Rudd & Company: Winning Against Spam

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Rudd & Company has reduced the amount of unwanted mail by approximately 75 percent.

By Carly Lombardo

Richard Western realized employees at Rudd & Company were outraged over the amount of email congesting their inboxes. And, his mission was to clean the mess in the inboxes. In fact, more than 40 percent of the email was spam, which was a drain on both productivity and attitude.

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“Our average staff member gets about 300 emails per day and they were spending anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes a day going through them,” says Western, administrator for the Idaho Falls, Idaho-based firm.

Originally, the firm relied on filtering software provided via its Internet Service Provider. But that package was letting through many of the offending messages. So Rudd, with three main and two satellite offices in Idaho and Washington, looked for new tools to stem the flood.

After Western conducted research via the Internet, Rudd installed ChoiceMail from Orlando, Fla.-based DigiPortal Software and was sold after being given a month’s trial.  “I liked ChoiceMail because when staff members receive a message from an address ChoiceMail doesn’t recognize, the software intercepts it, and sends a return message to the sender asking them to identify themselves,” says Western.

ChoiceMail uses both a rules-based and a white-list approach to exclude spam. But a problem arose because in building the white lists, ChoiceMail sent out registrations to all senders. White lists are email addresses of senders who have the recipient’s permission to send email.

“If you are receiving 1,000 email message a day, you are sending out 1,000 registration requests,” says Kenny Smith, the firm’s computer consultant. “You become a spammer. Our ISP had a fit about it.” The volume forced Rudd to turn off the registration system and consider a new approach.

It turned to Qurb from a San Mateo, Calif.-based company of the same name. Qurb is a plug-in to Microsoft Outlook or Outlook Express. While ChoiceMail compiles its white list from addresses in incoming mail, Qurb also looks at saved mail and the Outlook address book.

In the beginning, ChoiceMail ran on each of its about 50 staff members’ machines. However, now the firm has installed Qurb for 10 high-volume email recipients. Western says, “As staff members’ computers are upgraded or replaced, we will put them on Qurb. It’s worth its weight in gold, and only costs us $29 per desktop.” The addition of the anti-spam packages has reduced the amount of unwanted mail by approximately 75 percent.

Keeping It Efficient
Founded in 1983, Rudd & Co. prides itself on offering “a rainbow of services” including tax services, financial planning and consulting, accounting and auditing services, pension administration, and technology consulting.

Its clients include agri-business, construction, government agencies, health care services, law firms, and real estate firms.

Rudd’s Computer and Consulting Division assists clients in purchasing and installing hardware systems. The firm, a member of the QuickBooks ProAdvisor program, also offers QuickBooks consulting.

The firm has hundreds of clients operating on QuickBooks, and most new clients stem from companies who have installed QuickBooks incorrectly. “We clean up messes and most times have to teach companies how to use the software from the setting up of the chart of accounts to accounts receivable and payable,” adds Western.

However, the firm has found that once it  assists clients using QuickBooks, it often need further computer consulting. Smith’s goal is to “help clients understand exactly what their computer can do for them and their business.”

Smith provides this example: “We had a client who had only one computer with the accounting software loaded on it, and it was difficult to have office staff work on the accounting system. We came to their rescue by implementing a local area network. Now, the client’s sales personnel can enter the invoices at the point of sale and the staff has become more efficient and reduced the flow of paper throughout the office.” Consulting services start at $70 per hour.

In addition to consulting, the firm offers computer classes focused on QuickBooks as well as basic computer programs such as Excel. Classes are held about three times per year in all the firm’s offices and draw about 20 people per class.

Carly Lombardo is Associate Editor of Accounting Technology and can be reached at carly.bohach@thomsonmedia.com.

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