5 Steps To Finding The Right IT Consultant For Your Small Business

IT, Computer & Networking Consultant - Walnut Creek, CA

IT, Computer & Networking Consultant - Walnut Creek, CAIf you’re a small business owner, IT problems are something you probably want to put your dead down and ignore. But you know they’ll just keep resurfacing and those problems will keep getting bigger and bigger. Soon, they’ll even become costly – from mild operational interruptions to full blow shutdowns. Computer issues are bad. But, they can be avoided with the right plan in place implemented by the right computer consultant.

We asked Tom Grundig, Founder of Grundig IT consultants in Walnut Creek (learn more) his thoughts on how small business owners should go about making the sometime difficult decision of which firm to work with.

Industry Expertise

One factor to consider is whether the firm has expertise in your industry. This is especially important if your industry has specialized software. But even if it doesn’t, many standard applications have nuances and special features that you likely want your IT consultant to tweak or customize to get the most out of the application.

IT Services Provides

Today, even small business have large technology needs. At a minimum, you want someone who is willing to get into the trenches and fix those pesky desktop and workstation issues. Those minor annoyances are often the ones causing your employees the biggest headaches. Slow computers are often cited as the #1 frustration among employees. And that frustration easily turns into lost profits as your employees waste time each day waiting for things to happen.

Another area of major concern is security. Protecting workstations and servers from viruses and outside intruders is a critical function of any IT department, whether internal or outsourced. Lost data can cause business disruption or lost customers who become furious at their information being leaked.

Along the lines of security is having a proper data backup and recovery solution in place. Here’s a tip from Tom, make sure that you have a system that can not only backup, but can RESTORE. Often times people put backup solutions in place but they don’t learn of restore issues until it’s too late.

A more modern edition to the repertoire of today’s computer consulting firm is cloud computing. Today, we’re storing data online and using online apps instead of downloading software that can quickly become outdated. There’s a huge benefit to cloud computing but it’s also an area where many companies waste money on unnecessary services. And, even if an app is available online, it doesn’t change the fact that you and your team still have to be trained on how to use it properly.

Fixed Costs

There are several different options when it comes to paying IT consultants. The typical hourly rate is still a common method. But many firms have transitioned to become Managed Service Providers (MSPs).

MSPs offer similar services to traditional consultants, but they package those services in a way that both encourages them to provide excellent maintenance and fix problems before they happen, and offer a fixed and known expense to the business.

So instead of paying an hourly fee that could go on and on, clients of MSPs pay a flat monthly fee that usually includes maintaining servers and workstations in top order, and fixing any problems that might arise.

If you want to learn more tips on using an IT consultant, read Grundig IT’s blog. Or stop by and talk with Tom yourself. Contact information is provided below.

Advantages of Using a Paper Slitting Machine

pulp & paper applicationsIf there were no paper slitting machines or slitters, the paper converting industry would not be the great economical giant it is today. It is also highly likely you would have to pay much more for your credit card. Companies would have to do without cash registers or meet an unbelievably high cost to buy them. Issuance of cash receipts would be a costly affair.

To make these products, paper converting companies use these machines to cut down huge rolls of paper to the require size. The rolls could have as large measurements as 54 inches. However, not every slitter will work for a particular product. Different types of slitters are used to convert different types of materials. They include center wind slitter, duplex wind slitter and surface wind slitter.

How a Paper Slitter or Slitter Rewinder Machine Works

Companies whose operations involve printing, lamination and coating of materials are collectively known as converters since they turn huge rolls of material to completely different material from the original one. They include industries that work with plastics, paper, foil and even film.

The initial stage is the ordering of huge roll of materials from suppliers. Then they consult the customer for instructions on the required design. For instance, a packaging company could contract a converter for food packaging bags needed in their business. The converter may buy biaxially oriented polypropylene (BOPP) and print the material according to the customer’s specifications. The material is then coated and cut into sizes small enough to be used by the machine specifically intended for manufacture of packaging materials.

Cutting Soft materials

They include paper and plastic films which produce such products as rubber, adhesive tape, foam as well as fabrics and glass cloths. You can use a number of methods for soft materials. While some machines are fitted with circular or straight blade to slit the material, others crush it on a hard roll. The blades used for cutting are adjustable to the width of your liking. Some machines are equipped with several blades increasing the options of cutting width. However, some of them have just one blade which is flexible enough to be adjusted to the required area of cutting.

Apart from ability to produce materials in bulk, this process is incredibly cheap. In addition, it is easy to work with if your machine is fitted with a program that allows you to automatically monitor the blades as well as sharpen them, thus ensuring high quality and accuracy of the slitting job. Automatic machines can control the tension of the material as well as place the blades in the right position. Moreover, the machine ensures the core onto which the material is wound is automatically put into position, thus reducing the cost of manpower that would have otherwise been charged with the task.

See a paper slitter/rewinder in action for more general information and a visual idea of what these machines do right here:

Cutting Hard Materials

While cutting hard materials such as metal, blades are ruled out. To cut these materials, converters use a kind of shearing method. Using two rolls which are cylindrically-shaped, a big roll is slit into smaller rollers which have much less width. However, note that their grooves and ribs must be equal.

Again, this method is more accurate than many other methods of cutting the material. Nevertheless, extra care should be taken to avoid high incidences of jagged edges on the path the slitting has taken. In addition, the quality of the end product is sometimes determined by the ability of the material to withstand the process. The required thickness and the type of the material in use are also determinant factors in the level of quality of the work.

Remember, the type of slitter rewinder used will be more than likely to give you either excellent or poor results. While various types of slitters have been used to cut rolls with satisfactory results, technological advancement has brought better options than were previously available. Since different firms have different needs, slitting machines have been modified to accommodate everyone while producing good quality work. For instance, turret winders have been designed in such a way that their use greatly lessens downtime. Additionally, technological developments have allowed for manufacture of slitters able to cut very thick material or unusually thin film.  One company that has pioneered a new high-speed technology in paper slitting and rewinding is RollRazor, based in the United States.  Find out more by visiting their website at http://rollrazor.com.

Learning Sage Simply Accounting In The Classroom

is it better to learn in a classroom or online?With today’s technological advancement, anyone can now acquire sage 300 training (and Sage 50) – otherwise known as Accpac and Simply Accounting, by studying online at the comfort of their home. Nonetheless, nothing beats the old fashion classroom style learning as there is a real time advantage to this method. Here are some good reasons why Simply Accounting Training is best done in a classroom setting:

Engaging Learning Process

In a classroom, you have fellow students studying with you, so you have various avenues to brainstorm ideas. Any topic you don’t understand can be easily clarified by your teacher or a fellow student. Also in a school, there is the chance of organizing yourselves into study groups and tackle hard topics or assignments together; yes there are similar online forums, but nothing beats the togetherness of live group discussions in a school.

A Chance to Interact with Sage

Any school certified for Sage 50 Accounting training definitely has all the appropriate learning software installed. So this saves you the trouble of going out to buy the software and install it to your computer. Moreover, accessing the software from a classroom gives a good chance to learn on the go—with a tutor to help, learning all the software features and how they work and integrate is much faster. Learning Sage Simply Accounting training in a classroom provides a more hands on experience.

Proper Learning

Whether it’s Sage 50, Sage 300 or Accpac Training is an extensive course and one that needs in depth learning to properly understand. Studying in a classroom ensures everything is explained clearly and in simple terms. There are text book terms or examples that may still be a problem when studying on your own. Additionally, you are likely to find yourself memorizing concepts from your books rather than understanding them. Classroom training helps you digest the study books and software better.

More information on Sage 50 from the creators themselves:

A Smooth Learning Process

The learning process is smoother when you enrol in a CPA school. Everything transitions seamlessly from course registration to sitting for the final exam. Assignments, assessment exams, and course notes all come from one channel which is convenient for you. This cannot be compared to online self studies which mean downloading the notes from all over. Again, the online school enrolled in may refer you to another entity that provides the exams.

Prestige of Learning from a Reputable School

Let’s face it, learning in classroom has a big advantage once you sit for exams and graduate. There is that sense of community in you having graduated and recognized by the prestigious institution you enrolled in. Additionally, the friendship you established in classroom session can mature to strong connections you can use when establishing your career as an accountant. That sense of belonging is really important, especially when you graduate as a community of certified accountants.

So if you have been thinking about it, enrolling for Sage 300 Training in a classroom has some great benefits you may not realize. If you live in the Vancouver, BC Canada area – a local and highly rated Sage certified training firm is Total Corporate Learning Inc. – check them out at http://www.totalcorporatelearning.com. Enroll and watch your future in accounting become brighter and doors to your career advancement open more easily as a result.