“I wouldn’t want to do without it, that’s for sure!”

We were happy to hear this comment from Red Wing Software customer, Eugene Glock from Cedar Bell Farms in Rising City, Nebraska. Here is what Eugene has to say about CenterPoint!

Eugene Glock will tell you he is a lucky man, but what he might not tell you is that the financial information for his farms and entities is meticulously organized, and because of this he is keenly aware of which areas of his business produce his highest profits. While Gene is a humble man, he is the poster child for smart farm accounting, and for using CenterPoint Accounting for Agriculture to its fullest capacity. Maybe it’s not luck after all!

“CenterPoint is a great improvement on the software we used previously,” says Eugene, “It works faster and does some things automatically that our prior system did not. “ Eugene breaks everything down by crop: irrigated corn, dry land corn, etc. He also keeps each farm separate. This way he can always tell which farms and crops are most profitable. “One helpful thing about CenterPoint is that when we need to borrow money, we can easily provide accurate cash flows to our bank, which they really appreciate. We can also see live, up to the minute financial information.”

“I have really appreciated the recurring transaction features in CenterPoint. We split out our expenses by different enterprises, by percentage. (For example, a percentage goes to the office, a percentage to the farm, etc.) Our prior system had recurring invoice function, but it didn’t allow us to split it up by percentage. It has been a huge time saver for us.”

“No matter how perfect a software program is, there will always be some problems or issues along the way. The people at Red Wing Software are really great. I don’t know where they find these people, but they are just so patient and helpful. I think each one of them has helped me at some point. If you want a software product that will provide you service after you purchase it, you want Red Wing Software and CenterPoint. For the return on investment, CenterPoint is better than most investments!”

If It Works, Don’t Fix It?

If it works, don’t fix it. I’m sure everyone has heard that statement, but is this philosophy always good to live by? That depends on what it is that “works”. In some cases, you can get away with letting things fail, and then take the action to fix or replace them. In other cases, it’s a good idea to fix things at the first sign of trouble, and sometimes things should be “fixed” even before anything appears to be wrong. Let’s take a look at a few examples.

Let’s say the speakers on your computer are making a funny noise, and it’s not because you’re watching hilarious YouTube videos. It might be okay to put up with the noise because if the speakers fail, it’s probably not critical to running your business. Or, your car is making a noise that you have identified and it is not compromising safety. In this case, you can turn the speakers up and not hear the noise anymore.

A while back, I saw oil coming from underneath the engine of my airplane. It was running fine, but was sending me a message that something was wrong. This got my attention right away, as I don’t have a backup in case it decides to fail. I fixed it!

Speaking of backups, how is your computer running? I’ll bet it’s running just fine, so why would you need to back up your information? Computers rarely give you a sign that something is about to go haywire. That doesn’t mean you don’t need a backup. And, while we’re talking about technology, how old is the computer and/or software that your business is relying on?

Eventually, the computer will fail, and the old software on it may not run on new equipment. Are you prepared to re-enter all of the information you need to run your business because your data will not move to newer software? Think about it.

Sometimes things need to be fixed, even if they still work.

Ken Hilton, President

5 Ways to Get Good Tech Support

Thank you to librarianinblack.net for this blog post which features the great reminders on how we can all get better technical support. Visit this link to see the full post. http://librarianinblack.typepad.com/librarianinblack/2007/07/5-ways-to-get-g.html

As someone who has both given and received copious amounts of tech support, I thought I could offer a few pointers on what works and what doesn't. If you have anything to add, please leave a comment!

  1. Don't be afraid or sheepish to ask for help. If I got a nickel for every time someone came to me asking for help saying "This is a stupid question," or "I'm sorry to ask you this, but...", well, I'd be rather wealthy. This is what the tech support people are there for! It's their job. You can certainly be nice to them, but don't be afraid to straight-out ask for help.
  2. Ask for help right away. Instead of plugging away for hours to try to figure out a problem, go ahead and tap their expertise early. The earlier you get to them, the less frustrated you will be and the more likely that you will have a pleasant interaction.
  3. Explain what you are trying to do when something went wrong and then what happened--exactly. Please don't give the whole story about where you are trying to go with your project and why you are trying to do what you're doing, and why you hate this particular program... If you can list the exact steps that took you to the problem point and then what happened, including any error messages you saw and screenshots, that will help the tech support person help you.
  4. Keep your goal in mind. Remember your goal is to get good tech support and to get your problem solved. So many tech support people get burned out. They're dealing with problems all day, never anything nice or a "wow this works great!" Remember that the tech support people are not the ones who built the product that is annoying you; they are the ones who are trying to help you. They want to help you. Remembering that, it will serve you well to say thank you when the solution is solved, and to be pleasant to the person during the interaction.
  5. Don't turn your emergency into someone else's. This goes out beyond tech report, but it also applies here. When we find ourselves in an emergency, or we left something to the last minute, we become crazed. As a result, we infect others around us with our craziness. If you infect tech support with your panic, you will not only get worse service, you will probably become "that guy" -- the person that the tech support people avoid in every possible way. You don't want to be "that guy," so calm down, get the help you need, and continue solving your emergency.

When calling about help with software issues, there are a few additional things to keep in mind…

  • Start with a reboot of your pc before you call support. They are machines and machines have fluky days too. Sometimes just simply rebooting (Shutdown or Restart) can correct the problem.
  • If you receive an error, write it down or take a print screen of it. And if you can, note exactly what key strokes or actions were processed right before the error was displayed.
  • Take a minute to think about what has changed on the computer recently? Did the operating system do an automatic update? Was a new printer or other hardware installed? Were any software updates installed (for the software having problems and others; sometimes an update to something like virus protection software can affect other programs installed on the same pc).

Best Accounting Software

What is the best accounting software available on the market? Good question! And though we’d all like to believe there’s an answer out there just waiting for us to find it, the truth is, there are so many different accounting software programs available for your business; the answer is largely based on your needs. So, what do you need to do to find the best accounting software for your business? Follow these steps to make sure you find your optimal solution!

Decide who will be involved.

For a small-medium sized business it typically includes the CFO/CEO, staff accountant or controller, IT person, bookkeeper, and often will expand to other employees. Since the decision will affect most employees, it’s good to include them, at least in some part. Of course, only the major decision makers will be involved in the actual search processes, but you can keep employees happy for years to come and make their jobs easier by considering their feedback in your decision.

Develop a ‘must have’ and a ‘wish list’ of features.

For your best accounting software, there are certain things you must have for your business, and other things you want but don’t need. Sort out your absolute needs from your wish list items and write them down on paper. Have others who are involved do the same, and then organize them neatly on one document, so it will be easy when you talk to vendors. Use this accounting software checklist to keep you organized.

Search for potential vendors.

Once you have your list in hand, you are ready to start your search for potential vendors. There are many ways to start creating your short list, whether it’s asking your accountant for advice, asking friends and business associates for recommendations, or searching on the internet. Searching on the internet can be a challenge, since there are so many Web sites available. Use FindAccountingSoftware.com and search by need to start narrowing down your choices.

Contact vendors.

Now it’s time to start contacting vendors and see who has the best accounting software for you, your business and its specific needs. Remember, every accounting software is the best in somebody’s eyes. But the only one that’s best for you is the one that can handle your specific needs, and remain within your budget.