Keeping Up with the Cutting Edge

In an industry where technology is updated all the time, it's easy for your business to become less efficient if the software you rely on doesn't keep up with current trends.

Whether it's supporting the latest database servers or being able to run on the latest Microsoft Windows® operating systems; a piece of software that hasn't been updated for quite some time could be surprisingly detrimental to your bottom line.

Here are some things you can do to make sure your business isn't left in the dust:

  1. Stay on top of updates released by your software provider

    Don't let them pass too long, not only could you get a fix for a defect you've been working around for the last few weeks or months, but you might also pick up some new functionality which could make you more efficient in your day-to-day processes.

  2. Make sure you have a support plan

    These may seem like an unnecessary expense; what could go wrong - right? But find yourself in a jam just once and you'll wish you hadn't held-off on buying some peace of mind. Support plans also ensure you'll receive continued updates and product enhancements over the coming year(s).

  3. Really learn the software

    You rely on software to make your business profitable, yet how often have you watched someone else use the same product only to discover some functionality you never knew existed? Most line of business applications offer training options, whether through enhanced how-to documentation, online webinars or on/off-site training sessions - utilize the knowledge of the professionals, learn all those tips and tricks for getting the most out of your software.

Payroll Benefits – Tips for Tracking Them More Easily

The task of managing payroll benefits can quickly become difficult once your number of employees starts to grow. What may have previously been handled in a starter or free payroll software application can often be easily handled in advanced payroll software. Here are some ways payroll software can help you track payroll benefits and be more confident in your data.

Predefined Benefit Deduction Codes

Some payroll systems come with a variety of standard predefined codes for tracking benefits. These ‘deduction codes’ make it easy for you to set up new employees and keep track of important information without reinventing the wheel, in order to simply track the right payroll benefits for your employees. Most payroll systems will include deduction codes for widely used benefits such as 401K, vacation pay, sick pay, and so on.

Benefit Deduction Code Customization

As your company grows, you may find that the standard predefined codes included in your payroll software are not able to handle every need when tracking payroll benefits. In this case, it is crucial to have a system that allows you to customize and use your own deduction codes. Not all payroll systems allow for this; however if you anticipate growth and unique benefit tracking, be sure your system does offer custom code setup.

Scheduled Benefit Deductions

Some benefit deductions may not be taken out of every single employee check. In these cases, it is useful to schedule benefit deductions, for example, on the first and third payroll of each month, and so on. By scheduling these benefit deductions; you can be confident that the correct amount is deducted at the correct time.

Retirement Plan Limits

Eliminate guesswork and worry when tracking retirement pay! As an employer, you may have a limit for your 401K contribution, your employee may have a limit, and of course the government has a limit as to how much can be contributed. The ability to set up plan limits within your software can tame the nightmare associated with 401K tracking. Once the limits you set up are reached, the amount will no longer be deducted, keeping all the involved parties happy.

Effective Dates

Are you worried that you will forget to activate an employee’s benefits after a probationary period or some other type of waiting period? Set up effective dates in your payroll system, so that benefits will automatically take effect on the specified date. This can take away the constant worry about forgetting to start an employee’s benefits from taking effect.

Take advantage of every tool at your disposal in your payroll system to ensure your payroll benefits are managed properly, and take the worry that payroll benefits are being missed or calculated incorrectly.

Five Reasons to Make the Switch from Paper Checks to Direct Deposit

Are you considering moving from paper checks to direct deposit? Many payroll software applications offer direct deposit. The Direct Deposit Option lets you deposit your payroll to employees' personal bank accounts without printing paychecks. There are distinct benefits for your company, your employees, and the environment by moving to direct deposit. Here are five reasons to make the switch!

  1. Help the environment.

    What is a printed check if not an expendable piece of paper which costs your organization money, yet lasts only until it makes its way to the bank? By implementing direct deposit, money is transferred electronically, eliminating the need for printed checks. This helps the environment by reducing paper checks, envelopes, and printer ink and wear. According to electronicpayments.org, checks add 3.6 million tons of CO2 to the environment as they travel through the payment cycle!

  2. Save time and money.

    Think of the process of printing paychecks. Gather the pay data. Be sure to keep enough checks on-hand. Get the printer ready. Line up the paper. Print and collate the checks. Hand them out or mail them. Keep the ones for the employees not present and remember to hand them out when they are present. Just think of all the steps you can eliminate by sending pay electronically! This saves your company valuable time and money. According to NACHA, small companies can save up to $3.15 per payment per employee by using direct deposit.

  3. No more lost checks.

    Nobody is perfect, and that includes employees. With printed checks, there is always the opportunity for lost checks. An employee puts a check in their pocket and forgets about it. Direct deposit eliminates that possibility, saving employers the cost of reprinting checks, and helping employees keep their pay without incident.

  4. Employees love it!

    Employees get their money faster. With direct deposit, money shows up in employee accounts seamlessly, as opposed to a paper check which takes time to deposit. People are often busy and don’t deposit their checks right away. No more having to come in on days off to pick up a check. With direct deposit, employees don’t have to worry about getting to the bank on time. Their money is already in their account waiting for them!

  5. Improved security.

    Direct Deposit can help protect you from losses incurred by fraud because of counterfeit, forged or altered checks. This subject is important now more than ever, and direct deposit is a simple way to improve security.

Adding direct deposit is a win for your company, your employees, and the environment. Implement direct deposit today and give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done!

Find more information about the benefits and cost savings of direct deposit, visit this page:
http://www.electronicpayments.org/c/bus_directdeposit.cfm?hp=bus.

CenterPoint Payroll Software offers direct deposit. Learn more by clicking here.

Welcome to the Red Wing Software Blog!

Red Wing Software has been in business since 1979, and some of you were even here for the grand opening! And, now we are blogging. Who would have guessed it? We’ve all come a long way, haven’t we?

This is Red Wing Software’s official company blog, and it is meant to provide you, our readers, with information to help you improve your business, whether you are a customer or a prospect.

For this inaugural blog, we decided that a good subject for all readers would be a useful list of things to consider when choosing accounting software or payroll software. We hope you enjoy it!

Ten Crucial Points to Consider when Choosing Accounting Software or Payroll Software for your Company

  1. Choose a company with experience and a proven track record.

    There has been a lot of change in the accounting software industry over the past ten years. If you or a company you know of has endured your software company’s being purchased, you know that the process can be painful. The software’s support, enhancements, training and other aspects of the company’s service can all be affected in the changeover. You want your business to run smoothly, and that’s why it’s important to choose a company who you feel is stable.

  2. Choose a company with on-staff experts to help you decide whether their software is a fit for you.

    During the software selection process, the most difficult part is trying to maneuver through a software system with which you are unfamiliar, in order to determine whether it’s a fit for you. Check to see whether there is a staff or partner available who will listen and understand your needs, and then clearly show and prove to you whether their software fits for your company. Some companies have experts on staff or partners who can guide you through this process. Some do not charge for this valuable service—take advantage of this service when available. It will take half of the burden off your shoulders, and your time invested will pay off greatly in the long run.

  3. Choose a software package that will grow with your company, considering your goals for the next ten years.

    The average company changes software every ten years. As a company grows, so does its business accounting software needs. Look at your company’s goals for the next ten years. Will you need to open and manage an additional warehouse? Will you need to add another product line and see its profitability separately? Will your sales commission payment scheme need to change as your profit margins change and you add more sales reps? These are important considerations, and having a system to handle them will keep your business running smoothly instead of becoming a stumbling block. Be sure to communicate these anticipated needs clearly in order to ensure your needs will be met as you grow.

  4. Choose a company who provides excellent support.

    Whether you are learning how to use a new function of your software, trying to streamline processes with it, or even trying to troubleshoot, it is crucial that you have a team of experts to help you through it. By accessing the software company’s team of experts, your company can save time and money. Check into the software company’s team of experts—their support department. Does the company outsource their support, or handle it in-house? Be sure they can clearly communicate with you, and also that they are easily accessible to you. Be sure you know what their guaranteed response time is. In times of need, it will become crucial to your company.

  5. Choose a company whose updates are meaningful, and include customer feedback.

    Have a look at the company’s most recent version update. Ask a company representative how those enhancements were chosen for the update. The answer should include customer feedback as a primary component, which in turn creates a software package constantly being shaped and formed by its own users.

  6. Be sure the company’s training options will meet your company’s needs.

    No matter which software package you choose, you and your employees will need training. The more time invested on training at the start, the more successful your company will be at implementing the software and moving forward with it. Does the company offer training that will meet your needs? Perhaps you cannot have all of your employees gone at the same time to attend training, so you need to have web training available. Maybe you don’t have a high-speed connection so you need to have the training done in person. Or maybe your needs are so specific, the training must be customized and done at your facility. Be sure to choose a company who can accommodate your training needs.

  7. Choose a company who will provide you with references for you to contact.

    By speaking with references, you can get a third-party, unbiased opinion regarding the software’s performance and functionality. If the software company can provide references of similar businesses to yours, even better.

  8. Find out whether there is a local partner.

    Do you prefer to have a representative local to you? Ask the company if they have a representative near you, typically called a ‘partner’. If so, get the partner’s information and contact them. Partners can provide a wealth of services, ranging from implementation, data transfer, training, and may also offer other valuable services. If the company does not have a partner near you, check out what services the software company can provide you directly.

  9. Choose a software company who has proven itself helpful in moving its customers forward to newer products.

    Technology is always changing; hardware is constantly being improved. Be sure your software company is also changing with the times. Check out what they have done over the years to be sure they have constantly improved their products. By choosing a company who keeps up with technology, your company can always choose to take advantage of the newest technology available.

  10. Choose a software package that, with its value proposition, can pay itself off within a year.

    Accounting software is an invaluable tool for providing you up-to-date financial information. In addition to providing financials, many software packages also offer tools to help companies streamline their processes and improve efficiency. Choose a software package that provides these tools. When considering all of the tools available, get a general feel for how much time and money your company can save within one year. This amount of money should exceed the cost of the software within one year. Your sales representative should be able to help you determine your potential savings.

Summary

Choosing an accounting software package to fit your company can be a long and complicated process. By following the above key points, you can ensure that whatever software package you choose, the company will be there to stand by your side and grow with you for years to come.