TOPThe Mendelson Active Solutions
Technology News YOU CAN USE!March 2011
In This Issue
QuickBooks Tip
Quotable Quotes
From the desk of...
QQube Report & Analysis Tool
March Madness!
QuickBooks Solutions

QuickBooks Tip

Open QuickBooks Faster

How often do you open QuickBooks and have to wait for several windows and reports to open in succession before you get control back?
There is an easy way to eliminate this from happening; use the following steps to set up this preference:
1. Click Edit > Preferences
2. Select Desktop View
3. Click on "Don't save the desktop" and click OK
You can also choose which windows to automatically open on QuickBooks startup by clicking "Save current desktop" in the same Desktop View / My Preferences.
Quotable Quotes

The last suit that you wear, you don't need any pockets.

-Wayne Dyer


The big rewards come to those who travel the second, undemanded mile.

-Bruce Barton


A strong, successful man is not the victim of his environment. He creates favorable conditions. His own inherent force and engergy compel things to turn out as he desires.

-Orison Swett Marden 

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Founded in 1992, Mendelson Consulting specializes in QuickBooks Solutions and Information Technology consulting services.  In 2008, Mendelson Consulting was recognized with two prestigious distinctions awarded by Accounting Technology magazine: 'Killer VAR', acknowledging our commitment and character as a value-added-reselling (VAR) organization, and 'Technology Pacesetter', recognizing our reputation among peers and participation on advisory boards and speaker panels at industry events.  In 2009, we were recognized as part of Bob Scott's Insights 'VAR Stars' for our accomplishments in mid-market financial software.
We were the first charter member of the Intuit Solutions Provider Program.  Mario Nowogrodzki currently serves on the Intuit Solutions Provider Program Advisory Council--the only consultant in the nation to serve since program inception, for three consecutive terms.
From the desk of.. Mario portrait
Founder and Principal

Hire IT Staff vs Hire a Consultant 


Do you rent or own your place of living?  Same goes for owning a car, do you lease or did you purchase your automobile?  In the world of technology, another example is to pay for server hosting (rent) or deploy your own internal server (buy).  Many would say that the same "buy versus rent" choice applies to your information technology (IT) support:  when should you hire internal IT staff versus outsource by hiring an external consultant?


Deciding whether to hire or to outsource IT support is based on several considerations--costs, pragmatism, and knowledge or skills, among others.  Both sides of the decision can have far reaching advantages and implications for any establishment--monetary, availability or uptime, and the most important of all, peace of mind.


Hiring IT staff ensures that you have someone at your grasp at all times, someone dedicated 100% to your company.  Of course, this comes at a price.  Generally, hiring full-time IT staff costs more than outsourcing.  And such full-time person is not available 24x7, whereas outsourced persons can be available in shifts.  In-house staff will usually have some downtime.  And their complete abilities may not be fully used and they may be short in certain specific skills.


It is easier to get a variety of skill sets by outsourcing.  It is virtually impossible to hire enough staff to find that range of skills or find one individual who is that multitalented.  Outsourced staff can have greater collective consulting expertise.  Often times, this greater expertise is a result of working with many clients instead of for just one company.  Clients of consultants benefit from what is learned while solving other people's problems.  Education and training are usually on the consultant's own time, not on the hiring firm's, as an outsourced consultant often has more incentive to keep up with technology.


So, what are the implications?  In-house employees require benefits, vacation time, and scheduling / managing.  Costs can add up quickly.


Many feel that outsourcing IT work means having to deal with a different technician every time.  That does not have to be the case and it rarely is.  Usually, consulting firms assign one technician and perhaps even a backup technician to each account.  Thus the familiarity of the environment is maintained as well as the personal relationships.


Lastly, an often overlooked factor is accountability--there is something to be said for paying an outside resource to be responsible for IT.  An outsourced provider will tend to be more attentive to what matters and responsive to a client's needs.  Most of the time, people you hire will do whatever you want to do; people from outside will do what needs to be done.


It's decision time--should you "buy" IT support services from an employee or "rent" from a consultant?

Advanced QuickBooks Reporting
Are you getting the reports you want out of QuickBooks?  Many times, the limitations of QuickBooks' predefined reports make us reach outside and use complex data access tools or reporting add-ons that may have limitations of their own.

Enter QQube (by Clearify).  It is a technology that eliminates the need to know connections, tables, and relationsihps.  No more having to be a reporting expert.  You can use Excel, Crystal Reports, or the data analysis tool of your choice.  Included is an Excel add-in that allows to drag and drop information into a spreadsheet for simple data lists or for use in powerful pivot tables.  This is what we use today for our clients' reporting needs.  The ease of use allows anyone to create and manipulate data and reports on their own.  Imagine being able to simply drag and drop fields into Excel and have QQube build the pivot table. Sample pivot tables are included as a starting point, or you can create them from scratch.

Reports that would take hours or days before, now take minutes to create.  A good example is inventory/sales reporting.  We created a Sales by Item Summary for multiple periods showing at the same time as well as gross margin by product and the ability to filter by item range (as opposed to by selecting "multiple items" as you do in QuickBooks).  This report took us no more than five minutes to create.

Another area where QQube is powerful is job costing.  For another client, we built an Estimates vs Actuals report with additional data fields not available in QuickBooks built-in reports, and the ability to report multiple selected time periods (not necessarily adjacent) together.  This also took minutes instead of hours to build.  As an added bonus, because of QQube's ability to combine data from multiple QuickBooks company files, the client can use the exact same spreadsheet and toggle/filter by company name to display each company's underlying report.  And further, the spreadsheet can be sent for others to see even if they don't have QuickBooks.

QQube is the creation of Chuck Vigeant, who has worked in the accounting and database technology field longer than anyone in the industry.  I know no one outside or inside of Intuit who understands the QuickBooks database structure better than he does.

I invite you to write to me for more information on the QQube Report/Analysis tool,
March Madness!!!

 March Madness

It's that time of year again... "March Madness" was a phrase Henry V. Porter used in 1939 to describe an Illinois high school basketball tourney. TV broadcaster Brent Musburger first used it while covering the NCAA Tournament in 1982. Now, "March Madness" not only describes the NCAA Tournament, but also a time when employers pay unproductive employees close to $1.8 billion! Can March Madness really cost the U.S. economy that much money?


According to a 2009 Microsoft/MSN survey, 45% of Americans planned to enter a college basketball pool.  45% of the non-farm workforce equals about 58.3 million people.  If all these people work on their tournament brackets for only 20 minutes a day during work, companies are paying about $363.2 million a day to unproductive employees for those 20 minutes (based on avg weekly salary from the Bureau of Labor Statistics). Through the first round of the tournament, which is usually 5 days and is when adjustments can still be made to brackets, that could add up to $1.8 billion paid to employees for checking their prognostications only 20 min a day during work time.  Not to mention all the time spent streaming and watching tournament games at work, adding to more unproductiveness.


Employers are amongst the happiest people when Final Four comes around (the national semifinals and championship game weekend)-- that's when they know the bleeding is about to end!


Chicago car under snow
Congrats to those who guessed what this photograph is from last month's newsletter:
It is a car hidden under snow in a driveway in Chicago!  Picture taken in February 2011!
OK, I admit it, I did lead on with a little hint -- those of you curious enough who hovered the mouse over the picture saw the graphic's filename ("Chicago car under snow") -- done on purpose to see how much you are paying attention!
Welcome to Spring everyone!