Date of interview: Feb 10, 2016
For many small businesses in New Zealand, the secret to success is simplicity. Operations run at their best when they are allowed to blend into the furniture, and the best computing solutions are those that can be relied on to function with a minimum of fuss.
For Karen Heard of Heard's Landscape Supplies in Papakura, keeping track of the company accounts had long been a manual process.
"The company belongs to my parents and I've worked here personally for 30 years," she says. "In the office it's my mother and myself, but my brother works for us as well as three other employees."
For Karen, bringing in a new business accounting software system in 2010 was quite a step.
"We weren't using any form of accounting system before. I would basically just type all of our accounts out and keep my own paper trail," Karen says. "We're not high-tech here!"
A big step towards simplifying operations
After seeking expert advice regarding how their administrative systems could be improved in the business, Karen and her family made the decision to begin using the CashManager system from Accomplish.
"Our accountant suggested we use CashManager and it has certainly saved us plenty on accountant fees. The ability to get easy access to all our information is the most useful aspect of the software," she says.
As a business selling landscape supplies as well as offering skip bins and green waste disposal, knowing where cashflow is coming from and going to is a huge part of the work day.
"Keeping track of who owes us money and for how long, along with what our customers are taking most of - being able to easily generate reports with CashManager has made all of these tasks much easier for us."
Support every step of the way
As someone fairly inexperienced with small business software, Karen needed a system that is not only user-friendly, but also features an approachable and helpful support network.
"Any issues with the software have completely been on my part - and it's happened many times," she jokes.
Adapting from 25 years of keeping track of accounts the old fashioned way, Karen has been very pleased with the assistance the team have been able to offer, no matter what the issue she was experiencing.
"We had an issue the other day which meant I had to call the CashManager support staff, and I said to my mum there's no way in the world we would be able to handle our accounts without the help of the support team. They are so good and so helpful."
A system that slips into the background
In Karen's eyes, the true benefit of CashManager lies in how much it has become an integral piece of the fabric of her family's company.
"It's part of us now, essentially an invisible part of our daily business. CashManager has made everything easier - before I had to type up all the accounts which would take days and days on end. Now it's basically done in a single day," she says.
'We're a family business and we tend to just plod on, but CashManager keeps all the information we need right at our fingertips."