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Case study: national restaurant chain.

A national restaurant chain, in the early summer of 1989, was interested in automating their inventory of antiques, which were displayed on their restaurant walls. Their Big 6 auditor had previously recommended Accpac Plus, Platinum or Solomon Ill as potential solutions.

This restaurant chain showed a strong interest in Platinum because of the import capabilities of Xtrieve and the front-end possibilities of Magic PC. However, Platinum was quickly dismissed due to the length of the G/L account number field and the lack of integrity in Xtrieve's importing process. Accpac Plus was also eliminated.

They were impressed with the error trapping built into Solomon III's import process and with the Lotus templates used by its External Systems Interface module (ESI, its importer). Five meetings later, 12 corporate representatives agreed that Solomon III was the product for them. But they were concerned that their warehouse employees lacked the expertise necessary to do receipts and transfers properly in Solomon's inventory.

We used the Lotus template for inventory transactions provided by the ESI module as a stand-alone data entry screen for the warehouse workers. Therefore, having that PC interface with their main network was not an issue. It eliminated their worries about distance, power and temperature. The warehouse workers need only enter receipts and transfers into columns on the spreadsheet template. Any erroneous entries would be eliminated by ESI's error trapping. This spreadsheet is brought by diskette to the main network twice a day and imported into Solomon's data files. The data is then exported to their Hewlett Packard mainframe for general ledger work.

PC issues discussed in the course of this project included accounting software, local area networks, mainframe connectivity and file import/export. This client was impressed with the consultant's general business problem solving skills and breadth of knowledge. So impressed that two other groups within the company bought lunch in exchange for input on two non-accounting, non-PC issues they were trying to resolve, on two separate occasions. The consultant was clearly established as both project manager and problem solver.

There are a number of more intangible benefits that can be gained by accountants from working with rightsizing clients: 1. As accounting software professionals, we will be well

positioned to break new ground and lead the charge

into the rightsizing market. 2. The assets that we have, in networking and consulting,

further enable us to keep current with all services

and, thus, further distance ourselves from our more

fragmented competition who rely more on breath

than breadth. 3. We can maximize profit opportunities with rightsizing

clients, making them more viable than when we are

pigeonholed into one department that often proves

more time consuming than profitable.

However, accounting software professionals with this breadth of knowledge will be difficult to find and will involve more time investment in training. On the surface, they may appear costly, but, they can drive network and consulting services into our offices.


In conclusion, accounting software professionals and consultants have long aspired to be on the cutting edge of the multi-user accounting software market. This edge comes at a price. Bigger and more affluent clients afford opportunities for bigger profits but demand and a wider breadth of technical expertise and professionalism.

Accounting software is, by definition, integrating business functions. Years of experience on accounting, software and networks have produced consultants who can provide total solutions to clients. If these consultants gain knowledge in other areas to augment strong skills in accounting software or networks only, they can become well-rounded consultants who recommend solutions that work. We should take advantage of this by correcting any areas of weakness; thus, producing Renaissance professionals who can orchestrate solutions that integrate hardware and software in multi-user environments with just the right touch of street smarts. In so doing, we can welcome the rightsizing client into the PC world with these consultants who offer a breadth of knowledge, not just breath with no edge.
COPYRIGHT 1992 National Society of Public Accountants
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Title Annotation:Computers & Accountants; use of accounting software for inventory control
Author:Mayhan, Richard L.
Publication:The National Public Accountant
Date:May 1, 1992
Previous Article:LANtern: 'downsizing' is becoming 'rightsizing.' (local area networks) (Computers & Accountants)
Next Article:Tax software: enhancing productivity through technology.

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