On this episode of the Casandra Properties podcast, CEO and host James Prendamano along with Operations Manager Rebecca Matulonis, sit with Joe DiCostanzo, the CEO and principal of Dikaro consulting to discuss POS (Point of Sale) systems and how they can help optimize your business. James opens up the podcast by talking about how Joe has opened up so many dimensions for Casandra Properties and the companies they work with, and has really allowed them to scale in a meaningful way.
James Prendamano asks Joe DiCostanzo if he was always into technology. Joe says he was not, and this all started from a finance and accounting background. Joe was into math and running things efficiently. He says looking at formulas and understanding the logic behind them was what naturally led him down the technology route and to opening his own company, Dikaro Consulting. At Joe DiCostanzo’s core, says Prendamano, there is a brilliant problem solver. James also notes that he doesn’t really see Joe as the accountant-type. Joe later responds to that with a funny story.
A native Staten Islander, Joe DiCostanzo attended Susan Wagner High School and went onto SUNY Albany, known for their excellent business program, where he majored in accounting. He had passed his CPA exam and started working for a mid-sized accounting firm, admitting it was “the safe route.” He remembers starting off using Lotus and then eventually Excel, and then he realized there were ways to make things more efficient. Joe says that’s always intrigued him – efficiency -- how to optimize the time you put into something. Joe’s interest in efficiency is what led him toward the path of technology.
A Different Path
Joe remembers one of the older partners at the accounting firm asking him one day: “What are you doing here?” Joe replied – “I’m working.” The partner responded, “You don’t belong here. This is not for you. I see a different path for you. Don’t get stuck here.” About six months later, Joe was offered a record-breaking salary increase, and then that’s when he told the firm he was quitting. That’s where it all started, says DiCostanzo, and he’s been in business for himself ever since. The core of his business started with credit-card processing. Throughout that time, Joe had other businesses that he had brought on board that were very aligned with credit card processing -- Gateway, software companies and payroll companies, as well. Joe says. “As you learn these systems over the years and specialize in them for a period of time, it brings us to the point where we’re at now, where you see how all these systems can mesh very nicely together and integrate.” Instead of all these cumbersome systems like there were years ago, you can get a subscription service. All these companies want to work together and play together, and those are the efficiencies and the optimizations we want to create for mid-sized businesses.
CEO James Prendamano speaks about a time when folks were tied to either Apple or Microsoft, and you couldn’t run any other software systems. Those days are long gone, of course, with various plug-ins and third-party apps. That mindset of “Well, I’m using this platform and I’m stuck in it” is over, of course, says Prendamano.
A Seamless Transition
When people have to do multiple jobs that are not within their job description, and it’s billing-time, it causes stress, says Joe DiCostanzo. It’s outside their wheelhouse and then errors happen. Mistakes are costly, and then upper management comes down on them and it creates a bad work environment. With billing, because it is so automated now, and that’s where I have my experience, there really is no buy-in except for upper management to say, “okay, we’re ready for this transition.” Rebecca Matulonis notes that working with Joe’s system was a very seamless transition, and to see employees easily make that transition without a lot of concern and then to see the weight lifted off of them, which makes them happier employees, is just a great thing.
Chalkboards, Whiteboards, and Folders, Oh My!
Joe DiCostanzo says, “Every time I see a whiteboard or a folder, I say there’s a place for that in this system. That’s the buy-in that we want. We have to break the old habit, but we have to let employees know this is not an intimidating process. When upper management comes in an calls for a report, fumbling through folders is not an efficient way to get that done.” You can have also have that folder, but the time and energy saved in putting everything together is the buy-in.
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