Is There a Perfect Management System for a Distributor?
Ask the Accountant…
Question: What is the perfect system for a promotional products distributor?
Answer: I wish I had the perfect answer for that. Unfortunately, there is not a perfect system for our complex and unique industry regardless of cost.
Ad specialty distributors have had to figure out their own systems, mostly by trial and error. And though similar in many ways, each one is unique with its own processes and procedures.
If and whenever a distributor has to change their order management and accounting system, they are going to lose some features they have grown accustomed to. There is no way to avoid that. But also, you will gain new features that are advantageous. The goal is to have the gains outweigh the losses—hopefully by a lot!
When looking at a new system, create a list of your “must-haves,” and make sure each system you consider has those. If possible, have that feature demonstrated to you to make sure you are talking about the same thing. Too often, the answer you get when asking about a software is “sure, it does that.” I would also suggest looking at systems in various price points—starting with the most cost effective. You might be surprised at the power available for less money or the overkill with the more expensive systems.
Please email your questions to Harriet at Ask The Accountant.
QuickBooks Premier and Enterprise can be modified to better serve ad specialty distributors. Harriet Gatter is a QuickBooks ProAdvisor, a former accounting professor and a former ad specialty distributor. She advises ad specialty distributors to use QuickBooks Premier and Enterprise, often in conjunction with other industry-specific software, to manage the complexities of the ad specialty business, with the results being time saved, errors eliminated and an overall accurate accounting of your business. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.