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Purchasing and Inventory Management - Five Must-Have Tools

clock April 5, 2011 2:42 PM by author StephanieE

If you are involved in managing inventory, you are aware of the hassles that can arise due to purchasing issues. Having far too many of an obscure item or running low on a bestseller, are sure clues that you and your company can benefit from a more robust purchasing and inventory management tool. Technology has advanced over the years, such that you no longer need to keep track of purchasing activities on paper. Consider these benefits offered by software programs of today.

Order suggestion

A major benefit of using software is it can easily collect and analyze data, a task that would take an employee much longer to do manually. Look for a purchase order system that can analyze past demand, and suggest which orders need to be placed based on that knowledge. You can then use the report as a starting point, and use your own judgment on which purchase orders to create for which items. A purchase order system should also track who the item has been purchased from in the past and automatically order it from the last vendor and default the cost to the last cost paid for the item. If you aren't ready to make the jump to having the system recommend what should be ordered, look for a system that will allow you to simply enter a list of items that need to be ordered. The system will then assign the vendor and last purchase cost, so the purchase order is quickly and easily generated.

Flexible item ordering

Your business likely has its own set of product numbers that are different from your vendor's part numbers. Since your vendor is typically unfamiliar with your item numbers, it's best to place orders using their numbers. Some purchase order systems allow you to create and print purchase orders using both numbers, which is extremely helpful to you and your vendor. Another flexible purchase order tool is the ability to place orders in multiple units of measure, in case you need to purchase the item in one unit of measure and sell it in a different unit of measure.

Minimum and maximum quantity setup

This handy purchase order tool allows you to set up minimum and maximum amounts by item. This allows you to run a report to see which items are running low and need to be ordered, or which are overstocked and may need to be liquidated.

Drop shipment

Most businesses do receive requests for drop shipments, at least every now and then. If you need to order items and have your supplier ship them directly to your customer, a tool for handling drop shipments is a must. Handling drop shipments means that the system will allow you to specify a ship-to address that is different than your own address. Without this tool you will end up manually entering ship to data which results in wasted time and increased margin for error. This feature is crucial for those who drop ship large quantities of items. It should also allow you to identify the sales order to the purchase order, so that the sales order can automatically be invoiced as soon as the vendor communicates that the order has shipped.

Receive partial orders

As we all know, sometimes the orders we place are not always delivered in full. In these cases, it's helpful to have the choice of whether to receive the partial shipment and keep the rest of the purchase order open, or to simply receive the items and cancel the remainder of the items. Sometimes the vendor will notify you that they have shipped what they have and the remainder of the order will be canceled. A proper purchase order system will include an option that allows the user to cancel the remainder of an order, instead of having to manually cancel each line.

All of these purchase order software tools can help you keep your inventory stocked with the items you need, and lean on those that you don't. They also help you manage purchase orders more efficiently, saving your company time and money.



eFiling More Than a Trend...

clock March 30, 2011 8:22 AM by author Bruce Senti

This post is by Bruce Senti of Aatrix State and Fed Payroll Reports

State and Federal eFiling requirements are mandating more businesses to eFile payroll reports and payments every year.

More than a dozen states either lowered the threshold for employee count requirements or outright mandated that businesses eFile wage withholding, unemployment, and new hire reports.

The federal government requires virtually all employers to make withholding payments electronically.

The efficiencies provided government agencies by requiring eFiling will continue the trend towards requiring business to file reports and payments electronically.

Electronic tax administration is the foundation for a modernized IRS that provides secure, convenient, timely and accurate services to taxpayers, and to the tax professionals and IRS employees who serve them. (IRSOB-E report 2010 page 9)

The full vision for a modern ETA environment goes beyond just e-filing and seeks to make electronic interactions among taxpayers, tax practitioners, and the IRS the norm. These electronic interactions include the entire range of pre-filing, filing, and post-filing tax activities which taxpayers and their representatives may engage in with the IRS, including the ability to resolve taxpayer account issues over the Internet. (IRSOB-E report 2010 page 9)

The Board emphasizes the need to substantially increase the e-file rate, particularly among businesses filing employment tax returns, because it is crucial to the IRS to achieve the strategic 80 percent electronic filing goal. ( IRSOB-E report 2010 page 39)

“It’s good news for taxpayers as well, whether they be commercial or private filers, most experts agree, businesses that utilize e-filing have a 99 percent accuracy rate,” said David Deeter of Frazier & Deeter LLC.
Source: E-filing Hits Record High | Atlanta Business Chronicle

It is clear that the movement towards electronic filing is more than a trend. It is inevitable that virtually all reporting to taxing authorities will be electronic.

What to look for when choosing an eFiling solution.

With more and more agencies providing an eFile portal online which allows businesses to file reports electronically for free, you may wonder why would an efiling solution have any appeal.

You should look for a solution that has dramatic advantages over the use of the agency sites.

Simplicity

  • The interface is very simple. Choose any form from one screen, review/edit onscreen, and simple steps to eFile
  • One administrative account to track all confirmations, filings, and payments

Efficient

  • eFiling is completed within the payroll solution without additional exports, typing, and logging into multiple sites
  • Reports are filled in automatically with no need for manually transcribing
  • Reports are time-stamped and saved on your machine and accessible anytime for review or audit

Accurate

  • Reports are completed using the data within the payroll solution you use
  • The solution must guarantee compliance with all legislation, eFile requirements, and form changes.

Affordable

  • The solution should be offered as a subscription service which covers all your filing requirements for a single price. It should include all state and federal agencies you file with.
  • It should offer a W-2 eFiling service which allows you to complete all filings as well as employee distribution for less than $4 per employee (the average in-house cost).

eFiling More Than a Trend...

Electronic filing is not going away. In fact, it is the future for virtually all business activity. State and federal agencies are being legislatively and budgetary driven to take advantage of the efficiencies and cost savings eFiling affords them. Take great care in choosing a solution that meets all your needs and has the ability to grow and meet your future needs.



Which Business Gadget Can't You Live Without?

clock March 25, 2011 9:38 AM by author StephanieE

OK I admit it, I panic when I forget the charger for my iPhone, or even worse, forget the phone itself! I do internet marketing, so a lot of the functions I do here at Red Wing Software are immediately accessible from my phone. And not only that, I can check e-mails, use the internet, and use the multitude of useful apps, many of which have helped me in times of need! But alas, that is just me. I know that some of the things our customers here at Red Wing Software might find useful are a time clock, portable time capture device, and barcode scanners.

What business gadget can’t you live without?



Payroll Software - Blank Check Stock Or Preprinted Checks?

clock March 21, 2011 1:13 PM by author StephanieE

Are you currently using payroll software to process your payroll? Although there are various ways of paying employees such as direct deposit and debit cards, many businesses still use checks to pay some or all of their employees. There are two ways you can print your payroll checks: with blank check stock or on preprinted forms.

If you choose to print on blank check stock, you must use MICR or "Magnetic Ink Character Recognition" ink, a magnetic ink that can be detected by check processing machines. On the other hand, using preprinted forms does not require you to have any special ink for your printer, since the forms are already printed appropriately and shipped to you that way.

Flexibility

The biggest benefit to printing on blank check stock is the flexibility you gain. If you need to make changes to the way your checks look, you can do so at any time and not worry about having to throw out the preprinted checks that are sitting there in boxes. Another advantage is the ability to print checks from multiple bank accounts, as all the bank information is printed on the blank stock by the software. This is particularly handy if you are printing checks for several companies since you won't need to order checks for each company. Printing on blank check stock also allows you to print signatures on your checks, helpful in the case that the check signing party is away or simply unable to sign checks.

Convenience

Using preprinted checks may be more convenient for some companies, since it is fairly simple to order the correct checks for your software, and then keep ordering the same product from your vendor. This option is best for companies who are fairly certain they will not require any changes to the look of their checks. Using blank check stock is also easy once you get it set up, but keep in mind you will still need to keep enough of the special MICR ink in stock.

Green Factor

Obviously, printing checks takes paper, no matter which method you choose to use. You can save paper and money by planning in advance for changes that might require you to purchase new checks and toss out the outdated preprinted ones. If you know about such changes in advance, a good idea is to begin using blank check stock, so that when the change is made, only your check design will need t be changed.

Choosing the right method of check printing for your business can save you valuable time and money!



Farm Accounting Software - How Creating a Budget Can Impact Your Operation

clock March 18, 2011 9:46 AM by author StephanieE

Creating a budget for your farming operation may seem like a daunting task at first, but it can make a big difference in the profitability of your operation. You can choose to create a budget by hand, by using a spreadsheet, or you can use your farm accounting software to help you. Either way, the outcome remains the same: increased confidence in decision making and increased profits for your farm.

A budget provides guidelines to help you organize and control your financial resources and also helps you uncover your operation's strengths and weaknesses. Have you ever come face to face with a large purchasing decision, and then made that decision based more on emotional "wants" and not on the actual business need? If so, you are not alone. Unfortunately, this method of making purchases does not take into consideration every aspect of your farming operation. By setting up and following a budget, your purchasing and buying decisions can be made more confidently, and can keep your operation growing strong.

The process of managing a budget involves examining your historical data, to show you which areas in your operation are generating the most profit and which areas need attention. With this information you can easily make long-range projections and increase your profits through better decision making.

A budget also helps you gain control of your finances and gives you the tools you need to project future cash flow and helps you manage your assets and liabilities. A budget helps answer the "what if" scenarios such as buying more land, expanding a crop, purchasing new equipment, etc. Planning your future business strategies becomes easier with the information a well thought out budget can provide.

Creating a budget can provide smart decision making for your farming operation, which can lead to more confidence and increased profits.



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