As a business owner, you require an inventory management system that insures the next order you place is the right quantity both for your customers and for your business.
Frankly, without an inventory management system you do not know whether or not the next order that your Buyer or even you place, will result in excess stock or a stock out.
An effective inventory management system:
Identifies the most important items through a classification process so that the time spent managing items yields the maximum results
Generates accurate statistical forecasts
Allows manual forecast adjustments where required
Measures the risk factors in the supply chain
Sets optimal safety stock levels to cover the risk
Calculates optimal ordering levels
Generates optimal replenishment orders
But that is only the start of the process and this is where an inventory management system plays a key role.
Due to changes in customer demand patterns, forecast variances must be used to highlight where forecasts must be adjusted – the sooner the better.
Further forecast adjustments will be required to accommodate the impact of lost customers as well as new customers
Supply factors such as lead times and minimum order quantities will change
All of the above must dynamically adjust the safety stock levels
The re-order (‘minimum’) level and order-up-to (‘maximum’) levels must automatically adjust to accommodate these changes
The management system must include an inventory specific dashboard to prioritize and:
Identify stock-outs – the most critical of all problems
Identify potential stock-out items so that you can pro-actively respond and prevent further stock-outs
Identify purchase orders that due to changes in demand are now surplus to requirements
Calculate and identify excess stock items
With the right inventory management system, all of the above will be achieved in the minimum of time and with the least effort.
So, what do Inventory Control Systems do?
They include Warehouse management systems to track the movement of inventory through the full warehouse cycle from:
Other key requirements include:
Space and volume planning
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) systems
Real time recording of transactions
As important as all these inventory control measures are, they do not place you, the owner or manager in the position of knowing what inventory levels and how much safety stock is appropriate for your business. Placing the next order without this insight is simply a guessing game.
It is obvious that the inventory management and inventory control systems are both very important to any business and that they fulfill totally different requirements. One without the other will result is poor inventory performance of this valuable asset.
Sage Pastel Accounting has launched Sage Evolution 7, bringing customers a new version of the enterprise resource planning (ERP) suite that delivers the efficiencies and productivity gains offered by the latest mobile and cloud technologies.
With Sage Evolution 7, Sage Pastel Accounting has moved onto a new Delphi XE5 technology platform to ensure your investment in the software will be safe for many years into the future. Drawing extensively on customer feedback, Sage Pastel Accounting has built the new version of the software to help you increase productivity, reduce the margin of error, and eliminate unnecessary duplication of work.
Says Sage Pastel Accounting managing director Steven Cohen: "Our product team looked closely at the latest industry trends as well as customer feedback and business requirements to design a new platform that will evolve alongside your business well into the future. We have especially taken note of how many of our clients rely on cloud services and mobile devices in their day-to-day operations. Our new ERP solution has been designed to make it easy for your end-users to be productive wherever they are, while providing a smooth road into an increasingly mobile and cloud-driven future."
One of the key enhancements available in the new version of Sage Evolution is a Mobile Module that allows the sales force to capture sales orders on tablet devices. The data syncs with the ERP solution, eliminating the need to recapture data and reducing the margin of human error.
Recognising that mobile and cloud access to the applications opens new security risks, Sage Pastel Accounting has further tightened the security features of the software in the new version. You can now use more complex passwords or biometric identification (thumb or fingerprints) to protect your accounts. In addition, Document Profiles allow you to control which data and information different users in the organisation may access.
"Featuring an all-new technology platform and including a range of enhancements to the user experience, this is a key release for us," says Mohammed Mosam, Sage Pastel's Product Manager for Sage Evolution. "With Sage Evolution, you can focus on running your business according to your business rules and accounting, while knowing that our software helps you to minimise errors and duplication of effort while maximising productivity and efficiency."
Sage Evolution 7 also boasts a wealth of new usability features to help you work faster and more accurately. Sage Evolution has taken the opportunity to give the software a new look and feel by changing the icons to create a more user-friendly interface. The icons were selected to represent the different modules more effectively and assist users to easily navigate their way around the software.
Some of the other features and functions in Sage Evolution 7 that will help you enhance productivity and save time include:
An Auto Text feature, similar to predictive text in smartphones, which saves time spent typing in common phrases and words.
A Global Search feature that makes it fast and easy to find transactions by value, category and date.
The Utilities function, which allows you to make quick changes to selected transactional data such as invoices. All changes are recorded in a log file to be viewed and reviewed again.
Key Performance Indicators Dashboards that present transactional information in a graphical format.
Support for an unlimited number of financial years so that you can keep your financial records for as long as you want to
Visual reports – this amazing new feature is a pivot table, allowing you to mix and match information to display the results as you would like to see it visually with full drill-down functionality.
If many applications provide the outline for functional requirements, what should small business owners look for when
selecting the right accounting software? Two factors must be considered: Product plus Vendor.
The product does not necessarily create the best solution, it’s the Vendor’s expertise and experience that will provide a
solution to your requirements. Your relationship should be viewed as an on-going partnership – bringing your
business ideas to life and helping you to revolutionise the way you do business.
Motivating factors for changing or upgrading
The principal motivation for changing or upgrading financial software is the ability to adapt to changes in the company’s
business processes and procedures.
Next is the need to provide greater integration with other operational systems. For finance departments: reporting and
analysis is currently very much ‘top of mind’.
As we experience a prolonged period of economic uncertainty, the need for financial information to enable better
management decision making becomes even more pressing. Improving reporting systems, and providing the necessary management information to help direct the business through difficult times represents a continual challenge.
Invest now, despite the current business climate
As the ‘credit crunch’ continues to unfold, many businesses try to reduce costs as much as possible. There is clearly a
business need to change or upgrade financial systems, but how can businesses justify changing or upgrading software
right now? A good accounting system is important for small businesses in the good times in order to manage your
business effectively, but it definitely is a ‘must-have’ in bad times since it can provide the competitive advantage necessary to improve business processes and reduce costs.
What do businesses do in a recession?
• Scrutinize every purchase with a business case: is it needed now or in future?;
• Make decisions by consensus rather than individually;
• Become more risk adverse and do business with known vendors they trust;
• Require a positive Return on Investment (ROI) – to save costs or to make more profits, or both.
Buying the right accounts software will tick all of these boxes. Doing it now will help your business gain a competitive
advantage. Since there has been a consolidation in the marketplace, accounts software is predominantly sold by large,
stable business software providers with trusted brands. These providers produce accounts software that saves you time
as well as delivering a quick ROI, allowing you to get on with what you do best – running your business. Businesses
don’t stop spending in a recession, they are just more careful and justify everything. Business intelligence gained through
the best accounting software should be seen as a ‘must-have’ purchase to keep your business healthy.
What should you look for when selecting the right software?
Here are some questions you should ask of your potential suppliers. Questions around support, pedigree and innovation
will provide you with the confidence to select a supplier and product that becomes a long-term partner to your business
that will add real value.
Does the software have a simple, easy to use interface?
Software needs to be intuitive and deliver a great user experience for all types of user, making everyone more productive.
Will you get powerful ‘out-of-the-box’ functionality, but also flexibility to deliver unique needs?
Software needs to have a strong core framework of accounting functionality that delivers over 80% of business
requirements without the need for development work, but can be configured to deliver the remaining 20% that is specific to your particular processes, for now and the future.
Will the software be able to deliver benefits quickly to maintain momentum with your people and provide a rapid return on your investment (ROI)?
Software needs to be easy to learn, allowing your staff to be productive very quickly. Migration of data from earlier versions or other accounting software should be simple and straightforward. And training should to be appropriate to your needs.
Is it flexible enough to integrate seamlessly with the other software you use?
Using bespoke or best-of-breed software that works independently of each other means you have to spend time importing data or entering it manually. Integration of all your business software will save time and reduce errors.
Does the vendor actively encourage feedback from customers for future releases?
Software development needs to be in tune with user requirements, gained from continual feedback. The more customers a vendor has, the more comprehensive the quality and quantity of suggestions for future releases will be.
Does it give you the reassurance that it will still be the right product for you in the future?
You need to know that as your business needs change, your chosen accounting software will grow with you, negating the need to retrain your users and migrate data onto a new system.
Does the vendor have a large installed base of customers in your market?
Software needs to provide you with the confidence that it will deliver what it promises, with case studies in your market that provide evidence of the benefits you would get by implementing it.
Does it have the backing of a financially stable company?
You want to know that your software provider will be with you for the long term and that significant amounts of money are being invested in R&D (research and development).
Is the vendor committed to supporting its customers directly and through a network of business partners, accountants and developers?
Software should be available through a wide range of communities providing installation, customisation, support and training at a local level. More than two-thirds of people stop buying from businesses because of poor customer service. The ability of the vendor to understand your business and be able to deliver that support when and where you need it (by phone, email, and web), is paramount.
How does the vendor demonstrate innovation and agility?
Software needs to constantly keep pace with changing legislation, new technology and the economy.
Sage is a leading supplier of business management software and services to 5.8 million customers worldwide. From
small start-ups to larger organisations, Sage makes it easier for companies to manage their finances, people and
customers. Their purpose is to help customers run their businesses more effectively, helping them to gain greater
insight into their business activities and providing them with lasting benefits by automating their business processes.
With global strength and local focus, their direct coverage in 26 countries and global network of over 30,000
Sage-certified business partners and accountants provides unparalleled business software and services expertise.
Why Usage Business Solutions?
Usage Business Solutions represents Sage Pastel, a leading developer of business management, accounting and
ERP software solutions. As the only CDP (Channel Development Partner) in Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and
Indonesia, our role is to build a channel of Resellers & Business Partners by providing them with support, consulting, lead generation and training.
Usage is the only Sage Pastel Distributor maintaining a research and development (R&D) operating procedure with the
development house. Customers play a vital part by logging their suggestions for enhancements in future releases
with their reseller.
Accounting software is a system of recording financial transactions on a computer across a full range of accounting options almost invariably dependent upon the size of business being catered for.
Accounting software can vary from multi million dollar solutions for major public companies to simple managed lists of income and expenses.
The requirements from accounting software are diverse with the most complex and comprehensive financial accounting packages incorporating financial reporting information and managed by teams of qualified accountants supported by accounts clerks, bookkeepers and substantial input from automated data sources. At the other end of the scale a self employed sole trader might use accounting software themselves and produce a set of financial accounts for the year in an afternoon.
The most sophisticated level of accounting software in the largest companies mirrors the accounting functions in those organisations with various financial modules for accounts receivable, accounts payable, stock control, general ledger and fixed assets. These accounting modules may also be integrated with non accounting functions such as production and dispatch functions and also divided into separate modules within the accounting function.
In larger companies the sales daybook and data entry of sales turnover would often be the responsibility of one department while the accounts receivable function might be split with a specialist credit control function within that accounting module. A further division may also include sales administration and customer records. Similarly the accounts payable function might be split between the purchasing department, accounts purchase invoice department and a legal function for overdue payments. Accounting software for smaller companies and organisations is commonly a system of data entry of prime transactions which include sales income, purchase expenses and cash and bank transactions.
The prime entry of these documents being to a database which automates the double entry accounting principles and produces both accounts receivable, accounts payable and general ledger databases. Some accounting knowledge is usually required tom operate a database accounting software system and that financial knowledge is usually available within the company as most companies that use database accounting software also employ a bookkeeper or accounts clerks to input data and in slightly larger small companies also qualified accountants to manage the accounting function.
The need for accounting knowledge in a database system is partially to understand the data entry principles and the relevancy of the rules that need to be followed but essentially understanding of accounting principles is required to understand what is happening ton the information after input. And most important, a qualified accountant has the financial knowledge, training and experience to know what the system should be producing and how to query the database to retrieve that information. In addition to inputting the prime income and expenditure details the most benefit of a database accounting system is the level of financial control the information it contains can provide the company management and financial directorship. The accounting function also has the security of producing trial balances, periodic profit and loss accounts, balance sheets and other financial and statements for tax and control purposes. Accounting software packages requiring little or no accounting knowledge are available.
Small limited companies must obtain accounting software based upon double entry accounting principles as in addition to producing a profit and loss account and a trial balance to demonstrate accuracy and integrity of the financial records plus a balance sheet is required for reporting purposes. Accounting standards require the limited company to have a system of financial control and accounting software is an essential tool in achieving this. Some accounting knowledge either from the management or outsourcing the bookkeeping services is usually required with even the simplest database accounting solutions even if this requires the understanding of what accounts receivable ledgers, accounts payable ledger and control accounts mean. There are other possibilities and those businesses with a minimum of accounting knowledge can consider spreadsheet based accounting software. Accounting software compiled from spreadsheets is less flexible and often does not have the range of options a database system has due to the lack of database queries available.
These disadvantages of flexibility being compensated by the fact that all entries are visible, transparent and changes can be made more easily. Financially at the sole trader and self employed end of the business spectrum then the requirements from accounting software may be completely different. Gone are the sophistications of control accounts, trial balances and many aspects of financial control. The most important aspect of self employed accounting software is often to produce a set of accounts for tax purposes. Self employed small business that do not require a balance sheet can use accounting software based upon single entry bookkeeping rather than double entry and with the reduced requirement for financial control then less financial queries to the system are required. In these respects the simpler an accounting solution the better and in this market an accounting solution written on spreadsheets that can produce the net taxable profit would meet the requirements.