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Notes from the President

clock April 3, 2014 10:05 AM by author khilton
Ken Hilton - President Red Wing Software

You may not be able to tell by looking out the window, but the calendar says spring is here. This would be a good time to do some spring cleaning of your financial data.

Do you have some customers or vendors in the list of names in your database that no longer exist? Maybe you have some accounts that just don’t apply to your business anymore. These items are just making lists longer and harder to filter through to get to the information that you may be looking for.

Here are a few things you can do to spruce up you data. First, before you do anything that you haven’t done before, or may be uncomfortable with, make a backup of your data.

Depending on the software you are using, you may be able to mark unused list items as “inactive”. This could significantly reduce the size of these lists, and make finding useful information easier. It is often not possible to just “delete” these items, as they may have been used in transactions and they need to be available for historical reports.

You also may be able to “combine” items in a list. For instance, it is easy to accidently create two different names in a list just because you didn’t think the item was there. Combining the two names will make your reports more accurate and concise.

How long has it been since you checked to make sure your inventory is up-to-date? Several minor mistakes in inventory quantities or values can make a big difference, and your financial statements may not be accurate because of these issues.

Of course, it’s always a good idea to make sure all of your systems are providing you with the most valuable information for the management of your business, but if you haven’t spent a little time keeping up with these tasks, it might be a good time for some spring cleaning.

- Ken Hilton, President

Notes from the President

clock March 25, 2014 1:27 PM by author khilton
Ken Hilton - President Red Wing Software

Some things never change; the sky is blue, the world is round, and it’s cold in Minnesota. However, some things are always changing, like the technology you use to keep your business running and profitable.

Have you recently checked how current the hardware and software you are using to manage your business is? I know, it’s running fine, and if it works, why fix it? Well, if you ask any of our knowledgeable support staff, they can recite from memory some real horror stories of people that felt that same way and wound up losing valuable information. Maybe the computer crashed and the backup wouldn’t restore on the new computer because the operating system couldn’t read the old format, or there wasn’t even a device in the new computer to insert the backup into. Or, the old software couldn’t transfer the data into the new program.

Red Wing Software is continuously updating our products with new technology to ensure that our customers don’t fall into the trap of losing information because of system crashes or outdated hardware. However, this requires users of our software to stay current with their Red Wing Software products, and transfer their data to new programs when they are available. We occasionally “sunset” a product, which means we stop updating and supporting that program. When we do that, we always provide a way to get most, and usually all, of your historical data into the new, replacement product.

If you receive notification that one or more of your products is about to “sunset,” it is important to contact us to learn about your options for moving your data forward and making sure you maintain and secure your important financial information.

- Ken Hilton, President

Notes from the President

clock February 21, 2014 10:50 AM by author khilton
Ken Hilton - President Red Wing Software

I’m sure you have all seen the wording on the side view mirror of your car that states “Objects may be closer than they appear.” This warning isn’t there just to tell you that someone might be following too close, but also reminds us that things may actually be different than they look, and we should use caution when we have the feeling that something just doesn’t seem right.

A few years ago, my wife and I were traveling to Ogden, Utah for a ceremony and party for a very close relative that was retiring from the US Air Force. We decided to fly our own little airplane and make a week-long vacation out of the trip. As we were about to land at the Ogden airport, something just didn’t seem right. I could clearly see that we were lined up for the runway at, what looked like, about six miles out. The GPS was telling me we were only two miles from the airport, but it sure looked farther away than that.

Fortunately, enough bells were going off in my head that I double checked what my eyes were telling me as opposed to what the GPS said, and I was spared the excitement that I’m sure I would have experienced had I continued past my destination airport and landed at Hill Air Force Base. I hear they have a habit of meeting such uninvited visitors on the runway with lots of questions, and probably handcuffs.

This story is a reminder to pay attention in your business, and life, when things don’t feel like they should or you’re getting conflicting information. Double check what you’re about to do, and ensure that the decision you’re making will have the results that you intend.

- Ken Hilton, President

Notes from the President

clock November 25, 2013 12:34 PM by author khilton
Ken Hilton - President Red Wing Software

We are fast approaching the end of 2013, and I want to use my space this month to communicate some important information that needs to be considered before year-end, or shortly after the beginning of a new year.

Whether your company operates according to a calendar year, or a fiscal year, there are a few things that need to be considered to prepare for the new calendar year:

  • How is your budgeting process going for the new 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 wait until after the first of the year to get up-to-date. Doing it now saves pressure later.
  • How about benefit changes? With the new health care laws, you may need to pay more attention to your insurance plans. 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 mention 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 a change?

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

Notes from the President

clock October 11, 2013 9:05 AM by author khilton
Ken Hilton - President Red Wing Software

How do you know if you’re doing something the best way if you only know one way to do it? Take a look at any important process in your organization and think about a way to change it. You might be surprised to find out the way you’ve been doing that process isn’t the best way. Try taking a different street to work. Maybe the distance is not as short, but might be faster. At least you’ll see different scenery.

You may ask someone (or yourself) to do something faster, more efficiently, at a lower cost, or with fewer errors, but is the system they are working in allowing them to accomplish any of these results? Trying one or more alternatives to a given process might produce the results you’re looking for.

At Red Wing Software, we never assume that there is only one way to accomplish a task. We constantly challenge our staff to find ways to improve what we do; make our software faster, easier to use, have fewer errors, etc. Sometimes we need to think outside the box and try some ideas that seem a little obscure. Quite often this exercise yields a result that no-one would have thought of without a group of us throwing out ideas and hammering through to a conclusion.

Try it. You might be surprised. I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but a wise customer told me once, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always be where you already are.”

- Ken Hilton, President


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