A great deal of the set up for establishing a company in ALERE is done in the
Manager Module. However, it has its share of features to.
One of the best features is how ALERE handles customers, suppliers and
other companies. Instead of treating them separately they are simply all
seen as companies with attributes. The attributes define what relationship
the company and their locations have with your company. For example, do
you ship to them? Do you send them invoices? Do they also sell to you and
send you invoices?
The list of companies is both entered and displayed using what we call "Treevision".
Treevision works like Widows Explorer. Just click to open and close
different levels. You can enter companies' right on the screen.
This approach to handling companies closes a hole that is present in most
accounting packages. You only have to enter a company once instead of
possibly two times, once as a customer and once as a supplier if you ever
buy something from them.
A number of other capabilities now exist. Credit memos can be directly
turned into payables. Invoices can be offset by payables from the same
company. Common practices like sending a refund check become easier to do
and cost your company much less time and money.
Companies are tied to Google Maps so that driving directions are available
and even satellite
views of company locations! This is an excellent way to verify that a
company has a storefront location.
You can use the locations function to find a list of all companies in an area. Another use is to rank
geographic areas by the revenue they generate.
The Manager module contains one
central file for the creation and maintenance of system-wide codes. Whether you need a
code for a unit of measure, customer term, price group, product class,
etc. there is only one place you have to go.
ALERE takes what are usually difficult bank
transactions and not only makes them easy but delivers that extra step.
For example, when handling a returned customer check you can automatically
recreate the customer invoice just as if the payment had never been made.
Have to void a check? The payable can be reopened as if the payment had
never been sent. Everyday activities like deposits, withdrawals, posting
interest, and recording bank fees are a breeze.
It is amazing in today's world how convoluted even
payment terms and sales taxes can become.
You can define rules that handle even the most complex
payment terms such as prox terms where orders placed by a certain date are
due on a specific day of the next month, or Christmas dating terms with
percentages due for a certain number of months, or even terms for paying
Individual sales tax rates for state, county, city, and
local are defined and then combined into rule sets for different
locations. GL account numbers can be assigned to each tax rate. Temporary
taxes using active and inactive dates are supported. The value added tax
(VAT), or goods and services tax (GST) is a consumption tax levied on
value added. Those taxes are also accounted for in ALERE.
The Manager Module provides an
executive overview of the performance of your company. Because of
the real-time nature of ALERE the key financial indicators such as your
accounts receivable balance, accounts payable balance, incoming orders,
shipments, invoices, and even expenses, profits and cash balances are
readily available and displayed on one screen. In each case you can drill
down to the supporting reports.
Sales and invoices are graphically displayed in a
variety of ways including comparisons to the previous year.
The ability to see up to the minute invoices, expenses
and profit has proven to be very popular with management over the years.
ALERE can handle 99 companies. The data for each
company is stored in a single folder. This makes it simple to move a
company to a different location or copy it. Why would you copy it? Well,
it makes it simple to back up and training people is much easier when you
are working with real-life data from a copied company. Another reason is
that each company can have separate folders where modifications are kept
that apply to select companies. This approach allows you to copy a company
and test new modifications before applying them to your live company.
For a mission critical application like ALERE, security
has to be an important consideration. Extensive password security
protection is available at the user level, the company level, and in very
sensitive areas at the function level. You have control over the password
size, how long it is valid for before the user must change it, if the same
password can be used again and if so, when. For each function in ALERE
that is password protected you can set the user to have unlimited access,
password access, read only access, or no access at all.
Security templates can be constructed and assigned to
users where they can be further modified.
Another key aspect of ALERE is its ability to be
modified. Light modifications can be done right in the program to reports,
screens and labels. More extensive modifications can be done by adding the
Developers Source Kit (DSK).
A Data Dictionary is built into the Manager Module to
provide information on tables, fields and indexes. The architecture of
ALERE has been developed in a manner that, when the recommended
modification strategy is followed, allows changes to be made very quickly.
Furthermore, those changes can be brought forward into new releases with
little or no effort.
Extensive reporting and sophisticated browsers with
drill down are included throughout in the ALERE software.