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Business Management and Process Consulting Blog

Keith Greeno

Keith is the co-founder and president of Asyma Solutions Ltd. Keith practiced with a public accounting firm for over 25 years where he developed an extensive knowledge of effective management processes and system design. Since then Keith has focused on consulting in business analysis, system design/analysis, training, implementation, software installation and project management.
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Recent Posts

Smarter way for non-profit budgeting

Posted by Keith Greeno on January 30, 2019 at 3:03 PM


A Smarter way for Non-Profit Organizations to Plan and Budget

Let’s face it -- spreadsheets are not automation. They can help with some calculation, but they can cause more headaches than they solve. To achieve organizational goals, you need financial budgeting and planning that’s effective, collaborative, and strategic, but many organizations don’t have the solution to work that way; instead, they’re trapped by time-consuming, error-prone, unsecured spreadsheets. The general rule is that if you have been using a spreadsheet for more than a year there is a 100% chance that there is an error in it somewhere.  So why do so many organizations continue to use them? Maybe it’s time to look at real budgeting and planning tools that are easy-to-use, powerful, and built for smaller businesses and organizations.

Imagine a budgeting world where you have control; where everyone works on the same current version; and where all changes are tracked. Think about the time savings that could be realized with collaboration and secure access to detailed information by all managers and department heads involved in the planning process. Imagine a dashboard that gives you all the critical information you need at a glance.

These systems are available.  They’re not that complicated, and they can easily pay for themselves within one budgeting cycle. Say goodbye to outdated and dangerous spreadsheet budgets and plans and move to a smarter way to budget. Freeing ourselves and our managers from the time-consuming tasks associated with spreadsheet budgets to focus on the more important strategic planning and management decisions may be the smartest decision we make.

Look at some of the options available and decide for yourself it they are a smarter way to budget:

Sage Non-Profit Financials/Budgets Click Here

Sage Intacct Budgeting and Planning Click Here

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Topics: Productivity, Employee Engagement, Business Process, Non-Profit, Budgeting and Planning, Budgeting, Guiding Great Businesses, Mobility



Throw out your QuickBooks software

Posted by Keith Greeno on September 12, 2018 at 6:00 PM


Many companies are continuing to use generic accounting software such as QuickBooks and Sage 50 (Simply Accounting) for their construction and Oil & Gas services operations. These systems are a good starting point for many start-ups, but they can only handle very basic project costing and don’t offer any project management functionality. Even with the many third party add-on project solutions you are missing critical integration and project management components. With these generic systems you are running your projects like driving using only the rear-view mirror. You are always looking back at revenue and costs that can be months old. Service/Project management is the backbone of every contractor’s business. You must have a single accounting/project management system that’s capable of meeting all your crucial specific needs to be effective.

Is there too much back-and-forth miscommunication between your project team members? Is project and services reporting always available with timely information about your projects? Generic software simply can’t handle these issues without developing spreadsheets; or using third party applications which require manual double entry to handle the weaknesses. 

Sage 100 Contractor is an easy to use construction-specific accounting solution that can perform all of your advanced construction accounting requirements as well as manage your operations.  Sage 100 Contractor can give you the confidence you need to run your business, and your projects effectively and accurately. Why continue to use generic systems when there are specific construction and service solutions available? Your best option, which will likely improve profitability, might be to throw out your current generic software and move to something built specifically for your industry.

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Topics: Project Management, Productivity, Business Process, Guiding Great Businesses, Service Management, Mobility, Construction Software, Mobile Field Solutions, Project Costing, Estimating



Eliminate the Paper Chase

Posted by Keith Greeno on August 7, 2018 at 7:00 AM


How many hours do we all spend looking for documents that we desperately need? How many countless dollars have we wasted on administration maintaining paper-based document systems? Document Management technology can solve many of these problems and save significant administration costs. Paperless office might seem difficult and a time-consuming task to move over to electronic format; the reality is that the value paperless provides in terms of time and cost savings far outweighs the initial costs and implementation time associated with changing procedures.

For construction businesses, you would gain control over your project documents with an easy way to store, retrieve, and route documents electronically throughout your business. You can automate your project routing and approval workflow processes to the correct individuals to improve communications on all jobs. Think of a document system where you can access all your project documents anytime, anywhere; including contracts, certificates of insurance, drawings, invoices and more. Think of the time and energy that you will be saving.

All businesses have documents, the way they store and retrieve these documents can be the difference between dominating their industry or falling short on customer service and ultimately letting work walk out the door. These same document management systems can link to your all your accounting transactions, such as purchasing and sales. You can manage invoices and other critical documents with efficiency and confidence.

We may not be able to completely get away from paper, but it is in our best interest to reduce the paper as much as possible. Both economically and environmentally.

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Topics: Project Management, Productivity, Employee Engagement, Business Process, Guiding Great Businesses, Mobility, Paperless Office, Construction Software, Mobile Field Solutions



Automated Purchasing Workflow Can Save Your Sanity

Posted by Keith Greeno on July 24, 2018 at 10:30 AM


Technology is changing many things in the world. For instance - the convergence of the web with transitional accounting systems is changing for the better with automated purchasing/payable workflow systems. These systems can save your sanity and business/organization. Think of a system that provides a sophisticated workflow engine with configurable rules, routing and approval functions.  You can control who gets to see the right information at the right time and ensure approvals are documented and timely.  Further, these new systems have an easy-to-use requisition or purchasing interface where documents are controlled through the workflow process.

I have seen many non-profit organization that think they are controlling spending by sending piles of supporting documents around to multiple approvers and cheque signatories. What is really happening is lost documents and approvers/signatories signing without understanding completely what they are signing off on. It is simply too much paper. Sometimes it is even worse in construction companies, where project managers are also involved, documents end up on the job site or are delayed because the managers are not back in the office for weeks at a time.

With an automated purchasing/payable workflow you can regain control, replace your manual invoice approval with a more paperless process. You will reduce your administration cost and ensure prompt payments with quicker approval of invoices. Further, you can find supporting documentation when you need it instead of searching through piles of documents and file cabinets.

We need to use technology when it makes sense. Automated purchasing/payable systems make sense. These systems enable organizations to tightly control & manage their spending. For all companies and especially for non-profits this is critical. The time has come to help save our sanity and seriously look at automating our purchasing/payable processes.

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Topics: Productivity, Business Process, Guiding Great Businesses, Automated Purchasing Workflow, PO Workflow, Purchase Order



Commitment goes a long way

Posted by Keith Greeno on May 10, 2018 at 10:00 AM


Real commitment to a project goes a long way to ensuring that a project is completed on time, on budget and to be considered a success. As stated by Zig Ziglar “Most people are about as committed as a, Kamikaze pilot on his 29th mission”.  So why is commitment such a problem. The short answer is that we all tend to sometimes be a little lazy. We don’t want to put in the effort that is required to successfully complete the tasks on time.

We were working with a non-profit customer recently that truly wanted to improve their business practices and related procedures and processes. They had carefully selected a Human resource/payroll software to handle the defined requirements. They started on the project conversion with the drive to finally solve this major organizational issue. Then things started to get difficult. The regular day to day problems started get in the way. The started to lose focus on what they were trying to achieve. The result was that, a year later and they are still working on a planned 3-month project.

Change is easy, but transitioning is difficult. If we are not committed to a project’s success it will likely never be completed. We will be transitioning for a long time, which can create even more chaos in are organizations. When the going gets tough we all sometimes take the path of least resistance and not complete the difficult tasks that need to be completed and the task/project at hand will ultimately fail.

Therefore, if you are not committed, don’t bother to start a project, it will end up badly.

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Topics: Productivity, Employee Engagement, Business Process, Guiding Great Businesses



Project Managers - Master of your Domain

Posted by Keith Greeno on April 26, 2018 at 4:00 PM


Project Managers - Master of your Domain

Take charge of your projects, don’t let the projects take charge of you. Project management software can put you in command of your projects so that you can intercept problems before they become issues. View hot lists of critical outstanding project tasks. Stay in constant communication with team members with automatic schedule notices sent at set intervals. Monitor the status of all subcontracts including changes, invoices, and balances remaining. Check material status reports to ensure crews have what they need to keep jobs moving forward. Imagine a world where you can have a dashboard to see everything that is happening on not just one, but all your projects.

You may have certain portions of your project management somewhat automated with scheduling or estimating software solutions. If they are not integrated they are costing you valuable time, money and projects are more likely to fail. We had a recent customer that had automated some of their project management with a scheduling software. It looked nice and you could drop and drag jobs and view the related work required. However, the solution required that they reenter information into 3 separate systems. The net result was that their great, good looking, separate systems were costing this company over $75,000 a year in additional manpower, wasted time and the project managers felt completely out of control.  They couldn’t go to one location to see everything that was going on, they had wrong information at times because someone had forgot to reenter or had entered the wrong numbers.

The good news is that there are cost effective solutions out there that can put you in control and help you master your domain. The Sage 100 contractor is one of those types of integrated solutions. http://www.asyma.com/sage-100-contractor-master-builder

Take a look, I think it will greatly help you master your project domain.

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Topics: Project Management, Productivity, Construction, Business Process, Guiding Great Businesses, Construction Technology, Service, Field Technicians



Dismiss the doubt in your construction business

Posted by Keith Greeno on February 1, 2018 at 11:00 AM


Construction Estimating.jpg

Dismiss the doubt in your construction business

Not knowing where you are at is one of the most worrisome situations that anyone can find themselves in. This is particularly true in construction business where you begin to doubt yourself.

How much cash do you really have in the bank? How far along is that big project? Are all the project change orders billed?

There are construction accounting and project management solutions out there that can easily answer these questions. These systems can give you newfound confidence in your numbers and help you sleep at night. It is tough enough running a business in today’s business environment without compounding the problems from a lack of information.

Current technology allows business owners and managers to perform all project management and accounting tasks with ease; from deposits and disbursements to journal transactions and more efficiently and effectivity. One such system that can handle these tasks is the Sage 100 Contractor solution. It is easy to use and built for the construction industry.

Take a look and then ask yourself; do you really know where you are at with your construction business?  http://www.asyma.com/sage-100-contractor-master-builder

With the current technology you can rest assured that change orders are getting properly billed and your data is secure with user access controls. These systems will help you worry less about your business and dismiss the doubt about where you are at.

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Topics: Project Management, Productivity, Construction, Business Process, Guiding Great Businesses, Construction Technology, Service, Field Technicians



Manage your service technicians with ease

Posted by Keith Greeno on January 10, 2018 at 11:00 AM


Electrical Contractor with Tablet.jpg

Manage your service technicians with ease

When your service technicians are in the right place at the right time and have access to correct information, customers are happy. There are solutions available for both small and large businesses that makes it easy to manage your service operations effectively, efficiently and profitably. These solutions work well for many areas; whether you’re taking a work order, managing a contract, tracking a warranty, or generating an invoice. These service solutions effectively use technology to provide complete mobile service management capabilities, integrate with inventory/accounting and help you turn service calls into predictable cash flow. You will always know where you stand on work orders and schedule changes out in the field.

So why are many businesses not using these systems? They have manual work orders with multiple data entry points. Often the multiple data entry results in errors, delayed billing and worst of all; lost or unbilled services. We must understand that change can be difficult, but not changing can be disastrous.

I was at a ski hill recently and rode up a chair lift with an electrical technician that works in the oil & gas service industry. He was younger (Mid-thirties) and had a crew working under him. He was expressing how backward the company he worked for was, just about everything was manually done with paper. He knew there are automated systems available, was frustrated on a daily basis and mentioned he would likely look for a different job as soon as the economy in Alberta improved.

If you think as an owner or management that you don’t have to change your service operations to utilize technology available and integrate the field and back end operations, I think you are sadly mistaken. You may find yourself without qualified technicians and spending more money on manual administration than on production. Take a look at some of the options available and ask yourself if there is a better way to handle service.

http://www.asyma.com/technisoft 

http://www.asyma.com/sage-100-contractor-master-builder

Technology, if used and setup correctly can be the difference between night and day for any business. 

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Topics: Project Management, Productivity, Construction, Business Process, Guiding Great Businesses, Construction Technology, Service, Field Technicians



Today's construction service problems are yesterdays solutions

Posted by Keith Greeno on December 14, 2017 at 10:30 AM


Today's construction service problems are yesterdays solutions

It has been said many times that today’s problems are yesterday’s solutions. We developed the manual service work order, field tickets, daily activity reports and related spreadsheets to solve a service data collection problem from the past. Today however, these legacy systems are a major problem that is slowing effective service production and very likely holding your company back.

We have new employees who are tech savvy and simply will not put up with old manual processes. Who doesn’t have a smart phone now a day? They look at these old systems and think we must be crazy. The technology exists today to effectively manage service operations and reduce the time to invoice.

These systems enable service technicians to complete their work in less time by providing the real-time information they need in the field on any tablet or mobile device. They also reduce administrative time by integrating with your back-office accounting solution. They improve communication between office staff and field technicians by capturing details like time, materials used, notes and work order status in real time. I think that we owe it to ourselves to quit putting up with old, slow, inaccurate legacy systems and seriously look to improve our service production. Your employees and your pocket book will be happier.

Remember, it doesn’t stop there. Organizations that are good about solving today’s challenges will often create new and bigger challenges in the future. Just because we move forward to todays technology doesn’t mean we are done. Yesterday’s solution will again be todays problems. We must continue to move forward and look for improvement.

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Topics: Project Management, Productivity, Construction, Business Process, Guiding Great Businesses, Construction Technology, Service, Field Technicians



Construction - Measure what matters

Posted by Keith Greeno on November 21, 2017 at 10:30 AM


Measure what really matters in your construction business

There are two major requirements for growth and success of a construction company; profitable customers and happy customers. We all measure profit at least to some degree, but do we measure customer happiness? The next question is, how the heck to you do that?

Not all profit is good profit. If you cut corners to save money, how would this hurt long term customer relations?  If you made money, but lost a customer would it be worth it? The basic rule of thumb is a happy customer tells 1 person a bad customer tells 10.

In the book the “The Ultimate Question by Fred Reichheld” he discusses how we need to “Stop measuring things that don’t matter to your customer”

He goes on to state:

  1. You have to design value propositions that focus on the right customers. That means developing an appropriate segmentation of your customer base, then creating a complete customer experience capable of delighting each targeted segment.
  2. You will have to deliver those propositions in the end. Every department and every employee in your company will have to pull in the same direction.
  3. You will have to develop your company's capability to do all this over and over again, renewing and reinventing the customer experience over time.

What he is saying, is that for each construction company, we need to focus on what we do well and how we can delight the customer. We need to ensure that all employees are focused on delivering what we promise the customer, every time.

Therefore, to determine how happy our customers are let’s Ask the ultimate question and very little else. “Would you recommend our company to your friends and associates? Rank from 0-10

https://www.netpromoter.com/know/ 

Analysis shows that, on average, increasing the net promoter score by a dozen points versus the competitors can double the company's growth rate. We at Asyma Solutions live by this same measurement. If we as a company are really providing value to our customers with our products or services, then our customers would gladly recommend us. This applies to construction companies as well. Therefore, lets measure what really matters, what does the customer really think.

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Topics: Business Process, Guiding Great Businesses, Customer Satisfaction, Net Promoter Score, Customer Service