Benefit Your Employees & The Environment With A Timesheet Management System

We live in a digital world where you’d be hard pushed to find any business without a computer of some sort. However, alarmingly, the amount of paper used by a full time office employee is estimated to be around 10,000 sheets a year with around 45% of that put in to waste.Timesheet Module

So it may be time to question: do we really need to print as much as we do or are we just stuck in our ways?

If your company uses timesheets, you’ll be familiar with the challenges that come with them; from misplaced paperwork on cluttered desks to running out of storage space. It’s no surprise many companies are re-evaluating their methods and systems to reduce paper processes. Not only does this save valuable admin time but it can also reduce printing costs and lessens the risk of human error.

However small, human error can have such large repercussions for a business and its employees. Having a reliable timesheet management system that links with your payroll can drastically improve data accuracy. It allows the employee to simply log on to the company’s secure portal and enter in the details eliminating the risk of inaccurate information. It also relieves the monthly monotonous data entry exercise for your finance team – saving time and money!

2018 has seen a rise in flexible working. While the advantages of smaller offices, less costs and happier employees definitely outweigh the negatives, this can also be another issue when it comes to those needing to complete timesheets when they can’t get back to the office.

If you have an employee that works from home, out on the road or has a flexible contract, the Timesheet Module in Pegasus Opera 3 allows employees to submit their timesheets completely remotely from a device of their choice. This allows timesheets to be created, recorded and submitted via their laptop, home PC, mobile or tablet. Once the timesheet is submitted, it gets sent to the delegated manager for approval which can then be imported seamlessly to the Opera 3 Payroll system. This reduces the risk of data entry errors whilst also giving more visibility to those who can strategically benefit by spotting trends and gaining more insight into the individual’s working patterns. By exporting the report in to a standard CSV file, the information can be further analysed in a spreadsheet enabling you to track, monitor and manage efficiency.

It’s worth noting that the Timesheets module can be used by any employee so you wouldn’t need to purchase additional Opera 3 licences.

Overall, having a smooth, user-friendly timesheet management system can greatly benefit the employer, employee and the environment. For more information, contact us.

Never miss an opportunity with an integrated CRM System!

The sales team at Minster understand the importance of an easy-to-use CRM system. Let’s face it, having a fully integrated system in place allows employees to be more productive and can save a lot of company time.

Pegasus Opera 3’s CRM utility is a centralised database that allows you to store prospect, customer and supplier data securely as well as log all communication and track activities in a productive manner. The system integrates with Opera 3 Financials and Supply Chain applications to give you clear visibility across your business.

We’re all guilty of appointments or follow ups slipping our mind from time to time which is why Pegasus CRM has an active alerts tool, enabling you to set reminders so you haven’t got to worry about missing an opportunity. The system takes care of all the finer details for you, meaning you can concentrate on closing those all important business deals. The module also includes an easy reporting tool, allowing you to report on sales pipeline and forecast effectively. The reporting feature fully integrates with Microsoft Excel to give you flexibility over your reports. As well as helping to manage sales pipeline, the CRM system also takes care of your service management and helpdesk management. This allows your business to track upcoming opportunities, right the way through to providing them with customer support and account management.

Wouldn’t it be more efficient if you could store all of your sales and marketing efforts in one place? Opera 3 CRM helps you to improve your business potential with its integration with Microsoft Outlook. This means marketing teams are able to send e-shots and import incoming e-mails to the CRM utility. The system also makes it easy to do mail merges and it can generate mail shots for specific contacts or groups. This improves the visibility for sales and marketing teams working together as it improves the visibility and communication between the teams.

How Valuable Is Your IT Support Contract?

Let’s be honest, we often rely on Google when issues occur that stop us from completing our day-to-day tasks. How much time do you think we waste searching the internet for answers rather than getting the help and support we need?

When it comes to IT, it’s often difficult knowing who to turn to when things go wrong and before you know it, you’ve wasted an hour of your day watching 5 YouTube videos and trawling through 10+ websites looking for an answer (and that’s before you’ve even attempted to fix the issues yourself). At Minster, we know as a business you have much more important things to spend your time on as the working day goes by so quickly. That’s why it’s crucial for you to have a dedicated IT team on hand to fix your systems the moment anything goes wrong.

Having a reliable IT support contract in place gives your company the peace of mind that there is always someone overseeing your systems. At Minster, we pride ourselves on being pro-active when it comes to technical support. That’s why we offer a range of Sentinel products that allow us to monitor your systems in real-time and fix issues before you’re even aware of the fault. Take hard drives as an example, with Sentinel Remote Server Monitoring on your contract, we are able to spot a hard drive failure and order you a new one before you even noticed.

A strong support contract can assist in a number of areas across your IT network and whether you’ll decide to pay monthly or annually for it, your contract will prove profitable due to the costs it will save you in the long-run. If we look back to the cyber-attacks that hit in 2017, particularly the NHS, businesses across the UK lost billions of pounds in total that could potentially have been saved if the right IT measures were put in place to begin with.

Minster offer services such as Sentinel Web-Protect to limit the websites that employees can access to both improve productivity, but more importantly to protect against websites that pose a threat to your systems. Sentinel Mail-Protect allows us to also place protective spam filters on your emails, allowing us to monitor incoming emails and remove them before they put your network at risk. You can read more about trending fraudulent emails here.

Support contracts can come in a number of different shapes and sizes – tailor made to your specific business requirements. Minster offer telephone, email, remote and onsite support to keep your IT equipment running smoothly with no faults. You decide what you’d like us to support, from your PC’S and servers to Microsoft Office, you can add whatever you like to your contract and this can always be modified whenever you need it to be. We like to think of ourselves as a remote addition to your team.

Your IT support contract is invaluable to your business and can cut time, costs and headaches. Don’t put your business at risk, protect it and provide yourself with pain-free IT. For more information on our support contracts and Sentinel products please email us at sales@minstermicro.co.uk or call 01562 68211.

Construction Industry: You’re only as good as your Supply Chain Management System.

If you work within the construction industry, you’ll know that it is extremely project based which relies heavily on supply chain management. We understand just how complex strategic planning for projects can be as there are so many different parties involved. Therefore, it’s pivotal for your supply chain management system to run smoothly and efficiently.

Wouldn’t it be great to reduce some of the lengthy processes where possible?

Managing your supply chain system requires thorough understanding of the breakdown of all the products and services, the logistics and the resources that transform those raw materials in to a finished product. This means you need a system that can understand and assist with each of these stages.

Pegasus Opera 3 business solution has a Supply Chain Management module which includes the essential applications such as Stock Control, Stocktake, Sales Order Processing, Purchase Order Processing and Bill of Materials. In Opera 3, Purchase Orders, Invoices, Delivery Notes and Statements are batch created as PDFs and emailed directly from the system using the Supply Chain Management module. This saves crucial time, money and reduces your paper trail.

With a system that helps you automate processes from the delivery of customer orders to automatic work order generation, who doesn’t want to make their work life easier?

The Stock Control application is invaluable to the construction industry as it’s been designed to simplify the way you manage the stock requirements of your business. It has the ability to track warehouse movements even across multiple warehouses. Different cost and selling prices can be applied for each warehouse, enabling you to arrange your stockholding how best fits YOUR business.

Pegasus Opera 3 has a number of other modules that can assist the construction industry in streamlining its processes including Accounts and Payroll. For more information please call us on 01562 68211 or email sales@minstermicro.co.uk.   

Gender Pay Gap Reporting

As you may have seen across the news, currently the gender pay gap is a very popular topic affecting a number of industries in the world. From Hollywood to Hartlebury, women in business are making their mark in their industries more than ever before.

You are likely to have read about how A-list stars like Reese Witherspoon are taking on Hollywood and currently making waves in the film industry with strong statements such as ‘We have to do our part to change the idea that a woman with passion and ambition is out only for herself’. Gender equality is a key topic and it seems that upcoming legislation is evolving to meet changing expectations within the workplace.

Gender pay gap reporting is one of the many steps towards equality in the work place and has been introduced to ensure there is no significant cumulative impact on a woman’s earning potential during her working life time. It is also aimed to give more transparency about gender pay difference, thus increasing the chances of action taking place. Gender pay gap reporting will be enforced from April 2018, making it compulsory for businesses with 250 employees or more to publish their gender pay gap figures to both their own public-facing company website and to the government online.

Organisations must publish their median and mean gender pay gap figures and the proportion of men and women in each quartile of the pay structure. Pay gap reporting must also include basic pay, allowances, paid leave, bonus pay and pay for piecework.

So how does this affect your company? You may be worried that this regulation may affect recruitment and company credibility, however companies are able to determine how they would like to publish their reporting – some may choose to publish a statement, authorised by an appropriate senior within the organisation.

If you work in a finance department, you’re likely to be considering how your business will gather the gender pay gap information most efficiently from your payroll system. Some systems may have specific reporting tools to enable you to find the information you need. Pegasus Opera 3 Payroll contains an extensive range of reports including End-of-Year reports, departmental reporting and much more. Pegasus now have new reporting available to allow you to access your payroll data, analyse the data and produce the relevant reports easily to assist with the compulsory gender pay gap reporting.  The Opera 3 payroll reporting tool also allows you to print reports and export the data in to Excel for additional data manipulation.

The gender pay gap ‘Snapshot Date’ is the date that employers must gather the information from in order to report their gender pay gap. This date is March 31st for public authorities and April 5th for all other employers. To be prepared, businesses should review the reliability of their payroll system and start to collate this information on the correct dates to begin preparing a report, in which they can write a statement on their findings.

For more information on accounting and payroll systems, contact Minster on 01562 68211 or email sales@minstermicro.co.uk.

Giving Your Business More Flexibility

With technology constantly evolving, giving your business flexibility has never been easier! There are now a variety of ways which encourage productivity and efficiency within your work force. With a team of IT experts on call, you can take your business with you, anywhere you go. It really is that simple. Working flexibly can save your company money whilst encouraging employee commitment and loyalty and thus reducing the turnover of your workforce, as well as levels of sickness absence.

Working remotely

Working remotely can reduce the need for office space and provides a modern working environment with links in to your businesses network. If you have a team that travel, they can be working on the go with communication tools such as 3CX VoIP telephony, which is available on both mobiles and VPN connections. Remote working supports a good work-life balance, which generally results in a happier, more enthusiastic team of employees.

The Cloud

Increasingly, businesses are moving towards Cloud Computing for a number of benefits, including convenience and agility. Cloud Technology means employees can access and use files, applications and storage across the internet which increases collaborative working within your business. Take a look at Pegasus Business Cloud!

Pegasus Mobile Sales App

This year, Minster’s partner Pegasus released a mobile sales app to assist the sales team further while out on the road. The app is available on android tablets and is soon coming to iOS devices so that the sales team have the ability to place orders remotely. Every aspect of a sale can be done from start to finish, out of the office, or at a customer site, saving your business a lot of time.

The Real Costs of Telephony To Your Business

It’s surprising to know that the average business in the West Midlands, just like yours, spends an average of over £900 on calls through standard telephony per year. However, those that have switched to a VoIP service only spend an average of £280 on calls per year!

On a whole, the average SME business in the West Midlands spends 2 days and 2 hours on the phone per month. This makes it crucial that businesses have a phone system that they can rely on but also won’t break the bank.

VoIP is becoming an increasingly popular choice amongst businesses to cut costs both locally and internationally. When you can save almost 30% of your annual costs, why wouldn’t you switch to VoIP?

Minster understand that price isn’t the only benefit of switching to a phone service that runs over the internet; VoIP is also a remarkable mobile solution which gives your business the flexibility that it needs. Forward thinking companies understand the importance of staff morale so with a downloadable smartphone app your employees will have the opportunity to work remotely. Not only will this promote productivity but it will also save other costs such as mobile phones bills.

Our partner 3CX provides VoIP telephony software which can be used on desktop, standard PBX phones and also on mobile devices – you may have seen this featured in the last edition of the Business Direction Magazine.

If you’re a business that works 9-5, Monday to Friday, time is critical to get everything done within your working week so you won’t want to lose time setting up and introducing a brand new phone system. The beauty of 3CX VoIP telephony, as opposed to standard phone lines, is that it can be set up very easily and quickly without need for separate phone wiring. It can be easily installed and managed with a web-based configuration interface which also includes automatic updates at standard, should you choose it to.

3CX allows you to cut out normal phone lines that use a telecommunications provider such as BT and instead uses just one internet line. Backup lines can also be installed, should your internet go down, leaving you with peace of mind! We’ve asked Alex, Minster’s very own apprentice-turned-engineer to give a breakdown of how VoIP telephony works and how it can save you so much money.

“By now you’re probably wondering how the 3CX phone system works. Well, the 3CX phone system is used the same as any other phone system for the end user, however technically, it’s entirely different.

The 3CX IT infrastructure uses a dedicated server for the 3CX system also known as a PBX (Private Branch Exchange). This is where the phone system is managed and configured. The 3CX system can be installed on a normal windows PC which can act as the PBX server minimising the cost of the infrastructure required. 3CX also requires you to have a VoIP provider, which will act as your phone line.

3CX works with VoIP (Voice over internet protocol) meaning any calls your users make won’t be going over your normal phone line but will be going through the internet, in the same way that a Skype or FaceTime call works- just without the video. This is why calls using 3CX is cheaper than your normal phone calls.” – Alex, Telephony Expert.

If you’re looking to upgrade your telephony, give Minster a call on 01562 68211 or email sales@minstermicro.co.uk.

 

 

 

 

New Jobs Created As Successful Kidderminster IT Firm Eyes Growth

Four new jobs have been created at an expanding Wyre Forest IT and business software provider.

Kidderminster firm Minster Micro Computers Ltd has welcomed new staff in sales, administration, finance and human resources to meet demand on the back of ongoing contract wins and a sustained period of growth.

Emily Gaden has joined the Worcester Road company as finance and HR assistant manager, looking after the firm’s day to day finances and leading a variety of personnel-related projects.

Paul Taylor brings 16 years’ experience in ERP system sales to his role as new business sales manager and is joined by account manager Nathan Rowe, who’s background is in IT system sales. Both will support existing Minster clients on a daily basis.

The firm’s final appointment is Lynsey Tutin who joins as Minster’s sales and contract support administrator, working closely with the sales team and acting as a daily point of contact for clients.

The appointments at the Kidderminster company, which has also invested further in its award-winning apprenticeship scheme this year, have contributed to a 25 per cent increase in its workforce since 2014.

Susan Marlow, director at Minster, said: “It has been a really successful period for us and we want to build on our growth and expand further.

“To do that we need to recruit talented and experienced people from the local area. Emily, Paul, Nathan and Lynsey are tremendous additions to our team and have the quality and skills we need for the future.

“They are already fitting seamlessly into the business and are set to each make telling contributions in the months and years ahead.”

How Can The Cloud Help You Work More Efficiently?

Increasingly, businesses are moving towards Cloud Computing for a number of benefits, including convenience and agility. We have already seen Adobe move their services to The Cloud they named ‘Creative Cloud’ and we are likely to see many more businesses move their products and services to The Cloud in the near future. The question is – Will you be one of those businesses?

What is The Cloud?

The Cloud is a network of servers that each have different functions, allowing you to use files, applications and storage across the internet. It could be considered as your online version of a USB stick when it comes to storing photos, documents, music and much more.

Many of us use The Cloud daily without even recognising it. Communicating over email is using a Cloud service and let’s face it, if you work in an office you are likely to converse over email at some point during your working day. If your business has a website or social media account you will use The Cloud when you are updating those applications. You might choose to save your photos or documents on to Cloud based file hosting services such as Dropbox or Google Drive. Not forgetting the films and documentaries you may watch on Netflix (a Cloud based application) when you return home from the office.

Benefits of moving from static servers to The Cloud

Below you’ll find a great list of how working in the cloud can benefit you and your business.

  • Cost-effectively and flexibly scale your use up or down to cope with the demand within your business. You only pay for what you use – saving you excessive money on hardware.
  • Back-ups – When you work in the cloud, the majority of things can be easily backed up. This means that you can have a copy of everything to restore to if lost, to future-proof your business.
  • File Sharing – The cloud makes file sharing much easier as you can share files with multiple people across cloud platforms, encouraging collaborative working.
  • Increasing your mobility – As long as you have an internet connection, you can access things on the cloud anywhere at any time and on any device.
  • Quick deployment means that the services can be used quickly to get your work done as fast as possible.

The Cloud is a much more sustainable and efficient way of working and can bring a variety of different benefits to your business. For more information, please contact Minster on 01562 68211 or email marketingteam@minstermicro.co.uk.

 

 

FD Susan Marlow Crosses The Solent For Charity!

Minster’s Financial Director Susan Marlow took part in The Solent Challenge to raise money for the Mary Stevens Hospice! The charity provides specialist holistic care, free-of-charge for adults with life-limiting illnesses and their families in the Dudley Borough.

Members of the V28 Vistage group sailed a yacht from Hamble to Cowes and then raced back to raise an amazing total of over £7,000 for the Mary Stevens Hospice.

Reflecting back on the Challenge, Susan said “I have always had a fear of deep water, so taking part in this Challenge was really difficult for me – I had many sleepless nights in the weeks leading up to the event. So to complete this Challenge as a novice sailor in Gale Force 8 winds was both a personal achievement and also incredibly satisfying to know how much we had helped this fantastic Charity – it was very rewarding indeed. They are still receiving donations several weeks after the event, as I think people really do identify with the invaluable service that the Mary Stevens Hospice give at such important times in the lives of so many local people and their families”.

Donations for The Mary Stevens Hospice are still being collected through the Solent Challenge page here – https://givepenny.com/V28