Looking back on how the first 7 months of 2014 have flown by, reinforces my belief that time does go by faster the older you get, this not helped by some of the challenges that have come along so far this year. The major one being computer issues, we were running on Windows XP Pro and starting to notice some odd issues. Add these issues on top of Microsoft dropping support for XP software soon and made our decision to upgrade to Window’s 7 operating system simple. We replaced 2 of the 3 Dell workstations, the 2 new ones on Windows 7 and the other up upgraded to Windows 7 and upgraded to a new Dell server.
Plus as the lease was up on one of our Ricoh copiers, we opted to lease a new one at a cheaper lease cost that the one it replaced and lower per print cost as well. You might ask why do we have 2 copiers? It comes down to efficiency, we scan all the documents that clients bring to us and that we give to clients, its cheaper than having to keep buying more filing cabinets and makes for easy document filing and retrieval. Plus we found having one machine was always holding someone up, waiting to scan, copy, fax, etc. We own one copier outright and between the new lease and service contract costs find this a very affordable and efficient way to handle all our document needs, plus we get excellent service from Ricoh any time we have an issue.
We also decided to update our financial planning software to a product offered by Planist from Quebec and to lease an innovative life insurance policy management software program from InforcePRO to get a better handle on all of the policies we have in force for clients. So this has kept us and our IT guy very busy and now on to learning how to use our new software programs.
This year so far has seen the largest number of death claims we have had to help clients work through and all having been settled promptly by the respective life companies involved. This reinforces the value that we bring to clients in their time of need on the loss of a loved one, delivering a $500,000 tax free cheque to a grieving spouse does not temper their loss. But does ease their way forward as they and their families adjust to the new reality, as pays off creditors, they get to keep their home, farm or business, their franchises, to retain valued employees, to replace the deceased person’s lost income earning potential, funds to educate their children, etc., etc.
Mid July, we said goodbye to Vicki Bailey, our receptionist, web developer, graphic designer, etc. as she and her family have relocated to southern Alberta with her husband John’s new job there. The thought of going through the process of finding a new person for this position and training them added to the stress of all the other stuff going on this year. But we approached Emerald who was our receptionist prior to Vicki, and she agreed to come back to work, making our life much simpler going forward. She worked with Vicki for 2 weeks and has picked up our web site and social media entry and maintenance needs very quickly. We are lucky to have her back as she knows our systems, clients and suppliers, which leaves us free to work out the bugs with the new computers and server. Plus figure out our 2 new software programs before we head into the busy fall and winter work seasons.
August bring holiday season and my annual trip to the ADVOCIS life insurance school at the Banff School of Fins Arts, a great place to go and lean what’s new in the industry and reconnect with old friends. Plus at the end of August my whole family is getting together in Grande Prairie to spend time and explore the area in the Peace Country where we used to live.
Image licensed through Shutterstock