Getting Started In ERP

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Ilene Eisen, ERP

INVESTMENT IS MINIMAL: To get started is a minimal investment. Intuit's Pro Advisor Program includes the software and certification course. There are also free Webcasts and paid Webinars and live courses from Intuit. Membership is $399 for one year or $499 per year, including Enhanced Payroll for Accountants. The same fee is charged each year as a renewal. Members get 15 [percent] to 30 percent discounts on software. Factor in your own hardware, networking [and] office infrastructure costs.

TAKE YOUR OWN MEDICINE: The best way to get started is to join the program and start using the software internally as soon as possible. This is a huge investment in time to get familiar with the product and learn the accounting and bookkeeping required for any accounting software.

BE PREPARED: One caveat is that there are plenty of folks who enter the market unprepared and clients can see through them right away, so make sure you know the product and accounting before you charge for your services.

PROVIDE FULL-SERVICE AND CONSULTING: Besides the technology, I also help organize their office, with filing schemes. That gets you into the whole paperless office arena. I also do some managerial consulting. 'I notice this in your business and I think this might be an opportunity for you. Do you realize that money is slipping through the cracks?' I also advise them on hardware upgrades. New software is often not supported on older hardware. Most of the time, when people get a new accounting system, they also get new hardware and maybe new networking. In many companies, you might have five people on PCs that have never been networked.

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STICK WITH WHAT YOU KNOW: I don't like to be on the bleeding edge, I like the leading edge. What I see in the marketplace is the vast majority [of small businesses] use QuickBooks, so I want to spend my time there. Until I have clients who really want, say, Microsoft Small Business Accounting and need help there, it just doesn't make sense for me to get up to speed. ... QuickBooks is so popular, and there are a ton of add-ons. On, there are more than 400 products—and those are just the people who have registered.