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2 - How is Your Business Planning to Grow?
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How is Your Business Planning to Grow?

How is your business planning to grow?


Growing a business can bring a multitude of questions and associated challenges – do your systems and applications do what you want them to do?

Do they provide full visibility of business processes?

Can they provide a 100% audit trail?

To grow in line with your strategic goals, these questions and many more must be answered. In fact, ensuring that your business systems and applications meet your exact business requirements presents a clear goal to achieve your businesses potential.

4 - How is Your Business Planning to Grow?

As your company grows, business processes evolve over time and having the ability to streamline administrative tasks and receive real-time information when it’s needed the most can play a major part in improving your ROI.

But how do organisations running SAP Business One achieve this?

SAP Business One has been designed to provide a flexible and easy to use framework with clear functionality for integration with third-party software enabling organisations to explore possibilities such as the SAP Certified integration solution BPA Platform.

BPA Platform provides:

  • Code-free drag and drop integration tools to reduce costly development time frames
  • Ensures systems and applications ‘play nicely’ no matter how complex the requirements
  • Automation for practically any business process
  • Automated reporting is set to business rules you define
  • Real-time data for improved decision making
  • Protection against future upgrade paths

If your company is planning to grow, BPA Platform can assist in helping you to achieve your long and short-term strategic goals.

For more information on business process automation solutions click here

If you would like to discuss how you can automate your business processes to help your business achieve its strategic goals, contact us today to arrange a demo.

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Magic Tax Continues to help businesses comply with Making Tax Digital in 2021

Magic Tax continued to help businesses throughout 2020 to comply with HMRC’s Making Tax Digital legislation.

Magic Tax is a bridging software solution and as the name suggests, was was designed to “bridge the gap” digitally between HMRC’s Government Gateway system and your own records.

Many businesses have been successfully using the solution every quarter since it’s launch in 2019 in order to comply with HMRC’s Making Tax Digital legislation which first came into effect for businesses in 2019.

KFA are thrilled at the response to the solution and also the user feedback too.

Magic Tax was not developed as a profit-making solution – just as a good thing to do for the business community – but also as part of their ongoing commitment to raise funds for various charities, which has always been high on the list of KFA’s priorities. Since we were unable to do a physical challenge for charity in 2020 as we usually would, Magic Tax has been more important than we could have imagined when we first started the development project at the end of 2018.

Having now raised £3225 from Magic Tax for Marie Curie, it’s still going strong and will continue to be available for our registered users until such time as HMRC announce that bridging software is no longer an acceptable method of making your submissions.

MC Logo Primary RGB 300dpi png 235x300 - Magic Tax Continues to help businesses comply with Making Tax Digital in 2021

We wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you to the many Magic Tax users, some of whom make generous donations every time they use the software – and we know the charity are very grateful for the support during this trying time.

We have learnt from conversations with our users, that Magic Tax has helped large businesses who have legacy systems which are not compatible with MTD yet, smaller businesses who run their business on spreadsheets but also lots of sole-traders too!

Many accountants and bookkeepers have also used the solution to file as an Agent on behalf of their clients.

We hope we’ve helped!

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2021 Happy New Year - Are Your IT Software Systems Ready for 2021?
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Are Your IT Software Systems Ready for 2021?

Happy New Year!

Are Your IT Software Systems Ready for 2021?

Companies who have put off making changes to IT software systems to help cope with what was being referred to in 2020 as our “new normal” and what really is now just “normal”, should act now.

If you haven’t already made sure that your systems are ready for what 2021 has in store for us, you should be looking to make these changes as soon as possible.

As many businesses now face managing their day-to-day operations with some or perhaps all of their team working from home, it’s more important than ever to have a good solid software system/s in place to help your team give the best possible service to your customers.

Some of the areas which really need to be addressed or reviewed might include:

eCommerce Website

Does your eCommerce site offer the same level of service to your customers as the staff in your stores or on the phones would? Suggesting additional products, up-selling and suggesting alternatives if their first choice isn’t available is important when your customers are browsing your site.

A slick Magento eCommerce site will have your customers coming back for more.

It’s also imperative that the stock levels are shown on your site accurately and in real-time to avoid over promising or worse – missing out on sales altogether!

If you sell to the trade, does your website have the ability to allow your trade customers to login and see the prices that apply to them, remind them of multi-buy bulk discounts where applicable and encourage other additional sales?

Integration

Even large companies often still have gaps in the way their systems are integrated, which in turn means information has to be exported from one system, maybe then manipulated before being uploaded or manually keyed into another system. This process causes delays and as it relies on humans is error-prone.

If your business operates on a variety of systems, you will be surprised at how much time is freed up by seamlessly integrating them. By automating your business processes your customers will experience a much-improved shopping experience from your company.

Courier integration is also a key area so that your business is using the most suitable and cost-effective shipping method available.

Companies who sell through multiple sales channels such as Amazon and eBay as well as those trading with large brands who use EDI for ordering and invoicing will also need this process to be as simple and easy to manage as possible.

Reporting

If the information is in your system but you can’t access it quickly and easily, your decision-making will be much more difficult and delayed.

If your system reporting gave you the exact information you need, in real-time and when you want it, with useful alerts – you can react so much quicker.

For example, receiving alerts when your best-selling product’s stock goes below a certain level to enable you to trigger the procurement process or if you are sitting on a lot of a certain product which might need business focus to sell-through.

If your competitors have this information at their fingertips, and you don’t – you will be missing a trick.

Warehouse Barcode Scanning

Where can you make improvements to your pick, pack and despatch process?

KFA’s ScanB1 Barcode Scanning solution for pick, pack and despatch can reduce errors, speed up the despatch process and automatically update your backend system with the despatch information.

ScanB1 Dashboard - Are Your IT Software Systems Ready for 2021?

The pick process is planned based on where your stock is located in the warehouse to use the most efficient route around the warehouse for the pick teams. You can also set up ‘wave picking’ to pick multiple orders at once and a dashboard will show you exactly what is going on in the warehouse, what stage each order is at and who is working on the order.

No need to print pick notes anymore as the scanner screen becomes the pick note.

Will your 2021 begin with a business review of how your software systems cold work better for you?

If your New Year review of your IT software systems identifies areas you require assistance with, get in touch with our team here.

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IBM i (AS400) Integration with BPA Platform

IBM i (AS400) Integration with BPA Platform

If you are looking for an IBM i (AS400) integration solution that will automatically perform database extractions via ODBC, transform (e.g. XML to record set or record set to XML) and load data between your IBM i database and other other business systems to streamline manual business processes, we can help!

Or is there a requirement to be notified of critical business changes as and when they happen via email or SMS by dynamically monitoring database activity in IBM i?

codeless BPA - IBM i (AS400) Integration with BPA Platform

KFA Connect can provide an IBM i (AS400) automation solution which provides manufacturing, distribution, banking and insurance organisations with the ability to connect IBM i quickly and easily with other business systems to automate the transfer of data and streamline costly, time consuming data entry tasks.

BPA Platform, from Codeless Solutions will provide IBM i users with additional business process automation capabilities such as document and report automation, automated alerts and notifications and the ability to enhance workflow approval processes.

KFA Connect are BPA Platform partners and our speciality lies in order management. We can help manufacturing, distribution, banking and insurance companies with seamless integration solutions.

For more information – get in touch today.

Visit our IBM i page here

Thank You 1170x658 - "Magic Tax is Simple, Free and saved Me Hours of Headbanging!"
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“Magic Tax is Simple, Free and saved Me Hours of Headbanging!”

We wanted to take the opportunity to share some Magic Tax news with you.

…and our favourite Magic Tax comment of the week too!

“Magic Tax is Simple, Free and Saved Me Hours of Headbanging.”

Magic Tax User

Hopefully, that comment sums up how easy it is to file your VAT return using Magic Tax!

Happy 2 Resized - "Magic Tax is Simple, Free and saved Me Hours of Headbanging!"

Since it’s launch, just 18 months ago Magic Tax has now raised nearly £3,000 for Marie Curie from voluntary donations kindly sent in by users of the FREE software.

Over the last 18 months, we’ve helped many small, medium and large businesses to comply with HMRC’s Making Tax Digital for VAT regulations which came into effect in April 2019.

COVID-19 has created extremely difficult times for all, and HMRC confirmed earlier this year that they are “committed to helping in every way possible all those businesses facing unprecedented challenges”.

Therefore, HMRC have provided all MTD businesses with more time to put in place digital links between all parts of their functional compatible software. This means that all businesses now have until their first VAT return period starting on or after 1 April 2021 to put digital links in place.

This means that Magic Tax users can continue to support Marie Curie by using Magic Tax to file their VAT returns and comply with HMRC’s MTD for VAT legislation. KFA Connect will continue to support Magic Tax users for as long as Bridging Software (using copy/paste method) is deemed as an acceptable means of filing by HMRC.

Thank you to the Magic Tax users for your continued donations.


Looking for help with Systems Integration, eCommerce development & Integration or help with a new ERP Solution or Warehouse Barcode Scanning Solution – talk to us today about how we can help.
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Sending Goods Post Brexit – Are Your IT Systems Ready?

Sending Goods Post-Brexit… Are Your IT Systems Ready?

We know the negotiations between the UK and the EU resumed last Thursday, after a week-long stand-off. But it’s still not clear what the final outcome might be regarding a ‘No-Deal Brexit’ and how that will affect our trade with Europe from 1st January 2021.

The UK has left the EU and the transition period after Brexit comes to an end at the end on 31st December 2020.

It’s fair to say we’ve all been a bit distracted this year with COVID-19 and this may have led to companies taking their eye off what still needs to be done.

UK companies looking to start trading in Europe and those who are already sending goods from the UK to Europe will most certainly want to be ready for what comes next…

All UK businesses who are involved in international trade will have to make changes, which need to be in place ready for 1st Jan 2021 and will apply to goods sold to EU countries.

At the moment, UK companies can sell goods to anywhere in the EU with no restrictions, and without having to pay additional import taxes and duties.

From January you will be required to use the same import and export processes that are used for the rest of the world for non-EU countries who do not have a trading agreement with the UK or EU.

An export declaration will need to be made in order to remove goods from the EU or UK customs territory and an import declaration will also need to be made to enter goods into either the EU or UK customs territory.

It’s the sender’s responsibility to ensure they are customs compliant and non-compliance will likely result in items being delayed, returned or further charges being levied.

You will need to provide your courier/s with additional information electronically in order to move your goods between these territories. How your IT systems will be able to provide information such as the following, should be urgently considered:

  • Information on the sender – including Country of Origin
  • Information on the Recipient
  • Parcel Contents
  • Parcel Weight
  • Value of Goods
  • Trade Tariff (or HS) Code

This data will be required in addition to a Customs Declaration (CN23) – to meet new customs requirements and ensure no disruption to your shipping after 1st Jan. You can read more here on the GOV.UK website.

In addition to this, if you haven’t already – you should also consider what changes will need to be made regarding transferring personal data.

KFA Connect are well-placed to help businesses ensure that the required information is available electronically from your own internal IT systems and sent to your courier/s with seamless integration and no manual input. In most cases, we can achieve this by utilising BPA Platform – (integration platform) to get your systems talking to one another and also with your third party providers – such as your courier/s.

Want to find out more? Get in touch today.

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Online Business 1170x658 - How is Your Online Business Performing?
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How is Your Online Business Performing?

It’s clear that COVID-19 has completely changed the way customers interact with businesses.

read more
Delivery 1 resized 1170x658 - Life after lockdown – what does the future of retail look like?
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Life after lockdown – what does the future of retail look like?

We have been reflecting on what life after lockdown now looks like for many businesses, as the gradual lifting of restrictions continues. 

In particular, the way people shop, both now and into the future will have changed dramatically as retail companies have faced huge challenges across the industry to adapt to the country-wide lockdown. It has also seen the demise of some big bricks and mortar stores.

KFA Connect believes that retail businesses will need to sell and increase their range across as many sales channels as possible in order to improve chances of survival.

With the after-effects of the lockdown and phased return to work, many retail stores will remain closed or sadly go out of business altogether. In addition, the average consumer is still unlikely to go to the shops unless they need to. With social distancing remaining in place indefinitely and shoppers not wishing to join long queues for clothing stores, it’s time to consider the long-term effects.

The likelihood is, that people will continue to buy online from the security of their homes for a long time to come.

Online sales are on an upward trajectory with no sign of slowing down and the lockdown has changed the behaviour of the population with little chance of it reversing. It is imperative that businesses look to sell and increase their range online as soon as possible, as a surge in sales post-lockdown is too risky to rely on. The change in behaviour is evident in the noticeable increase in online ordering for our e-commerce customers, with some seeing a 60% increase in online sales during the lockdown.

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Another challenge retailers continue to face is the sudden increase in pressure on deliveries. Additional online ordering means companies must be able to switch between couriers easily and to mitigate this we strongly suggest the use of software systems that integrate with multiple couriers. This will ultimately offer more flexibility to enable a business to run efficiently and eliminate any internal process issues.

There has been a huge variant in the way retail companies have been able to respond to online ordering, from some small businesses opening only 1-2 days per week to large high street chains capping daily order numbers, to the likes of Amazon reportedly reaping an $11,000-a-second during the lockdown. Whichever way you look at it, it is a sink or swim situation and while online order numbers remain high for those with e-commerce options in place, businesses still need to understand the best way to manage them.

KFA Connect is advising these businesses not to lose sight of the long-term, and embrace technology more than ever, as you truly never know what is around the corner.

Need help with eCommerce website development or integration services?


SPECIAL OFFER: New Magento 2 website – developed in 30 days for just £10K.

Take a closer look here…

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i-UG’s International i Power 2020 event took on a new virtual format!

The International i Power event took on a whole new virtual format this year due to COVID-19; it’s usually a packed two-day event with workshops, seminars, inspiring news from the IBM team about the future and a great chance to chat with other like-minded IBM i professionals.

For us, the event is a great chance to keep our team up to date with the latest IBM i news, but also an opportunity to chat face-to-face with delegates, other sponsors of the event as well as members and organisers of the event from the i-UG (IBM i User Group).

This June, the event was held as a virtual event, where delegates were able to watch webinars and seminars online and the feedback has been amazing. Delegates were able to attend the workshops and webinars that they were most interested in without having to spend time (and money) travelling to the event.

There was even a virtual EXPO hall, where the event sponsors could showcase their IBM i services to the attendees (I must say it’s much kinder on our feet in this format!)

We were sorry to have missed the opportunity to meet with the delegates and i-UG members face-to-face, but hope to have the chance to do so again very soon!

KFA Connect offers IBM i…

  • Application Development
  • Application Modernisation
  • Systems Integration
  • Enhanced Reporting & Intelligent BI
  • Independent Testing
  • 24/7 Support
BI Resized 1170x600 - COVID-19 Kick Starts Digital Transformation
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COVID-19 Kick Starts Digital Transformation

It’s staggering, the changes that businesses have had to make over the last month.

So to say it’s given digital transformation a kick start is a bit of an understatement…

The outbreak of the Coronavirus has forced the hand of many business owners who may have previously been reluctant to step into the world of digital transformation.

Businesses who now have many employees working remotely will no doubt be struggling to establish how their employees are really doing emotionally as well as physically.

Some are having to juggle a new experience of not just working from home but while also looking after and home-schooling their children.

We’ve all got very good at multitasking!

World Mental Health Day 2019 - COVID-19 Kick Starts Digital Transformation

Being able to function as a business, in a paperless way, communicate effectively as a team and to continue to offer your customers your services or products with an online presence is now more important than ever.

Not a gentle nudge, but a real shove in the right direction for some companies who have been putting off making changes.

An annual report from the Office of National Statistics which was published in Nov 2019 detailing eCommerce and ICT use by UK businesses in 2018 said that 52% of British businesses did not have a website.

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The same report also said that only 12.9% of British businesses had made sales through a website and that more than half of larger businesses (with 1,000+ employees) did not make sales via their websites.

The Government have been pushing the move to digital following their 2017 UK Digital Strategy, with businesses being asked to make the move to offer a web presence, sell online, use the cloud and digitise back-end systems including payroll and VAT.

Perhaps it will also pave the way for more permanent changes to the way (or location) in which we work and also how we interact with both our customers and colleagues?

Companies with no facility in place to allow employees to effectively work from home will have also had to invest and make changes in a very short space of time. Investing further on systems, websites and e-commerce development might not be what you want to do right now, but it might have become an absolute necessity.

The initial panic of getting the infrastructure in place will now have been dealt with, and attention may now be turning to what can be done to ensure the survival of the business in general – if there are gaps in your channels to market and what can be done to stay ahead of the competition?

So, businesses who previously shied away from selling online or enhancing their existing offer should be making changes now.

Big-name retail businesses will have an established online presence already, but with literally everyone now ordering everything they need online, those who have always had a ‘customer-focused’ approach will now be taking an even closer look at making sure that your customer experience is as slick as possible. Websites which make the user journey simple and encourages repeat visits are those who will thrive in this current situation.

However, businesses who sell in a B2B (Business to Business) environment might be keen to offer their customers the facility to log in to their account, browse a catalogue, add products to shopping baskets directly from an online brochure. Giving the customer the freedom to shop with your business at any hour of the day to suit them.

Or what about allowing trade customers to customise or build bespoke products from components with an intuitive search and filter facility – and most importantly allow their customers to view a price list specific to them while managing their account online?

Once your customers, regardless of whether they are making consumer or trade-related transactions have experienced a simple, easy online shopping experience they are going to be less likely to shop around!

KFA can support companies with their eCommerce to help businesses get online quickly and effectively in response to the Coronavirus measures, and to ensure companies are well-placed to continue with eCommerce activities moving forward.

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