with clients are taking off. So what’s holding you back? 

For many medium-sized companies, one of the biggest inhibitors to success isn’t finding the right employees, leadership, distributors or substantial cash flow. For the most part, you already have those important assets. What you lack is the right technology to manage the financial workings of the company.

QuickBooks and Excel have worked fine for a while, but in order to take your startup business to the next level, you need powerful financial accounting software. Here are eight ways that having the right software for your company can help your business take off. 

  1. Mature financial accounting helps to reduce mistakes created by human error: Using QuickBooks or spreadsheets to run your growing business is a bad idea, especially when it comes to tracking information about customers. The problem with spreadsheets is the manual data entry they require. Juggling multiple sets of QuickBooks for several parts of the company (or companies) also can lead to serious mistakes. 
     
  2. Powerful software provides insight about customers, payables and receivables: These tools are functionally mature and have built-in best practices, which provide greater insights about the company. What do you need to do today to prepare for next quarter or next year? The software is able to help you answer such questions. 
     
  3. Financial accounting tools help with self-auditing: These tools create auditing transactions and a paper trail. Even for businesses that make only a couple of million dollars each year, auditing is highly important. Using spreadsheets to manage your financial information will create challenges for this effort. 
     
  4. Powerful software is agile and scalable: Accounting software is able to grow with you in both transaction volume and functionality. It gives a company a long runway for growth. Spreadsheet systems will often cripple the ability for a business to go to the next level.
     
  5. Accounting tools provide better access to a SQL Server Database: Leveraging a Microsoft SQL server is widely accepted because it provides access to your data anytime, anywhere. Spreadsheets, on the other hand, can become corrupted and must be manually consolidated. 
     
  6. Mature financial software is able to add new features and modules that are specific for SMBs and are easy-to-upgrade: When you’re trying to grow fast, you don’t want to become bogged down in upgrades or be unable to do business because you’re too busy trying to get your system to work.
     
  7. Accounting tools have the lowest total cost of ownership (TCO): That’s because these services include the cost of upgrades, maintenance and support. There is no need for additional IT personnel.
     
  8. Some accounting tools are available with an online subscription model: Cloud-based tools are more manageable and require less capital because you’re less likely to have to write a huge check for something unexpected. Plus, when you have a manageable solution you’re able to budget against, you can avoid putting stress on cash flow or the ability to run the business. 

Give your company the wings to reach the next level and stop relying on primitive accounting tools. Having the right financial accounting software is the key to successful growth.

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4 Ways Financial Accounting Software Improves Project Billing For Services Companies

Posted by Frank Gerome

Dec 12, 2017

The faster you can bill your customers, the faster that revenue is available to use as working capital. This is why streamlining billing processes is critical for services companies.

But the reality is that many smaller companies struggle with this because they use slow, unreliable manual methods for tracking employee time, approvals, expenses and cash flow.

The best way for services companies to effectively manage project billing is to use a tool that improves accuracy, reduces the need for manual data entry and eliminates redundancy. These companies need quality financial accounting software.

Of the many ways these tools improve billing processes, here are the top four.

  1. Improve accuracy: With software tools, companies can capture time spent on a project and related expenses the moment they occur. For businesses that charge by time and expenses, this is particularly important. If you miss logging even a few minutes of work — and this is easy to do when you’re tracking time after the fact — the lost revenue can really add up. For example, if you’re creating a financial report for $150 an hour to cover writing, design, editing, approvals and executional time, and a step that required two hours actually took four hours, you’ve lost $300. If you capture the time and expense immediately, you’ll be able to bill faster and get paid faster, improving your cash flow.
  2. Determine profitability of jobs by tracking time and expenses at the project or job level: When you track all of your time and expenses for each project, you can easily go back to the software and see if you made any profit on a particular job. If you discover that you took a loss, you’ll need to find out where you spent too much time or too much money for expenses. With that information at your fingertips, you can adjust your price to cover any potential loss in the future. That’s the value of financial accounting software — you can figure out if something’s not profitable and fix it for future projects.
  3. Personnel can eliminate the need for data re-entry and any collection of data on paper forms: Maintaining paper forms requires significant resources. It takes time print them out, fill them out and send them in. And that doesn’t count the cost of postage. It’s much more efficient to perform all record keeping online. By imputing data directly into the system, you also don’t have to pay someone to look at the form and retype it, which is a big waste of time.
  4. Improve cash flow and speed up payments: Because time and expenses can be captured as they occur, billing doesn’t have to wait for these items to be updated in the system. As soon as the project is completed, the information about time and expenses will instantly be available for your accounts to send an invoice. And just like that, you’ve shortened your time to payment. Cash flow is better because no one is sitting around waiting for information. Accounting doesn’t have to call project managers for more information, only to discover they’ve gone on vacation for a week, letting even more time elapse between completing the project and billing for it. The sooner you send the bill, the better your chance of getting paid on time.

You need to bill your customers faster to sustain optimal cash flow. The key to this is eliminating manual processes for dealing with your bookkeeping by using financial accounting software. These systems allow you to streamline your operations, eliminate errors and improve productivity.

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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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