Some businesses are inherently seasonal, like the snow shovel business and farmer’s market sweet corn. Yet even businesses that you might not think of in that regard often have a “summer lull” or slowdown in the middle of the year, when the business and the business decision-making process generally slows down. And it’s common in manufacturing to have “shutdown weeks” for preventative maintenance on equipment.

You can take advantage of a business lull to get some things done which you don’t normally have time for:

1. Document Processes: We periodically get calls from clients saying, “Our payables/receivables/purchasing/inventory/payroll person is suddenly on leave or gone and we don’t know exactly how to do what they did?!” We can certainly provide training on the application software, but there are almost always business-specific rules which apply that iSOFT is unaware of. A lull is a great time to get your staff roughly documenting their processes, such as an MS-Word document complete with screenshots, which you can review and fine tune over time so that a new person can step in more easily later if needed.

2. Review the List of Newer Features: iSOFT can easily provide you a list of the enhancements from your current AccountMate version and modules, and vertical solution add-ons, up to the latest version so you can see what process improvements are available in the software merely by implementing the latest version.

3. Fully Implement Your Current Version: Are you leveraging built-in capabilities like credit card integration, direct deposit payroll, vendor payments via ACH, online customer payment portals, and more? It’s tough to make time to train your team on new software features in your busy season, but a lull is a great time to make time.

4. Clean Up Reports of Open Items: It’s not uncommon for systems to have REALLY old open sales orders or purchase orders—making the backorder reports useless for tracking open items. Sometimes our clients have really old data in their AR Aged Receivables or AP Past Due Aging which are, by now, no longer valid—making it difficult to validate the Balance Sheet, and having a financial impact when they’re corrected. A lull is the perfect time to clean up old data.

5. Work “On the Business,” instead of “In the Business”: When you have goals for revenue, inventory turns, on-time order delivery, etc. which can be defined as KPIs, those metrics can be set up in dashboards for “Instrument Rating” Your Business so everybody has visibility to them with always-current data from your AccountMate system. When the numbers roll up automatically to the dashboard, it becomes clear where your organization is doing a good/bad job, so you can take action quickly. A lull is the ideal time to get a KPI dashboard in place.

6. Confirm Your Backups: This just might be the most important item on list. PLEASE CONFIRM THAT YOUR BACKUPS ARE WORKING! It’s awful when we get an emergency call about a crashed system and there are no data backups, which makes recovery of the physical hard drive critical—and it’s not always possible.

If you’re currently in a summer lull, or your company’s slowest time of the year is coming up soon—hopefully this gives you ideas for ways to use a lull productively. iSOFT is always standing by to assist you.