IDU | Budgeting Forecasting and Reporting Solutions: March 2014

Monday, 31 March 2014

Asset Management

Keeping track of your assets when you are a large business, such as a university with several campuses or a company with far-flung offices can be a genuine challenge. Realistically, you cannot assign more than one or two people to take stock of all of your assets and even this could take weeks or months resulting in a costly venture.

Whereas in the past, manual tracking and stocktaking was the only option, there are now programs designed to facilitate and streamline the monitoring, verification and management of fixed assets. Strong asset register software supplemented with the idu Assets Module should be able to accommodate multiple companies, asset books, cost centre and asset hierarchies, making this process a non-issue for your company.

A few simple extras can make the world of difference to how you manage your asset register, so be sure to look out for the following automated options with your software…

The cost centre manager should be notified of new assets that have been assigned to them. Selecting the new asset view should allow the cost centre manager to allocate it to a location and a person responsible

There should be a function that enables users to perform asset verification aimed at physically verifying the company’s assets on a periodic cycle. If assets have not been verified, it should send users an overdue asset verification reminder, noting whether it is current, 30 days, 60 days or 90 days overdue.

Existing assets should be displayed by asset group, clearly showing the asset cost, accumulated depreciation and book value. Selecting an asset group should display the assets within the group and the relevant information pertaining to the asset.

There should be an asset disposal option, allowing the user to dispose of an asset giving a reason and any additional comments. Once the submit button has been hit, the administrator should be automatically notified of the disposal.

If an asset is transferred internally, between branches for example, the cost centre receiving the asset transfer should be required to accept or reject this inward transfer. When logging on to the application the user should be notified that an asset has been transferred and that it needs to be accepted or rejected, and the cost centre that originated the transfer should be notified of the result.

You should be able to view detailed asset information, either by an asset view or cost centre at various levels within the cost centre structure dependent on user access. The summarised asset details should be displayed in the selected structures and by drilling down through the structure, the user should be able to see cost and depreciation figures at the various levels for a selected period.

The system should also go a long way to automating the reconciliation of assets from budgeted CAPEX to actual spend and support a many to many reconciliation environment.

There are a number of reasons you might need to track your assets from allowing the cost of the asset to be spread over its “working life”, to meeting Financial Regulation requirements, to providing details such as their location and who the responsible person for it is or even simply for insurance purposes.

But with advanced technology that is easy to use and navigate, this should not be a chore for you or your staff; the people responsible for each asset should keep the system up to date and your administrator should simply be notified if anything changes, ensuring your asset register is always current and ready for review.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Idu-Concept Version 5

idu Software introduced the new and improved Version 5 of their flagship product idu-Concept at the idu User Conference held last week. The new version has built on new technologies that allowed greater coding flexibility which in turn resulted in substantial performance gains. It also has cross-browser compatibility and allows asynchronous programming and speeds up events for a better user experience.

 “The new design features faster data retrieval; faster updates; spreadsheet-based design for familiarity; colour scheme contrast allowing the user to quickly identify editable rows; and a more flexible, interactive front end,” says James Smith, co-founder, director and IT and tech guru at idu Software. “The capture screens are more intuitive with less drill down using in-line editing, and budget types are grouped together to speed up capturing similar accounts.”

There have been some fine-tuning tweaks such as allowing multiple browser tabs for easy toggling and working on more than one module at the same time, and adding a dropdown box to the search function. There has also been the addition of the Context Menu, the “right click” option all PC users will be familiar with, which provides a shortcut list of available functions specific to the row or cell being edited. A few other updates include auto save, column resizing and even context sensitive help, allowing the help document to open to where the user is currently in the system.

“One of the stars of the new system is In-line editing on all budget types,” says Smith. “It allows the user capturing budget or forecast values on the main screen where the values are seen, rather than having to first drill down into the account in order to capture the values, reducing the time required. Thanks to the in-line editing functionality, multiyear budgeting has also been extended to all budget types.”

Keeping the customer and their evolving needs front of mind has also led to the extension of the off-line functionality. With increased need to be able to access their information from anywhere while maintaining its security and where network connectivity is poor or does not exist, data from all budget types can now be exported from client, worked on off-line and then re imported at a later date.

“Using new technologies enabled us to change the look and feel of idu-Concept,” says Kevin Phillips, co-founder and Managing Director of idu. “The focus was to enhance the user experience by speeding up processes and providing more user-friendly, intuitive screens and functionality, and the team has gone a long way to meeting all of these goals with Version 5.”

Monday, 3 March 2014

idu-Concept now available in the cloud

Budgeting and reporting software solution idu-Concept is now available in the cloud, making its benefits available to medium-sized businesses without the expense and hassle of a major implementation project, the company has announced.

“idu-Concept is an easy-to-use alternative to Excel budgeting that gives companies better control over their budget process, with greater accountability and transparency,” says idu MD Kevin Phillips. “Over the past couple of years we've had a lot of queries from potential customers who wanted the software, but found the cost of outright purchase and implementation prohibitive. A cloud-based version of the software makes it accessible to many more businesses.”

“Any company that’s already running an ERP system like Pastel, Accpac or Syspro can now be up and running with idu-Concept within days,” says Phillips. “Using the cloud-based version of the software makes it a viable opex expense with a fixed monthly cost per user, rather than a major capital project.” The cloud version is available for standard financial budgeting and reporting as well as for revenue sales budgeting and reporting.

Phillips says organisations using idu-Concept have shorter budget cycles and get more timely reports than those using Excel. “They also get better management buy-in to the budget process and the ability for line managers, even those who aren't financially trained, to use budgets as a day-to-day expense management tool. The organisation ends up with many more people who are truly accountable for their budgets at cost centre level.”

idu-Concept in the cloud is hosted at the new Dube Tradeport data centre in Durban, says Phillips, ensuring excellent performance and reliability. “There is full off-site replication to ensure no service interruptions, and thanks to the international bandwidth landing in Durban, it’s fast. We’re getting better performance from the data centre servers than from some local machines,” says Phillips.