During this prolonged economic downturn, many companies are looking for ways to reduce costs while continuing to offer great customer service.
Here’s one way to do just that: rather than spending money on paper, envelopes and postage, smart companies offer their customers the option of receiving their invoices and statements via email instead of “snail mail”. Some even take it one step farther, by offering statements and invoices available for download on their web site.
This approach not only reduces the cost of labor and materials. It also can reduce the number of support calls because customers can help themselves. So everybody wins!
We have a customer who is going to start scanning checks, and then posting their bank deposits electronically. But they still have to get that data into their accounting software.
So they asked whether we could write software that could automatically post those transactions into their accounts receivable system. The answer is, we sure can!
I’m Dave Martin with I/O Technologies – a software company in Germantown, Wisconsin.
When you meet with someone to talk about your custom software project, one of the questions you might ask is, “Are they any good? — Do they provide a quality product or service? Would I be comfortable referring others to them?” You ask these questions because you know that some folks in your own industry are experts and professionals. And then there are all the rest.
So let me speak to your concerns. Over the years we’ve developed several software programs that we use in our office every day. Recently we uploaded them to our website, to share with our friends, neighbors and anybody else who might benefit from using them. These applications are totally free—we’re giving them away to showcase what we can do. If you’re interested, please visit our web site (iotechno.com) and click on the Free Stuff link for details.
At I/O Technologies, we write custom software that’s good for business.
Several great mileage-logging applications are readily available, although I’m partial to the one we created (check out OdoLog, a mileage-tracking application you can download for FREE).
But one simple fact remains: someone still has to do the data entry. Somehow all the trips your people are making in their various cars, trucks and SUV’s need to get entered into whatever software you’re using.
How about leveraging an additional piece of technology–the cell phone? Rather than expecting your drivers to fumble around in search of pen and paper, why not instruct them to dial an 800 number, stating their current odometer reading and relevant details–and then hang up?
This approach makes mileage logging much less of a chore for your salespeople and drivers. It doesn’t require smart phones–any cell phone will do.
Another big advantage: all mileage logging gets funneled into a single voicemail box. Your data entry person will appreciate not having to hunt down log books and deciphering ink-smeared scraps of paper.
If you’re interested in hiring us to log your mileage for you, please touch base with me. We can set up a system that’s tailored to your unique way of doing business. We can automatically email your reports to you in PDF and Excel formats on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis.
Please contact us if you’re interested in learning more.
It’s no secret: The IRS allows you to deduct certain expenses when using a personal vehicle for work purposes. But with that privilege also comes the responsibility of documenting the deductions. The IRS requires that you keep adequate records to prove your expenses.
If your work requires you to travel, you know that few chores are more unpleasant than keeping a mileage log. It’s not surprising that many folks elect to not bother with this chore—either choosing to forego the deduction altogether or hoping that they’ll never get audited.
But if that auditor ever comes knocking, one of the first things he or she will ask for is written proof to back up your expenses and deductions. Without this documentation, you won’t be able to properly substantiate your deductions. On the other hand, if you can produce a complete mileage log when the auditor asks for one, it could help the rest of your audit pass by more quickly.
At our office, we found it difficult to simply hope that our drivers would remember to log their mileage by hand. That’s why we developed OdoLog—a simple desktop-based software solution we could use for this purpose. And rather than keep this software to ourselves, we’ve decided to share it with our friends, neighbors and anyone else who might find it useful.
Odolog is designed to serve as a simple, straightforward means of tracking mileage, with Quickbooks integration in mind.
|Here are just some of the features now available in the current version of OdoLog:|
|Track mileage for multiple companies!|
|Generate printed mileage logs|
|Export data to Excel spreadsheets|
|Pull information related to mileage from QuickBooks!|
|Push information related to mileage to Quickbooks!|
|It’s Free! This is NOT try-before-you-buy software. It’s 100% free. Click here to view the license agreement.|
For more information, or to download and start using OdoLog, visit https://www.iotechno.com/odolog.html
For more information on logging mileage, see IRS Publication 463 – Travel, Entertainment, Gift and Car Expenses.
Having just returned from Astricon, I’m all fired up about the features and capabilities of Asterisk–an open-source, full-featured PBX system. We’ve used Asterisk in our office for years, and I can’t say enough good things about it. Here are just a few of the features we use every day:
- A true VOIP (Voice Over IP) system. With appropriate security, you can set up remote extensions anywhere that has broadband web access. A few years ago, I set up a remote extension in our Moscow hotel room, when Jeanie and I were in Russia for an international adoption.
- Built-in voicemail
- Voicemails can also be delivered via e-mail
- Built-in conference calling
- Built-in directory-by-name capability
- Call routing based on Caller ID
- Fully-customizable Interactive Voice Response flexibility–for example, Press 1 for Sales, 2 for Accounting, etc.
To share our experience, and potentially add this capability to our list of services offered, I’m offering the following, for a limited time:
If your office, hotel or B&B is in Southeast Wisconsin and you’ve outgrown your current phone system, please give me a call.
I’m offering free installation and configuration of all the hardware and software needed to provide a premium phone system at a fraction of the price you’d pay elsewhere.
You’d still need to buy the necessary hardware, but it’s not nearly as expensive as a proprietary phone system (we installed our new system for less than 1/2 of what our previous one cost).
Why would I offer this for free? My goal is to start building a list of satisfied customers who will be happy to recommend our ability and expertise in this area. All I’d ask is that you’d be willing to give an honest assessment of our abilities when asked for a reference.
Since we won’t be making any profit on the first few installs we do, I need to limit this offer to SouthEast Wisconsin businesses, (in view of travel time, mileage, etc.)
If you’re interested in exploring the possiblities, or want to see a demo of how we have our phone system configured, please contact me. There’s no obligation.
I’m writing this during a break from sessions at Astricon in Atlanta. It’s a conference hosted by Digium, the main developers of Asterisk. What’s Asterisk? It’s an open source Voice Over IP (VOIP) phone application that provides a host of functions and features for businesses large and small. Our Asterisk server currently handles a number of phone lines as well as our internal phone system. We use it to manage inbound and outbound phone traffic for the two companies that run from our office.
So far today, we’ve been reviewing the basics–how to download, install and configure Asterisk. Most of this has been familiar territory. But there have also been a number of neat tidbits that I’ll be able to incorporate as soon as I return to our office–maybe even sooner. For example, I’ve finally come to understand what a number of the settings in sip.conf actually mean–rather than simply hacking one of the sample files that ships with the software.
Going forward, I hope to expand I/O Technologies’ offerings to include VOIP installation and support services. The sessions and vendor displays serve as powerful motivation to get moving in that direction!
Over the past month, I’ve noticed that the number of inquiries and requests for proposals has been on the rise–and significantly. Part of the reason for the increase has to do with ramping up our marketing efforts, to get our name out there and market I/O Technologies Inc more aggressively. Another reason probably relates to increased optimism about where the US economy is headed.
But I’ve also noticed something else. The number of people who actually pull the trigger on new projects is very low–at least for now. The only ones that have moved forward are crisis-level projects–something’s broken and has to be fixed right away. Otherwise, if a project can be viewed as discretionary, no decision is forthcoming no matter how many follow-up calls I make or emails I write.
Here’s my theory as to why: it’s the election, stupid. Regardless of their political leanings, I suspect that decision makers will continue to dawdle on making any commitments until after the presidential election. In all likelihood, they’ve carved out two alternative plans–let’s call them Plan O and Plan R. Our proposals most likely fall under Plan R, but would be modified or scrapped altogether under Plan O.
Granted, this is mostly conjecture on my part. I welcome your theories and comments on what other factors might be involved. At any rate, it sure will be interesting to see how this plays out in a few weeks, and what happens afterward.
I really appreciate the folks who have taken the risk of working with a software company–oftentimes working with programmers they’ve never met in person–entrusting us with their data, business rules and trade secrets. Hopefully we’ve demonstrated that we’re worthy of your trust, and proven that our business relationship has been mutually beneficial.
Of course, I realize we’re not the only software developer available. Most days, I/O Technologies, Inc. probably isn’t anywhere near the top of your stream of conscious thought. But when you find yourself facing new challenges–whether that be responding to a new customer with unique requirements, complying with new government regulations, or changes in your way of doing business, please remember we’re ready and willing, any time you need us. We’re committed to helping you grow your company as rapidly and profitably as possible.
If you’ve realized tangible benefits from being associated with us, could I ask a favor? Can you think of a friend or business acquaintance who might benefit from implementing a tailored software solution? Would you be open to passing our name along to them? Or, how about posting a customer review on the Better Business Bureau’s web site?
Thanks in advance!
Business activity tends to be cyclical. Some companies get real busy during the summer and then slow down in the fall. Others are blessed with more work at the beginning of each month, or end of the year. Do you notice swings in the level of your business activity–where occasionally you’re very busy, and sometimes a little slow?
Although we don’t see a regular pattern, our software company also has its share of peaks and valleys. Sometimes, the demand for tailored software is extremely high. Right now, however, we’re all caught up, and eager to take on new projects.
So this is a great opportunity for you, especially if you’ve been thinking about automating a process or two, and need to get it finished quickly.
Like you, we strive for top-quality service and attention to detail. But right now we can dedicate laser-beam focus to your project, and turn it around with lightning speed!
Why NOW is a great time to explore your next tailored software solution:
- You’ll get fast turnaround on your request for a free estimate.
- Using Rapid Application Development techniques, we can quickly create a tailored software solution that’ll start improving productivity at your office immediately.
- Your new website can be up and running in a matter of just a few days.
- Your new desktop application can be ready for user acceptance testing before you know it.
- Need help defining your project, or documenting the details? We’ve got the resources to assist with this, too!
Tailored software solutions can take the drudgery out of your workload. They reduce data entry errors, and improve productivity.
So contact us about that project you’ve been contemplating. You’ll be glad you did!