Friday, August 27, 2010

Considering Computerising your Financial Accounts

By James Doyle, Synergy Network Ltd

You have already taken the difficult step of setting up a business and are using either manual books or a spreadsheet to record your transactions. You realise that you could be getting better information and that many small businesses use computerised accounts system.

So what is involved and why would you do it. Well, for one thing you will save yourself time as you only have to enter a transaction once in the system.

It is very easy to run a report which will show who owes you money and more importantly for how long. Do you spend much time preparing the Vat return or do you hand it over to your accountant – now with either Sage or TAS you can run a Vat return at a click of a button. Instead of using a word processor you can produce a professional looking invoice or statement with your own logo from the system. You will have a better handle on the overall performance of the business by running regular profitability reports.

As your business expands your system may need to record sales orders and deliveries and check whether a particular item is in stock. You may need to open a Sterling bank account to deal with UK suppliers or customers. If you have Sales reps you might want them to take orders on handheld systems and download them into your accounts system.

Before deciding which system to implement you should be clear in your own mind what features/modules you want from the system and the benefits you expect it to bring to your business. You should also look for assurances on the following issues:

1. Is the system proven in the marketplace (as opposed to being developed by the neighbours child !!)

2. Will the system be capable of growing with the business in terms of extra modules and users

3. Can the system provider also deliver training and ongoing support afterwards

4. Are references available from other users of the software

5. Is the system capable of being backed up for security purposes

6. That your staff who will operate the system are buying into it

Once you have chosen the appropriate system (whether it be Sage 50, TAS, Exchequer Enterprise or some other system) for your business you need to plan the implementation. What date is the system going to start from and have you got all your manual or spreadsheets up to date. It might be advisable to concentrate on getting your customers and sales invoices up initially and follow on with your suppliers and purchases. You will need to consider whether you will attend a classroom training session or get onsite training which will be more specific to your requirements. You will also need to specify the reports which you will need from the system as this will have implications for the set up. The main thing is to have a plan and get assistance and training from experienced systems providers.

If you wish to discuss computerising or upgrading your accounting system contact James for a free consultation at 071-9146815 , or check out the website

Friday, August 20, 2010

Maintaining your Profits in 2010

by Enda Candon of Firstwestern

There are ways to continue to make profits in a recession. Here are four simple things any business can do to help their bottom line in 2010.

1. Take advantage of decreasing costs. Most businesses are both suppliers and customers at the same time. Your business needs to buy goods to sell or raw materials to manufacture and employ people. When demand weakens, remember your suppliers business is probably falling too. Therefore it is opportune to renegotiate every supply contract to get lower costs and look at getting your staff to take pay cuts as the cost of living is also falling.

2. Thinking the only way to increase demand is to cut price. Price cuts aren’t the only way to stimulate demand, and sometimes is not the best approach. Remember its easy to lower prices, but much harder to increase them again as customers become accustomed to lower prices. Many times buisiness can be more successful when competing on service, quality, or something other than price. So shifting to price cutting in a recession is often a losing strategy.

3. Failing to recognise increased competition. In a recession, competition accelerates because more businesses are chasing a smaller market size. In addition, when unemployment rises, people start new businesses thus further increasing competition. So the need to have a competitive advantage is even more important in a recession than in a booming economy.

4. Demand for all products does not increase in a recession. When customers cut back on their spending, they often substitute one product for another. For instance, discretionary spending on dining out in top restaurants has decreased, however fast food sales has increased. So look at areas and markets that your business serves and figure out the products and services demand is likely to increase for and lead the way in supplying them.

See the first western blog at
Contact Firstwestern at or e-mail: phone: 071 912 2834

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Small Hinges Swing Big Doors

By Brian Dolan, Progressive Business Development

Life is something which seems to happen to us while we’re not paying attention. One morning we suddenly stop and inspect a stranger staring at us from our reflection in a shop window. He (or she) may well be fat and forty, greying or balding, and trailing the current fashions by a decade or two.

Our pressing engagements keep us moving, but later, a closer examination in the mirror at home confirms our growing suspicions. It really was our own reflection…

Sudden realisation of an unpalatable fact does not confirm that this fact happened suddenly, usually the reverse is true. It happened at glacial speed; a waistline gaining in synchronisation with our jeans wearing out, and a looser style purchased. A comfort level in personal style achieved, and retained for years as if in suspended animation.

I’ve chosen two events, which creep up on us over time, and we may think of friends or colleagues who we feel fit this bill. But let’s examine it in context. All of us go through our daily lives moving fluidly from past, (remembering successes or failures) to future, (hoping or dreaming). But how many of us make a point of spending some time each day in the present, and while we are there, examining our daily routines, habits and customs?

Our current life is a function of our habits, which assist us tremendously in performing routine tasks, but unexamined will trap us in an existence which we never intended.

We all see ourselves in the future as a fit, happy and financially secure person, but our habits may be charting a very different course.

In 400 B.C. Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living”. I believe he may be right, but for reasons he never suspected. The game is on! Pay attention!

Develop a habit of doing more than you are paid for, and before you know it, you’ll be paid for more than you do. Contact Brian Dolan at 071-96 45752 e-mail 087-2374695.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Using Facebook from a Business Perspective

Facebook for Business, practical tips

by 2Market - online and offline marketing experts in Sligo and West of Ireland

Most businesses don’t realise what a powerful marketing tool Facebook is.

There are over 1.6 million people in Ireland on Facebook, with 850,000 people logging on once a day and 83% logging on at least once per week.

According to an Irish survey carried out by Mulley Communications in April last, a significant proportion of advertising on Facebook is read. 71% of those surveyed indicated that they looked at ads on their profile pages. It also found that users paid even more attention to page updates in their newsfeed wall.

Convinced? Here is my practical guide to doing business on Facebook and integrating it into your online and offline marketing strategy!

1. People set up “personal profiles” in Facebook and businesses set up “business pages”. This may sound like a basic recommendation, but I come across businesses all the time, that are using a “personal profile” which is a breach of Facebooks terms of use, and could result in an instant termination of the account. And if a business has built up a few hundred or even a few thousand (and yes I have come across this..) friends, losing all those valuable contacts would simply be a disaster.

2. Personal profiles are limited to 5000 friends, so that’s another reason to use a business page.

3. Personal Profiles have “Friends” and Business Pages have “Likes” (Previously known as “Fans”).

4. “Friends” on facebook have access to each other’s personal information, photos and posts. So keep your friends as “friends” and your business associates as “fans” (of your business page.)

5. Fans of your business page will receive updates from you, but have no access to your personal profile. This is an important point to make as most businesses I come across, have avoided Facebook or are using it incorrectly for this very reason.

6. A business page may have more than one administrator, so the task of updating your business page can be shared between a number of people in your organisation.

7. Invite all your “friends” to become “fans” of your business page. Remember, social networking is “word of mouth online”, so use your contacts’ to spread the word. Encourage all your employees/friends to repeat the exercise which will help to get the ball rolling!

8. When you have 25 “fans” you can personalise your business page (eg. by using the following link: http:/

9. Post interesting regular (but not too regular) updates on your facebook page. Give your fans (and potential fans) a reason to keep coming back for more. Be inventive; run competitions, encourage discussion... think outside the box! The key is to differentiate yourself from your competition!

10. Post updates on other relevant Facebook pages. For example; I’ve often posted updates on the Mayo Association Facebook page for events I think their fans may be interested in.

11. Remember to encourage your “fans” to visit your website. So always include a link to the most relevant page on your website. Most businesses miss this point. Your Facebook page is a very powerful tool to drive traffic to your website. Use posts’ on your business page to stimulate interest and redirect traffic to your website.

12. I continue to find PPC Advertising on Facebook an amazing tool as it enables advertisers to accurately target people based on their location, demographics, likes/interests, their education and work.

Want to find out more...? 2Market manages a number of Facebook Business Pages for clients across a range of sectors. Simply call us on 087 9291125 or fill on our online enquiry form.