Small Business Development Center Offers Accounting Software Training

SOUTH BEND, IND., May 7, 2012 - Donations of around $5,000 in computer equipment will allow the North Central Indiana Small Business Center to teach a QuickBooks class anywhere.

Now, we can go just about anywhere, said Jan Fye, executive director of SBDC. "Table space is all we need."

This wasn't the case before. Until recently, SBDC had to use Goodwill Industry's computer lab to provide training in the accounting software for small business owners in Elkhart, St. Joseph, Marshall, Kosciusko and Fulton counties.

The lab is no longer available since South Bend Community School Corporation is using it.

"It gave us the opportunity to say we've got to do this another way," said Jan Fye, executive director of SBDC, who explained that 246 people have taken the eight-hour class since it was first offered in 2000.

She discussed the idea of purchasing laptops for the classes with Orion Group, a managed information technologies company in South Bend, which handles all SBDC's IT services.

Orion recommended laptops and gave her a cost estimate, Fye said. SBDC decided to ask for around $500 per laptop. Fye contacted businesses which support the SBDC and asked if they would be willing to help fund the computers. She received enough for four laptops.

Orion, which has a long-standing relationship with Hewlett-Packard, was able to procure the equipment at a discounted price, helping to stretch the donations further. The company believed in the project enough to fund four additional laptops -- bringing the total to eight -- and purchase a protective wheeled case to transport all eight laptops.

"What better way to help out our clients than to help (SBDC) help out their clients," said Doug Wileman, president of Orion.

As a certified public accountant and someone who has spent 30 years working in information technology, he said he appreciates the need for a QuickBooks class.

"To get a small business or a new business off to a good financial foundation, it's invaluable," he said, explaining that the $125 cost and eight-hour time commitment of the class can't be beat.

"Plus, the idea of (SBDC) having portable training was a great idea for the business community," he said.

And the increased portability might allow SBDC to expand its class offerings in the future if there is a need, Fye said.

"The power that this gives us is an amazing thing."

Future classes
North Central Indiana Small Business Development Center will offer two QuickBooks classes -- one May 24 and 31 and one June 21 and 22 -- in St. Joseph County. Classes also will be held this summer in Elkhart and Warsaw. Classes cost $125 and include eight hours of hands-on training. For information, call (574) 282-4350.

Source: South Bend Tribune, Alice Culp