Why Your ERP Provider Should be Your Trusted Business Advisor

Well implemented ERP systems are the lifeline of successful businesses.  Their reach should be vast, the data should flow quickly and they should push insightful performance metrics to stakeholders in a timely manner.  Getting your ERP to meet these lofty objectives is a challenge that many businesses face.

When we think back on the many projects Joesoftware’s team has completed, we see common threads woven through the best projects and we seek to repeat these positive outcomes as often as possible.  One of these success threads is the relationship between our team and our customer.  As we analyzed the culture of our best projects, it became obvious that these were very complimentary relationships based on mutual respect, open, honest communication, a focus on achieving a unified goal and an awareness of the complimentary expertise each party brought to any discussion.  The result of this culture manifested itself in many ways and always ended with innovative solutions.

Unlike other vendors, your ERP partner should be one of the few companies welcomed into your inner circle of trust.  Similar to your board of directors, accountant or lawyer, they will be exposed to the most intricate details of your business ranging from your financial health to employee remuneration and business policies.  You will be openly sharing some of your secrets such as competitive advantages and internal weaknesses to mention a couple.  As the project advances, their knowledge of the nuances of your business will grow and their ability to match system functionality to business challenges will increase.  As your project evolves, the level of trust between the parties needs to be mindfully nurtured and is best accomplished when both parties see it as an intentional objective rather than an unexpected benefit.

Once the initial implementation is finished and trust is established, the best companies recognize and leverage this symbiotic relationship.  Business leaders realize they have gained access to highly specialized and experienced resources who have intricate knowledge of capabilities of their software systems that is complimented by operational and financial insight into their company.  Using these specialists selectively on teams provides a perspective unmatched by any internal resource at a fraction of the cost of adding similar skills as a full-time employee.  Decisions become more robust when they are considered by a team with diverse, complimentary expertise and your ERP partner is a simple addition.

This approach may seem obvious when considering options to change payables processes for increased efficiency; however, it is equally valid when discussing union negotiations to provide perspective on magnitude of complexity on each proposed contract change, to provide insight into team readiness/implications on prospective new business activities or to assist with infrastructure vendor selections.  As someone who has broad insight into your business, information systems and IT best practices, your ERP partner can provide unequaled value when you see them as one of your trusted business advisors.

Learning About Financial Performance From A Sculptor

What can a sculptor teach you about making net profit and cash flow?  A lot.

Think about how a sculptor does their work.  Obviously they start out with a block of stone.  But no matter how beautiful the stone may be, it does not mean the sculptor will end up with a pleasing statue.

The stone is nothing more than the raw material – the potential – for the sculptor to create the desired end result.

To create the statue they want, the sculptor uses a variety of tools to remove only what is necessary – things that don’t contribute to the end result they want.

And that’s where you can learn from the sculptor.  Because you are a sculptor too – a sculptor of net profit and cash flow.

In your case, your raw material for sculpting net profit and cash flow is your revenue.  This is your starting point.

Like the sculptor, your raw material does not guarantee a pleasing end result.  In your case, simply having revenue is no guarantee that you will end up with financial performance that you will be pleased with.

By taking three lessons from our sculptor friend, however, you can give yourself much better control over how you transform your block of revenue into net profit and cash flow that you will be pleased with.

 

Lesson 1

Start with a clear vision of what the end result should look like.  The sculptor knows in advance what they want their finished sculpture to look like – what it should do when it is complete.

In your business, you need to clearly define your target financial outcome – how much net profit and cash flow your business needs to create in order to meet your goals.

These goals should include defensive goals (making enough money to help you weather economic rough patches), offensive goals (making enough money to build a war chest to take advantage of opportunities that may arise), and hygiene goals (making enough money to allow you to execute on your current strategic plan).

It is the process of carefully defining your targeted financial outcome that allows you to deduce how big a block of revenue you need to start with.  You can decide if you need to get a bigger block, and how much, and where, you need to carve away to create the net profit and cash flow you want.

Avoiding this fundamental step is like the sculptor starting to chip away at the block of stone without a clear picture of the end result.  They could chip away with all the positive intentions, all the optimism, and all the energy they can muster, and STILL wouldn’t end up with the finished sculpture they really wanted.

 

Lesson 2

Get familiar with the necessary tools and be able to use them effectively.

Imagine our sculptor’s performance if they only knew how to use one tool – let’s say one a one-inch chisel.

They might have a crystal clear vision of their sculpture.  But having just that single tool available would result in a sculpture that would, at best, be an approximation of what they envisioned.  And producing that rough approximation would be so much more difficult, less fun, and require much more effort than it needed to.

In your business, the tools you need to be familiar with and be able to use properly are things such as pricing plans, profitability analysis, product margin analysis, customer profitability mapping, breakeven analysis, and scenario planning.

If you aren’t familiar with these tools, don’t worry.  You will be receiving training opportunities to learn about these tools in the near future.

 

Lesson 3

Control who has access to your studio.

The sculptor would NOT allow anyone to walk into their studio and randomly chip away at their sculpture.  If they allowed other people to randomly chip away at the sculpture, there would be no way they would end up with what they wanted.

All the vision, effort, and knowledge would be wasted because they would end up with a worthless lump of stone.

You need to control who is allowed to remove chunks of your “stone” (your revenue).

Don’t simply add expenses to your business on the assumption that “it will pay for itself.”   That’s like letting anyone into your studio to chip away at your sculpture.

Do some analysis and decide if removing that piece from your revenue is necessary to accomplish your envisioned end result – the net profit and cash flow that aligns with your target financial outcomes.

So art and business do intersect.  You now have three lessons learned from a sculptor that you can start to apply in your business and create net profit and cash that aligns with your strategic financial targets.

 

About Steve Wilkinghoff

Steve is a leading global expert helping private companies, and their owners, managers, and teams find, unlock, and leverage hidden financial performance.

He is a bestselling author of two books – Found Money: Simple Strategies to Uncover the Hidden Profit and Cash Flow in Your Business, and Found Money Roadmap – The Small Business Owner’s Guide To Making More Profit, Cash Flow and Fun.

Using a combination of unique processes, tools, software and systems, developed by over 25 years of experience working with thousands of private companies around the world, Steve makes the guarantee that ANY business has hidden financial performance, profit, and cash flow just waiting to be unleashed for good into the world.

He delivers his consulting, training, and tools through the company he founded, BizDogGroup.com

 

Interested in learning more about how to better use Dynamics GP to help Sculpt your business.  Register now for Steve Wilkinghoff’s free webinar on July 26th, 2017.

 

Don’t Rely on Canada Post: Go Forward with Electronic Funds Transfers (EFT’s)

If your company is still relying on Canada Post to make and receive payments, you should be considering a better way to handle this, especially given Canada Post’s possible strike in 2 DAYS!

Enabling EFT’s to work with Dynamics GP requires some setup, but once it’s done you will have the benefits that will make reliance on Canada Post, a quickly fading memory.

Here are a few reasons to consider setting up EFT’s and minimizing cheque usage:

  1. Reduced clearing fees resulting in lower bank charges
  2. Improved accounting processes by posting directly into Dynamics GP
  3. Set up auto-remittances for a better customer/vendor experiences
  4. Reduced administrative handling and costs
  5. And reduced cost and reliance on Canada Post!

Don’t let the strike line red-line your business.  Contact us today so that we can help you get more from Dynamics GP through highly efficient EFT usage.

Penny V5.0 is coming soon….

Your friends at Joesoftware have done it again! Times are changing and so is your Penny self-service solution. After extensive input from our valued user base, Joesoftware has proven once more why we are a leader in innovative thinking. Penny is looking better than ever with new features from top to bottom, enhancing all the functionality you have come to know and love.

There will be more exciting news to come as we count down to our release in Spring 2016 so keep checking back for highlights of new features and enhancements including:

  • Improved workflow flexibility
  • Additional security levels
  • Redesigned leave requests

Penny extends your Microsoft Dynamics GP Canadian Payroll solution by providing employee self-service, allowing for ease of tacking, submitting and approving time. It reduces errors, improves efficiency, empowers your people and reinforces corporate policy.

Let Penny’s time saving capabilities benefit your organization in a way like no other! If you have any questions or want to inquire about the new features of Penny or any other product Joesoftware offers, feel free to reach out to the sales team at sales@joesoftware.com.

Replace Slow SmartLists and Access Reporting Faster Than Ever!

Here at Joesoftware, we only recommend solutions that we think provide great value to our customers’ business. With that in mind, one of the solutions we’d like to introduce you to is SmartView by eOne – the team behind SmartList Builder, Extender, and more. SmartView makes working with SmartList the easiest thing your users will do.

Top 5 Reasons to Use SmartView:

  1. You use SmartList all day, every day. – SmartView provides you with the ability to see your lists in fractions of a second.
  2. You need an easy way for your users to work with the data. – You can now add and remove the columns that you want to see on your list, drag and drop your column headers to rearrange your column order and group and subgroup, see your totals to screen, export or copy and paste to Excel in seconds and much more.
  3. You need more filters! – Don’t just stop at 4 filters, SmartView allows you to add as many filters as you need to your SmartList.
  4. You currently use SmartList Builder. – If you have created the lists you need, pulling the data from the places you need it – then view it in SmartView. SmartList Builder and SmartView are complementary products that work best together.
  5. You have users in GP for the sole purpose of seeing a SmartList. – Cut out the expensive user licenses and give those users access to SmartView through the desktop application.

Sound like something you want to use? It is the perfect time to explore your options as eOne is hosting an introductory session for all Joesoftware clients on Wednesday February 10th at 10:30 a.m. Mountain time.

If are interested in learning more about the product and a limited time promotion, please contact Sheila Read today to register!