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Horizon – our team and our clients

Horizon is now Stratus

As many of you are aware, in 2017 Horizon Business Systems expanded into New South Wales, in a joint venture with Victoria’s BizPro, to setup our Parramatta office Stratus Consulting.  We did this with the view of ensuring that we remained a driving force in the ERP market in Australia and, now as of July 1st, both BizPro (Vic) and Horizon (WA) will adopt the brand Stratus across all three states.

What does this mean for you as a new Stratus client?  This means that you will have the brains trust of three experienced teams across Australia and a stronger voice for product development (for example, priorities in determining fixes) plus a consolidated best practice approach to our client support, sales, development and consulting.   We also have great new client benefits in the pipeline – from training, new development projects, to online seminars – we know that you and your team will enjoy being a part of our Stratus client family.

On a local level, however, very little will change at all as you will still be dealing with our great local team of support and consulting superstars!  Our telephone number, bank account, mailing address and physical location will all remain the same.

What will change?  Our website will be undergoing a re-badge (but our Horizon site will stay put until all is completed) and our correspondence to you will come from a Stratus email and with Stratus branding.  Also, any emails coming through to our Horizon addresses will be redirected to our new email addresses for a little while.

As local WA business owners, Jon and I thank you for being a part of this new chapter of expansion with us.  If you have any queries, feel free to contact me directly and welcome to Stratus!

Q&A with Horizon CEO Michael Pendred

This month on the blog we sat down for a Q&A with our CEO Michael Pendred to find out more about the history of Horizon Business Systems; get an insight into Michael’s vision for helping other businesses achieve, and how Horizon is doing so.

Michael PendredManaging Director

Michael Pendred
Managing Director

What prompted your to set up Horizon Business Systems?

I’m interested in how things work, how things are built, new ideas and hearing about the very cool things that our clients do.  I think that I’d be bored if all I dealt with was my own business, so having Horizon allows me to step into lots of different businesses and see how they work.  I find the complexities in how companies manage their jobbing or other business/management processes intriguing and I’m always looking for better ways of doing things – I know that I should get out more!

I also wanted a business where we really felt like a team.  I’m lucky enough that the crew that Jon and I have brought together at Horizon are people that we really like and we enjoy working with them.  All the personalities are different, all of their skills and the experiences that they bring to us are amazing, and they all believe in our vision of ‘helping businesses achieve’. I’ve always felt that it’s an insular view to just want your own business to be successful – if you aren’t contributing to the business community, the local economy and to the success of other businesses, you can’t stay successful for long.

What is your background?

I have a degree in Financial Management and Economics but have had the opportunity to work across different industries with sales and management roles in the Financial, Hospitality, Tourism, Health and IT industries across the world over the past 25 years.

What is the most common issue or pain point that customers have when they come to Horizon?

A lot of the time our clients have experienced growth and added on to the systems that they were using when they first started up – e.g. piggy-backing disparate systems, double handling of tasks etc. – so they are really looking to simplify things for themselves.

It seems really straightforward, but having a system like MYOB EXO makes life easier for everyone from the Receptionist to the CEO.  This can include no longer having things (like customers or orders!) ‘slip through the cracks’, tasks can be completed more accurately and efficiently, and provide employees and management an overall view to manage all the critical processes in their business and ultimately make better decisions going forward.

How do you help them better than competitors can?

I believe that one of our team’s most important skills is that we don’t walk into a business with the idea that we already KNOW how they work.  We want our clients to tell us what works for them and what they need – then we go out of our way to value add to this.

Each client that we work with, even those that provide similar services or products, do certain things uniquely.  Of course we want them to be compliant – just to limit that particular pain! – but we also understand that the companies that are our clients have built themselves from small businesses into successful companies, so they’ve done a lot of things right to get themselves to this point.   These are businesses that just need our input to streamline things and help them get to the next level.

Every client relationship that we build also adds to our own skill set as we learn something new from each business. A lot of consultancy businesses out there will go into companies with the view that they will just replicate what they did last week at another business, rather than take the time to understand and respect the way that you do business.  We genuinely feel invested in each of our clients – most likely because we are a local business too.

What has been the most interesting or unusual request you’ve had for custom add-on development?

I try to think of myself as a person who has not led a sheltered life but I may have blushed (or asked for clarification!) once or twice when we were building customised reporting dashboards for Adult Shop!

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

In the short term, it’s seeing the change in companies once we are able to help them make once painful processes in businesses pleasant.

In the longer term, several of our clients were just taking the leap from a small to mid-sized business a decade ago when Horizon began and we have enjoyed seeing them grow and become even more successful. One of my pastimes is ‘client spotting’; where I’m driving somewhere with my family and I point at a business, sign or company badged car and go ‘there’s one of our clients!’ – it used to be a rare spot but, after a decade in Western Australia, it’s a lot more common now.

What has been Horizon’s greatest achievement in your eyes?

We have won MYOB’s Partner of the Year a few times but I truly think that last year’s MYOB Excellence in Customer Satisfaction (Australia) award was the most satisfying.  It’s a real team effort and is the best measure of our client focus and success.

What new trends or developments are emerging or do you predict will emerge in the next few years?

The development teams behind MYOB EXO and MYOB Advanced are amazing.  We are fortunate that MYOB is an established product provider than can and does prioritise continual development for its ERP business management software offerings.  Because MYOB’s EXO and MYOB Advanced ERP products are geared towards mid-sized businesses, rather than monolithic business entities/large scale government bodies (where processes are carved in stone and changes don’t occur at speed or with any regularity), MYOB and its products are open to, and usually leading, ERP development.

As Platinum Partners with MYOB, the team at Horizon are ‘at the coal face’ in our day to day dealings with the companies that use the products, so we make it a priority to have an open and continual dialogue with MYOB about our clients’ needs and projected requirements for the future.

Cloud solutions have been emerging over the last few years and these will gain a larger market footprint as time goes on.  Mobile add-ons in time capture, service management and reporting will become the norm.  Also, the tools and customisation that once only the big businesses could afford, are filtering down to being more manageable, mobile and cost effective adaptations for mid-sized businesses.

Time to upgrade your business accounting software?

The decision to change from manual accounting systems to an umbrella system depends on the same criteria that influence people to upgrade residential infrastructure: old systems are inefficient, cost-prohibitive, appear old-fashioned and need frequent troubleshooting.

Current systems and spread sheets work fine but manual accounting systems generate payroll expenses for office staff, increased accounting fees, inefficient inventory-ordering practices and lost opportunities to optimise leads, leverage social and business trends and uncover waste, theft and fraud.

Clues that you might benefit by replacing your existing system include:

  • Reports and documents contain frequent mathematical errors.
  • Inventory-carrying costs generate cash-flow problems.
  • Loss of data and slow response times scuttle business opportunities.
  • Poor analysis of business trends, contract terms and unavailable contract templates limit sales staff’s ability to close deals in the field.
  • Crucial business data gets lost due to a lack of storage capacity and databases contain out-dated information.
  • Figuring profitability by department, product and employees requires authorising dedicated research projects.
  • Expense creep cuts into profit margins.
  • Security breaches cause you to lose money, customers and the time needed to address the problems.
  • Incomplete or disorganised records trigger financial audits.
  • Incomplete records that fail to match best business practices make it difficult to get financing for expansion. A new system that offers comprehensive management solutions generates substantial investment costs, but your current system probably costs more in lost profits, waste and inefficient uses of resources.

Upgrading the accounting system helps you position your company for accelerated growth, meet the challenges of global marketing and integrate your business with the current financial practices of most vendors, clients, social agencies and tax authorities.

Before choosing a new system, consider the following points:

  1. Take time to study what you need to do the job. Most systems offer scalable modules that you can add as your business grows, so you need not buy more than you really need. Talk to your production, sales and office staff to get their input on what they need to do their jobs more efficiently.
  2. A complete business audit justifies the time and expense by identifying current needs and IT solutions for immediate growth.
  3. Remember that some accounting systems might require staff training, new or updated hardware and technical advice about implementing them into your business with minimal disruption.
  4. Your wish list should not only include the new features you want but also preserve the bits of the old system that perform well. New systems often cause problems that the old system handled perfectly well.

Your accounting solution will impact every department in the company, so choosing software solutions works better when you make it a group effort. Involving each department manager in the decision will help you find the best solution and encourage loyalty among employees, who often resist changes to systems that have always worked adequately in the past.

The new software should meet the following criteria:

  • The system should improve cash flow by streamlining inventory, empowering collection efforts, reducing fraud and waste and eliminating duplicate work.
  • Accounting software facilitates custom reports that let you track profits, costs, closing ratios, employee efficiency, seasonal performance and other financial information. Choose software or systems that give you complex reporting tools.
  • Programs with cash-management software create more options for revenue-generating ideas and taking advantage of investment opportunities.
  • The system should provide analytical data that helps you and company managers make better decisions.
  • Businesses trade on timely information, so make sure you choose a system that strengthens your intelligence-gathering abilities.

Contact us to find out how MYOB EXO, MYOB Advanced and Horizon Business Systems can help your business achieve all of the above (and more!) today.

Connecting General Managers

Technology is changing the way everyone does business. MYOB has invested $75m towards a vision that doesn’t just give clients the solutions, services, and support to achieve their goals – but also a way of working that they can define on their own terms.

Technology is changing the way everyone does business. MYOB has invested $75m towards a vision thatdoesn’t just give clients the solutions, services, and support to achieve their goals – but also a way ofworking that they can define on their own terms.

For larger, more complex businesses, the MYOB Enterprise Solutions suite provides the tools, processes, and infrastructure necessary to build a successful organisation. The suite comprises of optional modules – including remote access technology such as Microsoft Terminal Services, Citrix, or the EXO Anywhere Module – which allow for greater scalability and growth via a fully integrated ERP business management system.

So what does this mean for a General Manager?

A general manager of a business has broad, overall responsibility for the organisation. While each department manager may be responsible for one functional area, the general manager is responsible for all areas. They are the big picture people. They have to know how the company is faring; which department is excelling and which is lagging behind; what products are selling; and which customers need a little nurturing because the competition is trying to steal them away.

Doctor Benjamin Esty – Chair of the General Management Program at Harvard Business School – says that a successful GM gets ahead “[…] by knowing more and more about less and less”. Critical to a general manager’s success is their ability to have a broader view of the network of internal and external factors that affect their business; having direct access to the information needed to make critical business decisions. With a deeper view of the performance of individual line processes, they will have a deeper understanding of the efficiencies that are driving the business – and when to act. If all of this can be brought together into a unified management view of the business, they will finally have that all-important big picture view.

To read the full article you can click on CONNECTING GENERAL MANAGERS

We would love to hear your thoughts so please consider contacting me!


Michael Pendred, Managing Director – Horizon Business Systems

Welcome to Horizon Business Systems

Horizon - Platinum Partner MYOB EXO & MYOB AdvancedHorizon Business Systems is a business accounting software solution provider, based in Perth Western Australia, dealing exclusively with the MYOB EXO Business and MYOB Advanced ERP systems.

As a MYOB Enterprise Platinum Partner, winner of the MYOB Excellence in Marketing award for 2012 and achieving the title of “MYOB Enterprise Partner of the Year (Australia/New Zealand)” in 2010, 2008 and 2007, we have a proven track record of success in effectively managing the complex, and often daunting, process of system implementation.

Horizon Business Systems understands that every business is unique. As experts in financial management software, change management and business process design, we provide a flexible approach to system implementation ensuring a smooth transition to your new software solution. Meet our team and read more about us here.