Using an accounting system that can′t handle your business needs can be detrimental to the growth of your business. Check out these three myths about accounting software and see if your business is being held back.
Myth 1: It′s better to stay with my current accounting system than spend time and money on something new.
It may be tempting to stick with the accounting program your business has been using for many years. Moving to a new system takes time and effort, and it also means your accounting team will need to learn the new system. After many years of using the same system, users have likely become comfortable with it. As the system has aged and become outdated, users may have built work-arounds to make up for the lack of features. Because these work-arounds become habit, they don′t seem to be additional work, but in reality, there is likely a better way. Newer technology can eliminate work-arounds, eliminating manual work and reducing errors. Implementing a new system can help you provide better customer service, and can also help you increase profitability when you know where your profits are coming from.
Myth 2: All accounting systems offer basically the same features.
If you search for the term ‘accounting software’ you will find a multitude of systems available. You can be sure that none of those systems are exactly the same. All accounting systems offer a unique set of features. If you are working with a system that does not contain the features your business needs to operate efficiently, you are holding your company back from growing. Imagine the time you could save by emailing invoices, importing bank transactions, or being able to manage two inventory locations. These are just a few of the accounting system features that can propel your business forward because of the time-savings. In-depth reporting can also make a difference to your bottom line. By seeing information relevant to your business, you can make adjustments to increase your profitability.
Myth 3: If the software is good enough, I won′t need support.
No matter how good a software system, support is extremely important. Using software without support can lead to confusion and costly mistakes. The software support team can help you learn new processes and ways of doing things you may not have thought about, which can in turn help you streamline processes and increase revenue. They can answer any questions you have or help you solve problems. When you make a mistake and time is of the essence, you will be thankful to have a support person walk you through the process of fixing it, rather than guessing and getting it wrong. Indeed, support may just be the most important consideration for your software purchase.
Using an outdated software system or one that does not meet your business needs can hold your business back. Now that these myths have been busted, have a look at your system with fresh eyes and consider how you can grow by moving to something that fits your business better.
Several years ago we wrote the blog post: Ten Signs Your Company is Ready for an Inventory Management System. Are you still trying to get by without an inventory management system? Well, here’s further proof that inventory management software can help your business.
In a recent report released by Forrest Burnson at Software Advice, a digital consultancy, there is evidence that theft can be prevented with the use of an inventory management system. Having done a comprehensive study*, here are the key findings they came up with:
- Twenty-eight percent of employees whose stores use inventory management software say internal theft is a problem, compared to 37 percent of those whose stores use other methods for managing inventory.
- Fifteen percent of employees whose stores use inventory management software admit to stealing from their store, versus 22 percent of employees whose stores use other methods.
- Only 37 percent of small “mom and pop” stores are using inventory management software, versus 53 percent of local and regional retail chains and 85 percent of national retail chains surveyed.
I had the opportunity to ask Forrest some questions about this report, and he weighed in on the subject for Red Wing Software customers. Here’s what he had to say.
Question:Does inventory management software actually deter theft?
Answer:“While a computer program won't necessarily deter employee theft, it will give you the resources to ensure that your inventory is properly accounted for. When your inventory is properly accounted for on a consistent basis, there's less of a chance that bad behavior will be able to fly under the radar.”
Question:What kind of business can benefit the most from moving to inventory management?
Answer “Regardless of what kind of business you have, it's important to protect your assets. From small businesses to larger enterprises, every company can benefit from implementing inventory management software. As you can see in the below graphic from our report, at least 60% of respondents from each type of store see employee theft as a problem to some degree. Using this software is an easy way to give you a better sense of security."
Question:What is the most significant improvement businesses experience when moving from paper and pencil to inventory management software?
Answer:"It's important for item-based small business owners to realize that while inventory management software might seem unnecessary or time-consuming to maintain, it will actually save you time—and money—in the long run. It increases your inventory visibility by standardizing your records and it can help you identify where shrinkage is occurring when you perform cycle counts."
Forrest Burnson is a Market Research Associate at Software Advice, where he covers the construction, inventory management and supply chain markets. He graduated in 2011 from the University of the South with a degree in political science and French studies. In 2013, he graduated from the University of Texas with a master’s degree in journalism. During his second year of graduate school, Forrest was a fellow for News21.
Prior to joining Software Advice, he was a writer and researcher for Global Water Intelligence. He has also written for a number of other outlets, including the Texas Tribune, the Austin Business Journal, Market News International and the Austin American-Statesman.
*To find the data in the mentioned report, Software Advice conducted a seven-day online survey of six questions, and gathered 385 responses from random retail employees within the United States. All survey questionnaires undergo an internal peer review process to ensure clarity in wording. If you have comments or would like to obtain access to any of the charts above, please contact email@example.com.
Red Wing Software handles a multitude of questions at the end of the year. We thought it might be useful to share the answers to the questions that are most frequently asked by our customers in one blog post. Here are the top four questions, along with their answers.
Q: Do I need to order W-2, 1099, 940, 941 or 943 forms or can I print them on plain paper?
A: You are able to print all of your W-2, 941 and 943 copies on plain paper; you no longer need to print any on preprinted forms. Even the Social Security Copy A (often called the “Red Copy”) can be printed on plain paper. (For 1099s, the Red Copy must still be purchased.) Note: There is special perforated blank paper available that is recommended for use when printing employee copies of the W-2s. This paper comes with employee W-2 information printed on the back of the paper (for the Employee Copy) and blank for the State / Local copies. This paper is available from Computer Forms, Inc. at www.computerforms.biz or by calling 800-458-0158.
Q: Why am I getting a “forms update” or "mandatory update" message when I try to process my Federal forms (W-2, 1099, etc.) and what do I need to do?
A. At least once a quarter, including at year end, updates are created for the Federal/State Tax Forms (Aatrix) software. When you receive either of those messages, it means that Aatrix has an update available that you should install prior to continuing. If you have internet access at this machine, you can simply select Automatic Update and follow the prompts to do the update through the program. Note: If you have signed up for the service that automatically sends an Aatrix CD at the end of each quarter (for a fee), please follow the instructions that will be included with the CD. Those CDs will begin shipping before January 1, 2015. If you don't have internet access at the computer that has CenterPoint Payroll installed, but you do have it available at another workstation, follow the instructions below. This process does require the use of a removable drive (CD, thumb, zip or flash drive, USB Drive, etc.).
Login on our web site at www.redwingsoftware.com select, Support > Downloads > CenterPoint Payroll. Then select Federal/State Tax Forms. Click Download Now and follow the on-screen instructions.
When the download is complete, exit the web site. Copy the RedWingForms.exe file from your desktop to the removable drive (CD, thumb drive, etc.) you’ll be using to move the downloaded file.
Take the removable media source to the computer with CenterPoint Payroll and install by double-clicking on the RedWingForms.exe.
If you don’t have an internet connection at any of the computers, you can call the Red Wing Software Sales department at 800-732-9464, and we’ll send the Federal/State tax forms (Aatrix) updates to you on a CD once a quarter for a minimal annual fee.
Q: How do I Register for Aatrix? (OR) I’m trying to process my Federal forms (W-2, 1099, etc.), but I keep getting the message “Would you like to register now, or evaluate?”
A. You’ll need to register your Federal/State Tax Forms (Aatrix) software. If you have an internet connection, choose Help > Product Registration > Federal/State Tax Forms Registration. Your login will be recognized from the Red Wing Software web site, follow the prompts to create your registration code. If you don’t have an internet connection, call 800-732-9464 and request an Aatrix registration code. If a registration code is faxed to you, do not enter the hyphen included in the number. Enter just the letters and numbers.
Q: How do I print W-2s, 1099s, etc.? (OR) What are the steps for printing the tax forms (W-2, 940, 941, 943 and 1099s)?
A. Step-by-step instructions (documents and videos) for printing various tax forms are available in the How2 Viewer on our web site for all of our payroll products. From within CenterPoint Payroll, select Help > How2 Viewer - Payroll (Online). Within the How2 Viewer, select the Tax Reporting folder to view all tax forms printing topics. There are three general steps to printing the tax forms:
Transferring information from CenterPoint Payroll to Federal/State Tax Forms (Select Federal & State Payroll Forms and Reports > Federal Tax Forms).
Review the transferred information using the Federal/State Tax Forms viewer and make any needed changes.
Print or eFile the forms.
By Stephanie Elsen
Remember back in the 1980’s when financial accounting programs were really starting to sprout up here and there? Software developers from all over created and marketed their own applications to businesses and organizations. People in businesses of all sizes finally had the opportunity to track and manage financial information on a computer, rather than on paper. As time went on, some financial accounting software developers got purchased or merged, some closed their doors because of too much competition, and some thrived and are still improving and growing today.
Back when all the accounting software developers were starting up, even the smallest, one person developer could create and market his/her own accounting application. It was so much easier to do back then, since businesses often wanted to buy the system from someone local. They wanted a partner who could be there to help them if needed. Buying from a local software provider gave the business a sense of comfort, knowing there was someone who could help them when needed. And then, the internet changed everything. More and more support options became available online, phones became automated, and many software companies started providing telephone and internet support options. Bigger companies such as today’s Intuit and Sage started acquiring customers on a large scale. Many other smaller companies continue to grow and thrive as well.
Today, the practice of purchasing financial accounting software from a company that is not in your neighborhood is well accepted. There are still many wonderful local developers and also partners who represent the larger accounting software companies, by providing services for them locally. These days, the service you get from your software provider can vary greatly. That’s why you should always check out these aspects of the services they offer.
- Are they easy to reach?
- Do they speak your language?
- Are they experienced?
- Are they responsive and courteous?
- Do they make meaningful updates to their system?
No matter whether you choose a mass-marketed product or one from a smaller company, these questions are extremely important in your research process. Managing your company’s financial information is not a subject to be taken lightly. Ask the questions, get the answers, and choose the financial accounting system that is just right for you.
Check out this eye-opening article about ways to prevent fraud, written by Dr. Joseph T. Wells, CFE, CPA, founder and Chairman of the ACFE.
10 Pointers for Fighting Fraud