What’s on your business hit list?

by Blogadmin 25. February 2016 11:11

At one of our recent events, we asked Advanced Exchequer customers to name their three key business focuses for the year ahead. There was a wide range of industries and types of organisations represented at the event but a surprising level of consensus when asked this question.

The top 5 included:

  1. Process improvements
  2. IT infrastructure 
  3. Staff development
  4. Profit and growth
  5. Reporting

Is improving processes on your hit list for the year? The detail behind those who answered process improvements varied from improving stock ordering, tightening credit control, firming up bill of materials or simply streamlining and automating day-to-day processes to save time. However they all drive towards the same theme of working smarter.

Continuing with the ‘working smarter’ theme, many other customers said that they will be focusing on their IT infrastructure to support changing business requirements. Embracing more digital processes could be a key change to supporting an increase in business growth.

The important thing to take away here is to make sure your key business management software solutions are in alliance with your key business focuses for the year, rather than having your software solutions holding you back and making you work harder rather than smarter. 

Advanced Exchequer continues to develop our software to support our customers’ key focuses, with the following major new releases:
  • Order payments - a seamless extension of the traditional sales and purchase order cycle
  • Payment Portal (optional) - to automate credit card processing and simplify compliance with the Payment Card Industry (PCI)
  • Prompt Payment Discount - to control and process large volumes of payments while supporting compliance
  • More recently R1.1 Release includes new features such as VAT 100 filing feature, allowing returns to be submitted directly to HMRC.

Read the full article to find out what the rest of our customers will be focusing on in 2016.


Accounting Software | Topical

How to choose accounting software that’s right for your organisation

by Blogadmin 22. January 2016 09:11

It’s 2016, and a new year means a fresh start. What are your organisation’s 2016 goals? Perhaps it’s to improve management reports, gain better control of your financial processes, generate more accurate forecasting, improve risk management or simply speed up payment from customers? 

If it’s any of the above, have you considered how the right finance and accounting solution could help you achieve these objectives?

The good news is that today’s FDs have more choice than ever before, meaning that you can now benefit from a solution that is truly a great fit for your organisation’s needs. But in a jargon filled marketplace with so much to choose from, the selection process can seem challenging and unappealing. 

That’s why we’ve developed our 2016 Buyer’s Guide, designed to cut through the complexity and help you choose the right finance accounting software for you. So whether you’re looking at upgrading your software, or wanting to find out if a new solution could help you to achieve your business goals, download the guide from the link below for our view on: 

  • Six objectives that every FDs should focus on in 2016
  • The capabilities needed to accomplish these objectives
  • Eight key questions to ask solutions providers before purchasing software

Download the guide now

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Accounting Software

Boost productivity during the festive season

by Blogadmin 9. December 2015 17:17

Tis the season to be jolly, and you want to ensure your finance team can similarly enjoy it during which is still a very busy time of the year. 

Bad weather, traffic, family commitments and even excitement can all reduce productivity and slow a business down over the festive period. The good news is, with remote working in place this doesn’t have to be the case. Whether your employees are snowed in or attempting some last minute Christmas shopping, they can still stay connected to the business via their smartphone or tablet device and remain up to speed. 

Here are five top tips to enable finance workers to increase productivity throughout the season of goodwill by embracing mobile and remote working. 

  • Identify which employees in your team are able to work remotely.
  • Look at what equipment they need and how viable it is, i.e. those employees who already possess a work laptop, tablet or phone. Check whether your IT policy allows employees to work on personal devices? Or would it be more beneficial to exchange PCs with laptops to enable that flexibility of remote working not only during the festive season but throughout the whole year? 
  • Of those that are suitable and have the equipment to do so, what software do they need in order to maintain normal levels of productivity while working remotely? Are there mobile versions of your software solutions?
  • Embrace the mobile remote working culture – employees can still be as productive when out of the office and businesses can also benefit from cost savings by reducing their reliance on paper.  
  • Create a remote working advice sheet containing key information (emergency contact details, IT guidelines etc that may be needed by your remote workforce).

There are many helpful mobile and tablet applications financial professionals can benefit from, but few can offer the functionality and capabilities needed to perform vital operations remotely. This is why we developed eXchequer365. Customers can use this app on their mobile and tablets, and access the same key features and functionality of the desktop software.  

For more information on remote working and why your organisation should embrace it, download our quick guide: Six key business benefits of remote working

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Mobile | Remote working | Topical

When should you upgrade your finance and accounting software?

by Blogadmin 22. September 2015 09:18

Having the right finance and accounting software in place is essential for any business, especially if you’re ambitious for growth, organically or by acquisition. But we also know how easy it is to get into the habit of putting up with lacking features and software gripes. 

The challenge is knowing the right time to upgrade without causing unnecessary harm to your business. To help you decide when the right time is, we’ve created a quick guide that includes responses to the following eight questions.

  1. Is your system showing its age?
  2. Does your present system provide a holistic view of your business?
  3. Are you spending more time on gathering information than using it?
  4. Does your software empower users to access critical business information at any time from any location?
  5. Can the software support your growth?
  6. Does your system operate in real-time?
  7. Can the software support modern business practices?
  8. What’s the cost of doing nothing?

Find out if your software’s struggling to cope as your business grows by taking five minutes to read the full guide on ‘Is it time to upgrade?’

If you do decide it’s time to move on, we know choosing the right software to suit your organisation will require some extensive research. With this in mind this guide also includes some tips on how to define your wish-list and start the research process for its replacement. 

Download the full guide here.


Accounting Software

Could you face the prospect of scrutiny with confidence?

by Blogadmin 13. August 2015 14:00

Recent high-profile financial mismanagement and governance cases involving UK charities have shone the spotlight on accountability. Charities and not for profits not only have to do the right thing; but increasingly, they have to be seen to do the right thing.

It has not been a good few months for charities and it’s unlikely that the cases currently attracting negative media coverage on their governance will be isolated ones. 

Some commentators are warning that the fallout will mean that scrutiny can only get more probing as charities compete for a smaller pool of funding and donations. This added pressure is against an already challenging backdrop of rising expectations and demand, combined with lower government funding and increased costs.

The growing challenge of managing restricted funding
Worried by ‘horror stories’ in the press of inflated overheads and inappropriate use, donors and funding agencies are more likely than ever to specify exactly how they wish to see their money used and may check in future to see if their wishes have been respected.

All this means you need to be able to allocate funds received to the right project or fund, monitor costs against this fund, and be able to quickly provide evidence of sound administration if requested by donors, funders or the regulators.

Tight financial control and good governance require being able to track and report on fund allocation and expenditure. How easy would you find it to demonstrate correct fund allocation and show the full picture on expenditure across multiple projects? How do you assign staff, materials and other costs to specific events, projects and activities? 

As has become all too apparent in the past few weeks, there are serious consequences in getting it wrong. 

Misposts and mistakes
If you are still managing your finances with a simple accounting package, you are probably  heavily reliant on spreadsheets for entering the donation or funding, recording the specific fund it’s been allocated to and then tracking spend. 

It’s a risky, error-prone way of managing your finances: multiple manual data entry increases the likelihood of misposts and mistakes creeping in. The donation or funding and its usage can come adrift and it’s then a lot of work to reconcile the two.

Financial pressure is now the norm for most UK charities. You need to deploy limited resources wisely and be ‘watertight’ on showing how funding has been deployed. If your people have to spend valuable time on labour-intensive manual administration or need to devote too many hours to compiling reports, it is worth considering software that’s specifically developed for charitable and not-for-profit organisations.

With more automated and integrated accounting software, once a donation or funding is entered any changes to it or deductions from it are tracked and ripple through to all the areas where it appears. Internally, managers have a clear, up-to-the-minute understanding of their actual spend against budget, while external stakeholders can be provided with reports.

Don’t let the prospect of financial scrutiny keep you awake at night. Advanced Exchequer’s charity edition software has been developed with the specific needs of charities and not-for-profit organisations firmly in mind. Download our brochure to discover more or visit our on-demand webinars page to see the Exchequer solution in action.  

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Accounting Software | News | Topical

Ready, steady, grow!

by Blogadmin 13. August 2015 11:04

If your company is already established and you’re comfortably making a steady profit on the products and/or services you sell, then now is the time to start thinking about how to grow your business.

Many companies and organisations think of growth as purely increasing sales, but it’s also essential to think about not only achieving it but maintaining steady growth to continually improve on profitability.  With this in mind we’ve created a handy guide containing 20 tips to grow your business by looking at 4 areas, strategy, customer, staff and systems. 

Check out the full guide to find out how making some simple adjustments to your strategy, such as challenging the norm and diversifying your offering, can pay dividends to your business. There are many small changes revealed in this quick guide that could have a big impact on your growth, from simply looking at what makes up your most profitable customer, to building a high performance team or mobilising your workforce and automating processes.

Take 5 minutes to find out more and read our full guide on ‘Top tips for business growth.’ 


Accounting Software

Truly Mobile Technology

by Blogadmin 28. July 2015 10:15

A quick guide to eXchequer 365's key features
With more of us working on the move across different office locations and even countries, it’s common to see today’s professionals checking in with the office on trains, planes, buses – wherever there’s a connection for smartphones and tablets. This flexibility does potentially create its own problems as certain processes still require access to the business management system. 

In recognising this need, Advanced Business Solutions has developed eXchequer365 which is a mobile application that sits alongside the standard Exchequer platform. Designed with business continuity in mind the application can be used on both iOS and Android devices as well as through a Windows desktop app. 

The data the application receives from the central system is live as long as there’s connectivity, ensuring users have access to up to date information. The main processes it supports are procurement, allowing remote users to raise purchase requisitions which can then be authorised. Functionality also includes general enquiries – allowing access to customer and supplier records, as well as stock information to check availability. It can raise sales orders remotely, which is especially useful for businesses with sales representatives out on the road. Newly introduced in 2015, the solution can now send “push” notifications to alert users of action required. 

Figure 1. Exchequer 365 Home screen

Reducing invoicing costs 

According to the research and analysis group Gartner, the cost of processing an invoice in the UK averages between £4 and £25 and in some cases even up to £50, per individual invoice.
Results of IOMA's AP 2012 Department Benchmarks and Analysis report, indicates that in an environment with a low level of automation the average cost of processing an invoice can be up to 20 times the average cost of invoice processing in an environment with high levels of automation. With such dramatic success levels being achieved with invoicing automation solutions, businesses are increasingly recognising the benefits.

For organisations still relying on manual paper intensive systems, tracking the average costs associated with invoice processing can be problematic. Unsurprisingly, manual AP processes outweigh alternative methods in smaller to medium-sized companies where human and capital resources are limited. This results in higher processing costs in smaller companies.
eXchequer365 is able to help users automate their procurement processes, therefore  reducing costs.  The app can be used across tablets, smartphones and desktops offering a truly mobile solution that enables users to engage with Exchequer’s accounting software any time, any place. 

Purchase requisitions on the move 

Designed to be intuitive the mobile app can be used to raise a purchase requisition (PR) which can then be sent through a defined authorisation route depending on its value or what needs to be bought.  Each authoriser is notified of the pending transaction as it arrives whatever device they are using.  On approval of the PR, office based staff are able to raise the purchase order (PO) which can be sent as a PDF via email or in the post.

In-line with individual company processes or requirements, if the PO needs to be authorised before sending we can also do that by sending out to the relevant people once again. At some point the goods or services that have been ordered will arrive and we can match what is actually received against what was ordered and deal with any discrepancies. The system will automatically deal with the accruals for goods received and not invoiced and reverse these out at the appropriate time. At the point the Purchase Invoice (PI) arrives we can then reverse the process to authorise this getting paid. The invoice is entered on to the system either manually or via one of our document management systems.