In a Crunch, It's Sage BusinessWorks for Wicklund's Collision Center
In a small town like Liberty, Missouri, reputation is everything. Folks appreciate the personal touch of a family-run business. So for more than 30 years, they've loyally brought their cars to Wicklund's CARSTAR Collision Center, where they can count on good old-fashioned service combined with the latest in auto body technology.
Wicklund's was the first body shop in town to offer computerized estimates. Almost all of its technicians are "gold-certified" by I-CAR, a training program for excellence in body repair. Wicklund's was also the first company nationwide to qualify for a prestigious CARSTAR franchise, an organization that now includes more than 260 collision repair centers from coast to coast.
System in Need of Repair
Linda Houston began checking Wicklund's accounts payable statements for her dad at the age of 10. She participated in the evolution from manual entries to a basic electronic accounting package in the 1980s. But when the firm stepped into the spotlight as a pioneer of the CARSTAR program, it was time for greater sophistication.
CARSTAR recommended Mitchell Advanced Business System (ABS), America's leading body shop management system. Specifically designed for the collision repair industry, ABS provides body shops with all the tools they need to automate and manage the shop processes to become more profitable.
For her back office accounting, Houston selected Sage BusinessWorks 50 Accounting as a companion package, which she learned simply by reading the help screens and manuals. According to her reseller, she has since become one of it's savviest users.
When a car arrives at Wicklund's for repair, and a Repair Order is initiated in ABS, accounting data automatically transmits to Sage BusinessWorks. As the vehicle goes through the repair process, ABS continues to seamlessly integrate other financial information with Sage BusinessWorks. Vendor's invoices that are recorded on the Repair Order are electronically transmitted to the Accounts Payable module for payment processing. Similarly when the Repair Order is completed, an invoice is posted to Accounts Receivable for aging, billing, and receipt of payment. All this is done without time-consuming double entry, or complicated exporting and importing of the ABS data.
"I highly recommend Sage BusinessWorks for anybody running Mitchell ABS. It's improved our customer service, eliminated double inputting, and freed me up from bookkeeping tasks."
Houston, who is Wicklund's office manager, can now generate accurate financial records by job, invoice, date, and cost. As soon as the car is repaired and ready to be delivered to the customer, Houston prints a job cost report from ABS, closes the job and the invoice is seamless transmitted into Sage BusinessWorks.
"The greatest thing about using Sage BusinessWorks and Mitchell ABS together is the seamless integration," says Houston. "I never have to do double input, like before. Errors are therefore cut to a bare minimum. And I can prepare great graphs and reports with the click of a button." She's pleased that her graphs have made an impression on the people in CARSTAR's head office, who require monthly, quarterly, and annual financials from franchisees.
One of Houston's favorite features is the ability to set up different rates in the Payroll module. Metal, paint, structural, unibody, and mechanical departments each have their own labor prices. With Sage BusinessWorks, she can set rates appropriately in the Payroll module to ensure that employees are being paid at the correct rates.
Another key benefit has been itemized reports. Her old system provided only total numbers. And once an invoice was paid, the information disappeared. But Sage BusinessWorks lets Houston store valuable job and customer data, break out accounts payable or accounts receivable figures the way she likes them, and save information for virtually as long as she wants.
"I highly recommend Sage BusinessWorks for anybody running Mitchell ABS," says Houston. "It's improved our customer service, eliminated double inputting, and freed me up from bookkeeping tasks."