Global Settings Overview

Tips and Tricks Banner.png

Looking for a few tips on how to get your global settings set in ASPIRE? Global settings are settings that affect the entire system, such as pricing basis, document parameters, credit exposure, and credit report details. Typically, these settings do not change often, and once set, remain at that setting. The Business Calendar tab allows setting business days, weekdays, holidays, and business day start and end times for reporting and job scheduling purposes. To view or change the global settings, from the Configuration menu, select the Global Settings option. Want to learn more? Click the link and login with your password. Once you have logged in, click Knowledgebase. Then you will click the ASPIRE v5 Help link. From there, click on the area for Administration. Look under the System Setup area and click Global Settings. http://ow.ly/Ug18w 

Want to learn more about what ASPIRE has to offer? Visit our website at www.leaseteam.com.

The GDPR at a Glance

“This year, my company will only process personal data if it is designed to serve mankind.” One might think that sounds like another halfhearted New Year’s Resolution that will lose momentum by February. However, it is one of the many requirements by the Council of the European Union for the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) going into effect on May 25, 2018.

The GDPR will prove to be the most far-reaching and momentous change to the way that companies create, process, and store their data. It was designed to provide clear guidelines for all European Union (EU) members and their business partners. The EU is a group of 28 countries that operate as a cohesive economic and political block. You might think that if you’re not an EU member that the GDPR is not your problem, but not so fast. For the first time in history, the GDPR will apply to everyone that is working with anyone within the European Union. Even companies like Amazon and Google have had to modify their cloud services to accommodate these changes. Furthermore, the GDPR allows for any data protection authority to take action against any organization that does business with European Union members. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you make the necessary changes to your data procedures.

Define Personal Data for Me…

One thing to keep in mind is how the definition of personal data will change. The GDPR defines personal data as any information relating to an identified natural person. Notice the emphasis on “any”? The GDPR acts as an umbrella to include all information and not just ethnicity, gender or age.

The information defined as personal includes a natural persons:

  • Name
  • Identification number
  • Location data (IP Address)
  • An online identifier (email address or social network)

Other factors include:

  • Physical
  • Physiological
  • Genetic
  • Mental
  • Economic
  • Cultural
  • Social identity

Data Protection Officer

With the increase in security requirement and regulations comes a need for company appointed Data Protection Officers. These employees will need to inform and advise members of their organization of best practices for staying within compliance of the GDPR. According to one study, at least 28,000 Data Protection Officers will be needed to meet the GDPR requirements. Furthermore, there will be requirements for Data Controllers to conduct Privacy Impact Assessments (PIA) to determine the privacy risks when processing their data. Once the organization has received valid consent, assessments need to be done by the Data Protection Officers to ensure the safety of the information.

Ensuring Protection of Personal Information

Many people are familiar with recent data breaches that have resulted in millions of individuals’ information being compromised. These breaches are troublesome, to say the least. Those being affected are finding out about this long after the incident takes place. In contrast, the GDPR will require organizations to report data breaches to the local data protection authority within 72 hours of discovering. A data breach can result in up to 20 million or 4% of the company’s global annual turnover of the previous fiscal year. Furthermore, any individual whose data is compromised may seek compensation for any damages they have suffered as a result of the organization’s negligence. If you were not taking data seriously before, these penalties would ensure you do in the future.

Data with an Expiration Date

Data that is obtained by a company must only be used for its original purpose and cannot be used for any other reason. An individual can give consent for their information to be used for one thing, but cannot turn around and use it for something else. The data collected must always maintain a purpose, and has to be deleted at the request of the data subject – no exceptions. The GDPR will ensure companies use it correctly or dispose of it immediately.

As you continue to prepare for the New Year, don’t forget to consider how the GDPR may affect your company. While you can let go of your “New Year New Me” goals, the GDPR is one that you will have to keep.  

Lock Box Module

Module Monday Banner.png

Wanting a more efficient way to handle your cash transactions?

The ASPIRE Lockbox module users can enter cash transactions through the lockbox integration. The Lockbox file is Excel-based, making it an Excel-lent way to support any payment type you need! (e.x. Cash, Check, Credit Card, Wire Payments and more). Payments are automatically matched to open invoices based on a variety of configurable factors that include the customer number, contract number, and invoice number. At that point an open cash posting batch will originate for review and editing in the Cash Management Screen. If payments cannot be matched to open invoices, or if they do not precisely match the open payment amount, ASPIRE will only credit what is applicable. Likewise, ASPIRE will prompt a user with specific error messages for users to review if certain payments were not imported properly.  From there, you will be able to efficiently research for any unapplied payments and then apply them appropriately. 

To learn more about ASPIRE’s Lockbox module, check out our website at www.leaseteam.com or send an email to info@leaseteam.com

Equipment Catalog Overview

Tips and Tricks Banner.png

Let’s talk about how to use the Equipment Catalog in ASPIRE. The Equipment Catalog is where equipment types can be grouped together and organized to provide hierarchical equipment groupings to allow entering equipment on an application by drilling down through the equipment attributes. For example, first select the equipment type, then choose the description, then the manufacturer, then the model, then the model year, etc. Catalogs can be related to finance programs and pricing templates, which then limit the pricing options available, based on the equipment selected. Want to learn more? Click the link and login with your password. Once you have logged in, click Knowledgebase. Then you will click the ASPIRE v5 Help link. From there, click on the area for Administration. Look under the System Setup area and click Equipment Catalog. http://ow.ly/Ug18w 

Want to learn more about what ASPIRE has to offer? Visit our website at www.leaseteam.com.

A Road Paved by Blockchain

What We're Talking About.png

Many people associate blockchain technology with bitcoin and nothing more, but many industries stand to benefit from it. One of those sectors is the commercial vehicle industry. While it may be difficult to make the right moves in a moving market, many are finding that blockchain technology will work harmoniously with the industry’s advances in technology. 

What Exactly is Blockchain?

Simply put, blockchain technology is a digital ledger in which all user transactions are registered in time-stamped “chain” of “blocks” of information. The chain of data is immutable, which is what makes it so secure. It further allows its users to work within a decentralized network creating transparency. According to Sarah Holder of trucks.com, blockchain could revolutionize the future of trucking and logistics by creating a new system of completing transactions, tracking shipments and managing fleets.

Transparency

Blockchain expert, Richard Etwaru has referred to the technology as “An opportunity to change trust in commerce.” This technology provides transparency in transactions, equipment history, and decreases the risk of fraud. The group Blockchain in Trucking Alliance (BiTA) was formed by tech and transportation executives. This alliance is developing a blockchain standard. They are also educating other members of the freight industry about the different ways the industry could benefit from utilizing this standard. Their goal is to bring together leading companies in the freight technology industries that have a vested interest in the development of blockchain technology. BiTA currently has over 200 members, and is growing exponentially as more organizations realize the benefits of the blockchain technology. 

Time and Cost Reductions

Additional time and cost reductions could be found as more fleets begin using blockchain to work within the same network. A great example is Toll Collection Systems or Truck Wallet Systems, which would allow trucks to go through tolls more efficiently. Service and maintenance time could be lessened for fleets and other benefits including: refueling, parking, freight brokering and cargo safeties. While this system is currently optional, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s ELD (Electronic Logging Device) Mandate of 2015, shows that digitalization is no longer a matter of convenience. According to this mandate, fleets will have until December of 2017 to implement the ELDs to record their hours of service. While some drivers previously used it to lessen paperwork, the mandate intends adding clarity to the logs of the drivers, concurrently working with blockchain technology. 

The transportation industry’s early adopters of blockchain will face challenges. They will be overcoming integrations, privacy rights, and the growing pains of standardizations. However, they will also have the competitive advantage over those that are slow to adopt, especially with the increase in alliances that help educate and connect businesses. While it may be difficult to make the right moves in this fast moving industry, those that take the road paved in blockchain may stand to benefit the most.  

Advanced Billing Module

Module Monday Banner.png

What is flexible, adaptable, and has no limits? It may be your next great hire, but it can also be your next great module! The ASPIRE Advanced Billing Module features a flexible invoicing system that is configurable to meet unique customer needs.

Advanced Billing lets you create an unlimited number of Invoice formats by configuring Transaction and Invoice Codes. Transaction Codes define the different types of charges that you may bill (e.g., Documentation Fees, Maintenance, Commissions, Security Deposits, etc.). They even contain their own accounting and taxability details for enhanced reporting. Similarly, Invoice Codes drive the format in which the invoice is presented, as well as the manner it will be distributed (e.g., Print, E-mail or No-Print).

When it comes to processing, invoices can be created individually or in bulk for recurring billings (e.g., rent, pass through maintenance, late fees, etc.). Importantly, automation features are also available to schedule the exact time and date that invoices are created and distributed out of the ASPIRE solution.

Want to learn more about Advanced Billing in ASPIRE? Email us at info@leaseteam.com or visit our website at www.leaseteam.com.

Document Templates Overview

Tips and Tricks Banner.png

Are you wanting to create document templates in ASPIRE? Document templates are created by adding system defined document fields (tags) to a Microsoft Word document. Document templates are setup to automate the process of sending documents by utilizing data fields from the account and contract information. Documents can be generated from a contract or account. The document templates workspace is accessed through the configuration menu – document templates option. Want to learn more? Click the link and login with your password. Once you have logged in, click Knowledgebase. Then you will click the ASPIRE v5 Help link. From there, click on the area for Administration. Look under the System Setup area and click Document Templates. http://ow.ly/Ug18w 

Want to learn more about what ASPIRE has to offer? Visit our website at www.leaseteam.com

Building Your Credit Score While Building Your Business

What We're Talking About.png

When it comes to owning a business, one of the most valuable assets you can have aside from a strong work ethic and an end-to-end technology solution, wink-wink, is a high credit score. Most new business starting out do not have the capital in place to purchase their equipment outright. They often seek financing to offset those startup costs. What many don’t realize is it can take a couple of years for a business to establish proper credit. However, there are a few actions you can take to get you on the fast track to a high FICO credit score.

File for a Federal Tax ID or EIN

When applying for financing, it’s essential for your business to have to proper credentials. The Federal Tax ID or EIN is mostly the same thing to a company that a social security number is to a person. Filing for your EIN is entirely free, and the number only serves as a means of tax administration. Keep in mind, while the number does create a means to establish credit, it does not build credit for you. 

Incorporate Your Business or Form an LLC (Limited Liability Corp)

One way to differentiate your personal credit score from that of your business is to incorporate your business. Incorporating your business allows you to make a clear distinction between you and your business. Making this distinction provides business owners with some safety if the company were to be sued. If the business is seen as an asset and not a separate entity from the business owner, creditors can legally go after the owner.

Open a Business Credit File

A great way to establish your credibility as a business is to open a business credit file with the three major reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. For any financial institution or equipment leasing organization, lending money is made based upon limiting as much risk as possible, while still providing the needed service to the customer. Similar to your EIN, a financial institution may also request you provide them with a D-U-N-S number from the Dun & Bradstreet to predict your credibility through commercial data. 

Open a Bank Account

By opening a bank account with your Federal Tax ID, you can purchase products or supplies from third-party vendors. According to NerdWallet, if these suppliers extend trade credit, you can ask the supplier to report your payments to a business credit bureau. As long as you are working within the terms of the agreement, it can have a positive effect on your credit score.

Personal Credit Score

Many new business owners don’t consider how their personal credit score can affect their eligibility to receive credit for the much-needed equipment for their company. You should try to apply for credit before you need it. However, if you are like the vast majority of the population, you will wait to apply until you need money. By then, you may have already tarnished your credit, or you just don’t have the history.

So as you begin to build your business, remember the important factors that can help you build your credit score.

Global Equipment Update Module

Module Monday.png

You have a lot on your plate as it is, so why add repetitive data entry tasks to the list? Instead, let the ASPIRE Global Equipment Update Module do the busy work for you! Whether you need to update a single asset record or even hundreds, the Global Equipment Update Module allows users to update bulk asset records rapidly; all the while minimizing monotonous and repetitive data entry practices.

The Global Equipment Update Module significantly reduces the labor involved in orchestrating a massive and manual update to hundreds of asset records. The module allows for a reallocation of resources to new sales or other organizational efficiencies.

In short, the Module allows users to make bulk updates to asset records on a global scale. Locations, bonus depreciation, costs and residual values are just a few examples of details that can be bulk updated. First, a user must simply run a query of the assets (or contracts) that require an update. With the click of a button, the asset records can be extracted to Microsoft Excel, creating a spreadsheet of the selected equipment and its data points. From there, users can effortlessly update details to hundreds of records through a simple copy and paste exercise. Once complete, the Excel file can be re-imported into ASPIRE to complete the mass update.

To learn more about the Global Equipment Update Module, visit our website at www.leaseteam.com or send us an email at info@leaseteam.com.

Don't Let Your Daily Commute Drive You Mad

Many of us are all too familiar with the urgency and anxiety associated with our daily commutes to work. Some of us have even tried to gauge traffic flow to pinpoint the ideal time to leave. Despite all of our careful planning, we somehow always roll the dice and end up in the “wrong lane.” No matter how hard we try, we find ourselves in the ever desperate pain of being gridlocked. You might be all too familiar with this feeling, especially if you had to deal with disjointed software systems. So how does one overcome the mounting anxiety associated with being held captive by idling engines? Here are a few ways to help you keep your daily commute from driving you mad.

Take an Alternate Route

You may feel the way you go to work each day is the most efficient, but how do you know for sure unless you have tried it for yourself. Just like working within an antiquated software system, there could be a better way; you only have to be willing to try it. According to Lifehacker, picking an alternative route to work can force you to engage your problem-solving skills associated with different parts of your brain (Ravenscraft, 2013). Taking a different way can force you to slow down and focus more on your driving, which ultimately could help you to avoid an accident.

Just Smile

Sometimes exchanging a smile with the person next to you can give you a boost of positivity and find the sense of humor in the situation. In one study, even an inauthentic smile can have a positive effect on the stress response in people. The study showed that participants required to smile regardless of the reason had lower heart rates than those that did not (Kraft and Pressman, 2012).

Allow Someone to Merge

Bottlenecks in software are a nuisance for those that don’t have an all-encompassing view of their solution. It can also be a challenge for drivers during their commutes too. So while an end-to-end solution can help you in the office, the “zipper merge” can help you safely navigate the road. If you are driving in a lane with a “Lane Closed Ahead” sign; the best way to keep traffic running smoothly is to go all the way to the point where the two lanes converge and then merge into the open lane. The “zipper merge” has been proven to keep traffic flowing efficiently as long as everyone lets go of their ego and allow others to merge ahead.

As the saying goes, “It’s not what happens to you that defines you; it’s how you respond to it.” So while being stuck in the clutches of yet another soul-draining traffic jam, use these tools we discussed to drive yourself to work instead of crazy.  

 

Ravenscraft, E. (2013, June 26). Find a Different Route to Work and Exercise Your Brain. Retrieved October 19, 2017, from https://lifehacker.com/find-a-different-route-to-work-to-exercise-your-brain-587260303

Tara Kraft and Sarah Pressman. Grin and Bear It: The Influence of Manipulated Positive Facial Expression on the Stress ResponsePsychological Science, 2012 (in press)