Accounting software – What are the various after-sales services available?

After you had signed the paper on the dotted line, honeymoon is almost immediately over. No, I am not talking about marriage in life, but a marriage in business(not much difference anyway).

When you are in the service line , managing your customers (users) expectation can be a challenge. You have very little time to explain to them that we worked on an optimum resources to handle all support at the same time, but to prioritize the urgent ones first and you will be the last in our lists.

Some put you through a list of automated options before you can speak to the customer service officers (banks), Some leads you to their online help resources by keying in some keyword search. Others do not even have a person to speak to at all.

So, before you embark on any software subscription, find out what are the after-sales service options they provide and each plan comes with what options of support.

Below are the commonly available support services provided by vendors
1. Online help resources
2. Video help resources
3. Forum discussion
4. WhatsApp chat
5. Email support
6. Helpdesks call in support
7. Remote access support

While some vendors have a mix of one or more options, but you hardly have one that have all the available options. Here are some skills to access each options.

1. Online help resources – find out how regular the resources are being updated. Monthly is best, half a year is good but once a year is bad. Big screenshots with step by step buttons is a plus.
2. Video help resources – Voice over is a challenge for user if the speaker has a strong accent. Text guide is a better option.
3. Forum discussion – This is when users have exhausted all avenues and no reply from the vendors that ussers seek help from the forum.
4. WhatsApp chat – When your situation is from urgent to not so urgent. You send in your videos or snapshot of your screen of your issue(s).
This is less formal where you want a quick clarification only or avoid the formality of an email.
Check out the response time, but let us be fair, if you send a query at 2am in the morning when it is their sleeping time. But if you do get a response, they are doing a good job.
5. Email support – Usually this is when immediate response is not required or some official notice or some serious commitment from each other,
when WhatsApp takes over the bulk of the support requests.
6. Help-desks call-in is less common, now that WhatsApp support provide a better picture of the issues at hand. Likely that you will be advised to take a picture and send via WhatsApp
7. Remote access is when all the above still unable to solve the problem that you allow remote access to your system.

We at Realtimme Cloud, provide all the options available to our users and the most popular is WhatsApp support (+65 9138 7918) , which we also encourage, for a picture speaks a thousand words and video speaks millions.
While we keep our online help-desk resources updated regularly upon any release of new features and functions, user can also find out when were the new features of functions were added and if it Is of relevance to them, and if it is, how to apply to their company use. We also enhance and update our screen capture with how-to videos for those that do not like to read.

Our email support, we ensure that our user will get a reply on the same day for any mail on or before 4 pm. We leave an uninterrupted stretch of time from 9 to 10 am and 5 to 6 pm to deliver quality work for you.

Our email reply does not mean an immediate solution to your questions, but to acknowledged that we have received your email. But we sometimes do, if they are commonly asked questions and we have a solution to it.
For those that requires more investigation or less urgent, we have the discretion of setting the response as urgent to low priorities, because we want to let our users know that not all cases are urgent. This is to enhance our user’s communication and manage user’s expectation. We do hear our user’s out if they can convince us that their case is urgent.

By committing and subscribing to an accounting software as a service (Saas),  is like going into a long term business relationship, just like any other relationship, must be based on respect and trust, understanding and keep all communication open, because we start with you…we grow with you.

Writer : Choo Hong Peng,
Chartered Accountant,Singapore
Email : choohp@realtimme.net

30/08/2020

Do you have a feedback channel for all grievances or whistle to be heard?

Lets’ face it, all business owners will have a fare share of complaints and bitter experiences their customers had with your company products, services or worst, both, or even the front line staff. Whistle blowing is another more serious matter for any wrong doings by any rank in the company.

We have a fair share of our bad days, but that should not be an excuse for us to show our impatience. You want your team’s direction to be aligned, everyone’s action or word, no one is to drop the ball.

It will start off with ” I want to speak to your boss” and you may not be there during then.

Look at it positively. If he wants to see you, he wants your company to improve and he bothers to feedback to you. The other end of the stick is he will just walk away and your competitor will welcome him with open arms and worst, you don’t even have a chance to explain.

My suggestion is to have an email made known in your website , example feedback@your_company_name.com or  wecare@your_company.com. Let your customer know that this email will reach the management and all correspondences will be kept private and confidential.

Our email is care@realtimme.net

Another group that may feedback to you is your vendor that deals with your managers at operational level and never have a chance to meet you and they have grievances to share with you or whistle blowing your staff.

As your company grow, you may not be able to be at all the place at all the time. Provide an avenue for anyone who want to get your serious attention. Usually people will go to your web page to click on [Contact Us], place all your email there ,   example

[1] sales@realtimme.net

[2] support@realtimme.net

[3] billing@realtimme.net

[4] care@realtimme.net

Make it obvious that they can only choose [4] to file their complaint or compliments.

Or unless you are willing to let this customer go ( note that customer is not always right), listen to what they have to say and give an appropriate response that will save your company reputation even you may not be in the wrong and you do not want to go there.

 

Writer : Choo Hong Peng,
Chartered Accountant,Singapore

Email   : choohp@realtimme.net

As at 20/08/2020

 

 

 

 

Expanding your business without increasing your headcount

Hi all managing agent,

Are you expanding your business by going for more projects? Can your existing resources cope with the increase?

Two things you can do

  1. Use the right tool, ie change your accounting system to Realtimme Cloud MCST software
  2. Out-sourcing your MCST account to our remote accountants with our subsidiary company, Realtimme Plus Pte Ltd                 (UEN: 201132092K)
    Or all the above

In this trying times, businesses are trying to keep their overheads steady but always on a lookout for new projects in case some projects go away and to remain sustainable.

With the latest technology, we go paperless with your contract vendor, you will have access to the work that is done and a consolidated report will be sent to you every month together with our invoice. We have a team of experienced remote accountants specialising in MCST accounts and are ready to serve you, with no restriction to office hours only.

But before anything, work out your numbers to know the real cost ( office space, electricity, allowances , salary, cpf etc) how much it cost you to maintain your project’s accounting service.
Using the number of SP as a basis (total cost to maintain a staff divided by the total number of SPs X projects each staff is handling) is a good gauge of your project costs.

If we can half it, and we will try to half it, it is worth exploring.

No, we are not trying to take away someone’s lunch, cause that someone also has a family to feed too.

But we always believe, that business owners like you deserves another choice of how you want to run your business, a fully auto, a fully manual or a hybrid of in-house or part out-source. And what if there is an exodus of staffs where one of them came out to do start their own business and be your competitor?  Do you have a team to stand by? These are the challenges that we business owners have to face, both outside and inside forces.

We can start off small with a micro project and as you are more comfortable, give us more projects.

 

Send an email to our team lead, Mr.Michael Wong (CA, Singapore) to get more information

remote_acct@realtimme.net

 

Writer : Choo Hong Peng,
Chartered Accountant,Singapore

Email   : choohp@realtimme.net

As at 19/08/2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

Migrating into and out of an accounting software

Changing from one accounting software to another is like moving a house from one place to another. It is never a fun thing, but if you have to do it , means you have to do it.

The keyword is …it must be fast and easy.

Business grow and you find that your current system is not serving you as well as it used to be and moving forward, you will need more state of the art features or robust system, when you want to move out of your current system that almost breakdown regularly or files get corrupted if you are still using the desktop versions.

But before you jump into another new system, (even though we are seeing new users migrating to our system rapidly) we always tell our potential users, that even if you finally decided not to choose us, please make sure that you can easily exit from the system when the time is near , as easy as you move in. Bear in mind you can only print reports out from any cloud system but you do not own the database structures.

Why we say that? Sorry to say that the motivation to design it to let you migrate in is greater than to design something to let you migrate out easily, for obvious reasons.

Then why do we say this? For we spent equally much effort to let you move out, as how you easily moved into our system. We were users ourselves and we do not like this feeling at all, so we accept the fact that you had decided to go, and we want to make it a gracious exit.

We provide you steps to extract your chart of accounts, strata roll, and vendor listings  into excel and let the next vendor to pull into their systems.

Your aging (b/f) of your SP and vendors  and your trial balances at your cut-off date can be sent to excel, in nice proper cells and columns.

So the question you have to ask the next vendor is…can you show us how easy is to export our strata roll out of the system into excel? It is a good practice anyway to keep a copy outside the system as a backup.

Get them to demo for you, make sure that the exported cells are independent and in neat columns and rows and not merged, so much so that you need to massage the fields again.

A lot of users are concern about moving in but not the moving out (a few years later). But you, as a business owner, you will have to ask,  don’t leave it to your staff to ask this question for they may not be involve in the moving out, by then, for obvious reasons.

So whether you have 10,000 SP listings or 2000 vendor listings, all must be at a click of a button.

It is not unheard of that company changed software or project come and go in the next three months, you must make sure that you are able to move the system in and out quite quickly.

Writer : Choo Hong Peng,
Chartered Accountant,Singapore

Email   : choohp@realtimme.net

As at 18/08/2020

 

 

To do List – Contract due date, reminders for renewal of licenses

One of the many important tasks for managing agents is to monitor the due date of licenses, and end of contract maintenance date or insurances for each of the projects.

As you take in more projects, the number of due dates that comes with each project increases.

You will say that “I have my hand phone calendar to remind me.”

But all these are only in your hand and no one can assists you or share the responsibilities with you.

You do not want to miss the date especially third party insurance or lift license renewal where life is at stake.

How do you keep track of so many dates, and do you leave it to one person to handle so many projects’ maintenance or licenses due date?

In Realtimme Cloud, we have a built-in calendar to add task with each task assigned to one or many staff, with reminder date and due date , adding instructions to the task or Supervisor can assign the task to the office admin to renew license when the user login to Realtimme Cloud for their daily MCST accounting tasks.

Let this be a shared responsibility and not a personal responsibility.

In this way, the risk is lowered whereby more than one person is in the know of the many due dates in each of the projects.

Click the link here to know how you can manage your To-do list

 

Writer : Choo Hong Peng,
Chartered Accountant,Singapore

Email   : choohp@realtimme.net

As at 15/8/2020

 

Recording of miscellaneous revenue

Owners book facilities within the condo and paid a relatively small fee from tens to hundreds of dollars or when there are deposits involved.

Not many condo have Paynow to be directly transferred to the MCST bank account, so handling of cash must still be managed properly.

Many a times, these amount are recorded as a general ledgers item, ie, Debit cash and Credit the various revenue account when general ledger receipts are non-trade (others)related

Many reasons were given …
1. Amount is too small, recording becomes administratively a hassle
2. There are refunds or returned of cheques if there are no damage to the facilities
3. It is not many in a month

In my opinion, it is revenue in nature, so must be recorded as an AR item ,
Dr Receivables                      XXXX
Credit Revenue 1,                                   YYYY
Credit Revenue 2.                                   YYYY

Also, for income tax purposes, all revenue (facility booking fees) need to be accounted for of the date, and invoice be generated with serial number

Technically speaking , it should hit the SP account.This will ensure transparency, when I receive my monthly statement of accounts.
Imagine if I am the SP, I see the SOA…there was a record of my booking and an acknowledgement of receipt ..versus without the facilities booking fee.

Another feedback is the booking maybe a tenant and so it should not be reflected in the SP account.
Yes, and no.. Owner will also be informed of the booking or otherwise create a tenant account.

Will the money go missing. Where is the accountability and control of cash?

Also most of these are transacted at the ground and may or may not flow to the accounts department, so there is another weakness here.

We heard so many cases of criminal breach of trust from as small amount of a few thousands of dollars to hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars.
You definitely do not want this to happen to your project and reflect badly on your operation.

 

 

Writer : Choo Hong Peng,
Chartered Accountant,Singapore

Email   : choohp@realtimme.net

As at 12/8/2020