What's the best accounting software for a manufacturing company?


J

Jim

I'm looking for one that uses a well-designed, 'normalized', relational
database. Normalized means that the same data isn't repeated over and over
and over, as so many of the databases behind accounting programs seem to be.
They actually read like a manual for 'How not do design a database.'

The database should not be some offbeat thing that the vendor was able to
buy cheaply because that company is trying to stay alive.

The program should run without too many run time errors. I know many of
these programs mask the run time errors, which are often due to poor
programming in the first place, and thereby create unexpected results. If
there is an error, the program should not come up with some obtuse message
that has nothing to do with the error.

Thanks
 
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C

Chris Gunn

I'm looking for one that uses a well-designed, 'normalized', relational
database. Normalized means that the same data isn't repeated over and over
and over, as so many of the databases behind accounting programs seem to be.
They actually read like a manual for 'How not do design a database.'
Howdy,

Right with you! Most are programmed by people who have never done
accounting on paper. Much less created accounting spread sheets in Excel or
Microsoft Access.
The program should run without too many run time errors. I know many of
these programs mask the run time errors, which are often due to poor
programming in the first place, and thereby create unexpected results. If
there is an error, the program should not come up with some obtuse message
that has nothing to do with the error.
You are describing C++ type programing or (shudder) FoxPro. You want an
accounting program that is written and compiled in Visual Basic. It
dovetails with the DOS/Windows operating system and does not create memory
access errors or crash unexpectedly.

All of the solid accounting programs I used to recommend went bust when the
QuickBooks glitter took their market away.

There are some Visual Basic source code starter kits you can find. Then you
find a programmer who can adapt it to do exactly what you want. You keep a
copy of the source code so you don't get jerked around paying for updates to
fix problems that should not have existed in the first place.

If you are presenting your products on-line, my BIZyCart Ecommerce Server
might fill most of your needs.

Thanks, Chris www.bizynet.com and www.bizycart.com
BIZynet Coordinator (e-mail address removed) - (505) 586-1225
 
A

A Nonny Moose

Jim,

Sounds like you are dealing with a poor piece of software. More information
is needed about your manufacturing operation. Just what is it you
manufacture? Continuous process? Discrete batches? Kiting/bungling of raw
materials, or assemblies?

Just need more information to give you an informed response.

Thanks,

Anonymous
 
J

Jim

What my company does is buy metal, and either melt it down, alloy it, and
resell it, or we simply resell it. We view everything we do as a 'batch'
process. In other words, we assign a sequential batch number to everything
that comes out of our furnaces, and also everything we plan to simply
resell. Our company is small to mid-size-- about 60 employees total.

The software we have was recommended to us, and I have seen it recommended
on this group. I won't say the name of it, but it uses a 'pervasive sql'
database, which in my opinion isn't really the best, and I'm pretty appalled
at the way the data is stored in the tables. It's repeated WAY too much.
That being said, for the most part it works. The programming is done in
indonesia and therefore it's impossible to get customizations without paying
an arm and a leg. The software WAS written in visual basic. We don't have
the source code, and I'm not sure if it's available or not.

Also, in spite of having a consulting firm that helps us out with using the
software, we have never, in three years, been able to accurately physically
match what we have in inventory with what the software says we have!

I work as a vb programmer for my company. One of my jobs is to create
custom reports. For the most part, I have been able to do this. Another
thing I've had to do is replace the 'finished goods' module with an
independent program. I've had to do this to interface with our scale, and
also because the data entry screen was to clumsy to use. A third thing I've
had to was start another independent program when the software showed a
certain window. However, I must confess that to write an entire accounting
program would probably take me the better part of 8 months, another month to
work the bugs out, and another to really get it moving!

The software company's philosophy to customization is to sell third party
modules, which end up costing more money, if they even work.

So yes, what I think we should have is a good piece of software with source
code! If there's any out there that are reasonable, well-written, easy to
use, and fit our needs, please let me know, so I can suggest it to my boss!

Thanks again
 
A

A Nonny Moose

Jim,

You are right. Your software truly sounds like a piece of work.

From the description of your operation, you could use a job cost accounting
program. That kind of software allows discrete projects to be accounted for
as if they were separate jobs, each with a labor and materials budget, along
with other cost categories. If you wish, you can set up a budget for labor,
materials, equipment, farmed out (subcontractors), and other. As actual
costs are accrued, you can track variances to indicate whether you need to
adjust costs or pricing. I used to be the controller for a food
manufacturing company. They insisted on sticking with a general accounting
software then compensate for the missing job costing function with a staff
that did a laundry list of custom reports and spreadsheets every month.
They were into their JD Edwards package and their IBM mainframe over
$800,000 and they still spent a fortune having people do ancillary
reporting. Sounds like you are suffering from the same frustrations.

After that, I consulted with a construction company that had a manufacturing
subsidiary, doing discrete batch manufacturing. We got them into a job
costing software that matched their construction side perfectly. Their
controller started tracking their manufacturing side with each batch being
accounted for as if it were a job. Surprisingly, it was a great match. Now,
he pulls from inventory for each batch, expensing costs as if they were
jobs. Using this software, he noticed two things. First, he dropped his
staff from 11 to 8, within three months, then to 5 by the end of the first
year. I haven't talked to them for a few years, but they were satisfied
that 5 people could do what used to take 11 and they were operating with
current, accurate information. Their job costing software had everything
they needed, so they didn't need all of the supporting databases and
spreadsheets. They paid for their software purchase in reduced costs about
every two weeks. Quite a deal.

Second, he got such a good handle on costs that they actually identified
products that were being sold at or below cost. They adjusted pricing on
some SKUs and dropped other that they could not produce at competitive
prices. Bottom line: Their "bottom line" was significantly improved. In
fact, the CEO now treats the CFO with a level of respect he never had
before. That might be a byproduct of his financial contribution to the
bottom line.

That company ran around $80 million a year in gross sales. The software
they purchased, cost less than $10,000, including installation and it was
the smoothest software implementation than I have ever seen. You can check
that job costing program out at:

http://www.a-systems.net/jobview.htm

Last I heard, the software was rated 5 Stars. Looks like it still is. I
would give them 5 Stars for how much they saved our client. I'd give them
another 5 stars for making me look good for recommending their software to
the client. See if it will work for your company. Let us know what you
find when you call them.

Best of luck,

AJ
 
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J

Jim

Thanks for your reply. I'll give them a call. Going out of town for a while,
should be able to call after the new year. Thanks again.
 

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