As I write this, we are approaching a very important date in the history of the United States. This may sound a little strange at first, but I choose not to celebrate the 4th of July. Don’t get me wrong, our offices will be closed and I will be taking the day off. However, I will be celebrating Independence Day, it happens to be on July 4th.
I feel we have developed a tendency to recognize, observe, and celebrate dates rather than the events that made the dates important to us. So, while I think it is important to remember the special events that happened on a date, it is even more important to recognize why that date is important.
These thoughts can carry into your business management, as well. Every day, week, month, and year we run a variety of financial reports to track how our business is operating. We look at a Balance Sheet and get a snapshot of the financial health of our business, but do we dig into it and determine what actually caused the changes on this report? We run an Income Statement, P&L, Statement of Farming Activities, or Statement of Revenue and Expenditures (depending on your type of organization), but do we take the time to drill down and determine why the business is heading in the direction it is?
Every country and business has events and reports that they recognize and review at certain times of the year. Let’s make it a point to remember the reason we are running these reports, and especially the reason we are celebrating these dates.
- Ken Hilton, President
Seeing the recent severe weather devastation throughout the central United States has a tendency to put things into perspective. Our thoughts and prayers go to all those affected by the disaster. It sure makes Minnesota winters easier to handle.
We know that some of our valued customers were directly affected by the tornadoes. As a company, we at Red Wing Software will do what we can to help our clients who were affected by the storms get back to business and resume some sort of normal operations.
If you are subjected to a disaster of any kind, we will do whatever we can to help minimize the impact on your business recordkeeping tasks. Please call on us if replacement software is needed, help is needed re-installing programs or backups, or for any other task that our support staff can assist with.
This is a good time to remind everyone about the importance of data backups and disaster recovery plans. We can help with the replacement of your programs, but it’s up to you to have current copies of your data. Please count on the staff at Red Wing Software to help in any way we can.
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.
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.
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