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Happy Holiday Scam – son (Season)

Unfortunately, scammers to do not take off for the holiday season.  In fact, it appears the scams increase!  Last week a scam surfaced around the country.  A number of bomb scares were reported requesting a bit coin payment.  Since none of the “bomb” were detonated, this appears to have been just a scam.

Bomb scares are not the only scams during the season.  Just in the last few days I received a phone call from someone that reported they were receiving information about my business computer having problems.  I was too busy to play with them, so I did the right thing and just hung up.  Other companies that you have no relationship with are not getting information about your computer.

Also, with tax season being just around the corner, the IRS does not notify you of any tax problems with a phone call.  They ALWAYS send a letter in the US mail.

The only institutions that may call, email or text you are your bank and credit card companies.  Normally you will only receive these notifications if you sign up for them.  Just to be extra cautious, do not reply to the notification, but call your bank or credit card company via the number on your statement or their website.  If it is a legitimate concern, they will forward you to the correct person to resolve your issue.

Again, if you get an unsolicited phone call about any computer issues, just hang up.  The same goes for tax issues.  If you get a strange pop up on your computer, shut it down immediately.  If it will not let up shut down your computer, unplug it! and contact your IT department or a computer professional.

Unfortunately, the holiday season is a busy time for scammers.  Don’t let the business of the season allow you to let down your guard.  Happy Holidays and be careful!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keeping Your Software Up To Date

Most software companies will support old versions of their software for a limited amount of time.  Sage, our main vendor, only supports two prior versions of their software for Sage 300.  A new version of Sage 300 comes out just about every year.  This is not uncommon as most software vendors have a similar policy.  Therefore, when Sage releases the 2019 version they will soon thereafter discontinue support for the 2016 version.  Old unsupported versions will most likely still work fine in the short term, but they come with a risk.

Recently one of our clients was hit by a virus.  Fortunately they have good backups and were able to mitigate the damage.  They decided to update their server and all of their workstations.  Support for their accounting software had stopped a few years back due to changes by Microsoft.  When they installed all the new hardware they encountered a number of issues with the old software.  They now are facing an unplanned upgrade.   They were perfectly happy with the old software, but there is always the risk that it will not run properly with new hardware.

Now we do not recommend that you always have to upgrade to the latest version and we continue to support old software even when it no longer supported by the vendor, but we are limited in what we can do.  Technology changes quickly and we do not want to hold a company back from using newer, faster and easier computer equipment and software, because they have an old accounting or ERP system.  If you are currently using unsupported software we recommend replacing it as soon as possible.  Definitely within the next year or two.

What you will find out when purchasing a new system is that many software companies are moving to a selling on a subscription basis.  This will significantly reduce the first year cost of the software, but future years many have a larger cost.  This is the way that Sage now sells most of its products and it is the way they sell Sage 300.  Interestingly, the future yearly subscription price is about the same as the old annual maintenance fee.  There is an activation fee in the first year and of course the cost of setting up the software, moving data and training users. We have not found a client that would pay more under the new pricing plan than if they were to purchase the software under the old method and keep paying for their annual maintenance.

The moral of the story is you can either plan to upgrade your software or wait for a disaster and be forced to upgrade.  We prefer working planned updates.  It is less stressful for you and easier too!

SALES TAX AFTER THE SUPREME COURT WAYFAIR CASE

I want to thank Joseph F Bigane, III, CPA, MST for the following article on the resent supreme court rules on sales taxes.   Joe is one of the most knowledgeable person on this topic and he wrote this article for particularly for small businesses.

SALES TAX AFTER THE SUPREME COURT WAYFAIR CASE

On June 21, 2018 the world of collecting sales tax in jurisdictions all over the United States changed forever.  The US Supreme Court held that it was no longer required that a seller must have a physical presence in a jurisdiction in order for that state (or subdivision thereof) to impose an obligation on sellers to collect the jurisdiction’s sales tax.  The dust has not yet settled and many jurisdictions are still determining how and when they will impose this duty.  Further, different states have different taxes, which for this article will all be referred to as “sales tax.”  Finally, the rules of South Dakota, the state in the Wayfair case, established a floor of $100,000 or more than 199 transactions in the prior year as the minimum activity in the state in order for the duty to collect to be imposed.  Other states may have different minimums but it is anticipated that they will not be smaller.

Having to collect a State’s sales tax is referred to as having “nexus.”  This is not a new term.  Before the Wayfair decision, nexus was achieved by having some form of physical presence in the State.  Wayfair did not change that; it merely expanded it to include the concept of economic nexus – doing enough business in the state over the internet or by other, non-physical means to exceed a determined floor.  If the business had physical presence nexus before this decision then it has been exposed to the obligation to collect sales tax for a time period predating Wayfair.  Such a situation should be discussed with a professional that can help you “get squared away.”

Remote sellers who now have nexus in states outside their home states are going to have to consider the following issues:

  1. determine how much sales dollars was earned in each state in your last fiscal year and

your current fiscal year

  • sales are made to the location to which physical goods are shipped, not

to where they are billed

  • sales of services have special rules, but generally will be sourced to where

they are received or, if point of receipt unknown, where they are billed

  • revenue subject to sales tax will vary by state. It may or may not include:
  1. freight and shipping
  2. installation
  • training
  1. warranties
  2. determine if each state taxes your particular goods and/or services are the

goods/services that you sell exempt by state law

  • are the goods/services that you sell exempt to some or all of your buyers
  • if your buyers are exempt, you will need to obtain from them the appropriate

state exemption certificate

  1. do you sell by drop shipment
  • these sales will now be counted to determine if you exceed a state’s

floor and either tax or an exemption certificate will need to be collected

 

Unfortunately, the states do not at this time have a common set of laws stating what is and what is not taxable or exempt.  So, sales into one state may be taxed while sales into a different state may not.  Some states tax most services (SD, NM) while other states have a list of “enumerated services” which they tax.  Here, too, there may be wide differences in the definition of what a service does or does not entail.  If you sell or license software you will need to determine if the state considers it canned or custom or both.

 

While there is no fifty state determination at this point, nor is there any serious indication that the federal Congress will intervene to provide a national solution, there are many states which are setting up their rules to be applicable as of October 1, 2018 or January 1, 2019.  So, you do not have the luxury of putting this issue off.  Collecting sales tax is an administrative burden but the money is collected from your customer and does not come out of your bottom line.  If you fail to properly collect and remit taxes, and the state(s) ultimately find and audit you, then the money (tax, penalties and interest) will come out of your bottom line.

 

So now is the time to talk to your professionals and determine in what states you will have to register as a tax collector and how you will determine the amount of tax you will need to collect for each transaction.  While a certain number of states are members of the Streamlined Sales Tax Agreement and can provide a simplified method for registering and filing, it may still be necessary for you to invest in sales tax software to determine the correct amount to charge for each transaction.

 

TPAC 2018

This past February was the Third-Party Advantage Conference (TPAC) held in Vancouver, British Colombia, Canada. I had the opportunity to visit this beautiful city and participate in the conference that brings together a great group of products and people on the Sage 300 ERP platform. Sage Business Partners, Development Partners, and customers from all over the globe were in attendance to discover what products are available on the market to enhance an end user’s Sage 300 experience.

I was in Vancouver the week before TPAC to attend a pre-conference training session for AutoSimply, one of the featured third-party exhibitors at the conference. The two-day training session discussed how to utilize the Manufacturing Order Module (version 2018) within Sage 300. The Manufacturing Order Module allows end users to create Bills Of Material (BOMs), manufacturing order entries, returns, and receipts. Other modules that were discussed, which can be added to Sage 300 in addition to the Manufacturing Order Module, includes Manufacturing Lots for lot control operations; Production Planning for budgeting and forecasting; and Shop Floor Control for tracking manufacturing operations such as runtime and operation downtime. AutoSimply also discussed their Inventory Barcode Manufacturing product which allows end users to scan compatible barcodes and automatically upload the information to their Sage 300 ERP. End users can also create Purchase Order (PO) Receipts, PO Returns, Order Entry (OE) Shipments and OE Returns from their handheld barcode scanning device.

At the end of the two-day AutoSimply training session, I was awarded a Certificate of Completion from AutoSimply.

I also attended a conference session regarding new features coming to the next version of Sage Alerts & Workflow led by Donald Farber of Vineyardsoft, a developer of the product. The next version of Sage Alerts & Workflow will be web based for convenient user access along with modern web screen designs.

Sage Alerts & Workflow is a query reporting software that notifies end users of events that users without Sage Alerts could only “wish they had known sooner.” These events include lists of: customers with open invoices due over ‘x’ days ago; customers whose credit cards expire next month; open sales orders that have not been shipped yet and are past the expected ship date; orders that have been shipped to the customer but have not been invoiced, etc. These reports can be set to automatically run on certain time intervals such as “Daily at 9am” or “Every 4th Friday of the Month,” and sent via email, text, or fax to persons of different departments and management levels internally and externally according to a business’ needs. Sage Alerts & Workflow is a great tool for users to keep track of their business from all angles.

Overall, TPAC 2018 was a successful and enlightening event to attend, to forge new relationships and learn about different products that operate alongside Sage 300. I look forward to attending again next year!

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.

Cleaning up AR transactions using Sage 300 Write-Off process

Companies sometimes have customer entries in Accounts Receivable that need to be cleared from the ledger because they are non-recoverable.  This includes transactions such as bad debts, debt forgiveness (e.g. interest charges) and small over/under payments.  Often the transactions sit on the ledger for a while because it is troublesome to correct them.

In Sage 300, there are a couple of processes that can be used to clear these items.  In situations where there are multiple entries to clear at one time, and where a set of criteria can be defined for doing that, the write-off function may be the answer.

First, review the Accounts Receivable account sets to make sure the Write-Offs General Ledger account is the correct one for each.  Write-Offs is the expense account to which amounts are debited when you write off transactions and balances; it is often called ‘bad debt’. The Create Write off Batch screen automatically produces transactions for this account.

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Either now or before posting the final results, print the Accounts Receivable Aged Trial Balance for the customers and transaction types used in the Write Off selection process, to use in verifying the results.  In this example, the Aged Trial Balance report used is for customer 1200, Ronald Black, and the transactions that will be written off are outstanding transactions on/before 10/31/2019:

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Mr. Black’s account has three transactions that will be part of the write-off:  a payment and two invoices.

Go to Accounts Receivable Periodic Processing and choose “Create Write-Off Batch”.  Complete the screen selections as required to gather the appropriate transactions.  The choice for the “type of transaction” to write off include outstanding transactions, overdue transactions, overdue balances, outstanding balances and outstanding retainage.  In this example, “outstanding transactions” is chosen.

Choose the Account Type; Ronald Black’s account is Balance Forward, so that is selected.

Choose the document types to include in the process; at least one must be selected.  In this example, “all” is chosen, though it could have been limited just the types of transactions outstanding.

Choose either “amount” or “percentage” as the “Select By”, and enter non-zero values in the “From” and “To” fields.  When creating a batch to write off small balances, enter a range where the values represent the limits the company wishes to write off.  In this example, to include the outstanding cash, which shows as a negative number, the “From” is set to that value, and the “To” to the value of the highest invoice value for the customer.   (Note:  it is not necessary to use the exact amounts for the range, only that they be set to allow the desired range of documents to be captured).

In the bottom portion of the screen, choose up to 4 different criteria to select the customers who will be included.  Leave all as (None) to gather data for all customers who meet the other criteria, or enter the appropriate range.   Selections may be done by a number of customer-related variables – use the drop downs to review and choose the criteria required.  In this example, only Customer Number 1200 (for Ronald Black) is chosen.

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Note that there is an “optional fields” tab.  This may be used to further scope the transactions that will be included in the Write-Off batch.  This example does not use optional fields so none are selected.

Once all criteria are set, select “Process”.  A batch of transactions meeting the criteria is created and posted as an open batch with a description of “Write Off” in the Accounts Receivable Adjustments batch list.  Each transaction being written off is a separate entry in the adjustment batch.  The batch may be reviewed and transactions edited as needed, and then posted as a normal adjustment batch.  If the batch is incorrect, it can be deleted and the process started over.

The following shows one entry from the write-off on Ronald Black’s account:

Mary Blog May 4th Pic 4

Written by Mary Clark, Consultant

WAC Solution Partners- New England

Sage 300 Reports

Reports are one of the most important tools that everyone in a well-oiled organization needs to accomplish their goals. From the top of the organizational chain down to front line managers, reports are the life blood. When it’s difficult to summon the exact information you require, heads explode and the life blood starts hemorrhaging. A little over dramatic but point is, it shouldn’t have to be that way.

Canned reports that are provided by that new ERP application can be insufficient and ineffective. You require custom reports that offer the precise information in the correct sort order and so forth. You have reached Information Nirvana.

The problem with creating custom reports in many ERP systems are that they give you the tools such as SAP Crystal Reports but no real good solution to easily enter all those important parameters. If you rely on Crystal Reports internal parameter screen, it’s kludgy at the very least and ugly at best. If you’re providing your client with the panacea of reports, you are letting them in on a huge let down when they have to enter the necessary parameters.

In a recent Sage 300 project, I came across an incredibly elegant solution to my parameter screen problem. A fellow consultant provided me with some valuable information using Visual Basic Macro (.AVB) files to provide a customized parameter screen for Sage 300 projects. Although I’m not an expert in Sage 300, this quite literally has the potential to open a lot of custom report doors and I will share what I learned with you.

If you have some knowledge of Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) then you will have no problem utilizing Visual Basic Macro’s for your Sage 300 report projects. I will refrain from providing a history lesson on the programming language and its intricacies. Let’s get started!

The Three Elements

Sage 300 requires that you provide three elements to creating a fully functional parameter screen for you reports:

  • An .AVB file. This is essentially a Visual Basic program. It has the graphical screen and source code embedded in the file. If you have ever built a program using Visual Basic 6 or VBA in Microsoft Access; same thing.
  • An entry in the XXrpt.ini file. This file is located in the program modules folder. In our case, we will be using the Manufacturing Module that was developed by AutoSimply. The module folder starts with an “MF” so you will find this in the MF62A folder in our case. The entry will be added to the end of the ini file. The entry consists of report information such as the crystal report name, paper size, number of output parameters, and what those parameter names are. The image below is an example of our setting values.

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  • And finally, the crystal report. Our report uses an ODBC driver for the data source. It points to our Sage 300 data located in Microsoft SQL Server. I won’t go into the details of setting up the database configuration or report development, since that is a topic deep in mystique and beyond the subject matter in this article. What you need to have in this report are parameters precisely named as the ones in the ini file example above. More on this later.

Where to Start?

What comes first, the report or the parameter screen? The obvious answer in my mind is the report. This, of course, is the most difficult task you might think, and you would be right. After you have developed a parameter screen, this becomes a reusable component in your future report projects in Sage 300 and your main focus and work will be towards making that awesome report for your boss or client.

Writing the Report

As mentioned earlier, I won’t go into the minutia of writing a crystal report but there are a couple of important elements that you will need to include to make this successful.

  • A SortBy Group
    • The SortBy group is a grouping that allow the report to be sorted by any field in the report that you deem necessary. The sortby group will be passed the value to sort by in a formula that will retrieve the parameter from our parameter screen. It is important to offer your client this option since hard coding sort fields are not dynamic and limit the effectiveness of the report. In our example, we will sort by three different fields, all mutually exclusive.
  • Parameters
    • This is the most important element to our report. This is the whole reason we’re building a parameter screen in the first place, right? Below is an example of where those parameters are located in the crystal reports designer.

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The parameters highlighted will be used in the report select expert. This will force Crystal Reports to only give us the information we requested with our parameters. Under the Crystal covers, it’s essentially creating a select statement to SQL Server for the data related to those parameter fields. Below is an example of one such query:

SELECT “MFORDH”.”MONUM”, “MFORDH”.”MOTYPE”, “MFORDH”.”ITEMNO”, “MFORDH”.”MODESC”, “MFORDH”.”MOREF”, “MFORDH”.”ORDQTY”, “MFORDH”.”PRODQTY”, “MFORDH”.”ITEMDESC”, “MFORDH”.”DUEDT”, “MFORDH”.”ORDERDT”, “MFORDH”.”RELEASEDT”, “ICITEM”.”STOCKUNIT”, “MFORDH”.”COMMENTS”, “MFOPT”.”MOSERIES”, “MFORDH”.”MOSERIES”, “MFORDH”.”MOSTATUS”, “OEORDH”.”PONUMBER”, “MFORDSO”.”SONUM”, “OEORDH”.”CUSTOMER”

FROM   (((“ASDAT”.”dbo”.”MFORDH” “MFORDH” INNER JOIN “ASDAT”.”dbo”.”ICITEM” “ICITEM” ON “MFORDH”.”ITEMNO”=”ICITEM”.”FMTITEMNO”) LEFT OUTER JOIN “ASDAT”.”dbo”.”MFORDSO” “MFORDSO” ON “MFORDH”.”MOUNIQ”=”MFORDSO”.”MOUNIQ”) LEFT OUTER JOIN “ASDAT”.”dbo”.”OEORDH” “OEORDH” ON “MFORDSO”.”SONUM”=”OEORDH”.”ORDNUMBER”) INNER JOIN “ASDAT”.”dbo”.”MFOPT” “MFOPT” ON “ICITEM”.”AUDTORG”=”MFOPT”.”AUDTORG”

WHERE  (“MFORDH”.”MONUM”>=” AND “MFORDH”.”MONUM”<=’ZZZZZZZZ’) AND (“MFORDH”.”ITEMNO”>=” AND “MFORDH”.”ITEMNO”<=’ZZZZZZZZ’)

Pretty long and confusing if you’re not fluent in the T-SQL language.

 

With your report completed, we will continue on to the .AVB file. As stated earlier, if you have experience writing Visual Basic code in any of the Microsoft Office suite of products, then you will know how to write code in Visual Basic Macros. Since this is a high level article, I will not give a line by line rundown of the code but a list of programming rudiments.

  • Your Main Module will include API definitions for Sage 300 and some MS Windows functions.
  • References to the Accpac Manager and MS Windows dll’s.
  • A main sub routine to start the program with your initializations.
  • A main form that will display the necessary parameter fields. (Figure 3)
  • Event code that will fire when any of those parameter fields or buttons are acted upon.
  • Error captures. This is needed to handle error exceptions in an elegant way with some form of exception description for debugging.

Conclusion

With the ability to create these custom parameter screens, you have a set of powerful development tools at your fingertips. There is no need for SDK’s that are costly and have heavy learning curves. For those with some programming ability, this capability with bring immediate dividends to your organization. If you were given the choice between figure 4 and figure 5, which one would you choose?

I think figure 5 is the obvious choice.

Figure 3.

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Figure 4.

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Figure 5.

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written by John Trainer, Consultant

WAC Solution Partners- New England

Sage Intelligence Reporting

The best tool in the Sage ERP product line is Sage Intelligence Reporting.  This tool comes with a number of preconfigured reports for financial, sales, inventory and purchasing reporting.  This article will cover the sales, inventory and purchasing reporting tool.  Sage Intelligence works with Microsoft Excel to create Pivot Tables for the reporting.  Pivot Tables are a great tool for summarizing data.

Take the Sales Master report:  This report allows you to see the sales total for a customer and the total for each item purchased.  You can easily filter the report to see the total sales for any salesperson or combination of salespeople.  You can modify the report to total on the salesperson and then the customer.  You can drop the items and just see company totals.  You also can just see the top 100 customers or maybe the top 10.  If you want to add a field not on the report you can add a column in the report specs in the Report Manager.  If the field you want to add is not in one of the tables the report uses, you can modify the container with a simple SQL join statement and then all the fields in the new table can be added to your report.

This product is available to add to Sage ERP products.  it can be paid for as a one time fee plus maintenance or you can set it up as a subscription and pay for it monthly.  Sage Intelligence Reporting is a very powerful tool that takes advantage of the capabilities of Excel Pivot Tables and the simple SQL statements to create flexible meaningful reports.

Written By Michael Ericksen, WAC Solution Partners- Midwest

-Partner, Certified Consultant

Excel as a Reporting Tool- not a new idea… but a good one

Microsoft Excel is becoming one of the most popular reporting tools.  Sage 300 uses Microsoft Excel with it Intelligence Reporting module to create financial statements and pivot table for sales, purchasing and inventory reporting.

Using Excel for creating financial statements is very flexible.  Users can select many different types of reports.  Examples are rolling twelve months, or rolling four quarters, or quarterly except for the current quarter use monthly.  Since the reports are in Excel, you have the full capability of the spreadsheet to make any additional calculations.  You may want to show Gross Profit Percentage, or maybe marketing expense as a percent of total revenue.  Whatever numbers that are meaningful are available when using Excel for financial reporting.