What did you Achieve today?
I’ve been visiting a client over the last few weeks – getting to know their Sage 200 systems. Helping them become more productive assisting with their Excel Management Accounts. There does seem to be a theme running here and to sum it up in a single word, I believe it could be ‘Strategy’!
So Strategy – a plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim.
This seems like a great plan, I’m there with the team, on site and discussing the future. They were let down by an incompetent employee (no longer with them luckily). We were called in and having assisted so many Businesses, we see this all the time – Unless they have got a Sales Person involved to move them forward, then please let us impart a solution to you.
You are busy, snowed under in fact. Using long winded and time consuming processes to get Information from 3rd party programs into your Sage 200 Accounting Software. Technology is a wonderful thing – especially when you have your own ‘in house’ IT Department responsible for your ‘Front End’ – they’re good, in fact they are highly skilled – They helped me solve a programming issue in minutes that would have taken me so much longer to resolve. I’ve already spoken with them and all the information can be obtained for automating the data transfer.
Automation – a frightening word – a method whereby by an automatic process negates the input of human intervention to control an event (in this case)
The client had been using a standard supplied .csv import file. The IT Department supplied output data in Excel. This was then manipulated to match the correct format. Every week, for years, a number of these files are generated, columns swopped around, Missing Information manually keyed, whole tranches of Data – Excel find & replace is a wonderful tool but, to have to use it this regularly must just be the height of monotony.
So – the Question – Why?
Because we have always done it this way….
The system works, it allows them to get on with what they’re doing. It is lots quicker than manual Input so there is that benefit. I asked where did the import come from – their accountants had supplied it to them ages ago. I only hope they didn’t pay for it – as I left them a copy of the self same files that are standard with Sage 200!
Are there many errors I asked? “We now know how to correct them and are used to fixing it. We have copies of all the old files and we are able to see errors and correct them prior to final imports are run”.
Have you thought of automating the process….. and the answer, “we may get someone to write a Macro to assist in manipulating and possibly replacing the incorrect fields”.
Oh, ok, have you asked your Sage Support Partner for a programmed solution?? As I look at their blank faces. So often when unrelated software is used, there is an element of re-keying, perhaps at Nominal Journal level or Transactional Level – Sales & Purchase Invoices.
On the one hand – yes, you have a ‘Vanilla’ system. Is it up to date, in this case – almost, are there future plans? Not at the moment…
We at K Consultants always try to offer up solutions that will best fit the Customer. Why – because we have also been end users as well as trainers & consultants. Here in my opinion, we have an opportunity to make the client’s life easier, definitely save time and lots of it. Cut costs – maybe (especially if they don’t have the macro written). That will contribute to the programmed solution.
Their Dealer is a fair way away and only works remotely – nowadays this is the norm however, isn’t it also good to keep in touch – contact the client to ‘just see how things are going’ this also seems to have not happened. – Customer Care plays a huge part of this Client’s business and they are really good at it, sadly their Sage supplier doesn’t have similar values!
Thinking how we can help, to not only save them time, but introduce a different Sage Business Partner, one that we have worked together in the past, we have faith in their capabilities and offering,plus relatively local, so can pop by at any time.
- Upgrade to the latest version of Sage 200 – as the client is only using Financials, there is very little difference but it allows some ‘future proofing’.
- Have an automatic import program written. This can work autonomously or manual or a mixture of both.
- Let this Business Partner work with / liaise with their IT Department to get all the correct data in its most suitable format for seamless import.
- When errors are reported on, correct the data at source then reimport the ‘failed transactions’.
- Spend more time improving the business function and on new projects because you have a robust and cost effective transfer solution.
Programming in this scenario is not expensive and when you take into account the operational time saving and Financial validation – it seems like the most logical solution. There are so few changes to the Financials modules in Sage 200 that no upgrade and subsequent ‘recompile’ of the program would be necessary for years to come, allowing the business to grow and consolidate their new business expansion.
Now the main reason to be with this Client was to enable them to speed up the Management Reporting process, we can tick that box and more. There were a couple of other reports that they were struggling with – again after a little discussion bottoming out the detail of the requirement, test reports were produced and they look very promising. The figures are accurate and highlight procedural timing differences. Again all generated within Excel as requested and updated at the press of a button rather than days and longer some times!
The Financial staff are brilliant! knowledgeable and really know their stuff. It has been a real pleasure working with the team and being able to deliver solutions that they find beneficial, accurate and time saving. They need little guidance and soak up procedural instructions with ease – allowing them to use sage to the greatest effect
And the Strategy I hear you ask? Yes, it is intact – not only is it working, it has been streamlined and improved. They have the ability to flex it and work on it – always fine tuning it to add value to their business and allow them to make those important commercial decisions quicker based upon immediate and accurate information!
The only problem now is that the next small things on their list that niggle are now, the next Big Hurdle! – oh well…………..
K Consultants are based just south of Bedford, yet we have covered projects from Poole & Southampton in the south, up as far as Edinburgh and Glasgow. Bristol through to Norwich and even a couple of sites in Paris! – Always aiming to deliver exactly what the client needs and requires to help their business flourish and run efficiently.
We’re the experts that give you time to run your business, just call K Consultants, email us or fill in the details on our contact form and we will get in touch – see how we can make your work life more productive!