Six signs you’ve outgrown your accounting software

by Blogadmin 17. March 2015 15:46

Is your business growing and putting more demands on your IT system? If so have a read of our tell-tale signs that your accounting software is no longer fit for purpose and may need upgrading.

    1. Increased manual activities
Are your employees resorting to manual activities such as entering data twice in order to fulfill your business needs?

If the answer is yes, you may benefit from investing in a new solution that is more aligned with the size of your business and has the ability to provide more efficient data entry will stop time wasting on duplicating procedures. 

2.    Reporting challenges
Are you wasting time trying to find data, rather than analysing it?

As your business grows, you need the ability to see and analyse accurate data quickly and easily. Upgrading your software could help by streamlining and automating reporting processes, ensuring you can clearly and easily identify the lucrative and unprofitable parts of your business.

3.    There isn’t an app for that
Can employees access your accounting software whilst out of the office?

Whether it’s giving sales the ability to check a customer’s balance or availability of stock, or giving managers the chance to access tailored management reports, a mobile app will allow employees to work more efficiently wherever they are.

4.    Lack of data integration
Is your data stored in a range of locations?
If you answered yes, then you are currently hindering your ability to collect, analyse and report on important financial information in a timely manner. A system that stores data in a single location  will  increase productivity and efficiency, leading to more opportunities throughout your business.

5.    Performance issues
Are you having to sacrifice transaction history or other records because your data volume is increasing?

If you’re exceeding the limits of your current solution then you need to consider new software that will eliminate the risk of  having inadequate historic records. It will also stop employees wasting time on tasks such as moving data to make room for new.

6.    Insufficient control
Are you creating workarounds to join up processes and fill in the gaps?

If you are creating workarounds then life is harder than it needs to be. A seemingly small change in how your accounting software operates can have a big impact for you and your colleagues, placing you firmly in control of your organisation.

Choosing to invest in new software is a commitment of both money and time and the thought of dedicating more resource to a new project can be overwhelming. But consider the impact of not taking action – how much is time wasting and lack of analysis costing your teams and hindering further business growth?

For more information on how Exchequer can help growing businesses, check out our on-demand webinar.


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Accounting Software

Timeline to getting paid [infographic]

by Blogadmin 30. January 2015 11:37

Late payment can be frustrating and costly for any business with poor cash flow being the single biggest reason that businesses cease trading.

Although it can seem daunting at first, implementing a simple credit control process needn’t be complicated – check out our infographic for seven steps to making sure you get paid every time!

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Accounting Software | Infographic

Top 10 tips to avoid payment delays

by Paul Sparkes 23. January 2015 09:30
It’s not breaking news that managing a healthy cashflow is an absolute necessity for any business to succeed and grow.
At Exchequer we are frequently talking to businesses who are persistently frustrated (and paying the price!) of having late paying customers. Just imagine what could be achieved if customers paid on time and cash flowed freely within your business.
Having an efficient and effective credit control procedure in place to protect your business is vital. So to help in your fight against late payment here are our top 10 tips to avoid payment delays:
1. Have a clear credit control strategy in place
Although it can seem a little daunting at first, implementing a simple credit control process needn’t be complicated and can ensure you get paid every time. Start by clearly setting out a day-by-day strategy your accounts team can adopt. Take a look at our 'Timeline to getting paid' infographic which shows how a structured approach could help reduce the threat of late payment.
2. Know your customers
With 60% of SME’s having to overcome the challenges posed by late payments, it’s becoming increasingly important to run credit checks on all new customers before offering credit terms. Simple credit checks can be run online in a matter of minutes and could save you valuable time and money in the future. 
This tip shouldn’t be isolated to new customers, it should be an ongoing process to monitor credit scores as even the most reliable payers can have a change in circumstances.
3. Agree clear payment terms
Make sure your payment terms are clear and consistent, and be upfront with your customers about any late payment charges to save disputes further down the line. Think about including your payment terms on your statements, invoices and in your T&Cs of business.
4. Invoice quickly and accurately
Make sure you send your invoices on time. This sounds simple enough, but many businesses fail to do this. Equally as important is making sure that the invoice is addressed to the right person, and that the information it contains is 100% accurate. Any holdup or mistake can just delay payment coming in. Speed the process up even further by emailing the invoice rather than sending it through the post. 
5. Make it easy for people to pay
Everyone prefers a simple and straightforward process, so ensure that customer payments can be made easily, and preferably online or by Direct Debit. Where possible avoid the use of cheques given the delay in processing.
6. Build positive relationships
A friendly and positive relationship with your customer can have several advantages. Not only will it encourage them to purchase more from your business, it will also improve your chances of getting paid on time.
Consider making a courtesy call or sending an email a few days before the payment is due to ensure the invoice has been received and there is no query. This is good customer service and will remind the customer of their outstanding invoice with actually chasing the debt.
Also, why not thank all your customers that pay on time?! Not only does it show you’re grateful for their punctuality, it is good for customer relations and can lead to repeat business.
7. Start chasing payment immediately 
The early bird catches the worm! Don’t delay in chasing late payment from the day after it was due. It’s better to start as you mean to go on and the longer you leave it before you make contact, the further down the queue your invoice will get. Consider having set dates when debtors are chased by telephone, email and in writing.
8. Be flexible
Businesses can ensure good cashflow by offering flexible payment packages or terms to their regular customers. On large, outstanding amounts this could mean regular installments or simply splitting the bill into two manageable amounts and in some circumstances it may be your best chance of getting payment.
By providing these packages both you and your customers can both plan ahead, with the ability to confidently predict cashflow.
9. Use technology to help
Automating manual processes could help you to take a pre-emptive approach to payment delays, protect cashflow and save time. Exchequer’s Credit Pursuit solution manages all aged debtor information within a single system and has proven results. One of our customers saved two working days a month and reduced outstanding debt by £200K, all in the first three months of implementation.
Calculate your debtor days and see how you could take control of your cashflow with our online calculator at
10. Don’t let the problem escalate
If you haven’t received payment, stop supplying the customer immediately. Make them aware of your decision and inform them that they will no longer be supplied until all outstanding invoices have been settled. If the customer needs your product or service in order to run their own business this should provide enough leverage to ensure prompt payment. 
Compiling a stop list can help you identify persistently late payers, and you could consider asking repeat offenders for a deposit or payment in full when they are placing future orders.
For more information on credit control and to see Exchequer in action, sign up to our upcoming webinar '3 tips to transform your credit control' on 26th February 2015.

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Accounting Software | Infographic

CFO appetite for risk at a seven year high one month on from Scottish referendum

by Greg Ford 13. October 2014 10:12

Nearly a month on from the Scottish independence referendum and the “will they/won’t they” hype has died down but what impact has the result had on UK business? 

While Scotland’s independence is no longer front page news, a recent report from Deloitte reveals that political risk and its outcome on business confidence is having little bearing on holding back growth. 

According to Deloitte’s latest research, which surveyed 118 Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) last month (September, 2014), perceptions of economic and financial uncertainty increased in the third quarter for the first time in two years. With many unanswered questions surrounding the campaign - currency, tax, regulations, oil - to name a few, it’s no surprise that the prospect of an independent Scotland is thought to have played a dominant role in this change.  

While Deloitte’s research points out that political developments can create uncertainty for businesses, its overriding message focuses on growth. Expansion is high on the agenda for many CFOs with risk appetite reaching a seven-year high. Furthermore, 35% of CFOs surveyed rated the introduction of new products or expanding into new markets a strong priority and 19% are looking to increase capital expenditure. 

Regardless of your current size, the prospect of growth can bring with it many challenges. The ability to remain agile with quick and easy access to real-time information provides a firm foundation for decision making and business success.


We’re working with many growing businesses and organisations to streamline processes, save time and reduce costs. If you are growing or are looking to do so, visit our resource centre for more information.    

You can download the full Deloitte report here.  


How charities can improve efficiency and cut costs by embracing BYOD

by Greg Ford 11. September 2014 14:58

Charities and not-for-profit organisations have been eager to embrace the potential of mobile technology and those that have are well placed to capitalise on the benefits.

A report published in November 2013 by mobile network company Three found that donations through websites, social media and apps now account for £26 in every £100 donated in the UK, with an annual figure of £2.4 billion now being donated online and by mobile.

As advances in mobile technologies accelerate, charities face the challenge of how to exploit new ways of working while continuing to wrestle with limited budgets. This quandary has prompted a growing number of charitable organisations to consider adopting Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) schemes.

BYOD schemes allow employees and volunteers to use their own mobile devices (laptops, tables, smartphones etc) for work purposes and offer improved flexibility and productivity. For charities in particular, the appeal of BYOD is obvious.

Dwindling budgets mean that many organisations have insufficient funds to invest in updating IT hardware and corporate mobile plans. This comes at a time when charities are facing greater demands from staff to use smartphones and tablets to do their job by accommodating flexible working. With more employees and volunteers showing a willingness to use their own personal devices for work purposes BYOD has become a tempting proposition.

Mobile technology significantly increases productivity for field workers as staff can record information ‘on the move’ during visits and deal with queries as they arise. Essential transactional information, such as expenses and time spent on projects, can be entered and authorised remotely using a mobile device. This eliminates the need to return to the office and trawl through mountains of paperwork.

The rise of mobile is also enabling charities to better engage with stakeholders, supporters and younger audiences to boost responses from their fundraising campaigns to drive donations. Trustees are also using mobile devices to gain easier access to financial information and can drill down to the detail in order to offer meaningful advice on the allocation of scarce resources. 

To meet this soaring demand Exchequer is continually developing mobile applications to provide organisations with remote access to key information via the Exchequer finance system using smartphones.

While allowing staff and volunteers to use their own devices may provide significant cost savings, it is essential that charities create a consistent and coherent BYOD strategy to prevent data security breaches and the inevitable loss of supporter trust.

By doing so organisations can mitigate the threat of security vulnerabilities and empower employees and volunteers to use mobile technologies to help generate vital funds, without placing donor relationships at risk

To access the white paper “Why every charity and not-for-profit needs a BYOD strategy”, click here.

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Accounting Software

Outlook for 2014 - Thriving in uncertain times

by Greg Ford 20. February 2014 11:54

Even just a few years ago many business owners were contemplating their future with a weary sigh; there were fears about double dips and consumers hoarding their cash, unwilling to spend.

But the good news is we seem to be over the worst - Britain’s economy grew last year at its fastest rate since the financial crisis. Data from the Office for National Statistics showed that most major sectors of Britain’s economy expanded in the final three months of 2013, concluding its best showing since 2007.

The economy grew 0.7 percent quarter-on-quarter from October through December. Growth for the full year rose to 1.9 percent, which bodes well for the coming 12 months.

A word of caution, however: while confidence has increased, this hasn’t translated into increased investment in business.
Despite positive predictions, UK organisations are far from certain about their future. According to the Baker Tilly annual SME Distress Monitor, 96% of business owners said they were happy achieving their current level of success, 74% expect their workforce to stay the same, and only 23% plan to increase their sales and marketing spend. A large majority, 84%, are not willing to take on any more debt in 2014.

In short, it looks like businesses are holding steady and seeing where this positive momentum gets them before they make any capital commitments.
MDs that wish to make sure that their organisation remains resilient to the uncertainty surrounding the direction that the economy may take, need to ensure that their processes are structured and every operational parameter is managed, monitored, controlled, measured, reported and benchmarked to achieve optimum operational productivity and profitability.

In 2014 now, more than ever, secure, strong and resilient management is critical and instant access to key performance indicators (KPIs) and the status of the business operation is key to thriving.

Why not download the whitepaper in full ‘Thriving in uncertain times – 7 top tips for 2014’


Original article


Accounting Software | News | Topical

Former Sage man takes over at Exchequer

by Lucy Sofiano 20. November 2013 13:19

If you ever needed proof that accounting software was a small world, look no further than the arrival of Greg Ford as the new managing director at Exchequer at the beginning of this month.

For most of the past two years, Ford has been Managing Director at V1, the document management wing of Advanced Computer Software Group that has been converted to a multi-purpose business process and learning support organisation under his guidance.

Before that, Ford was managing director at both Sage’s accountants’ and mid-market divisons - the latter for more than a decade - so the return to mainstream accounting has been something of a homecoming.

[more ...]

“When Advanced acquired CSH and Exchequer, I told [Advanced CEO] Vin [Murria] I was passionate about the accounting business and could make a difference. Fortunately the opportunity arose for me to replace Kay Mason,” Ford told AccountingWEB.

Exchequer is an “incredibly healthy” business with a strong, horizontal customer base with big user communities in distribution, manufacturing, not-for-profit and education sectors, he explained.

“Exchequer was always well regarded for innovation and agility in the marketplace - for example with the Exchequer 365 mobile platform,” Ford said. “My plan is to get back to the grass roots, to get closer to customers and identify emerging trends in a more agile fashion.  We’re supported by the Advanced Group, but are small enough to respond to people’s needs.”

Already Ford has gone out on “discovery tours” to meet more than 250 existing Exchequer customers. While many of them remain very loyal to the company, they also shared where they’d like to see improvement.

“People’s expectations these days are much, much higher. They don’t just want software installed, they want in place, on time, to plan and delivering benefits they invested in.”

This emphasis on customer care and feedback is a clear imprint from his days at Sage, where Ford earned his spurs fighting customer service firestorms and apologising for coding mishaps such as the recurring bank entry bug in Sage 50 Accounts 2010.

“I’m proud of my association with Sage,” said Ford of his former employer-turned-market rival. “But here we have the opportunity to be much more engaged with the customer. The larger you are, the more treacle you have to work through to deliver a great experience. Being smaller, but supported by a larger organisation means we can be more creative and more engaged.”

Ford does have some remedial work to do at Exchequer. He is right that as an independent developer Exchequer used to be one of the hidden gems on the UK accounting software scene, but market consolidation has not been kind to the company.

Exchequer was acquired by IRIS in 2005 as part of a major financial expansion plan led by CEO Martin Leuw. For a period our Software Satisfaction Survey results showed an improvement in product satisfaction ratings among Exchequer users, but this has been in decline since hitting a peak in 2009.

When presented with these figures, Ford commented that with Advanced’s backing, “We can improve by delivering a stronger customer experience around the solutions that we offer. We’re very, very strong on product - but people need to see the whole solution delivered as the client expects and needs.”


Article originally published on AccountingWEB 19th November, 2013


UK Manufacturing Data suggests recovery gaining momentum

by Greg Ford 21. May 2013 17:11

According to the the ONS Index of Production, UK manufacturing output surged by 1.1% in March, with the largest upward contributions coming from the manufacture of basic metals and metal products, up by 2.8%, and the manufacture of computer, electronic and optical products, up by 5.5%.

This month’s promising manufacturing output figures may have come as a surprise – it’s the first time in two years that we have seen a rise over two consecutive months. From a gloomy start, UK manufacturing data shows an improved outlook, which was a drag on output in the first quarter and could allow us to see GDP maintaining a more consistent and positive path over the coming months.

KPMG too has revealed that the manufacturing sector could be regaining traction, reporting that the UK is the top three most popular sourcing destination. According to its 4th annual Global Manufacturing Outlook report published in May, the top strategic priority for global manufacturing companies was reducing cost structure, ahead of sales growth, and increasing agility.

Despite the prolonged uncertainties for manufacturing, many companies are emerging from the downturn with significantly reduced cost structures, and improved systems enabling them to be far more responsive to customer requirements and market trends

These agile systems are no longer the preserve of large companies with generous IT budgets – in fact the reverse is true. Smaller companies have the flexibility to adapt their processes, and mid-market ERP systems now include advanced logic to maximise customer service levels and minimise costs. Sherwood Scientific is one such company expanding its export market and championing the UK as a destination for future profit growth.

The Cambridgeshire based development and manufacturing company manufactures and distributes a range of scientific instruments and apparatus worldwide. It utilises Exchequer’s financial software to handle stock control and workflow. The Works Order processing (WOP) enables Sherwood to syncronise various functions of the business; from picking components and transferring work in progress to receipt of finished goods back into the stores. This allows the team to manage the supply of products to their customers on time and within budget.

Sherwood Scientific’s products are sold worldwide and it supports its customers with one of the most extensive distributor networks in the industry. Accurate information and Key Performance Indicators are crucial to effective management in this environment. General Manager Nick Sugden says; “We have distributors across most countries and Exchequer allows us to look at their sales numbers on a wide variety of parameters. Sales can be determined by product, by unit numbers, by margin, by time period and by comparison to previous periods. Exchequer also permits the export of data into other products such as Microsoft Excel where further data processing and charting is possible.”

It is encouraging to know that global markets are increasing their focus on the UK for growth in sales, profit and sourcing. We should be celebrating the ‘Made in Britain’ marque; localisation of production would help lower Britain’s trade deficit as UK-made goods would replace imported ones

Robust and flexible business systems which meet the needs of the manufacturing and distribution industries will have an impact in all areas of operation. By achieving greater control of stock, and establishing a continuous and auditable workflow through the manufacturing process can only result in increased  visibility of performance and ultimately of the sales distribution network.

Over the next five years and in an age and industry where volatility has become a given, companies that possess these attributes and pursue these strategies will likely define the standard of success.

For more information on manufacturing management software, please click here.

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Accounting Software | Topical

Retail sales figures may have taken a dip but online is booming

by Greg Ford 9. May 2013 15:09

THE total value of UK retail sales in April was down 0.6% on the same month of 2012, in contrast to a 3.7% year-on-year rise in March, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC) publishing its figures this week.

It appears that retail sales figures have proved volatile in recent months with bad weather to blame for the weak figures and high petrol prices deterring motorists from filling up their tanks.

It’s not all doom and gloom though – According to the BRC, snow and the prolonged cold were not ideal but not a disaster. They brought mixed fortunes for different categories. Food sales rose by 0.9%, boosted by a continued appetite for hearty meals and wintry fare such as roasts and chocolate. But demand was cool for new season clothing and footwear lines, resulting in a decline for both categories.

Internet sales during the month have seen a boost too, rising by 8.3% with online sales of non-food goods picking up.

So in spite of the squeeze, how are the retailers getting it right doing so in a recession?

When Exchequer customers and  internet entrepreneurs Holly Tucker and Sophie Cornish launched in 2006, they not only have become one of the most high-profile e-commerce business in Britain, revolutionising the way we shop but have helped SMEs to thrive in a downturn.

After launching, the founders learnt quickly that keeping an eye on the bottom line was key - from implementing their business model and legal requirements to selecting an efficient accounting software solution, taking business growth from £100,000 turnover in the first year to £100m at the end of last year.

The expectation is to grow by 100-percent this year and with their eye on Global dominance, the duo have introduced multi-currency functionality to their Exchequer system plus its first tv ad campaign along with a best-selling book.
As Tucker says in this month’s Director Magazine; "We didn't set out to break glass ceilings. We didn't set up to become a female-led entrepreneurial business with five of the best VC backers in the world, supporting the UK and changing the economy. That wasn't our mission, we don't want to be famous – we've got a job to do. We didn't realise the outcome of all that energy would be that we support 5,000 people now in the UK, not just through our business, but through the people our partners employ."

MDs face a challenging time ahead as the uncertainty of the state of the economy continues and there appears to be little respite from the challenging trading conditions. To thrive in these difficult times, Tucker and Cornish have embraced the tools available to them and taken advantage of the latest technologies to improve their business performance.  MD’s can learn a lot from the Notonthehighstreet model - through employing interactive ‘live’ dashboards to keep track of the status of the business, valuing and rewarding staff and keeping your pulse on not only your business but the wider economy will all assist in driving success and delivering results.

For advice on boosting your retail sales figures and thriving in difficult economy why not download our latest guide from Exchequer - 7 top tips for MDs to thrive? Click here to download.

To read this month’s Director Magazine article profiling’s success story in full click here.

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Accounting Software | Topical

Mobile working - Can your organisation perform 'on the move'?

by Paul Sparkes 6. March 2013 10:31

On-demand access to instant information is not a new trend; successful, dynamic and fast-paced organisations fuel their business with the power to access key information anywhere and at any time. This infographic explores the face of today's business landscape and what mobile working will mean to us in the future from checking our bank balances to accessing our mobile accounting software. 


For further information, download our latest Whitepaper - Mobile Working on the Move.

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Accounting Software | Mobile | Remote working

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