Look to Simplify While Also Improving

I am working with a client that needs to upgrade their accounting system.  We have made many modifications to the system and now have to accommodate those changes into a new system.  Note, this doesn’t always work seamlessly…

A mistake that is commonly made is to attempt to enhance the new system to work exactly or as close to exactly the way the old system works. This can be very difficult to do, yet is commonly attempted. A better approach is to start with the objectives of the modification and look to see if there is a better and more simple way of accomplishing the same result.  The new answer may be even easier than the old way, therefor enhancing the client’s process on multiple levels.

My challenge lies on multiple levels of this process.  As the client’s partner, I need to seek out the “new way of doing things” and make sure it fits the objective.  That is not always the hard part. The hard part is showing the client why it can improve things and on what level the improvements will help.

In making changes, I always look for improvement and simplification.  Doing something the same way just because it has always been done that way often does not take advantage of the new and improved technology.  Challenge the assumptions and make sure they are still valid and not something done based on the limitations of the old system. In addition, show the client the value of making a change in their process in order to make them more efficient.

– Michael Ericksen

WAC Solution Partners- Midwest

Leading With a Purpose

I recently attended a Rotary Conference for district leaders in Rotary.  Over the course of 2 ½ days, we were trained on many issues relating to Rotary.  One of my favorite quotes that came out of the conference is: “A good leader inspires faith in the leader.  A great leader inspires faith in themselves.”   It made me wonder, are we developing our managers and staff to handle situations or just follow rules?  How much more effective could we be if everyone knew why we are trained to act in a certain way and how to act when confronted with something new.

Another of my favorite quotes that came out of the conference is: “How are we passing the torch to the next generation?”  Are we developing the leaders our companies need to succeed in the future?  Are we developing leaders that will be able to adapt to change?  If not, now is as good a time as any to start developing the leaders of tomorrow.

Are you doing anything different to affect this growth?

-Michael Ericksen

WAC Solution Partners- Midwest


Managing Risk

In life we face many risks.  Just driving a car involves a risk; will someone run a stop sign or go through a red light.  The food we eat can affect our health.  If you use a computer or another device to store important information, will we be able to access that data tomorrow.

For some risks we buy insurance.  I, like most people, have car, house, medical and life insurance.  Having insurance helps us to live with the risks we face every day.  For data risks we backup our servers and other devices.

A few years ago I was introduced to a risk I was not aware of.  Someone used my name for an insurance claim.  They were most likely in the country illegally and when they went to a treatment center for a workplace accident, they just happened to use my name and address.  Since they did not have my social security number or my date of birth it turned out to be an insignificant problem.  Although I did have to call the insurance company a half a dozen times to explain that I did not work at the location they had on the records and that I was not injured on the date in question nor had I ever had used the pharmacy that a filled a subscription. And so on….

The incident did in fact worry me a little and I now know that identify theft is a huge crime that is rapidly growing in our nation.  I now carry identify theft insurance.  Again, there is only so much we can do to protect ourselves and this was one risk I was not willing to take alone.  Are you protected?

~Micheal Ericksen

WAC Solution Partners- Midwest

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Keeping Things in Perspective

What a day I had last Saturday the 18th of August.  First, I came into the office to work on an issue with one of my clients where we needed exclusive access to their system.  After a few attempts to get everything working, we were finally successful.

I then went directly to a memorial service for a friend who is was just a few years older than me.  We had played softball together on our church’s softball team.  One of his sons is my son’s age and I had coached baseball for both of the boys for many years.

I then went to visit my mother who is not doing very well and is facing the last days of her life.  Finally, I went to my son’s house to baby sit for our youngest granddaughter.  I have another granddaughter from my daughter and she is currently pregnant with a second child.

If there ever was a time when I went through so many emotions in one day, it was Saturday.

Three years ago my friend was perfectly healthy and happy and then he was struck by cancer.  Since I originally wrote this article, five days later my mother also passed.  It reminds us that we are only here for a short period of time and everything will continue on after our time is up.  But during our life we should attempt to make the most of each day while leaving this place a little better off than we found it.

Take time to say how much you love your friends and family.  Volunteer to help someone who you will never know.  Do your best every day.  You will never know what amount of time you have remaining.

~Michael Ericksen

Preparing for a Vendor Conference


some of the many ribbons given at the conference last year.

Kari-Ann and I will be going to Sage Summit Conference this week, so we have been preparing so we get the most out of the conference.  Our preparation consists of a few items.  I have had the most success when I have a “To-Do” list of three to six issues that I want answers to.  With this to do list accomplished I have left previous conferences feeling that I have achieved something for my time.

So what are the issues and how do I make my list?  My first step and most important one, is to be in contact with my key clients to see if they have any needs that have not been met.  I also identify areas where I may want to expand my practice.  Lastly, there may also be some new technology or program that I have heard about, but currently do not fully understand.

After I have created my list, I need to schedule the classes I will take.  Some of the classes may produce solutions to my issues.  I will also schedule time to visit the booths at the expo and have a game plan to do so.  I tend to map out the expo and make sure I hit the key booths that are needed to answer my issues.  If I have to go back more than once during my conference visit, then I make sure and do so.  While visiting the conference and expo I make sure to say hi to old friends as I have been a long time in this industry.  I look for new products and add-ons that work with the solutions I already offer.

Finally, before I leave the conference, I will review the “To-Do”.  I want to make sure I have answered all my questions, or at least have made an attempt to.  I make sure to have connected with the sources that may be able to help.  There is nothing worse than getting back from a conference and wishing I had asked someone a question.  Take advantage of the resources provided and enjoy the experience. Don’t forget to bring home tons of giveaways (pens, Frisbee, stress ball, etc) from the conference for the kids or staff and a nice little something for the Mrs. or Mr.

-Michael Ericksen

WAC Solution Partners- Midwest

Continuous Improvement

I was recently at an event and everyone in attendance was posed the question: “Who your favorite client is and why?”  My answer was “The client that is always looking to improve their business.”   “Not just a client that is talking about it, but they are actually taking steps to improve,”  I am lucky enough to have a number of those clients.  They are always looking at ways to improve what and how they do business, and in many cases, how software can be used in the process to make this happen.

Recently I worked on a project in which one of my clients is using outreach to their customers to not just frequently contact them, but to also suggest additional products that they may like.  They base the additional items off of their normal spending practices.  The outreach is done in a direct mailing which includes the customer’s current standings, and what they need to do to get larger discounts.  Then it also introduces them to an item that they have not purchased in the last twelve months or possibly ever before.

One advantage our “favorite” clients have is that the constant improvement keeps them way ahead of their competition.  By always looking for ways to improve, it also keeps them from becoming stagnant.  What has your company done lately to improve?  What will you do this year to make your business stronger?  Take some time to look at your business and do not get stuck doing something just because it is the way you have always done it.

-Michael Ericksen

WAC Solution Partners- Midwest

Changing Accounting or ERP Systems

Now it’s my turn…

Changing Accounting or ERP Systems

Michael, installing the new system on his laptop for testing before it is installed on the server.

Michael, installing the new system on his laptop for testing before it is installed on the server.

I have been using the same ERP software for almost twenty years.  Now it’s my turn to face this process of changing software.  Being in the software industry does not make this any easier for me to change systems.  I will go through the same pain my clients go through during this kind of full system change over.  We all become comfortable with what we know.  No matter how difficult a product is, if you know how to use it, it is the easiest one for you.

One of the mistakes many companies make is to attempt to make the new software system work the same way the old system does.  Companies frequently adjust their systems and procedures to accommodate the old software, or old way of doing things.

A better way to address this is when you are looking to change software, also look at how you can change your internal procedures.  Try to take advantage of features the new software has that the old system doesn’t.  We will be reviewing some of the new features that are available to us in this change, in order to streamline some processes and be more efficient.

A good place to start is to think of the two or three features you wish your current system had.  You could also start with things you wish your new system could do.  Make this wish list into action items for implementation of the new system.

Changing systems is never easy, but rather than it just being a nuisance, try to find ways your company can become more efficient.  Find something that will be so large a benefit that it will outweigh the pain of change.  In the end, if done right, it will be worth all the hard work.

-Michael Ericksen

5 Reasons to Upgrade Your Accounting/Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) System

As a 20 year veteran for selling what is today called sage Pro Software, I have many clients using this system currently.  Last year an announcement was made by Sage Software to discontinue support and new sales of Sage Pro ERP.  I have had to meet with many companies that are now faced with switching their accounting or enterprise resource planning (ERP) system in the coming months.  This process of review has made me think about the consideration of switching. 

Here are a few reasons I came up with to explain why you might:

1)      You are entering the same piece of data more than once.  Except for cross checking purposes, data should only be entered one time.  It should be shared with in the system and not required to be entered again.

2)      You cannot get the data you need to run your business.  You are either using spreadsheets to make up for the limitations of your current system, or you simply do not have the data required to make important business decisions

3)      The data you use to make decisions is always outdated.  You get the data you need, but not in a timely basis.  Perhaps you are getting reports quarterly or monthly, but need the data weekly, daily or even immediately.

4)      You do not trust the data you are receiving.  The system reports that you have enough inventories to complete a product, but your procedure is to have someone visually check before each order is started. You are now doing double the work and using extra resources.

5)      Your system does everything you need, but nobody uses it.  It is either too difficult and users make too many errors in attempting to use it, or it just takes too long and is inefficient.

If you see yourself in any of the five scenarios listed above, you should consider if your system is holding your company from growing.  Contact your solution provider to review your system to see if it is time to consider upgrading or switching.

Welcome to the ME-PC Blog


Thank you for checking out the Blog home of Michael Ericksen P.C.  We will be keeping you informed on Tips, Tricks, Best Practices, Trending News and Updates.  Our topics will include ERP Software, CRM Software, Business Trends, Tax updates, Accounting News, and our commitment to local community happenings and outreach.

Our Product mix includes: Sage 300 ERP (formerly Sage ERP Accpac), Sage 100 ERP (formerly Sage MAS 90/200), SAP Business One, SAP Business By Design, NetSuite, Sage Pro ERP, Microsoft Dynamics GP, Sage Business Vision, Sage 100 Fund Accounting (formerly MIP Fund Accounting), Sage 50 U.S Edition (formerly Sage Peachtree Quantum), and QuickBooks Enterprise.

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