Product Inventory - Using ABC Analysis to Improve Operations

There is an old rule that is still as relevant today as it has always been, and that is the 80/20 rule. This rule, when applied to your product inventory, says that 80% of you sales are from 20% of your inventory items. Know which items of the 20% are garnering the most sales can be crucial to growing your profits. That’s where ABC analysis can come in handy. ABC analysis within an inventory management software system is a practical report that can show you which items are most profitable. Here is how it’s typically broken down.

In an ABC analysis, inventory items are analyzed and ranked, based on a percentage of sales. Often, the software will give you the option of ranking your items based on either the “cost of goods sold” (COGS) during a chosen time frame (annual is the most popular), or else by the number of ‘hits’, which is the number of times the items have been sold.

When the analysis is done, items are typically ranked in descending order, using the following scale: A=80%, B=Next 15%, C=Next 4%, D=Next 1%, and X representing no sales. Many systems will even let you sort out specific product lines or items on which to perform the ABC analysis.

ABC Analysis can be extremely helpful for planning purposes, since it gives managers a clear picture of top performing items and can help solidify marketing plans, sales forecasts, purchasing plans, and more. By focusing on the 20% of the items that are responsible for 80% of your profits, you can create a smart plan to increase your profits down the line.

Processing Payroll: Is there a Light at the End of the Tunnel?

Processing your payroll can be time consuming and often, a real headache! Have you taken the time to see what payroll software can do for you?

No matter how big or small a business is hours can be spent managing the financial aspects of the company, including payroll. Payroll particularly can be very time consuming, since there are so many aspects to consider: Full-time hourly employees, part-time hourly employees, seasonal employees, salaried part-time employees and the list goes on. Let’s not forget the vacation pay, bonuses, direct deposit, manual checks, and then there are taxes! No wonder just the mere thought of payday gives you a sharp pain in the head!

Stop for one moment and look at how much money and time you spend processing your payroll. Many businesses still track payroll by spreadsheet and hand-write checks or send their records on to a payroll service. When you process payroll by hand, it isn’t just a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly event; it’s a full time job! Payroll information is ever-changing. There are daily postings, hours worked, vacation and sick pay information, and other employee changes which all must be recorded in the payroll system. That takes a lot of time and effort and really lacks efficiency. Once all of the data is entered, the check writing or direct deposit is the easy part.

Many businesses can save money by streamlining their payroll processing and add that profit to their bottom line by using payroll software.

Here are some things to look for when shopping around for payroll software:

  • Flexibility: In order for you to benefit from payroll software, you will want a system that can be flexible to handle your specific needs. There are many payroll software programs available in the market today. You can find standalone programs to use with your general ledger, or payroll software that fully integrates with an accounting system is even better.
  • Versatile, Easy Setup: The purpose of payroll software is to save you processing time and money. Look for a program that has tools and wizards to help you easily set up your payroll software the right way. Also look for software that gives you the ability to modify the reports you need and gives you the information you require.
  • Options. Options. Options. Choose payroll software that is capable of handling many aspects of payroll reporting, not just collecting information to print a check. For instance; a software that can handle piecework pay, seasonal pay, shift differential pay, hourly pay or even a combination of any of these payment methods. By implementing these key features, you can have the system do the correct calculations for you. This saves considerable time. Also, don’t forget Direct Deposit and Publish Pay Advices. They are great options to have in your payroll software; employees love them!
  • Automated W-2, State and Federal Forms: Processing time and money can be saved if your payroll software offers automated W-2 and State and Federal forms with eFiling. Data from your payroll is automatically added into your required forms for fast eFiling or printing on plain paper. If possible, choose a full-service W-2 and 1099 fulfillment option as an added resource.
  • Experience, Expertise and Customer Care: Take care to look for a payroll software company that is experienced in development and has the expertise to create software that can handle your needs as you grow. Finally, take a look at the support and customer care the product offers. Is there personal attention offered? When you call for telephone support, do you actually talk to a person and not a recorded auto attendant?

See the Light! When all is said and done, remember, the purpose of purchasing payroll software is to utilize the wide range of additional tools that can help your company increase efficiency, reduce costs, access the information you need, and most importantly get your employees paid on time!

Crop Information Tracking for Farms – It’s All About Profits

The plain and simple truth is that if you don’t track financial information by crop, farm, field, and land owner, you are just guessing whether you are making the right decisions regarding your farm. On the flip side, when you are tracking it, you can also do “what if” scenarios that open the pathways to making better business decisions. “What if” scenarios can help you:

  • Compare the profitability of individual production years regardless of crop/livestock.
  • Determine which products to continue producing by comparing the profit per acre/head of each crop/livestock.
  • Determine if fields/livestock are not producing to their potential.
  • View the break even cost/bushel for each field in a production year.
  • View the profitability of a field regardless of which crop it raised over a period of time or determine if it is more profitable to raise feeder hogs or farrow to finish.
  • Analyze and compare profitability between profit centers, farms, and production years or any other combination of business segments.

If you track inventory, it will provide you with more accurate profitability analysis. If you aren’t tracking inventory, then you can’t really do accrual accounting, so you just expense your supplies (seed, fertilizer, etc.) in the year you purchase it. But that might not be the same year that you use it, AND it may not be the same year you sell the crop. So you could have the expense in one year and the revenue in another year… thus throwing off profitability for each year.

You can decide how detailed you want to be with tracking crop production…

  • Start really basic – just do production tracking by crop, farm or field, or a combination of crops & farms or by land owner.
  • Once you are comfortable with that, you could expand the next year (or whenever you feel comfortable doing so) and start tracking inventory.
  • Then once you are comfortable with that – you can start using WIP (Work In Process) accounts and doing accrual accounting (and getting more informative and meaningful financial reports).

What Stresses You Out Most about Running Payroll?

Here at Red Wing Software, we talk to customers and prospects many times each day about payroll concerns. Every single company has different payroll issues that need to be handled in their own way. Frankly, many of our customers use Red Wing Payroll Software products to solve some of their biggest payroll issues and concerns! And when we cannot solve a payroll issue, we still do our best to help our customers handle them with our software. When prospects call us, the concerns we hear about most often include:

  • Employees working in multiple states.
  • Employees working in different departments on the same day.
  • Complex time calculations.
  • Unique deduction (and earning) tracking needs.
  • The need to solve time-consuming data entry.
  • The need to make tax filing and direct deposit more smoothly.
  • More flexible reporting with the ability to track specific information.
  • Flexible ways of paying employees.

So, what issues stress you out the most with running payroll?

Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) Rate Reduction

The effective tax rate for the Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) will be reduced from .8% (.008) to .6% (.006) on July 1, 2011. Congress has announced that the FUTA .2% surcharge, first enacted in 1977, will not be extended after June 30, 2011.

The IRS is currently revising Form 940 (Employer’s Annual Federal Unemployment (FUTA) Tax Return) to accommodate the two different FUTA rates for calendar year 2011.

Please sign in above and the select your product below for a PDF with full instructions on Modifying the FUTA Rate: