Costly Ghosts and Zombies in Your Business

Costly Ghosts and Zombies in Your Business
by Gary Maher, Sage Partner Account Manager

October is a great month to do something about your Ghost and Zombie Assets. After all what’s scarier than a ghost and zombie other than a ghost and zombie that are stealing money from you?

Okay, well maybe they are not stealing it, but they are costing you money you don’t need to spend (or will cost you money). So what makes them this frightening?

“Ghost Assets” are those assets that are currently on your books, but are no longer in service. Think of items that have been disposed of, misplaced, lost, stolen or damaged as some of the most popular Ghost Assets that are nowhere to be found in your actual inventory. You threw that computer or phone away but “Boo” they are still on the books.

These can be quite prevalent in most organizations as the average company’s inventory is comprised of 15%-30% ghost assets. For example, if you have $2 million in depreciable fixed assets and 15% of that is ghost assets (taking the low end of the range), then you are listing $300,000 in assets that don’t exist. Again, assuming average tax rates and depreciation, these ghost assets are costing your organization more than $50,000 in tax overpayments each year! Those are expensive ghosts! Of course, eliminating them may make you feel like a superhero.

On the opposite side, are the “Zombie Assets”. A zombie asset can be found during your physical audit, however it is nowhere to be found on the fixed assets register. Tracking these zombie assets brings value back to your company and protects you from fines for under reporting (think how scary an actual audit would be in this scenario). Generally, each company has Zombie Assets equal to 12% of their inventory just walking around lifeless. Thus in the value of ghosts vs. zombies, the ghosts win but they are both hurting your organization. In fact, utilizing the industry averages it may be frightening to realize that almost 40% or more of your organization’s assets can be classified this way.

So how can you ensure you are compliance but not paying more than you owe?

Automation is the key. Spreadsheets and manual methods won’t work beyond a few assets and help create ghosts and zombies by being inefficient. Automation tools, such as Sage Fixed Assets, enable more complete and organized physical audits, which are essential to knowing which assets are where. Of course, having better ongoing methods for tracking assets as they are added or disposed of helps as well.

In short, tools such as Sage Fixed Assets are smart investments and pay for themselves rapidly, not only in saved taxes and greater efficiencies (see for yourself with this easy to use ROI calculator: http://go.sage.com/SFA_ROICalculator), but in piece of mind. Here’s another scary fact, did you know there are over 300,000 GAAP and IRS rules and regulations for depreciation calculations? Sage Fixed Assets does, and keeps up with them for you protecting you from audit horror stories.

Whatever method you choose, make sure to make this Halloween a little less frightening by eliminating the ghost and zombie assets in your organization. For more information on how Sage Fixed Assets can help check https://www.sage.com/en-us/products/sage-fixed-assets/ or feel free to email me at gary.maher@sage.com.

Happy zombie hunting and ghost busting!

 

 

Sage 300 Over Applied Cash Receipts

Sage 300 allows a user to apply a payment to invoices for more than the amount of the payment.  A payment that is not fully applied, displays as a negative value on the A/R Aged Trial Balance.  A payment that is over applied, displays as a positive value.  Typically, this would not be an issue, however, the apply feature for credits and the entry of credit memos can only be used against invoices, and not against the over applied payments.

If the over applied payment is from a check receipt, the check can be reversed in Common Services – Bank Transactions – Reverse Transactions, but if the payment was received via credit card, through Sage Payment Solutions, that transaction cannot be reversed.

If the customers balance is correct, no action needs to be taken. When the next payment is received, it may be applied to that over payment record.  Only new payments can be applied against the over payment, and it can only be completed at the time payment is received.

If the balance is incorrect, a credit memo should be created, but it cannot be applied against the over applied payment.  The customer balance will be correct, but the aged receivables will show a credit balance and an equal over applied payment balance.  In order to clean up your records, a zero dollar receipt can be entered and applied to both the over applied payment and the credit memo.  This will remove both transactions from the A/R Aged Trial Balance.

If you have this problem, please feel free to contact me at Michael.Ericksen@wacptrs.com.

5 Ways to Increase Social Media Engagement

 

Social Media Engagement is basically getting your audience to do something in response to a post such as; “Like,” comment, click a photo/link or share a post. There are many ways to increase Social Media Engagement and I have listed 5 below.

1) Ask Questions- People love to share their opinions, so post some questions and watch the comments come in.

2) Humor- Everyone loves a good laugh so share a funny meme, quote or gif. This will help people relate to your organization.

3) Inspiring Memes or Quotes- Take a good quote, create simple artwork online to make it visually appealing and share.

4) Trivia- Lively and interesting trivia will help get people to engage more with your organization. Especially if there is a prize involved!

5) Customer Service- Social Media is an extension of your customer service. It’s a place where if you’re looking, you can respond to comments, complaints or questions and help steer the direction of the conversations regarding an organization or industry.

Written by: Kristy Brooke

WAC Solution Partners-Midwest

Benford’s Law

Benford’s Law

I have been in accounting for forty years and I just recently learned about Benford’s Law.  This law states that the first digit of number is much more likely to be a low number rather than a high number.  In fact if a set of data was to conform exactly to the law it would break out like this:

Mike E 1

 

Of course the first digit cannot be zero.  This can be very useful in reviewing expense accounts or any set of data that you feel is not correct.  Indeed, there are many instances where this law does not apply, but it is remarkably accurate when the data can truly be any numbers.  One test I saw was the population of all the countries in the world.  Here is how that came out:

Mike E 2

 

It is amazing that it is so close to the prediction from Benford’s law.   You can go to www.testingbenfordslaw.com to see many more lists and how they conform to the law.  Remember the data must be random and not a data set where number are assigned sequentially, influenced by human thought, have built in minimums and maximums, etc.

I decided to test the law with a data set from my company.  Below is my date for all the checks written by my company from January 1 – April 15, 2017.

Mike E 3

Again look at how the checks starting with a 1 or 2 are much more than checks starting was an 8 or 9. Given the limitations, there are still a great number of instances where this will work.  If you think any set of data is not correct, you can use it to help detect fraud.

Written by Michael Ericksen

WAC Solution Partners- Midwest

847-605-1590

Baby Boomers & Gen X, Data Changes, Do You?

In his book, The Age Curve, Kenneth W. Gronbach describes how many businesses made bad decisions because they expected the future to be just like the past.   Gronbach is a demographer and explains how many Gen X -ers have views that are distorted or just plain wrong.

Gen X is 11% smaller than the Baby Boomer Generation. Many statistics about Gen X show how they generally participate less in just about everything than Baby Boomer generation without taking into account that there are less of them!  In many instances the Gen X’ers participate at the same percentage as the Baby Boomers, but it is hard to notice because of the size difference.

The Age Curve points out that you need to be aware of your target market, which is fluid, not fixed. If you or your company have been marketing to Baby Boomers, your market is shrinking because Gen X is smaller.  Another interesting point is that because Gen X is smaller, they act differently in that they are choosier about their jobs. They don’t have to take a position with a lot of travel if that doesn’t appeal to them. Many industries that build up to serve the Boomers will have trouble since there are not enough Gen X’ers to replace those customers.

With this in mind, what assumptions do you make about your business? Do you have the data to make the correct decisions? This is where we can help you! If you need better systems and better access to you data, then give us a call!

Written by Michael Ericksen, WAC Solution Partners- Midwest

Avoid Ransomware- Remove Former Users

Last year our company was hit by a ransomware virus and it took us about two days to recover.  We thought we were well protected with our anti-virus program and other protective measures.  After we restored everything, double checked our virus protection and changed all our passwords we were hit again and lost another two days of productivity.  We found out the virus was not coming in via a website or email, but by someone logging in directly to our server and running the program.  We had not removed an old user and that was the user name and password being used to damage our data.

Last month we had to help one of our clients because they were hit by a virus.  They went through a similar procedure and when I was helping them, I shared my story.  Sure enough the next week they were hit again.  It did not come from where they thought it came from, but from an old workstation that no one uses, but was still connected to the server.  The hackers found that computer and from there they were able to cause major damage.

I am sharing these stories to help protect you from a similar incident.  Please, when people leave your company, remove their user names from your system so you will not be the next victim of ransomware.

Written by Michael Ericksen, WAC Solution Partners- Midwest

Sink or swim: A guide to surviving sales tax in 2017

Businesses may feel out of their depth as states look to test the waters on tax compliance in the coming year

Sales and use tax compliance can be a complex problem for many businesses. It almost feels like you need a bowie knife to cut through the regulatory red tape, although knowledge may be a better weapon in this case. So stay sharp with Avalara’s 2017 Sales Tax Survival Guide.

Published every year to help businesses better understand the challenges they are up against when it comes to complying with sales and use tax regulations in the U.S., Avalara’s latest Survival Guide is refreshed for 2017 with insight into what’s new and what’s changed at the state and federal level, common challenges around sales tax compliance, and tips for staying on top of your tax obligations.

States are testing the waters in 2017

States are facing budget deficits and they need revenue from taxes. Sales and use tax is one of the largest generators of this revenue, but collecting it has become more difficult as how Americans buy, sell and consume goods and services has evolved beyond what’s defined by state tax laws. For example, Congress has yet to act on outdated federal internet sales legislation; services now outpace goods in consumer spending but aren’t taxed with the same consistency; and digital delivery of software, books and other media and streaming services have states perplexed when it comes to setting standards for taxability.

This has led many states to get aggressive – hiring more auditors, expanding nexus definitions (a connection with a state that triggers an obligation to collect and remit sales tax to that state) to target out of state sellers, implementing use tax reporting policies, increasing state and local sales tax rates, and extending sales tax to more products and services.

Survival of the fittest

While not every aspect of managing transactional tax causes pain for every business, it’s pretty certain that at least some areas will pose a challenge given how quickly the rules changes.

The 2017 Sales Tax Survival Guide walks you through 10 critical compliance challenges, from determining nexus to managing exempt sales to understanding the implications of drop shipping on your business and dealing with audits and lawsuits. Each section is also buoyed with best practices for overcoming these challenges, and links to addition information should you need to go more in depth on a topic.

It’s a must-read reference for anyone who is responsible for tax compliance in their business. And it’s available for download here.

Shore up compliance

As helpful as it is, no guide is a replacement for good practices. The most valuable takeaway from the Survival Guide is a greater awareness of just how burdensome tax compliance can be on a business – large or small. Trying to keep up with ever-changing state tax rates and rules puts a strain on accounting and finance teams in terms of the research and due diligence required.

You can remove that burden with tax automation software like Avalara AvaTax. Much of the work that goes into proving sales and use tax compliance – calculating tax rates, verifying customer information, updating taxability rules, applying exemptions, remitting sales tax and even filing tax returns – can be handled easily and efficiently in your accounting system with little to no manual work required. It’s easy to set up and use, guaranteed accurate, and budget friendly. Avalara is a preferred provider of tax software for more than 500 ecommerce, shopping cart, ERP and accounting systems and used by more than 20,000 companies worldwide. Talk to your system or application provider about using AvaTax to manage transactional tax.

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Permission to reprint or repost given by Avalara. Content previously published at www.avalara.com/blog.

Sage Summit 2017- location and date announced

Sage has dabbled in “tour” events for the past few years encapsulated in the Sage Inspire Tour.  This tour traveled around to several dates and locations per year in support of the much larger annual Sage Summit event.  The tour seemed to be touted as reaching some of the people who may not have a chance to make it out to Sage Summit and yet others who would attend both.

The 2016 Sage Summit in Chicago IL. was the largest reported Summit with 15,000 registrants.  Although the prior year’s Sage Summit in New Orleans was a large one, it reported 7260 in attendance.

The usual process of announcing location and date at the closing of Sage Summit did not take place in Chicago this past year.    In fact, it is nearing the end of January and we are just now getting a glimps of information with a date and location.  This information also comes with a change in the usual time frame from of July each year, to now May for 2017.  It will be a bit of a challenge for all parties involved to keep the momentum going in getting sponsors, customers and partners in one place with such a small planning timeline.  But we are committed to doing so!!

Watch for further announcements from WAC Solution Partners regarding the upcoming WAC Customer Connects at Sage Summit 2017.  For now we leave you with the details we have thus far.

Sage Summit 2017

Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta

May 9-11, 2017

To get yourself signed up for updates and details, CLICK HERE and register.

Thank you and we look forward to seeing you at Sage Summit 2017 in Atlanta!

Sage Alerts and Workflow can change your life

Sage Alerts & Workflow is a Sage add-on product that allows users to generate queries depending on the information that is being tracked. For example, if a user wanted a list of open invoices from clients that are over 30 days due and wants the list generated once every 15 days, Sage Alerts can generate the list and send it to one or multiple departments via email automatically. Users can also customize the categories that they wish to include in the query. For example, they can include the name or ID code of the sale representative of a specific transaction, the payment code method that was used for the transaction, and which pricelist was used, just to name a few.

Currently I am working with a client who uses Sage Alerts. One of the queries that they use includes all inventory items whose quantity on hand minus the quantity on any current sales order is less than or equal to 0. Another query, which is scheduled to run every Monday at 8AM, is to gather a list of clients who have open invoices that are over 30 days old. For this same client, I am currently trying to create a query that will compare sales from this current year to prior year based on a specified date range.  Then the query will identify those customers whose incoming sales revenue compared to the prior year is less than $3,500.00.

Sage Alerts & Workflow is also compatible with Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Human Resource Management Systems (HRMS), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software, to name a few.

For more questions regarding the acceptance of credit cards through your Sage ERP software, contact your WAC Solution Partner for more information.

Written by Stephanie Piller, WAC Solution Partners- Midwest.

Why Sage Payment Solutions for Credit Card Processing?

Sage Payment Solutions is a payment solution software that allows users to accept payment transactions. It includes an online portal for users to easily access when out of the office and allows users to keep track of their statements and transaction activity.

Currently I use Sage Payment Solutions with Sage 300 ERP 2017 accounting system. In Sage 300, once I enter an invoice for the customer, I can click “charge” directly from the invoice entry screen and the Sage Payment Solutions window will pop up, allowing me to complete the credit card transaction instantly. The payment transaction is quick and simple. Sage 300 specifically can save more than 20 credit card accounts per customer.

Sage Payment Solutions allows users to accept payments from their desktop, laptop, smartphone, and tablet for quick transactions at the point of sale at or away from the main business location. This system accepts Visa®, MasterCard®, American Express®, Discover®, Diners Club®, JCB, Debit/ATM, and private label cards as well. The payment hits our bank in approximately two business days.

There are many different processing companies out there.  What makes Sage Payment Solutions a better option for Sage ERP customers?  Quick, easy, one system integration.  Not only do you have access at your fingertips all within one system to process, but you have one Vendor to deal with giving you leverage on your rates.

For more questions regarding the acceptance of credit cards through your sage ERP software, contact your WAC Solution Partner for more information.

Written by Stephanie Piller, WAC Solution Partners- Midwest.