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Part Three: What If I Don’t Like the Software Once I Start Using It?

Switching Software: Part Three

To give you a brief introduction in case you’ve missed my previous two posts on Switching Software, we’re discussing some of the fears involved with switching software and how important it is to have those fears resolved before you can move forward in the buying process. Switching softwareWe’ve also gone over Isn’t it going to be a pain to switch all of my current data and history to your software program?and on the last post Do I really want to learn a new program? Is it easy enough to figure out or can I be satisfied with what I have?

No one likes to hear that their product or idea isn’t working for someone else, like intended or hoped. We’re no different. It stinks when a client tells you after purchasing that the software just isn’t what they needed as this point or that it isn’t working as well as they hoped. We get it though. Most software programs aren’t a one-size-fits-all type of software, so it makes sense that not everyone gets the same benefit as the rest, just because they purchased the same thing.

Here’s where we are different than most others. Unlike most companies who stick you with the software and the hefty chunk out of your wallet upon purchasing, we offer a 90-day Money Back Guarantee at SherWare.

It doesn’t benefit us to give you back your money once you’ve purchased the software, especially if we’ve invested time in getting you trained and ready to go with our software. But so what? If you’ve heard the phrase a hundred times like me growing up: If Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy, then you understand our reasoning behind offering you a full refund on your software if you don’t like it. If you aren’t happy with our product, then we aren’t happy either. We’d rather you find a product you absolutely love and keep us in mind for the future if your needs change, than be stuck with a program you can’t use and be out that much money.

We are also fairly confident you will love our software, that we’re willing to offer you your money back if you don’t within the first three months. After implementing this policy a few years ago, I can count on one hand the number of people who’ve actually considered it.

Read our 90-Day Money Back Guarantee and see for yourself.

Next, we’ll tackle the last question: Are the software’s benefits really worth the price to me?

Part Two: Do I Really Want to Learn New Software?

As mentioned in my previous post, I’m in the process of switching software for tracking my money and budgets. Switching Software Although I’ve found a few contenders that seem to meet my criteria, I’m having a hard time jumping on board until I’ve had a few of my fears resolved by these companies.

Since these fears are probably also similar to what you may experience as you think about using SherWare’s software, I thought I’d attempt to resolve some of these fears. In my last post, we discussed Is it going to be a pain to switch all of my current data and history to your software program?

Today’s question is: Do I really want to learn a new program? Is it easy enough to figure out or can I be satisfied with what I have?

Learning a new program is never fun, no matter how easy it is. With that in mind, we want to make the process as easy as possible for you. That’s why we’ve created a new consulting program that all new clients are enrolled in upon purchasing the software.

Our consulting program gives you five hours of consulting with a support technician in one-hour time frames. We have set up five sessions to help you learn and setup your software as easily and quickly as possible, to get you up and running as soon as we can.

The five sessions are:

1. Setup of Preferences, including account selection (also Expense Codes and Revenue Categories). Review of how activity will post to the general ledger.

2. Setup of Wells, Owners, Division of Interest

3. Entering Revenue and Expenses (bills, production receipts, etc.)

4. Closing Revenue Run, Printing Checks, Receiving Net Payments

5. Closing JIB Run, Receiving JIB Payments

To download our consulting sessions information packet and find out more, click here.

In addition to this free consulting, we also have numerous helps available as you begin using the software. Each purchase will include a detailed Getting Started Guide with the software that walks you step-by-step through the process of installing, setting up and using the software.

Built in to the software is also an in-depth Help File with information about each screen and field within the software, as well as frequently asked questions and topics on how to complete various tasks within the software.

We also provide an Online Support Library for our clients that include: video tutorials on using the software, a Knowledge Base of our most frequently asked questions and information on our optional modules that may make your job easier.

This is all in addition to our phone and e-mail support subscription that you purchase with the software.

Our goal is to help you understand the software from the beginning so you have fewer questions as you use it, making the transition easier.

To answer if you can be satisfied with what you already have, my guess is that you are in the process of looking for something else, you probably aren’t going to be satisfied if you just stick with it.

Check in for my next post on What if I Don’t Like It Once I Start Using It?

Why It’s OK to Switch Software Products: Part One

Switching Software: Part One

I’m in the process of switching software programs for how I track my money. Well to clarify, I’m actually in the process of finding a software program to switch to first – if I’m not too chickeSwitching Software to  Use on My Phonen to do it.

Now don’t get me wrong, I can budget on spreadsheets with the best of them. I can even seem to squeeze money out of places I never thought possible. But all my efforts and number crunching doesn’t do me any good if I can’t figure out what I’m wasting my money on and see how much money I have in my bank account at anytime without having to wait for my statement.

My ideal program would probably be an online program since I am always on the Internet. It also would be amazing if I could look up my balances, see my transactions, and heck, even my budget all on my phone. Now these seem like pretty simple requests, and I am finding products that fit my criteria. My problem is getting past my fears of switching.

The benefits of switching are: The program is easier to use than what I currently do. It has more features I want, including access on my phone and online. In sum – it just makes my life easier.

Here is why I’m hesitant:

Isn’t it going to be a pain to switch all of my accounts, budgeting information and login info over?

Do I really want to learn a new program? Is it easy enough to figure out or can I be satisfied with what I have?

What if I don’t like it, once I start using it?

Are those benefits really worth the price to me?

You see, until I can find the answers to my questions above, I’m really still not sold on the product, no matter how amazing it sounds.

If I’m like that over budgeting and tracking my money, why wouldn’t others have the same concerns and questions about our own software?

Over the next few blog posts, I’ll address these questions about SherWare’s oil and gas accounting software. No matter how cool or easy our software may appear, if we can’t help you get over your fears of buying and what happens next, what good is the software going to do?

Is it going to be a pain to switch all of my current data and history to your software program?

In a nutshell: NO! We understand the pain that comes with having to start over with a new program. We offer data conversion as a service to help you get your current data in whatever format you have it in, (i.e. spreadsheets, other oil and gas programs) into our program as quickly and painlessly as possible.

You can work with our programmers to get the data you want converted switched over before you begin using the program. This will not only save you time, but the headache of having to manually re-enter all your investors, interests, wells, past data, etc. into our software.

Most clients who have their data converted can usually get it done for less than $500, and the majority for even cheaper.

Find out more information about our data conversion services.

Next time, I’ll discuss the training and learning involved with our software and what FREE training we offer to get you started on the right foot.

Stop Using Spreadsheets to track your Oil & Gas

oil and gas pumper

Picture this: You own an oil and gas operating company and to save money you track your oil and gas disbursements by hand in a spreadsheet. After spending countless hours perfecting the equations and typing in each field every month, you think to yourself, while it may consume most of your time at least you are saving money! So you manually separate each bill and purchaser check each month and divvy it all out among your owners, hoping that you didn’t mistype anything along the way.

Down the road is another operator that you work with from time to time.  While he may only have a few more wells or leases than you do, he sure does seem to have a whole lot more time and less stress around his office. When you ask what his secret is, he claims it’s his oil and gas software. You’ve got to be kidding, you think to yourself.

While this analogy isn’t perfect, it does portray how much easier running your operating company could be with an affordable system in place to do most the work for you.

Here are four reasons you should stop using spreadsheets and consider moving to an oil and gas software instead:

Four Reasons to Stop Using Spreadsheets:

1. It’s inefficient. Spend your time doing what you really need to be doing instead of working on distributions and manually computing everything. With our oil and gas accounting software, once you have your owners/investors, wells and interests set up, the only thing left to do is enter your bills and incoming revenue.

2. They are more prone to errors. Spreadsheets leave room for what I like to call “operator errors.” Mistype one field and there’s no way to catch the mistake until it’s too late. You can spend your time quadruple-checking everything and the tiniest mistakes can still be missed.

3. Your job is much harder than it has to be. Why manually enter everything each month, figure out the layout and make sure each column has been entered correctly when you can let your oil and gas software compute automatically? Stop reformatting spreadsheets to get the numbers you want. Instantly get the reports you need without having to adjust formulas and rearrange numbers.

4. They don’t really save you money in the long run. When you think about how much time it takes to create, enter and compute your distributions each month. Not to mention all the double and triple checking to tie your numbers, you are paying for it not only in the extra time paid to employees doing the work, but also in the wasted hours you could have been using elsewhere, doing what’s really important to you and your business.

Perhaps this scenario described fits you. Maybe it fits someone else you know. Why not find out more information about our oil and gas accounting software that can simplify your work and make your job easier.

Interested? Find out more about our software packages.

If you are unsure which one may work for your business best, check out our Which Product Fits Me Best chart.

We can make the transition between your spreadsheets to our software smoother by converting your spreadsheet data directly into our software. Saving you time on data entry time and giving you all the history and information on your wells you need.

A case for Oil & Gas Software that Integrates with QuickBooks

Accounting isn’t exactly an easy thing to explain or master. If fact, most businesses probably don’t put a lot of time learning everything there is about accounting and how it affects their business. That’s why there are accountants in the world and programs like QuickBooks that make life easier.

dmieproductQuickBooks has more than 85 percent of the market share of small businesses needing accounting software. While I couldn’t find an estimate of how many small businesses actually use QuickBooks, I did find that Intuit has over 50,000 accountants, CPAs and other business consultants qualified as QuickBooks Advisors, and that only counts the people inspired and trained to help you use the product. That’s a remarkable number, considering how many more small businesses exist. Of those small businesses, thousands are oil and gas operators, accountants or other businesses that need a better way to track their revenue distributions and joint interest billings and the accounting side too.

We use QuickBooks to run our business at SherWare for the same reason that many of you do. It’s easy to use (read: people like me who haven’t had math since high school, can still figure it out easily), everything can be tracked in one place, and did I mention it’s easy?

In 2001 we launched our first version of integrated accounting software to allow operators to track their revenue distributions, joint interest billing and investors in our software, while keeping track of all their accounting in QuickBooks. Nine years later, it is still our most popular accounting software product we sell.

I’m apt to believe our clients use our software for the same reasons they use QuickBooks. Here are few quotes from actual QuickBooks customers regarding their software from Intuit case studies.

“Having powerful software that allows us to track expenses on specific projects is crucial to our business.”

“We can make things work now the way we want them to work.”

“It now takes minutes to complete tasks that used to take us hours.”

Why our clients use QuickBooks:

From talking with our own clients, I could almost claim those quotes as our own testimonials. Here are some reasons why the partnership between Intuit and SherWare is beneficial to all oil and gas investors out there looking for a better way to handle their day-to-day operations, and why you may even want to consider using QuickBooks as your accounting software instead of spreadsheets or similar software products.

QuickBooks offers users over 100 standard reports right out of the box, not to mention the ability to customize those reports until you’re worn out. The only problem is that QuickBooks isn’t made specifically for the oil and gas industry.

Enter SherWare’s integrated software. Now you have the ability to track all the specific detail about wells, investors, expenses and more directly in QuickBooks without double entering any data. Wells and leases show up on your reports as classes, investors show up as customers, expenses codes specific to your wells and AFEs show up as items and any vendors show up as vendors.

If reporting is as important to you as it is at our business, then you’ll be happy to know that SherWare offers hundreds of industry-specific reports and the ability to add on a custom reporting module to create more until you’re out of report ideas.

We too, like QuickBooks, want you to be able to use the software the way you want to at your business. This is why we offer the ability to set preferences on how you print reports, checks, check stubs, how you report detail, want your owners to show up in lists, if you want to export any report to a different program or format, or if you want to e-mail statements to save costs on paper and mailings.

Most clients use our oil and gas accounting software because of how much time it saves. Today, more than ever, time is such a valuable commodity. Between driving to and from work, eating, actually working and performing jobs around the house, not a lot of time is left for you to do what leisure activities you enjoy. If you no longer have to manually figure out your distributions, interests and how much to payout to your investors, think of how much time you’ve just given yourself.

If you are at all interested in how to streamline your business with our integrated accounting software, sign up for a demo today and take a look at how much easier your job can get.

Ohio & Gas – Senate Bill 165 – Why We Did It

This is a guest post by Tom Stewart, Ohio Oil & Gas Association Executive Vice President. Ohio oil & gas regulations were just recently overhauled in a major way. Mr. Stewart explains why Ohio Producers supported this overhaul.

This city is headed for a disaster of biblical proportions. What do you mean, “biblical”?

What he means is Old Testament, Mr. Mayor, real wrath of God type stuff. Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling! Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes. The dead rising from the grave! Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together. Mass hysteria!
…….. Ghostbusters

Ohio Oil & Gas Association

On March 24 by a resounding 95-3 vote, the Ohio House of Representatives approved Amended Substitute Senate Bill 165 (SSB165), legislation sponsored by Senate Pro Tempore Tom Niehaus (R-Richmond) revising Ohio oil and gas law. Later that same day, the Ohio Senate concurred with House amendments and sent the bill to Governor Strickland, who signed SSB165 into law on March 31. The legislation becomes effective law on July 1. Both the Senate floor vote last December and House vote were bipartisan, attracting floor speeches and co-sponsorships (including both the Senate and House committee chairs) from responsible members of the Republican and Democrat parties.

SSB 165 was two years in the making; the product of negotiations between key legislators, the Ohio Oil and Gas Association (OOGA), the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) and authentic public advocates. The bill was introduced on September 1, 2009. It emerged from the House seven months and twelve difficult committee hearings later. This was not light lifting and no affair for the weak of heart. The SSB165 saga has successfully ended. Ohio lawmakers have implemented the most significant revision to Ohio oil and gas law since House Bill 501 in 1985 and perhaps the most comprehensive amendment to the Ohio Revised Code Chapter 1509 since it was created in 1965.

The Association advocated as a proponent of the legislation. The Northeast Ohio Gas Accountability Project (NEOGAP) opposed the bill. NEOGAP pinned their hopes on State Senator Tim Grendell’s (R-Chesterland) Senate Bill 196, a proposal that equated to a de-facto ban on oil and gas development. That was a losing proposition.

Sincere advocates who engaged the process got results. The Ohio Environmental Council worked with legislators, the Department and OOGA on amendments that they felt mattered and they prevailed. The OEC endorsed SSB 165. And, an exchange of ideas between OOGA and the Cuyahoga County Mayors and City Managers Association led to the mayors issuing a statement in support for SSB 165. Numerous amendatory concessions were achieved by legislators of both parties who genuinely worked to improve the bill. Following introduction, ODNR Director Sean Logan argued for “breathing room” setbacks in urban areas and for mandatory pooled properties. He achieved them through two different amendatory episodes.

Issues intrinsic to SSB 165 mirror the national debate over oil and gas development. At the core is whether it is in the public interest that regulatory policy appropriately manages associated risks or should such risks simply be eliminated. Similarly, opponents to oil and gas development first attack the long-standing principle that state-based regulation, firmly grounded in the evolution of sound regulatory policy applied by experts, is the preferred regulatory model.
A recent case before the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas regarding the City of Monroe Falls’ objection to an oil and gas drilling permit describes well the issues. Deciding on behalf of the permit application, the judge wrote that the city’s argument opposing drilling was based on the view, “that no drilling is the only reasonable drilling that it would accept. Zero risk is the level of risk it can tolerate. Unfortunately, neither position is supported by law.” (original emphasis) This statement is the crucible of SSB165. It became NEOGAP’s beast of burden. It is the principle our brethren are fighting for nearly everywhere that producers explore for reliable energy in the United States. It is the reason why OOGA engaged the battle with ferocity.
SSB 165 objectives were to address present-day health, safety and social issues related to oil and gas development; provide to the state regulatory agency the necessary funding to administrate the regulatory program based on realistic financial analysis; and ensure to rational citizens public faith and trust in the state regulatory program.

Clearly, issues driving the debate included the Bainbridge Incident in Geauga County; the extent of surface health and safety setbacks, a concept hopelessly entangled with well spacing requirements; mandatory pooling, the most esoteric issue; and an effort to return local control over oil and gas operations.

Setbacks and spacing became a significant discussion and subject to negotiation. Pooling was a battleground. The Association understood that we had an obligation to protect spacing laws and property rights. Thus, mandatory pooling was a constitutionally necessary principle which we could not fail to protect. Even so, we also supported measures designed to place throttles on access to the process. That’s because we understood that unfortunately some were using mandatory pooling not so much as a legal principle to protect correlative rights but as a leasing tool.

During Senate debate, Texas Tech law professor Bruce Kramer, a national expert on the subject, provided expert testimony supporting the validity of pooling in states that impose spacing laws. His testimony turned into a fascinating debate with Senator Grendell over the constitutional basis supporting pooling. Senator Grendell argued that spacing was arbitrary and, therefore, pooling was not legal. He’s wrong and in a rebuke of his ideas the Senate committee rejected his amendment to ban mandatory pooling by a bi-partisan 7-2 vote. When he regrouped the assault on the Senate floor he lost by 19-13 vote, mostly along party-lines. Ironically, if Grendell had held the day Ohio could have seen a return to town lot drilling. How’s that for advancing homeowners’ protections!

We knew that a day would come when we would have to revisit the urban drilling experience and upgrade changes effected by House Bill 278 five years earlier. But SSB 165 was much more. Along with funding, SSB 165 also delivered an Ohio response to contentious national issues. SSB 165 became a large and complex piece of legislation that other states began to notice.

SSB 165 puts Ohio at the forefront of oil and gas regulation. The legislation has at least 29 upgrades of law specifically tailored for urbanized areas. Substantive language takes on big issues including comprehensive standards on well construction; well condition monitoring (during both drilling and production phase); casing and cementing requirements; disclosure of well stimulation procedures and materials used; plugging of non-producing wells; and enhanced enforcement procedures.

None of that mattered to the well-haters or their apologists in the press. This attitude led to several Senate hearings that were a few clowns short of a circus. Frankly, these hearings were a testament to State Senator Tim Schaffer’s endurance and patience, who, as committee chair, as admirably determined to provide opponents full access to the process. Some complaints were real and most ginned up. Examples include likening producers to Nazis killing Jews and equating oil and gas to rape or to slavery. Extreme statements linked wells and even drilling methods to strange diseases. They referred to the 1937 New London, Texas school explosion caused by tapping into a refinery’s gas waste-stream as somehow related to unsafe oil and gas wells. A witness claimed that frac fluids were somehow mixed with roofing tar, causing scleroderma. She illustrated her point by submitting cartoons as testimony. It went on for hours. Such testimony went beyond the pale, demeaned the process, and stripped away NEOGAP’s veneer of credibility.

The opponents raised any issue the World Wide Web could give them. A few examples were NORM, hydrogen sulfide, pits, fracturing, produced water, air, explosions (they really like that word), felonies and FHA loans. The critics advocated statewide oil and gas setback distances that ranged from 300, 330, 500, 1,000, 3,000 and even 6,000 feet. There seemed to be internal disagreement as to what was best and no analysis or hard data supporting the benefits and subsequent impacts on landowner property rights.

In the end, the Association understood that the public good (and our fate) relies on a healthy state-based regulatory program. Good public policy should provide a cogent response to concerns raised by reasonable people. The public good includes the balanced development of the states’ oil and gas resources. Legislators concluded the same. They passed the bill.

Afterwards, NEOGAP’s Kari Matsko vomited in the northeast Ohio press. Despite the process that occurred and even though 121 out of 130 Ohio General Assembly members voted to support SSB 165, Matsko (described as “sputtering in disgust”) issued a ‘press release’ complaining that the majority of Senators and Representatives in both parties had essentially refused to do their job. Alas, the conceit of sole enlightenment!

Her insult is an affront to elected leaders and the voters. It is also bizarre behavior for someone who sent forward many to make spurious claims but failed to not even once appear as a witness to make her organization’s case before the Assembly. That’s because she couldn’t. Later, like Robespierre, she berated legislators who failed to acknowledge the brilliance of her plan, going so far as to call out Speaker Buddish. That should play well downtown.
Matsko also relied on the weary ploy of complaining about the Association’s political support. That free speech thing is so troublesome. Surely her collapse could not have been because of her bad ideas; the other side must have cheated. What rubbish! Matsko carped shock that to make headway she was encouraged to work with stakeholders. Demean her vision by engaging other viewpoints? Finally, teeth gnashing, Matsko moaned that the bill ‘doesn’t go far enough’. Running off a cliff – well, that’s going too far.

State Senator Tim Grendell was confronted with the distasteful reality that his brand of narcissistic populism, while good for generating headlines, produced zero tangible gains. Grendell went down in flames. All that remains is his hope that a tragedy occurs, bitter bile to swallow in exchange for being extraneous.
Nothing is more dangerous than an idea when it’s the only one you have. As if riding a mobius strip, the well-haters could arrive at no constructive solution to satisfy their wiles short of either the destruction of their platform or the industry they despise. Their platform took the bullet. NEOGAP was not a Hollywood Erin Brockovich movie come to life, as a Plain Dealer commentator fantasized. That’s juvenile. They simply did not understand their issues.

Our opponents suffered from the singular conviction that oil and gas wells are uniformly bad – period. They took pains to say they didn’t oppose oil and gas development. Yet their proposals, extreme statewide setbacks being the best example, were plainly shown to ban drilling and sterilize property rights. NEOGAP failed to advance any proposal that would ratchet forward protections while also being harmonious with reasonable development. Their claim of compatibility was a lie. Legislators figured this out. NEOGAP committed political suicide. In the end it was only the far left’s sympathy that relegated them to the arena’s nose-bleed seats. Credibility trumps rhetoric; nothing damages the truth more than stretching it.

A suburban newspaper reporter asked me if SSB 165 passage means people can “rest easy”. That’s a trick question. I responded by saying that well-haters will never rest easy. Their goal was to ban oil and gas and they failed. On the other hand, citizens who had reasonable concerns about having in place appropriate protections of health, safety and the environment and who also saw value in the orderly development of the state’s oil and gas resources will have, because of SSB 165, good cause to have faith and trust in the state regulatory program.

Someday, some oil and gas operator will screw up. It happens with all enterprise. I was sometimes amazed at examples of how the actions of a few operators run opposite their economic interests. Or, for that matter, the interests of the industry they share with others. But, that’s why we have laws and the regulatory code. Drunk driving is an egregious offense that kills people every day. Laws to stop it do not require cars to drive 1,000 feet apart. The General Assembly has studied the modern challenges to regulation of oil and gas development, updated Ohio law, and provided to the state agency the necessary tools to deal with those events when they occur. It is best to avoid this scrutiny.

The industry can expect to shoulder significant new regulatory demands to cover the load, including the costs of regulation. However, the vast numbers of Ohio producers are now part of a remarkable effort to proactively address the public’s concerns, while also protecting a good working environment. These producers go about their business drilling and operating their wells in a manner that reflects the economic significance of their investment. They are good neighbors. They stay out of the newspapers. They’re not worried about being dragged through the enforcement process. Due process protections are in place should the wheels of justice jump off the tracks.

That’s why we supported SSB 165. We stepped up and it was the right thing to do. NEOGAP ridiculed the legislation because the industry was a proponent. Irrational people cannot fathom rational response. They’re just left ‘sputtering in disgust’. Rotten wood is hard to split.

For the rest of us – the vast majority of Ohioans and their elected representatives – we’re moving on. We won the battle, yet the war continues.

The Future of Oil & Gas Accounting Software: Web Based?

One of the fastest growing trends in technology today is the “saas” revolution, or software as a service, and by 2012 it is expected to dominate the way people use software. I’m talking about Web Based Oil & Gas Softwareweb-based software like what you probably already use every day without thinking about it such as Amazon, TurboTax and GoToMeeting.

The business landscape is rapidly changing from desktop computers to the Internet, as more businesses need to take their work on the road or even just home.

Web based software is a type of service that makes sense to a lot of companies because there is no software to download or install and instead they just have to purchase a subscription or per user fee and login.

Companies such as Intuit are already moving their products to be web-based. Last fall, Barry Pennett, vice president of sales at Intuit, said Intuit, the company behind QuickBooks, would have a “saas” version of their products as well as a way to interact online with their “in-office” versions by August 2010, at Boomer Technology Circles All-Circle Summit. Pennett acknowledged that web-based software is where the future is headed for most software companies. He said Intuit has to offer its clients the ability to take advantage of their products where and whenever needed. Intuit already offers a QuickBooks online version and easy online payroll.

As a software company, we too have to look to the future and see what our customers need. We have to think: Where is the future of oil and gas accounting software headed? With how fast the Internet is taking off, why wouldn’t a web-based version of oil and gas accounting software also be feasible? Our thoughts exactly. That is why we are currently working on creating web-based versions of our software this year, beginning with a new Investment Manager software, intended for investors in the oil and gas industry to track their investments.

Personally, I would do everything online if I could. I love the ease with which I can take care of everything with the click of a button and in one place. Why wouldn’t you also want to run your business the same way? Here are some thoughts on why you should seriously consider using companies that offer “software as a service,” adapted from Vinny Lingham’s list.

  • The obvious reason is that your software is available anytime, anywhere. With Wi-Fi locations popping up on every block and the way businesses now operate not only in an office, but in the air and on the road; it makes it so important today to not be tied down to a desktop computer with software stored on your company’s server.
  • You don’t have to wrestle with installing the software. Almost everyone has probably experienced problems trying to install software on a computer with invalid registration codes, selecting the wrong preferences or even installing the software to the wrong location. How much simpler would life be without install disks and registration codes collecting dust on a shelf?
  • Bugs encountered in the “saas” environment should be minimal, as the software will no longer depend on what type of computer or server you use at your office to operate seamlessly. Who doesn’t love the promise of less bugs anyways? Or no bugs, for that matter.
  • Similarly to the previous reason, customers no longer have to worry about constantly upgrading their systems to work with the software. Platform issues no longer exist because it won’t matter if you use Windows XP, 2000, Vista, Windows 7 or a Mac. As long as you have a computer, Internet access and can type, you can use the software.
  • With as popular as social media is today, web-based software can give companies the opportunity to integrate social networking and allow companies to chat in real time online amongst themselves or even with other users.
  • Data is now safe and you can stop fearing the next computer or server crash or that you forgot to backup your data for a whole month. “Saas” takes the pressure off businesses to remember to backup their data, since it will be stored virtually with the software provider’s servers, available at any time.

With that said, software companies coming out with “software as a service” doesn’t make everything perfect. It doesn’t even mean that the web-based service will work or that clients will flock to the new opportunity.

As with any business venture, the saas revolution isn’t going anywhere unless it truly meets the client’s needs and still solves the problems they want solved. Making it work online isn’t enough. Software companies need to offer all the features needed to make businesses run smoother, while providing a simple interface that makes you forget its work. Complicated options and shoddy support and technical service negates all the good of the saas revolution.

The Value of Online Software Demos

Software DemoPerhaps you are aware, but perhaps not. We offer free software demos. And now that you know, you should also know why.

At some point in any company, software to help the business run faster, better and more efficiently will have to be evaluated. Small companies who run on spreadsheets don’t get to be big companies by staying on spreadsheets, meaning everybody needs software! With that in mind, it is important to understand how software demos are typically handled and why we are different.

The most common way to evaluate software is by installing an evaluation version of the software and attempting to use it in real life in your own business environment. The problem with this method is that it doesn’t produce the best results for you, or the software company, for that matter.

This method creates problems when evaluating companies like yourself have to install the software and then run into issues off the bat between the new software and existing systems. These problems require the evaluator to halt the process to contact tech support before they’ve even seen how the software works.

Not only will the company feel annoyed at the delay, but it becomes a productivity delay, creating downtime in an already drawn-out process of trying to buy software.

The typical length of time required to make a purchasing decision about software from the evaluation process to the final decision is eight to 20 or more weeks, depending on the type of software needed and the number of people involved. Companies now often have everyone from the CEO to the IT tech to the secretary involved in the buying process – making the number of people involved in a software buying decision anywhere from 3 to more than 25 on any given sale.

If the process is this difficult to start with, why make it harder by giving you a program to work through on your own from start to finish?

We feel the best way to visualize how our software could fit with your company’s goals and needs, is by going through a live online software demo at a time convenient for you. Our free software demos take anywhere from 30 minutes to more than an hour. It all depends on what you need for your business and how many questions you’d like to discuss. Our demos are not pre-recorded and are tailored to what you want to see.

Here is how they work:

  • First, you contact us by calling or requesting an online demo here on our Web site.
  • We will contact you as soon as possible to schedule the demo at a time that works best for you.
  • You will be sent an invitation to Join A Meeting online by clicking on the link and calling the number provided to you to join the conference call. This will give you the ability to view our computers from the comfort of your own office. As many people as you want to attend the accounting software demo from your company can click on the link and join the conference call.
  • Our support technicians will walk through the software to give a general overview of how it works. By getting your input and understanding how you operate your business, we can tailor the demo to show you the functions that will maximize your productivity for each revenue distribution and save you time.
  • After we have been able to answer any questions and show you what features are “make-or-break” for you to make a decision, the next step is up to you.

Our number one goal is to show potential buyers how our oil and gas accounting software can really work for their business. We want it to be a great fit for your company as well as for ours. Downloading links for demonstration versions of the software won’t answer your questions, nor will it help us see how you could best use the software.

What if you could speed up the process for buying the oil and gas accounting software you need, just by going through an online demo? Cut out days or weeks of your evaluation process by getting all your questions answered at once. Instantly see for yourself if the software has the features needed to run your business. What’s the cost to you? An hour of your time.

Request a free accounting software demo today and see how our oil and gas software can fit with your business.

Using Social Media to Collaborate in the Oil & Gas Industry

It’s probably safe to say that a majority of you in the oil and gas industry use or are familiar with some of the new social media tools available today, such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. In this era of instantaneous demand for knowledge, it’s becoming normal to know what people everywhere are thinking or doing at any given time.connecting to the oil and gas software industry

Have you thought about integrating these social media tools for your oil and gas business? In an article written by Next Generation Oil & Gas Magazine, the author breaks down a recent survey, the Oil and Gas Collaboration Survey 2009, conducted by PennEnergy in partnership with the Oil & Gas Journal Research Center, which surveyed industry personnel across the world about how to collaborate in the oil and gas industry better.

The survey found that more than 70 percent believe that collaboration and sharing knowledge is important in many realms of the industry, but that most of their businesses are not utilizing these newer technology tools available today. Almost half of the respondents thought they could save a least an hour each day by using newer social media tools as opposed to face-to-face meetings, e-mails and conference calls.

“In the oil and gas industry, collaboration is a key strategy to reduce costs, improve efficiencies and promote collaborative working relationships among oilfield asset teams located in remote locations around the globe,” says Jill Feblowitz, practice director at Energy Insights in the article. “Energy Insights believes that the momentum behind Web 2.0 will bring it to the oil and gas industry. Web 2.0 technologies can support the following industry requirements: connection with remote geographic locations, knowledge capture, knowledge access, informal knowledge sharing, and joint ventures and team projects.”

These new technologies include internet portals, where businesses can access their companies information from anywhere, allowing collaboration from all locations, time zones and countries; social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.; video or photo sharing; blogs, and wikis, which are online versions of encyclopedias or references where topics, articles, questions, documents can be stored and accessed online.

Another technology used by businesses are cell phones. The number of people using smartphones such as the BlackBerry and iPhone has exponentially grown in the past few years, changing the landscape for how we connect with people. Phones are no longer used just as a contact tool to stay in touch with others. We can now, in theory, be able to complete everyday tasks from paying bills and ordering things online to checking e-mail, video conferencing and editing documents.

Respondents from the survey found that they could use social media tools to capture knowledge of some of the older generation engineers and employees retiring. A growing problem in the industry is that a number of the experts and experienced workers in the industry are now retiring – and taking their knowledge of the industry with them.

At our own office, we find ourselves using new media and technology to make sure our office is running as smoothly as possible. Many of the software programs we use to stay in contact with our clients are based in the “clouds,” or hosted online instead of the traditional programs you download to your computer. This allows real-time integration of all of our documents, records and correspondence with clients and prospective oil and gas software clients. It also allows us to interact from different time zones and offices without losing any data.

We also use other technologies such as Twitter, to connect with those in the oil and gas industry and others who also work with software to discuss issues we’re currently working on and to ask advice for those we haven’t seen before, Instant Messaging, to interact with our clients in real-time to answer support and software questions, and GoToAssist, which allows us to connect to our clients’ computers to solve any issues they’re having.

Read the whole article from Next Generation Oil & Gas here.

What about you? Does your organization implement any knowledge-sharing or collaboration through any new social media technologies? If not, how could you implement some of these at work? How important will it be in the future for the oil and gas industry to adapt to these new technologies?

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