Archived blog from the developer, Mike Towle . . . . . . . . . . .
I can't believe another year has nearly passed! It's been a strange year for businesses, there's kind of a recovery, but it looks fragile, and it's fragmented. Some sectors are doing well, many are finding it really tough. So what does 2011 have in store for us?
I'm no economist, I'm a small businessman and software developer. But I've been in business for nearly 30 years, so I do have a little experience! Recessions come and go, property prices fall, rise, rise some more then crash.... Oh, and so do stocks and shares. Only they seem to recover faster. Once property starts falling, it takes a long time for the market to flatten out and then start to rise again. In 2011, I think share prices will rise modestly as confidence returns to the financial markets, and those countries carrying large amounts of debt start to look like their finances are on firmer ground. The austerity budgets that have been put in place in 2010 will start to have an effect in 2011. It may settle share prices, but it won't do property much good. A great many people are in fear of losing their jobs, or are out of work already. Unemployment will increase, bank loans of all kinds will remain difficult to obtain and expensive when you do get them. This is likely to be the trend for the next two or three years. Property owners will not sell unless they have to. This reduced supply of property coming onto the market will help prices, but prices will fall, slowly, probably for another couple of years or so. Property will only start to recover when people are secure in their employment, and bank loans are easier and cheaper. And, most importantly, first time buyers can actually afford to buy. I feel particularly sorry for first time buyers, they are usually young people just starting out, and to buy a place of their own they are currently faced with finding large amounts of money for a deposit. 100% loans seem a distant memory. I suspect we will never see them again. In the future, getting credit is going to be a lot tougher. After a few years of falls, this could cause property prices to be flat for many years. Certainly at the lower end of the market, the more expensive properties may see some recovery earlier, as they are not so dependant on first time buyers.
But what about trade in general? I think overall it'll be flat. Some sectors, house building is an obvious example, will find market conditions very difficult. Although the smaller building companies that specialize in home extensions could do quite well. Many people who decide not to move, will decide to extend instead. The problem won't be so much about a downturn in business, but finding the finance to cover any short term cash flow issues. Many good small businesses could fail due to lack of cash. Aware of this pitfall, many owners/managers are going to conserve cash. Instead of investing in a new computer system, or new piece of plant equipment, or fresh marketing campaign, they will leave the funds in the bank. The old saying 'cash is king' has never been truer! My fear, is that this will put further pressure on businesses, and small businesses especially.
I'm talking about Europe and North America. On the Asian continent, things are likely to be quite different. Businesses there are generally doing very well, with considerable exports in goods that look cheap due to under priced currencies. Property prices are on the up, and will keep going up. There are some problem area's of course. But they tend to be the places that relied heavily on 'foreign' buyers buying large ticket items like property. Those buyers aren't there anymore, and it could be a long time before they return.
Despite my concerns about western economies for the next few years, and the poor credit environment that small business will have to adapt to, I'm actually quite confident that it won't be all that bad. Most small business people are very resourceful. They have to be!
Where ever you are in the World, I wish you a healthy and prosperous new year.
Adminsoft Accounts v3.217 is now available for download!! It contains lots of improvements, including: a basic PAYROLL
(see below), support for accruals & prepayments on supplier invoices, sales tax/VAT calculators, you can now input much larger batches of journals into the Nominal/General Ledger, you can also enter transactions that contain an element of sales tax/VAT directly into the Nominal/General Ledger,and more. Plus of course some more bug fixes, where do those pesky bugs come from......
The payroll has been designed for use in the United Kingdom, and has been available to users of Adminsoft Accounts in the United Kingdom for some time. However, payroll requirements in many countries are similar, so I have now made the payroll available to all users, regardless of country. If you are not in the United Kingdom, it may work for you, it may not. As payroll software goes, it is quite basic, but is suitable for most small businesses. But if you have a large number of employees, and/or your payroll requirements are fairly sophisticated, then this is not an option for you. A comprehensive payroll system is a big complex beast, and needs regular updates to keep abreast with ever changing legislation and tax rates & structures, which also makes it very country specific. You're unlikely to find that
kind of payroll offered as Freeware from anyone! If my payroll works for you, in your country, please let me know. I'd like to put a list of countries up on the web site so other users or potential users can see whether the payroll will work for them.
Adminsoft Accounts is free, of course. But you can buy some extra bits called AutoManager and CafeManager, and the price of those has just been slashed!
The first one is specifically for the autotrade, it handles the retail of parts and accessories, and workshop invoicing, booking, etc. The second one is for general retail outlets and cafe's. Check out the 'Purchase' page on this web site.
When I started this blog, I intended to write every couple of days or so. Instead it's every couple of months or so! You lot keep me really busy! Adminsoft Accounts v3.210 is now out. I recommended everyone updates their software to this latest version. No BIG move forward, but with each new version that comes out, it moves forward a little bit. It's all about evolution rather then revolution. And I will try and find the time to write this blog more often......
How do you run a successful business? I suspect if I asked ten different business owners/managers, I'd get ten different answers. Keeping overheads down is vitally important, so where better to start than a free accounting system! Like many business people, I've read the usual books, watched TV interviews of the hugely successful, and read the autobiographies. What have I learned? Well, there is no 'secret to success'. No magic formula to follow that will guarantee your wealth. Every successful business person has their own approach that suites them. The main thing is to keep going, don't give up. No matter how tough it gets, there is always a way forward. In my experience, most business owners would just be happy to be financially secure. They're not looking to purchase a mega-yacht or a private jet. They just want the surety of knowing their home is secure, their future and their children's futures are secure, and a happy retirement one day awaits them. I've been in business for over quarter of a century. Adminsoft is the smallest one of several businesses I run. I could go on and on about the ups and downs of business life, and maybe I will write a book one day. If only I had the time.....
Adminsoft Accounts v3.199 was released a few days ago. No great additions have been made, BUT it does contain quite a few bug fixes. In particular, a bug that prevented many users from printing or otherwise outputting lists (and help files for that matter). All known
bugs have been fixed in this version. However, if you're running v3.199 and think you've found a bug, please do email me. The more information you can provide the better.
Another new version of Adminsoft Accounts is ready for you all to download. Biggest change is that it now has a Cash Flow Statement report. Most of the development going into the software these days seems to be about making small changes and enhancements. It's all about minor improvements. Of course I do have a wish list: I would like to add an international payroll that works across many different countries. I'd like to add a Sales Prospecting and Sales Order system. I'd like to refine the system so that it operates in all countries with all tax systems and accounting methods as if it had been developed specifically for that country. It all takes so much time. But they'll happen, one day.
Which is why my last blog was over three months ago! Support and maintenance have a high priority, the blog, unfortunately, has to have a low priority.
It's just over three years since Adminsoft Accounts became available on the web. In that time it's been tried out by over 20,000 users. There are now a 'few' thousand regular users. It's hard to tell, because although some use data (date, time, country, and software version is about all) is logged, it's not easy to determine whether a user is running the system on a regular basis. And if the user has purchased a Software Registration Key, no use data is logged at all. So while good reliable statistics are thin on the ground, what I can see is the trend. And the trend is VERY much upwards. With each year, the number of people downloading and trying out the software, and the number that continue to use it, increase dramatically. After the first year 2007, it's doubled each year. This year will be interesting.