Purchase Order Systems and TimeSheets


Question 1

"I have been asked to speed up the quarterly management reporting process which at the moment I report on a quarter almost 2 months after the period end date.  One of the reasons for this is we wait on accruals to come in after the period end - about a month.  I have thought of using a purchase order system but I am not sure on how easy this is to set up.  Is there software we can use that will allow staff to make purchase orders that is easy to use and does not require too much accounts labour time to monitor, and for it to be useful for accruals reporting?"

  •  There are several purchase order systems available, some of which are online (in the cloud") and some of which are installed on the user's computer. Both could be used for gathering information on accruals.
  • What sort of accounting system do you use currently? There may be a facility in that that will deal with POs that has not yet been turned on.
  • How do you get details on accruals currently? Is there any sign off process on purchases?
  • How accurate does your management accounts need to be?
  • Do the people who would be raising purchase orders have access to the internet? Would it be ok to store details of purchase orders online in a secure manner?
  • Do you have any other systems that you would like to have integrated?

Sage line 50 has a whole purchasing module as standard.  It's also a network app, so anyone on the network could access it if they have rights (and licences!). 


95 Ways to Boost Your Excel

{mosimage}We all love Excel, right?  With Photoshop as other the single possible contender, it has to be the greatest piece of software ever written.

But do we use Excel to its best effect?  Are we more efficient through its use?  

Timesheet Xpress for free

With the benefit of the videos, I could now see that the power of this software is in management.

Acksen Ltd are offering their time-sheet tracking sofware package for free to charities, so I decided to have a look and see if it was any good.   Note that neither, ICTpoint nor The

Opening docx

With Office 2007, Microsoft brought out a new set of file types.  Since then, users of Office 2000, 2003, XP etc have been receiving documents from others using Office 2007, and and have often been bemused at their inability to open these strange files.


Until office 2007, it did not matter what version of Office you were using - they could all open each others files, but docx files presented a problem as there was no backwards compatilbiility.  Microsoft have produced a docx plugin for older versions of Office which will convert them to a more traditional filetype, but some users can run into snags when trying to get and install it, depending on what versions of Windows, Internet Explorer and Office they are running.  It can seem to get very complicated!

 Fortunately, open source software OpenOffice can step in here to come to the rescue.  Now in version 3, OpenOffice can open docx files and save them as your format of choice.

 You can get OpenOffice for free here.


Very Simple Document Management

"I am seeking a simple knowledge / document management solution for our charity.  When I say simple I mean very, very simple, just an intranet accessible capability with basic document categorization - think Google documents but using MS Office.  We are looking at SharePoint online (BPOS) which is available quite cheaply but seems more complex than I want."

 There are lots of options available for document management.  You can see a few of them through this article on document management solutions here.


Document Management Systems

"We have a HP laserjet M3035 x5 MFP printer which also has scanning. We've been told that we could purchase scanning software which would enable document management for a once off  €5k or less. ie no annual licence fee This is from the original photocopier supplier who also uses this software for their large business.

It appears ideal for our needs as we're over run with paper. Unfortunately our budget won't run to work flow management, so document storage is what we'll go for. We'll need for various reasons to hold files (letters, invoices etc) for upto 10 years. we have out filing structure worked out.

Some questions:

Are there any cheaper options out there?

Is there a risk that the software becomes obsolete/not supported and we can no longer access the data?

Is there a document storage standard in use that should be complied with?

Any other advice would also be appreciated."

Fixing Broken Word Documents

This short article offers a catch-all which will fix many a broken Word document.

Word documents get corrupted.  It just happens, and we have to deal with it.  A corrupt document will manifest itself by crashing word as you scroll down through the document when you hit a particular spot.  Or sometimes, you simply cannot open the document at all!


Fortunately, there is a simple remedy which will rescue most dying or dead Word documents (or Excel or Power Point, for that matter).

{mosimage} OpenOffice opens Microsoft Office documents - Word, Excel and Power Point.  It will also save them, although you will have to tell OpenOffice that you want your document saved in Microsoft's format, as it natively uses ODF, or open Document Format.  A simple File>SaveAs will cover that.

So by simply going through the process of opening your broken Word document in OpenOffice and choosing File>SaveAs and saving the file again in the Microsoft format, OpenOffice fixes the glitches.  

OpenOffice may change some of the more complex formatting features used by Word, by the chances are that they were causing the problem in the first place!

 OpenOffice is open source software which is freely available for download at .  OpenOffice looks like Office 2000/XP, so if you are familiar with those products you will be able to use OpenOffice.  OpenOffice is in version 3 as of this writing, and is therefore a mature product.  It is created by Sun Microsystems, one of the heavyweights of the technology industry.

Accounting Packages for Charities

"We are evaluating accounting software packages at the moment and would appreciate some guidlines particulrly in relation to compliance with new charities bill. What are the best packages? Do you have any comments on a package called Exchequer?"

What packages are charities using?

Many groups seem to be operating on an Excel spreadsheet basis.  Of the ones that have moved on, Sage Line 50 and Tas Books seem to crop up repeatedly as popular.   However, the cost of licencing, supporting and upgrading such proprietary systems can prove significant.   The needs of the average community and voluntary group are not unlike those of small business, so the popularity of Sage and Tas is unsurprising.  Often a charity will have specific reporting requirements to show specific project related funding/expenditure.  Whilst this can certainly be achieved with forethought in the likes of Line 50 through the use of "departments", it is not something which is an obvious design feature.

 One important consideration that is often overlooked is integration.  If your organisation uses any manner of CRM system,then an accounting package that integrates with your CRM is like gold dust, reducing duplication of effort and increasing the richness of reporting available to you. If you do use a CRM, then the first place to look for an accounts package should be the people who support your CRM tool.

Free library management systems

" Are there any good free library managment systems? "

 Rather than simply reproducing something that is done very well elsewhere, please see this comparison of three openSource library management systems.

(thanks to Foundry IT for digging out that link)

From checking the Koho website, they recommend a Linux server to run it on, so that requires investment in same, unless you already have a Linux server.

PHPmyLibrary will run on any operating system but does have its own set of requirements.  PHPMyLibrary runs on webserver software.  As with many open source applications of its type, it requires the following to be set up on your server: Apache web server, PHP, MySQl database. 

However, because all of these technologies are essentially web technologies, you could house your library system in the same place you might house a website, so all you would need to do is contact a hosting company, e.g. , hosting365 or blacknight and get them to set up a siutable hosting account for you.  That would mean that you could access your system from anywhere with an internet connection.




EMTS software costs

When looking at the costs of setting up your direct debits, do make sure to take into account the potentially huge benefits down the road

" I read a previous question about the need for Internet Banking & EMTS for processing direct debits.  Can you give me any idea of the cost of the EMTS software (we are with AIB) and t

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