January was a very challenging and successful month for Red Wing Software. As we expected, there was a large number of calls for support as our customers were completing 2017, starting 2018, and processing payroll reports and Federal tax forms. Even with the huge increase in call volume, we continued to maintain a direct call pickup above 90%. For those calls that were posted to our call board, it was rare that subscribers to our Silver and Gold Customer Care Memberships waited over an hour for a return call. There was a great effort by our support staff and several others in our company to minimize the wait time, and provide the best service possible at the busiest time of the year.
With more of our customers wanting to get their software training online, we have decreased the number of live classroom training sessions to six classes in three weeks for 2018. You can view the schedule here: Live Classroom Training.
In addition to our classroom training, we are offering several virtual classes, both live and recorded. You can view those offerings here: Virtual Classroom Training.
Several of our staff members will be at industry trade shows throughout the country. We will have staff at shows in Texas, Kentucky, California, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, and that’s just in the first quarter of 2018. We always appreciate the opportunity to talk to our customers at these shows and hope you can stop by and say “howdy.”
As I write this article for our monthly newsletter, I am watching TV and found out this new tax bill that just passed will make everyone so successful we will all have our own personal jet airplane. Oh, wait … I just changed the channel and found out this is the worst thing that could possibly happen to all of mankind, and as soon as I finish writing, I’m heading out to stock up on food and water since the world will certainly end. Whew, I’m thankful the “Power” button still works to turn this noise off.
Sarcasm aside (which is not easy for me), the changes in the new tax law will have a different effect on each of us. It is vitally important to understand our individual financial position, and how the changes affect us personally. This means having a firm grasp on our business, and the changes we may need to make in reaction to the new rules. I heard one “expert” say they prepaid as much of their real estate taxes for next year as they could, and the very next “expert” say not only is that a bad idea, you can’t legally do that. Since neither of these people know my personal situation, I think I’ll ignore their advice.
At the risk of repeating myself from earlier articles, here’s where the importance of working with trusted advisors pays off. These professionals know your business and will be able to guide you through the maze of changes.
You can count on us at Red Wing Software to keep you up-to-date on payroll tax tables, depreciation calculations, and any other changes that need to be made in our software, as the rules are solidified. Unfortunately, this may mean more frequent releases of new versions of our software so we can ensure you have the most current information. We are also expecting a higher than normal load on our Support Team, and will do the best we can to provide the service that you’ve come to expect from us. We will do everything in our power to help keep you informed with as little disruption to your operation as possible.
Thank you for your continued support, and have a happy and prosperous New Year.
At Red Wing Software, we continuously investigate new technology that will help us better manage our business. We employ a process to choose the technology and the company or companies to work with when we collect and analyze data.
When deciding what new technologies to use in our operation, and the companies we choose to work with, we first determine what information we need, and how we will use the data. We quite often take baby steps when adopting new systems. We know it’s ok to start slowly. Here’s what I recommend to people that start to use our financial software: Keep track of the same level of information that you kept track of before you moved to our more robust system. A technology change is hard enough without introducing a whole new level of detail to your work load. Then, as you get comfortable with the new system, add more detail to help drill down and get better analysis at a lower level.
After we determine what we need, it’s time to start to look at the companies that offer those solutions. There are a lot of good companies that offer some amazing products and functionality that we need to sift through. Once we narrow down the list of products that can handle our requirements, we consider the people we’ll be working with. These people are going to become trusted advisors to our operation. In some cases, it’s important that the new technology we implement plays well with the other technology that we already use. This may mean that the systems have to share data bidirectionally, or at least be able to import or export data in a format that is compatible.
So, when you start to implement new technologies in your operation, decide what you need and how you will use the data, find the companies and people that are a good fit for your operation, and move forward. Every day you wait, you lose valuable data that can never be recreated.
With the holidays in full swing, now is a good time to remember all the important people in our lives. On behalf of Red Wing Software, I want to wish a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and prosperous New Year to our families, customers, co-workers, partners, vendors, and all the people that help keep us happy, safe, and free.
If you haven’t already started, now is a great time to begin planning for next year. It doesn’t matter what kind of business you’re in; there are things you can do to affect the path and destination of your enterprise.
I’m a firm believer in zero-based budgeting. That doesn’t mean we have to throw away all of our historical data and start from scratch, but what it does is make sure we look at each line item in the budget and give thought to how that line might be different than in previous years.
At Red Wing Software, we know there are some constants that we can count on being relatively stable from year to year. In our case, labor is one of those constants, since we enjoy very little turnover in the fine staff we have assembled. In other areas, for instance marketing, we might make adjustments to the number of trade shows we attend, or the size or placement of ads. We spend a fair amount of time analyzing the major line items to see how we can reduce costs without affecting quality, or increase market share of a particular product, increasing revenue.
Examining every line item when budgeting expenses or projecting revenue (and then regularly comparing actual results to that budget), helps maintain better control of the business throughout the year.
It seems like the season for change. The weather in Minnesota is changing, the leaves are changing, our office decorations are changing to fall colors, and don’t even get me started on politics. But, the change I want to talk about is the change taking place at many of our customers’ businesses.
With the announcement that Red Wing Software will be discontinuing support of our oldest products (in March, 2018), Red Wing Windows Accounting and Champion Controller, many of our customers are changing to our new CenterPoint Accounting and Payroll programs. CenterPoint is based on all the latest software technology and is both powerful and easy to use, a great step forward for our longtime customers.
We have made this change as easy as possible for our customers by moving their data from the legacy products to CenterPoint for them. After the data transfer is complete, we offer web based training on the products to make the transition as easy as possible. As with all change, there is a learning curve, but the web based training takes much of the mystery out of the process.
CenterPoint Accounting was designed to make the transition from Red Wing Windows Accounting and Champion Controller easy by including the features available in the legacy products, and a utility for moving historical data into a new database. If you are a Red Wing Windows Accounting or Champion Controller customer and want to move to new technology, call our sales staff and they can help schedule the transition and make the process as painless as possible.
I want to congratulate all of our customers that have already made this change to advance their accounting technology tools. I know it is not always easy, but, like the weather, leaves, decorations, and politics, it is sometimes inevitable.