ABM Advisor: The ABM Blog.
Category - Business and Accounting Software

  • Jul 5 2017

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    What's next for the manufacturing industry?

    The manufacturing industry is in the midst of a minor revitalisation, with new technologies and digital platforms being rolled out every quarter to help compensate for shrinking profit margins.In Australia, the sector recently hit its ninth continuous month of improvement; it now currently sits at 55 points, or 5 points above neutral, according to the Australian Industry Group. It has so far weathered the storm well in comparison to other waning markets, yet small- and medium-sized business owners will have to continue to improve their organisations moving forward to keep up with competitors.Digital revolutionTechnological upgrades are coming in every shape and form for the manufacturing industry. Robotics, the Internet of Things and 3D printing are all helping to save money on the front line - often replacing employees for more efficient machines.But it's the back-end of the businesses that need the most improvement, yet don't receive the same limelight. Increased costs for utilities and other key day-to-day tasks are expected to have a drastic affect on some organisations in the coming future, especially food manufacturers.

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  • Jun 27 2017

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    2 manufacturing and warehousing trends sweeping the industries

    As we approach the middle of the year it's always a good strategy to reflect on the trends shaping the industry. Doing so can give you an idea of what competitors are doing and perhaps provides foresight that could prove advantageous for your business.The manufacturing industry is undergoing a massive upheaval in terms of technological integration, with many companies quickly adopting solutions that improve various aspects of day-to-day operations. The market is currently in an upward trend and it's clear that the innovative strategies being deployed aren't just for show - they have a tangible impact on small and medium-sized business' ability to turn a profit and manage a growing list of clients.Robotics and automation are earning praise for revolutionising the industry.With all of this in mind, here are a few things to keep your eye on as the year rounds out:1. Mechanical revolutionManual labour has its pros and cons. On the one hand, there are certain jobs that skilled technicians can accomplish that just wouldn't be possible for a robot. On the other hand, unexpected downtimes can result from injuries on the job, confusion among workers as to what needs to be done or anything else that commonly plagues productivity in warehouses.Due to the latter, it's expected that more small and medium-sized businesses in Australia adopt innovative technologies being deployed worldwide, Process Online reported. Automation, robotics and the Internet of Things (IoT) are leading the way as tools that owners can integrate on the warehouse floor in an effort to improve productivity across the board without sacrificing accuracy.Although they may have an expensive buy-in price, they're key to competing in a future reliant on big data. IoT especially has the benefit of providing valuable metrics that can find inefficiencies in operations and provide analysis that could potentially increase profits, according to Cerasis. Manufacturing and warehousing companies are relying on technology to lighten the load. 2. Transition away from manual processesThe other trend sweeping the industry is impacting the office, but its benefits extend to the warehouse floor. Small and medium-sized organisations are doing away with paper-based bookkeeping by integrating a business accounting software platform. Stuart Scotis, a consultant for Deloitte, told the source he expects this trend to continue in Australia."Technology as a whole is increasing its spend across industries in Australia, and further growth is expected," Scotis said. "2017 will see the continued movement to the consumption based models as CIOs continue to see the speed and flexibility together with the potential cost savings become increasingly attractive to a widening technology landscape."Business accounting software streamlines day-to-day tasks and modernises the company.But the digital revolution isn't reserved to accounting. Business management software is being seen as a necessary step for small and medium-sized companies to take if they want to compete with larger organisations in an increasingly competitive market, and bookkeeping is just one piece of the puzzle.For the large part, companies are building a digital ecosystem that encapsulates every day-to-day and long-term task. In this sense, accounting is only a small part of that grand idea. Business owners are adopting a platform that offers the ability to add on additional modules, like structured stock software or project invoicing. By moving all of this to the cloud, business owners are able to get rid of silos that hamper production. They improve efficiency across the board, which then allows them to transfer those cost-cutting measures into savings for clients - a trend in itself that PricewaterhouseCoopers expects to gain more traction as the market gets more competitive.Technology is certainly the underlying theme of 2017, and companies are already buying into these trends.

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  • Jun 8 2017

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    Food manufacturing industry ripe for technological innovation

    For years the mining industry reigned supreme as a key cog in the Australian economy, but food production and manufacturing is set to take over.From production to distribution and everything in-between, small and medium-sized business owners in the sector are experiencing sustained growth. Some of that success can be attributed to technological innovations that have allowed many companies to streamline operations and cut costs.Taking stock of the marketThe Australian Performance of Manufacturing Index continues to trend upward with strong support from the food sub-sector, according to data from AI Group. The index currently sits at 59.2 and has experienced growth for the last seven consecutive months. Wayne Driver, managing director for SMC, told Food and Beverage Industry News that this expansion isn't just a blip on the radar.Robotics and automation are becoming more popular in food production."...With the mining boom over, the area that is growing is food and packaging," Driver said. "Food and packaging will continue to grow, because let's face it, we all have to eat and while Australia only has a small domestic market, the majority of OEMs in ANZ can only grow their businesses by exporting."As is the case with many industries, companies are looking for advantages over competitors to gain a financial edge. This has led a number of organisations to look into technology like robotics or artificial intelligence, according to Food Processing Technology news.A report from Infosys estimated the food manufacturing, production and distribution industries will be the most affected by the many technological revolutions being made. Companies quick to endorse and integrate artificial intelligence are expected to earn revenue increases of nearly 40 per cent by 2020, according to the study. But the innovations spawning increased growth don't necessarily belong solely to the warehouse floor. Small and medium-sized businesses are using software to streamline day-to-day operations. Streamline back-end operationsSmall and medium-sized companies around the world are quickly gravitating towards business management software because of its ability to automate certain manual functions. Roughly 65 per cent of organisations in the U.S., for example, already use accounting software to handle day-to-day financial transactions, Forbes reported. This practise likely extends to Australian companies as well.Business accounting software is becoming increasingly popular for a couple of reasons. The Forbes article estimated small business owners spend roughly four hours per day online managing their company - a significant amount of time. They can gain some of that back by automating tasks like bookkeeping, asset management and time sheet tracking.Business accounting software can automate bookkeeping without chance of error.With the right platform, owners can extend that technological innovation to other aspects of their business. Some business management softwares offer organisations the option to attach modules, which helps to integrate financial information with, say, structured stock software.The key to receiving any type of competitive advantage from adopting this strategy is to track all aspects of the operation within one digital platform. Otherwise, managers will have to log in and out to obtain data - this defeats the purpose of streamlining back-end operations, and could actually hurt productivity in the process.With the food manufacturing, production and distribution industries growing rapidly, leveraging digital technology will become vital to keeping up with the unprecedented rate of expansion. With that prosperity comes more orders, clients and employees to manage. Modern software can effortlessly link warehouse floor operations to bookkeeping, meaning it's never been easier for small and medium-sized businesses to handle whatever is thrown their way.There's no sign of slowed growth, as the last index contraction came nearly one year ago, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

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  • May 19 2017

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    Falling manufacturing employment makes technology more important

    The recent growth in certain sectors of the manufacturing industry has come at an expense; employment is contracting.Over the past 17 years, the market has shed 130,000 jobs, according to The Australian. There are a number of reasons behind the fact that hiring has slowed, and the occurrence of the worldwide economic recession nearly a decade ago is certainly near the top of the list.Technology has helped sustain growth despite falling employment.The fact is, though, the manufacturing industry is incredibly strong right now. In April, the AI Group bumped it up to 59.2 on the Purchasing Manufacturers Index (PMI), where anything higher than 50 is considered good. This is partly because employers are leaning on technology and digitisation now more than ever, and they're finding it works.Hungry for knowledgeIt's clear the market is gaining more success with less staff. Companies are looking for innovative ways to improve not only the warehouse floor, but how the company is run as a whole, according to Marcel Bick, the business development manager at Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation."Companies that are highly innovative have been reaching out to us to partner with them to develop innovative technologies," Bick told Manufacturers' Monthly. "They either ask us to create a new product for them or improve on existing technologies to improve processes and ultimately maximise cost savings."With robotics and artificial intelligence dominating the headlines lately, some companies may not have picked up on the usefulness of business management software. Improving efficiency on the back-end of operations ultimately extends out to the day-to-day tasks, ensuring a cleaner and smoother running engine. Small businesses are gravitating towards database software to help automate back-end tasks. Where to improveFor small and medium-sized businesses, creating an entirely new product can be an arduous and expensive process, even if the financial benefits are valuable. These companies can really gain an edge and leverage their limited staff by investing in database software.Inventory levels, accounting and order management can all be improved upon by automating previously manual methods of said tasks. Speeding up these taxing aspects that are vital to the organisation gives managers more time to assess other areas of need that might require more attention, all while ensuring complete and utter accuracy.The upside of having a lean staff is that it takes little time to integrate small business management software - employers just have to take the first step. Contact an ABM representative today to find out more.

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  • May 5 2017

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    Growing companies quickly adopting business accounting software

    Owners of small and medium-sized businesses seldom have easy decisions to make.Thoughts of expanding warehousing distribution operations or bringing on new employees certainly carry risk and are more difficult to put into action. When it comes to improving workflow efficiencies and accounting for a growing operation, digitising the back-end of your day-to-day operations is a no-brainer.Taking stock of the marketOne way to evaluate whether a business is on pace with its industry competitors is to look at early adoption rates of technology. Digitisation has spurned innovation in manufacturing worldwide, and companies that take advantage of it early on are likely to see improvements that provide a financial edge.14 per cent of Australian SMBs used accounting software in 2014.Australian small businesses are leading the pack when it comes to integrating business accounting software. Roughly 14 per cent were using the platform in 2014 to streamline bookkeeping, while just 11 per cent of global companies could say the same, according to The Australian. Another 46 per cent were actively looking into deploying the technology before the end of 2015.There are a number of reasons why organisations are trending towards automated accounting. Perhaps the most visible conclusion is that the Australian economy is in a period of sustained growth, which the Australian Business Economists expect to continue well into 2017, The Guardian reported. This means small businesses are invariably taking on larger workloads and hiring more employees. Scaling warehousing operations to meet that demand, all while managing bookkeeping manually, can potentially lead to clerical errors that could adversely impact the company's financial records. Efficiency improvements on the back-end extend throughout the warehouse. Evaluating your requirementsEach and every small and medium-sized business has its own needs. The most useful business accounting software will allow for total customisability through optional modifications. It needs to be able to take warehouse assets, client orders and other variables into account to really streamline the back-end of operations, Business Victoria reported.Simply put, there's no use in having separate structured stock software because it unnecessarily opens up the door to potential errors. Storing all business affairs under one platform also helps to make sure all staff members who will use the program are properly trained. If it's too complicated then mistakes can be made, which defeats the purpose of introducing the system, Business News Daily reported.Above all else, make sure to see the platform in action before you introduce it to your business. It has the potential to improve the company at a number of different levels, but not if you don't feel comfortable with it.Contact an ABM representative to schedule your demonstration today.

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  • Nov 29 2016

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    Building your accounting solution from the ground up

    No two industries are exactly the same. While there isn't a lot of crossover between fields such as warehousing, online retail management and architecture, they all share one common thread. An intuitive accounting system can eliminate the time spent on repetitive processes and improve efficiency through automation.So what exactly does the Advanced Business Manager core accounting system offer?Over 60 per cent of managers believe they aren't doing a good job at meeting the needs of learning staff.The core accounting system frameworkBefore introducing any new piece of software into a business, it's imperative staff training be taken into account to avoid company downtime. Our core accounting system integrates seamlessly with Microsoft Office, providing a familiar user interface that will reduce the time spent getting accustomed to how the software works.How crucial is initial training though? According to SHIFT eLearning, over 60 per cent of managers believe they aren't doing a good job at meeting the needs of learning staff, resulting in early departures from staff within a business. If that statistic doesn't illustrate the benefits of training then the financial incentive surely will; the same report states that ineffective training costs businesses over $13.5 million each year.We also provide ongoing assistance through our expert support services across Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and the United Kingdom. All our solutions providers have been through extensive training, so you can rest assured any problems will be addressed and resolved quickly and professionally. Staff training is vital to get the most out of new software. How does business intelligence software fit into my company? ABM offers add-on modules that can tailor our core accounting product to almost any industry. Just a few of the solutions that can be tailored to include:Wholesale and DistributionOnline Retail ManagementWarehousingConstructionImportingArchitectureConsultant EngineersThe open architecture of the system is designed to work in unison with third-party software. This allows for a highly customisable and specific business solution, and one that will fit effortlessly into your current accounting model.For example, our service management add-on allows companies that deliver solutions on-site to track personnel, automatically log client history and distribute billing and reporting. This add-on alone can benefit equipment servicing professionals, field engineers, tradespeople and more.From a data-based perspective, our business intelligence module allows for a top-down view and detailed analysis of business profitability. You can then use this information to identify strengths and weaknesses within your business model, and enact customer and staff performance reviews. With a strong focus on improving business efficiency and revenue, this add-on module is applicable across a wide range of industries.To learn more about ABM business management software, get in touch for a free demo today.

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  • Nov 16 2016

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    Increasing security through automated accounting software

    The subject of internet security isn't one that many businesses like to approach unprepared. After all, everyone wants to feel that they are secure in how they conduct business, and provide this level of safety and trust to their customers.But as more businesses more to a digital format - online stores, interactive website customer service and email communications to clients - it's crucial that the information we send online be protected. So how can incorporating automated accounting software into your business help keep it safe at the same time? Businesses that integrate cybersecurity with digital strategies will be better poised to build trust into everything they do and transform faster.Increased security at a lower costFor many small businesses, allowing resources to be set aside for a dedicated IT team isn't really an option. However, two reports released by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) bring to light just how serious security is for businesses as they embrace a digital future. For small businesses with limited funds, moving to and off-site storage option that uses cloud technology can remove the stresses associated with storing data. Tom Puthiyamadam, PwC's Global Digital Services Leader, notes that digital business models addressing security are the key to success in a changing marketplace. "Businesses that integrate cybersecurity with digital strategies will be better poised to build trust into everything they do and transform faster," he said."Leading companies are integrating cybersecurity, privacy and digital ethics from the outset. And that enables them to better engage with existing customers and attract new ones. Many also see efficiencies in operations, business process and IT investments."Moving to the CloudIf you haven't already started looking at cloud technology for storage, it may be a little daunting to approach. So how does the cloud work, and why is it safer? Essentially, cloud storage is just information that is kept off-site and in a data centre. This could be anywhere; from someone's garage to a multi-location data fortress.  It's important that businesses address cybersecurity. One way to explain cloud technology is to look at an email provider like Gmail. When you create a Gmail account, everything is stored online, but essentially it's kept on Google servers. When you receive an email or an attachment, it doesn't download directly onto your computer, it's instead stored in a data centre that you can access freely at any time. This saves you space in storage, while taking advantage of Google's excellent security. Of course, while there are a number of small cloud providers, large and trusted hosts - like Microsoft, Google and Facebook - are increasingly commonplace. According to the PwC report Moving forward with cybersecurity and privacy, 63 per cent of businesses say that they run IT operations in the cloud. But is this just because of security, or for another benefit to business? When you receive an email or an attachment, it doesn't download directly onto your computer, it's instead stored in a data centre that you can access freely at any time.Collaboration through automated work processesMoving to the cloud offers another benefit beyond security - it enables an organisation to communicate easily and instantaneously, allowing them to collaborate and share information automatically. This automation is at the heart of software like Advanced Business Manager, streamlining processes like timekeeping and customer relationship management so you can focus on the areas of your business that you need to. Business intelligence software combines the best parts of these two concerns - it removes the potential for human error, offering greater security and better insight into the information you gather. With PwC noting that 34 per cent of customer service and marketing functions are run from the cloud, you won't be alone...

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  • Nov 2 2016

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    Are you engaged with your customers enough?

    Customer engagement is important in any business, but for utilities it can present a significant challenge. Perhaps it's that, as a society, we've taken clean water and abundant electricity for granted, to the point we're critical of our utility company for not offering the lowest prices or the same deal as a startup competitor.To address the need for increased transparency in how their business operates, many utilities have taken to social media to engage with customers.While this is sound advice for the majority of companies, how can you ensure you have all the information needed to face the public's questions? Below we'll examine a few steps you can take to engage successfully with your customers.By adding services such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram, you can create a total social profile that addresses many different customer bases at multiple levels.Talk to your customers, not at themA key part of engaging with customers in our current age is by taking the leap to social media. However, if this is your first time jumping into the online world to talk with your customers, there are a few key points to remember.One common mistake many make is dehumanising their business and responding with robotic and unsympathetic responses. Generally, customers will go online with their concerns. While you may get a few people wanting to congratulate you for the excellent service you provide, many people look at social media as a way to vent their frustrations, or gain the collective support of other customers when they have a problem.By addressing your customers as people, and responding to their concerns with empathy and sincerity, you can ensure that when your customers have an issue they don't abandon your business due to an impersonal or insufficient response.Spread yourself across social mediaMaybe you want to create a company Facebook page, and interact with your customers that way, or perhaps you think Twitter is an easier method of communicating with your clientele.The secret to success in this area is to not limit yourself to just one piece of social media. Thinking about your online presence as a whole can help illustrate this point; Facebook is excellent for responding to individual customers and sharing articles or thought leadership appropriate to your industry, but it's just the start of your online profile.By adding services such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram, you can create a total social profile that addresses many different customer bases at multiple levels. Twitter is great for providing instant, snappy updates on your service or something that needs to gain traction quickly, while if your business is visual-heavy you could even create an Instagram account to update your customers with enticing photos. Engaging with customers brings them closer to your business. By communicating with all levels of your customers, there's no risk of you alienating a single group or presenting an image that only appeals to one demographic.Some common mistakes to avoidIf this is your first time jumping into the world of social media for customer engagement and retention, you'll no doubt experience a few trip ups along the way. Although this is bound to happen at some point, we're grouped together the most common issues to help you get started in the right way.Some of the problems companies experience when entering social media are:Keeping it short-term: Successful social media engagement is a long distance run not a sprint.Don't flood your customers: People already chose your business for a reason, so bombarding them with pointless posts will do little to keep them engaged.Tackle the tough subjects: Don't avoid the tricky questions.

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  • Oct 12 2016

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    3 ways you can benefit from online retail management

    If you've already entered the online shopping world, you'll know some of the trials and tribulations that accompany the process. In a world rapidly embracing the move to digital, an online version of your store is a logical choice. For many though, the move to online isn't accompanied by a team of marketers, accountants and social media professionals.As such, it can be difficult to juggle the responsibilities of an online store concurrently with an online presence, which is where online retail management software can help by removing some of the pressure to allow you to be focus on the areas of your business that need attention.Below are just three ways that freeing up resources through business accounting software will help you approach your online venture in a much smoother manner.Over 90 per cent of the public are turning to social media to help make buying decisions.Better sales managementimplementing automated accounting software into your business will greatly increase your ability to manage and track sales. Starting with our core accounting software, you can add a number of optional modules that can assist in managing your e-commerce project.The Advanced Business Manager Structured Stock module is designed for businesses that wish to track and organise their stock more efficiently. Featuring a flexible structure that allows for user-defined attributes, improving your sales through better recording means you'll always have full awareness of stock levels.More connection with your customersHaving greater control of your stock levels means you'll have more time to interact and reach out to your customers.This can be the deciding factor for many businesses moving online - maintaining a level of engagement with your customers that encourages them to keep coming back to your business is almost as important as having a popular product in the first place. Could your online store benefit from accounting software? If you don't see the importance of social media, then there are some troubling statistics you may want to see. According to Slant Marketing, Facebook accounts for 64 per cent of total social revenue. Even more telling, Magento reports that 93 per cent of the public are turning to social media to help make buying decisions.Analytics helps further the processHaving more time to reach out to your customers is only helpful if you've got something to say to them. The Business Intelligence module presents your business data in an entirely new way: Real-time reporting without delay.Analytics is also helping businesses predict trends in the marketplace, by identifying popular products, promotions and areas of your site your customers are more engaged with. If you want to discover the power of the software for yourself, get in touch today for a free demo.

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  • Sep 29 2016

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    Will data be the new business commodity?

    Accounting software is the key to automation in business - and something you should definitely take note of. Technology isn't just making our lives easier and work more efficient, it's forcing an evolution in how we view customers, business and data altogether.Why is this exactly? There could be two significant contributors to the coming change - if it isn't already upon us - but many people have happily gone along with both for quite some time. The two factors are:Payment processing is a gargantuan industry - even the smallest fees placed on digital payment processing cause a staggering amount of revenue generation. Transaction cycles have changed from paper invoices and data entry to just digital - not many people are realising the true value of data, despite embracing the move away from physical paper processes.Let's take a closer look and explain why each is crucially important to managing future business operations. 

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