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Digital signage developer turns to Simply Accounting

After realizing that the previous enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution his company was using was more cumbersome and complex than he wanted it to be, David Reale, founder and vice-president of Avida Corp. made the switch to a Sage software solution with the help of Business Innovation Technologies, Inc.

Before seeking help from Toronto-based Business Innovation Technologies and implementing Simply Accounting(Sage 50 – Canadian Edition) by Sage, Enterprise Edition software, Avida was using Microsoft Navision, also known as Microsoft Dynamics NAV, as its ERP system.

Reale said he wanted to switch to another ERP and management system that would allow for timelier financial reporting.

“We used Microsoft Navision to track our inventory and assets”, Reale said. “We also used it to manage all of our invoicing. It’s a big and robust system, but we found it was cumbersome and it wasn’t as easy to use as I wanted it to be for financial reporting.”

It was the desire for creating and obtaining reports more quickly that led Avida, a software developer for the digital signage market, to start exploring other ERP options, Reale explained.

Dan Mason, president and CEO of Business Innovation, said that when it comes to ERP business practices, a lot of companies find these processes to be very complex and difficult.

“Companies want to cut costs and they also want to get back to basics with something that’s simple to use,” Mason said.

Reale says he can get income statements, trial balances and bank reconciliations on-demand now that the new solution is in place.

Because the software is so easy to use and user-friendly, he says employee productivity has also improved. With the Enterprise Edition of Simply Accounting, Avida can have up to 10 concurrent users on the system, which means faster results and increased efficiencies, Reale added.

“I don’t need a full-time system admin for our ERP system,” he said. “Myself, inventory management, inventory control, accounts receivable, my controller and my general manager all use this solution. Pretty much everyone on the financial and operations side use it.” While Business Innovation did not run into any major hurdles or obstacles during the software implementation, Mason says perhaps the biggest challenge was being able to work in such a tight timeline, with only one-week. “We like to give … two weeks to implement any project to make sure the timing’s right and everyone’s trained,” Mason said. “We had to manage our time and divide our skills sets accordingly to make sure we were involving our end-users in training during this process.” Sign up for our Computer Dealer News Newsletter.

The solution is so user-friendly that Mason says when Avida employees started working with the solution, they’d often ask “is that it?”

“Because the process was so simple, that was the most common response I got back from end-users,” Mason said. “With bigger systems, there are always more steps, but with this one, it helps users get back to basics.”

Avida has been using this solution since last December, and already, Reale says he likes the fact that Simply Accounting was such an easy-to-learn solution. He estimates the training time on this solution was about one-third of the time it usually took to learn Navision. Other benefits of this solution include less key strokes to get work done and less pop-ups to complete tasks, he added.

Over the next two months, Reale said he’ll also be adding more concurrent users to the software.

“This software’s not the SAP of the world, but for a medium sized business like mine, it’s good,” Reale said.

Partner Profile of Dan Mason

as featured in he Simply Pulse – June 2009 Edition

1. Company Name:
Business Innovation Technologies Inc.

2. Number of Years in Business:
12 years

3. Number of Years as a Sage 50 – Canadian Edition Partner:
9 years

4. Tell us more about your business (number of employees, services offered, if you target a certain type of client, etc).
Business Innovation Technologies Inc. has merged 4 small companies into one large organization with a total of 11 corporate team members and over 100 vertical software partners/dealers that have brought various levels of innovation to Sage 50 – Canadian Edition clients in the areas of business and technology. We offer a complete range of services that include:

  1. Systems Integration – Custom Programming and Report Writing
  2. Technical Support – Internet, Network, and Desktop
  3. Consulting and Training – Business and Software
  4. Special Projects – Doing projects that no one has done before

Clients that come to Business Innovation Technologies Inc. are looking for very specific requirements that they cannot find elsewhere. Our integration products have allowed us to establish some interesting vertical niche markets in sales distribution and service companies.

Through innovation and technology, we have been able to grow our company globally and are constantly on the expansion path growing organically and by acquisition.

5. What are a few of the most valuable things you have done (programs, training, reading, networking, etc.) to help you grow your business?
The most valuable part of our success has been in focusing on what we do best and lending it to other Sage 50 – Canadian Edition Partners and Software Developers of niche makers.

We have realized that we can not be everything to everyone. This is what we have done:

a. Introducing our programs to Sage 50 – Canadian Edition partners –
we have introduced our commercial programs like our import and integration utility so that Sage 50 – Canadian Edition Partners can add another level of service to their clients. We offer them an “off the shelf” software package that allows importing of data from other applications (or. even Excel Spreadsheets) to Sage 50 – Canadian Edition , giving their clients a complete integrated solution. We will also augment their current staff resources to provide a higher level of tech support in the areas of networking and report designs. Our conversion Utility has allowed Simply Partners to convert data from many other popular accounting packages to Sage 50 – Canadian Edition .

b. Vertical/Specialized Software Vendors –
We have positioned ourselves as the experts in the area of Sage 50 – Canadian Edition Integration. Software vendors come to us globally to integrate and maintain integration from previous and future versions of Sage 50 – Canadian Edition to their programs. This is a growing area that we are now including Sage 50 Canadian Edition Partners to help us develop and support these initiatives. This has been a “win/ win” situation for us and other Sage 50 Canadian Edition partners. All Sage 50 Canadian Edition partners are welcome to join in on this to expand their business.

6. How has being part of the Sage 50 – Canadian Edition Partner Program impacted your business?
It has given our organization great exposure to the Sage 50 Community and provided many different avenues for networking.

7. What is your favorite thing about Sage 50 – Canadian Edition ?
I like the fact that it is easy to use and easy to train others how to use it. As business and Technology get more and more complicated, it is nice to know that Simply Accounting is consistently simple.

8. If you could share one word of advice or valuable lesson you have learned with the Partner Community, what would it be?
“Networking”. Always stay plugged in to everything that SAGE & Simply Accounting have to offer. You will expand your knowledge base and find opportunities to build a better business. Focus on who you know “best” and partner with others for the “rest”.

9. Funniest client story, or other information you’d like to share (no names mentioned).
We had a new prospect who wanted to convert an old antiquated accounting software package to Sage 50 – Canadian Edition . We explained how our conversion utility worked and that a price of “X” would give them 2 years of history for lookups. The client accepted how it would work and let us proceed with the project. We took a copy of the database and proceeded to convert the data.

In the middle of the conversion the client called and was in a panic that she need at least 7 years of history. Her accountant told her that she needed at least 7 years of history in case CRA came in for an audit. We explained that if she had7 years of history in her system already that would not be changed. We also explained that 5 years from now their new Sage 50 – Canadian Edition system would have 7 years of data and that they just needed to keep the old system until then. I could tell by the tone of her voice that she was in shock and was not accepting any explanation I was giving.

There were several calls back in forth for hours asking questions about 7 years minus 2 years is 5 years and what was she supposed to do until then. She was planning on retiring in 2 years and this was going to ruin her plans. As we lost a day trying to let her know she shouldn’t worry we felt that we had 2 options; either cancel the project or get it done quickly so that we would not lose any more time communicating. We decided to work through the night until it was complete and show her what we had done once we finished.

When we delivered the finished product we showed her that the 2 systems could be run at the same time, but the old system was for lookups only and from this point forward all new entries were o go into the Simply System. A huge weight had what was wrong and she handed me a letter that she was going to present to her boss. The content of the letter indicated that she felt it was her obligation to stay working for a total of 5 more years as she had waited until now to do the system change over. It also stated that she discussed this with her husband and they were willing to pay Business Innovation Technologies Inc. money from their own personal sawing account to convert the extra 5 years of data so that she could retire in 2 years. I wanted to make sure that she understood that she did not have to this – and she did!

I have told this story many times at business conventions and cocktail parties and I always get a laugh. Until this day, I still wonder how thus lady is doing now that she was able to have “early retirement “. I wonder if she is telling this story the same way as I tell it to others.