Mark, our New Business Development Manager, was talking to me the other day about a customer that had stopped using our software in favor of another company’s software. It seems this customer was in need of some new functionality, so he started looking for software that had those capabilities. He found new software, made the switch, and proceeded to set up and re-enter a lot of the data that had already been entered into the Red Wing Software product.
As you can imagine, starting over with new software is a very large task. Once he got started, he discovered he was missing much of the functionality he was taking advantage of in the Red Wing Software product previously used. So, he called Mark and wondered what it would take to move back to Red Wing Software, and mentioned the reason for the original switch. Mark explained that the functionality he was looking for was actually already available in the Red Wing Software product, and could have easily been implemented with a quick call to our staff.
This is just one example of a case when it is a good idea to talk to your current supplier when you are looking for something that is related to a product you are using and already comfortable with. This happens to be a software example, but it could apply to almost any product or service. Keep in mind you have been working with this supplier for some time, likely trust their opinion, and if what you are looking for is not available, your current supplier might be able to help you find a solution.
Spring is here, at least on the calendar, and it’s a great time to do a little spring cleaning of your financial records. You are likely either going through the data for your 2015 tax return, or have recently completed it, so all of the information should be fresh in your mind. What a perfect time to review those things that took a little longer to figure out than they should, and fine-tune your system to make it easier for next year.
Maybe it’s a tweak to your chart of accounts. For instance, let’s say you have information spread across multiple accounts, and you now realize they could be combined into one account. Did you know there is a function in CenterPoint that will combine one or more accounts and all of the history into one account?
Or just a small change in the way you collect information or enter transactions could greatly reduce the time it takes to maintain the detail you need for reporting. In any event, take a few minutes and maybe even talk to others in your organization who deal with financial and other important data, and look at ways to make your business more efficient and profitable.
- Ken Hilton, President
With all the political noise dominating the airwaves, many people may not realize the Summer Olympics take place later this year in Brazil. How would your business team do in the Olympics? I am not asking if you have a great pole vaulter, sprinter, or golfer. I mean: is your team trained, do they practice, and do they have the right equipment to be the best at what they do?
As with any great team, the most important thing is to start with the right people and make sure they are in the right positions. Just like a great sumo wrestler wouldn’t make the best relay anchor, a great sales person won’t necessarily make the best accounting manager.
Once you get the right people on the team, it is important to ensure that all players are encouraged to learn all they can about their position on the team. Just like professional athletes are always learning about the latest workout techniques to fine tune their game, everyone on your business team needs to regularly receive continuing education and stay apprised of the latest technologies and tools of their trade. This can be as simple as providing them with trade journals, attending local networking opportunities, or hiring good coaches (business consultants).
Finally, you must make sure your team is playing with the best equipment. You can’t expect a world-class golfer to be using 20-year-old clubs, or a world-class programmer to be using a 1990’s era computer. Don’t give away the gold by making your team play with inadequate equipment.
While striving for the gold medal, we must also remember that bronze is still a great accomplishment. I’m always amused when sports commentators, who have likely never played the game, negatively comment on the effort put forth by a competitor that stumbled during the performance. These are Olympic athletes--the best in the world. It was still a great performance, even though it wasn’t what some might consider to be perfect.
The bottom line is: hire great people, give them the knowledge to succeed and the equipment to perform, and when they stumble, encourage them to get back up, finish the performance, learn from their mistake, and go for the gold.
- Ken Hilton, President
February 11, 2016 1:24 PM by khilton
Preparation pays off. Unless you’re fairly new to reading this newsletter, I’m sure you’ve witnessed my bragging about our staff. This year is no exception to their commitment to providing the best software and support experience possible to our customers.
Throughout 2015, Red Wing Software has been designing, programming, and refining functionality for our CenterPoint Payroll software to handle the reporting required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). While our development and quality assurance teams did everything they could to make the new features work properly according to the legislation and make them as intuitive as possible, our technical writer and support team were preparing for implementation by our customers and making sure they had everything they needed to smoothly create and electronically file the reports.
This preparation included several documents that can be found in our help files/How2 Viewer, as well as notifying our customers about the need to file these new forms, and the information they needed to collect and enter into the software. It also included our notification of legacy payroll product users who, if they needed to comply with the new requirements, would need to migrate to CenterPoint Payroll, as our legacy products would not have ACA functionality.
Because of this effort, our busiest time of year has gone extremely smooth. In a matter of about ten business days, we were able to handle over 4800 support calls, with over 85% of those calls being handled as they came in, and with on-hold wait times being the lowest our customers have ever experienced.
We want to thank our customers for implementing the new requirements in a timely manner, which certainly helped reduce the calls during the first of the year. And, of course, it helps that we have the most dedicated staff in the galaxy.
Everyone in business realizes that their particular industry experiences certain times of the year that they are the busiest, and doing as much as possible to prepare ahead for the upcoming crunch-time makes for a smooth busy season. What can you do to prepare your business?
- Ken Hilton, President
I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and any other holiday or special event celebrated this time of year.
I had a conversation with a prominent consultant in the accounting industry regarding best management practices for high growth business. This is a very timely topic for the first newsletter of 2016, as everyone in business should be considering how to make the new year more profitable than the last. While the conversation initially centered on accounting software, it quickly became clear the focus really revolved around systems and processes. Here are a few of the observations we discussed during our conversation.
The best software in the world (of course that means software from Red Wing Software) can’t fix broken processes. A business needs to identify what is important to them for analysis purposes, and then implement a system that provides that information. That may mean changing some internal processes, so data that is being collected is sufficient to get the results they’re after. Change in process is always a difficult thing to implement, but may be necessary to accomplish an ultimate goal. The way to make a change successful is to make the process as easy as possible for people to understand, inform them of the importance of the information, how it will be used (share results), and then enforce implementation. It normally takes sticking to a new daily routine for just a couple of weeks for it to become habit.
I know many people reading this newsletter have great systems in place already, and have coworkers that would argue that there is no better way to do things. I would argue that any time we start to believe that our business can’t improve each and every thing that it does, the business stops growing, and we all know that without growth the business will fade away. I challenge everyone to take a look at what you’re doing today, tweak something that will make your business better, and reap the rewards. Here’s to a successful, different, and more profitable 2016.
- Ken Hilton, President