Customized Capabilities Help Greer Bros. Grow and Branch Out
Many of the towering trees in Oregon’s lush Willamette Valley were saplings when Greer Bros. began offering landscaping and tree services in the 1940s.
Manual System Is Dead Wood
As the Salem-based company branched out into eight departments offering numerous services and products by the mid-1990s, old-fashioned manual bookkeeping methods had made the business office root-bound. Payroll figures for the company's 40+ employees were still laboriously tabulated by hand, and financial reports were manually calculated, as well. While Greer Bros.' certified arborists routinely trimmed trees as tall as 200 feet, its bookkeepers were toppling under the weight of an unmanageable accounting burden.
When Jennifer Huse was hired to do the books in 1994, she was assigned to choose the right comprehensive accounting software package. She realized the need for an accounting package that would not only conduct fundamental financial functions, but would also serve as a reservoir of information related to the company's financial health. She sought an accounting application that would provide powerful financial reporting capabilities at a modest cost.
"We needed the ability to create customized financial statements, and that became a top priority in my search for the right software application," says Huse.
Cultivating Healthy Systems
Jennifer's search for accounting software ended when the company's reseller demonstrated Sage BusinessWorks 50 Accounting. "As soon as I took a look at Sage BusinessWorks, I knew it would do the job for Greer Bros.,” she says confidently.
Greer Bros. had begun growing by diversifying its services through creation of distinct departments, including tree service, landscape and irrigation, tree moving, landscape maintenance, and equipment sales, as well as internal administrative and operational departments. The company, which has expanded to nine departments, now has ample space to grow with Sage BusinessWorks, which allows up to 8,000 accounts, each with up to 99 departments. Additionally, Sage BusinessWorks includes more than 35 industry-specific model charts of accounts that can be modified quickly and easily to suit the specific needs of individual companies.
"Sage BusinessWorks lets me customize reports on the go, as needed. I no longer have to go to the files and pull records for information on accounts, expenses, or employees. With Sage BusinessWorks, my computer pulls the records for me."
"We value Sage BusinessWorks for its ability to track expenditures and transactions by department. And we can design and print reports specifically for each particular department," says Jennifer. She also praises the drill-down capabilities of Sage BusinessWorks, adding, "Even though we establish categories, such as 'cost of doing business' in which we apply expenses, we're still able to maintain the identities and origins of individual expense items we enter by assigning different account codes to them. For example, I may enter vehicle expense items into a 'cost of goods category.' Yet, I can still produce a report that isolates the vehicle expense components, totals them, and indicates the percentage of vehicle expenses that contributed to the cost of goods."
Jennifer found the inquiry capabilities of Sage BusinessWorks particularly strong. In addition to reviewing transactions, balance history and individual account information, the inquiry mode can instantaneously drill to the source of any individual posting. She also makes extensive use of the drill-down and reporting capabilities of Sage BusinessWorks to manage the payroll and workers’ compensation rates of employees in different departments. She can also easily track employees who work in multiple departments during a pay period.
"Sage BusinessWorks lets me look up the records of individual employees to find out how much time each one spent in each department over the previous year. Those and other types of reporting options make Sage BusinessWorks exceptional," declares Huse. "Sage BusinessWorks lets me customize reports on the go, as needed. I no longer have to go to the files and pull records for information on accounts, expenses, or employees. With Sage BusinessWorks, my computer pulls the records for me."