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User Defined: A hidden gem within Spire.

Struggling with communication within your business?

Spire has a few ways to improve communication, but today we will focus on a hidden gem within Spire, called User Defined Fields (UDF).

Ever since Spire added the UDF into the program, here at TriTech we have utilized it in many ways; one of which is creating a shared space where our Accounts Receivable (AR) team can communicate information that might be important and useful for each other to know.  For us, this could be the date we contacted a customer, or it could be a note to say that the customer missed an invoice in their recent payment and we have now emailed the missing invoice to them.   Another example of course, is everyone’s favourite “Cheque is in the mail”.  Each member of our team who has permission to see the UDF module can see and add information. 

Some of the main features of UDF in Spire are:

  • Custom fields can be added to different modules
  • Set as text fields, dropdown lists or checkboxes
  • Define mandatory fields
  • Print custom fields on forms and reports
  • Custom fields are indexed and searchable
  • Multiple word search of all custom records

How do you set up a User Defined field?

Continuing with our example of communicating within the aged AR, let’s learn how to setup your first user defined fields.

  • Open one of the customer’s in your AR list, and then click on the User Defined tab.
  • Once you have selected the tab above, next you will need to click the UDF Properties button.
  • First click the NEW PAGE and this will give your TAB a name. Name it AR NOTES.  
  • Next, click NEW FIELD and create a UDF text field that says NOTES and date field called CONTACT DATE and save & close.
  • Let’s test our new fields: Open up one of your customers in the AR module.  Then click on the User Defined tab, and add some notes into your new fields; then Save & Close. 
  • Go into your AR list again, right click on the column headers at the top of the list, and scroll all the way to the bottom where the newly created UDF fields will be listed. (Note: if they aren’t showing up right away, go into another module within Spire, and then go back into AR) 
  • Put a checkmark in your fields, and then go back to your AR list. 
  • Now whenever you update your fields with information such as “Cheque is in the mail”, anyone who has permission can see all the communication you have been doing and when you are expecting payment on the aged AR.  It is a great way to have automated communication between all departments within your business.

In one screen, you can see all of your notes and the last date they were contacted, on every customer who is showing up in your AR.

A few extra notes:

When creating new UDF Fields, there are eight different types of fields that are available:

  • Numeric
  • Text
  • Multi-line Text
  • Drop Down Lists
  • Check Boxes
  • Dates
  • Integer
  • Boolean

All of these fields can have a validation added. And can also be set to be a ‘required’ field, or not. If it is set to ‘required’, then the user will not be able to save & close if the field(s) are blank.

Have fun, be creative and think outside of the box!

Are you having trouble finding the UDF within your Spire? Or would you like some extra help to set it up? Just email the helpdesk at TriTech, and we can help you out!

A Simple way to improve employee productivity.

Nobody would deny the positive impacts of regular exercise and a well-planned fitness plan. However, while the majority of these people are completely convinced that the power of exercise can only impact one’s physical health, we know better. What has come to light in various studies is that fitness and productivity are positively correlated! In simpler terms, the more your legs run, the more your brain runs!

This direct link between one’s physical regimen to their mental firepower is more than enough motivation to get started on your share of fitness. But you’re probably wondering, “What kind of productivity?” Well, we aren’t referring to being able to work for longer hours in one sitting. We’re referring to completing a lot more of your work in a much better quality in the same amount of time. All of this efficiency in exchange for a few hours of exercise!

“But how can, me trying to tone my abs, increase my work productivity?” Glad you asked! Regular exercise (about 5 days every week) sharpens memory! Your brain makes a chemical, namely, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) when you exercise which enhances your brain’s memory circuits. And since these aren’t found artificially and your brain can only make it via exercising, your answer to increase work productivity lies in your willingness to exercise!

There were two woodcutters in a forest; one followed the principle of hardwork and the other followed the principle of wit. The first would toil away without taking any breaks and would still under perform in comparison to the other. This secret was to take breaks and sharpen the blade! When you exercise, your brain cells increase in number and become a lot more active and this improves your concentration, prolongs mental stamina and allows faster learning. 

The idea of creativity increasing because of exercise may sound improbable but think about it. Whenever your flow of thoughts don’t go anywhere, a walk outside freshens your mind and gives you more to think about. It isn’t the air that gets the work done, it’s the exercise!

Since exercising increases your overall alertness, it reduces your stress which may have brought you down mentally. The stress in your brain can affect your entire body which means that your body can affect your brain too. Exercising produces endorphins, which tend to act as painkillers and kill your stress!

 

How Else is Exercise Beneficial?

People usually consider exercising as only a way to keep your body healthy. Exercising usually means lower blood pressure, a healthier heart, and a longer life in general.

Over the past decade, social scientists have quietly amassed compelling evidence suggesting that exercising can also bring about a more immediate benefit: its impact on the way we think. Yet not many really believe that exercising doesn’t solely have physical benefits as aforementioned, but also increases cognitive capacity and positively impacts mental health.


But how does mental health relate to work productivity? Workplaces always require hours and hours of work. It is no surprise that work productivity, hence, decreases by a fraction with every passing hour. But if you’ve followed your fitness regime, then your brain is far more active and alert. This also elevates your mood. This way, you won’t only be willing to work, but your efficiency won’t decrease as quickly.

In fact, an elevated mood is exactly what a workplace needs to build interpersonal connections and foster collaborations more effectively. An employee with a positive attitude and fresh demeanor is always appreciated. However, if you are drained and irritable, then your social connections fall through as well.

In fact, there is evidence suggesting that exercise during regular work hours may boost performance. Take, for example, the results of a Leeds Metropolitan University study, which examined the influence of daytime exercise among office workers with access to a company gym. Many of us would love the convenience of free weights or a yoga studio at the office. But does using these amenities actually make a difference?

Yes, yes it does make a difference! Within the study, researchers had over 200 employees at a variety of companies self-report their performance on a daily basis. They then examined fluctuations within individual employees, comparing their output on days when they exercised to days when they didn’t.

Here’s what they found: On days when employees visited the gym, their experience at work changed. They reported managing their time more effectively, being more productive, and having smoother interactions with their colleagues. Just as important: They went home feeling more satisfied at the end of the day.

Instead of viewing exercise as something we do for ourselves—a personal indulgence that takes us away from our work—it’s time we started considering physical activity as part of the work itself. The alternative, which involves processing information more slowly, forgetting more often, and getting easily frustrated, makes us less effective at our jobs and harder to get along with for our colleagues.

Make Excercise a Part of Your Regimen

Regardless of how you go about incorporating exercise into your routine, re-framing it by making it a part of your regimen and thinking of it as your biggest priority makes it a lot easier to make time for it. Remember, you’re not abandoning work. On the contrary: You’re ensuring that the hours you put in are of value and aren’t inefficient in any way. And after a month of regular exercising, it becomes somewhat hard to suddenly stop without your day feeling a little empty! Get exercising today and measure your level of work productivity!

Grow your Business with Integrated Business Management Software

The rapid pace of growth at many small and mid-sized businesses often leaves no time to consider how various software packages are supposed to work together. New software is added as needed, most of the time from entirely different vendors. Unfortunately, this siloed approach to software setup can lead to a lot of headaches down the road, including higher costs, lost productivity, and less insight into how well a business is actually performing.

The challenges of a siloed software system

The problem is that many small and mid-sized companies naturally revert to a collection of different software packages. They typically start out with basic accounting software, and then decide to add advanced software, such as inventory management or sales management software, on an as-needed approach.

This approach might work in the short-term, but over the longer term, this very inefficient silo architecture (in which the different software packages have a hard time integrating with each other) leads to a number of challenges, including wasted employee productivity, lack of real-time visibility into operating results, and extra costs (both in terms of time and financial resources) due to the need for integration.

Advantages of using an integrated business management software system

Now contrast this approach to that of an integrated business management software system, such as Spire. With an integrated system, you are able to streamline operations because all the various functionality is designed to work together. Instead of buying software on an a-la-carte basis, you are buying one integrated system that works great from the very start. As small and mid-sized firms are finding out, there are two big advantages of using an integrated business management software system.

First and most importantly, an integrated system enables much greater automation of routine business processes, everything from order management and fulfillment, to invoicing and expense approval. Data and information from one business function (such as sales management) can be very easily combined with data and information from another business function (such as inventory control). This makes things much easier for the team in accounting, which doesn’t have to worry about tracking down data across multiple software databases.

Secondly, an integrated software system improves visibility into the real-time operation of your business. In today’s real-time business environment, customers expect to know the current status of an order immediately, and members of the management team often want to put together reports on the fly. If you are using a siloed approach, this is almost impossible. But with an integrated system, you can quickly gain access to any key numbers or data that you need.

Grow your business with TriTech

At the end of the day, opting for an integrated business management software system like Spire is all about preparing your business for the next cycle of growth. Being able to manage business processes more efficiently can lead to lower costs, higher revenue and greater overall profitability.

Contact us today and ask how we can help you grow your business.