Reduce duplicate payments risk with software from Fiscal Technologies

Written by John on May 8th, 2014

As with every step forward and with the crossing of each new frontier, the constant expansion of business – and the constant development of accounting technology and multiplication of business models and strategies – presents firms with new challenges and new dangers. Your Accounts Payable department is now a hugely more complex beast than its predecessors of even a decade ago were: and it is laden with burdensome and serious new responsibilities. What’s more, any increase in the size of your AP department, let alone in its complexity, necessarily opens the door to an increased threat of errors: and they can add up. The new complexity and diversity of the ways in which AP  departments receive payments has created mind-boggling new tasks – and this means new dangers of things falling between the cracks. In a more complex, higher-stakes department, old dangers like fraud, duplicate payments and overpayment still loom large, but in new ways.

Rubbing out routine errors like duplicate payments, faulty procedures or just failures to get the most out of the programmes that you use requires proactive self-auditing. In order to really get to grips with the challenges of a modern and expanding organisation, you need an excellent Accounts Payable audit system. That’s where Fiscal Technologies’AP Forensics software package comes in. AP Forensics is an easy-to-use system which can give you an oversight of your whole AP operation from A to Z.Â

The technology choices that businesses make are now crucial to the success of your accounts payable audit operation. The recovery audit software that you use has to be absolutely top of the range – or else it is simply useless. Fiscal Technologies’ accounts payable audit software package AP Forensics falls firmly into the former category. One of AP Forensic’s greatest virtues is its simplicity. The system is designed to be as straightforward and intuitive for AP professionals as possible, so that information gleaned from your AP Forensics audit can be quickly converted into effective corrective action.Â

Accounts Payable Audit software isn’t the only important weapon in Fiscal Technologies’ armoury. Recovery audit software, designed to assist with recovery of money lost through overpayments or other errors which are detected after the transaction has been completed, is a vital tool: AP Forensics has the software solutions that are needed for effective recovery audits, as well as audits of your AP department’s procedures.

Fiscal Technologies’ decade of experience in the AP field points to the fact that if your staff are not adequately motivated; or if they are not suitably prepared for the fast pace of technological and organisational change, then even the most well-meaning management strategies for improving AP will leave your team feeling shell-shocked rather than empowered. AP Forensics is the software package that you need that can deliver the clear information and hard facts that AP teams require to navigate their way confidently through the changing AP environment.

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Document processing and storage efficiency

Written by Sandra on March 7th, 2014

A document management system allows you to store all of your business documents, physical and electronic, on the same network. Physical documents are converted to electronic ones using a set of document processing technologies, which can take a number of different forms. (Invoice processing just applies these technologies to your accounts department.) The resulting files may be Word documents, if you have more complex software such as optical character recognition, or they may be JPEGs, TIFFs and PDFs if they are straightforward scans.

The advantages of document processing are immense. Companies can literally become paperless, since everything can be uploaded and saved centrally, allowing anyone with permission to access it as they require it. However, it’s not a panacea, and used unwisely there are certain problems. One of the reasons you’ll want to research using such a system is because it is more environmentally friendly, since it doesn’t waste paper. Another is that documents can be found and shared efficiently.

However, there are knock-on effects to other parts of your business. Your IT infrastructure will need to be up-to-date and future-proofed to prevent issues. A common problem to anticipate is storage space.Â

Document processing turns physical papers into electronic files. The software involved does this in a range of ways and with a variety of results. Some outputs (file types) are more useful than others. So, for example, a simple scan programme might give you a TIFF or PDF. These file-types can be optimised – or they can contain a huge amount of unnecessary information. Where files are larger than they need to be (and they can run to many tens of megabytes) your storage space will fill up rapidly. Sooner or later you will have to do something about it to keep your system working. That might be adding more storage (which is reasonably cheap but can come with the complications of restructuring), moving to the cloud (with data protection issues) or carrying out a complex de-dup.

The solution is to think long-term when you are moving to a paperless system. Document processing technology should be chosen on your future needs, not just current ones or simple price level. Otherwise, your document management system will become overloaded and you will end up paying more for emergency storage. Invoice processing, too, could become over-complicated, with customer and supplier goodwill suffering as a result. Since this is something you probably wanted to address and streamline with invoice processing, it’s as well to ensure it doesn’t become a problem further down the line when the new system has been implemented.

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Shop for sale in London -€“ to invest or to rent?

Written by Mark on March 19th, 2013

Commercial property London is subject to change at a second’s notice. Evolving demographic trends, new economic figures, the ups-and-downs of the retail sector: in order to secure a bargain you have to be prepared to put in the time and keep up with what’s happening. The choice of whether to plan for shops to rent in north London or go all-in and look for a shop for sale in London will depend very much on what relative costs are doing at any point in time, as well as the long-term prospects and, of course, your own financial status.

As things currently stand, there is heavy downward pressure on retail rents across London. There are a number of reasons for this, but chief amongst them are continuing economic anxieties, and limited confidence in the Eurozone, as well as the competition represented by the ever-growing online market. A number of high-profile bankruptcies – very recent and more broadly since the beginning of the Credit Crunch – have underscored the fragility of the high street. 2012 was not a good year, with Blockbuster, HMV and Jessops (to name just three) vanishing from the scene.

Why might this be good news? Well, it’s a brave firm that looks to set up in this climate, for starters. But those businesses which do establish in a recession are generally leaner and tougher than the ones which start in good years. Plus, rents are lower at the moment than at any period in the recent past. Empty shops mean decreasing rents, and many surveyors say the trend may continue longer still. This is in contrast to the industrial and office sector, where demand is gradually picking up.

Where does this leave you? If you are looking for shops to let in north London, there may never be as good a time as now. If your business is viable and waiting to start – or expand – then you can pick up a bargain and hit the ground running. If you’re a landlord looking for a shop for sale in London to add to your portfolio, then this presents a rather different dynamic, with lower yields than you might otherwise enjoy. The key thing is to remember that the commercial property London market is not homogeneous; the headline figures you read in the papers mask a vast difference between sectors and in different areas. Choose carefully, plan well and act decisively – and you won’t regret it.

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Powerpoint presentations: what’s the trick?

Written by Sandra on March 14th, 2013

Powerpoint design is something that anyone can do – and people with little or no training often do make Powerpoint presentations for all manner of reasons. In the best cases these are for internal use. However, when someone without any real talent or experience is creating a slide show for use in your sales presentations, you have a problem: you are trusting the future of a product or service to a very weak link in the chain.

The catch is that Powerpoint is so simple to use that it’s very much a victim of its own accessibility – or, more accurately, your sales pitches are the victim. Everyone has been to a terrible presentation where Powerpoint is used in such a way that it not only adds nothing – it detracts from the overall impact. In the worst cases, you will have a speaker delivering a monotone address from the front, with exactly the same words appearing overhead on a slide show. Contrary to popular opinion, this does not make boring material any more memorable. It just serves to send people to sleep.

Powerpoint is a remarkably powerful tool, if used properly. It needs to be integrated with your talk from the start, not added at the end as an afterthought (because that’s exactly what it will seem to be to your audience). Similarly, you shouldn’t repeat the content of your talk word-for-word on the slides. Although there’s some scope for drawing out facts and figures you want people to retain, the slides should complement, not duplicate your spoken presentation. One other point to remember is to keep your slides brief. Long sentences that distract the audience are unhelpful; pithy information is what you want. Keep it sparse – both the content and the number of slides. Down overload people. Use the slides to do something you can’t do with the spoken word, such as display a graph or chart that illustrates a key point.

Powerpoint design is critical to successful sales presentations, but comparatively few businesses understand the role that convincing Powerpoint presentations play in securing a bid. So important is it that there are companies dedicated to creating successful, integrated pitches, making the most of Powerpoint through years of experience. They can also offer training in how to use the best techniques, releasing your slide shows from the mediocrity that so many suffer from – to the detriment of the audience’s attention and your business.

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External louvres: what they achieve for your organisation

Written by John on March 5th, 2013

In its simplest form the brise soleil is little more than a textured wall, and yet in some of its better-known incarnations this architectural device is stunning and detailed in its execution. The Milwaukee Art Museum is world-famous for its folding, automatic wing-style brise soleil. However, in other cases they just take the form of a concrete surface – horizontal or vertical – with spaces in. The idea is that these will let through some but not all of the sunlight that hits them. The exact amount will rely on a number of factors, including the climate, latitude, direction the building is facing and the time of day and year. Variations on this theme include glass louvres and other forms of external louvres. Although they may seem very different, the same principles are employed, and for the same ends.

Effectively, the purpose of all these devices is to limit the amount of sunlight coming through them at key points, whilst still making the most of it at other times. Take a large, modern office building, for example, which may have a broad south-facing window. In the winter this will be a asset to the building (so long as it is properly insulated) since it will let in large amounts of sunlight – thereby cutting down on artificial lighting and heating and their associated expenses. Passive, natural heat and light are typically more comfortable than central heating and electric lights. However, in the summer such a large window would present a significant problem. Without adequate shading, the amount of heat and light it lets in would make the office space hotter than was comfortable (or, in some jurisdictions, legal). The purpose of the brise soleil and external louvres are to vary the incoming sunlight at different times of the day and year. Low-angle morning/evening and winter light is encouraged; hotter, high-angle midday and summer sun is blocked.

Some glass louvres are equipped with photovoltaic systems to generate power as well as limit unwanted light and heat. In other cases, external louvres are automated so that their angle can be customised for the exact circumstances and weather conditions; the one-size-fits-all approach is useful up to a point, but can often be improved. But even a basic brise soleil can make a huge difference, cutting down the need for heating and air conditioning, and therefore improving energy bills in the process.

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Coach hire London -€“ for an easy journey

Written by Sandra on December 26th, 2012

With diesel prices set to go up even further, travelling independently is growing ever more costly. Unfortunately, public transport is suffering from a lack of investment at the same time, meaning that for many people there is no decent alternative to filling up the car and driving themselves. There are many ways around these trends, such as lift-sharing and home-working. For group excursions, minibus hire or coach hire london are ways of spreading the costs between a number of people, whilst still taking a single vehicle – something that has several advantages. Luxury coach hire is another option, since the money saved in the economies of scale enables better vehicles to be rented.

Clubbing together in such a way has a range of benefits. Not least are the advantages for the environment: instead of a dozen or two dozen individuals or families travelling separately, they can all go together after meeting at a local rendezvous point. That means a fraction of the carbon emissions and other pollutants associated with driving. There are financial savings to be made, too. Although a single large vehicle like a bus or coach is more expensive to run, it moves many people. The larger the vehicle the more proportionately inexpensive it tends to be, as the unit cost falls. Minibus hire or coach hire London can therefore be a significantly more cost-effective way of organising corporate travel than many of the alternatives – including driving separately or taking public transport, which is often just as problematic.

A further benefit is the logistical side of things: there’s no need to think about getting everyone to the same place at the same time. Instead, the provided driver (or drivers, for long journeys) will take everyone – meaning that there’s not necessarily a designated driver in your group, so everyone can relax and enjoy the trip. This is particularly welcome in the case of excursions to the continent, where luxury coach travel really comes into its own. coach hire london offering this as an option will have some outstanding vehicles, packed with all the mod cons and entertainment you would usually expect from a flight. Even in the case of minibus hire, it is often far more convenient to have everyone go together. That means no one gets lost, and if you are following an itinerary there will be no waiting around if one or other car breaks down or takes an unexpected detour.

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Bacs software helps businesses keep on top of their accounts

Written by Sandra on November 14th, 2012

bacs, if the term is unfamiliar, stands for Bankers’ Automated Clearing Services. If these words still sound like gobbledegook, bacs payments basically allow people with bank accounts to make and receive payments and transfers very quickly, and without paperwork. Nowadays bacs software allows employers to get money to their employees’ bank accounts almost instantly, with the longest delay rarely lasting more than three days. Altogether, this payment method is fast, effective and safe: workers no longer need to worry so much about spending their last pennies and having nothing in reserve, as long as they are certain of when pay day will be. Obviously, this behaviour is not very responsible and probably wouldn’t be recommended by any financial adviser. However, in our current climate where pay is often low, jobs are scarce and budgets are stretched, it is often very hard to make one’s pay packet last over a month. Freelance workers and the self-employed might also recognise the scenario of spending one’s last pennies but feeling assured that more work will be just around the corner: there are times when we just have to keep our hopes and motivations high and not get down about the prospect of continued instability.

Large employers are increasingly in favour of employing temporary or freelance staff: they have no responsibilities when it comes to freelancers; they need not issue sick pay, or indeed holiday pay. But these big businesses aren’t necessarily the evil profiteers that movements such as Occupy make them out to be. The economic crisis has hit even the largest companies hard and it is better that they continue recruiting freelancers and temporary staff than they make permanent job cuts and only keep their fixed staff on. Also, bacs payments allow the big employers to be loyal and fair to their employees: they are often well aware that some of their staff members, particularly the young, can barely afford their rent, let alone the kit and clothes that would allow them to fit in with their superiors.

So, as long as the employee has provided finance with all the correct banking details, the employer need not let them down or leave them in difficulty – bacs payments are fast and secure. It may sound like scaremongering but many under 25s will identify with this situation. For this ill-fated age group, the bacs system is reassuring. And for employers, bacs software allows them to keep on top of their accounts.

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School uniforms made for children who work and play hard

Written by John on November 9th, 2012

Most parents will concur that the four years between a child’s birth and his or her first day at school is one that just flies by. Naturally we focus on the child when we think of what that first day at school represents. However, the parents are often unprepared too: school systems normally undergo huge changes in the years that pass between being a pupil oneself, and being the parent or carer of a child of school age. Over the years we forget the details, the regulations and the rules that once governed our tender lives. And school clothes rules may fall into this category of forgotten things. Helpfully, a professional London schoolwear supplier won’t forget about uniforms. This is just as well: school uniforms have so many variations and complications that the layman must be informed by a specialist in the field.

There are many pertinent considerations here. First things first: what is your budget? It is often expensive to buy each and every item of school clothing brand new. Some items, such as trousers and school jumpers tend not to survive many hand-downs through the generations but if a child has had a growth spurt shortly after acquiring a fantastic new jumper it may well be worth passing on. And this will save you a fair sum. Some schools arrange second-hand uniform fairs, where it’s easy to find such people and be thrifty, perhaps even make some friends along the way. But if this is not an option just ask your schoolwear supplier for an alternative recommendation – a website, for example. In a worst case scenario you can purchase everything new for your first child and then keep the items that remain in good condition for their younger brothers and sisters. Let’s hope they’re all roughly the same dimensions.

Basically, it’s worth recalling that the London schoolwear supplier has your best interests at heart. Shopping for school clothes can be a headache, especially if you bring young children to the shops, which is often unavoidable if they’re to try things for size or if you don’t have anyone to mind the youngsters while you’re shopping. It’s true that school uniforms can be bought on the internet but you must take extra care when making sure that all items comply with the school’s requirements.

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Recovery audit software can retrieve lost funds

Written by Mark on October 14th, 2012

How much oversight do you really have over your accounts? You might have a good idea of what is coming in and going out every quarter, but what do you know of the detail? The fact is that it would be impossibly time-consuming to have every payment you make or receive tallied against invoices, statements and other paperwork. That’s why duplicate payments, fraud and other errors can cost businesses so much. The more transactions you make, the more money you are likely to be throwing away due to payments that are unnecessary. An accounts payable audit helps you to pinpoint where the leaks are in your system, throwing up warning signals when it seems like you have paid businesses or suppliers when you shouldn’t have done. recovery audit software allows you to claw back what you have lost over time.

Often the problem will be innocent enough. The average invoice might have something like twelve fields of data in it. Fill out or copy one of these carelessly and the result could be an inaccurate payment – perhaps too much, perhaps too little, perhaps something that has been paid before. The mistake could have happened at your end or when the invoice was written. However, in some cases it’s more sinister than this. Unscrupulous suppliers might double-send an invoice, knowing that you don’t have the systems in place to catch such dodges. The amount might be familiar, and so it goes through the accounts without a second thought.

Duplicate payments and other forms of overpayment can be a significant fraction of a company’s turnover. If you engage in significant volumes of small transactions, then even a small proportion of these will start to make a mark in your profit margin – and could mean the difference between sinking and staying afloat. Carrying out an accounts payable audit will often pay for itself the first time you do it. However, you should use recovery audit software as soon as possible, because the longer you leave it the lower the chances of retrieving your money. Companies go out of business, and individuals die or move away. If this has happened then realistically there is little chance of being compensated. Perhaps more importantly, you need to know what is going wrong in the present – it won’t just be past mistakes. There may be instances of ongoing fraud you need to protect yourself against, or cases where repeated problems occur month after month, and cost you more and more as you go on.

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Invoice processing that prizes your mobile workforce

Written by Sandra on September 6th, 2012

Offices used to be cluttered and complicated places with machines and filing cabinets in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Cumbersome photocopiers would stand next to huge switchboard systems, and computers with voluminous monitors would occupy whole desks. Going back further still, some parts of offices would have been reminiscent of craft shops, as employees made carbon copies of paperwork. Document management in those days represented a formidable task, requiring memory and handwriting abilities at the top of their game. Now, of course, these skills are not completely disregarded but they can be overlooked among people whose analytical thought as well as their pragmatism is deemed to be more of an asset. Indeed, document processing really requires staff to have their wits about them, especially if the documents are going somewhere private. Confidentiality is certainly important these days, and perhaps more than ever since ‘hackgate’ (The Leveson inquiry). Even fellow employees must be protected in this department, for the safe invoice processing of their wages and fees is an important marker of any given institution’s reputation.

A company that is able to secure a healthy reputation in terms of its relationship with its employees will be sure to have a weight lifted from its shoulders, as well as a clearer sight of its future aims. Speedier invoice to pay systems, used by casual workers and freelancers will be very helpful in terms of granting a clear vision looking forwards. Thus the modern working environment that uses document management systems efficiently will literally and metaphorically have more capacity to grow – paper transformed into electronic content will give clear sightlines and an uncluttered environment while fast payment systems will keep the company in the good books and ensure that external services are offered ever more eagerly. Put simply, decluttering and getting on top of admin and accounts means empowering the mobile workforce.

What most companies should be striving for in this day and age is a transparent system and a realistic, though ambitious approach to allocating budgetary funds. Different departments of individual companies have extremely varying needs and it is important that the management acquaints itself with every department’s requirements, individually. If that sounds like a problem, consider document processing whereby nominated individuals could be speak for their department and interact directly with document content in a location visible to the directors. When document management occurs in this way, the management proper will have more knowledge and be able to do a better job. invoice processing is slightly different of course but can be handled in an equally fair and transparent way.

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