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Follow my lead

1 Jun

Earlier this year, I attended the Tobias Leadership Conference sponsored by the Randall L. Tobias Center for Leadership Excellence housed at Indiana University. This excellent conference explored leadership in a range of different contexts, encompassing leadership in business, government, education, medical, non-profit, and other communities.

As I listened to presenters discussing various perspectives on theoretical and practical leadership principles, several key questions emerged for me:

  • What role does each one of us play as a leader?
  • Are we stepping up and into that role?
  • If not, why not?

I believe that each one of us is a leader. We may not have an official title or the “look and feel” of a stereotypical leader, but at a minimum, we lead ourselves each day. We make choices about how we’re going to “show up” in the world and therefore how others will interact with us, whether they’ll “follow our lead.” Acts of leadership are as simple as how we choose to greet the barista at the espresso stand, whether we choose to give up our seat on the bus for an elderly person, and whether we choose to treat co-workers respectfully.

What personal leadership choices will you make today?

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Infoman Receives Award for Excellent Customer Service at Insights

20 May

Insights, the annual Sage conference for its business partners, was held in Denver, Colorado this year. The conference just ended today, and I’m actually writing this blog post waiting for my flight home to Seattle-my flight has been delayed by a maintenance issue. Nobody wants a delay while trying to get home, but hey-it’s better to be safe than sorry!

Insights 2010 was a well planned and executed conference, thanks to Sage employee Suzanne Spear and her capable event planning team. The Colorado Convention Center had ample space for our conference and could actually accommodate events much larger than ours. And the two-story tall blue bear peering into the lobby of the Center certainly is impressive and humorous!

The Center includes the beautiful Wells Fargo Theater in which the Sage management team presented keynote addresses on corporate direction, partner programs, and product announcements.

The Theater was also the venue where Infoman received the prestigious Sage award for providing excellent customer service. We have only our valued clients to thank for this award, and the entire Infoman staff thanks you again for your votes of confidence!

Accounting for the Impact of Health Care Reform

15 May

Now that the health care reform package has been finalized, employers need to be aware of its many provisions. Some small employers (less than 50 employees) may notice little change. However, larger employers will definitely be impacted–in their accounting for health care plans, the tax implications for their business, and in the definition and structure of the plans themselves.

Officially, the reform package is made up of two acts: the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” and the “Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act.” If you’d like to read a good summary of the acts’ hundreds of pages of text, check out this link on the site Lexology: http://www.editurl.com/gf7.

We’ll all learn more about what’s required of employers as the federal government (including the Internal Revenue Service) and insurance companies sort out the details. In the meantime, start to become familiar with the highlights of the reform package. You’ll be glad you did!

How do you expect health care reform to affect your business, including your business management software? Post a comment and share your thoughts!

President Obama’s health care reform and your accounting software

14 Sep

What does President Obama’s health care reform have to do with your accounting software? Everything. We won’t know the details until the post-passage dust settles, but you can be sure that if you are an employer, both payroll taxes and insurance benefit administration will change. Are you ready?

Is your payroll tax table update subscription current? Whatever the new federal tax structure looks like for employers and employees, software companies will have to accommodate it. That means that you will need to install the latest tax table update, or if your accounting software allows manual changes to the federal tax tables, you must be prepared to make the appropriate changes.

What about the proposed tax credits? We don’t know what this will entail or how they will be calculated, but your payroll tax table update should allow you to handle whatever is finalized. If your accounting software requires you to make your own changes, be sure that you understand how to do so, and engage the developer’s technical support staff if necessary to make sure that your system is setup correctly.

Are you using a human resource management system (HRMS) to administer and track employee insurance and savings benefits? Historically, most employers didn’t consider an HRMS as required until they employed at least 50 people. (In the US, that’s the minimum number of employees above which mandatory HR-related reporting regulations apply.) As spreadsheets and/or standalone databases become increasingly difficult to maintain, even companies with fewer than 50 employees are realizing the benefits of efficiency, security, and effectiveness that an integrated HRMS provides. If you’re not currently using an HRMS that integrates with your accounting software, talk to us. We can provide you with information and guidance about this important issue.

Is your HRMS regularly updated for changes in federal laws relating to employee benefits? Whatever HRMS you’re using, be ready for changes in benefits and benefits administration. The changes may be straightforward (unlikely!), complex, or something between; regardless, your HRMS will need to be updated to accommodate the changes. You can be ready by making sure your HRMS software maintenance plan is current.

If the mandated federal laws have an impact on the laws of the states in which you do business, will you be ready? It’s certainly possible that new federal regulations will impact state laws as well. You’ll be ready by making sure that both your payroll tax table updates and HRMS system are capable of addressing state-level changes and that you’re guaranteed to receive these software updates when they’re released.

At this time, no one knows the exact details of the federal or state regulations that Congress will pass. You can be as ready as possible by reviewing the status of your payroll tax and HRMS software and related update plans. If you’re not current, get current now. If you’re not already using an HRMS–no problem. Call us at (425) 673-9299 or send us an e-mail. We can help!

Get Out of the Spreadsheet Jungle by Using Your Accounting Software

2 Sep

Are you, your department, or your company caught in a tangled jungle of spreadsheets? Are you tired of downloading data from your accounting software into Excel?

Beware: You may be putting your data and your company at risk. Here are just a few of the risks that you’re flirting with:

Lack of backup. When users download data, then manipulate it and report on it using spreadsheets, that data may not be backed up. If the spreadsheet is deleted or lost, you may not be able to re-create it.

Broken formulas and/or spreadsheet links. One mistake or typing misstep could cause hours of research and frustration trying to determine the source of the error.

Subject to human error. When data is taken out of the context of your accounting system, logical errors and errors of omission are more likely to occur. You’re shortcutting the checks and balances that are built into your automated system.

Misstatement of data. Accidentally or otherwise, spreadsheets allow rows to be deleted and cells and formulas to be modified. No one wants to present financial or operational information that is inaccurate.

Lack of security.Your accounting software has security built-in. For example, with Sage Accpac ERP’s “G/L Security” feature, you can restrict which general ledger accounts, departments, etc. users can access and view. Once the data is out of your accounting system, you’ve opened yourself up to a security breach.

The solution to these potential risks? Use your accounting software and its reporting tools to produce information directly from your accounting software. A wide variety of tools exist to help you with this. In Sage Accpac ERP, for example, your options include:

  • Financial Reporter–Excel-based financial reporting tool
  • General Ledger Consolidations module
  • Financial Link Pro reporting tool
  • Custom reports and dashboards created with Accpac Intelligence (coming this fall in Sage Accpac ERP version 5.6)
  • Custom reports created with Crystal Reports
  • Custom reports created with Stonefield Query

Of course, you will need to consider data security issues with these tools, as well as validate the output that they produce. However, you will certainly reduce your risks of lost or misstated data by climbing out of the “spreadsheet jungle.”

HOT Accounting Software Reporting!

14 May

Sage Accpac made a major announcement this week at the Sage Insights 2009 conference: Sage Accpac ERP version 5.6 will include Accpac Intelligence, a powerful reporting tool that draws data directly from Accpac and provides management reports, dashboards, pivot tables, and charts through pre-formatted, automated Microsoft Excel report templates.

In addition to viewing a demonstration of this reporting tool, I had the opportunity to talk one-on-one with Stephen Coull, director of Alchemex, the South Africa-based software developer. This reporting tool has been used with Accpac in Europe and Africa for a number of years and already has more than 10,000 users worldwide.

Accpac Intelligence can report on Accpac, CRM, HRMS, FAS Fixed Assets, and third-party data. Although only templates for Accpac will be included in version 5.6, users (and/or INFOMAN) can create templates for other data sources as well.

Including Accpac Intelligence with Sage Accpac version 5.6 is another example of Sage working hard to increase the Total Value of Ownership (TVO) for Sage Accpac ERP accounting.

Staying current with Software Assurance ensures that your Accpac investment will provide dividends for years to come.

Accpac Accounting Software: Insights 2009

13 May

Hello from Nashville, Tennessee, site of the Sage Insights 2009 conference for Sage Business Partners!

This conference is an exciting opportunity for Sage Business Partners from around the world to meet, network, and learn about the latest products and product direction. Sage Software executives, product managers, product trainers, third-party developers (such as MISys Manufacturing) all present learning sessions, and there is a huge trade show full of software solutions.

Our goal for attending Insights is simple: to provide even better service to our clients. We do this by:

  • Gathering as much as product knowledge as possible
  • Locating and identifying solutions for our clients
  • Speaking with Sage executives to understand future product direction and policy positions
  • Networking with Sage employees and other Business Partners

Check out tomorrow’s blog post for exciting news about Sage Accpac ERP!