Are you coming to Acumatica Summit 2021 in Las Vegas?
If that’s a yes, please join us for an exclusive Aktion Customer Event at the La Cave Wine and Food Hideaway Terrace within the Wynn Las Vegas on Monday, July 19th during the Acumatica Summit 2021 (before the Attendee Celebration Party).
The La Cave Wine and Food Hideaway is located inside the Wynn Las Vegas along the Fairway Esplanade hallway behind the casino.
With cocktails and passed hors d’oeuvres, this is a great way to network with your Aktion friends and other Aktion customers in a relaxed setting.
*Note, the restaurant has a resort casual attire policy and requires appropriate footwear.
Click here for more information on the 2021 Acumatica Summit.
Businesses of all types and sizes find themselves relying more and more on technology. To stay functional, every modern company needs some type of IT assistance. Running a company is challenging enough without dealing with constant technology headaches. But once you decide you’re ready to hand off some or all of your IT responsibility to a managed services provider, how do you figure out who to talk to when there are so many choices? It can be daunting to evaluate and select the right technology partner for your business.
Below are three key characteristics to consider when deciding on a managed services provider.
1: Industry Expertise
Start by checking potential MSPs to be sure they’re familiar with your industry. So many generic MSPs really aren’t able to address industry-specific problems that might arise. With industry expertise comes knowledge of the ins and outs of your technology. This means knowing what requirements a particular piece of software needs to operate smoothly or which upgrades are necessary in order continue business as usual. The goals should be to keep your infrastructure healthy and eliminate downtime. When you partner with an MSP that knows the platforms your business runs, you gain confidence in the health of your technology.
2: Responsive Hotline Support
This builds upon the previous point, in that industry expertise is also extremely valuable in a hotline support team. A team of technology experts who can answer your calls quickly and efficiently should be another key factor in your evaluation of MSPs. Not all help desks are created equally, and unfortunately some businesses find themselves getting used to long wait times and speaking with people who can’t directly address their issues.
A good technology partner brings a full bench of support to every customer support issue. Whether a request is best resolved by a network engineer, an application consultant, or a software engineer, this program ensures that the appropriate resource is assigned to you. Be sure your new MSP has a proven case management and escalation protocol for timely and efficient issue resolution.
3: Remote Monitoring
Active monitoring and management of your system will keep it running smoothly. Remote monitoring items can include a cloud environment or server hardware, operating system status, and network performance. An MSP can also give you additional support such as database troubleshooting related to system uptime. You also might ask the providers if they can give you timely notice of developing issues, provide security, and perform regular system maintenance.
Providers now need to be able to offer a multi-layered approach to ensure each customer’s success. As with any partnership, you want to be positive the MSP you choose fits your needs and understands your overall business goals.
Because Aktion excels at each point listed above, we believe that these unique qualities set us apart from the competition. Our experience as a technology provider focused on the construction, distribution and manufacturing industries gives our customers complete technology peace of mind. Our goal is to protect your technology, both primary business applications and the platform that they run on.
If you’d like to discuss Aktion’s Managed Services features and benefits, please reach out and I’d be happy to get you started on your Managed Services journey.
Manufacturing companies are often plagued with inefficiencies. These issues tend to cause a domino effect that results in customer turnover and missed sales opportunities. If you experience any of the following problems, it might be time to think about a technology upgrade.
A manufacturer faces high expectations from customers. When you struggle with taking and delivering correct orders on time, it really impacts your customer retention. We have found that one central application helps our manufacturing customers to provide a polished and streamlined customer experience. Whether through a secure customer portal or a connected online storefront, you and your customers need real-time automated communication. An ERP like Acumatica can deliver an exceptional customer experience, so customers are able to buy more with less effort.
Automations aren’t just for making your life easier, although they can certainly save a lot of time. But having automated notifications for your customers empowers them with self-service. What if you could let your customers know through automation when their products have shipped or when returns are received? Acumatica also lets you set up automations for sending customer invoices and their statements can be easily downloaded. It’s a significant time-savings on your end and provides much needed customer empowerment.
Empowering your customers with information is also a great way to grow sales. The simpler the customer experience is, the more likely they are to keep coming back and order more of your product. But this increase in demand is a juggling act between production and inventory. Many of our current Acumatica customers say they’ve been able to quickly respond to the increase in sales yet reduce inventory. This saves you money while giving your customer the best experience possible.
If you’re feeling limited by your current disconnected group of manufacturing solutions, consider migration to Acumatica. With every aspect on one single platform, you’re able to empower your employees and customers with real-time information from anywhere.
Scale as your manufacturing business grows and adapt to changing customer demand. With Acumatica, not only are you creating loyal customers, you’re also able to add users at no extra cost. This is a big savings for a growing manufacturer.
Learn more about Acumatica Manufacturing Edition here or reach out to me directly. We would be honored to add your business to our growing group of happy Acumatica customers.
When it comes to sales and use tax, the manufacturing industry is riddled with potential land mines. Challenges arise at the outset, when determining nexus — the connection that establishes a sales tax obligation. They continue with registration, collection, and remittance. And since manufacturers often deal in exempt inputs and sales, managing and validating exempt transactions tends to be one of the most complicated aspects of compliance for businesses in the manufacturing industry.
Sales tax compliance can quickly become overwhelming for manufacturers. To make it less so, it’s helpful to break it down into five buckets:
There are many ways for a business to establish nexus with a state, including having ties to affiliates in a state (affiliate nexus) or having a physical presence in a state. Nexus can also be created solely through economic activity (economic nexus).
Today, 43 states and the District of Columbia enforce economic nexus. Most provide an exception for small businesses with sales beneath a certain threshold (e.g., $100,000 in sales or 200 transactions). But since thresholds in many states include exempt sales, economic nexus laws often apply to manufacturers.
Register with the state tax authority as soon as nexus with a state has been determined. Yet if you think you may previously have established nexus, consult with a trusted tax professional prior to registering. Businesses with a past tax liability often benefit from entering into a voluntary disclosure agreement with the state.
Once registered, you need to calculate and collect the correct amount of sales or use tax on all taxable transactions. It’s a big job. There are more than 13,000 tax jurisdictions in the United States, and each has a unique sales tax rate and jurisdiction code. Adding to the complexity, states have unique product taxability rules, so what’s exempt in one state may be taxable in another. Rules pertaining to manufacturing inputs and outputs can be particularly complex.
Managing exempt transactions is perhaps the most challenging aspect of sales tax compliance for manufacturers. Every exempt purchase or sale must be validated with a proper exemption or resale certificate, and failure to properly document exempt sales is a common cause of negative audit findings. Automating the collection, storage, and renewal of exemption certificates greatly improves the process and reduces errors.
The final step in the sales and use tax cycle is filing and remittance. Processes that vary from state to state, so arming yourself with information is essential: You need to know filing frequency, due dates, and format — some states require some or all businesses to file and remit electronically.
For more information about achieving end-to-end sales tax compliance, check out 5 Steps to Managing Sales Tax for Manufacturers
Over time businesses makes decisions to grow in new directions which can lead to challenges in the future. We’re seeing three distinct types of companies in our target industries of Construction, Distribution and Manufacturing that have adopted new avenues of growth. We call these multi-industry hybrid companies.
One type is a distribution company that starts a lucrative value-add business to convert lower margin products into higher margin by offering modified or tailored products. An example is a packaging product distributor that creates custom packaging for a product used by an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) looking to reduce its manufacturing labor costs.
The second type is a manufacturing company that reaches capacity in its production operation and decides to add more buy-sell products. Expanding a manufacturing operation can be costly so dedicating some floor space to warehouse consigned or purchased inventory can add margin without a large investment.
The third type is a manufacturer that manufactures and installs a product. Aktion has a few clients that make cast concrete products and also need to install and service their products. This example has combined needs for inventory, manufacturing and project accounting which is an interesting combination of requirements.
Again these are just three examples. There are many more and I will go into a detailed analysis of specific challenges and solutions for these Multi-Industry hybrid businesses.
Of these three types, the majority are running their business using multiple disparate, disconnected software systems or, even worse, using a central accounting system and manually managing these additional requirements using spreadsheets and other home-grown methods.
As an ERP reseller and technology adviser, Aktion receives inquiries weekly from companies who need to modernize their business software and are looking for a single, integrated ERP system that meets the company’s diverse needs and growth capacity.
We anticipated these diverse and evolving requirements and earlier this year invested in adding staff, services, skills, and deliverables to provide these multi-industry companies with the software and support they need to run their business. The Multi-Industry (MI) Division was launched in January 2020.
The MI Division includes application consultants and software engineers focused on servicing the complex needs of a multi-industry company. To ensure the success of the new division, Aktion transitioned senior staff from our Distribution, Construction and Manufacturing practices.
The cornerstone solution of the MI Division is Acumatica Cloud ERP. Four years ago, Aktion became an Acumatica Gold Partner. Acumatica is a modern, cloud-based, integrated ERP solution that delivers everything a hybrid company needs to manage operations. Acumatica developed its own XRP platform which gives each customer control over integrations and upgrades, even in a SaaS environment.
Acumatica offers Construction, Distribution, Manufacturing, Field Service and Commerce editions. Each of these editions may be combined to include cross-over functionality needed for hybrid company requirements making it an ideal platform for Multi-Industry division customers.
In future blogs, I’ll go into more detail about some of the common hybrid business scenarios we’re addressing. Every business is unique and presents its own set of challenges, however; we’re seeing commonality and repeat scenarios to solving these complex challenges.
If you’re a hybrid company that’s struggling to find a solution, just know there is one available – Acumatica.