How providing over $50,000 of pro bono support to the Community helped solve serious problems AND identified interesting trends!

  • 3
  • Idea
  • Updated 3 years ago
  • (Edited)

As a passionate RECKON ADVOCATE,   like a percentage of other
like-minded, and supportive Reckon End-Users and PARTNERS (Professional as well as Accredited),  we are keen to demonstrate the extended and complimentary technical support we can provide to users of Reckon Products.  In fact, we promote our supportive services to Accredited Partners themselves, be they Accountants or Bookkeepers,  as we fill that vital third dimension of IT Integration and Support,  to expand the user experience of Business Systems.  PLUS,  we provide all manner of project management and cost accounting analytical services for management.

Reckon Advocate:    ALCHESTER

To demonstrate, in the last 9 months, Alchester has actively pursued some 375+ business user issues and nearly 50 % of these met with immediate solutions and customer satisfaction feedback from such users, within an average of only two discussions.   

So, why do this, you might ask?  Why help new time or long time users of a product, who often start with a complaint or abusive comment?  And why do it pro bono?

Well, consider the impact that human behaviour has on a product brand,  any brand for that matter.   You see, we did a similar exercise on other Communities too, so this forum is not unique.
Whilst an advocate of RECKON,   Alchester also has many years specializing in a number of IT products and services, but RECKON is one of significant interest.  
Refer: http://www.alchester.com.au/specialisations/    

When this recent activity was commenced, we saw an interesting trend out of the initial 89  conversations held (some of which were duplicates, which reduced the count to 75.)       PLUS,  in order to gain a true representation of the features, capabilities and issues of a product, at the end of a forum discussion, unlike what is sometimes an emotive start of a conversation, a more meaningful solution was shared and identified.

Bottom line of that initial part of the exercise:

There were only 4 distinct, and fairly obvious outstanding BUGS,  and three other BUGS fixed and reported.  That equates to 7 of 75 relevant matters  -  only 10%.
Meantime, there were 68 other 'issues' - all of which, where SOLVED.  Their cause?

  •  Didn't read the manual
  •  Aren't researching advice from a Partner / Accountant
  •  Aren't capable or familiar with ENVIRONMENT IT issues that impact (any) software.
     (ie: O/S, internet, communications, data integrity and  IT related matters)
           .... Alchester territory!
Our ulterior motive?

To demonstrate to Reckon Management, and to fellow Accredited Partners and Professional Partner firms,  that we have something to offer, in terms of Systems IT support with a proven knowledge and consideration of Reckon infrastructure/products.   We propose to acquaint all fellow AP's of our intent on offering IT support and Business analysis services that do NOT compete with Accounting, BAS, Tax Agent, or Bookkeeping services typical of what AP's try to offer to their clients with their compliance work.


Have we achieved our goal?  

A most definite: YES.

Ranked now as one of the top Community participating Accredited Partners/Professional Partners/End-Users  in Australia and New Zealand, 
Alchester has identified areas where complimentary services to those offered by Accountants and Bookkeepers,  can be extended for

  • cost accounting,
  • business analysis,
  • systems integration and
  • IT support

PLUS, Alchester has been privileged to be directly involved in a range of Business, Enterprise as well as Personal accounting support roles to assist Users.

See our track record, and when next you need some serious consulting services, call us.
https://community.reckon.com/reckon/details/champions?leaderboard%5Bsettings%5D%5Btimeframe%5D=all_time


Gary Pope
m: 0408994799
e:  gaz@alchester.com.au
An Accredited Partner- Consultant (VIC. Aust)
http://www.alchester.com.au/reckon-ac...
"Working with Accountants/Bookkeepers PPs/APs, as an
     independent IT Professional and retired FCPA Accountant"

 

Photo of Gary Pope, Accredited Consultant (Acct & IT), Alchester Business Systems.

Posted 3 years ago

  • 3
Photo of Andrew

Andrew

  • 22,162 Points 20k badge 2x thumb
Love your work in the community helping out the users, not so keen on the infomercial though!
Andrew

Appreciate you commenting here, as I've been keen to get in touch with you a few times.   Your expertise in POS stands out as a significant contribution too.   Yes, it might appear 'infomercial', and I'll  try to expand on this here.  It is all about ENVIRONMENT  (IT and Business)

Reckon have been attempting to improve the visibility to end-users/customers about where they can seek professional help with the setup/support of their products through their Accredited Partner program.  There are something in the order of 350 in Australia and New Zealand.   
IN addition there are allegedly some 6000 Professional Partners who are firms that provide Accounting and Bookkeeping Services,  and are active in reselling the products,  but they are not visible on the Reckon website.

But there are THREE other groups that I wanted to draw attention to.  

The first is obviously my focus, which is that grey area of the services needed to ensure that the customer can use the product in their IT environment.   In my case, I try to identify, engage and encourage users to take advice from their external Accountants and/or Bookkeepers, nurture their internal CFOs and Bookkeepers, and liaise with their preferred IT personnel.  To this end, the original Accredited Partners (Consultants) group who supplement the services of Accountants and Bookkeepers, are who I refer to. That subtle distinction has been lost along the way.  Examples include technical site audits,  and at the other extreme,  cost accounting exercises that relate to combinations of technology and procedures that Reckon Partners don't normally deal with.  (My recent examples are with Progress databases, mySQL databases, Databuild, and the usual comparison of competitor products, through to linking up with automated technologies in the field of ERP/WMS in the warehousing industry for instance.)

My point is, there are these additional opportunities and user needs that require fulfillment, that are clearly outside the business scope of Reckon themselves, and their mainstream Accountant/Bookkeeper resellers/partners.

The second group comprises people who are extremely skilled end-users who are vocal on this Community Forum.  I seek input on how these people can be recognised, because they are often not Reckon Partners (whether personally accredited, or commercially operating as a Professional Partner firm).   On the one hand, the Community is an anonymous,  pro bono forum where like-minded users of the 'product' share their experiences, tips and workarounds.   Some of these people are contactable, and others not.  That is their prerogative, I acknowledge that.  It should never be assumed they are  expected to oblige, as this is an open forum.   Yet their skills and contribution to the improvement of the RECKON brand is immeasurable.  

The third group, are complimentary software product developers/suppliers.  These have long been almost a 'well kept secret'.  IE:  they were barely visible.  At the last National conference,  this point was discussed, and there are attempts being made to expose these better, I understand.  Meantime, this is the historical link:
http://home.reckon.com.au/partners/ReckonPartners/OtherProfessionals/DevelopmentCatalogue.aspx

The main website menu: More --> Developers leads to a webpage still lacking contributors at:
https://go.reckon.com/api-developers/


I've been pursuing a number of players out there that can really contribute to the way RECKON products can be a better overall solution for those who also need to use 3rd party business products.   There are many more players out there, than on that list,  and their lack of visibility is one cause of users considering alternatives.  There is growing demand for the ability to integrate, share, extract, report on information across multiple software platforms.  The arrival this year of the API tools will improve that.  What is needed, is visibility of who has such ancillary wares available.


All this falls to the market, beyond Reckon's control/interest, in my opinion.
(comments sought and welcomed)

But my concern for Reckon, like any other niche product software supplier,  is that their product has to work in an IT environment (software, communications, LAN/WAN conditions)  PLUS it has to work alongside other Business tools and processes - ie:  Estimating systems, CRM system for instance.

So we then come to the 7000 conversations on this Community, and the people who raise such questions.   AND  the silent majority who gain from the answers to all this, who fail to register or give visibility of their activity on the actual forum.  A group that is unaccounted for.

All manner of support is listed at:
http://www.alchester.com.au/reckon-support/  
with emphasis on the upgraded website links for:

ACCREDITED PARTNERS
in Australia

http://home.reckon.com.au/support/Home/ReckonSupport/FindAReckonAccreditedPartner.aspx
in New Zealand
http://www.reckonpartners.co.nz/consultants/


WEBINARS
https://bookings.reckon.com/Webinars.aspx


TRAINING
For User/Client training: http://www.reckon.com/en-au/training



UPDATES and DISTRIBUTION KITS (Your User ID and PIN needed)

http://home.reckon.com.au/support/Home/Downloads/UpdatesServicePacks.aspx


INSTALLATION and UPGRADE GUIDES  (read before purchasing/installing upgrades)
http://home.reckon.com.au/support/Home/ReckonSupport/InstallationUpgradeGuides.aspx


So, we're left with Community Forum users who don't oblige themselves of any of the above.
They are worth helping, because they too have some input about the product, ranging from the most critical like faults/failures in new releases,  to the humblest question about bookkeeping from people clearly struggling with the basics.  Eventually, common sense will hopefully kick in, and serious advice will be sought, because in a commercial environment, solutions are needed. But having said all that, we can't ignore the Personal Plus users other than to point them to the links on self-help if they can ill afford professional consulting or rely on the goodwill of this forum.

But the statistics I've extracted from involvement in this community reflects that there are numerous users of the product that either don't have a relationship with a Partner (AP or PP), and or they may not have a favoured IT staff or external IT consultant to assist them.  This could be for financial reasons, or perhaps they have been successful most of the time looking after their own affairs.   In some cases we see users of the Personal range of products who are retirees, and no longer operate in a commercial environment to seek such consultation.

What is terrific,  is that the Community provides that last recourse to getting a voice out there about issues that need sorting out,  or some help with matters that may have been solved had the documentation, release notes or webinars been more visible, or accurate.  After all, nothing is ever 100%, and given the combinations of the environment in which the products need to operate, and the age of products that many Community forum conversations refer to,  it is technically challenging.

So, on a positive note, I'd like to seek comment from those who prefer to remain anonymous, yet who have contributed so much to this forum.      I will honour the anonymity sought by the Community Management, but would be delighted to have a private chat about any of this with those equally as passionate, or by all means,  respond right here.  It's an open discussion.

I'd like to single out about 6 major contributors who are NOT employees of Reckon, and NOT partners, and NOT Accredited Partners, but to do so, would undermine the goodwill of the other 7000 community contributors,  but there are some stars out there, and that's a great effort!

Cheers and thanks for allowing my point of view here, and please note the emphasis I place on working WITH APs and PPs.




Gary Pope
m: 0408994799 
e:  gaz@alchester.com.au
An Accredited Partner- Consultant (VIC. Aust)
http://www.alchester.com.au/reckon-ac...
"Working with Accountants/Bookkeepers PPs/APs, as an
     independent IT Professional and retired FCPA Accountant"
(Edited)
Photo of Andrew

Andrew

  • 22,162 Points 20k badge 2x thumb
Great follow up reply Gary. Lots of detail in there and well written!!!

I just hope that Reckon listens to the feedback you have gathered and other feedback that has been provided via the community posts.
Thanks Andrew,  appreciate your feedback on this.    

I hope to get the Software Developer list rolling soon as a 6th entry to add within this link where I share all my RECKON tips/tricks/specs/support/contact info:
http://www.alchester.com.au/alchester-solutions/

Cheers

Gary
Photo of Andrew Hellier

Andrew Hellier, Employee

  • 3,694 Points 3k badge 2x thumb
Good on you Gary. We appreciate all your help!
Cheers,
Andrew
Thanks Andrew (Hellier) for taking the time to follow this - terrific!

Gary
(Edited)



Some guidelines to assist all users get the best
from the Reckon Community Support Forum.



Here's 4 ways to getting clearer/quicker answers, by defining and better understanding the ENVIRONMENT in which you are using your Reckon products.

 

As a way of giving back to the Accounting Community,  Alchester has provided a considerable investment in time and research to help fellow Accredited Partners.  Here's some input:

 

6 ways to gain best Reckon Community Support around the clock.
https://community.reckon.com/reckon/topics/6-ways-to-gain-best-reckon-community-support-around-the-clock


Common Network (LAN) environment issues solved through Reckon Community Support.

https://community.reckon.com/reckon/topics/common-network-lan-environment-issues-solved-through-reckon-community-support

 

Common Internet (WAN) environment issues solved through Reckon Community Support.
https://community.reckon.com/reckon/topics/common-internet-wan-environment-issues-solved-through-reckon-community-support?rfm=1&topic_submit=true

 

SYSTEM environment solutions provided by Reckon Community Help
https://community.reckon.com/reckon/topics/system-environment-solutions-provided-by-reckon-community-help



Cheers  

Gary
(Edited)

This conversation is no longer open for comments or replies.