Monday, November 28, 2011

Business Accounting Software is for Everyone

A recent study by the U.S. Bureau of the Census , Business Success: Factors Leading to Surviving and Closing Successfully by Brian Headd, Center for Economic Studies, found that:

"Major factors in a firm's remaining open include an ample supply of capital, the fact that a firm is large enough to have employees, the owner's education level, and the owner's reason for starting the firm in the first place, such as freedom for family life or wanting to be one's own boss."

Let's look at that second reason for remaining open, "large enough to have employees". By far, most business startups are because an individual has an idea, a belief in their abilities and a desire to be their own boss. They cobble together the resources they need and invest a generous portion of their own human capital. The business grows, customers are added, new products introduced and the next thing that new owner knows - its time to start hiring employees. Then the challenge begins.

The key differentiator of business management software solutions is the capability of the solution to be a true multi-user application.  There simply is no such thing as an enterprise class integrated business management and accounting solution that is not designed to be used simultaneously by multiple individual users. By far the leading accounting software package used by startup businesses is Quickbooks, mainly because its cheap and easy to use, but Quickbooks is not a multi-user application. (Yes, the Enterprise Edition is and by definition the online version is -sorta, but that's not the point of this post). "Sharing" an application is not the same as having multiple users.

In order to get the most out of your employees and resources it is critical that everyone is able to collaborate around common principles. One main objective of implementing business management software is to have an integrated solution where data is generally enter once, actions create further actions (think supply chain management) and processes are automated. In order to accomplish this objective your management solution must utilize a robust relational database which allows for many users to be accessing and updating information simultaneously while providing security and data integrity. Further the database and the application work hand in hand to manage users, privileges and transactions.

So when your business has grown and you realize its time to leverage technology to increase your business's efficiency and ability to service your customers - start you ERP search with those solutions that provide multiple user functionality as a fundamental concept.

Learn more about multi-user open source accounting and business management software at:

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Manufacturing Software from xTuple

Do you need a better solution for managing your manufacturing business? Looking for better manufacturing software or accounting software?

Take a look at the recent webinar with Wally Tonra on the manufacturing functionality in xTuple.

In this webinar, we took a closer look at the powerful tools available to manage your inventory, manufacturing, and distribution operations. This presentation is especially valuable for companies that have some degree of manufacturing / packaging / assembly in their business.

We focused on the tools and functionality available in all three xTuple product versions including our Free and Open Source edition, PostBooks. We also covered some of the more advanced functionality found in our Standard and Manufacturing Editions.

For more information or to schedule a demo, please visit the OpenSurge website.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Go Square to Take Mobile Payments and iPad Checkout

Do you have a mobile business? Do you sell trinkets and do-dads out of your car, your suitcase or have a little roadside stand?

Or are you a roadie for a rock band selling t-shirts and CD's- which is where I saw my first Square in action.? If you don't know anything about how to process credit cards and need to start taking credit cards in person or over the phone, then the Square is the way to go. Take a look at the video below from the Wall Street Journal and get started.

What about open source xTuple ERP?
xTuple allows you to process credit cards both as payment for standard invoices and using the point of sale functionality. Setup is pretty standard for this type of application. A payment gateway is required along with a merchant account -not the most difficult thing to do, but then there's the encryption key and mapping the general ledger accounts. Enterprise management solutions are designed to handle complex operations which at times means the configuration can be challenging for the casual PostBooks user.

I can see using the Square with an iPad application where we populate the item list, i.e. the catalog, from the xTuple item list, use the iPad remotely and then download the resulting transactions. The capability does not exist with the Square just yet - but it can't be far behind.

And at OpenSurge we can't wait to get started!  

Friday, May 20, 2011

Are you still using Quickbooks to manage your growing business?

Wondering if its finally time to move your business to the next level? Time to replace Quickbooks?

Here are 3 top reasons to switch to a true enterprise class business management solution:  

1. Collaboration - Growing companies reach a point where multiple people have to collaborate on financial processes, often from multiple business locations as well as from home and on the road. As multiple people become involved, everyone needs visibility into what is going on so they can make the right decisions and collaboration so they can all work together.

2. Business Growth - There are many growth-driven indicators - when multiple people need to have access to the financial system, when financial tasks need to be delegated, when dollar volumes become significant and when new offices are opened - it's time to think about graduating to a more powerful system. There are also brick walls that require you to graduate - when you need to operate in more than one currency, when you have more than one business entity, if you need to work effectively from multiple locations or when you need to deal with specialized requirements like revenue recognition or managing the profitability and utilization of billable services personnel.

3. Financial Accountability and Transaction Capability - Full audit trails, business reporting, double-entry accounting and automation are a must, no matter the size of your business. If you're growing, you need it now more than ever. And as your company gets bigger, you have more of everything: inventory, vendors, customers and customer requirements. You have a need for speed and greater transaction volumes. Don't be held back by an insufficient financial system.

So what replaces Quickbooks and how much does it cost?

PostBooks from xTuple is a full featured business management solution (accounting, sales, inventory, purchasing, CRM, etc.) that you will never outgrow. PostBooks is open-source so its free for anyone to use. But if you need help with installing, support or training - there's a world-wide community here to help. If you need additional features - multi-site, drop shipping, returns management, manufacturing scheduling, etc -  xTuple's paid version has all the functionality you would ever need.

Take a look our latest webinar on the advantages of moving your business to xTuple!

Open source ERP and business management solutions from OpenSurge

Friday, April 15, 2011

Now's the Time to Replace your old MAS 90/200 with xTupleERP

  1. Is your company is currently using MAS 90 or MAS 200 as its business system, and it‘s not going well? 
  2. Does it may take many hours of effort to get the information you need to run the business – using spreadsheets, hand-written notes, and lots of digging? 
  3. Do you have other outside applications that aren‘t tied into your main system and it can be difficult to coordinate the two?

If your answer to the questions above is "yes", then following are some issues that you need to consider.

1. Business Intelligence - MAS 90/200 is not built on a relational database and users do not have access to advanced analysis tools. xTuple runs on PostgreSQL the leading open source relational database where all your information can be accessed through standard tools, particularly the Structured Query Language (SQL), making retrieval and analysis more flexible, open, and usable.

2. Functionality - While a product like MAS 90/200 has a reasonably comprehensive set of application modules to choose from, many of the modules lack the very specific functionality needed by companies today. Many growing companies will experience increasing functional needs around electronic banking, multi-currency, project accounting, manufacturing, field service and inter-company processing. This functionality either does not exist within the MAS 90/200 family or are only available as third-party add-ons. This features and many others, such as manufacturing planning, MRP and one of the leading open source CRM capabilities are all included in xTuple ERP.

3. Scalability - While all systems have an upper limit on the number of users and activities that can be supported at given transaction volumes, the underlying technology is the determining factor of how far a system will scale. Some versions of MAS 90, for example, are designed to support a very limited number of users with reasonable response time at which point system response times deteriorate, processes take unacceptably long to complete, and it is not uncommon for the system to 'lock‘, fail, or otherwise become unreliable.

4. Connectivity / Interoperability - Extending the applications to partners and customers, such as a customer portal to allow trading partners to view orders, shipments, schedules, and invoices is difficult at best. Reports are distributed on paper or through e-mail. Connecting to analytical and decision support facilities like Excel is mainly a copy and paste function. xTuple allows you to connect to your customers, partners and suppliers through the xTuple Web Portal. Using xTuple Connect you can seamlessly integrate email into xTuple ERP, automatically sending reports, invoices PO's and other documents via email. 

5. Productivity - MAS90/200 is designed in the traditional style with standard menus and limited ability to customize the screens that people work from every day. Because the menus are unique to MAS, users require considerable training and orientation to know where to find the functions they need. The xTuple user interface displays a graphic workflow by functions, allows for user preferences and custom hot-keys. xTuple's role-based screens are far more efficient for the user, easier to use, resulting in greater adoption of system functionality. Users can get right to the functions they use most without having to work their way through generic menus and screens.

6. Foundational Technology and Product Roadmap - Some Sage products have fallen behind the technology curve and need increased R&D investment. It is obvious from the previous points above that MAS 90/200 may not be considered examples of today‘s technology and while Sage is apparently committed to upgrading the products, this process will take quite some time and there‘s no telling how successful the company will be in its efforts. By contrast, xTuple ERP, using the open source development model is on the leading edge of available technology. Making the most of open source tools and the ability to operate on Mac OS X, Linux and Windows. xTuple has a reputation for consistently rolling out new features and functionalities; both specific ERP related functionalities (e.g. project management accounting) and integrations using the Web Portal and xTuple Connect that help you do more work with less effort.

It‘s easy to find fault with any application system – each has its own particular strengths and weaknesses. It‘s also easy to praise the strengths of any given system and down-play weaknesses. The real value of any system, however, is in how well the user company is able to use the tools to more effectively run the business.

Open source xTuple ERP is an ideal accounting solution for midsize and small business. xTuple can easily be hosted for cloud computing and clients can run on Apple Mac OS X as well as PC's.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Time and Expense Tracking with xTuple Open Source ERP

Just a short post for this video on using xTuple's open source ERP solution for managing time and expense for services.

xTuple's robust business management solution will let you use Mac OS X for you accounting and invoicing requirements. This cross-platform accounting software solution is great solution to put in a cloud computing environment where all your business colleagues and co-workers can access the same database. And using xTuple's CRM functionality, one of the leading open source CRM solutions, your workforce can collaborate and manage all the projects to run your business and service your clients.

Visit OpenSurge, an Atlanta, GA based xTuple Elite Development Partner to find out more.