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Red Wing Software - Notes from the President Ken Hilton

clock May 10, 2017 8:55 AM by author khilton
Ken Hilton - President Red Wing Software

Are you a driver or a passenger? It seems a lot of the things I’ve been reading and observing lately are related to this question. I’ll give you a few examples of what I’m talking about.

At a seminar I attended last summer, the presenter had the audience watch a video and afterwards tested us on what we saw in the video. While the group focused on the main subject of the video, a person in a monkey suit walked past in the background. When the presenter asked what significant things we saw in the video, almost no one remembered seeing the monkey. As a driver, you need to be focused on the task at hand, but also need to be aware of what’s going on around you.

To support one of my hobbies, I subscribe to many aviation publications that come at least once per month, and in many of the publications there are summaries of accident reports. I read these religiously, because in this case, I would rather learn from the mistakes of others, than learn from my own. In one case, an airplane with two pilots crashed when a warning indicator light came on and in an attempt to troubleshoot the problem, both pilots focused on finding the source of the failure, and neither pilot remembered to fly the airplane. The result wasn’t pretty.

Here’s one we all see every day: someone “driving” down the road while talking on the phone, sending a text message, eating, or you name it. They clearly are not aware of what’s happening around them because they don’t maintain constant speed, they wander about in their lane, don’t go forward when the light turns green, or any number of other obvious non-driver acts. I argue that many of these people are passengers in a car with no driver.

Here’s one last example that hits close to home: my mom once told me that when she and her friend travel together, one person is behind the wheel and the other is driving. I’m not sure what to think of that one.

My point to all this is, that when running your business (driving), and while focusing on the task at hand, don’t forget to pay attention to your peripheral vision. You might regrettably find that the task you’re focused on is being handled very well, while the business is crashing around you.

- Ken Hilton, President




Red Wing Software - Notes from the President Ken Hilton

clock February 28, 2017 11:30 AM by author khilton
Ken Hilton - President Red Wing Software

When is it a good time to hire an outside professional? More often than you might think. You are probably really good at what you do in your career (or you should be doing something else). Even though you are an expert in your field, there are several things that go on in any business that are outside your area of expertise.

Since you’re reading this newsletter from Red Wing Software, I think it’s safe to assume you have some role that includes dealing with financial information. You might enter checks, record deposits, calculate payroll, or take a big picture view of the business using reports to analyze where the business should go. And, in some cases, you may be responsible for all of these things.

Even if you have a firm grasp on all financial functions in your company, it never hurts to get someone from outside the organization to review the information and give an opinion, or even audit how things are being done. I’ve mentioned in several columns that I believe if we think everything we do is being done the right or only way, we probably won’t make needed changes and grow the business or our own knowledge.

I’ll share an example of how Red Wing Software employs outside professionals. Although we have been producing accounting and other financial management software for 38 years and have many people with vast knowledge of accounting processes, employ our own in-house accountant, and have Certified Public Accountants on staff, every year we have an outside accounting firm perform an audit of our records and give their opinion, and have them prepare our corporate tax returns.

It never hurts to have an outside professional come in to your business and help it grow.

- Ken Hilton, President




Red Wing Software - Notes from the President Ken Hilton

clock February 6, 2017 10:12 AM by author khilton
Ken Hilton - President Red Wing Software

I often write and talk about the great people we have working at Red Wing Software, and how long many of them have been with the company. Of course, when you have the kind of dedicated, long-tenured people we have, they eventually think they have earned the right to retire. Greg, one of our Senior Support Specialists, after 20 years with us, has rightfully earned his place among the retired.

Even though Greg will no longer be blessing us and our customers with his presence in the office, he will certainly not be slowing down.

Greg has been a go-to person on our support team with his vast knowledge of our products, and especially payroll processes and requirements. I’m sure many of you have talked to Greg over the years, and really appreciate his ability to answer any question you have without even thinking about it. Greg was thoughtful enough to give us many months’ notice of his retirement to prepare us for his absence. After February 3rd, when you call for help, and Greg is not available, you will have the opportunity to learn what a great job Greg did of passing his expertise on to the rest of our excellent support team.

We at Red Wing Software, as well as our customers will certainly miss Greg’s knowledge, but even more important, we will miss having Greg around. We were fortunate to have Greg as a member of our team for so many years, and we wish him the best in his new adventures.

- Ken Hilton, President




Red Wing Software - Notes from the President Ken Hilton

clock November 3, 2016 2:17 PM by author khilton
Ken Hilton - President Red Wing Software

Every day, we all make important decisions that affect how our business is going to operate and those decisions determine the path we want the business to follow. The same holds true for our local, state, and national elections. You get to determine the direction of your community, region, and country by exercising your right and responsibility to vote.

These decisions can be difficult because of all of the confusing messages we hear, but we need to sift through the noise and try to get to the facts. We have to look past the bumper sticker messages and look at the underlying philosophy of the candidates. What direction do they want to take the community, country, and world? We need to ignore the pundits that try to tell us what a candidate means from their point of view. One way to do this is, after an interview, speech, or debate, change the channel to something non-political, and decide for yourself whether the candidate is the kind of leader you would like to see guiding their respective geographic area.

Remember, whether your candidate wins his/her race, or the opposition comes out victorious, know that you’ll get another chance to vote in two more years. However things turn out, there isn’t a better place in the world to call home.

- Ken Hilton, President




Red Wing Software - Notes from the President Ken Hilton

clock November 13, 2015 3:11 PM by author khilton
Ken Hilton - President Red Wing Software

If this information looks familiar, it’s because I repeat it every couple years and I think it’s so important. We are fast approaching the end of 2015, and I want to point out some important information that needs to be considered before year-end, or shortly after the beginning of a new year.

Even if your company operates on a fiscal year, there are a few things that may need to be considered to prepare for the new calendar year:

  • How is your budgeting process going for next year? Will next year be the same as this year, or should you be planning some much needed changes to make it better?
  • Have you installed all of the latest versions of your software? You don’t need to (and shouldn’t) wait until after the first of the year to get up-to-date. Doing it now saves pressure later.
  • There are new Affordable Care Act reporting requirements for 2015 that need to be considered for many companies. Have you collected all the information needed to complete the forms? Did you know CenterPoint Payroll helps maintain this information and can fill in the forms and file them electronically?
  • How about retirement plans, and other items important to you and your employees? It is harder now than ever to find good employees, and we need to remain competitive in the marketplace to keep them.
  • It is a good time to remind employees to update their W-4 information for changes that have occurred during the year like getting married, having children, buying a house, or anything else that might change their withholding needs.
  • How is your budgeting process going? Oh, did I already ask that? I read once that “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always be where you already are.” Is it time for some changes?

So, update that important technology today, review procedures and policies, help employees be better managers of their information, and plan for the New Year.

- Ken Hilton, President




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