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.

What is the CAN-SPAM Act and How Does This Affect my E-mail Marketing?

Maybe you’ve finally decided to take the plunge and start to do e-mail marketing, but you’ve heard about regulations and wonder where to learn more? E-mail marketing is a great way to stay in touch with customers or prospects when done correctly, but there are definitely rules and regulations a business must follow! Read all about the Federal Trade Commission’s CAN-SPAM Act and its requirements by clicking the link below.

http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/business/ecommerce/bus61.shtm

Be sure to read the details and regulations about e-mailing marketing before starting your first campaign. If you do not comply with these rules, you might just be sorry later on.

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.

Internet Marketing: Landing Page 101

Have you heard all the talk about landing pages? Much like a landing strip for airplanes to land upon, a landing page is where you want internet searchers to land (once they have clicked on your online ad), so you can show your custom messages to them. You wouldn’t want an airplane to land on the grass, now would you? The landing strip is smooth and long enough for the pilot to land carefully and safely. That’s because it’s MEANT to be landed on. The landing page is a similar concept. You purposefully develop a page on which you would like internet searchers to land. If you are currently doing online advertising or are interested in giving it a try, maximize your efforts by creating landing pages with these rules of thumb:

  • Develop different landing pages for each subject/ad you are running. You want your visitors to know they are in the right place, so they don’t click away!
  • Have one clear, compelling call to action. Clearly show people what you want them to do, whether it’s to fill in a form, buy a product, call you, or something else
  • Keep the landing page clean and simple. Don’t clutter the page with lots of text and confusing layout. Make it simple, so people can easily find what they are looking for quickly.
  • Keep your fulfillment form simple. Don’t ask your customers or prospects to fill in 20 questions-- internet searchers want information fast.
  • Use short, simple points instead of lengthy paragraphs. Long paragraphs don’t work on the internet, where people want to get their information and go.

Having specific landing pages for your online marketing can drastically improve your results, and can also reduce your costs.

Order Entry - What is It, and Do You Need It?

As you are busy managing your business, it isn’t likely that you are mulling over which things you can add on to your software to make your life easier. And yet, you might be shocked to know how much the jobs of multiple people could be streamlined by simply adding a new accounting software function to your system.

The purpose of an order entry system is to track and manage orders in your system, before sending them over to accounts receivable for billing. Adding order entry functionality to an inventory management software system can be beneficial to any small business. If you are experiencing any of the following problems, you might just find that order entry can solve them for your business.

“I cannot track backorders.”

“I have no way of printing pick tickets and packing slips.”

“I want to allocate products to a customer’s order, but don’t want to ship it yet.”

“I want to know how many items are in stock while I am taking the customer’s order.”

“One person writes down our customers’ orders, and another enters the order when the order has been filled.”

Check into adding order entry to your accounting software if you find the above situations are true for your business.