Twelve months ago New Zealand-owned and operated retail store Mason Appliances upgraded its business software from Profax to Accredo Mercury. After a smooth transition - thanks to on-the-ground support from Accredo reseller Staples Rodway - the move is now paying dividends.
Updating its core business software to Accredo Mercury, one of New Zealand's leading business and accounting software systems, has given the Taranaki retail appliance store, a functionally rich system, which is saving time on critical day-to-day administration tasks and providing more accurate information to the business.
Affiliated to the national Appliance Connexion 100% group, Mason Appliances operates a standalone shop in New Plymouth’s town centre, and also maintains a service centre and kitchen design company - Kitchenz. In 2005, a change of back-office staff precipitated the need for a new business software system and Mason Appliances approached accounting and business computing services company Staples Rodway for help.
After reviewing Mason's needs Bryce Gordon, Manager, Business Computing Services for Staples Rodway, discovered a few issues with the store's existing system that could be handled much more easily with Accredo.
“Mason Appliances was using the forerunner to Accredo, Profax, which had provided extremely good service, but the size of its business, together with a need to change to accommodate staff members who could only work part-time, meant it needed to review its options.”
The store wanted to simplify business processes and minimise the time spent on manual system updates to allow Donna Robinson, Mason's new Business Service Manager, to work reduced hours.
“We recommended Accredo as it provides the perfect match of functionality and value for money for a retail business. And due to its flexibility, it doesn’t lock a firm into defined work processes. The software can be adapted to suit the way the business operates.”
The key timesaving feature offered by Accredo is the ability to automate bank reconciliations. Previously, Robinson says, this was a time consuming task.
“Prior to Accredo being installed we had to manually load all the transactions that appeared on our bank statement one-by-one each day. Accredo has the ability to download from the bank software directly into the cashbook module and we can then move the transactions off to accounts receivable or accounts payable with minimum fuss.”
Robinson says Accredo has also given her finance team the ability to work over different calendar periods - another time-saving feature that takes the pressure of month-end reconciliations.
“Before there was always a big rush at the end of the month to get things closed off so everyone could roll into a new month. But now with Accredo we can roll the modules over individually. I can, for instance, operate general ledger, cashbook and accounts payable separately and in different time periods, which means I don't hold anyone up.”
Accredo has also helped Mason Appliances improve the accuracy of its stock management and is paving the way for the introduction of barcode scanners. Before Accredo was installed Robinson says the company had issues with manual stock that was not being entered correctly into the system.
“We had a lot of one-off items that ended up recorded under a miscellaneous stock code, because it was too difficult for sales assistants to create new codes particular to the item. Over time this manual stock had grown in size and the value of the items staff were putting into this area also rose.”
Because these items were not being recorded correctly, Mason's stock reports would not reconcile correctly, says Gordon. But now Accredo has helped the store radically improve the capture of inventory information by streamlining the process of establishing stock codes.
“What was once an onerous process can now be completed much more efficiently. Mason's now has an improved picture of the amount and value of the stock that enters and leaves the store. It also has more accurate reporting into the general ledger.”
Robinson says getting to grips with a new business software system is never easy but the transition to Accredo Mercury was greatly assisted by the consulting and support advice given by Staples Rodway, who has approved Accredo qualified support people (QSP) on staff.
“It is extremely beneficial to have support which is local to you. Staples Rodway has built up knowledge in the way our business operates and that makes it easer for it to respond to our requests.”
Gordon says Staples Rodway offers a range of computer service and support services to a number of small-to-medium-sized companies in the Taranaki region and is happy to recommend Accredo to businesses operating in a range of sectors, including retail, distribution and engineering.
“Accredo is a good fit because it is customisable. And Accredo is interested in listening to feedback from their customers and incorporates that as new features and functionality in subsequent releases of the product. It is developed so businesses get what they want – there are enough settings to allow people to achieve everything they need.
Gordon says helpdesk support for QSPs is extremely direct. “Just as our clients appreciate a direct localised response. We can also get a similar service from Accredo. When we have a client with an urgent issue, they take that on board and respond appropriately.”
Says Robinson: “We feel our investment of time and money is paying off well. The software is very user-friendly and is helping us improve all aspects of our business, from financial reporting through to sales and customer service.”