Success Stories

OverviewBusiness StartersJewelleryRetailerServiceToysTrading

MYOB software meets many of your recordkeeping and information needs straight out of the box. But did you know there are easy ways to make MYOB software suit your business better? Click to see global case studies where you can read about real-life service businesses. Browse through these case studies to get the big picture of how MYOB software can work for you.

Business Starters

  1. Industry-specific guide
  2. Case study: Advance Software

Jewellery & Watches

  1. Industry-specific guide
  2. Case study: Ginza Jewellery Hong Kong Limited

Retailers

  1. Case study: Jazz World
  2. Case study: Wholekey Stationery Supplies Limited
  3. Case study: A wood flooring company (Chinese version only)
  4. Case study: HKishop – Computer software online shop (Chinese version only)

Service Businesses

  1. Industry-specific guide
  2. Case study: Ray KW Lui & Co.

Trading

  1. Industry-specific guide
  2. Case study: Chin Lung
  3. Case study: Globalex Enterprise
  4. Case study: Pro Digi Limited
  5. Case study: Upper Universe Limited
  6. Case study: Yee On Trading Company

Toys

  1. Industry-specific guide

Advance Software Limited

Key to Success for Business Starters

Facing Challenges and Seizing Business Opportunities with Accounting Software

Automated management is the new trend of cost saving

Business inauguration is believed to be a common dream of lots of people. With the continuous surge of the unemployment rate, demands in job opportunity are obviously higher than supplies in the labour market, arousing the intention of many aggressive people to start their own businesses. Figures of the Business Registry show that numbers of newly established companies are increasing instead of decreasing. In 2005, there were 73,359 newly registered companies, which is 10% higher than that of 2004. However, as a Chinese proverb says, everything starts difficult,?it is inevitable for business owners to manage every major and trivial affair in their companies day and night. Also, while an insufficient work force is common during the founding stage, owners have to work hard in exploring new business opportunities and, at the same time, manage daily administration routines. In order to release the burden imposed to sales expansion, companies have to implement a set of effective business management solutions to streamline the related processes, so as to replace the repetitive manual work.

Automated systems can surely help in solving the various management complications for the business owners, but the issue of capital is also bothering new companies that have budget concerns. As a result, business owners hesitate in purchasing additional new systems. Their questions are more or less like: Are management solutions expensive? How to guarantee that it is worthwhile to invest? As a matter of fact, information technology has been enjoying great advancement in Hong Kong within recent years, and automated management solutions are no longer an impossible dream for mid-to-small sized businesses. At present, pricing of fully functional and easy-to-use accounting software has dropped tremendously, and, what is more, many human resource companies point out that, viewing this issue in the long run, the earlier business employs automated systems, the more resources savings the companies can enjoy, because new companies do not need to go through complicated system transformation processes like other corporates do. While traditional corporates are still struggling in practicing semi-manual bookkeeping and computer systems, new companies can outperform in their industries with the latest technology by strengthening their competitive edge.

Industry generally believes that in the coming five to ten years, accounting software would definitely replace semi-manual or even manual bookkeeping models to be the mainstream of the business management model. When competitors successively adopt accounting software as a daily administration tool, of course corporates should not sit and wait. If new companies can start early to invest in systems procurement while the economy is slow, their business strength would contrarily be improved by streamlining the sales process and at the same time expanding the sales network, which ultimately results in increased efficiency.

How to employ automated business management in coordination of accounting software

Bookkeeping by means of the ouble Entry?theory is the main feature of computerised accounting systems. Sales staff can now use accounting software to key-in an invoice now, and the system would automatically use ouble Entry Accounting?to record the accounts, enabling ease of use by people unfamiliar with accounting procedures, as well as significantly reducing repetitive manual operations. Hence, accounting systems nowadays are not limited to use in the accounting scope, but are a necessary tool of business management. Acquiring the comments of practical users and IT professionals, it is known that accounting software brings four major benefits to corporates:

Improve bookkeeping model

Most business pioneers have to assume multiple roles in working as a salesman in the frontline while being the finance controller back in the office to monitor the finance and accounts of the company. However, while not all of them possess a finance background, they still have to face fierce competition in spite of their lacking of time to familiarise themselves with the accounting operation. In order to establish accounts within the shortest period of time, the best means is to use the multiple accounting functions of the accounting software. Mr. Sin Chong Wai, the management consultant of an accounting service management company, has used accounting software to provide accounting services to many new companies. He thinks that upon acquiring such simple information as an opening balance, client and supplier name list, bank reconciliation and select remittance date, the system setup procedure is complete. Based on the accounting statement provided by clients, an industry-specific accounting titles statement can easily be made by the software, whereas the layout is also clearer and more precise. He further noticed that, since the software that he recommends to clients is easy to use, business owners manage to use it with ease after he has personally demonstrated it only one or two times, ensuring a significant enhancement in work efficiency.

Experts in the industry also point out that the major benefit of accounting software is its flexibility. Upon setting up the system, in case of staff resignation, other accountants can easily take up the bookkeeping responsibilities by means of the software, and save time in the training new staff. When submitting the statements to the auditor for annual audit, all the accounts have been systematically recorded and can be exported easily, saving considerable time for mutual communications.

Even if there is an erroneous entry that leads to an unbalanced account, the error can be tracked through the udit Trail?function of the software. Compared with spreadsheet or manually formulated statements, accounting software can instantly update the statement upon correcting the error. Besides, corporates can use the built-in business template of the software to start instantly using the accounting titles statement that best suits their industry. Since business pioneers can flexibly manage the company finance by the software, they can now focus more on their fields of interest, ensuring better work efficiency. Accounting personnel generally estimate that upon installation of accounting software, mid-to-small sized companies can save time of up to 20% to 30%.

Case Study 1
Speedy calculation of the cost of goods and items

Siu Kit Ying started Carillon International Limited two years ago with a major business focus in toy exports. Her company was a typical ODM operation, with products designed in Hong Kong, produced in a Guangzhou factory and marketed in Europe and the U.S. At that time, the company did not hire an accountant, and Ms. Siu had to take up a number of job functions. After using the accounting software, it only took her a little over ten hours to complete the bookkeeping procedures. In order to reach the purpose of cost savings, right now all staff (including the designers) are part-time based. With the calculation function of the computer software, Ms. Siu can consider the staff salaries as production costs, so as to show clearly the production cost of each item.

Apart from calculating the production cost, the system can independently display the profit and loss situation of each item. Since Ms. Siu only cooperates with one store to promote the fashionable toy products, whereas their joint efforts involve many sales and marketing procedures, every individual order has to be taken as an independent item. Through the item management function of the software, Ms. Siu can acquire the profit and loss situation of each item clearly. At present, since the transactions of Carillon are mostly done in U.S. dollars, Ms. Siu smartly uses the multiple currency function to show the profit and loss of the respective currency, and uses foreign currency to record the receivables and payables amounts of all the invoices. Compared with the wire transfer where the bank can only show the HK dollar converted from the foreign currency, accounting software is obviously more convenient.

Comprehensive report with detailed analysis

At the founding stage of the company, expenditures have to be managed properly because of capital restraint. Hence, it is critical for business owners to properly set budgets. Instead of using precious time to set personally the budgets, corporates can consider using the budgeting function of the software to perform all kinds of sales revenue forecasts, so that the business owner can monitor the account balances and cash flow 24 hours a day, project regular expenditures in the future, as well as further forecast the cash flow condition. Besides, since new companies are mostly lacking manpower, the business owner can turn out to be a ne man band?who needs to entertain the clients, so much so that he/she might forget to follow up with the due receivables. Sin Chong Wai indicates that if corporates adopt ingle Entry? for example entries at the general ledger, the calculation of the account receivables would be very complicated, and the opening receivable balance will be forwarded to the next month, which then individually adds or deletes the new and old receivables, so as to come up with the receivables for this month.

Right now, not only can the accounting software clearly show the aging report, but also all the overdue payments and the due dates, allowing corporate to take proper action, for example, use the joint mail function to send payment request letters to multiple clients at the same time.

It is noteworthy that the software statement function carries remarkable time-efficiency. Traditionally, corporate adopts a manual or semi-manual statement production method, which is more time-consuming. At the same time, the types of statements are limited to the balance sheet, income statement and cash flow statement. Besides, since it takes time for credit entries, it is difficult for the statements to reflect instantly the present finance situation. In other words, business owners can only acquire the profit and loss situation of the company by the end of the year.

The statement function of the accounting software is tailor-made to such conditions. After staff have entered the related records (such as sales invoices), the system will automatically update the accounts and the Accounting Department can read related data of any time, even the income statement and balance sheet of the day, without re-formulating the statements, or chasing after different departments for the collection of receipts. Apart from the availability of over 140 kinds of statement templates for selection, some powerful software can link to Excel to export statements to Excel sheets together with the equations.

Sales network expansion

Modern accounting software is no longer a supportive backstage tool, but an important weapon for client and sales management. In the aspect of sales expansion, users can easily identify the bestselling products and most active clients from the product sales analysis report. They can also compare the performance of respective sales channels and salespersons, so as to set marketing strategies. In the aspect of cost control, software statements list the production costs and the expenditures of the staff based on the card records. It can also help corporate to calculate the appropriate product price.

Through the recording of material costs, salaries and indirect overheads, etc., users can learn the minimum production quantities for reaching the balance of payments. Powerful software even has a default setting of over 30 selling prices based on different client categories or purchase quantities, allowing corporate to meet the needs of different clients. By analysing different statements, management can set sales strategies within the shortest period of time to better seize and expand their sales scopes.
During the initial business stage, business owners might need to approach many clients within a day, and bring lots of name cards back to the office. To systematically follow-up with the target clients, a simple name card box is not enough. Account software can help in client management by categorising the clients by names or IDs, etc., and also sending sales or payment request letters together with the joint mail function. Users can e-mail quotations or statements to clients directly from the system, and also set a contact timetable for client follow-up.

Corporate can use the same function to send sales letters, so as to strengthen the mutual relationship. If the client is an overseas company, powerful accounting software can record the foreign currency transaction with all the quotations, orders and purchase orders specified in foreign currency. Then it further calculates the profit and loss of the foreign currency based on the updated exchange rates, ensuring an easier and faster overseas business expansion.

Multi-functional software suitable for business pioneers of all fields

With a lot of multi-functional accounting software available in the market, it would definitely meet the needs of all kinds of business pioneers. Generally speaking, such software is usually adopted by trading companies, but users span across insurance agents, doctors and dance teachers, etc. Sin Chong Wai indicates that one of his clients is a dentist who owns over ten clinics. Upon his suggestion, the dentist has been using the item table of the software to calculate clearly the profit and loss of respective clinics.

Besides, software usually carries an inventory function, allowing manufacturing companies to improve inventory management. Corporate can set stock replenishment alerts to send a replenish message in light of insufficient stock supplies. If companies set it as inventory, then the system can automatically update the inventory level upon issuance of invoices, and the quantities of inventories are shown clearly in the real time report. With a shortage of certain goods, users can choose to either re-purchase or allocate the components of goods for the production of final products. These actions are all recorded in the system for an instant update of the quantities of goods.

With the availability of a Chinese interface for some accounting software, business owners not possessing an accounting background would definitely be delighted. They can instantly understand the account details, even if they are unfamiliar with the English accounting terms.

Some clients are doubtful about whether they can apply one function in the software to the accounting system. Just as Mr. Ma in Case Study 2, many of them intend to use software simply to issue invoices or make credit entries. Of course, it would not be a problem at all, because accounting software nowadays carries with both depth and breadth. Fully functional software can still meet the needs of clients even if one of its functions is used.

Dare to invest and challenge the future

The coming of automated management systems has indeed impacted local industries with its advanced information technology. While other corporates are still pondering the feasibility of automated management, business pioneers have already placed themselves at a strategic position. They should make good use of this advantage and seize the opportunity to adopt computerised accounting systems as soon as possible, so as to enjoy the benefits of flexibility and speed. However, some companies would rather use manual bookkeeping during their inauguration stage, and will only consider using a formal accounting system when sales increase.

Not only does this method create problems of system transition in the future that deprive them of their business advantages, the adoption of manual bookkeeping that is not designed for accounting jobs also causes them lots of unnecessary trouble. It is because with the use of the computer book together with manual accounting entries, all the items are entered into different books manually. In such manner, the built-in accounting functions of general accounts software, such as the financial statement and audit trail, etc., are lacking. Nevertheless, the biggest problem is that the books are not kept in double entry, so that it is difficult to trace accounting errors, not to mention other screening and statement functions. More importantly, there is a limit as to the number of entries a book can keep (which is normally 65,536 lines). As time goes by, records must be kept in separate sheets.

Considering all the abovementioned situations, corporate should not reject tools that can improve efficiency. In order to outperform in the industry, business owners need to make brave investment decisions at the right time, so as to be well prepared to embrace the coming economic prosperity.

Advance Software

Business profile

Advance Software Limited offers a comprehensive range of IT services including software and hardware sales, networking and all sorts of IT consultation. It also operates a retail outlet for software sales in Wanchai Computer City.

Maggie Tse is the owner and shopkeeper of the retail outlet. Every day besides taking care of daily retail operation, she remotely monitors her IT consultation business. Maggie has experienced good growth in her business and bases her success on good management and management systems such as MYOB Accounting and Point of Sales software.

Key challenge

Maggie knows that the challenge of running a successful business of any kind, she needed a trusted Accounting and Point Of Sale solution. Having the facts and figures at your fingertips is the key to business success! Her challenge: to find the solution, the answer, MYOB Premier accounting which Maggie has used in her business since day one!

Finding the right solution

When MYOB recently released the number one Point of Sale solution to Hong Kong, Maggie did not hesitate to invest in a system that would give her a greater understanding of her business health. “Of course I have to choose a professional POS system that is created specifically for retailers as an example to my customers.”

Results

The change did not bring inconveniences to Maggie but wonderful experiences. “RetailManager continues the MYOB tradition of providing powerful easy-to-use software with clean and fresh screen design. The shop is now running more smoothly in daily sales, reordering and stock management.”

The powerful reporting of MYOB RetailManager enabled Maggie to understand her business. “You can’t manage what you can’t measure — the informative reports in RetailManager gives me back control of my store with real-time reporting. I know what’s selling, who’s selling it, who’s buying it and when to order more.”

Maggie was so impressed with RetailManager’s capability to integrate with MYOB accounting software that — according to her own words — she will not “break up” with MYOB. “With a few clicks, I can send all the details of the day’s sales into the accounting system without duplicated manual entry. Truly a great product!”

Advice

As a connoisseur in the software industry, Maggie has some words of advice for those looking for a POS system, “There are many different POS systems to choose from in the market, and I know too well on their strengths and weaknesses. MYOB RetailManager beats them all hands down in its integration with MYOB accounting products for a complete software solution for a retail business.”

Ginza Jewellery Hong Kong Limited

Key to Success for the Watch and Jewellery Industries

Facing Challenges and Seizing Business Opportunities with Accounting Software

Accounting Software to Increase Revenue and Reduce Costs

Industries have always been an important support for Hong Kong’s economy, with the manufacturing industry exhibiting the greatest contribution. Taking the watch and jewellery industries as an example, in 2005, their export amounts were HK$46.1 billion and HK$25.5 billion, respectively. The jewellery industry not only brings in considerable revenue to Hong Kong, but has also gained worldwide recognition for its unique designs. Currently, Hong Kong ranks as the third largest city in the world in terms of export of precious jewels and its future potential should not be neglected.

From an alternative standpoint, Hong Kong’s industries are generally motivated by exports. The prosperity of their development has always been determined by the economic situation of the neighbouring regions. In the past, significant global economic recessions as well as the chain effect from the 9/11 incident in the United States in particular greatly impacted such high-valued consumer products as watches and jewellery. Manufacturers had to revise their management strategies to break out of the difficult situation. Confronted with unstable orders and supplies, many manufacturers attempted to avoid accumulating too much inventory. After market demand decreased, they set up special business tactics and systematically recorded the sales of each of their products, in order to be able to review their sales strategies on a regular basis. Management even adopted downsizing policies, and minimised administrative expenditures. Nevertheless, the result of expenditure reductions may have been unexpected increases in the responsibilities of other staff at the companies. Given inadequate labour and resources, the only way to achieve the expected sales performance was to spend time looking for new customers and retaining existing customers.

Large-scale manufacturers with strong financial backgrounds can easily overcome difficulties. They have sound product management policies and good customer relationship management systems to help solve their problems. However, for mid- to small-size businesses lacking contingency plans, outperforming is not easy during difficult times. As a matter of fact, businesses are not necessarily required to spend much money or make considerable investments to change their strategies and align themselves with the existing business environment. Once mid- to small-sized businesses choose the right sales management software, they are able to get out of predicaments easily without heavy investment. Their success in fact rests upon their determination to rise and shine.

Manual Bookkeeping Creates a Series of Problems

As far as we know, most of the existing mid- to small-sized manufacturing businesses still adopt a manual accounting model for accounts management. They hesitate using computerised accounting systems, merely out of fear of making a large investment. They have long assumed that a sound computerised accounting system is both expensive and complicated. Even if they can spend a lot money maintaining a system, they lack the proper staff to operate it, which further implies a wasted purchase. However, manual accounting in the long-run does create many unnecessary problems, as manual bookkeeping is slow and its records are often inaccurate.

Take the issuance of invoices as an example. After a salesperson has entered the invoice information, the accountant must also enter the same information from the same invoice appropriately into the books, leading to a repetition of working procedures. Incorrect entries or calculations in the process would affect the accuracy of the books. Another shortcoming of manual accounting is its lack of flexibility. If the accountant resigns, is on leave or is transferred to another location, it is difficult for other colleagues to follow the accounts records since different staff working in a manual operating environment may have different ways of handling their documents. At the same time, the company must add new resources to train other employees to take over the accounting job of the previous accountant.

Fortunately, affected by the trends in information technology, keen competition is often seen in the software and hardware markets, which continuously brings upgrades to accounting systems and reductions in their prices to affordable levels. Today, fully-functional, flexible and easy-to-use accounting software can be purchased at a reasonable price. Using a computerised accounting system is no longer a privilege for large-scale businesses. In the next five to ten years, accounting software is expected to completely replace manual systems and become a mainstream of the business management model.

In such a competitive business environment where every second counts, when more and more enterprises are adopting a computerised accounting system, mid- to small-sized businesses must decide to purchase a system as soon as possible. Otherwise, they cannot survive in the market. They should seize upon the right timing to make good use of accounting software. Not only can the system help the enterprise simplify sales procedures and reduce costs, it can also expand the sales network to bring in higher profits.

Efficiency Improvements and Sales Simplification

According to certified public accountants who are responsible for the accounts of mid- to small-sized businesses, after their clients have installed accounting software, operational time can generally be reduced by approximately 20% to 30%. First of all, an enterprise can make use of the templates installed with the software and select the most suitable table of accounting titles for its industry. In the meantime, using accounting software can effectively reduce redundant operational procedures and save the time required to correct unbalanced credits and debits. Since many accounting software packages available in the market are able to link to multiple users, departments other than the Accounts Department (such as the Sales Department) may also use the software to directly enter invoice information. After that, the system automatically performs double-entry bookkeeping to record items into accounts. Not only does this save the human resources of Accounts Department from time spent bookkeeping, but it also immensely reduces the chances of manual errors. Even though the accountant is not in service, his/her colleague may immediately use the software to continue the job without wasting manpower to train new personnel.

Moreover, general accounting software comes with a quick search function. All order and customer records are systematically saved in the software. By simply indicating a date range or another specification, records will be filtered and shown clearly on the screen, fully reflecting the software’s ease of use. As such, accounting software is more than just a bookkeeping tool. It is also a good business partner that can effectively eliminate the slow, inaccurate and inelastic procedures found in manual accounting.

Case Study
Flexible Use of Software Helps to Quickly Formulate Financial Statements

Being an accountant of a jewel processing factory with 20 employees, Miss Fung indicated that when she used manual accounting in the past, completing the monthly accounting procedures took an entire week. However, after installing accounting software, recording the accounts for several months takes no more than one day. The software’s performance has really amazed her. As an example, take purchases. When she maintains the accounts, she no longer needs to open the three thick Purchase, Accounts Receivable/Payable and General Account books at the same time, as she had done before. Now, she sits in front of the computer and clicks on the screen’s icons to easily complete her bookkeeping. Using these systematic accounts, the Accounts Department is able to report the most recent data to their boss. As Miss Fung is the only accountant employed in her company, in the past she was only able to submit the General Account to her boss every month for re-examination. After installing the software, she regularly submits not only the General Account, but also several different statements to her boss. If necessary, her boss is able to easily check the Bank Accounts, Accounts Receivable, and other statements using his computer at any time. By so doing, the transparency of company data is greatly enhanced. And now, her boss has more comprehensive knowledge about the performance of different departments.

Apart from providing bookkeeping convenience, accounting software is beneficial to the audit accountant. In the past, a company always delayed by more than a year the submission of the accounts to the accountant. Now, at tax reporting time, the accountant no longer needs to urge clients again and again to submit the accounts because the related records have already been saved in the system.

If the accountant has any queries about the accounts, the Accounts Department is able to immediately check the accounts from the system and respond to the accountant, thus accelerating the efficiency of tax reporting. Miss Fung said that she would suggest to her boss that the software be installed on other computers, to enable her colleagues to enter data from invoices at the same time and improve the efficiency of accounting.

Comprehensive and Detailed Statements Analysis

Before starting a business, money is required. However, mid- to small-sized businesses only have limited cash flow, even though it is particularly important to their operations. Now, they are able to make use of the statement formulation function installed in the accounting software to monitor account balances and the cash flow situation at anytime, in order to predict future expenditures and cash flow. They do not need to worry about forgetting to remind clients of payments due. The accounting software is able to clearly show aging statements, which list the names of all clients with unpaid balances and the due dates of such payments. Based on the aging statements, the enterprise is able to take related actions, such as sending payment collection letters and monthly balance slips at one time to all relevant clients by using the mail merge function. Of course, enterprises may also use the same function to send sales letters to strengthen their client relationships.

To many mid- to small-sized businesses, seeking sales expansion during a slow season is by all means a difficult task. The watch and jewellery industries have peak and low seasons, and they are easily affected by the economic situation of the international markets. Being restricted by various factors, a business with the intent to expand sales must adjust its strategies at the right time and closely monitor customers’ preferences for its fashionable products in order to outperform in the industry. Here, the product sales analysis function of the accounting software is a useful tool. From this analysis, the user may easily find the most popular product and the most active group of customers, and then compare the different sales channels and the performance of salespersons. By integrating the analysis of different statements, top management is able to formulate business expansion sales strategies within a short period of time.

Statements formulated by the accounting software should of course include the Statement of Profit and Loss as well as the Balance Sheet, which reflect the overall operation and sales performance of the company. Businesses using manual accounting very often cannot produce financial statements that instantly reflect their current situation, as it takes time to collect and enter data from invoices. The statement formulation function of the accounting software is designed to deal with such a situation. After other staff have entered the related records (such as sales invoices), the system will automatically update the accounts. The Accounts Department is able to instantly read the Statement of Profit and Loss as well as the Balance Sheet as of any date, or even as of today, without spending time on reformulating the statements or collecting the related data. Accounting software is able to provide a variety (as many as 140 kinds) of ready-made statements, and some software packages come with powerful functions that link to Excel, allowing statements and equations to be entered into an Excel worksheet. Employees are able to flexibly revise the statements and edit the format or columns at their desire, without being restricted to a default format. Moreover, the software allows employees to compare the financial situations of different years by printing statements from different periods. Some accounting software can even set budgets for the enterprise and then do a comparison analysis with actual performance, in order to better analyse sales performance.

Software Design Meets the Needs of Industries

Every year, grand jewellery and watch exhibitions are held in Hong Kong, attracting thousands of suppliers and buyers from different countries all over the world. This is a great opportunity for the industries to build business relationships. Therefore, the aggressiveness in participating suppliers becomes a criterion for assessing the sales performance of the season. Nevertheless, since the economic environment of neighbouring countries changes incessantly, past performance cannot serve as an index for future sales performance. The keys to success are proper inventory control as well as sound customer contact management. Using accounting software, enterprises are able to preset reminders related to follow-up purchases to avoid product shortages. If the company maintains inventory records, the system is able to automatically update inventory balances after an invoice is issued. Immediately, inventory for all products is clearly shown on a statement. If a certain product shortage exists, the user may purchase the product, or use parts from other products for processing and manufacturing and then sell them as new products. Each of these actions is recorded in the system, allowing for instant updates to product quantities.

Regarding customer management, software functions are no longer limited to the recording of customer information. Normally, an enterprise collects a large number of business cards from expositions held every year. To systematically follow-up with target customers, the enterprise cannot solely rely on a simple business card box. The accounting software carries great advantages in being able to classify customers according to their names, codes or other information, as well as send sales letters or payment reminders to different customers using the mail merge function. Through the system, users are able to directly email quotations or statements to customers, and even set reminders for follow-up action. If the customer is a foreign company, some accounting software packages with more powerful functions are able to record transactions in foreign currency and amounts shown on all quotations, orders and purchasing slips may be in foreign currency. The software is even able to automatically calculate profit and loss in a foreign currency based on current exchange rates.

To offer easier operations to mid- to small-sized businesses unfamiliar with accounting, a few software packages come with a Chinese interface. Many enterprises indicate that after they purchased the Chinese version of the accounting software, supervisors and other departments were able to quickly understand the accounts. Their communication is greatly improved, thus eliminating misunderstandings or rejections caused by language barriers.

Constantly Striving for Improvements to Face New Opportunities

All of the above situations reveal the greatest results from and benefits of using accounting software, which combines the agility of the human brain, enables flexible adjustment of human resources, and leaves more time for businesses to focus on strategic management and prospects. After all, with the computerisation trend, accountants are able to change their traditional role from inputting entries and formulating statements to being financial consultants, assisting companies in setting new business directions and providing value-added services. With professional services being performed through a rapid and accurate computer platform, the company is of course able to tremendously increase its productivity and improve its performance.

With China officially becoming a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Hong Kong faces an unprecedented optimistic situation, as well as fierce competition from different countries all over the world. Such competition has a great impact on Hong Kong, the proud mediator for a long time. In times of economic depression, if an enterprise wanted to strive for development in a fiercely competitive market, it had to maintain its vigilance, progress with the times, and keep an open-minded viewpoint. As observed with many businesses in China, although they started rather late, they have been enjoying prosperous development within a short period of time, and can now compete with Hong Kong enterprises. This is because they are willing to accept new ideas, dare to explore new possibilities, are eager to adopt a variety of information technology, and are absolutely open-minded towards the implementation of computerised systems.

On the contrary, Hong Kong businesses have only passively extended the use of the traditional manual model. They are satisfied with the existing situation and stubbornly reject any tool that could possibly improve work efficiency. Although some businesses employ computerised systems, a majority of them only use spreadsheets to record accounts and do calculations. For other operational procedures, such as inputting entries, settling accounts and so on, these businesses still rely on manual operations. They are by no means truly exercising comprehensive accounting computerisation. In the long-run, they will be unable to manage their progress and will consequently be defeated by technology. Hence, local enterprises should maintain their vigilance at all times, actively look for new opportunities, embrace the application of new technology, and continuously explore new ways to improve efficiency. Only by doing so will they be able to seize the best opportunities and beat their competitors. The people of Hong Kong must continue to work hard, be insistent and never give up, in order to be able to effectively confront adverse situations and rekindle the glorious prosperity of the good old days.

Ginza Jewellery Hong Kong Limited

Certified Consultant – Professional, Comprehensive and Considerate

Company profile

Ginza Jewellery Co., Ltd. (http://www.worldginzajewellery.com) was founded in 2002. It is an online Internet business mainly dealing with online shops selling world-renowned watches, leather products, fine jewellery and cosmetics. The company founded Ginza Jewellery Hong Kong Co., Ltd in 2005 and founded a new branch in Guangzhou, China this year. They are dedicated to the management of businesses in China and Hong Kong.

Business Summary

Director of the Hong Kong company, Ms Hong, has said that they have been using MYOB’s products since the opening of their Hong Kong branch and they are currently using the English version of MYOB Premier v10. She said, "We often need to process orders from Japan and from mainland China and the online transactions are often conducted in US dollars, therefore Premier is the best software that satisfies our requirements for processing foreign currency trades. In addition, the English version solves the language barrier problem for companies in China, Hong Kong and Japan and makes it more convenient for them to check business information."

Solution

Aside from using MYOB for processing the company’s accounts, Ms. Hong also entrusts MYOB with the processing of all the company’s purchases and sales. She said, "Every day, we input the receipts and all the expenditure of the company into MYOB. Staff in charge of purchases and sales can also input customer orders and purchase records into the system. That way we can accurately and comprehensively record accounts receivable and accounts payable by using MYOB."

With the advice of MYOB’s certified consultant Tommy, Ms. Hong has made better use of MYOB’s inventory function by managing the inventory levels of fine jewellery. She said, "Not only can MYOB’s inventory control centre record the product details of rings and other jewellery, but it can also attach an image of the product to the record, making the product records more visually appealing."

Effect

Ms. Hong appreciates the convenience MYOB provides for the collection of data. She said, "Whether you’re looking at the company’s cash flow, amounts due from customers, suppliers’ accounts or the status of inventory, MYOB can display the latest information in real time." Aside from creating ordinary income statements and balance sheets, Ms. Hong regularly uses MYOB to create "accounts receivable aging" and "accounts payable aging" reports to analyze the company’s financial situation. Ms. Hong added, "Commodity trade reports are very useful too. Not only can they show inventory information about different commodities, but they can also help us to analyze performance. Everything is under control."

As for certified consultant Tommy’s professional services, Ms. Hong is full of praise, "Tommy is a great partner to work with. We have become old friends now after years of working together." Aside from providing services of checking monthly accounts and settling accounts at the end of year, Tommy’s main duties are in providing professional consultancy services and providing methods of the application and operation of MYOB, teaching us the best ways use MYOB for optimum results. Ms. Hong said smiling, "Whenever we encounter stubborn problems with MYOB, as soon as we call Tommy, he resolves them there and then. We can count on him to put our minds at ease."

Advice

Ms. Hong is a faithful supporter of MYOB. She has been using MYOB for many years and she even recommended MYOB to two friends who are also engaged in online trade. "MYOB can deal with the stock, sales and inventory requirements of small-sized companies. In addition, it has bookkeeping, financial and simple customer relationship management functions. It really is a business management application that is so comprehensive and easy to use."

Jazz World

Business profile

What is jazz? Jazz is a kind of music that we often hear when watching TV commercials and enjoying coffee in cafes. Jazz is the sound of freedom, a profound form of art, and an opportunity for business.

When Clarence Chang started his jazz CD retail business, Jazz World, two years ago, there was no such kind of specialist retailer in Hong Kong. Thus Clarence took the lead and opened up a new hot spot for local jazz fans.

It was really a piece of cake to understand customers?taste for a jazz maniac like Clarence, and his business grew steadily in the past two years. Besides being the shopkeeper, he was also the merchandiser/ buyer searching for jazz CDs around the world and sends emails to customers on new arrivals every month.

Key challenge

Though jazz CDs were the only merchandise, Clarence realized he needed a professional POS system that allowed him to track customers and to manage suppliers and purchasing efficiently. When deciding on a POS system, Clarence was looking for a system that was easy to learn, easy to use and integrated seamlessly with MYOB Accounting.

Finding the right solution

After working with MYOB Accounting to manage inventory and daily sales, Clarence had already experienced the user-friendliness of MYOB products. Recently he used MYOB RetailManager in the store with a barcode scanner and printer to process daily sales. He also continued using MYOB Accounting as his back-office solution.

Results

MYOB RetailManager has helped Jazz World run more efficiently. Closing and end of day procedures become quicker and easier. By simply scanning the bar codes, new items details are immediately recorded. It also gives me the ability to get real-time inventory and sales data throughout the day. It helps me to monitor my business more easily so that I can concentrate on searching for good CDs for my customers.

It was always Clarence’s dream to open new outlets, but his concurrent tasks did not allow him to make it happen. RetailManager now allows him to spend more time and resources making his dream come true.

Advice

Clarence believes a POS system is an essential ingredient for small retail outlet success. MYOB RetailManager is my first choice in terms of ease-of-use. It’s great to find a product that has all the right features at the right price and backed with great technical support.

Wholekey Stationery Supplies Limited

Switching to MYOB from manual accounting wins high acclaim from the boss

Wholekey Stationery Supplies Limited is a family-operated business. Six people manage all affairs for the stationery store. Miss Pun, responsible for accounting work, commented on this type of traditional operation, "All of the store’s accounts are recorded manually, including the end-of-day "cash ups". Today, this kind of manual accounting operation is outdated. The accounts are messy and cause headaches!"

The boss, deciding to use accounting software to tidy up the messy accounts, purchased the latest version of MYOB Premier a few months ago. "It is easy and simple to operate. Each window display is clear. The procedures for daily operations such as invoicing, maintaining bank balances and placing purchase orders are the same as before. Basically, you can learn to use the software by yourself and all of the procedures can be completed with just a few clicks of the mouse." Miss Pun is now using the Traditional Chinese version of the software. She has already customized her own invoice with the stationery store’s logo, now used as the official invoice for the store.

When Miss Pun started using MYOB, she called the technical support hotline to enquire about details on creating company data files. She was "very satisfied with the services of the MYOB technical support team."

Miss Pun’s boss highly regards Premier because of its access to over 170 reports, "After using MYOB, we can prepare different reports and carry out business analysis with just a few clicks. Now, I can really keep track of the status of the stationary store!"

Ray KW Lui & Co

Keys to Success for Service Businesses

How to Strengthen Customer Contact through Accounting Software

Drawbacks of Manual Bookkeeping

Today, quite a number of mid- to small-sized businesses in Hong Kong still maintain their accounts manually. After summarising the viewpoints of different certified public accountants, all of them believe that manual bookkeeping is outdated and creates many complicated problems. The first problem is slowness in calculations. If accountants still use calculators to undergo casting, the company loses significant valuable resources every day. Moreover, no one can guarantee that casting procedures are 100% accurate. When keeping the books, redundant procedures not only affect work progress, they also lead to inaccurate records. For example, after a salesperson has entered invoice information, the accountant must also appropriately enter information from the same invoice into the books, leading to a repetition of operating procedures. And, incorrect entries or calculations in the process would affect the accuracy of the books.

Inaccurate records caused by manual accounting will also affect the auditing process. Many companies still adopt the common spreadsheet software for bookkeeping. Since a double-entry system is unavailable in a spreadsheet, if debits and credits are not balanced, it is difficult for the accountant to spot the error. Moreover, quite a number of companies record invoice information into different account books. The accountant must open several thick and bulky account books to double-check figures, which is very time-consuming and troublesome.
Even if an error is found, making the correction is not easy. Once an incorrect figure is located, a new statement must replace the manually formulated one. An accountant once mentioned that, in general, customers were unfamiliar with accounting practices and errors could always be found in manual double-entry bookkeeping. As a result, correcting the incorrect accounts often took more than a month. When collecting a consulting fee from the customer, the accountant found it difficult to explain why the auditing took so long. This has been the situation for two to three years, and the auditing accountant is becoming more and more frustrated, not to mention not experiencing any job satisfaction.

When a customer passes the completed books to an accountant, the very first problem is always model conversion. If the company has not adopted accounting software, its file saving model is different from that of the accountant. Therefore, the accountant must first read the information, and then convert the files into a spreadsheet. However, as information conversion is not very flexible, these procedures always take almost an entire day. If one of the related staff members asks for a long leave or is transferred elsewhere, other colleagues must search through different folders to complete the job. Due to a lack of a unified recording mechanism, it is more difficult for other departments to use the data for analysis.

Regarding statement formulation, manual operation makes providing multiple updated statements within a short period of time impossible. In general, the accountant only has time to formulate the most commonly used statements, the Statement of Profit and Loss, Cash Flow Statement and the Balance Sheet. As to manually-formulated Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable that create the critical inputs to the cash flow of a company, the age of accounts cannot be shown on the books. If additional aging statements are required, more labour is required. Thus, frequently payment reminders are not sent out until the due date nears, or after the due date has passed, which significantly affects the returns of the company.

Last but not least, manual operation always affects an enterprise’s image. Some small companies still send handwritten monthly balance slips (commonly called "grid tables") to customers. Customers receiving handwritten slips in an era where computerised issuance of slips is common gain a negative impression of the professionalism of their partnering company.

Use Accounting Software to Solve Problems

During economic depressions, all trades try their best to cut their expenditures and maintain their sales performance. The most common method is the implementation of a computerised management system. However, the key to improving efficiency is not only to upgrade existing business systems, but also to make such improvements correspond to that of the accountant, in order to strengthen the contact between each other. Although most certified public accountants have adopted accounting software, a majority of their mid- to small-sized business customers are satisfied with their existing situation and continue to use manual or "semi-manual" and "semi-computerised" working models, thus seriously affecting efficiency. In a stagnated economic environment, most small businesses emphasise cost reduction. Therefore, they hesitate in installing a perfect management system because of cost concerns and the time required to operate the software.
Quite a number of accountants indicate that whenever they take over a new customer, they must spend significant time adapting to the customer’s accounting system. Subsequently, with the aim of enhancing mutual communication, they believe that the adoption of accounting software is obviously the first option available to small businesses to improve their work efficiency.

Accounting Computerisation is of Great Urgency

In fact, a fully-functional business management software package does not cost much to purchase, nor does it take much time to learn. It is understood that today’s information technology is ever-changing and old computerised systems are continuously being replaced by new ones. Both software and hardware prices have been tremendously reduced. Today, a fully-functional, flexible and easy-to-use business management software package can be purchased at a reasonable cost. Using a computerised accounting system is no longer the privilege of large-scaled businesses.

In a highly competitive business environment, when competitors successively adopt computerised accounting systems that have become the mainstream of the business management model, mid- to small-sized businesses must decide to purchase a system as soon as possible. Otherwise, they cannot survive in the market. Once mid- to small-sized businesses realise that computerised management can help reduce business expenditures and increase competitiveness, most are willing to accept their accountants’ suggestions and adopt accounting software.

What is Modernised Business Management?

However, not all computerised accounting systems can effectively solve the above problems, depending on the type of software and the platform adopted. Our understanding is that a number of businesses still using old accounting software operating on DOS. These packages can only save on manual calculation time to a limited extent and their basic operation is not greatly different from manual accounting. A user of the old software is expected to be familiar with the principles of accounting, record debit and credit accounts separately, and then transfer the items to the ledger. Since the transfer is conducted through batch processing, the system cannot instantly update statement figures.
In respect of using the software, it is more troublesome for the user to memorise commands; thus, the user must spend more time learning its practical operation. This kind of software neither allows errors, nor accepts error correction on the formulated statement format. As a result, only very few statements may be formulated. Using such a stagnant system cannot ensure that users benefit from any computerised-related advantages.

Relative to its legacy version, second-generation software is greatly improved. Its adoption of the Windows platform eliminates the need to memorise commands. However, since most of the improvement is limited to the formulation of the General Account, the user still must maintain double-entry bookkeeping; thus, people unfamiliar with this accounting practice become terrified of this software. These two types of software are only for use by an individual user and cannot be shared among other colleagues. Also considering the significant time needed to become familiar with its operation, in the event that the colleague responsible for numerical entries is transferred elsewhere, no other colleague would be able to immediately operate the software. As a result, the software creates the same problems as found with manual accounting.

While the old software cannot bring the convenience of computerisation to its users, the more updated computer spreadsheet is also unable to satisfy the needs of modern management. Unlike the old accounting software, the spreadsheet is not designed specifically for accountants, as it only converts the bookkeeping media from paper and pen to a spreadsheet, while the basic accounting procedures remain in manual model. All items must be manually entered into different spreadsheets. Moreover, this software lacks frequently-used accounting functions, such as the formulation of financial statements, audit trails, and so on, which are commonly installed in many other accounting software packages. In this situation, the greatest problem created by the spreadsheet is that it does not support double-entry accounting, making it difficult to spot errors. Additionally, the scanning function is not comprehensive enough, meaning that the selection of statements based on the categorisation of financial years, months or so on, cannot be done during auditing. Financial statements cannot be updated at any time along with a change to individual accounts. In addition, different kinds of slips and accounts records are saved in different programmes. If formulating a business statement is required, such as aging of accounts and sales performance, etc., significant time is needed to search the related slips. More importantly, the records entered in the spreadsheet are limited, as a spreadsheet has a maximum of 65,536 lines. Therefore, several years of data must be recorded on separate pages.

On the contrary, a truly modernised accounting system can automatically execute all accounting procedures and its performance is far superior to both "semi-manual" and "semi-computerised" software. After some accountants have adopted modernised accounting software, they are glad to endorse the software to their clients. The function of the accounting software in improving work efficiency can be revealed in the following four aspects

Efficiency Improvements, Sales Simplification

Many mid- to small-sized businesses do not operation independent Accounts Department, and even if they have Accounts Department, very often they do not have enough accountants to handle complicated accounting work in massive quantities, which creates errors during calculations and bookkeeping. Accounting software eliminates the time needed by the staff to add and subtract figures using calculators. Moreover, since many software packages are able to link to multiple users, departments other than the Accounts Department (such as the Sales Department and the Purchasing Department) are also able to use the accounting software to directly enter invoice or bill information. After that, the software automatically performs double-entry bookkeeping to record the accounts items, and then transfers the items to the ledger. Apart from simplifying redundant work procedures, the software greatly reduces the chance of creating manual errors and saves on the significant time required for correcting incorrect balances. After the accounts are kept, the system can formulate the relevant statements. The software is not only efficient, it also provides multiple options, reducing the manual labour used in statement formulation.
As to auditing, the staff are now able to input entries and reconcile the accounts on the same screen, without searching for bills or invoices from different account books. If an entry is incorrect, the user is able to check the auditing records and spot the source of the error based on categorisation by date, slip numbers or by the staff member who keyed-in the entries. Corrections are made quickly.
Apart from improving bookkeeping efficiency, the software helps to accelerate the establishment of a sales management system. When account items are passed to an auditor for annual settlement, all account items are recorded and output systematically, accelerating and simplifying auditing procedures as well as saving the time needed to convert file formats. According to certified public accountants who are responsible for the accounts affairs of mid- to small-sized businesses, after their clients have installed accounting software, operational time is reduced by over 30%.

Automatic Formulation of Statements and Sheets to Improve Work Efficiency

Mid- to small-sized businesses have limited cash flow and are greatly affected by Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable. Through the software’s statement formulation function, enterprises do not need to worry about forgetting to remind clients of payments due. The accounting software is able to clearly show aging statements, which list the names of all clients with unpaid balances and the due dates of such payments. Based on the aging statements, the enterprise is able to take related actions, such as sending payment collection letters and monthly balance slips at one time to all relevant clients by using the mail merge function. Of course, enterprises may also use the same function to send sales letters to strengthen their client relationships. By using the preset format function provided by the software, the enterprise is able to put its trademark on documents to enhance its professional image.

To clarify sales and financial situations, apart from formulating the Cash Flow Statement, Statement of Profit and Loss and the Balance Sheet, which clearly reflect the overall operation and sales performance of the company, the software allows a user at any time to monitor account balances and the cash flow situation at anytime, in order to predict future expenditures and cash flow. Several fully-functional accounting software packages are able to provide a variety (as many as 140 kinds) of ready-made statements, and some software packages come with powerful functions that link to Excel, allowing statements and equations to be entered into an Excel worksheet. Moreover, the software allows employees to compare the financial situations of different years by printing statements from different periods, formulate budgets for the enterprise, and then do a comparison analysis with actual performance, in order to better analyse sales performance.
Examples of multiple statements installed with the accounting software can help enterprises rapidly design plans to increase income and reduce expenditures. In respect of increasing income, a user is able to easily identify the most popular product and the most active group of customers from the Product Sale Analysis Statement, and then compare the different sales channels and the performance of salespersons in order to formulate marketing strategies. In respect of controlling costs, the software is able to list product costs and employee expenditures as shown on the card records. By integrating the analysis of different statements, top management is able to formulate business expansion sales strategies within a short period of time.

In addition to diversified statements, the greatest advantage of this software is instant information updates. For businesses using manual accounting operations, since collecting and entering slips takes time, very often their financial statements cannot instantly reflect the current situation. The accounting software’s statement formulation function is designed to deal with such a problem. After other staff have entered the relevant records (such as sales invoice data), the system will automatically update the accounts items. The Accounts Department is able to instantly read the Statement of Profit and Loss as well as the Balance Sheet as of any date, or even as of today, without spending time reformulating the statements or collecting the related slips. Although occasional errors are found in the accounts items, spotting the source of the error is easy and the statement can be revised immediately. Such flexible correction mechanisms eliminate the effort required to reformulate a new statement.

Diversified Software Functions Meet the Needs of All Industries

According to the opinions of some certified public accountants, when introducing an accounting software package to their clients, they generally consider the type of company, its budget and the interface it uses. While employing accounting software by different enterprises, the software’s functions and outputs are utilised to meet the needs of different industries. Mr. Lui from Ronald H.T. Lee & Co. mentioned an instance in which a dance classroom needed to raise funds for every activity held. He suggested they use the table of items provided by the software to clearly calculate profits and losses.

For manufacturing companies, the software’s inventory function helps improve inventory management. Using accounting software, enterprises are able to preset reminders related to follow-up purchases to avoid product shortages. If the company maintains inventory records, the system is able to automatically update inventory balances after an invoice is issued. Immediately, inventory for all products is clearly shown on a statement. If a certain product shortage exists, the user may purchase the product, or use parts from other products for processing and manufacturing and then sell them as new products. Each of these actions is recorded in the system, allowing for instant updates to product quantities.

Regarding customer management, software functions are no longer limited to the recording of customer information. Normally, an enterprise collects a large number of business cards from expositions held every year. To systematically follow-up with target customers, the enterprise cannot solely rely on a simple business card box. The accounting software carries great advantages in being able to classify customers according to their names, codes or other information, as well as send sales letters or payment reminders to different customers using the mail merge function. Through the system, users are able to directly email quotations or statements to customers, and even set reminders for follow-up action. If the customer is a foreign company, some accounting software packages with more powerful functions are able to record transactions in foreign currency and amounts shown on all quotations, orders and purchasing slips may be in foreign currency. The software is even able to automatically calculate profit and loss in a foreign currency based on current exchange rates.

To offer easier operations to mid- to small-sized businesses unfamiliar with accounting, a few software packages come with a Chinese interface. Many enterprises indicate that after they purchased the Chinese version of the accounting software, supervisors and other departments were able to quickly understand the accounts. Their communication is greatly improved, thus eliminating misunderstandings or rejections caused by language barriers.

Some clients once doubted the use of only one of the software’s functions in their accounting systems. Among these clients, some intended to use the software to issue invoices or input entries. Of course, such use is no problem at all because today’s accounting software is designed with both depth and broadness in mind. For fully-functional software, even the option of using a single function can sufficiently meet the needs of customers.

Professional Services to Meet Customers’ Needs

Apart from helping enterprises improve their work efficiency, the implementation of accounting software can significantly strengthen their communication with the accountant, allowing enterprises to enjoy professional accounting services. These advantages are revealed through the following actual example. Miss Liu, a partner at S. Liu & Co., indicated that after she suggested that her client adopt accounting software, auditing efficiency improved by 10%. Now, she is able to easily spot the source of an error from auditing records inside the system, thus accelerating the completion of the auditing work. By saving time spent on bookkeeping procedures, she is able to concentrate on providing professional services to her clients, such as business consultation, planning of tax affairs and so on.

Miss Lee Mo-Ching, a certified public accountant, indicated that it was easier to explain the accounts items to clients using accounting software. In the past, she simply completed accounting work for clients, but seldom explained her practices to them. However, after both parties implemented a unified accounting software package, she is now able to easily reply to clients’ queries about accounts items, and is able to clearly show them the source of accounts items. After she explained the application of the software, several tasks that were once passed to her, such as entering information from slips, formulating statements and so on, are now handled and operated by the clients themselves, despite their insufficient accounting or computer knowledge. Miss Lee mentioned that after clients started using accounting software, she could concentrate on professional services, such as consultation, auditing, system control and establishment of a company, etc. Also, after she effectively improved clients’ operating environments and helped reduce business expenditures, clients gained greater confidence in her.

It has therefore been revealed that, under the trend of computerisation of accounting procedures, accountants are able to move from their traditional tasks of inputting entries, formulating statements, etc. to being financial consultants, assisting companies in setting new business directions and providing value-added services. Moreover, an accountant’s job satisfaction is tremendously increased. All of the above situations reveal only the major benefits of using accounting software. Apart from these, accounting software also exerts the agility of the human brain, enables a flexible adjustment of human resources, and improves the efficiency of business operations.

Case Study

Sky Dragon Consulting Co., Ltd. currently provides customers with the services of bookkeeping, company secretary, planning of tax affairs and so on. Its responsible person is Mr. Choi Yi-Shing, who successively suggested adopting accounting software to almost all of his customers. Since accounting software creates clear and understandable filing records, once his customers use the software, he no longer needs to visit their offices to do the accounting work, as he previously did. Now, he can read the information in their files through emails, greatly saving transportation time.

As to auditing, manual filing system procedures are very complicated. First of all, all slips must be handwritten into different account books. However, errors can be easily made during the handwriting process. When reconciling accounts, the Bank Account and other account books must be checked at the same time, to confirm that the figures are correct. By using accounting software, a user is only required to enter data into a screen (such as the payment window). During accounts reconciliation, the user is only required to double-check the original slips and the accounts maintained inside the system on the transaction day. All figures are clearly shown and there is no need to consider whether the accounts items are identical. As a consultant to his customers, he can now spend the additional time strengthening his customer relationships. The computerisation of accounting systems is truly a business trend and all of Sky Dragon’s customers are now using accounting software.

Ray KW Lui & Co

With MYOB, handling clients’ accounts has never been as simple

Ray KW Lui & Co is a member of the MYOB PAC (Public Accountants Club) and started using Premier v6 two years ago. Recently, the software was upgraded to Premier v8, to allow for handling of clients’ MYOB accounts. The company is now using the Traditional Chinese version of the software. According to Mr. Ma, the senior auditor, approximately 10% of the company’s clients uses MYOB: "Using MYOB can provide clients with much convenience because they don’t have to submit a large pile of general ledger reports to us and we don’t have to spend time collating the accounts. They simply send us MYOB data files by email and we can carry out in-depth analysis and auditing procedures on the computer. Such operation saves time and is environmentally friendly."

Mr. Ma thinks that the biggest advantage offered by MYOB to accounting firms is that all accounting procedures and reports are handled by MYOB: " In case the accounts of a client are handled by a new colleague, the new colleague may instantly pick up the job. In the past when we used Excel, each colleague might have adopted different reporting formats and the calculating formulae might also have differed. It was difficult for new colleagues to take over jobs, as they might have had to re-do everything. Clients also find it difficult to handle different report formats."

If a new client does not computerize accounting systems, Mr. Ma will also use MYOB to handle the clients’ accounts: "Compared with the existing accounting softwares in the market, MYOB is much more powerful. The strength of MYOB lies in its multi-currency function. Once the default exchange rate is set, the software is able to handle different types of multi-currency accounts and save us the trouble of manually converting currencies, thus reducing opportunities to make mistakes. In addition, the function to set different inventory price levels is very useful and helps us effectively control inventory."

Mr. Ma agrees that using accounting software to handle accounts has become a trend for corporations intending to enhance efficiency: "We will recommend MYOB to our clients who are now using Excel because it will improve their business operation while facilitating our handling of their accounts."

Tai Fook Toys Limited

Key to Success for the Toy Business

Meeting challenges and capturing business opportunities with the help of accounting software

Accounting Software Opens New Sources of Revenue and Reduces Costs

Undoubtedly, the manufacturing industry is playing an important role in the Hong Kong economy, and in particular, the development of the toy manufacturing industry is thriving. Hong Kong has become one of the largest toy exporters in the world and Hong Kong’s toy manufacturers?production modes have also undergone drastic changes, from OEM that emphasised mass production by using designated moulds to ODM that allows manufacturers to create their own brand designs. From targeting the European and US markets to tapping into the Mainland China market, Hong Kong’s toy manufacturing industry has demonstrated exceptional flexibility and adaptability.

From another perspective, the toy industry relies significantly on exports and its robust development hinges on the economic situation of neighbouring regions, and even the global economy. In 2006, the US and European markets already accounted for more than 33.1% and 30.3% of export value, respectively. However, the sudden worsening of the economic climate and the chain effect brought about by the 9/11 attacks in the US dealt severe blows to the already lagging manufacturing industry. During the first ten months of 2006, the total value of Hong Kong’s toy exports dropped by 10%, an indication that manufacturers must be able to adjust their business strategies in order to break the deadlock. In view of the sudden drop in US orders, many manufacturers began to explore the Asian and Chinese markets. They came to realise that they could no longer rely on a single client and business diversification has become increasingly important. They continued to expand their networks and began to record the sales of each product type in order to review their marketing strategies on an on-going basis. In addition to exploring new sources of revenue, they needed to think of ways to reduce costs and streamline management. In order to achieve sales targets under the constraints of insufficient manpower and resources, manufacturers must devote more time in soliciting new clients and maintaining their relationships with existing clients.

Larger scale enterprises have the financial strength to ride out tough times and have comprehensive systems to handle transactions involving various currencies, inventory and customer relationships. In comparison, small- and medium-size enterprises lack other ancillary facilities and it is difficult for them to stand out from their competitors. In fact, changing strategies to cater to the business environment does not require bold and resolute measures or substantial investment. Small- and medium-size enterprises that have chosen appropriate business management software may also fight their way out during recessions without spending a lot of money. Whether an enterprise manages to succeed or not ultimately depends on its determination to survive.

Manual Accounting Entries Gives Rise to a Number of Problems

Although familiar with the operation of their own industries, owners of small- and medium-size enterprises engaging in the manufacturing industry do not understand the operational modes of accounting systems and most of them adopt a manual accounting system to manage their accounts. They hesitate in implementing computerised systems due to capital considerations. They believe that a comprehensive computerised accounting system is both expensive and complicated. Even if they have the capital to maintain the system, they do not have the skilled staff knowledgeable in operating the system, and installing the system will only result in wastage.

However, manually making accounting entries will add to the burden of the staff of these enterprises and cause a lot of unnecessary trouble in the long run. First, making such entries is slow, procedures are duplicated and records are inaccurate. Take invoicing as an example. After the salesperson enters the invoice data, the accountant must enter the same data from the same invoice again when making accounting entries, leading to redundant procedures. Incorrect entries or calculations will affect the accuracy of the accounts.

In addition, the manual operating mode poses accounting difficulties. Since it is impossible to do double-entry bookkeeping in the loose-leaf books used in manual accounting, tracing the source of errors is very difficult. Moreover, many companies record their invoices in different account books and to search through and audit these numerous thick books can be very time-consuming.

The third problem with manual operations is the lack of flexibility. Different staff handle documents differently. Even within the same department, information cannot be transferred easily. If one of the staff is on a long vacation or works overseas for a short while, other colleagues will have to check different document folders to complete the accounting work. Due to the lack of a uniform recording mechanism, it will be difficult for other departments to use the data for analysis. Accountants handling company accounts done by manual operation will also have to re-adapt to the accounting system of that company, thereby reducing the operating efficiency of both parties.

Fortunately, trends in information technology have led to intensified competition in the software and hardware markets. New and innovative computerised accounting systems have been launched one after the other and prices have dropped substantially to levels affordable by small- and medium-size enterprises. Enterprises may now acquire a comprehensive, flexible and user-friendly accounting software package at a competitive price and the computerised accounting system is no longer the privilege of large enterprises. It is expected that accounting software will fully replace manually operated systems and become the mainstream management model within the next five to ten years.

In a business environment where every minute and second counts, more and more enterprises are adopting computerised accounting systems. Small- and medium-size enterprises should install such a system as early as possible to prevent themselves from becoming unable to compete. Making a move at the right time and using accounting software not only help enterprises streamline their operations and reduce costs but also extend their sales networks and bring about value-added benefits.

Improving Efficiency and Streamlining Operations

Reducing calculation time is of course the most important function for accounting software. Accountants serving small- and medium-size enterprises pointed out that these enterprises could reduce operating time by at least 20% to 30% after installing accounting software. The most apparent benefit is that accountants no longer need to do the casting with their calculators and need not manually make debit and credit entries. Accounting software is able to process double-entry accounting, which significantly improves the accuracy of accounts. The system, also able to prepare statements immediately after accounting entries are made, is not only fast in its preparation but is also capable of preparing numerous types of statements to enable enterprises to save significant manpower used in the preparation of statements.

In addition, many small- and medium-size enterprises indicated that the advantages of accounting software included avoiding unnecessary procedures. Since several accounting software packages sold in the market have the ability to connect to multiple users, numerous departments (such as the sales department) in addition to the accounting department may use the accounting software to directly enter invoice data, allowing accounting entries to be made and posted to the general ledger automatically. This not only avoids unnecessary procedures but also significantly reduces the possibility of human errors and reduces the time needed to rectify balance errors. Moreover, data entry errors made during the process can be spotted through an audit trail, and sources of errors can be searched by date, invoice number or person-in-charge for rectification.

Software not only accelerates the speed of making accounting entries, but also helps enterprises to quickly start their businesses. After company accounts are submitted to the auditor for the preparation of the annual account, the auditor need not re-adapt to the accounting system of a new company because all accounting entries are made systematically and are easily exported, saving both parties much time in communication. Therefore, accounting software not only has accounting entry functions, it is also the best partner in business management and can effectively solve problems of inefficiency, inaccuracy and inflexibility associated with manual accounting.

Comprehensive Statements and Detailed Analysis

The issue of expanding the sales network under the constraint of limited capital has perplexed many small- and medium-size enterprises. The sale of toys is very much affected by seasonal factors and business often wanes after the peak consumption seasons of Christmas and New Year. Constrained by various factors, increasing sales is a matter of strategy and is achievable by targeting the right customers and by stocking the product types in demand. This can be done using the accounting software, which allows users to easily identify the best-selling products and the most active clients from the statements and compare the performance of different sales channels and sales persons.
Management is then able to quickly formulate a sales strategy using the analysis from various statements and develop a well-thought-out plan for business expansion.

Small- and medium-size enterprises need capital for their operations. They should avoid over-leveraging themselves when expanding during boom times and must pay attention to cash flow during difficult times. Thus, the cash flow statement is particularly important to a business operation. Enterprises are able to make good use of the statement function of the accounting software by monitoring account balances and cash flow conditions at any time and are able to make cash flow forecasts based on anticipated regular expenses in the future. Enterprises are able to avoid headaches resulting from forgetting to recover sums owed by clients. The accounting software can clearly show aging of accounts, which lists all clients that owed the company money and the relevant payment due dates. This allows enterprises to take corresponding action according to the aging of accounts and send payment letters to numerous clients at one time by activating the mail merge function. Of course, enterprises may also use the same function to send sales letters to enhance customer relationships.

The income statement and the balance sheet are important statements reflecting the overall operation and performance of a company. Using accounting software reduces the workload in preparing statements. Statements created by enterprises adopting a manual accounting system typically do not reflect real-time status at the time the accounting staff collect bills and invoices and enter data. At the same time, manual accounting restricts the types of statements that can be prepared due to the complicated procedures involved and limited resources. In addition, the scope covered by the search functions of spreadsheets in ordinary word processors differs and it is difficult to instantly determine the contribution of a particular customer in a particular year for the preparation of a sales statement. A statement must be prepared
each time for annual or quarterly comparison even using the same set of accounts, which can be very time-consuming.

The accounting software’s statement function is specifically designed for the above situation. While other staff are entering relevant records (such as sales invoice data), the system will automatically update the accounts and the accounting department may access and retrieve the income statement and balance sheet for any period, even as at that particular date and time. They need not spend time preparing statements all over again or urging other departments to submit bills and invoices. In addition to featuring numerous types (some may even have 140 types) of statements for users to choose from, several powerful accounting software packages are able to link to Excel spreadsheets and export statements together with formulas into Excel spreadsheets. Staff are able to flexibly revise statements and customise their own formats or columns and need not be restricted by a default format. Staff may also use the software to print out statements from numerous periods in order to compare the financial conditions of different years. Several accounting software packages may also formulate corporate budgets and compare them with actual results in order to evaluate business performance. In addition, accounting software typically comes with a quick search function. Since all order and client records are systematically stored in the software, a user is able to simply search by a specific date, period or any other criteria and the screened records will be clearly displayed. The software offers quick and convenient functions.

Software Can be Tailored to Specific Industry Needs

New and innovative toys have been launched into the market one after another and traditional gadgets are no longer able to satisfy the needs of the young generation. Today, fashionable mainstream toys combine electronic elements and it is expected that robotic toys will establish themselves in the market in the future. On the other hand, the evergreen of the toy industry ?the cartoon character ?normally becomes a fad with the promotion of popular animated feature films. Whether in the business of traditional toys or digital gadgets, manufacturers must be perceptive and insightful and must purchase materials in advance of the beginning of a hot trend. In view of the ever-changing taste of consumers and short product lifecycles, appropriately controlling inventories is the key to success. Accounting software allows enterprises to set replenishment alerts, which will send a replenishment message when the inventory of goods is insufficient. If the company keeps an inventory, the system will automatically update inventory levels once an invoice is issued, and the inventory of each type of product is clearly shown on statements. When a product is out of stock, in addition to replenishing the stock, the user may allocate and transfer the components of the goods for processing into finished products, which will then be launched for sale. All of these activities are recorded in the system and product volume is updated automatically. When toy manufacturers are busy quoting prices of trendy gadgets to potential clients, accounting software is an exceptional price calculation tool.

The software is able to calculate and record material costs and some may even calculate salaries and overhead expenses and help enterprises calculate and set prices. Software with more powerful functions may even allow users to set up as many as 30 customised selling prices according to the types of clients and their procurement amounts, to allow enterprises to cater to the needs of different clients.
In terms of customer management, software functions are no longer limited to recording customer information. In January of each year, Hong Kong hosts the largest toy fair in Asia. The recent toy fair that just ended attracted 28,350 buyers from all over the world and the number of exhibitors exceeded 1,600, demonstrating that the trade fair is an excellent opportunity for industry participants to build their networks.

However, when it comes to handling the large number of name cards collected from such an annual trade fair and systematically following up with target clients, one cannot depend solely on an ordinary name card holder. The advantage of accounting software lies in its ability to classify information according to the names or codes of the clients and in its mail merge function, which can send sales letters to clients. Users may email quotations and statements directly to clients through the system, to save on fax and administrative expenses. Users may also preset a time to contact clients to facilitate subsequent follow-ups.

For overseas clients, accounting software with more powerful functions may record transactions in foreign currency. All quotations, orders and purchase orders will be denominated in foreign currency and any exchange gain or loss will be calculated automatically based on the prevailing exchange rate. As such, enterprises are able to accomplish twice as much with half the effort when expanding their businesses overseas.

To make it easier for supervisors of small- and medium-size enterprises who are not familiar with accounting, a few software packages feature Chinese interfaces. Many enterprise users indicated that their supervisors and staff of other departments instantly understood the accounts presented in Chinese by the accounting software, significantly improving communication and avoiding misunderstandings and resistance due to language barriers. As more and more enterprises move their operations into China, the introduction of Chinese interfaces allows offices in Hong Kong and China to adopt a uniform accounting system to facilitate account consolidation.

Case Study

Department Productivity Increased with Multiple Users Operating Online

Tai Fook Toys Limited is engaged in the OEM business and its toys are exported to the US market. The company employs more than 700 staff in the manufacturing workshop. The accounting software that the company adopted four years ago to replace the manual accounting system is now being used by other departments as well. According to the accounting department’s staff, the software facilitates auditing and significantly reduces duplicative procedures. Before using the software, the procurement department’s staff used to have to manually check the company’s purchase order when receiving a bill from a supplier to ensure correct amounts before being entered into the system. With the software, the amount can be imported and entered into the system directly without the need to turn pages to do the checking when the bill is received. Since the procurement department has already recorded the payment to the supplier, the accounting staff need not repeat the procedure of re-entering the bill’s data.

As regards contact with overseas clients, the software used by the accounting department is able to handle various currencies and record foreign exchange revenue and expenditures quickly and accurately. Previously, the accounting department would first print out and sent a US-dollar denominated invoice to a US client and then record the invoice data in Hong Kong dollars. When the accounting staff had to handle a large number of such invoices, amounts in the two currencies could get mixed up. The accounting software significantly reduces the workload for currency conversion calculations.

According to the accounting department, the software not only significantly improves the company’s operations but also facilitates communication with the accountant and accelerates the auditing process. In the past, when bills were submitted to the accountant at year-end, the company always failed to immediately answer accounting enquiries since the bills and invoices were not on hand. Sometimes, the company had to ask the accountant to fax back the invoices in order to check on problematic accounts, wasting significant time. However, now that the accounts are entered through the software, the user may immediately check the accounts by date or number. Moreover, if the accountant requires the client to submit the accounts payable of that year, the accounting department will have to estimate the accounts payable to suppliers as at March of the following year. Since the company has already recorded the accounts payable into the system when purchase order data were entered earlier, the accounting department is able to easily extract the needed statement of payable ages and reduce communication time.

In addition, accounting software packages have import/export functions. The Mainland office may enter purchase order data into the system and export the relevant files to a department in Hong Kong for entry. Thus, the software is particularly useful for managing a multinational business.

The Scope of Services Provided by the Accounting Profession will Enlarge

From the above, we can see that the most significant advantage of accounting software lies in the software’s ability to function as flexibly as the human brain. This allows human resources to be flexibly deployed, enabling more time to be devoted to forward-looking tasks such as strategic management. By computerising accounting operations, the accounting profession will not be replaced by computers but instead will be able to expand its scope of services. After all, accounting practitioners are the ones who really understand the accounts but they may transform their roles from performing routine tasks such as bookkeeping and preparing statements into financial consultants who assist companies in setting business directives and sales strategies and provide high value-added services. By combining the professional services of accountants with quick and accurate computer operations, the company will be able to effectively raise its productivity and improve its business.

With China becoming increasingly powerful in the international stage, Hong Kong is open to a wealth of unprecedented opportunities. At the same time, Hong Kong faces competition from all over the world. As a member of the WTO, China is threatening Hong Kong’s role as a middleman, which it has taken pride in. China is Hong Kong’s largest trading partner and is also a competitor whose power cannot be underestimated. When competing to be the winner, the people of Hong Kong must be far-sighted, put aside their prejudices and keep an open mind in order to excel in the intensely competitive environment. In observing many international enterprises, although some might have had a late start, they manage to stay ahead within a short period of time because they are willing to accept new thoughts and are keen on innovation. Such enterprises never hesitate to implement a variety of information technology and are not resistant to computerised systems.

On the contrary, local enterprises tend to stick to manual systems, which are effective at the moment. They are satisfied with the existing state of affairs and refuse to adopt any tools to enhance efficiency. Although statistics have shown that as high as 62.1% of the manufacturers in the toy industry have adopted computerised accounting systems, most of them only use spreadsheets to make accounting entries. The procedures are still basically done manually. The data entry procedure cannot be regarded as bringing the full advantage of an automated system and the powerful accounting functions performed by computers are not being fully utilised. In the long run, enterprises will gradually lag behind and drown in the technological tide.

As the saying goes, "Knowing yourself and your rivals can help you win every battle." Local enterprises must stay vigilant at all times, actively identify new opportunities, embrace and adopt new technologies and continuously explore methods to improve efficiency, in order to capture early-mover advantages and out-compete others. A weak economy is not a dead-end for enterprises; in fact, it is an excellent opportunity for small- and medium-size enterprises to win by making surprising and novel moves. As long as Hong Kong people continue to work hard, be resolute and steadfast and make unremitting efforts to improve themselves, they will be able to overcome all difficulties and create a new world for themselves.

Globalex Enterprises

Key to Success for International Trading Businesses

Meeting challenges and capturing business opportunities with the help of accounting software

Accounting Software Suit the Remedy to the Dilemma

Based on statistics as of March 2006 released by the Census and Statistics Department, 270,000 small- and medium-size enterprises existed in Hong Kong, the majority of which (98,244) were companies engaging in import and export trading businesses. These companies employ more than 400,000 and control not only the rice bowls of the majority of the people of Hong Kong, but also play an important role in promoting foreign trade. As a free trading port, Hong Kong has experienced changes in its export structure for several decades and has been transformed from an exporter of products manufactured locally to focusing on the entrepot trade. At the same time, affected by the increasingly difficult global economic environment and the after-effects of the 9/11 attacks, exports to the US and the European Union slowed significantly. Under the influence of various peripheral factors, Hong Kong traders have had to gradually change their operating modes to capture opportunities brought about by China’s accession into the WTO, while at the same time strengthening internal management. One of the ways to achieve these objectives is to enhance competitiveness by adopting computerised management systems.

As the saying goes, "Easier said than done." Although trading companies play an important role in Hong Kong’s economy, they show contempt/reluctance to implement a computerised management system. According to a survey on "the use of information technology in the industrial and commercial sectors and its popularity in 2005," approximately 36% of the trading companies in Hong Kong operated without computers, mainly because most of their staff thought that they could handle their jobs with the existing manual operating system. This practice was particularly common in accounting management. In addition, staff worried that after computerisation, the company might not have the necessary staff who would be familiar with computers or that the system may not be able to cater to the individual needs of the staff. Thus, the company would end up spending a lot of money purchasing necessary programmes or sub-contracting with someone to modify the programmes. Moreover, they had misconceptions about computers and believed that most software is expensive and not worth the money. As a result, these traditional enterprises continue to operate using their manual systems and never think to implement innovative reforms.

As a matter of fact, many certified consultants have already pointed out that the numerous drawbacks to manual accounting operations would significantly affect the operations of the small- and medium-size enterprises. An expedient measure adopted by small- and medium-size enterprises not fully implementing computerised accounting systems is to store business information using numerous computer programs. This is a temporary but not a fundamental solution. Since the programs cannot perform double-entry accounting, basic accounting procedures such as making accounting entries and batch processing are still done manually, which causes many problems. Accounts receivable statements not managed by the computer cannot show the aging of accounts; therefore, the company may attempt to only recover receivables on their due dates, thereby affecting cash flow. Moreover, when a client has problems with its accounts, the accountant may have to go to the client’s office to conduct an on-site audit, which slows the auditing process. This is why modern accounting software is the remedy that suits the dilemma faced by these traditional old-style enterprises.

Understand Modern Accounting Management and Enjoy the Advantages of Software

Although computerised accounting software has been under development for a while, it is only until recently that an enterprise could purchase a comprehensive automated system at a competitive price. Some enterprises are still using accounting software that runs on DOS and believe that they have implemented a modernised management system. In fact, such old software requires users to perform batch processing on their own and the system cannot update statement data on a real-time basis. Thus, their operation is no different from a manual operation. Several upgraded software packages running on the Windows platform are sold in the market but most are only used for general ledger entries. Users must still perform double-entry bookkeeping on their own. Such software is therefore unsuitable for beginners.
In comparison, truly modern accounting software automates accounting procedures and, more importantly, performs double-entry accounting, enabling even users unfamiliar with accounting to benefit. In addition, with the rapid advancement of information technology and the intense competition in the software and hardware markets, the price of accounting systems has dropped significantly, allowing more and more small- and medium-size enterprises to experience the advantages of a modernised management system. Such software may enhance operating efficiency and competitiveness in the following areas:

Streamlining Procedures and Enhancing Efficiency

The major difference between accounting software and manual accounting is that accounting software eliminates manual calculation, auditing and copying procedures, and the accounting staff need not do the casting with a calculator or copy data from all types of bills and invoices onto different books of account. The double-entry bookkeeping function of the accounting software will automatically handle double-entry accounting and immediately post the accounts to the general ledger, significantly reducing the possibility of copying and calculation errors. Since most software packages have a quick search function, users are able to simply search by a specific date or period or other criteria and the screened records will be clearly displayed. Staff need not search through various books of account as they did in the past, when they may have failed to find the data. At least 20% to 30% of operating time can be saved.

Many modern software packages have an online edition that can be connected to multiple users, allowing other departments to use the software. This significantly enhances the efficiency of the departments. Colleagues in the sales department may enter bill and invoice data using the system. The system will automatically and immediately make accounting entries and post the accounts to the general ledger, thereby significantly reducing the workload of the accounting department. At the same time, transferring invoices and bills among different departments becomes unnecessary, thus reducing the possibility of human errors and losing invoices and bills. Moreover, the time needed to rectify balance errors is reduced. In case of data entry errors, staff simply need to correct the appropriate bill record and all the other relevant records will be updated instantly without the need to prepare financial statements all over again. All records will show the real-time status of the accounts.

Many supervisors worry that online operation by multiple users may lead to information being divulged unnecessarily. In fact, most accounting software packages with an online edition adopt a password management facility to monitor use rights of all users from every department. Thus, enterprises are able to enhance department productivity without affecting information confidentiality.

The use of software not only improves the internal efficiency of departments but also facilitates communication with the auditor. Many small- and medium-size enterprises overlook the importance of communication. They submit bills and invoices to the accountant without any communication and end up making the same mistakes every year. Since the accounting software is able to record information uniformly, the accountant need not re-adapt to the accounting system of a new company when accounts are submitted for preparation of the annual account. When the accountant has queries on the accounts, the client is able to check the system’s records immediately and the problem can be solved quickly. All records are easily exported and the accountant need not go to the client’s office to conduct accounting work as he did in the past, saving both parties much time. Thus, using accounting software may help enhance the competitiveness of enterprises while effectively solving the inefficiency and inaccuracy associated with manual bookkeeping.

Numerous Functions Cater to the Needs of the Foreign Trade Business

With the integration of the global economy, Hong Kong traders and foreign institutions have engaged in more frequent dealings. Accounting software must cater to the needs of overseas businesses in order to satisfy the diversified management requirements of enterprises. Most of the surveyed traders have a strong need for a foreign currency handling function. In the past, this expensive function was only available in large-scale accounting software but is now featured in several software packages designed specifically for small- and medium-size enterprises. This is undoubtedly good news for traders because this function allows them to issue invoices denominated in foreign currency while making accounting entries in their original currency. Errors arising from the manual conversion of currencies are reduced, and the workload needed to perform calculations is significantly reduced.

In addition, exchange rate fluctuations and the rate prevailing at the time of the quotation may differ from the rate adopted when making entries. Staff may set the latest exchange rate through the software when recording an exchange gain or loss and need not re-do any calculations. Many trading companies choose to open various foreign currency accounts at banks and maintain the received amounts in these accounts for subsequent payments in the same foreign currency, to avoid having to continuously convert currencies. In such a case, the accounting software is able to track the exchange gains and losses related to these unconverted currencies and ensure that the user stay abreast of movements in foreign currency exchange rates. After preparing a quotation and an order in a foreign currency, the user may directly email this information to the overseas client through the system using the software’s built-in email function, to save on fax expenses.

Hong Kong’s recent economic transformation, coupled with the migration of procedures to the Mainland and the emergence of enormous business opportunities resulting from China’s accession into the WTO, have prompted software manufacturers to add Chinese interfaces to their software. Such a software interface allows offices in Hong Kong and China to adopt a uniform accounting system, facilitates integrated operations and helps to enhance the operating efficiency of Hong Kong enterprises. After installing the Chinese version of the software, supervisors or staff of other departments who are unfamiliar with accounting may also use the software to make accounting entries or enter bill and invoice data. This will significantly enhance the software’s scope of usage and improve communication. Accounting software also comes with a customer relationship management function that allows information on customers from different regions to be easily classified and which allows users to search customer information more quickly and conveniently.

Users may preset a time to contact clients to facilitate subsequent follow-ups. Several powerful accounting software packages are able to link to other word processing programmes and their mail merge functions allow an enterprise to send sales letters to a large number of customers at one time. More importantly, an enterprise may set a credit limit for each client and if a client’s new order exceeds the credit limit due to unsettled amounts, the system will immediately send an alert, enabling the enterprise to remain vigilant.
In essence, modern accounting software has many functions, allowing enterprises that engage in different trading businesses to choose the most suitable tools. Some companies simply use accounting software to issue invoices while others only need the accounting entries function for use with their existing computer systems. Whether enterprises choose to use the entire package or just a single tool, accounting software satisfies their needs both in depth and in breath.

Saving Time with Quickly Prepared Statements

Due to their limited manpower, most trading companies are able to prepare just three financial statements under the antiquated operational model ?the income statement, the cash flow statement and the balance sheet. In addition, the statement preparation process may be delayed due to bills and invoices being occasionally lost, which affects the timeliness of the statements. Moreover, because the search function in spreadsheets in ordinary word processors is limited, it is difficult to instantly determine the contribution of a particular customer in a particular year for the preparation of a sales statement. In addition, an accountant must prepare a statement each time for annual or quarterly comparison of accounts, which can be very time-consuming.

The old-style books of account cannot show the aging of the accounts receivable and accounts payable, both of which affect the cash flow of a company. However, preparing another statement of aging of accounts requires more manpower. As a result, companies end up recovering amounts due only at or after payment due dates, significantly affecting revenue.
Modern accounting software has the ability to quickly prepare numerous types of statements not limited to just common accounting statements. A sales analysis statement can show the best-selling products and the most active clients and compare the performance of different sales channels and sales persons. As regards cost controls, after a supervisor enters all types of expenses into the system, the enterprise will have access to a percentage distribution of expenses, as well as the expenses related to each staff member and each client. This helps management formulate management strategies.

Cash flow management is even more effective, as enterprises are able to make good use of the accounting software’s statement function, monitor account balances and the cash flow condition at any time and make cash flow forecasts based on anticipated regular expenses in the future. The accounting software is able to clearly display a statement of aging of accounts, which lists all amounts owed to the company and payment due dates, allowing the enterprise to take corresponding actions based on this aging of accounts. More importantly, the department needs not allocate additional manpower to prepare these statements. With the multiple user operational mode, the accounting software will automatically record all business information when bill and invoice data, or any amount, are entered by all of the departments. The accounting department will only need to choose the scope to be reviewed from the statements and the system will display the most recent information after accounting entries are made. In this way, the statements are guaranteed to be timely and accurate.

Several powerful accounting software packages are able to link to Excel and export statements together with formulas into Excel spreadsheets. Staff can flexibly revise the statements and customise their own formats or columns. They may also list data from numerous periods on the same statement to make comparisons of the financial conditions of different years. Several accounting software packages may also formulate corporate budgets and compare them with actual results. Thus, management is able to take early action, react immediately to the conditions of the company and its industry peers and need not wait until year-end to become aware of the company’s profit and loss situation.

Case Study

Using Software Saves Time and Space

Mr. Lee works for a trading company engaged in sales of garment accessories. The company adopted both manual and computerised accounting systems before shifting to accounting software in 1999. Mr. Lee believes that the major difference between the two is that the latter saves time and space. In the past, he had to spend an entire day preparing statements on spreadsheets before monthly meetings. Now, statements are prepared instantly, allowing him to devote more time to other tasks. Colleagues in the accounting department need only three to four days every month to make accounting entries, compared to two weeks in the past. Likewise, since the spreadsheet previously adopted was not designed specifically for accounting tasks, substantial time was spent on auditing. If a record was placed in a wrong file or an incorrect identification serial number was entered, the record could not be audited. After switching to accounting software, Mr. Lee is able to search by bill, invoice number or date and the scope of the search is broader. This is why he seldom encounters auditing problems. The overall working efficiency of the department has improved by two to three times.

Mr. Lee also pointed out that the company maintained a large number of books of accounts in the past. However, since office space in Hong Kong is limited and precious, making good use of space is particularly important to small enterprises. In the past, the books of accounts occupied the space of nearly half an office desk every year, resulting in much wasted space. After adopting software for accounting entries, all records are stored in computers. The space saved in these few years can be used for other purposes, thereby significantly improving the company’s productivity.

The accounting department need not maintain books of accounts and it will print out statements from the software each time for auditing. Such a practice is good for maintaining the company’s auditing procedures because the department does not need to submit all of the books to the auditor and the department’s normal operations are not affected.

In addition, since most of the company’s clients are from the US and Europe, the department may use the foreign currency handling function of the software to handle transactions in both USD and Euros, and adopt the prevailing exchange rate when making accounting entries. This prevents exchange differences between data entry and issuing invoices.

Chin Lung

The best partner for business owners

The so-called "one-man band" sole proprietor must handle each and every affair of the company on his own. They may not be able to spare time for each task. Therefore, an easy-to-use software package with comprehensive functions will be an ideal alternative to helping them manage their business systematically.

Mr. Miu is the sole owner of Chin Lung, a company selling fashion and daily necessities. He must take care of all the affairs of his store, from making purchases to shopkeeping and even accounting. He has been very busy, which is why he wanted to look for an affordable, multi-function and easy-to-use software program to help him out, especially when the market is turning robust: "After switching to MYOB from Excel, my accounting efficiency has improved by as much as 50%!"

Doing the accounts while looking after the store

To keep track of daily turnover and product sales, Mr. Miu installed a computer in his store: "I can now do the accounts while looking after the store. This enables me to free up more time and have proper working arrangements while facilitating my handling of cash flow. Moreover, I am now able to make quick purchases, instead of losing the chance to make a profit once a trend is over. Many of my competitors just concentrate on doing business everyday but have no idea about their accounts, whereas I can check my accounts instantly. Now that I am handling the accounts myself, I save the monthly cost of engaging a bookkeeping and accounting company and also have an easier time filing tax returns at the end of the taxation year!"

Besides using MYOB Accounting software for billing, preparing general ledger and recording sales, Mr. Miu enters information for all of his suppliers in the "Name card box" and every purchase is recorded under the section, "Purchase". He also sets up related accounts, and by entering information once, MYOB will automatically handle other accounts as well. This helps reduce the time he spends on preparing his tax returns.

MYOB’s powerful report analysis

According to Mr. Miu, "I used to use Access, but the multi-function feature of MYOB suits me better. I now access many types of MYOB reports and the software also analyzes the best-selling clothes, giving me a better idea when making purchases. The automatic calculation of exchange gains and losses saves me time in manually doing the conversion. After entering the data, I have a clear picture of daily sales performance and profit or loss position with just a few clicks."
In addition, Mr. Miu has high regard for MYOB’s Chinese interface which caters to the needs of businessmen like him who are unfamiliar with English accounting terminology. He is very much at ease with the careful explanations of MYOB’s technical support team regarding customer enquiries.

Globalex Enterprises

Improve cross-department coordination and enhance efficiency

For small- and medium-sized enterprises with larger scale, accounting software can enhance efficiency. New accounting software has many practical functions to help enhance efficiency of both the company and individuals, and thus becomes the personal partner of the boss.
Mr. Yu of Globalex Enterprise explained, "Daily operations such as invoicing, making purchases and keeping accounts are handled by various colleagues from the sales, procurement and accounting departments, respectively. Keeping track of the operating status of all the departments is time-consuming and troublesome. Now, this new accounting software package solves these problems. And it is a lot faster too."

Mr. Yu believes that MYOB accounting software has many practical functions, and is even more professional than customized accounting systems. Although not all functions can fit into the operation of the company and fulfill his requirements, he is able to make minor adjustments when necessary. Fortunately, configuration is easy and does not affect his overall operation, another feature of MYOB.
What Mr. Yu appreciates most is that MYOB accounting software has many reporting functions, allowing him to carry out more comprehensive analysis and arrive at better results.

Professional, simple and easy to use

Mr. Yu now operates MYOB accounting software efficiently after one month of use, and is familiar with all of its functions. He believes this accounting software package is simple, user-friendly and very professional. He considers it an ideal option for beginners and will surely recommend it to his friends.

Pro Digi Limited

Accounting can be that simple

Pro Digi Limited, a company engaged in the distribution of computerized editing supplies and equipment, was established in 1999 by Albert Ma. Like most other low-budget businesses, it is not economical to employ a full time/ part time accounting staff. Therefore, Mr. Ma must look after everything on his own. With his limited accounting knowledge, he recorded all sales invoices and expenditures in an Excel workbook.
After operating as a "one-man band" for half a year, Albert found himself talking to his accounting friend on one occasion and suddenly became aware that he had no idea about the profit and loss position of his company since its establishment! When Albert returned to his company, he immediately checked the Excel workbook where he recorded all of the accounts. After more than ten minutes of going through complicated procedures, he could only calculate freight charges. At that time, he thought to himself, "There must be some simpler ways to do this accounting!"

Just then, his friend gave him a trial version of MYOB. He decided to give it a try and found that MYOB was very user-friendly. He learned the basic operations within hours of self-teaching. He discovered that using MYOB to handle accounts is convenient and accurate and all expense details can be shown with just a few clicks. In the end, he decided to purchase the full version and has since then used MYOB templates for invoicing, handling receivables and payables and carrying out sales analysis.

Albert believes that no one cares more about the company’s results, monthly profit, receivables, payables and a variety of expenses, than him. He stresses that managing the accounts of a company does not necessarily require formal accounting knowledge. It is crucial to obtain an easy-to-use accounting software package. He has tried the accounting software from other brands but found that MYOB was more user-friendly. Accounting can be simple!

Upper Universe Limited

Learn MYOB on your own by accessing the online guide

Upper Universe is engaged in the production of denim and operates an import and export trading business. Since invoicing is very time-consuming, over time, we have accumulated many un-issued invoices. To improve upon invoicing efficiency, we recently switched to MYOB Premier. According to Mr. Tang from the accounting department, "After listening to the recommendations of colleagues and friends, our boss decided to switch to MYOB, in order to improve invoicing efficiency and enhance overall productivity."
After attending the MYOB Getting Started Course, Mr. Tang is now able to create data files without any difficulty. "The tutor of the Getting Started Course clearly explained the software’s functions; therefore, it is not at all difficult to customize its operations. We must just be more careful when defaulting the accounting year."

Upper Universe has already purchased additional licenses, enabling the entire accounting department to use the software: "We have already finished entering our customer information. Now, we are busy entering sales records for the previous month into MYOB. From now on, all accounting department colleagues may simultaneously use MYOB."

To cater for the requirements of the company’s computerized invoicing process, Mr. Tang recently designed an invoice format on his own for future invoicing purposes: "Invoice customization is not very complicated. For each MYOB window, you may click on the F1 button in case you don’t understand a procedure. An explanation for each topic related to that window is then listed. It is very convenient! In addition, the search function is very useful and is much faster than turning pages in the user manual. In fact, we are also thinking of joining the MYOB Club, to receive more professional and personalized MYOB technical support services."

Yee On Trading Company

Achieving excellent performance in multiple tasks

Mr. Yiu worked as an accountant for various companies before setting up his own company, Yee On Trading Company. He understands what advanced software with comprehensive functions can do for small enterprises. Besides managing his own meat exporting business, he now works part-time preparing books and accounts for numerous ex-employers. Over the years, Mr. Yiu had been manually handling the accounts of different companies but found that manual accounting operations are outdated. He actively looked for accounting software with advanced design, comprehensive functions and, most importantly, could create accounts for numerous companies. After a thorough comparison of the alternatives, he finally made his choice – MYOB.

According to Mr. Yiu: "Since different companies must set up different databases, a multi-function accounting software package will suit me most and help me work smoothly. Also, I was in constant search for a software package which can create accounts for numerous companies, but could not find one. Ultimately, I discovered that MYOB has that function, and decided to use it without hesitation. In addition, we have to deal with more Chinese information in recent years; therefore, a software package with a Chinese interface helps broaden my client base, bring in more jobs and increase my income."

Mr. Yiu thinks that working with software is much faster than manual accounting operations, and that data accuracy, very important for accounting, is also guaranteed. In the past, he had to refer to various books at year-end to prepare accounts; now he does this with just a few clicks. It is really very convenient.

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