Friday, 19 December 2014

Avoid Forgotten Payments With Electronic Quotes and Invoices

Accounts Receivable is money that your business is owed, but does not yet have. According to The Telegraph, the average company is waiting 30 days longer for payments than was agreed under contracts. How widespread is this problem? According to Rocket Lawyers survey of 937 small businesses, the number of companies who have trouble collecting payments from customers is one in four. These cash flow delays can pose a serious risk to small businesses.

While there are cases where a client will intentionally put off paying an invoice, as a business you want to eliminate as much friction to cash flow as possibleyou do not want there to be an excuse. Maybe a late invoice was misplaced by the client and forgotten. Maybe the payment was sent out, but has actually been lost in the mail. (A cliche, but sometimes dogs really do eat homework.) It is even possibleespecially if you are dealing with paper invoices and chequesthat the invoice was misplaced in your mailroom and did not get cashed by your accountant.

OfficeBooks is designed to make sales and invoicing as frictionless as possible for your business and clients:
       Frictionless quotes and invoices: OfficeBooks allows businesses to electronically send quotes before the work begins. As soon as the client signs off on the quote, an invoices arrives. With OfficeBooks, lost in the mail is no longer an excuse.
       Frictionless payment: OfficeBooks integration with Stripe means clients have the option to pay immediately through link in the invoice itself. Stripe does not even require the business to have a merchant account.
       Frictionless integration: With QuickBooks integration, your accountant can have access to every sale you make in OfficeBooks. OfficeBooks is even available through Intuits App Center. 

Small business advisors agree that e-invoicing is better than paper. Does your business still have trouble collecting money from customers?

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Five Reasons to Forget Paper Records

Did you know that British businesses print off 120 billion pieces of paper every year? Not only is over-printing paper records wasteful, it leads to other practical costs for businesses each year. If you are not already retiring paper records from your office, here are five reasons to make the switch.

1.     Paper records are not easy to organize. Have you ever tried to rearrange a filing cabinet at the snap of a finger? Paper records can only be retrieved through the system they were filed underif your staff remembered to file the records at all. This means that if your paper records were filed by name, you have to go through all of your records to see what was filed most recently, who your customer service team interacted with last, or by the largest accounts you deal with. OfficeBooks allows users to sort records by customer, due date, contact follow up, balance owed, and more at the press of a button.
2.     Paper records take up valuable office space. Not only are filing cabinets expensive, they take up expensive office space. According to The Cost of Managing Paper by KJ McCorry, if you are paying the average price of office space in the USbetween $15-20 per square footyour business is already spending $236-$314 per filing cabinet in space. OfficeBooks is a cloud service, which means we host the servers so you can get more done with a smaller office.
3.     Paper records are not secure. Offsite storage is smart because keeping one set of paper records is risky. In the event of a break-in, fire, flood, or anything an insurer would call an Act of God, the paper records you keep around the office are constantly at risk being lost or damaged. Could storage is offsite storage. If anything happens to your office, your records will be still be safe in the cloud.
4.     Paper records waste time. A paper by KMWorld suggests that 90% of time that knowledge workers spend in creating new reports or other products is spent recreating information that already exists. If an employee waste too much time looking for a record they are unable to find, they will waste even more time trying to duplicate the that information, even if it is information you already have. An effective record keeping system means your files are always on hand, easily searched and indexed, and do not require duplicating information that you should already have.
5.     Paper records can only be accessed in one place. If there is an emergency, and you are not at the office, you will not be able to look over your paper records first hand. Likewise, if an order comes in, paper records do not automatically send instant alerts to your manufacturing or inventory management team. With OfficeBooks, everyone on your team can access your businessrecords right when they need to. No mailing or faxing required.

Have you lost paper records recently? Feel free to share your story in the comments section.

Friday, 12 December 2014

Three reasons to get serious about procurement management

How does your business handle procurement management? There are businesses that stick with the same suppliers for years without shopping around, that do not take other factors from the business into account when managing purchase orders, and only ever order materials after their inventory runs dry. If that sounds like your business, here are three reasons to put more thought into procurement management.

1) Bad arrangements increase costs. 

When any business pays more than it needs to for materials and inventory, the extra cost will either hurt the company competitively or it will eat into profit margins. Either scenario will hurt your business in the long run. “70 percent of troubled projects results from commercial issues rather than technical issues,” according to a representative for the Global Contract Management Association, in an interview with Thomasnet. The first step of managing your procurement effectively is taking account of what your current procurement arrangements are and whether they meet the needs of your business. This requires organized bookkeeping and reports—not hundreds of loose invoices—to identify the volume and costs of your procurement. Once you have your requirements and current costs clearly laid out, your procurement manager will be in an informed position to either negotiate with your suppliers or shop around for more competitive arrangements.

2) Not all purchase orders are alike. 

An effective procurement manager’s job should not be limited to keeping your warehouses stocked. To earn their keep, procurement managers have to take into account a long list of factors that can save a business money and time. Factors that require attention from a procurement manager include shipments that have a high unit cost, an extended cost from purchasing in volume, significant lead time, and shipment rejection rates—these are just a few of the factors listed in Entrepreneur magazine’s guide to creating a formal purchasing program. A lack of planning can result in increased costs through inefficient purchase quantities, longer lead times, and lost sales.

3) Lead times have an impact on shortages. 

If your business is not on top of purchasing products which require significant lead time, you will be at a disadvantage when your business needs to meet time-sensitive goals. If you need to make a sale and your materials are on a barge in the middle of the ocean, your clients and customers will find another provider.

If you want to take procurement management seriously, you need give your team the tools they need to save your business money, time, and sales. Our OfficeBooks inventory management software was developed with procurement management in mind. In one cloud-based application, you can plan ahead by tracing the complete cycle of purchase orders, set minimum inventory triggers, send prompts to buy goods when sales orders exceed what is available in inventory, and save time with instant email notifications for your vendors. OfficeBooks is free to try for up to 5 users and 25 records. 

How have you changed the way your business handles purchase orders and procurement? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

3 Reasons Why Your Purchase Order System Should Be Integrated With Inventory Management

There are standalone apps available for managing purchase orders, inventory, and salesif you wanted to, you could even manage these tasks using paper spreadsheetsbut in business a siloed solution is rarely the best solution. We have collected the top three reasons why your purchase order system should be integrated with inventory and sales.

1.     Inventory should be collecting essential data needed to make purchasing decisions. In addition to unit cost, a purchasing manager needs to be aware of extended cost, lead time, and shipment rejection of each item to make intelligent decisions when evaluating the business supply chain. If you are unfamiliar with the terms, this means that to make purchasing decisions, a purchasing manger needs to be aware of how much of each item is used in manufacturing or shipped to customers, how long it takes for orders to arrive, and how many orders are rejected due to quality control issues. If you are not already collecting data from inventory, OfficeBooks collects purchase and inventory records through normal use.

2.     Delays in fulfilment cost customers. Depending on how suppliers handle shipments, if a purchasing manager reacts to an inventory shortage an hour late, it can put off order fulfilment by an entire business day or longer. These delays can lead to penalty fees and decrease customer retention. Because OfficeBooks integrates purchasing, inventory, and sales, you will be sent an alert the instant a sale results in an inventory shortage, which means you can place orders sooner.

3.     Automation saves time. The only response faster than an instant alert is automation. With OfficeBooks, purchasing managers can set minimum inventory amounts which trigger purchase orders. This level of automation relies on knowing that an order has been accepted in sales, that the order surpasses available inventory, and then requires access to supplier contactsit would not be possible without a system that integrates sales, inventory, and purchase orders, let alone paper spreadsheets.

Have you ever dropped a supplier because of delays? Share your thoughts in the comments below.