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Small Things Can Make A Difference: A Good Transaction Audit Trail

clock June 6, 2011 10:09 AM by author danbrimberry

Internal Controls have been a big buzz phrase in the accounting industry for the last several years. Part of having good internal software controls is to have a good audit trail. Without an audit trail, it is difficult to hold your employees accountable when they make errors, or worse, when fraudulent transactions have been entered.

For companies that have multiple employees entering and editing transactions in accounting and business software, it is important to know who added a transaction and when it was posted. If you don’t have that information, how can you hold employees accountable?

A good audit trail system should include the following features:

  • Keeps a user record for each transaction entered into the system.
  • Keeps the date and time of each transaction entry.
  • When a transaction is edited the system maintains a record of the original transaction.
  • The new edited transaction record must contain the user that edited it along with the date and time it was edited.
  • Ability to track the history of edited records, when multiple edits have been processed.
  • If the system allows checks and invoices to be reprinted the system must keep a record of who reprinted the documents, the date, time and the number of times the documents have been reprinted and any original information that was changed.
  • The ability to prevent duplicate numbers for checks and customer invoices.


Take the (F) Score to see what makes you FASCINATE!

clock June 3, 2011 9:19 AM by author cindyb

Last month, I attended the NAMA Agri-Marketing Conference in Kansas, Missouri. This conference boasts the best of the best in the Agri-marketing world, and the training seminars are excellent.

Keynote speaker, Sally Hogshead, the author of FASCINATE: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation, gave a fabulous presentation that was enlightening, motivating and very entertaining. Sally is a national award-winning advertising writer, author, and brand consultant and has helped the likes of Starbucks and Microsoft. She has also been featured in the New York Times, Today show, CBS, ABC, and the list goes on and on.

Sally has researched why we are fascinated by some companies, or people, and not others, and the results of this research are eye-opening and, well fascinating! To quote Sally, “People. Products. Brands. My mission is to uncover what makes these things fascinating, and how we can use those innate qualities to make more persuasive marketing messages.”

How are you fascinating? Sally says it all comes down to seven personality triggers, and she and her staff have developed the (F) Score Brand Personality Test to help you uncover your triggers. Take the (F) Score to see what makes you FASCINATE!



Helpful Accounting Software Tools if You Have Sales Reps

clock May 31, 2011 10:14 AM by author StephanieE

These days, there are more and more programs available to help you run your business, ranging from CRM software to help you manage your prospect relationships to the photo editing program used to create your brochures, and everything in between. One crucial application most businesses know they must have is accounting software, which helps manage their sales and purchases, customer information, financial details, and of course, their profitability. Choosing the right accounting software for your business is an important decision. When you choose the right program, your processes flow smoothly and you can see at a moment’s notice how profitable every area of your business is, or not. And if your business has sales representatives, there are specific features you can use to make your business more profitable, and keep the sales staff happy at the same time. Here are the tools you should have, and how each tool can benefit your operation.

Sales Commission Tracking: Since most sales reps are paid on commission, it’s important to have a tool that can track the commission as sales are entered, instead of using a calculator and pencil at the end of each pay period. Why? Tracking sales commissions by hand is far too time consuming and leaves room for error, and can also leave the sales staff skeptical of whether their commission calculation is accurate. Set up the commission calculations within your accounting software, so that each time a sales rep enters their order, their commission is automatically calculated. Also be sure to allow yourself various tracking calculation methods. Since your company pays for different product lines in different ways, it’s important to also be able to pay sales staff in different ways, such as by a percentage of the profit, selling price or cost, or by a percentage plus a fixed amount, and more. When pay day comes, you can provide sales staff with a report showing exactly how their commission was calculated.

Sales Analysis Reporting: Information is power, and this is especially true when you are selling several product lines (or sales categories) and trying to determine which items produce the most profits, and also which sales people are performing at their best. Be sure your accounting software has the capability of separating your sales product lines, so you’ll be able to report on those product lines or even individual items separately. Even better, if the system allows you to view profitability by product line AND by customer, so you can see which customer is the most profitable. The same capability by salesperson is also crucial.

Customer Activity Report: This report shows you all of a customer’s activity for a given period of time, and can help you determine trends and identify those customers who may have left, so you can follow up with them and win them back.

Order Entry: Do your sales reps write their orders on a sheet of paper and deliver it by hand to the order fulfillment staff? This not only wastes time, but also causes unnecessary double entry, as it will no doubt have to be entered into the accounting software as an invoice to bill the customer at some point. This double entry causes additional work and can allow for errors. By using order entry within your accounting software, you can eliminate double entry, and make the filling of orders and creation of invoices flow seamlessly. Order entry also allows for partial shipments and backorders, so they are not forgotten and the customer is assured of receiving what they originally ordered.

When searching for accounting software, be sure you consider the above sales tools to make your business flow seamlessly and keep your sales staff happy.



Tips for Selecting a New Printer For Your Business

clock May 27, 2011 8:19 AM by author StephanieE

Red Wing Software has been in business since 1979, growing its customer base steadily since that time. With its nationwide customer base, there is always somebody needing new hardware to work along with their software. You might be surprised by the comments we receive! We even had one customer who went out to eBay and purchased every dot matrix printer he could get his hands on, since that model was no longer being made. He just got used to that printer and didn’t want to try anything else. Each business has its own printing needs. There are so many printers available these days, it is hard to know which one to purchase. Here are some tips by Patrick Egan, contributor at BusinessNewDaily.com, on selecting the right printer.

http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/buying-small-business-printers-advice-0933/



Inventory Management Software – Key Terms and How They Help Your Business

clock May 23, 2011 2:53 PM by author StephanieE

If you have used or researched accounting software for inventory management, surely you’ve come across a wide range of buzzwords that detail the areas of the software that can help your business manage inventory better. Sometimes those who use such buzzwords forget that not everybody is knee-deep in inventory management on a daily basis, and they might need a better explanation. Here are some key inventory management terms, and a brief explanation of how they help you and your business. While some of the terms may be familiar, their definition in relation to inventory management software is more specific to that application.

ABC Analysis

This analysis shows which of your inventory items are responsible for the majority of your Cost of Goods Sold (“COGS”) based on the 80/20 rule: 80% of inventory sales come from 20% of your items. This analysis can help control your inventory, increasing the items you need in stock, and reducing the items you don’t need. This in turn, can increase your capital, since less money is tied up in inventory.

Assemblies

Assemblies are a set of component parts that make up an inventory item. By setting up items as assemblies in a software system, removing the components from inventory becomes easier, and costing of an item can also be automated within the assembly. You eliminate the need to remove (and replace if needed) every single component individually in your software during the production process.

Bill of Materials

The bill of materials shows all the information about a production plan, including its assemblies and required components. This helps you plan for which items need to be produced, and what components to pull from inventory for that production plan. It also helps you realize more quickly which components are in stock or need to be ordered for that production plan, saving significant time compared to managing the process by hand.

Multiple Warehouse Management

Many companies that manage an inventory grow such that their products are stored in more than one location, whether it’s another warehouse or even on a truck or trailer. The ability to see which items are located by warehouse is extremely helpful. Some systems allow you to manage inventory in multiple locations, and even let you make transfers within the software when necessary. The ability to view inventory by location keeps you more organized and allows you to get the inventory you need more quickly.

Physical Inventory

This is the process of counting the actual number of items in inventory, entering it into your software system and getting the two sets of numbers to agree. This process helps keep your inventory numbers accurate. Software can help with this process by printing a working file and providing a place to enter a physical count from the printed count sheets.

Serial / Lot Number Tracking

Many businesses have items for which they must track serial or lot numbers. In times of item recall, it is crucial that the number tracking system is up to date and quickly accessible. Software programs can keep track of inventory serial and lot numbers upon receipt into inventory. When an item is sold, the number can be selected and will be tied to the customer. If there is a recall or issue, you can then run reports to see which customers got items from a certain range of numbers, making this process much faster than looking back at sheets of paper.

Turnover

Turnover is defined as the number of times the average inventory on hand is sold and replaced during a period of time. A higher turnover rate indicates your inventory is not just sitting on the shelf getting “stale”. Inventory management software can help clarify what your company’s turnover is by product, which can help identify which items you are purchasing too seldom, too often, too many, etc. which can have a drastic impact on your cash flow.

Unit of Measure “UOM”

Inventory items must be measured somehow, and that is why we have units of measure. We can measure items by the pallet, the box, the bag, the gram, the pound, and much more. Where it becomes difficult is when you need to purchase items in one unit of measure, and then sell in another. Software can help out with this by allowing you to set up your own units within the system. You can also use the software to set up the pricing per unit, so that when you sell an item, the correct amount is taken out of stock, and the correct price is charged for that unit.

These inventory management tools can help keep your inventory running smoothly, and increase the profitability of your business.



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