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LANtern: 'downsizing' is becoming 'rightsizing.' (local area networks) (Computers & Accountants)

The increased power of personal computers (PCs) has made the minicomputer market vulnerable to high-end PC accounting software. Multiuser PC accounting software compares more favorably with packages on other platforms in terms of features, level of integration, price and now, thanks to Compaq, IBM and Novell, in performance. This means that mid-tier clients, once married to their midrange vendors, have wandered to the greener pastures of PC network solutions for their business needs.

In a soft economy, "downsize" or "the process of converting from a computer system that you can no longer afford to one you can with no regard for sacrifice" has evolved into "rightsize" or "the process of determining the appropriate platform for maximum productivity." These rightsizing clients demand a wider spectrum of knowledge than accounting only, including hardware, software and network operating system alternatives. Yet their first excursions into the PC world, appropriations intact, often meet the misguided intentions of large, discount dealers who view software as a commodity and service as an oddity. This willing, though ignorant client combines with the willfully ignorant giant to form an accounting software aspiring, discount dealer perspiring, "blackhole," leaving both worse for the wear. The shift in the nature of the technical knowledge essential to dealing with this new class of client has created the need for a new accounting software professional. One with enough working knowledge of software, hardware and network operating system issues and enough business savvy to offer a solution to a business problem, rather than just selling a product or just selling time.

Clients do not generally expect us to know, for example, whether Core drivers are available for NetWare 3.1. They do expect us to know if Great Plains Accounting Software recognizes this version of Novell as a legitimate operating system. They do expect access to persons knowing what performance differences they might expect running Great Plains' Btrieve file manager as an NLM, rather than running it on local processors. Breadth, not depth, of knowledge is the missing link. This new class of client may be functioning in a PC information vacuum. Therefore, they need some level of security that they are not pursuing a job gobbling albatross. This breadth of knowledge can be used to establish the accounting software professional as a project manager capable of harnessing diverse resources and talents and driving them to a common goal - productivity. The level of trust gained in establishing this kind of relationship naturally leads the client to seek advice on other needs as well, because this consulting encompasses the entirety of the business. The long term relationship that results is a sin-win relationship. We gain the ability to affect more rewarding, long range solutions which more appropriately showcase our range of skills. The clients gain a dependable repeat performer and the security they crave.
COPYRIGHT 1992 National Society of Public Accountants
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Mayhan, Richard L.
Publication:The National Public Accountant
Date:May 1, 1992
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