Cloud Based ERP vs Cloud Security

By BAASS Consultant | Oct 3, 2014 12:00:00 AM
 

Looking at Cloud Based ERP, you may be wondering if it is right for you. So let's see if we can clarify some things for you. The implementation of a cloud based ERP has become a means to increase a businesses growth in revenue, and reduce operating costs. This allows the ability to gain greater control over all of the aspects or functional modules of their operations. However, in terms of security there are concerns that may cause some to steer away from using an ERP based solely in the cloud. The following areas are in question when it comes to security.

  • Physical Location
  • Data Transmission
  • Access/Perimeter
  • Storage 

It is understandable that having a cloud ERP means having the same security measures in place as found with an on-premise ERP system. Looking at possible security breaches with an on-premise ERP, we must consider that people or persons will intend to, maliciously, attempt to undermine the integrity of the system. This type of intrusion could be for embezzlement, disrupted service, or other type’s data manipulation. This can happen only if they have access to the location and to the software i.e. a workstation within the confines of the corporation.

In a scenario where the use of a cloud ERP is in place, the physical location is off campus, and possibly in another part of town. Additionally, the types of security measures to the location come in the form of retina scans, fingerprint ID badges, security cameras and other access limiting measures. Furthermore, all administrators work for the cloud provider or the software vendor. This means that no representatives from the company that purchased the software will ever be present.

The concern for privacy during data transmission between the server, database, and the user is remedied by encrypting this data between the destination and the source. The best encryption is with a secure socket layer, (SSL), algorithm. We find this security measure utilized with all web browsers and is the standard for the healthcare, and banking industries for example.

In the case of perimeter security where keeping intrusion attempts from outsiders is mandated a firewall is implemented. This works for both ERP’s, on-premise, and cloud based. Specifically, when there are multiple users for the cloud service. Firewalls are put in place for all utilizing the same service as a countermeasure to ensure security between customers.

All ERP data are considered proprietary and therefore it is imperative to protect this data from unauthorized access. This is accomplished via encryption. Although the database is administered by a non-employee of a given client, the cloud service provides a means to encrypt specific data stored within the database from unauthorized personnel. These same measures may apply to securing data to specific users within the customer’s user groups. This is done normally, through business logic or using a database layer system. Once an individual retains access, the business logic controls what the individual can see. In the case of multiple customers, the database layer system separates the data between the companies.

Having full-featured software that offers a solution with online access to CRM data is pertinent to any accounting software. Additionally, ownership and control in a secure environment is essential as well. You can also read more in our blog post series part 1 and part 2. To talk more about this, or anything else, please Contact Us.

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The Importance of Project Management

By BAASS Consultant | Aug 26, 2014 12:00:00 AM
 

Project management is the process of ensuring project objectives are met using the application of processes, methods, and skills.  More and more companies are investing into project management and are seeing the benefit of it.  This results in higher efficiency, lowered costs, and higher client and stakeholder satisfaction, which brings any business at a competitive advantage.

There are five basic phases of project management:

  1. Project conception and initiation: Examine whether or not it benefits the organization.
  2. Project defining and planning: Draft out an outline of the project plan and beginning stages of planning by calculating budgets and schedules and what resources are needed.
  3. Project launch or execution: Responsibilities are delegated and teams are informed.
  4. Project performance and control: Comparing progress to the outlined plan in phase 2, and adjust schedules accordingly.
  5. Project close:

The project manager is responsible to ensure quality standards are met in every step before moving on to the next step.  This ensures that the project is kept on track every step of the way and will result in a successful implementation of the project.

Project management is increasingly important as projects are separate to usual business activities.  Projects usually require people to come together temporarily to focus on project objectives, therefore, effective teamwork is needed to ensure the project is successful.  The most important factor from project management is being able to streamline delivery process and cutting costs.  If a project has gone sideways, it may cost more to the business to try to fix the issues that have gone wrong which may be avoided in the first place with project management practices in place.  As stated in “In State of the PMO 2010”, 84 percent of the 291 project professionals responding stated that their companies have a project management department and has been demonstrating steady growth from 77 percent in 2006 and 47 percent in 2000.

Project management has a proven track record of being beneficial to the success of every project and should be measured by defining the business value of each project in measurable terms for each stage.  Being able to put value into measurable terms will help the team focus on the end goals and also indicates to them if they’re on the right track.  Value in every project is different, so the goal of the project manager is to identify these values and make them measurable.  Examples of measurable values may include factors such as budget or completing the project on time.  However, it should be consistent with industry standards and practices.  Therefore, project managers should be able to streamline efficiency using their industry knowledge as well as identifying measurable results that are inline with business values. 

Nobody knows your business better than you. BAASS Business Solutions works in unison with YOU to achieve your goals on every project and will ensure that your project is effectively managed and therefore ensures its success. Ask BAASS about your project management options on your next project or Contact us today for more information.

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Building a Brighter Future Using Sage ERP 300 (Accpac) Consulting Services

By BAASS Consultant | May 1, 2014 12:00:00 AM
 

Setting up new accounting and business management software is no simple feat. The entire process can be a daunting one if you do not have a clear and concise idea of exactly what software your business needs and how you plan to implement it. When considering Sage ERP 300 (formerly Accpac) it is highly recommended you choose a firm that offers support through the entire process; from purchase to implementation and beyond. The team at BAASS Business Solutions can help you get the most out of your Sage ERP 300 software; in turn, increasing the efficiency of your most essential business processes.

Top Reasons to Go with the Pros at BAASS Business Solutions

  • Design & Planning: This is the first step to laying the ground work for your new software. This can include a multitude of goal orientated ideas which can help you decide what software is best. Sage ERP 300 offers a wide variety of customization features including Abra payroll, employee self service, and inventory management. A Sage Consultant can help you determine what features will work best and how they can increase productivity, staff up-time, and promote better customer information management.
  • Implementation & Training: Implementing Sage ERP 300 should be a strategically planned event. In order for each portion of implementation to kick off without a hitch, your consultant can help you plan and organize each feature. For example, training staff for use in essential processes should begin right away. As each aspect becomes fully functional, staff will have been trained and ready to begin using Sage features as soon as the program is up and running.
  • After the Launch: After the launch of Sage has commenced, your consultant should continue providing services to help complete the transition. In addition, if strategies or services must be changed or upgraded, your consultant can accommodate these changes and help staff adapt.
  • Continued Maintenance: Your consultant will be there every step of the way to offer support before and long after the switch to Sage ERP 300 is complete. Your consultant will periodically analyze usage information and staff feedback to ensure your current version of Sage ERP 300 increases business process performance.

At BAASS Business Solutions, we are dedicated to helping your business get the most out of your solution - whether you call it Accpac or Sage ERP 300 software. Please contact us for more information on our foundation-building consulting services. 

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Have you outgrown your Accounting Software System?

By BAASS Consultant | Mar 26, 2014 12:00:00 AM
 

This is a guest article written by Charles Chewning.

Have you outgrown your Accounting Software System?

As your firm grows or your competitive environment changes you will probably need to replace your accounting software system at some point.  The key objective is launching this critical project at the right time.  If you wait too long, the pressure may be so high that you rush the purchase decision and that can lead to a disastrous outcome.  At the same time if you do nothing, you may miss an opportunity to compete more effectively in your market or run your business more efficiently.  What should you do and when should you start the process?

The decision to replace your current accounting software system isn’t a black or white question.  It’s based more on an accumulation of issues that at some point tip the balance.  The key concepts found in this approach are the notions of “issues” and “opportunities”.  Your current system could begin to fail from a technical perspective or it could fail to fully support your efforts to compete effectively.  These negatively oriented issues need to be identified and improved in a timely manner.  Rather than reacting to issues, you could constantly (proactively) search for opportunities to improve your competitive position in your market.  Obviously it’s better to anticipate the need to change rather than being forced to change.  Perhaps you should answer some of the following questions on a regular basis.

 

Accounting Software system resized 600

Ask Yourself the Right Questions

Don’t let a failing accounting software system force you to make a change.  This usually leads to a rush to judgment and a purchase decision that proves to be unwise.  Instead adopt a system of continuous evaluation and improvement whereby you examine where you are today and where you want or need to be tomorrow.  If you base the decision to replace your current accounting software system on this future oriented analysis, you will have time to create an effective selection and implementation project plan.

The key to the success of this approach to software and competitive excellence lies in the questions you should ask yourself.  If you ask (and answer) the right questions, you can begin to build an accurate picture of the direction you should take and when you should launch the actual accounting software selection process.

Does your accounting software system adequately support the needs of your customers?

An accounting software system should help you “get the job done” (e.g. enter and complete a sales order).  However, that’s not your primary objective.  Serving the needs of your customers should be your primary objective and if your current accounting software system cannot help your achieve these objectives, then it might be time for a change.

Do you need more information than your current system can produce?

One of the real problems with older systems is that they primarily support the creation of financial statements.  Yes, they do support transactional processes (e.g. creating a customer sales order or recording an AP invoice), but these transactional processes are very simple as are the reports produced by the system (almost exclusively row and column oriented).  In many instances people are spending significant time creating financial, regulatory, operational and business oriented reports simply because your current accounting software system does not support key information requirements.

Is your current accounting software system becoming increasingly more fragile?

This really applies to older systems (legacy possibly?) that have been in use for many years and have really outgrown their functional abilities and stability.  Actually the term “fragile” refers to several scenarios and you need to ask yourself questions that will help you analyze your current system’s state of health.  Are you operating on the most recent version of your accounting software system?  Has your current system been continuously improved and does it run on the most current operating platforms?  Is your reseller completely familiar with today’s operating systems and Internet based options?  Is your vendor going to continuously update your accounting software system for the foreseeable future?  Does your current accounting software system have program bugs that are longstanding?  All of these questions and more should be investigated to make sure your accounting software system will support your business for at least the next five years. 

Has your current accounting software system been excessively modified?

When you first purchased your current accounting software system one of its attractions may have been its ability to support modifications.  Maybe you needed to create industry specific functions or maybe you wanted your accounting software system to reflect the unique way you run your business.  Over time you created so many modifications that it is now extremely difficult, if not impossible to upgrade your core accounting software system.  Now you are stuck!  If this is the case, you might need to replace your current system with one that meets your industry and business management needs out-of-the-box.

Have you outgrown the capabilities of your current accounting software system?

Smaller businesses rely almost exclusively on the knowledge and experience of their key decision makers.  As an example your experience and industry knowledge may help you balance material supply and demand.  While data certainly contributes to the decision making process regarding balancing workloads and stock levels, it’s your knowledge that really matters.

As companies grow, business processes become more complex and the sheer volume of transactions grow to the point where knowledge and experience can no longer cope.  Experience is still a critical resource, but its influence is overwhelmed by data volumes and business demands.

That’s where an ERP system steps in to supplement the decision making process.  Notice that we have used the term “supplement” not “replace”.  Accounting software systems and even more powerful ERP systems cannot make critical decisions.  They can process vast amounts of data and present information and suggested actions to managers, but they cannot make decisions.  That must remain your responsibility, but your system should help you make those decisions.  If your current accounting software system can no longer support your decision making process, then it should be replaced.

Are the demands of your industry making it more difficult to compete effectively?

Basic accounting software systems work fine for many small businesses, but in many cases they do not support functionality that will help you compete more effectively in your industry.  What do your customer need in terms of industry specific service (functionality)?  Does your competition offer services you cannot simply because your current accounting software system does not support these functions and/or reports?  If it’s becoming more difficult to compete in your industry or if you want to expand into a new industry, then it may be time to replace your current accounting software system.

Is your CRM system detached from your accounting software system?

Many small firms maintain at least two databases (sometimes even more).  One contains their accounting software system and the other one their CRM system.  While this may have worked in the past, it may not be effective as you grow.  You should have but one database that contains all of the information and functionality you need to compete effectively as a single entity.  If your CRM system is not fully integrated with your accounting software system, it may be time to switch.

Do employees have to resort to manual tasks to carry out their responsibilities?

Employees of any size business have certain tasks that they must accomplish in order to meet the demands of their job functions.  Some of these tasks can be accomplished via accounting software functionality.  In other cases employees must carry out required tasks manually.  This could include importing data from the accounting system into Excel in order to generate reports.  In other cases these tasks are indirectly associated with the accounting system. 

Collecting overdue invoice is one such example.  The accounting software system may support an Aging Report that lists the payment status of each customer, but the actual process of contacting customers and securing payment is manual and therefore inefficient and ineffective.  Higher end accounting and ERP systems may support such functionality and it therefore may make sense to replace your current accounting systems system in order to utilize software supported business functions available in these more sophisticated systems.  The key concept here is the notion of moving from an inherently inefficient accounting software system to a more efficient business management system.

Do your current accounting software processes support business management excellence?

It goes without saying that your business software system must support the way you choose to run your business.  If you let your business processes deteriorate over time, how can you possibly support competitive excellence?  All accounting and ERP systems support business transactions (e.g. sales order entry).  The real question is whether your current accounting software system can help you complete these tasks efficiently and effectively.  If you want to practice business management excellence, you need to determine what you need to do very well and whether your current accounting software system will support this quest for excellence.

Do you need more effective business decision making support?

Your business software system must help you complete tasks and activities, but of equal importance it must help you make sound business decisions.  A typical small business accounting software system may not give you the reporting flexibility you require.  Maybe the reporting tools are lacking in terms of support for dashboards and performance metrics.  Maybe there are insufficient data fields to extract the information you need to track.  A more robust accounting or ERP system may enable you to input required data, but you may not understand what output information you may require.  In this case the issue isn’t the system, but your failure to take advantage of its reporting capabilities.

If you are going to compete effectively, you must define precisely what information you need and the display format that will enable you to see at a glance where you need to invest your time improving your business.

Does your current reseller understand your business?

This isn’t necessarily a business functionality question, but it is a critical business success question.  You should understand your business and what is required to compete successfully (and therefore profitability).  Your reseller should understand all of the capabilities of your accounting software system and how these capabilities can be deployed to your advantage.  If your reseller does not have the ability to understand your business requirements, it may be time to change resellers and/or accounting software products.

Can you utilize currently technology to your competitive advantage?

Technological improvements are changing the way we can manage our business.  People can now access their business (accounting) systems from any device and at any time.  People can now collaborate on projects and even include customers in the process.  Dashboards, workflow and exception management help firms manage their business affairs.  If you are going to compete more effectively, you have to conduct research regarding possibilities and determine what your need to do to achieve competitive excellence.  Keep in mind one critical thought.  Technology may enable people to utilize advanced functionality, but that doesn’t necessarily mean your firm needs these capabilities.

Quick Review

In many instances firms decide to replace their current accounting software system because they are forced to do so.  This rush to judgment will always lead to less than desirable results.  Rather than waiting for a disaster, perhaps you should be evaluating the following issues and opportunities.

  • Our current accounting software system just doesn’t provide the functionality we need to compete in our industry.
  • Our current accounting software system doesn’t provide us with the information we need to manage our business effectively.
  • Our CRM system is not adequately connected to our accounting software and business management system.
  • Our current accounting software system does not adequately support mobile computing and reporting.
  • We have to spend too much time generating regulatory and operational reports.
  • The product vendor is going to discontinue support for our current accounting software system.
  • Our local software reseller no longer supports our accounting software system and/or there is no longer a reseller in our geographic region.
  • Our reseller doesn’t really understand what we need to do to compete effectively in our industry.
  • Our current accounting software system has been so heavily modified that it is no longer possible to upgrade our core accounting functions.
  • The technology of our system (accounting software programs, database, network and everything else) is dated and it does not appear as though the technology is going to be updated.
  • We are not convinced that our current system (hardware and software) can effectively protect us against internal fraud, theft or intrusion by outside agents.
  • The system (accounting software system, database or network) is becoming progressively more fragile.
  • We are now located in several cities and our current technology does not effectively support multiple location business management.
  • Our customers want more sales, service, support and reporting options that are not supported by our current accounting software system.
  • Our current accounting software system does not give us the information and functionality we need to compete effectively in our industry.
  • We moved into a new industry that our current accounting software system does not support adequately.
  • We cannot generate reports that give us the information we need to fully understand what’s going on with our business and business operations.
  • Our employees are spending too much time performing manual business processes.  We need software supported functions that make it easier for our employees to carry out their job responsibilities.
  • It takes too much time to complete business transactions.
  • It costs us too much (labor and time) to get our products out the door.
  • It is very time consuming to input job related information which makes it that much more difficult to track costs, manage jobs and bill customers.
  • The only thing we have to manage AR collections is an Aging Report with the result that it costs too much to collect overdue invoices and our Average Days Late is excessive.

Summary

As firms grow their accounting, business transactional management and business intelligence (reporting) requirements tend to exceed the capabilities of their current accounting software system.  In some cases these deficits are either ignored or supplemented via product modifications.  That may be sufficient in the short term, but at some point these deficiencies will affect a firm’s ability to compete effectively or operate efficiently.  Rather than waiting until something has to be done quickly (which always leads to a poor decision), anticipate the need for change.  Never let your accounting software system deteriorate to the point where you are forced to take immediate steps to correct long standing issues.  Adopt a proactive approach that gives you the time to examine all aspects of your business and therefore combines business strategy, business process improvement, employee excellence and software excellence into a single, more powerful business management system that will carry you forward into a more effective and efficient future.

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Sage Inventory Advisor ordering constraints

By BAASS Consultant | Nov 1, 2013 12:00:00 AM
From time to time our suppliers can impose certain constraints on us when we order inventory from them, such as monetary values, container sizes, weights & quantities.
 

Lets take a look at the two most basic ordering constraints: Minimum order quantities (MOQ) and Order multiples (Mult).

Minimum Order Quantities

MOQ is when our supplier says something like "you cannot order less than 2,500 of this product at a time." If this number is a significant fraction of the forecast, we may be forced to order more inventory than what we need.

Look at the example to the above: In this example our Order up to is 3,961, and our Net stock position is only on 1,775. Ideally we would like to order 2,186 to get to our Order up to level, but this supplier has a Minimum order quantity constraint of 2,500. Sage Inventory Advisor takes this into account, and Recommends we order the minimum of 2,500.

And you can also see that we are ordering 109 days worth of inventory, instead of the 86 days we wanted.

Order Multiples

Order multiples is when our supplier says something like "when you place an order, it has to be in multiples of 500." This can affect us either way, as Sage Inventory Advisor always tries to round to nearest multiple.

Looking at the example on the left, the Ideal order is 6,647. The MOQ is 5,000, so that doesn't affect us, but we have an Order Multiple of 500. In this case Sage Inventory Advisor rounds the ideal order down to 6,500. This means that we may have to reorder a little sooner than what we anticipated.

There are only two cases in which Sage Inventory Advisor will force the order to round up to the higher Multiple:

  • When ordering for a non-stocked item. Sage Inventory Advisor will keep adding one more order multiple, until all firm demand gets covered
  • When we have set a Minimum stock level for an item, Sage Inventory Advisor will do the same, to ensure the stock on hand will be at least equal to the specified level.
When we place orders on our supplier, Sage Inventory Advisor will show the  Ideal order ,  MOQ  and  Order multiple  for every item that has ordering constraints.This allows us to easily see what impact the ordering constraints have on the order. In the example to the right, we may elect not to place the order, because we only need 8, but have to order at least 200.
 
 
 
 

In conclusion, these two very simple ordering constraints can significantly affect your inventory levels, and also complicate your ordering process. Luckily Sage inventory advisor takes these constraints into account when recommending an order. At the same time Sage inventory advisor will show you where the differences are, so that you can make an informed ordering decision. 

If you are already using Sage Inventory Advisor and want to get the most out of it, then please give us a call here at the office. We can help to answer any questions you might have. 

Contact us!

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Can I Integrate My Credit Card Processing with my Accounting Software?

By BAASS Author | Jan 18, 2013 12:00:00 AM
 

Is it too difficult or expensive to have a Credit Card processing system integrated with my accounting software? Studies show that more and more purchases are being made with credit cards each year, and vendors accepting credit card increase their sales by 15 to 50 percent.

Sage 300 ERP customers can take full advantage of this opportunity with the ease and efficiency offered by fully integrated credit payment processing.

Whether your customers place orders over the phones, through mail order, or through a web page, Credit Card Processing provides a complete solution.

Data can be entered through the Sales Order and Accounts Receivable modules. Sage Credit Card Processing adds functionality in key areas of Sage 300 ERP, including Sales Order Entry, Payment Entry, Invoice Entry, Invoice Processing, Cash Receipts, Down Payments, Customer Returns and Customer Maintenance.

Here is a sample Order Entry screen with pre-authorization


So, contact us today and find the answer to the above question.

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Blast Away Ineffectiveness l Valuable Tools for Mining Software

By BAASS Consultant | May 11, 2012 12:00:00 AM

Strike a rich vein of opportunity with these tools for Sage 300 ERP (Formerly Accpac) & increase effectiveness in your mining company.

Yesterday we held a seminar for our clients in the mining industry to show them how to achieve the maximum value from their Sage ERP system.

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How to Create One Report from Two Independent Systems

By BAASS Consultant | Dec 12, 2011 12:00:00 AM
 
 I recently met with the President of BAASS to determine the best way to get data from our Sage ERP 300 (formerly Accpac) and Sage CRM.  Sage 300 and CRM are two independent, but synchronized systems.  All customers, vendors and their respective contact details are updated live between each.  It’s an out-of-the-box solution provided by Sage.  The limitation that we were up against was that the customization nature of CRM was leaving Sage 300 behind.  


In CRM we keep many additional details about our customers in addition to the standard details that you might find in any typical ERP.  CRM is designed to be able to handle these extra details by allowing us to add extra fields to a company’s details.  In this case, SIC codes.  In Sage 300, there is no place for a SIC code without creating an optional field.  Optional fields are a powerful addition to Sage 300 that allows for the creation of custom containers of information, like a SIC code.  Although Sage 300 and CRM are synchronized, you can’t expect two independent systems to be able to automatically keep up with structural changes made by the end user.

When the conversation started, we were talking about how are we going to get this piece of information reliably from CRM to Sage 300.  So I proposed a little piece of custom software that would check for changes in each and make the same change to the other, a common approach to address this type of functionality gap.  It’s not a difficult thing to create, but like anything else, it was going to take a bit of time. However, I then asked the magic question which should have been asked at the beginning...

“Why do you want to do this?”

To which he responded; “I want to be able to get a sales report that groups by SIC code”

SIC codes are in CRM and sales numbers are in Sage 300.  It seems logical that if you want to report on two pieces of data, to put one where the other is.  In this case, put the CRM data in Sage 300.

But wait! There is an easier solution! Just because data exists in two different places, does not mean we can’t combine them into one report. Using any number of techniques, we can create a single report that would give all the required results in far less time than creating a tool that moves data around.  Solutions like Sage 300 Intelligence are designed exactly for this purpose.

If you have Sage 300 5.6 or 6.0, you already own Sage 300 Intelligence and that is a great starting point.  If you have multiple sets of data that you would like to combine, let's see what we can do for you.

Contact us for more info and subscribe for more Sage 300 Tips & Tricks.

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