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.