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  1. #1
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    Default Computerizing Condo Accounting

    The condominium where I live is interested in computerizing our accounting activities. We are looking for information and assistance in making the transition:

    1. Are there other condominiums with computerized accounting that our administrator can talk with about the software they use and their experience with it?

    2. Is there anyone in the Sosua/Cabarete/Puerto Plata area that we could contract with on a temporary basis to help the administrator put current records on the computer and to generally assist her to make the transition?

    3. Which software program or programs should we consider. There are thousands available, but we want one that is compatible with what we are doing.

    Any advice, information, and names and contact information will be appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Ken, this is what we do - specifically on the consulting side - help companies decide which software to choose, assist with implementation and education. Incidentally, we've had a running discussion with MrMike about what the best software is for a relatively smaller operation - and between the two of us, have tried and discarded many smaller software suites in our quest to find something specifically suitable for our conditions here in the DR. In our travels across the country to various businesses, we've seen some quite "creative" packages, written in the DR, and of course tying you to that specific developer for all your needs in the future. I would even now suggest that you consider a commercially available package only.

    The choices are vast - there are however a few things that one has to keep in mind, specifically here. Firstly, the software has to be multi-currency and secondly, not so bloated that it gives you many many bells and whistles that actually make the job more difficult than what it is. A silly thing, but with implementation of smaller software suites, simply to print a check, always becomes in a problem during implementation. One either has to change your checks, or change your printer.

    Anyway, as always, if you think we can give you guidance, feel free to talk with specifically Richard, as he is accounting software savvy, more than I.

  3. #3
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    Chris,

    No, I didn't realize that you were in this business. I've been thinking it had to do with computers and antennas.

    I'm sure we will want to talk with you.

    Am I correct that your service is limited to helping companies choose the right software suite for their needs? Does your service also include helping a business computerize its current records and get up to speed with respect to the use of the new program, or are you able to recommend others we could contract with for those services?

  4. #4
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    Default Ken....I use Quicken XQ for our real estate holdings

    and find it to be a great program.
    It works in multiple currencies, is easy to upgrade when needed and can handle all that you'll need to accomplish....
    You might want to have a look at it!
    It's easy to set up and configure for your individual needs and can track just about anything you'd want to track.

    Oopps....title should read Quicken XG!
    Last edited by MommC; 01-22-2006 at 01:03 PM.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for input, MommC

  6. #6
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    Absolutely Ken - the full enchilada. Helping to draw up criteria for selection of the new system, helping to select software according to the criteria, purchasing as we are resellers of a vast number of software houses, assessing hardware to see if everything will run, helping to get the data prepared and over to the new system in the best way, - helping to set up procedures and processes for the new system, installation and configuration, training with documented processes and procedures in the new system, balancing the old to the new, adapting the chart of accounts (manual charts of accounts and computerised charts of accounts are sometimes a little different), and setting up reports in the new system that are usuable for management decision making, right through to back-up management. And the good thing is, we stick around for maintenance.

    Just for your knowlege Ken, whoever you talk to, should be able to give you customer references of similar work, preferably in the Caribbean, as our conditions here are sometimes quite taxing. I know of only one other DR based software house that I would trust and I┤d be glad to pass on their name and contact number to you - they only deal in only one package however. There is one other accounting consultant which we┤ve worked with, and I┤d be happy to pass her name on to you, as an alternative as well.

    We fell into the satellites about 6 years ago when we came to the Caribbean and could not live with the Caribbean type connectivity. So, we looked for another solutions and that is how the satellite side came to be born - our customers also looked for other solutions. So we figured we might as well get trained up and certified as the demand for solid connectivity would simply increase. We┤re in the process of completing a full installation of new software, training and all mentioned above, for the I think 3rd largest business in the DR, combined with a satellite wide area network from their offices in Santo Domingo, through Bonao and La Vega. First world stuff as they are getting ready to export.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ken
    Chris,

    No, I didn't realize that you were in this business. I've been thinking it had to do with computers and antennas.

    I'm sure we will want to talk with you.

    Am I correct that your service is limited to helping companies choose the right software suite for their needs? Does your service also include helping a business computerize its current records and get up to speed with respect to the use of the new program, or are you able to recommend others we could contract with for those services?

  7. #7
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    Chris, please post the details of the accounting packages and consultants you recommend here in the DR.

    Question: By law, does your accounting have to be in Spanish?

  8. #8
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    Robert, this is perhaps a ┤how long is a piece of string┤ question. Accounting, and for that matter enterprise software, or customer relationship management, or distribution or manufacturing, or whatever... packages chosen depend very much on the type of business that you are trying to computerize. Forgive the long post, I can write books on this subject.

    A large factor is cost. Another factor is skill level of those that are going to be working with the software. And then for us there are the different currencies.

    Language - I do not know if your accounting has to be in Spanish by Law, but modern and correctly chosen software has more than one language set, usually as an option when buying. Here we usually use both Spanish and English, and usually on establishing a customer/vendor in the software, you can configure the software to print statements, invoices in the language of choice - very very flexible. Further than that, you can display very quickly your accounting in English or Spanish, and then print in the language of choice. With modern software, language is not a problem, you can do what you want if you have the ability to work with language sets. We often work with international businesses, and frequently have a 3-language requirement - one language in Europe, one here in the DR and then English.

    For multi-currency, it becomes a little more complicated. Some software have well developed multi-currency modules, others are not so good. A good software package should give you the same flexibility in displaying and working in multi-currency, as in the languages that I described. So, you could look at your accounts in pesos, or in dollars, or in euro┤s, depending which modules you purchased. This takes some real skill in setting up charts of accounts to fulfil all these purposes.

    On the accounting side, we work with the gamut from QuickBooks to Peachtree to Mass90 to Solomon to Macola to Baan to Great Plains, JD Edwards and in some years past, PeopleSoft (now gone), SAP and Oracle Apps. We now run run Simply Accounting for ourselves. All of these have strenghts and weaknesses, and the choice is predicated around what the business would like to accomplish, and the size of the business. Simply Accounting works real well for us, because we can send invoices in many languages, and run our expense side in Pesos and our income side in Dollars. Our P&L and income statement can be displayed in the language of our choice as our Accountant functions just a little better in Spanish.

    So, choice of software depends on what the business wants to do, how much they are prepared to spend and how the implementation is designed. One could decide to implement only receivables now, and follow up with payables, for example - if one can handle the issues around balancing the accounts. There are many variables and if one understands these and handles them correctly, the money spent on technology and computerization, should allow the business to grow, without significant incremental costs. There should also be sales, marketing and productivity improvements to enable the business to do better and more business, more profitably. One needs a good focus on what you want to accomplish, when you computerize as it all can spin out of control, very quickly.

    In Ken's case, perhaps there would not be the requirement for better and more business, but very definitely, for productivity and accuracy improvements. With successful automation and computerization, many other needs quickly show themselves. Perhaps to use Ken's Condos as an example, they would want to do on-line bookings for people who rent their condos. Then the basic question of ┤accounting software┤ gets more complicated as now you want your software to act as a back-end and be integrated as an internet application. A skillful consultant should help clarify the current requirement, as well as the future requirements and then should help build an affordable way to get there.

    The software consultants that we work very well with (in fact, we train their new consultants) is out of Santo Domingo and their name is Sistemas de Gesti˛n. The sales person there is Cristina Bermudez and she is very sweet and very competent. They work only with Navision on the Software side. We work with them on the larger implementations and on the more difficult aspects where their consultants are not experienced. From Richard┤s electronic engineering and networking background, we usually do the hardware and network specs, and see that the topology is designed and installed correctly.

    I would not like to mention our Accounting Consultant┤s name here on the board without asking her. She works for us on a contract basis, and we┤ve trained her as well. Very competent lady and a CPA. I would pass the contact information on privately.

    So, finally, I cannot recommend anything off the bat, without knowing the business requirements. Generally, in the DR, you should look for something that is multi-language and multi-currency, you should make sure that you not only meet today┤s need, but the needs into the future, and you should select software from a reputable company, and have good consultants assist you with a business driven implementation. And to close, apologies for this long lecture...

  9. #9
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    Please PM me the accountant's contact info.

    Also what accounting software would you recommend based on the following?

    - Small business.
    - 4-5 employee's, but no need for payroll software.
    - Multi-language, Spanish and English. I believe this is an option Simply Accounting (Sage) used to have, but have now dropped.
    Multi-currency, RD$ and US$.
    - No inventory control required.

    I'm familiar with Quickbooks. But as I'm sure you are aware, it doesn't offer multi-language or currency.

    Thanks.

  10. #10
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    What is the turnover (English) or the annual revenue (US English)? (I┤m wanting to use a ratio in terms of business size to software affordability)
    How many invoices per month/per week, or per some period?
    How many checks per month/per week, or per some period?
    How many customer accounts? How many vendor accounts?
    (I┤m wanting to establish number of transactions in the general ledger)
    Online payments - Yes/No
    Online ordering - Yes/No
    Selling items? or services?
    (I┤m after establishing how the business works)

    I┤ll send you the Accountant┤s details...

    If cost is a real issue, have a look at Compiere (Open Source - we developed it on java and it runs best on an Oracle DB - very hard to implement, easy to run, multi-language and multi-currency modules available - bleeding edge)

    Or Macola may do it... More expensive to lay down the base but good and well supported.

    Or have a look at http://www.banana.ch/ (banana accounting). Multi Language, Multi currency, Mac as well as Linux emulation. I have no experience of this but it is on the test list.

    added - I also like Navision for accounting - great multi-currency, good multi-language, a little more expensive and now owned by Microsoft, but a good level of expertise being developed over the technical world and great if you can afford it. Hard to develop as it has a proprietary development language but really extensive.
    Last edited by Chris; 01-22-2006 at 07:15 PM.

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