Making It Relevant

Knowing what “flowers” you’ll find appealing (i.e., of interest) has been a challenge since I  began writing my blog last August. We’re able to track when the email announcing a blog posting is opened and when the Read More is clicked. When I review the statistics, I try not to take it personally when the clicks are considerably lower than the opens (which would indicate that I didn’t pique your interest enough to read more).  Our OpenRDA software serves a very diverse group consisting of finance directors, business managers, personnel directors, personnel and payroll specialists, finance assistants, data entry and billing clerks, budget analysts, city and county treasurers, city and county clerks, city and county administrators, superintendents, assistant superintendents, etc. So, it’s understandable that a blog posting just isn’t going to be relevant or interesting to the entire audience.

If you’re one of our customers/users and are not even receiving the emails advising of a new blog posting, they are likely going into your spam folder or quarantine. Search for (and authorize delivery) emails from RDA Systems, Inc. or Dave Davis, with the subject of Posts from OpenRDA.

Your time is precious and I want my blog postings to bring value and relevancy. If you’ll take a minute to let me know subjects of interest to you, that will make my day!  Add comments directly to this blog posting or send me an email.



Let Your Data Work for You, Not You for the Data

I need some folks to share their thoughts on an exciting new report that creates a CSV file of exactly what is on the screen – see below, but first….

Put Your Data to Work For You.  I have been asked “How does this work?”.  There is a difference between data and information.   Data consists of raw facts and figures without context.   Data is limited in its use and value.   Information is data presented or organized in such a way as to communicate a message.  There are no limits to the use and value of information.

Turning data into information is “letting data work for you”.  Here is how:

As your organization uses OpenRDA to pay bills, process payroll, order goods, receive funds, etc., much data is gathered.  We help you leverage this data beyond getting things done in your organization.  We put the data to work for you.  We provide you tools to organize and present the data in formats that create information.  If done well, this information speaks volumes and tells a story that you can trust.  This information helps you make important and meaningful decisions.  These stories are invaluable.  This is a key strength of OpenRDA.

New Report to CSV.  There is a new way to put your data to work.  We now have our first report (Expenditure Summary) that saves as “What You See is What You Get” (WYSIWYG) to a CSV file format.  It is not yet released to the general public.  I need some feedback on the layout of the CSV file.  If you would like to have look at the current layout and share with me what you think, add a comment or email me.

Your input is appreciated by myself and your peers.

I look forward to putting your data to work in new ways.

Being Honest About Mistakes

Do you ever talk to yourself?  I did that last month while using virtual chat with a customer/user within our OpenRDA software.  After getting no response (understandable since I was chatting with myself . . . actually makes me think of a Glee episode . . .  but I digress), I took matters into my own hands and proceeded to make a rather stupid mistake (but fixable).

No one dislikes making mistakes more than I do. The important thing is realizing that you made a mistake and admitting it without delay. Which I did and, after the laughter subsided (mine as well as my co-workers), the problem I caused on one of our servers was quickly resolved.

The above is true of mistakes that you might make as you use our OpenRDA software. Use Helpdesk (via cyber-support, telephone, etc.) without delay and give us as much information as possible. And, don’t forget to laugh at yourself! Even for perfectionists like me, it feels rather good.




RDA Systems

image of apple buds courtesy of Hans/

Some of you may have heard how I became part of the RDA Family back in the mid-80s. I’ve been an early adopter most of my life; always wanting the latest technology and often paying more than I should as a result. A couple of years after the famous Macintosh commercial “1984” during Super Bowl XVIII, I was using a Mac Plus computer in my job as a city clerk/treasurer. And, I loved it. But, our accounting software was on a dinosaur (big tower and what seemed like even bigger tape drives); and I didn’t like it at all. So, began my quest to find governmental accounting software that would work on a Mac.

My fellow city clerks grew accustomed to my taking my Mac SE (yes, I had already upgraded) to the annual conferences at UGA in Athens (seems really heavy now especially compared to my MacBook Air and iMac but, at the time, very portable; and not much heavier than my “bag phone”). Software vendors were often at the conferences and I was always asking if they had fund accounting software that would work on a Mac. Until I met Bob Davis and RDA Systems, the answer was always no (perhaps it was my imagination that the “no” was accompanied by a smirk).  Shortly after that meeting, my city government purchased MicroBudget for me (which was originally named AppleBud; now, how ’bout them apples?).

And, so began my love affair with everything Mac as well as with RDA Systems. As the late Steve Jobs said, If you don’t love something, you’re not going to go the extra mile, work the extra weekend, challenge the status quo as much.


5 Benefits of User Group Meetings

We have had several successful User Group Meetings this year.  Thank you!!!  Our next one is in Bismark, ND on October 24 in conjunction with NDSBA.  (Brrrrrr..)

A successful user group meeting is one where everyone walks away knowing more than when they came.  I want you to have several new tips or processes to try upon your return to your office that will have a positive impact for you and your organization.  While the software is important, conversations are not limited to just it.  You can benefit in many ways.  Here are five.

  1. Learn a better way to accomplish a task
  2. Meet your peers and discover how they solve problems
  3. Learn about a new module or feature and how to use it
  4. Discuss hassles in the software with RDA and peers
  5. Encourage someone with a solution you developed

The RDA Team also finds user group meetings helpful.  We get to know you better.  You share your ideas with us.  We learn about ways to improve our software and services.  We listen to what you have to say.  As a result of each meeting, several  changes / improvements are made to the software.

Thank you to the folks at Amelia County Schools, Poquoson City Schools and Warren County Schools for hosting meetings this year.  I also like to give a shout out to Dona Todd and Kathy Disalvo for planning these important events!  Yeaaa!  Amelia gets the award for the best doughnuts!

As 2013 winds down, we are planning our User Group Meeting schedule for 2014.  If you would like to host one in your area, please reach out to Dona Todd.  Or, next time there is a meeting in your area, please join us.  Bring your ideas, hassles and questions to share.  Everyone will benefit from your participation.

If you attended a meeting this year, let others know how it went in the Comments section next to the title of this article.

I look forward to seeing you soon.


New Reports (That You May Recognize)

image courtesy of samarttiw/

Today’s blog posting is for all of our customers who upgraded to OpenRDA from MBGUI. Two rather popular reports in MBGUI’s payroll module were the Year to Date Report and the Payroll History Summary Report. For the upcoming release, you’ll see two comparable reports (not exactly the same as that isn’t possible due to the significant file differences). Now, isn’t that dandy?

The Calendar Year, Gross, Net and Tax report will be accessed from the Calendar and Fiscal Year Reports anchor. The Gross, Net, and Tax Amounts by Pay Date report will be accessed from the Deduction Reports anchor.  Even if your organization didn’t upgrade from MBGUI, I believe you’ll find the reports useful. Both were somewhat challenging reports to write, but I do love a challenge and I also enjoy helping our customers.