Add a new receivables program

Do you ever find yourself wishing that you could get more from your route management software? Maybe I’m just a nerd, but I have — I am always looking for a feature that is not there, thinking about how my life would be easier if my software could only do something that it did not.

In search of this elusive feature, I have used a few different packages of software to manage my tool route. I have used the proprietary software that is available through the franchised companies, as well as Quicken, Excel spreadsheets, Access databases and other packages to supplement these programs. Still, I am always thinking that there is a better software package out there. So, when I heard about R/A Profit$, I was anxious to give it a try.

The R/A software has a clean interface, using tabs to manage the different modules, plus a convenient drill-down menu for days of the week, shops and customers. I was entering sample shops and customers within seconds. It was natural to use. If I experience any problems, the software has a good “Help” file, as well as full support with a paid-for license.

The key feature of R/A’s software is the ability to charge interest, service fees and late fees on accounts. You can select the interest percentage, and any dollar amount that you want to charge for service fees or late fees. It ages accounts better than most software from the tool companies, and the interest tracking can really help to enhance gross profit when the collections are not coming in as quickly as they should. Always remember, however, that you still need to collect enough cash to pay the bills — finance charges or service fees cannot make up for a poor cash flow situation on their own.

I was pretty excited about the finance charge feature. I have experimented with “Buy Here, Pay Here” auto dealer software, thinking that I could operate my receivables as a separate profit center. Buy Here, Pay Here programs could work for this, but there were way too many features that just did not apply to a mobile tool route. R/A Profit$ should work just fine for anyone desiring finance charge control over their receivables.

The R/A software uses two types of accounts, RA and DCS.

“Revolving Account” is otherwise known as a truck account. These are for your shorter term accounts, typically five to 10 weeks. You have the option to charge interest on truck accounts, as well as service fees of your own choosing.

If you want to work with longer term contracts, without charging the shorter term truck accounts finance charges, there is a “Dealer Credit Sales” function. DCS is completely separate from the revolving accounts. A customer can have both a RA and DCS account. You can set up the software to charge only the DCS accounts finance charges or service fees, effectively compensating you for the higher risk that comes with waiting longer for your money.

Speaking of waiting for your money, R/A Profit$ comes with a collection feature, allowing you to send statements demanding payment to accounts that are past due. You can do this at certain times, so there is a regularity to these statements.

Now that I am a master of the accounts receivable, it is time to move on to enter some inventory. The only problem is, there is no way to manage inventory with R/A Profit$. This was kind of a disappointment — I figured that they would make a software package that would completely operate a tool route, including receivables, inventory and expenses. R/A just addresses receivables management.

The lack of an inventory management feature is a real downfall of this software. Receivables are a big part of asset management for a tool dealer, but in many cases, inventory is a bigger part. Just think about what you normally do with inventory on a tool truck. You need a way to order inventory, receive inventory, track the sale of inventory and value your inventory. It is also important to track your invoices, and run stock quantities.

I do have a way around this. If you are a franchise dealer, you can use the software that your franchise offers to manage inventory. Then you can use the franchise software’s easy way to order and track invoices, somewhat automatically. Doing this, you can then use the R/A software to manage and track your accounts receivable.

If you are not a franchise dealer, or just want independence from their software, you can also use Quickbooks, which has some powerful inventory management features built in. Quickbooks is lacking in receivables tracking, as it is made for accounts that pay in full in 30 days, and does not deal with regular payment revolving accounts well (and forget about applying interest with Quickbooks). Perhaps R/A Profit$ used with Quickbooks could be a good solution. Just remember, you will have to enter a sale of inventory in one program, and the cash payment in another.

R/A Profit$ will cost you to use it. According to their website, the software is $495, with a $34 per month fee that includes technical support. If you need a more powerful solution for you receivables management, it might be right for you.

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