Archived blog from the developer, Mike Towle . . . . . . . . . . .
Finally, the web site has a User Forum! OK, I didn't do it, a friend installed it for me, and it needs some work to make it look a bit more like the rest of this site. But at least it's up and running. Please look through it, register, and post your questions, problems, thoughts, and ideas. There aren't many postings on there yet, as it's only just gone live. But a few months from now I expect it to be quite busy. It will be really interesting to see how it develops.
I mentioned in July that a price increase for Software Registration Keys was on the way. Well it's not happened yet! Mostly because I haven't found the time to change things. It's not a priority as most people use the software as freeware. But an increase is still on the way.......
It's July already! I haven't got used to it being 2009 yet, and we're already over half way through the year! I'm busy working on the next version of Adminsoft Accounts, which should be out in a week or so. Nothing major, just lots of minor improvements/additions, and some bug fixes. It will be worth updating your software. Also, for those interested in purchasing a Software Registration Key, a price increase may be on the cards before the end of this month. I may email everyone later this month with the news.
The web site badly needs updating. Most of it was created a few years ago when the software was first released. The software has moved on A LOT since then, but the blurb hasn't changed much at all. The software is SO much better than my web site would lead you to believe! Also, I'm considering adding a forum, where users can chat to each other about the software. Help each other out, discuss ideas, and swap things like layouts (for invoices, statements, etc.). If only I could find the time........
As I write this, the World is still deep in recession. But, I think we're at or very near the bottom. Most of the large companies that had some major financial problems (the banks especially) are either sorted out, or well into the process of being sorted out. Albeit in many instances with the considerable help of tax payers money. I'm not saying these large companies are now healthy, because many of them clearly aren't. But they have adapted and are coping. Over the next year redundancies will be common place, and they will be a drag on the economy. I think two years from now things will be better. Stock Markets will be rising, property prices will be rising, employment will be rising, as will interest rates. Taxes will be high. I'm looking forwards to a prosperous future. It's just going to take a while.
The accounts system is now more suitable for international use than ever. Adminsoft Accounts has users all over the world, from Britain, United States, Canada, Denmark, Germany, France, to United Arab Emirates, South Africa, Australia, India, and even China! The list goes on, and must run to over 50 different countries. One big problem is regional variations in accounting terms, and language. When you install Adminsoft Accounts, it queries Windows to see what country it is running in, and will adjust the accounting terminology it uses accordingly. But it is in English. So what happens when English is not the first language?
Now users can create and/or modify existing layouts for printed documents like invoices, statements, and so on, English is no longer such a problem. You want your invoice in French? Go to the invoice layout and change the text to French. You can now (as of v3.168) change the terminology used for transactions. So they can be changed by the user to another language too. Very useful for printing customer statements, as not only will the body text all be in your language, but so will each transaction on the statement. Your customer would never know your accounts system is in English.
Of course, ideally, the accounts system itself should be multi-lingual. Now that would
be great! Unfortunately, it's just not practical. It would be a HUGE task to modify the software and then translate it into one other language, let alone the dozens of different languages that would be required. Sorry folks. But, although the software is stuck in English, I am keen to make it as useable as possible for those people in countries where English in not their first language.
Finally, it's gone live! Users can now create or modify layouts for invoices, statements, delivery notes, advice notes, proforma invoices, estimates, remittance advices, debit notes, and purchase orders. And, as if that wasn't enough, you can now create estimates/quotes for your customers.
This is a major update to the software, and has taken a LOT of development time. But, user defined layouts and estimates/quotes were the two things most frequently requested by users of Adminsoft Accounts. So I think (hope!) it's time well spent. Actually, to be honest, version 3.162 that went live a week and a half ago had user defined layouts. But I introduced it quietly, tentatively you might say, so that it could get a good testing. It's been tested. Had some bugs fixed. Had the estimating/quoting added, and is now available for download as v3.163. This is the version I'm shouting about, and will email all users in a day or two to let them know it's available.
Adminsoft Accounts now compares very favorably to many of the more well known accounts packages. Most of which cost a lot of money, and yet don't posses the functionality of Adminsoft Accounts. Are those big software publishers worried? They should be. Do they see their market share slipping away? Slowly, yes. Can they compete with a FREE product like Adminsoft Accounts? I don't think so. Their business model is based on extracting as much $ from you as possible, by selling you something that often is not as good as Adminsoft Accounts that you can get for free. And then continuing to sell it to you every year, for lots of $, in the form of software updates and support contracts.
Many users of Adminsoft Accounts can not understand why it's free. Many actually find it hard to believe software of this quality is being given away. How can it be developed, maintained, and supported, for free? The answer is Google ads, and very low overheads. It'll never make me a millionaire. But I get great satisfaction from seeing Adminsoft Accounts used in thousands of small businesses all over the World. Help me turn those thousands of users into millions. Spread the word. Tell your colleagues, friends, and business associates about Adminsoft Accounts. Thank you.
The single biggest request I get for improving the software is a facility to allow users to create their own sales invoice and statement layouts. Well, it's on the way. Development is now at an advanced stage on a facility that will allow users to change the existing layouts, or create entirely new layouts. All users of any version of Adminsoft Accounts will be able to update their software for free. Within the next few weeks a new version of Adminsoft Accounts will be available with this feature. It will be very flexible, and very easy to use. As well as invoices and statements, you'll also be able to change and create delivery notes, purchase orders, and remittance advices.
The development has been technically challenging. Which is the main reason this feature hasn't been available in previous versions of the software. Microsoft Visual FoxPro that has been used to develop Adminsoft Accounts, does not have the ability to allow end users of software to design their own report layouts. So I've had develop the software from the ground up. An interesting project, but rather time consuming! However, now I've done it the software could be applied to other projects. So if anyone out there has software developed using Microsoft Visual FoxPro, and would like to give their users the ability to design report layouts, without using 3rd party add ons. Contact me. I have the source code that does it. You can have a copy, for a small fee!
As I write this, both the Dow Jones and FTSE 100 are heading south. They are at, or pretty near, the lowest they have been in several years. US President Barack Obama has signed his $787bn stimulus packaging into law. The ink is barely dry and Chrysler and GM are asking for a further $21.6bn, and even if they get it, they'll still be shedding 50,000 jobs. It's much the same story in every developed country across the World. Where will it end?
I'm no economist. So my grasp of the financial technicalities behind the recession that has gripped the World's economies is tentative at best. Like everyone, and business people in particular, I'm concerned. Worried even. Because unlike previous recession, this one isn't simply a lack of confidence, it's a lack of credit. We keep hearing the banks won't lend to each other, let alone to their customers. Yet the World functions on credit. Whether it's an individual wanting to buy a car, or a house, or a business wanting to buy machinery or some other asset. Without credit, most of these purchases don't happen. If cars, houses, and machinery aren't being bought, they aren't being made, which means people aren't needed to make them. So we get lots of redundancies. With more people out of work, they can afford to buy even less. So even less things need to be made, resulting in more redundancies. It's a vicious circle. Until the banks start lending again, the circle can not be broken.
My gut instinct is that lots more people are going to loose their jobs, and lots more businesses are going to go out of business, before this thing bottoms out. First, the banks have to be sure of their own finances, and that's going to take the rest of this year. Then they need to be sure of their customers finances in order to start offering loans. That will take us through 2010. So I think recovery will start around the middle of 2010, at the earliest. But it could be so slow, we may not even notice until 2011 that things have begun to improve.
That's my opinion, for what it's worth (not a lot!). We'll get through it. But it'll be tough, and in a couple of years time the business World will be a different place.