Harriet Gatter of Accounting Support, LLC Interview


Harriet Gatter of Accounting Support, LLC Interview

What is the best accounting system for an Ad Specialty Distributor?
The Ad Specialty Distributor’s business is unique and complex.  We are different from other businesses, and the high level of detail with our customization of products makes tracking and accounting for orders a challenge.  Unfortunately, there is not a perfect system for our industry.  For the average distributor in our business, however, QuickBooks or QuickBooks integrating with SAGE Online provides a solution that is affordable and it works well.

Why do you prefer QuickBooks?
QuickBooks is the #1 accounting software for small to medium sized businesses, providing a comprehensive accounting solution that continues to evolve and improve.

Being the #1 software, it is simpler to find bookkeepers and accountants.  It is also more readily accepted by potential lenders or buyers because of its wide distribution.  You could argue that using it makes your business more valuable.

I do a large number of conversions from other systems into QB or QB with SAGE each year.  I hear from many distributors come tax time when their tax accountants refuse to work another year using an unfamiliar accounting software.  The workings of our industry are unfamiliar enough to those on the outside; adding an unfamiliar accounting software on top of that can be a recipe for disaster.

Which QuickBooks do you recommend?
I recommend QuickBooks Premier for the average Ad Specialty Distributor.  The very large distributor (over $2 million) might need to go up to QB Enterprise.  I always recommend starting with Premier. It is affordable and Intuit makes it easy to upgrade to the more expensive and powerful Enterprise.  The conversion downward in products (from Enterprise to Premier) is not so simple.

QB Premier is a desktop product, so you own it and it is housed on your computer or server.  The Manufacturing and Wholesale Edition of Premier (an option to be chosen when downloading Premier) is designed for Sales Orders, Supplier Purchase Orders, and Invoicing which are all critical steps in our business.  Because you own this software, as compared to having a subscription service, you will have your order history as long as you keep the software and company file on your computer.  You can always move to another system if you outgrow this one and still keep your order history; this is something you will not have with many other systems.

How does the QuickBooks system integrating with SAGE Online work?
As distributors, we need a product data base to search and produce presentations. Typically, that would be SAGE Online or ASI’s ESP system. SAGE Online also allows you to put a chosen item into a Sales Order and Purchase Order without reentering data and then export it into QuickBooks.  The data that is created in QB (if it doesn’t already exist) is Customer, Vendor (Supplier), Item, Sales Order and Purchase Order. This saves a great deal of time, eliminates duplication of effort, and reduces the chance for data entry errors. 

Are there any shortcomings or downsides to these QuickBooks solutions?
As I said before, there is not a perfect system for our industry.  Whenever you convert to a new system, you will gain features and lose others, regardless of which software packages you are considering.  The goals are to be accurate and save time in this back-office work.

There are two needs yet to be met. First, neither SAGE nor QuickBooks has the means to calculate gross profit by sales to produce commission reports.  Secondly, there is not a comprehensive tracking system for our orders which require constant attention. 

But work is in process. I am working on an inexpensive app that will pull data out of QuickBooks to produce a Commission Report by Sales Rep based on Gross Profit and provide a detailed tracking of all open orders for all distributors using QB. 

I am also currently working with several distributors to have apps created to solve their particular problems to make these QuickBooks or QuickBooks with SAGE Online systems more customized for their particular businesses.

We are a unique industry full of creative people. It is little wonder our accounting and order management systems require some creativity, too.  

Harriet Gatter of Accounting Support, LLC:

Name:  Harriet Gatter
Title: Owner Operator
Location: Charlotte, NC (USA)
Company Website: www.AccountingSupportLLC.com
Contact Info:
P: 610-715-2852

Blogs:  Author of the “Ask the Accountant” Blog for Promo Marketing and Print + Promo Magazines

One Sentence Bio:
Harriet Gatter, a former Ad Specialty Distributor of 23 years and accounting professor, now works exclusively with Ad Specialty Distributors to simplify & streamline their Order Management and Accounting needs using QuickBooks, QuickBooks integrated with SAGE Online and any other idea or plug-in that might work, too.


No comments:

Post a comment