One-Write System Revolutionizes Accounting
These guys had the right idea, they just didn’t have the cloud.
It’s amazing how much time and energy continues to be spent on duplicate data entry and re-keying information generated by one system into another. Human-based data entry is prone to errors, takes time, and carries with it the burdens of employee costs and resources. It is a problem that businesses of all types have battled for years, but new solutions are available, and many of them are enabled via great software, the Internet and the cloud. You see, the cloud – which is the term popularly applied to all of the interconnected “things” on the Internet – creates the path of communication which allows data to be passed to a variety of applications or systems, allowing for seamless collection, integration, and aggregation of business data.
EDI (electronic data interchange) standards have existed for quite some time, and in recent years these methods have expanded to include a variety of platforms and more open “standards-based” approaches. Even in the small business world, business owners using traditionally limited software products are now able to enjoy sophisticated extension and integration of their applications, largely enabled and facilitated by cloud technologies and software-as-a-service offerings.
To provide a really simple example of the problem: when an individual writes a check, that check must be recorded in a variety of places and for several purposes – to record the expense and to record the reduction of funds in the account, etc. When a product is sold to a customer, inventory is relieved, sales are increased, accounts receivable or cash is increased, costs of goods sold are experienced, and customer activity is captured. All of this information must be recorded and the activity accounted for throughout the financial and operational systems, and can represent a tremendous burden if not automated.
One of my clients, to provide an example, sells computer parts through an ecommerce website. Orders from this fancy website are emailed to their order operators, who then turn around and re-key the orders into the ERP system. Because of the number of orders to enter on a regular basis, there are two different operators working in the department – both of them responsible for making sure website orders make it into the “real” operational system.
By implementing a single software solution which could take automatic transaction file exports from the ecommerce system, format them and import them into the ERP system, the company was able to reduce personnel costs, improve accuracy and timeliness of data entry, and increase customer satisfaction. If we look closely at the need to use different pieces of business information in different ways, we begin to recognize the size and complexity of the problem and the true value of these integration solutions and automation tools.
Automation takes technology, but technology doesn’t have to be complicated. A better pencil is technology, and we figured that one out pretty well.
OK, maybe our concept of what is complicated has changed a little bit. Remember the One-Write checkbook systems? It was pretty cool, and truly innovative. You put the check on a little pegboard thingy, and when you wrote the check, the check register was “automagically” filled out for you. Amazing. Sounds pretty simple, but take a look at the description of this innovative, highly technical device, and tell me that it wasn’t at least a little intimidating at the time. But we got used to it, didn’t we? Maybe even liked it?
RECORD KEEPING SYSTEM AND METHOD EMPLOYING PLURAL FORMS AND CO-OPERATING REUSABLE ADHESIVE STRIP
United States Patent 3661407
Two different, but related form sheets are provided for use in sequence by different departments. Each form sheet has two separate pluralities of headings thereon, one for each department. Each form sheet has also one or more strip receiving spaces extending transversely across both pluralities of headings thereon. A plurality of strips of re-usable, adhesive backed writing material are provided, each strip being of a size to fit onto, and to extend the entire length of, one of said spaces. With one of the strips adhesively applied to its space on a first form sheet, data entries are made on the strip by the originating department in register with each of the headings of the first plurality thereof. The strip is then peeled off and forwarded to a follow-up department, where the strip is adhesively applied to one of the spaces provided on a second form sheet and entries are made on the strip by the follow-up department in register with each of the headings of the second plurality thereof. The completed strip is then peeled off of the second form sheet and returned to the originating department, where it is adhesively reapplied to its previous space on the first form sheet for billing and filing as a permanent record of the complete procedure.”
And then came the portable edition for all you mobile business executives, because portability and mobility was (is) essential.
“Pocket-size one-write checkbook
United States Patent 4332400
A wallet-sized checkbook particularly suited for use in conjunction with a one-write check record keeping system wherein an entry is made on a journal page simultaneously with the writing of a check. The checkbook enables records of checks written in the field to be subsequently transferred directly on to a one-write journal page. The book comprises a cover having an interior pocket and a writing surface fastened at one end to the inside of the cover. A data sheet of coated release paper overlies the writing surface and releasably carries a series of ink-receptive strips adapted to receive ink from a carbon strip extending along the reverse side of a one-write check. A check is positioned on top of a selected strip on the data sheet by a series of pins which project through pre-punched holes in a widthwise margin of the check. Indicia on the opposite margin of the release paper cooperate with the pins to assist in the check-positioning function. Thus, data written on the front of the check is transferred via the carbon to the underlying strip which can be subsequently peeled from the release sheet and applied at the appropriate line of a journal page to provide an accurate record of the field-written check.”