Many businesses start out with basic financial management software, consisting of general ledger, accounts payable and accounts receivable. As the business grows, managing inventory becomes essential to the profitability of the business. Three software modules work together to provide excellent inventory management: inventory, order entry, and purchase orders. What are the signs your business is ready to start looking at an inventory management system?
- You sometimes forget to ship backordered items. Without a system to track items on backorder, it can be easy to forget to ship those backordered items. An order entry system allows you to ship the items that are available, and keep track of those unshipped items, so you won’t forget to ship them once available.
- You are unsure about when to re-order, and how many of each item to keep in stock. With an inventory system, you can run reports that show demand for each item within the time period you choose, so you’ll know when you are running low, and have a gauge for how many to keep in stock. For example, in the busy sales months you can maintain inventory levels for your customers, but in the slower sales cycle you won’t have a shelf full of obsolete items.
- You are unsure which items you sell are the most and least profitable. One item seems to be flying off the shelf, while another has minimal sales revenue. Not knowing of which of those two items is more profitable is a huge mistake. If the slow seller is more profitable, a smart idea would be to focus on increasing sales to improve overall profitability.
- When a customer places an order, you cannot tell whether those items are in stock. If you constantly have to walk back to the warehouse or call somebody to physically check on the stock status of an item, you are doing your customer and yourself a disservice. Checking stock manually wastes your employees’ time. It can also result in broken promises or delayed shipping to your customer. Adding a computerized system for checking inventory can greatly enhance your customer satisfaction, and can improve the efficiency of your business.
- You have different pricing levels for your products which are currently accessed from a paper file. If you are keeping pricing information on paper, it can be hard to tell which pricing is the most current, and sometimes the correct sheet can even disappear. Having your software keep track of multiple pricing levels is a much more secure and organized way to keep track of pricing. By assigning each customer their respective price level, your orders will automatically show correct pricing when the order is entered into the system.
- Order entry and order invoicing are currently done in two separate systems. If you have one system to keep track of orders, and another separate system for entering the accounts receivable invoice, you are spending double the time entering the same information. You can save time and reduce manual errors by electronically entering orders and creating invoices.
- Do you have items that can be sold in different units of measure? For instance, you get a discount for purchasing items by the pallet, but your customer buys them by the carton. Having an inventory management system allows you to receive the items in the unit of measure you choose (in this case, by the pallet) and then sell in another unit of measure (i.e. by the carton). The system will also keep track of the item’s purchase price, and the cost of goods sold, in the unit of measure specified.
- You track serial or lot numbers on paper or in a spreadsheet. You are tracking serial or lot numbers for a reason, and that reason is to keep track of who got which items, in case of a faulty lot or recall. Having the information on paper can be risky because papers can get lost or damaged. An inventory system allows you to track this information electronically, so you can always run a report to see who got what.
- Are you wondering why your profitability is down? With inventory management, you can run reports by item, product line, or sales category showing each item’s profitability, so you’ll know along the way the trend for each of the items you sell. That way you can fix the problem early and maintain your profitability.
- Your inventory is running you! The right inventory management software can provide the tools your business needs to increase efficiency, provide excellent customer service, and help you to take control of your financial management.
Looking for the Top Accounting Software Systems? Read this before you start your search.
You’ve probably started your search for top accounting software systems and realized it’s hard to find a comprehensive list of accounting software providers. And once you find them, then what? How do you efficiently sift through them to find the best option for you? First, you must realize one thing: finding software that fits your company’s specific needs is more important than researching every top accounting software system available. Start your search by reading these tips, and you will be on your way to a smarter, more effective search!
What do the Top Accounting Software Systems include?
Below are some of the most crucial elements included in top accounting systems. Of course, none of these mean anything unless they can help your business. Use our hype-free, non product specific accounting software checklist to help you put down on paper exactly what you are looking for. Just enter your needs and save or print it. (Don’t worry; it’s not cluttered up with stuff you don’t need. And, you can get it without giving us your e-mail or anything else.) That way you’ll be able to start your search completely prepared to speak with vendors!
- Double entry accounting
- Audit trail
- Customizable reporting
- Easy data entry
- Variety of training and installation options
- Excellent help and support
- Meaningful enhancements and upgrades
- A company representative to help you decide if their system is right for you.
How do I find Top Accounting Software Systems?
Have you noticed that most of the lists you find of the top accounting systems vary greatly? This is because many of the lists out there are actually lists of software companies who paid for that placement. Therefore, you will notice that no two lists are the same! After all, if they are not paid lists, the lists of top accounting software vendors are in fact only created by somebody’s opinion anyway. That’s why it’s much more useful to write down your needs and conduct a search based on those needs. For instance, do you need to track income and expense by project? Would you like your system to include bank reconciliation? Will you need to track sales commissions? How about creating quotes and turning them into orders? All of these are just samples of things that are included in some accounting systems, but not all of them. Here are some ways to get unbiased information about top accounting software available.
This site lets you enter your needs and then view products based on your criteria. Results are non-biased. Alternatively, you can provide your criteria and speak with a software representative, and then wait for vendors to contact you directly, based on your needs. In fact, this site allows you to search this way for all types of business software, not only accounting software.
This is another non-biased site where you can put in your parameters and sort through vendors. Alternatively, you can enter your criteria and speak with them to get a thorough needs analysis, and have vendors contact you directly, based on your needs. This site is obviously focused on accounting software and its closely related products.
Alternatively, you can check out our accounting software! We’ve developed and distributed top accounting software programs since 1979 to thousands of growing businesses across the United States and Canada. Click here to join an online demo of CenterPoint Accounting Software and see if it’s right for you.
Looking for payroll solutions?
Payroll is an important part of your business. Staying compliant with payroll tax filing and paying employees on time are both crucial functions. The right payroll solutions help businesses stay compliant with taxes, keep employees happy, and streamline payroll processing.
Here are some of the first things to think about on your journey to finding good payroll solutions, and more specifically, the right one for your business!
Basic, Medium or Advanced Payroll Solutions
Basic: most basic of payroll programs can often be purchased easily off the internet or on the shelves of retail stores. These programs often work very well for business that are just starting up and have only one or a few employees. Remember, you will need to get updated tax information so your tax forms are up to date. Once it’s time to get updated tax forms, this will typically incur a cost. Also, once you reach a certain number of employees or other data, the software provider may require you upgrade to a paid service to accommodate that. One popular provider of basic payroll is Quickbooks Payroll by Intuit. They offer several basic options. Signs you need a basic payroll solution:
- You only have one or a few employees.
- You are just starting to run payroll.
- You don’t have any special payroll needs.
Medium: When your business grows, you start growing in your payroll needs as well. Adding more employees means more employee garnishment types, more ways to pay employees (such as salaried, commissioned, piece rate, and more), and maybe even the management of multiple company payrolls. These are just a few of the signs you need a better payroll solution. Many companies start tracking information by hand and quickly find it frustrating and inefficient. Medium payroll solutions can usually handle the tracking of that information for you, streamlining your job and ensuring accurate payroll data. For medium solutions, you should write down your specific needs and work with a company representative to be sure their software can meet all you are looking to accomplish. Check out CenterPoint Payroll Software by Red Wing Software, which helps thousands of businesses in the U.S. accommodate their growing payroll needs. Here are just a few of the signs you are ready to move to a medium solution:
- Spreadsheet tracking of payroll information is cumbersome.
- You need to enter and track payroll information for multiple locations or multiple states.
- Functions such as pay or deduction codes are more complex than your system can accommodate.
- Your system is bogged down, slow, or experiencing crashes and lock-ups.
Advanced: If yours is a very large business, you may start to require more advanced functions than small or medium payroll solutions can offer. Detailed human resources management, employee and manager self-services resources, and time management are just a few of the things large companies may require for the efficient management of payroll. For advanced payroll solutions, you will likely work at length with a company representative or team about your needs. Implementation and training may take weeks or even months. Check out Lawson Software. Some of the signs your business needs advanced payroll:
- Standard systems just cannot handle your business needs, so software code changes are required.
- You are using several different systems that don’t work well with each other.
- You need much more detail than offered by a payroll solution, such as human resource management, benefits administration, or a multitude of other functions.
Do the words ‘cash flow’ strike terror deep within you? If you are in business, you know that cash is king. If you run out of cash, you basically are out of business. Therefore it’s a smart idea to pay attention to your cash and your cash flow. Using financial tools such as software can help ensure you manage your cash flow well. Even a profitable business can go out of business if they don’t manage their cash flow well. No cash flow=no business. Here are some tips on cash flow to keep in mind. Consider these points for managing your cash flow better.
Profit or loss does not equal cash flow. This is because profit and loss are only one contributor to cash flow, and there are other equally important factors to consider: inventory management, accounts receivable, accounts payable, capital purchases, loans and debt payments, and timing. Considering profit and loss equivalent to cash flow is a mistake, since it does not take into account other important factors.
Software programs can help manage your cash flow. Good accounting software will let you budget income & expenses and will in exchange budget your cash flow. This makes it easier to make wise spending decisions, and not to overspend. After all, it’s hard to argue with the facts when they are sitting right there in front of you! Cash flow reports can also be a great help. These reports show information about the cash intakes and outflows for your business for the selected date range.
Good cash flow budgeting can save you money. Creating and sticking to a budget can help you in many different ways. Not only can you make better and more profitable decisions, but you can also pay less in late fees, attain discounts for paying early, and you can even lessen or eliminate your need for short term loans, sparing you the cost of paying interest. The flip side of this is also true: if you don’t analyze and plan your cash flow, it will cost you!
Use budgeting and financial analysis tools to do “what if” analysis. Using your financial and budgeting software to help you run ‘what-if’ scenarios can be helpful for your bottom line, and can therefore help improve your cash flow. For example, if I purchase an updated piece of equipment, what will the short and long term financial affects be? Using ‘what-if’ analysis can help keep your expenses in check, which can in turn improve your cash flow.
Pay close attention to your cash flow, use every tool at your disposal to help you, and you will be on the road to better cash flow and a flourishing business.
Situation: You are using an outdated software system, and there are distinct benefits such as improved efficiency and improved customer satisfaction. But you don’t want to move because the economy seems dismal, and you want to keep your money instead of spending it on software. Here are some questions you can ask yourself to help make the decision easier. If you are honest with your answers for each of these questions, your decision will be an easy one, either way.
Will the time and money saved pay off the new system? How long will it take?
Accounting software and payroll software for your business typically costs money. If a system is good, it will improve your efficiency enough that the money paid is well worth it. For instance, invoices are processed faster, bringing in cash more quickly. Inventory is accurate, so you know how many items to order and when to order them, so you keep just enough in stock, saving you money on costly ‘dead stock’ or backorders. These are just a few of the benefits you may be gaining by upgrading your software. Be sure that the benefits you gain are immediate enough that the cost of upgrading is worthwhile.
Will customers benefit daily from the switch?
You might be wondering, “What can accounting and payroll software do for my customers?” One shining example is that you can give your customers the information they request while they are on the phone, saving you the time of checking and calling them back. How many items are there in stock? What is my outstanding balance with your company? When is my payment due? Every time you have to check something out and call a customer back, that customer is waiting and you are spending double the time on the phone. If you upgrade to a new system, consider your customers. If they benefit daily from your software upgrade, it is probably worth it.
Do you have a plan to make a smooth transition?
Any software move involves a learning curve. With a plan in place, you can make that curve much shorter, and the whole process much smoother. Work with your software sales representative to help you develop a plan and timeline for your software switch. This plan can include steps for your own company, as well as additional tools offered by the company providing the software. Many software companies provide a variety of training and support methods. Find the ones that are right for you, and put them in your plan, so you won’t be tempted to ditch the new system halfway through the transition.
Is there a compelling reason to move, outside of just technology?
Some people just love technology for the simple fact that it’s new and cool. Especially during a slow economy, you have to ask yourself if this is the reason you are switching, or are there other compelling benefits? Switching for the sake of only technology is not a good idea unless you happen to have lots of spare money sitting around, or your software simply won’t work with new operating systems. Switching because there are true benefits to you, your business, and your customers is definitely reason enough to make the switch, especially during a slow economy.