Tom McLeod, founder and president of the Birmingham, AL, trucking software company that bears his name, offers these five prudent suggestions for last-minute Y2K preparation.
1. Be sure your PCs are set to use a four-character year instead of a two-character year. This is easy to set, but each PC must be set individually. (Go to "My Computer," then "Control Panel," then "Regional Settings," and be sure the "short date" is set correctly to "yyyy")
2. Be sure to make complete backups of your entire system on Friday night, Dec. 31, 1999.
3. Plan to have a few people come into the office on Saturday, Jan. 1, to run some jobs through your computer system (run some reports, some invoices, some checks if possible) to verify that everything works/ Contact your software vendor ahead of time to be sure they will be available that day for questions (most will be).
4. Plan for everyone to stay late each day for the first week of January. If there are problems, they are likely to be minor, but they could throw work behind.
5. If you do have problems after Jan 1, don't panic. Be prepared to go to manual procedures, or even to a small off-the-shelf package (like QuickBooks) temporarily. You can type invoices and checks manually and key them into the system later if all else fails.