X3 Consulting expands the team

Jana  joins the X3 Consulting team as our new Sage X3 Team Lead as part the our business growth plans for 2021 and beyond.

Jana began her journey with Sage X3 in 2008 and has a wealth of experience in implementation of the software. Jana worked initially in 9 countries in Africa, undertaking the transformation of businesses with Sage X3 implementation from 2008 until 2015 when she decided to head to the UK to further her career.

Jana is the upmost professional and has great dedication and passion for work. We hope Jana, settles into the X3 Consulting and look forward to welcoming her into our family!

 

Why a ‘Try’ just wasn’t enough

When Joshua Park was young, he dreamed of being a Rugby player. This is something he had played and enjoyed since being a young boy. After finishing his high school career, he was invited to join the Blue Bulls academy. One of the top rugby academies in South Africa. This was Joshua’s dream to play for the club he had supported since his childhood and now he’d been invited to play for them.

He joined the Blue Bulls amateur Squad and shortly after Joshua was selected to represent the Pumas in the Currie Cup. This would be his first ever performance on TV, supported by his friends and family, watching on live TV was a dream come true for Joshua.

Three years later and a lot more Currie Cup games for various teams and Joshua was heading to Scotland to join a rugby club in the Scottish borders called Peebles. Joshua spent the next 3 years playing rugby in and around Europe for various sides at the Top-level. This is exactly what Joshua had wanted to do since his childhood  and he was living his dream of being a professional rugby player.

Then on an early morning train heading to London, Joshua knew something was missing, he was doing exactly what he dreamed of doing, yet he felt empty. This had been his dream since he was 14 years old, to play international Rugby, but the success, money and fame meant nothing if he couldn’t share his life with the one person he’d left behind in South Africa nearly 5 years ago.

Realisation hit and so Joshua left Portugal shortly after, played his last professional and decided to change his career. It was a whim of a decision and he had absolutely no idea at that stage what he was going to do. After a few years in the UK, Joshua moved back to South Africa and got engaged to his wife Margot. It is then Joshua choose to head down the path of financial systems. He joined a Consulting company, and trained in distribution, technical consulting and Sage CRM. Joshua spent the next few years expanding his skills and moved back to the UK to continue his career in financial systems, working with Netsuite, which lead him into his latest role working at X3 Consulting as a Sage X3 and Intacct business consultant.

Joshua explains “Never give up on your dream, and if your dream changes, then why not try something new.”

 

Accountants are calling the 2021/22 tax year, which begins on 6 April 2021, one of the busiest ever from a tax point of view.
And that’s on top of all the usual changes we might expect to occur, such as increases in tax rates.
In this article, we look at the major changes likely to affect the bottom line of your business.
Here’s what it covers:

Wage and salary changes for 2021/22
Miscellaneous taxes in 2021
Corporation tax and capital allowance changes for 2021/22
VAT rates for 2021/22
Coronavirus tax measures for 2021/22
Brexit tax changes for 2021/22
IR35 changes

As usual, there are increases in minimum wage amounts, and personal tax and National Insurance allowances for 2021/22. Plus there are changes to the National Living Wage and the National Minimum Wage.

Minimum and living wage amounts

There are increases in the minimum wages you must pay to employees as of April 2021.

They were announced back in November 2020, following recommendations made by the Low Pay Commission in the previous month.

New to the 2021/22 tax year is that the National Living Wage is extended to 23 and 24-year-olds for the first time, having previously been limited to those aged 25 and older.

The minimum and living wage details are as follows:

  • National Living Wage (for people aged 23 and over): £8.91
  • National Minimum Wage for people aged 21 to 22: £8.36
  • National Minimum Wage for people aged 18 to 20: £6.56
  • National Minimum Wage for people under 18: £4.62
  • Apprentice rate for those aged under 19, or those over this age but in the first year of their apprenticeship: £4.30

Income tax personal allowance

The personal allowance and higher-rate thresholds increase marginally with the consumer prices index (CPI) as of April 2021, up to £12,570 and £50,270 respectively for the 2021/22 tax year.

And has been much discussed in the media, they’re subsequently frozen until April 2026.

The income tax bands for the 2021/22 tax year are as follows:

  • Personal allowance: Up to £12,570 (0% tax rate)
  • Basic rate: £12,571 to £50,270 (20% tax rate)
  • Higher rate: £50,271 to £150,000 (40% tax rate)
  • Additional rate: More than £150,000 (45% tax rate)

National Insurance contributions

National Insurance contributions (NICs) rise in a similar way for 2021/22, with the Class 1 NICs (Primary Threshold/Lower Profits Limit) rising to £9,568.

However, with the exception of the Upper Earnings Limit (UEL)/Upper Profits Limit (UPL), as discussed below, this and other NICs are not pegged until 2026.

They may rise “at future fiscal events”, to quote the government’s budget announcement.

The Upper Earnings Limit (UEL)/Upper Profits Limit (UPL) rises to £50,270 to match the aforementioned higher-rate threshold for income tax. And, like that increase, it’s also pegged until April 2026.

Although not directly related to business, it’s worth noting that the following personal tax allowances/thresholds not only do not increase in 2021/22, but are also frozen until April 2026:

  • Inheritance tax thresholds
  • Pensions lifetime allowance
  • Capital gains tax annual exempt amounts.

There’s good and bad news here, spread out across the coming years.

Corporation tax

Let’s start with the good news. There’s no increase in corporation tax for the 2021/2022 tax year, and there will almost certainly not be one in the 2022/23 tax year.

But that all changes in in April 2023, when corporation tax rises to 25% on profits over what will then be referred to as an Upper Profits Threshold of £250,000.

This is the first rise in corporation tax since 1974.

It won’t be quite so bad if your business is smaller, because there’s also now a lower threshold for corporation tax, with its own rate. Known as the Small Profits Rate, this will apply to profits under £50,000 and the rate will remain at 19% as of April 2023.

But for those with profits between £50,000 and £250,000, there will be a new tiered corporation tax rate for April 2023 onwards – however, the government has not yet revealed details of this.

Capital allowances

More good news is found in a new super-deduction capital allowance that can be used between 1 April 2021 until 31 March 2023.

This is set at 130%, and it means companies investing in qualifying new plant and machinery assets can claim back the cost as a first-year capital allowance, plus 30% on top of that. As the media has pointed out, this is like the government paying you to buy assets.

The goal is to encourage firms to invest and therefore grow.

There’s also a further capital allowance measure that can be used by investing companies, who benefit from a 50% first-year allowance for qualifying special rate (including long life) assets.

The VAT rates don’t change as of April 2021, with the exception of coronavirus relief measures discussed below aimed at hospitality sectors.

Nor does the VAT threshold change from £85,000 it’s currently set at. In fact, the government announced in the 2021 Budget that the threshold is now locked until 1 April 2024.

We take a look at government offerings for business around coronavirus in an in-depth blog, but here’s a summary of the specific VAT changes happening in the new tax year.

The first is the reduced VAT rate of 5% for businesses in the hospitality sector.

This was launched in July 2020 and was due to end on 31 March 2021, but is once again extended – this time until 30 September 2021. Subsequent to that date, a new 12.5% rate will be applied until 31 March 2022. The 20% rate will resume from 1 April 2022.

You should take a look at our earlier blog for important notes about businesses that qualify for using this reduced rate, if you aren’t already using it.

Flat rate VAT users in the hospitality sector also get some of this attention – the flat rate scheme reductions are as follows:

  • Catering services: 4.5% until 30 September 2021, and 8.5% following this until 31 March 2022.
  • Hotel and accommodation: 0% until 30 September 2021, and 5.5% following this until 31 March 2022.
  • Pubs: 1% until 30 September 2021, and 4% following this until 31 March 2022.

Finally, although not new in the 2021 Budget, it’s worth adding here that the government has opened the portal for the New Payment Scheme for VAT deferral amounts.

See our blog about the Winter Economy Plan for details of the New Payment Scheme.

As we discuss in our free Business after Brexit guide, 1 January 2021 brought changes in the way VAT is handled for imports in the form of postponed VAT accounting.

However, none of this changes across the 2021/22 financial year. Brexit legislation doesn’t directly change any other kind of business tax.

As of April 2021, there are changes for the new tax year in how medium and large businesses have to handle the tax affairs of contractors who work for them. This is officially called Intermediaries Legislation, or the off-payroll working rule.

But it’s better known by the informal title of IR35. This refers to an update message from HMRC that originally announced the rules back in 1999.

For more details you should consult our in-depth blog, but in summary IR35 is designed to identify ‘disguised employees’, also referred to as ‘deemed employees’.

These are contractors who work at a company in the same way that full-time employees do.

However, the work is defined by a contractual agreement and the contractor invoices for hours worked through a third-party intermediary.

Most often this intermediary is a personal services company (PSC).

The big change is that, as of 6 April 2021, medium and large businesses must determine if the IR35 apply to contractors they hire.

If so, they are required to pay a Deemed Employment Payment – essentially, ensuring the contractor pays the same amount of tax compared to a regular employee.

Final thoughts regarding the new tax year

The forthcoming financial year is interesting from a business tax perspective, with the government limiting hard-hitting measures yet making it clear that there’s a bill to pay for ongoing coronavirus relief measures and disruption.

This bill will be paid in the financial years after 2021/22, and prudent businesses will use the wait until then to get their affairs in order so they’re in the best possible position to be ready for when that time comes.

 

Download your free guides from Sage here : https://www.sage.com/en-gb/blog/new-tax-year/ 

X3 Consulting have again chosen to support Macmillan Cancer and raise money for the incredible work they do with cancer sufferers by taking part in the UK Mighty Hike program; a series of one day marathon distance hiking events around some of the most beautiful parts of the UK.

Join X3 Consulting as we hike for hope in the Macmillan Mighty Hike. With each step, we’re supporting Macmillan Cancer Support’s vital services for those battling cancer. Our team embraces the challenge, driven by a shared commitment to make a difference. Together, we’re funding essential care, providing comfort, and fostering resilience. Join us on this journey of unity and compassion. Every donation, every mile, brings us closer to a world without cancer. Together, let’s step up for those in need and show that even small actions can create meaningful change.

In 2021 we’re going to be doing the Lake District Mighty Hike taking in the breathtaking scenery of Ullswater as head from Dalemain House around the southern tip of the lake, and up to Lowther Castle.

Join Us on Our Journey

As we gear up for the Macmillan Mighty Hike, we invite you to join us on our journey of hope, resilience, and compassion. Whether you’re a fellow hiker, a generous donor, or simply a supporter cheering us on from afar, your contribution matters more than you know. Together, we can make a difference—step by step, mile by mile, heart by heart.

If you would like to donate to our JustGiving page please click the link here.

Update

After a few plasters, some sore knees and lots of energy, the team are delighted to share the total funds raised in this years mighty hike of £1,180. We want to thank you all for your support.

Sage has published a Total Economic Impact (TEI) report on Sage X3 created by Forrester. The seventeen-page report uses the standard TEI methodology developed by Forrester to analyse the benefits, costs and risks associated with using Sage X3 in a global mid-sized composite company based primarily in the US and EMEA. The findings are based on nine in-depth interviews with companies that have used Sage X3 for more than three years.

The financial benefits

The report looks at the quantified financial benefits across a range of departments. In total, the composite organisation realised a risk-adjusted present value benefit of $2,366,986. This was broken down further by function with the top three benefits by value as:

  • Sales Management – sales discount savings $559,542
  • Purchasing – materials and productivity savings – $528,456
  • Inventory Management – reduced inventory levels $367,059

The report then breaks down each of these savings analysing how they were achieved and justifying the figures used. The Sales Management discount was calculated from the benefits that Sage X3 delivers through a centralised discounting approval process. With a centralised control of discount approval, organisations can ensure that guidelines are followed, and local discounting does not breach guidelines. This is perhaps the hardest number for Forrester to justify. Discounting can adversely impact baseline sales (Kopalle, Mela and Marsh).

Forrester is basing the figure on annual revenues of $125 million with discount avoidance levels of 0.2%. There is no reflection on if the more uniform discounting impacts revenue. It is also not clear from the report whether this saving is based on any statistical model or just an assumption. Did Forrester simplify the composite revenue number to show no growth over three years? A similar TEI report (registration required) about NetSuite indicated significant growth for the composite organisation across three years.

The savings for purchasing are better evidenced, though Forrester still uses some assumptions. Global pricing that Sage X3 can help manage and a reduction in FTEs annually make up this figure. Inventory Management benefits are probably the best quantified. The organisation saw a 12% reduction in average inventory levels (for some inventory)  and a reduction in headcount. The report is comprehensive, yet when analysed, deeper does not seem to fully evidence all of the findings.

Other benefits

While the main focus is the financial benefits, it is the qualitative benefits that may hold greater interest. These benefits include:

  • Workflow Automation enables the creation of alerts and notification that enable employees to work by exception. It makes jobs more efficient, as employees do not need to spend so much time reviewing and can spend more time taking actions and thereby make a difference
  • Streamlining document management with documents ingested into Sage X3 means employees across an organisation can see the same version of a document quickly. This reduces paper costs and decreases error rates. There is no financial saving analysis of either of these in the report.
  • Highlighted but not investigated are the benefits of Sage X3 working on mobile devices and the benefits of a centralised solution through M&A activity. There are several other benefits mentioned but not expanded upon in the report.

For example, benefits from implementing the manufacturing module include: “accessing manufacturing transactions and inventory in real-time with more accurate inventories and production schedules”. Other benefits also accrue from this simple statement: time saved from not having to do the monthly stock take, efficiency savings from using an online system rather than paper-based, both in terms of time and accuracy. One of the problems of taking a generic organisation is that some companies will adopt bar code scanners and mobile technology to drive greater savings. While some of this technology is mentioned, its use is not analysed.

Costs and Risks

The report also analyses the costs associated with deploying and maintaining Sage X3. As an aggregated example, it is interesting in that it shows the potential costs of deploying and maintaining an ERP solution. While the total NPV amount is $756,397, this will vary considerably. The sample organisations interviewed ranged across different industries and employee numbers from 50 to 900. Forrester calculates that an ROI is delivered within the first six months with a total ROI over three years of 213%. It caveats this by noting that most organisations would expect to receive payback within six to 12 months.

Paul Struthers, Executive Vice President for Medium Segment, Sage, commented: “For industries that typically operate on low margins, technology investment must come with a rapid and significant ROI. As businesses navigate the new normal, they will increasingly seek ways to make their operations more agile, optimised, and efficient – Sage X3 is an ideal foundation for just this.

Disappointingly Forrester only highlights the risks associated with its financial analysis. There is no separate category that looks at any risks associated with the project and whether these were mitigated.

Enterprise Times: What does this mean

The TEI methodology does provide a uniform way of analysing the benefits of ERP solutions. Without further details of how Forrester reached all of its numbers, it is hard to challenge or validate many of the figures used. However, the high-level findings from the report appear valid. Costing savings due to a reduction in FTEs is more straightforward to validate than some of the savings used.

The report also highlights some of the competitive advantages that Sage X3 offers. Notably the ability to deploy on-premise or in the cloud. One customer, a technology manager, noted: “The biggest advantage with Sage X3 was additional flexibility and on-premises installation, whereas other vendors were pushing for cloud services. On-premises was our preference, and Sage X3 was instrumental in its support.”

This also means that savings as a result of a cloud deployment are not analysed. The world is likely going to adopt cloud more fully in the coming months, partly as a result of the pandemic and lockdown. In virtually ignoring it, Sage has left itself open to criticism from other vendors. The diverse nature of the companies involved in creating this report is also a weakness. While it demonstrates the flexibility of the Sage X3 solution, it also makes the findings less relevant.

Prospect of Sage will find some findings interesting. It includes understanding the possible savings that they could achieve and the likely costs of any solution. Most importantly, what functions areas they need to consider as part of any project and what changes they can make. This latter point applies regardless of whether any ERP solution is implemented. Tighter control of discounting is an issue for many companies apparently. If there are savings to realise there, perhaps sales and finance need to first validate whether they have an issue.

The right partner is key for successfully implementing and supporting your Sage X3 solution. Whether you’re looking for a new ERP solution or migrating from another platform we’re here to help. If you’d like to find out more about how we can help you contact a member of our team on info@x3consulting.com or you can complete the contact form on the contact us page and we’ll come back to you shortly.

SOURCE: Enterprise Times: https://www.enterprisetimes.co.uk/2020/07/23/sage-x3-can-deliver-a-213-roi-within-three-years/

With ever-growing pressure to digitise processes and provide the best experience for customers, organisations are struggling to deliver. Many digital initiatives are failing due to siloed ERP solutions, legacy operational systems, and processes.

Digital initiatives fail without the right operational systems and processes, and many enterprise resource planning (ERP) initiatives have failed to deliver on their promises due to lack innovation in the software. Today, we see the beginning of a new era of operational systems that are so different that calling them ERP no longer makes sense. We call them the digital operations platform (DOP) to reflect their Agile, AI-based, and experience-driven nature and the critical role they play in digital business. Application development and delivery (AD&D) pros must adopt the DOP to achieve digital business success.

This article will highlight the importance of finding an innovative partner to implement an ERP system capable of leading your business into the future:

  • The reason most current ERP approaches are failing to deliver the speed, flexibility, and intelligence necessary for the digital era
  • The need for a bold digital approach leveraging a low-code platform to achieve scalability and real organisational success
  • The critical role of an agile, AI-based, and experience-driven digital operations platform
Organisations think conservatively about ERP modernisation because they have significant financial investments and worry about too much disruption to the business or the possible failure of a too-big technology project.

To succeed with a DOP, AD&D businesses must:

 

  • Stop spending money to enhance a dying and outdated system. Think about your ERP system like your car. Would you spend thousands to put in a new engine if the metal was starting to rust? And what if the warranty was expiring? Incremental ERP investments may also mean that you’re still driving an old car while your competition is winning the race in a new one. 
  • Build the business case on economics, not emotions. ERP decision makers often let emotional and political factors get in the way of thinking clearly about real costs. Many businesses worry about asking for new budget and resources for a major ERP overhaul — especially if they’ve only recently completed their last one. Keep basic economics in mind: The sunk costs are spent and cannot be changed regardless of any future decision. Build your business case on factors that matter for digital business: namely, speed and experience. Make sure that you measure business ROI, not technology ROI.

The ERP market has undergone significant consolidation but little real disruption in the enterprise segment in the past 20 years. Now, with new pressures on business results and experience, we expect to see the digitalisation coming, and coming very soon.

If you’d like to discuss upgrading from your legacy system from one of the leading providers of ERP software, Sage X3, get in touch and speak to a member of our team 0845 094 3885.

    SOURCE: Forrester Research, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries

     

    Sage released version 12 for Sage X3 back in 2019. This article will highlight the key improvements brought from version 11 to version 12.

    With the new responsive design the navigation is easier, so you can easily locate essential menu items such as:

    • Real-time custom dashboards for certain business functions;
    • Agile workflows that enable you to accelerate business management;
    • Data and process requests;
    • Frequently used tabs with quick access via bookmarks;
    • Main modules and functions with simple site map lookup.

    New Cloud Service Possibilities

    The cloud service on Sage X3 allows you to choose from Private Cloud and Public Cloud applications with customisation tailored to your needs.
    Sage’s new solution is enhanced by APIs that are designed to streamline integrations with industry solutions. Developers and customers can now connect third party applications with the solution, for further automatisation in processes and connections.

    Financial

    Sage X3 Version 12 gives users access to additional reporting features, increasing your business’s financial insight with data from across your whole organisation that is available immediately. These features include reports on suppliers, customers, GL account journals, and balances.

    Electronic Signatures and Journal Traceability

    The un-falsifiable signatures help improve the security of your sales and posting transactions. Journal traceability has been improved and meets the latest audit requirements.

    Additional Reports

    New reports on suppliers, customers, account journals and balances so you can perform your financial analysis with readily available data.

    Distribution

    License Plate Management

    Easily track containers and logistics units (pallets, drums, boxes, etc.) in all the distribution process and get detailed information about the life cycle of each product. Users can additionally manage logistics and track key information for a group of items with a single lot or license plate number, driving efficiency across the supply chain.

    Distribution Flexibility

    Version 12 has improvements to EDI sales, costing, invoicing and purchasing functionality. Sales and Procurement benefit from items such as:

    • Default supplier per product site
    • Non-invoice deliveries
    • Auto update to project dimensions on sales/purchase documents
    • Scheduled invoice generation
    • Registered Export System (REX) identification exports outside EU
    • Stock receipt valuation and costing enhancements
    • EDI: XML generation

     

    Manufacturing

    Easily identify dependencies between work orders and raw material availability to improve planning and capacity to promise.

    Non-Conformance Functionality

    Implement continuous improvement programs by identifying issues, adjusting and then following up on previously identified issues. “Nonconformity” can be identified as an error in a service, product or process. Sage X3 now facilitates rapid creation of nonconformity and defines, monitors, and verifies corrective actions required.

    Waiting Time Scheduling

    Schedule the standby time or uptime over a 24-hour period to record events such as machine cooling or other downtime.

    Production Management

    Mass replacement and deletion within Versioning reducing overhead of maintaining Bills of Material versions. Coupled with improvements to the versioning process of being able to add/update and remove critical changes to revisions.

    New Production Scheduler (product release imminent) designed to provide closer integration and functionality to support a broader industry use.

    Weigh scale improvements to deliver greater pharmaceutical compliance.

     

    Project Management

    Get a clear view of your projects and easily review project trends and performance with snapshots functionality. Other features included:

    Automation Tools – Simplify and accelerate stock allocations and budgets in project management with integrated automation;

    Labour Time Tracking – Record the time required and get an overview of the capability of the feature by color coding.

    Sage X3 Version 12 not only equips you with all the latest features and functionality discussed above, but ensures that you are on a version of the software that is actively supported and developed by Sage. Those who are using Version 9 or below (V6, V7, PU8 or PU9), should speak to their support partner about upgrading.

    At X3 Consulting, we have successfully helped many of our customers upgrade from legacy versions of Sage X3 to current versions. Our tried and tested approach using our own scoping software Trax3ion ensures a seamless move from your current solution, to the modern version. Get in touch with the team today to find out more nick.tucker@x3consulting.com.

     

    The major disruption caused by coronavirus has prompted many companies to think about business continuity. What happens when staff can’t get to work or if a key member of the leadership team becomes ill?

    How will you cope if a major client or supplier announces they’re shutting down for the next few weeks? Having a strategy ready to handle these challenges is essential.

    More generally, though, in these times of economic and political uncertainty, and sector disruptors, it’s a good idea to have a business continuity plan ready to go, for all kinds of circumstances.

    This could cover a fire at your offices, a flood, a power cut, supply chain issues, or a major IT outage.

    Very often, though, this essential part of a company’s business strategy is missing as leaders focus on more immediate and productive issues.

    According to a survey published by Mercer, a global consultancy firm, more than half of companies (51%) around the world have no plans in place to combat a global emergency.

    The good news, though, is that a business continuity plan, also known as an organisational resilience strategy, isn’t as difficult to devise and implement as many people might think.

    The knowledge that the business has regularly updated contingencies in place can be good for staff morale as well as reassuring clients and investors.

    How to create a business continuity plan

    So, how do you write and implement a plan for this kind of situation? Start by assessing your risk.

    A well written business continuity plan includes contributions from every part of the company, including the people on the shop floor.

    Operational staff – those working at the coal face of the business – often have the most important inputs, based on their practical experience.

    Allocate roles

    You’ll need to allocate roles for both the researching and writing of the report and the implement of the procedures.

    Getting input from throughout the company will ensure your staff are not only familiar with your plan but they also buy into it.

    Identify risks

    As well as issues such as fire, flood, electrical failure, building closures, staff sickness and IT problems such as cyber-attacks, identify the risks that are relevant to your particular sector. Talking to other companies in the same industry and contacting your industry body will help with your research here.

    Then think about the impact of a threat and balance it with the likeliness of it actually happening.

    A plane crashing into your building during working hours, for instance, would be catastrophic but it’s very unlikely. At the other end of the scale, a much-used printer suddenly grinding to a halt could easily happen but it’s hardly a disaster.

    Focus on the risks that are quite likely to happen and that would also have a serious impact.

    Calculating the cost to per hour, per day and per week to your business of each department being out of action will help you to prioritise procedures to support them.

    Focus on policies and resources

    Your business continuity plan will have two elements. The first part consists of the arrangements, measures and policies that you’ll put into practice should your business be hit with a crisis.

    The second constituent is the resources. This involves the personnel, the spread of information internally and externally, as well as the facilities, equipment, legal support and funding for effective business continuation.

    As well as threats, consider your key business areas and prioritise them. Identify tolerable downtimes too. In other words, how many hours or days, for instance, could the business manage without IT support or a major warehouse that is suddenly no longer operational?

    Split your services

    It’s a good idea to divide your services into three categories.

    Essential or vital services should be up and running again within 48 hours of the crisis hitting. Category two – important services – might have a target of two to five days.

    Meanwhile, in the third category, non-essential services could be allowed eight to 10 days before they’re working again.

    Look at your organisational structure and identify the interdependencies in the company – if one department is out of action, how will this impact on others?

    Clarify roles

    Assemble your team, both for writing your plan and for its implementation. Business continuity is everyone’s responsibility but you’ll need specific people to adopt specific roles.

    It’s also important to be clear on lines of authority and reporting. Will a member of your emergency team, for instance, have authority over the head of a department when the plan swings into action?

    You need to clarify this point before you’re forced to implement your business continuity plan.

    Usually a member of the senior management team will lead and coordinate both writing and preparation but also implementation. A programme coordinator can help by managing budgets and people.

    It’s also a good idea to have someone responsible for managing information about the crisis and how the plan to mitigate the situation is being implemented.

    They’ll probably work closely with your HR people for internal communications and your PR agency or marketing people to talk to customers, suppliers, shareholders, regulators and others.

    Depending on the size of your company, it might be useful to assemble a small committee drawn from representatives from the various departments.

    Clear goals and actions to take

    The finished plan should clearly state the overall goals in any particular crisis situation, be that keeping financial losses to about 80%, fulfilling two thirds of customer orders on time, moving employees to a remote working setup, or getting the business fully operational again in two weeks.

    Looking at your balance sheet, your profit and loss, and other financial indicators will help to guide you here.

    However, when the IT system first fails or when staff are told to leave the office urgently and go home because of a virus, their immediate concerns will not be the long-term strategy but what they have to do in the next hour or so.

    It’s important, therefore, to differentiate between the ultimate goals and strategy on the one hand immediate action to be taken on the other.

    A simple, clear list of actions to take for each department should come first in any manuals and communication.

    Testing and revising your plan

    The temptation once a business continuity plan has been written is to put it into file and tick it off the to-do list. However, it needs to be circulated for comment from all parts of the business and then constantly updated.

    As the company and the wider trading environment change, so the plan must change too.

    It should also be regularly put into practice. Every six months or so it’s a good idea to run a simulation.

    This can just take a matter of hours and it allows staff to become familiar with and the company’s plan as well as providing an opportunity for them to give feedback on it.

    The Business Continuity Institute and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development both have more information on how to create a plan to manage coronavirus and other threats.

    Conclusion

    It’s often said that crisis and opportunity are two sides of the same coin.

    The rapidly growing threat that coronavirus presents to all businesses provides an opportunity to create or update your plan in order to protect your business and your staff – whatever fate might throw at you.

    Embracing Change at Speed

    Sage X3 provides faster, more intuitive, and better tailored solutions than conventional ERP for organisations looking to retain their competitive advantage by increasing their agility and embracing change.

    New Enhancements, Capabilities and Services to Grow Your Business

    Whether managing complex processes, address compliance requirements, trading domestically or globally, Sage delivers a range of comprehensive set of capabilities allowing you to manage your business, processes and people. In addition, Version 12 offers some key capabilities such as:

    • New cloud offerings and services providing unrivalled levels of choice for all businesses regardless of complexity of size
    • Responsive user experience to allow users to work on a variety of different devices regardless of the type or size of the device
    • Tax declaration framework to continue supporting our customers across 80+ countries around the world

    Sage empowers your business with industry-specific business management solutions designed to meet the unique needs of your industry.

    Manufacturing Operations

    Easily identify dependencies between work orders and raw material availability to improve planning and capacity to promise.

    Project Management (PJM) enhancements focused on financial control, budget management and snapshot management. This allows for improved cost management and better control of project profitability.

    Distribution Operations

    Manage logistics and track key information for a group of items with a single number driving efficiency across the supply chain.

    Support continuous improvement programs by identifying issues, adjusting and then following up on previously identified problems allowing businesses to reduce costs and improve customer experience.

    Cloud Service Offerings

    Delivery of world class cloud capabilities offering customers unrivalled choice.

    Service offerings include Single-tenant solution-as-a-service (SaaS), Single- tenant platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and multi-tenant SaaS running on Amazon Web Services (AWS).

    Customer First Experiences

    New responsive design framework will allow users to work on a variety of different devices regardless of the type or size of the device. It provides a page layout that adapts automatically to the size of the screen.

    Connected Ecosystem

    Introduction of new GraphQL API framework and Data Integration API to enable the connected ecosystem with flexibility and ease.

    Global Compliance & Finance

    Enhancements in multiple geographies supporting updated and new compliance requirements.

    Updates to key day-to-day operations including bank statement reconciliation, automated journal creation and enhanced traceability.

    Non-Conformance Management

    The new Non-Conformance capabilities allow organizations to implement continuous improvement programs by identifying issues, adjusting and then following up on previously identified issues.

    Tax Declaration Framework

    Enhancements in multiple geographies supporting updated and new compliance requirements across Australia, France, Germany, North America, Poland, Portugal, Switzerland, and United Kingdom.

    License Plate Management

    Manage logistics and track key information for a group of items with a single number driving efficiency across the supply chain.

    If you are ready to take the next step in upgrading your software and want to find out more about Sage X3, get in touch and we would be happy to discuss your requirements and offer an on-line demonstration off the product. Contact our team on 0845 0943885.

    Your ERP system might be out of date and too complex to handle your industry’s challenges. We explore the benefits of you upgrading to an enterprise management solution.

     

    Globalisation, increasing competition, the constant need to expand revenue bases while cutting costs— aka doing more with less—are among the many changes significantly impacting industries such as distribution, manufacturing, and services.

    It’s tougher than ever to be competitive, and as a result, too many businesses are saying, “We can’t” when it comes to:

    • Accessing the data and insights they need to make smart, timely decisions.
    • Collaborating effectively across departments and partners.
    • Monitoring, reporting, and complying with financial regulations.
    • Evolving and growing quickly and confidently.

    If that’s also true of your business, then it may be that your old-school accounting or enterprise resource management (ERP) software is too inflexible, complex, and outdated to promote future success. Instead of making you more agile in the face of rapid changes in your market, these “solutions” are actually increasing inefficiencies that undermine your profits and growth potential.

    Here are the 4 reasons businesses choose to upgrade to ERP:

    Grow your business with confidence

    Your mandate to grow is always a priority. That means you need to keep up with evolving market conditions by ensuring that your business is agile, responsive, and connected. Today’s enterprise management solutions integrate and streamline your departments, networks, people, devices, networks, and business processes—enabling you to unlock the potential of the digital economy and deliver new experiences and value to customers.

    The ability to manage growth requires a solution that:

    • Works efficiently moving forward, providing a path to innovations such as the Internet of Things.
    • Allows you to increase capacity, implement new processes, and manage new business units anywhere in the world.
    • Provides flexible, customisable configuration specific to your business.
    • Helps you stay compliant with financial reporting.

    Become more efficient in your business operations

    The concept is not rocket science: control your business processes and you’ll work more efficiently. For example, if your management tools are not integrated among people and departments—creating a lack of insight into your operations—then there’s a high possibility that your employees and executives are spending too much time discovering actionable information. Your customers and partners will feel the effects in terms of added cost and inconvenience.

    A modern enterprise management solution allows you to:

    • Streamline your operations with end-to-end integration of your business processes.
    • Eliminate disparate sources of information.
    • Manage core business processes from one place.
    • Accelerate collaboration among users around the world.

    Make smarter decisions

    It’s absolutely critical to understand the power of data in your decision-making. The right enterprise management solution provides real-time reporting business intelligence for executives, managers, and leaders who need to see what’s going on acrosstheir businesses. It also provides built-in analytics, delivering deeper insight into their operations while accelerating reporting, communications, and decision-making. Your solution should include:

    • Real-time monitoring of performance and costs.
    • Actionable data intelligence for accelerated reporting and communication.
    • Integration across all departments with a single view.

    Reduce IT cost and complexity

    Modern enterprise management solutions were built to provide the functionality, security, and scalability at a fraction of the cost and complexity of legacy ERP systems. They also simplify the management of international trade across suppliers, contractors, partners, and customers (multi-language, multi- currency) and can manage a global business from one common installed instance (global compliance, multi-legislation, multi-ledger).

    Another important benefit is automated data migration. Executives no longer need to fear previously cumbersome and time-consuming heavy lifting—the right vendor with the right enterprise management solution will provide the tools and services to move data seamlessly.

    In short, reducing IT complexity frees up resources, enabling businesses to focus on more important projects.

    Ready to work faster, simpler, and more flexibly? Now you can.

    With today’s technology advancements, there’s no need to settle for less when it comes to your enterprise management solution. And now, with the introduction of Sage Business Cloud, you can future-proof your business with the only management solution you’ll ever need. Sage Business Cloud enables you to come onto the platform at any stage of your business and allows you to grow over time

    by adding new products as you need them. These include core cloud products across accounting, financials, enterprise management, and HR, as well as a thriving ecosystem that draws from more than 200 ISVs.

    Contact us today to find out more and we’d be happy to offer a product tour and discuss the benefits of ERP.

    With the global ERP software market expected to be worth $41.69 billion by the year 2020, the impact of these systems is evident. While that number is impressive, those who’ve never used the software may find it difficult to understand why ERP is important to their business. But as globalisation squeezes the market for many industries, it’s essential to seek out any and all tools to give your business a competitive edge. For many companies, this is achieved through the use of ERP software.

    What are the Uses of ERP?

    Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems are used by organisations looking to manage their operational business functions within a centralised and integrated system. ERP is commonly used by companies working within the supply chain to help keep track of all the moving parts of manufacturing and distribution. However, ERP can be utilised by a number of different industries including those in healthcare, non-profit groups, construction and hospitality. Organisation needing to manage their staff, customers and inventory can all rely on ERP benefits.

    ERP stores all entered data into a single database, allowing all departments/locations to work with the same information. Additionally, all this data can be organised, analysed and made into reports. ERP systems bring together customer management, human resources, business intelligence, financial management, inventory and supply chain capabilities into one system.

    Why Use ERP?

    Enterprise resource planning software is used to manage a number of business functions, but how is it any better than other solutions? Even though ERP may have similar goals to other solutions, its unique features make it a distinctive competitor in the software market. Here are the eight reasons why the importance of enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems should be considered by any organisation:

    1. More Money Saved

    Although many vendors have introduced flexible pricing in recent years, ERP packages are still a big investment. For many, the large costs alone can make it seem unlikely that the program would end up saving your organisation any money at all. But once you get past the sticker shock, it’s easier to see how ERP systems can provide an excellent ROI.

    First, ERP unifies many of the systems that may currently be fragmented in your organisation. From product development to accounts payable, your staff will be able to access all the necessary tools for their job from one centralised system.

    By unifying systems, you help your staff utilise their time more efficiently. With ERP, users don’t have to hunt down a piece of information across multiple systems. With the central database, information is much easier to retrieve. Moreover, your organisation saves money with ERP by eliminating the need for users to be trained on several systems.

    2. Improved Collaboration

    The features of ERP applications can vary slightly depending on the program you are using, but generally, all systems improve collaboration in some way. As mentioned before, the centralised database is an integral part of what makes an ERP unique. With this database, you provide your company with a single source of truth to work from. This reduces any errors brought on by working with the incorrect data, further reducing costs.

    Moreover, a central database reduces any hesitation or stalling during projects, since all team members have access to the company-wide data they need. Additionally, there’s no need to merge information across various systems or sources. Because all of the data is compiled, stored, shared and accessed through a single system, there is no concern about how accurate, complete or secure the data files are.

    This isn’t as easy to say if perhaps your team is entering the same client information over and over again into several different systems. Without an ERP, you invite human error into your processes when it could easily be avoided.

    3. Better Analytics

    A central database of information also aids in improving your analytics and reporting. Since an ERP records and stores all the data users input, it makes for an excellent business intelligence tool. As long as your vendor provides strong functionality, ERP software makes it easier and faster for your team to generate various reports. Reports that could take days of research and compilation without an ERP takes just minutes.

    Most ERP systems provide a customisable dashboard so executives can see reports when they first log into the system. These reports may include everything from income and expense statements to custom KPIs that offer insight into certain functions. The ability to have access to these reports quickly enables you and your team to make better decisions more quickly. You no longer need to rely on your IT staff to generate the reports that you need. Lastly, reports typically come with access levels, ensuring only relevant staff see valuable company data.

    4. Improved Productivity

    With traditional methods, tedious tasks are completely unavoidable. Tasks like generating reports, monitoring inventory levels, timesheet tracking and processing orders have historically taken employees hours to accomplish. In addition to taking up time, these processes lower employee morale and open yourself up to human error. After the umpteenth hour of entering the same line of data into different forms, even the best staff members are bound to make a mistake.

    If you choose the right solution, an ERP system can automate your most tedious tasks. The database within ERP software eliminates redundant tasks such as data entry and allows the system to perform advanced calculations within minutes. This frees up your team members’ time to do more thoughtful work, increasing your ROI when it comes to labour. From this, ERP increases your organisation’s productivity, efficiency and profitability.

    5. Happier Customers

    Managing your customers has never been so important. In our digital age, more and more people are turning to the internet to receive advice on what clothes to wear, what food to eat and how to live their lives. And with 84 percent of consumers trusting online reviews as much as they would a friend, previous customer opinions are more impactful than ever.

    The best way to improve customer satisfaction is to provide client-centered goods and services. ERP provides this in a few different ways. First, most ERP systems are equipped with a customer relationship management (CRM) tool or can be easily integrated with one. With an ERP, your CRM has access to data across business functions.

    Along with contact information, an integrated CRM can show you details such as order history and billing information. This enables your team to see your clients more holistically to gain a better understanding of their wants and needs. The increased customer visibility helps you formulate your sales strategy for improved lead generation.

    6. Simplified Compliance and Risk Management

    As companies grow and do business in different countries, it can be difficult to keep track of all the different regulations imposed on your business. Even local companies need to worry about various environmental, information security and human resources regulations.

    Luckily, many ERP systems are built with these regulations in mind to help you maintain compliance at every stage. Moreover, ERP software provides built-in auditing tools to assist with documenting things like chemical use and tax provisions. This makes it incredibly easy to formulate reports and send them over to the relevant governing body.

    Additionally, ERP systems often provide tools to manage risk. This solution’s enhanced reliability and accuracy improve overall financial management since there’s less chance for errors during accounting. Forecasting tools also allow users to predict events when it comes to demand, labour and budget. With this information in hand, you can create more secure budgets, schedules and product development plans.

    7. Improved Inventory Monitoring

    A major challenge for growing companies is tracking and monitoring their expanding inventory levels. ERP systems utilise barcoding, RFID tags and serial numbers to keep tabs on your inventory at every stage during the supply chain. These tools help you keep track of inventory levels at different warehouses, which items are in transportation and which items are on the shelves ready for consumers. The increased warehouse visibility optimises the pick, pack and ship process greatly, removing all the guesswork.

    Inventory monitoring also bolsters reporting, as tracking technologies provide more accurate numbers. Users can configure custom KPIs to see which products move the fastest — showing greater demand — and which increase carrying costs. With the greater precision provided by ERP, warehouse managers can get real-time data on their inventory to make more accurate business decisions.

    8. Improved Production Planning and Resource Management

    Along with managing your inventory, ERP systems also manage manufacturing. ERP provides insight into all manufacturing operations including the shop floor. This enables users to optimise production schedules, equipment and labour to maximize capacity.

    Additionally, ERP manages your Bill of Materials (BOM) and fixed assets. With this software, users can easily create and edit BOMs along with keep track of all previous changes. Fixed asset management allows users to schedule equipment maintenance to reduce unexpected downtime, improving your profitability and supply chain relationships.

    9. Cloud ERP

    Cloud computing has experienced a steady rise in popularity over the last 10 years (with an emphasis over the last five), with research studies indicating the growth of the cloud market reaching $53.3 Billion in 2021. Cloud ERP will continue to be significantly impacted by the expansion of cloud computing in the marketplace. Flexibility, agility and the increased number of business-driven opportunities available to organisations are the features most often cited by ERP cloud adopters.

    10. Artificial Intelligence (AI) Enabled ERP

    AI-enabled ERP solutions provide an interactive interface for customers and employees that can learn to speak and read, as well as predict and respond to future outcomes. By constantly optimising operational models, they introduce efficiency, reduce cost and control human errors. As with data analytics, AI-enabled ERP wasn’t often considered by small and mid-sized businesses. But its wider accessibility (as helped by cloud infrastructure) has brought it within reach of many businesses, allowing them to reap the benefits of this offering. Some of the greater benefits include improving the decision-making process, automating data input and automating the analysis of the data to identify more efficient workflow processes and set performance benchmarks.

    In Summary

    The importance of ERP systems far outweighs the initial cost, time and effort involved in implementation if you choose the right solution. With enough careful research and thoughtful consideration, you’ll find ERP software uses that provide all the benefits listed above painting a picture for why ERP is important to a company.

    What benefits are you looking for in your next ERP software? Let us know and get in touch with our specialist ERP consultants who can discuss empowering your business with Sage X3.

    We’re proud to support Macmillan Cancer Support and raise money for the incredible work they do with cancer sufferers by taking part in the UK Mighty Hike program; a series of one day marathon distance hiking events around some of the most beautiful parts of the UK.

    “A few years ago my father was diagnosed and died from cancer. The impact of this disease on his quality of life was stark and without the amazing Macmillan team and their ongoing support his end of days would have been vastly different. I’m proud to promote the Might Hike as a way to generate revenue for a truly outstanding organisation who really does make a significant difference daily to so many people.”

    In 2020 we’re going to be doing the Lake District Mighty Hike taking in the breathtaking scenery of Ullswater as head from Dalemain House around the southern tip of the lake, and up to Lowther Castle.

    In 2019 we dipped our toe walking from Alnwick to Bamburgh Castle along the Northumberland Coastline which was a spectacular experience.