Accounting Software: Menu-Driven vs Work-Flow

There are two major designs to accounting software- menu-driven and workflow-oriented.
Menu-driven: When the accounting software icon is clicked on the desktop and login credentials are provided, a menu screen pops up offering a choice of modules and sub-menu tasks from which to choose. The user may be required to click on a choice or input a number that relates to the list of options.
In this environment, the user learns to navigate back and forth between the modules on the main menu and intuitively decide which task on a sub-menu to choose. Example screens:

menu_vs_workflow2

This is pretty much the typical style that has been engaged for more than 40 years since the advent of scaled-down computer systems from the mainframe variety.

Workflow: has a different look. It will include some aspect of the menu-driven scheme but it will also use a more graphical, spatial design. There are graphical displays of tasks to be accomplished. Once a portion of the task is performed, the master work-flow graph shows a representational figure of the document partially processed, its current status and may offer hints as to what it takes to finish the task.

For example, AP purchases are entered. When one returns to the master graphic, there is a picture of documents sitting in the entry position with an arrow pointing to a location on the graph that will identify the next point required to finish the task. This may be a station that is labeled Open Invoice or Posted Invoices.

In the menu-driven model,  the user will need to go to the menu task labeled POST PURCHASES. In the work-flow model, [SEE BELOW] the user may just need to drag the icon representing the entered purchases to the Post Purchases station and click a pop-up that double checks whether the user is ready to do the task.

menu_vs_workflow

For some, the work-flow model may seem easier. There may also need to be several conditional flags set so that when the simple drag and drop functionality is used, the correct underlying actions take place. In the menu-driven scheme, most likely all the underlying actions will be presented as a checklist of acceptance before the final OK is clicked.

Visit www.lteren.com to learn more how we can help you navigate your business computer application needs.

Or give us a call at (773)502-5771 to get you on the right track.

What Makes a Good Project Manager?

What Makes a Good Project Manager is truthfully a loaded question. It obviously depends on what the project is about. For the sake of this discussion, I’ll focus on procuring accounting software. This is something I know too well having been a consultant supporting accounting systems for more than thirty years.

Some people think that a project manager should be a facilitator. That’s the lazy man’s way of saying the person is good at holding hands, tracking the status of project phases and goal accomplishments. To me, it’s meaningless unless the person has a good understanding of the purpose and implementation of accounting systems. Otherwise, he or she is faking it. The person deficient in the technological knowledge is just causing the company to waste time and money. They are doing their own discovery and education while someone else is paying for it. If the company does not mind because they appreciate the organizational skills the project manager brings, then I guess that’s their right.

What about the other side of the coin- the person who is very technologically proficient but fakes the organizational effort to get through the muddy waters? Again- if he or she brings a superior knowledge of the company’s needs and can help make the right decisions, then probably the organizational skills can be overlooked.

Click back to our website to request to download our twelve point pdf on things a good project manager should do.

Or give us a call at (773)502-5771 to get you on the right track.

Health Care Act Reporting

Does your in-house payroll software make provisions for ACA reporting?

The Federal Government is now requiring businesses to report on the status of their employees having health insurance. This is especially important for ‘C’ class businesses that employ 250 or more workers.

Form 1094-C  (Transmittal of Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage Information) identifies on a month-by-month basis how many employees accepted coverage, how many declined, etc.

There are other aspects of reporting by Human Resources that relate to compliance. We can help you navigate these issues.

You are looking for someone who understands your business and will help you navigate your needs. It’s your money and business on the line. Give us a call at (773)502-5771 to get you on the right track.

click here to return to home page

Multi-user Software Tool

Multi-user accounting software should provide designated task managers with a tool to see:

  1. Who is using the system
  2. Which files are open

There are obvious reasons for this especially when a process is unable to be performed.  Accounting software written using the bbj programming language facilitates this tool using the Enterprise Manager.  Below are two examples of identifying which users are currently on the system and which files are in use.

emterprise_manager_1    A

(click on pics to get clearer view)

emterprise_manager_2    B

Screenshot A shows the list of users when the BBJ PROCESSES option is highlighted.

Screenshot B shows the list of files open and the BBJ Users who have them open.   Both tasks have an option that allows the Enterprise Manager user to delete or kill the BBJ user process highlighted as well as individual instances of open files.

You are looking for someone who understands your business and will help you navigate your needs. It’s your money and business on the line. Give us a call at (773)502-5771 to get you on the right track.

click here to return to home page

Executive Summary Information

A good accounting system should provide for the executives of a business easy-to-digest snapshots of the business. They may be the cash-flow for the day, top 10 customers, top 10 items, among others. See these example snapshots below:

top_10_customers

 

top_10_items

 

daily_stats

 

ar_analysis

You are looking for someone who understands your business and will help you navigate your needs. It’s your money and business on the line. Give us a call at (773)502-5771 to get you on the right track.

click here to return to home page

Graphics and Charts

Users of modern accounting systems now expect to see graphical charts embedded in the system. Below is an example of  twelve month sales versus profit for a customer shown in columnar digital format as well as with a line chart. For number crunchers, the columnar look satisfies, but for those who need to see things visually, the graph adds that dimension.

graph_1

 

This next graph shows a selected customer’s year-to-year sales:

graph_2

 

You are looking for someone who understands your business and will help you navigate your needs. It’s your money and business on the line. Give us a call at (773)502-5771 to get you on the right track.

click here to return to home page

Drill Downs

Accounting software is no longer text laden and dull looking. With high speed processing, gigabyte measured RAM  and terabyte filled storage capacity, accounting software is presented in slicker fashion. One expects to see spreadsheet features and graphs built into reporting. In this post, we concentrate on drill downs.

One product generates an A/R aging report as a print preview in summary format. In the example below, note that the customer id is colored in blue and underlined to offset it against other pieces of data on the row.

drill_1
When you click the customer id, it  brings up a separate print preview that drills down and shows the supporting
detail (as shown below)

drill_2

This allows the report user to first review the information in summary format eliminating the need to weed through several pages and only then bring up the extra detail on demand.

 

Another facet of drill down is to look at a summary transaction such as in general ledger and click it to drill down to the sub-journal source detail. Take a look at this GL transaction screen:

drill_3

Note that on the fifth row, the figure of -3500.00 is in blue. This indicates it is eligible for detail scrutiny. To do so, one double clicks the field, and a second screen pops up showing the supporting detail (as shown here):

drill_4

In the above example, the summary line indicates cash is withdrawn from the bank due to A/P check writing. The supporting detail indicates the check info.

You are looking for someone who understands your business and will help you navigate your needs. It’s your money and business on the line. Give us a call at (773)502-5771 to get you on the right track.

click here to return to home page

Lotted vs Serialized Inventory

An accounting system should accommodate both lotted and
serialized inventory control. Serialized inventory is used most
often when tracking small quantity big ticket items. Examples
are: automobiles, boats, jewelry, etc.

Each item is assigned a unique serial number. It is important than the order maintenance process be able to track the serial number and save it to sales history for possible recall once it is invoiced.

Lotted inventory is more often used where government mandates
the keeping of records of the lot number of the product. This is
especially important when selling food and other perishable items
such as chemicals. It is common to track the expiration dates on
lotted inventory.  There may be several individual pieces of the same inventory number assigned a common lot number.

Some businesses use lot numbers to identify inventory held in
stock for specific customers. This is in an environment where the
customer expects the supplier to warehouse their inventory
until it is needed.

You are looking for someone who understands your business and will help you navigate your needs. It’s your money and business on the line. Give us a call at (773)502-5771 to get you on the right track.

click here to return to home page

Prox Terms

It is not unusual for a business to assign Prox Terms for customers. This is the fancy way of saying that you are counting the number of days due from the beginning of the next month instead of from the invoice date.

Examples:

Net 30 Prox on an invoice generated on July 6 is due August 30. If you give the customer Net 30 Regular, then it is due August 5 as there are 31 days in July.

Net 10 Prox means that you are giving the customer 10 days
from the start of the next month. If you invoice the customer on June 30 with a Net 10 Prox, it is due as soon as July 10.

You are looking for someone who understands your business and will help you navigate your needs. It’s your money and business on the line. Give us a call at (773)502-5771 to get you on the right track.

click here to return to home page

 

Affordable Care Act and Payroll

insurance_policy

Due to recent actions by the Federal Government, human resources departments must now also track compliance at both the employee and company level with the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The Payroll module in accounting software facilitates periodic payments to employees, keep track of withholding obligations and taxes and prepare W2s. A side benefit is that hours entered
into an employee’s time ticket may also be able to update a job cost database or vice versa. In effect, killing two birds with one stone.

There is also the human resources side of employee relations. This portion of the database keeps track of incidentals about an employee as well as tracking pay raises, anniversaries, sick and vacation time, etc.
ACA tracking issues are:

1) Is the employee considered eligible for a low-cost health insurance policy?
2) Does the employee have his or her insurance through the company or through a partner’s or spouse’s policy?
3) Has the employee rejected owning insurance and is willing to pay the penalty?
4) Is the company at risk for paying penalties for non-compliance?

Most payroll or even human resource modules in accounting systems do not currently address these issues.  The Federal Government may eventually make it mandatory for businesses to generate specially designed forms and submit quarterly or annually just as they do 941s and W-3s. When this comes to a head, expect that accounting systems will provide this as standard feature. Until then, expect to maintain customized, ancillary data in order to tabulate the required reports.

You are looking for someone who understands your business and will help you navigate your needs. It’s your money and business on the line. Give us a call at (773)502-5771 to get you on the right track.

click here to return to home page