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.
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
Apparently, my number was up. No…..not that number. The number that means it’s time to get a new computer. You see, Larry, our Computer Wizard (his official title is IT Manager) keeps track of every employee’s computer, and has a schedule that determines when they should be replaced. With Larry, you don’t have a choice. When your number is up, your computer WILL get replaced.
As scary as this sounds, it is really a good idea. By upgrading our computers on a predetermined schedule, he makes sure that there are virtually no hardware failures, (no down time, lost data, or lost productivity) and everyone is working with relatively new technology.
With a new computer, sometimes comes a new operating system. My new computer came with the Microsoft® Windows® 8 operating system which, at first, was a little annoying because it was something that I was unfamiliar with. I quickly learned how to use the new features in Windows 8, and how to get the functionality that I didn’t like, out of the way. In just a few hours, I actually liked my new business tool.
How old is the computer you’re using? Is it running on borrowed time? Is its number up? Don’t wait until you have
As I write this, we have over 30 customers in our training room at our headquarters in Red Wing, MN, attending a seminar on our CenterPoint Accounting and CenterPoint Payroll software. They traveled from as far away as Texas, Ontario, California and Maryland, and as close as an hour away. Some are just getting started with CenterPoint and some have been using our products for close to 30 years.
While their intent is to learn better and more efficient ways to use our software, they also educate our staff on how their businesses operate, which helps us provide better tools for their use. I’ve talked to several people over the years that say they learn a lot from the others that attend the seminars, in addition to the formal instruction that takes place over the three days of the seminar.
In my experience from attending these types of educational sessions over the years, sponsored by other organizations, I have to admit I learn as much from interacting with other attendees as I do in the classes. I’ve mentioned before our belief in the value of continuing education for all our employees, and I encourage everyone to take advantage of the knowledge of all the people they come in contact with.
If you haven’t recently attended this sort of educational opportunity, I encourage you to do so. Whether it’s a Red Wing Software Training Seminar, or some other offering in your line of work, I’m confident you will learn some valuable information that will help make your business more successful.
- Ken Hilton, President
Red Wing Software has been like a duck the last few months; floating smooth and calm above the water, and paddling like crazy under the surface. Our latest CenterPoint software products include over two hundred new features. If you haven’t had a chance to download the new versions, please do so soon and take advantage of the new functionality.
In addition to the new enhancements to the products you use, we also recently updated our Web site for a fresh new look. Our Web team worked long and hard to make the site friendlier. Many enhancements were made behind the scenes to make the site faster and more capable. When you get a chance, log into your “My Red Wing Software” account and take a look at the new information available. Also, try out the improved search functionality. The site search now includes information and documents even more pertinent to the criteria you enter.
Everyone in the organization worked hard to provide you with some great new features in CenterPoint. We appreciate the input from all of the customers that contributed to the product updates through new feature requests. With your help, we will continue to make our products provide the information your business needs to be successful.