What does the word “portal” bring to mind? Does it conjure images from sci-fi movies and video games? Regardless of where they show up, portals usually function in a similar way: bringing two disparate places closer together for instantaneous travel.
Portals work the same in the online business world, except they bring disparate data to one location. So instead of instantaneous travel like in the movies, there’s an instantaneous transmission of data. With customer portals, this involves a customer getting information from a company’s database. If you’ve ever paid a bill online or logged into a website to review account details, you’re familiar with the concept.
Customer portals have been widely adopted since they give customers on-demand access to business information that affects them. Offering customers a route of self-service leads to greater satisfaction, since the customer is no longer required to adhere to your business hours when looking for information.
From a business point of view, this can lessen time your staff spends fulfilling customer requests for basic information like account balances and order statuses. Plus, there’s no standard for a customer portal. It can be completely tailored to the way your customers do business with you.
Here are some services companies offer on their customer portals:
Lets customers manage their account with you online. This could involve something as basic as contact information, or setting billing preferences.
If Accounts Receivable is important to your business, you could let customers see their open/outstanding invoices in a portal, as well as invoice history. There are also ways for your customers to make payments online so they don’t need to call in to make payments.
If you sell your products online, you could offer customers a feature in your portal that lets them view and track their orders. This might require integration with your shipping software.
Setting up a customer portal will usually require some form of integration if the data you’re serving your customers comes from a business/accounting software platform. Here at Kissinger, we use portals for internal operations, and have made ones available for our customers and business partners. So let us know if you have questions on integrating Sage 100 with a website or e-commerce site to create a customer portal.
Website owners and businesses are always asking where to start with SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
That’s because SEO has grown beyond adding keywords to a website. There are tactics for getting links to point to your website, optimizing references, and integrating social media. There are entire companies and conferences dedicated to ranking higher in Google, Bing, and beyond. There are experts, gurus, and other SEO professionals. It’s hard for someone outside the practice and with no knowledge to keep up with it all.
So where is the best place to start?
A: Make the commitment.
Despite what some marketing agencies say, getting ranked #1 in a short amount of time and staying there isn’t easy (for the good keywords anyway). SEO is not a “set-it-and-forget-it” task. Your company has to make an ongoing resource commitment to achieve SEO greatness. Luckily, there are ways to set yourself up for continuous SEO activity:
- Get your staff trained on SEO basics to do it themselves
- Consult with a professional to create an SEO plan
- Have a third party manage your SEO activities, including monitoring ongoing progress and implementing needed changes.
Before you choose which path to go down, you’ll want to ask yourself:
- Does my company have the resources to support SEO activities?
- Will SEO replace the time and cost that used to be spent on more traditional marketing (ex. print ads, direct mail)?
- Where does it relate to my company’s other plans and goals?
Contact me to discuss the best place for your company to start with SEO, and get your company ranking higher!
Rarely are so many of Kissinger’s Web Services combined in a single project. However, that was the case with a recent request from Seagroatt Riccardi, an industry-leading floral distributor.
The family owned business, located in Latham, NY, was originally a premiere rose-growing business under Henry J. Seagroatt. Later, the company upgraded its technical operations and business processes so it could serve retail florists across the northeast United States. Today, Seagroatt Riccardi continues to expand as it provides fresh flowers and floral products year round, as well as personal attention to clients.
When it came time to update their web presence, Seagroatt Riccardi wanted to set the standard for wholesale live delivery in the industry. Due to the short shelf life of their products, the ability to update and display live inventory was key.
Matt Perfetti at Seagroatt Riccardi described their needs:
“We were seeking a redesigned website, focused on e-commerce, that integrated with our Sage 100 ERP Advanced system. It had to display inventory and pricing in real time in an easy-to-navigate and visually appealing interface, and push completed sales orders immediately to Sage for processing. We then added customized controls that mimic the business rules our staff applies to every situation to make certain that our users receive the same level of professional service when placing web orders as with phone orders.
These goals became solid achievements with the launch of the finished site, which announced to the world that Seagroatt Riccardi, LTD. has propelled itself again into the forefront of technology with unique style in the Wholesale Floral Industry. We are extremely proud of this achievement and are excitedly looking forward to further technological developments that add value to every customer interaction. It will be the talented team at Kissinger Associates that will undoubtedly remain an integral part of that aspiration.”
Seagroatt Riccardi customers can now:
- Browse Seagroatt’s live inventory and place orders online
- Access their account information—sales orders, invoices, credits—from Seagroatt’s website
- Find items easier using categories, keywords, colors, and/or prices
You can see Seagroatt Riccardi’s new website here, and check out their cooler tours, the innovative method they use to give customers a visual of the live inventory.
If you use Kissinger enhancement software with your Sage 100 ERP system, read on to find out if the recent Sage 100 updates could have an impact on your enhancement software compatibility and whether a compliance fix is required. Be sure to also check the “Additional Notes” section at the end of this post for a couple of important details.
There’s probably a lot going on at your office right now.
For those of you performing year-end closing and other tasks in Sage 100 (MAS 90/200), it can be a little overwhelming.
Here’s another resource to help you out: a Year End FAQ guide from Sage that covers:
- What you need for different closing activities
- Location of year-end closing resources
- Changes to procedures from previous years
You can download the guide here, or contact your Sage reseller with questions.
An important Sage 100 ERP 2013-Q1 Tax Table Update (TTU) is now available for Sage 100 (MAS 90/200) users with a current Sage support subscription. It is required for federal and some states and will affect businesses using Sage 100.
This update works for Sage 100 ERP versions 184.108.40.206+, 4.4, 4.5, and 2013. Sage previously stated that as of December 31, 2012, they would no longer support updates, including the TTU, to Sage 100 ERP version 4.3. However, due to the new 2013 Medicare requirements, Sage will provide you with a 2013-Q1 TTU and a 2012 IRD this month. Sage will also provide a 2013 941 form update in March 2013.
Also, if you use a Kissinger payroll enhancement (ACH Direct, Certified Payroll, or Union Automation), you should contact your Sage reseller or check our website to ensure compatibility. Some tax table updates from Sage require a compliance fix.
The tax table update is available this week as a download from Sage. Contact your Sage reseller for details or to inquire about your support status with Sage.
Sage 500 ERP 2013, the newest version of Sage 500 ERP, has been released by Sage for download. Talk to your Sage reseller about upgrading, or visit our complete What’s New in Sage 500 ERP 2013 page for a full breakdown of new features.
In the recent Sage rebrand, the numbering system for versions of the product was changed to years instead of the 7.3, 7.4, etc. system. Now we have Sage 500 ERP 2013, which comes with ways for users to increase productivity, simplify processes, and reduce costs.
Sage highlighted these features in a recent Sage email:
- Increase productivity in accounting and finance with the import of pending cash receipts. Simplify reconciliations and period-end closing with the ability to track miscellaneous cash receipts within Accounts Receivable, and the option to lock down postings to subledgers individually as needed or by company.
- Process credit cards faster and easier with improved security using the Sage Exchange Vault to store credit card information and additional payment entry options.
- Simplify processes by customizing Sage 500 ERP 2013 with easier and more powerful tools, such as a syntax checker for custom scripts, additional controls, and even custom tabs to accommodate additional fields.
- Reduce costly downtime and increase productivity using new Visual Process Flows (pictured above) to simplify complex tasks. On document transmittals, add multiple email recipients, leverage keyword replacements, and simplify transaction processing with consistent posting routines across all modules.
- Simplify processes in Manufacturing with the introduction of non-inventory items to routings and bills of material, the ability to backflush setup hours, and a new option to delete or cancel a work order.
- Reduce costly man-hours and simplify costing changes with the new global pricing changes, and increase productivity with the ability to copy an existing sales order or quote to a new customer.
Would you like to know more?
It’s Year End time again! That means every company using Sage 100 (formerly MAS 90 and 200) should be up to speed on the best practices for closing their modules.
If you’re not entirely sure about how to close Sage 100, or if you’re new to the software, sign up for our annual Year End Processing Webinar!
Our host Joseph Powell has lots of experience with closings, and will cover common questions and places where people get stuck, as well as W-2 preparation. Plus, if you have a Kissinger Support Plan, there’s no cost to attend.
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
1pm to 2pm
We put together a little poem to commemorate this joyous time of year for all the Sage 100 users who will be closing their systems for the first time. Remember, if you need a refresher, you can sign up for our Year End Processing webinar on December 18th!
T’was the night before year end, and all through Sage 100
I closed all my modules, hoping I hadn’t blundered
The data was pulled from the system with care
In hopes that next year it would still appear there
I knew I could never retire to bed
While visions of data loss danced through my head
But I had my coffee so I wouldn’t snooze
Until I prepared all our W-2′s
Then throughout the office arose such a clatter
I cried on my keyboard, but what was the matter?
I’d forgotten the order of closing Sage 100
I tore out my hair as I sat there and wondered
Then who in my gray cubicle should appear
But a man with white hair, and a white shiny beard
He said “It’s OK.” as he smiled at me
I thought to myself he must be from IT
“The order of closing is always the same.”
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name
“Close Purchase Order! Sales Order! Inventory! Payroll!
Next close Accounts Receivable and then Accounts Payable!
At last General Ledger! That must be them all!
Now close the year! Close away! Close away all!”
(Author’s Note: This poem does not represent an exact method for closing Sage 100. Also, it’s really hard to rhyme Sage 100 module names.)