April 2017 Newsletter
What we’re talking about in April:
- Sage promises modernization; approves RealPage for cloud-based Property Management
- Technology: the great mediator between owners + tenants
- RealPage Roadshow for Property Management professionals
- TUG Conference versus Sage Summit – which should you attend?
- Sage price increase coming soon…
- Webinar: Quickbooks CAN’T but Sage 100 Contractor CAN!
- Awesome ‘Tips and Tricks’ for Sage 300 CRE | Sage 100 CON | Sage Estimating
Investments, Innovation, and Integration for Sage 300 CRE
by Joanie Hollabaugh
The really good news for Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate
Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate sent a letter in Q4 of 2016, promising “a comprehensive modernization project that will deliver web enabled access, new workflows, modern user interface and mobility to further enable customers to drive top line growth and manage bottom line profitability.”
With the proliferation of mobile and smart devices in the field, Sage is focused on making core, on-premise solutions available in any mobile environment. And it’s more than just access – it’s full functionality with processes and workflows, reports and business intelligence — NEW technology and code!
Jon Witty, Vice President and General Manager of Sage CRE stated:
Today we are proud to announce that Sage has committed to invest in a major, multi-faceted development project that will result in the accelerated delivery of innovative new products and significant product enhancements for our Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate customers. These will transform your total experience with our products and bring mobility, improved workflows and a new modern user interface to enable you to work on the go, drive top line growth and manage bottom line profitability.
In support of these exciting plans, Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate will deliver three new mobile services: Sage Mobile Projects, Sage Mobile Service and Sage Mobile Insights over the next eighteen months.
Wait, what about the ‘RE’ in CRE?
While we are super-excited for the mobile construction side, there’s not much going on in the Real Estate mobility/cloud-hosted front. In fact, Sage quietly blessed the cloud-based RealPage residential product integration with the core accounting package. RealPage is a front-runner on the residential side of property management, and recently announced it’s commercial cloud-based PM solution. And while Sage’s property management module works perfectly fine on premise with the core Accounting package, Sage doesn’t have (or isn’t developing) a commercial cloud PM solution.
RealPage’s Commercial Property Management — in the Cloud
RealPage Commercial is a powerful cloud management tool that enables you to monitor, analyze, and execute standard policies and procedures for all your commercial office, retail, industrial, and mixed-use properties. It simplifies and automates many aspects of commercial lease administration – from wherever you work!
Either way – two great solutions!
Ledgerwood Associates will be representing both Sage 300 CRE and RealPage solutions! It’s simply a matter of your business preference, and we can implement and support both.
The following three articles/events are dedicated to introducing you to a terrific product and opportunities to learn more.
Managing Properties with Technology
by Perry Levine, RealPage
Can’t we all just get along?
Would property management be easier if it weren’t for the tenants? That may sound like a ridiculous question, but it’s how many property owners view their business residents.
It doesn’t have to be that way though. Landlords and tenants don’t have to be mortal enemies. After all, it’s a symbiotic relationship. The tenant needs space and the owner wants a return. It’s that simple, right?
Nope. At least not always. Many tenant-owner relationships are adversarial from the beginning. They start with a misunderstanding over simple property policies like signs or utilities and end with an argument that ends up as a “pay up or leave” situation.
Conflicts start out with something as simple as trash. Did the tenant miss the dumpster or was it full and the landlord forget to empty it. And who broke that A/C unit? Was it old or already broken?
Technology as a mediator
Amazingly enough, most tenant matters can essentially be resolved by technology. If you have the right tools, you’ll keep tenants happy with superior service from day one. Quick responses and the ability to administer a lease with integrity help tenants feel like they’re being treated right. And with tools that can serve up lease info quickly, you’ll minimize the time and resources spent righting any possible wrongs.
Everyone knows that time is money. When a tenant calls with an issue or a problem, they need a quick response. And smart tenant relations include accurate reconciliations, rent requests, triple nets and rent increases. It’s also about understanding and communication, especially where the nuances of lease terms and conditions are concerned.
Tenants don’t always understand the lease, so additional communication is needed. By proactively managing your properties, observing important dates as they relate to your individual leases – like expiring options or tracking certificates of insurance – and notifying tenants, you can handle issues before they become exaggerated.
While properties are our assets, they’re useless without happy tenants. A little proactive thinking will keep those same tenants from leaving your property and leasing from another owner.
Want to learn more about RealPage? Click here to request a demo!
Sage Summit versus TUG
Which should you attend?
Two events in May provide you options to explore more about Sage software. Both are opportunities to learn more, expand the skills of your personnel, and allow interaction with other Sage users. How do you know which one is the right one for you? Take a look at the websites for each and browse the session agenda. This will tell you what topics are covered. Sage Summit had a broad focus on all Sage product lines, where TUG has a narrow focus on Sage 300 CRE, Sage 100 Contractor and the peripheral add-ons for those.
TUG National Users Conference
Held in Minneapolis, MN this year, from May 8- 11th, the Annual TUG National Users Conference (TUG= Timberline Users Group; a throwback to its original software name) is the largest conference in the country where all levels of users of the following software meet to share knowledge, ideas and experiences on Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate, Sage 100 Contractor, and Sage Estimating. Follow TUG at @TUGweb on twitter.
- Focused on just Sage 300 CRE and Sage 100 Contractor
- User organized and driven
- Range of educational topics, with lecture, lab or round table formats
- A help desk to drop by and ask any software question, with areas of expertise scheduled during the week
- Trade show with some third-party vendors offering services and add-ons to Sage 300 and 100
- Casual contact with users from across the country during sessions, lunches, evening events (a party!)
- Mixture of very experienced, long term users and new operators
- Sage technical staff on hand for some sessions for Q&A as well as presenting future direction
- Excellent place to learn how to more fully utilize existing software
Sage Summit Tour (Atlanta)
Sage has been busy the last few years, “reimagining” itself (a past Summit slogan) and its product offerings, as well as the Sage Summit event. The latest iteration for 2017 has morphed from a single, North American mega-event into truncated market “tours” across the globe (UK, Australia, Singapore, Spain, USA, Canada, Germany, and South Africa).
The Sage Summit US event will be held May 9-11 in Atlanta, GA. At the time of this posting, there are no heavy-hitting keynote speakers scheduled (previous speakers included General Colin Powell, Deepak Chopra, Sir Richard Branson, Ashton Kutcher, Gwyneth Paltrow, Richard Herjavec, and many more); instead Sage “celebrities” executives will present (Stephen Kelly, CEO; Alan Lainge, EVP, Partners and Alliances; Nick Goode, EVP, Product Management; and Jennifer Warawa, EVP Product Marketing).
The event has also been condensed from five to two and a half days, and unlike previous years, no headliner pop band has been announced to wrap up the event. Follow @Sage_Summit on twitter.
There will be many exciting announcements at Summit regarding product development, mainly for Estimating and Sage Mobile solutions. Attend the Product Roadmap sessions for Sage to reveal new features and version announcements!
Sage Summit highlights:
- Sage driven, business oriented: “…the must-attend business conference for thought leadership, inspiration, and innovation for businesses like yours.”
- Covers ALL Sage business products (general accounting, CRM, ERP, HR, etc., – not exclusive to construction business)
- Mixture of business solution presentations, breakout sessions, round table discussions,
- Trade show with third party vendors and products that interface with Sage products
- Product roadmaps and future releases and features
- Heavy social media and marketing themes
So, which is right for you? It depends on your needs, obviously. Users will gravitate to TUG, while business owners and executives may want to explore the Sage of the future, as well as “thought leadership” and networking opportunities. Either way, you’ll see Ledgerwood people at both events!
Speaking of Property Management…
Join RealPage and LAI from May 21-24 in Booth N1331 (North Hall)
RECon is the world’s largest retail real estate convention with more than 37,000 attendees representing 58 countries who gather for power deal making, endless networking and innovative education! Find registration info HERE.
Follow #ICSCRECON on twitter.
Sage announces price changes for FY 2017
Notice sent on March 1st
Just in case you missed it in your inbox, Sage sent notification to customers last month, advising of price increases. Based upon their annual pricing review, Sage considers all market conditions such as the cost of doing business, major product releases, and additional value they deliver to customers through complementary services before adjusting their pricing.
For Sage 100 Contractor:
- 3% increase to list prices (5/1/17) and Sage Business Care renewals (8/1/17)
- 5% increase to subscription (8/1/17)
For Sage 300 CRE:
- 2% increase to list prices (5/1/17) and Sage Business Care renewals (8/1/17)
- 2% increase to Sage MyAssistant list prices (5/1/17) and Sage Business Care renewals (8/1/17)
Close before May!
If you’re considering purchasing these systems, you’ll want to sneak in before the price increases! So that means you’ll want to demo, get a quote, and approve your order in the next four weeks. Call us at 480.423.8300 to get the ball rolling!
Quickbooks CAN’T — but Sage 100 Contractor CAN!
Outgrown QB and need Accounting software based on the JOB??
Let’s face it, QuickBooks Contractor is great for a small startup company; it shows the expected financials and has an easy learning curve. However, it was NOT designed with job-specific financial information that contractors, specialty contractors, subcontractors, GCs and commercial or residential builders need most. The focus of Sage 100 Contractor (formerly MasterBuilder) is based around the JOB.
The Sage 100 CON dashboard shows all of the same financials that QB does. However, it takes functionality to the next level with critical information of the JOB: cash flow by job, under/over billings by job, job contract budget and cost to date, job uncommitted billing, etc.
For example, the Job Contract, Budget and Cost to Date Status report in Sage 100 CON shows the contract, change orders to the budget, percent complete, and estimated profit on a job. Another exclusive feature in Sage 100 CON is the Committed Costs snapshot that lists standard Cost Codes separate from the parts list. QB combines those codes and locks them into one item category.
FREE Webinar: Thursday, April 20 from 2:00 – 3:00 PM
Follow LAI on Social Media for current construction and technology news!
Upcoming LAI Online Training and Networking Events:
Safeguard your wire transfers
Submitted by Bryan Eto, CPA BeachFleischman
Protect your company with procedures and controls
If your company uses wire transfers, you’ve solved some of the headaches involved with paper checks. With wire transfers, you know that a payment arrived and isn’t “lost in the mail.” You also avoid some of the risks of forgery and other check fraud schemes.
However, wire transfers have their own pitfalls. If you don’t have the proper controls in place, there’s little to prevent a controller or someone else with wire transfer authority from fraudulently wiring funds from your company to a non-company account. That person may then disappear, leaving you with little ability to monitor his or her actions. And since wire transfers often involve large dollar transactions, this type of crime can be devastating to your company’s fiscal well-being.
Remember: Management is responsible for assessing the inherent risks in the wire transfer system you use, establishing procedures and controls to protect the firm against unreasonable exposures and monitoring the effectiveness of such safeguards.
Nine ways to help you avoid becoming the victim of wire transfer fraud:
- First, management should realistically evaluate the risks and provide for adequate accounting records and internal controls to keep the exposure within acceptable limits.
- Effective risk management requires that an adequate accounting system be in place to determine the extent of any intraday overdrafts and potential overnight overdrafts before releasing payments.
- Wire transfer payments must be within established credit limits and amounts in excess of such limits (involving significant credit risk) must be properly approved by the appropriate lending authorities.
- Your company’s policies should establish the types of allowable transfers, especially on transactions involving a third party.
- Job descriptions should be well defined, providing for a logical flow of work and an adequate segregation of duties. No one person in a wire transfer operation should be responsible for the origination, testing, processing and balancing of a request. The daily balancing process should include a reconciliation of both the number and dollar amount of messages transmitted.
- Wire transfer personnel should promptly inform other departments or personnel affected by a transfer of funds so that the accounts involved can be updated. All adjustments required in the processing of a transfer request should be approved by supervisory personnel and the reasons for adjustment should be adequately documented. Transfer requests as of a past or future date should require supervisory approval with the reasons for those requests well defined.
- Internal controls must be sufficient to determine the authenticity of the transferor of funds. Telephone transfer controls might include a callback procedure, whereby an employee calls a prearranged telephone number to verify the identity of the transferor.
- Another possible control: A unique code provided by the originator and verified by the receiver. Transfer requests are normally documented by the receiver on pre-printed forms, which serve as the initial record for audit activities.
- Considerable documentation is necessary to maintain adequate accounting records and auditing control. Many financial institutions retain logs that record transfer request information, assign sequence numbers to incoming and outgoing messages and keep an unbroken copy of all messages received on wire transfer equipment. Use of pre-numbered forms is also common. At the end of each business day, an employee should compare request forms to the actual transactions to ensure that all transfers were properly recorded.
Even one incident of wire transfer fraud can cause serious damage to the financial security of your business. Consult your CPA to be sure proper controls are in place.
Beach Fleischman 2201 E. Camelback Rd. Phoenix, AZ 85016 602.265.7011 | http://beachfleischman.com | twitter: @BeachFleischman
Backing up isn’t hard to do!
by Pam Schulz, Sage Certified Consultant
One of the IMPORTANT NEW features in Sage 100 Contractor 2016 (version 20- SQL) is the ability to BACK UP YOUR DATA within the software. Now you can:
- Backup on demand
- Schedule automatic backups
Using this Backup Feature is important because it is designed to backup all of the files that are associated with the SQL database that are needed for a successful restoration. The importance of regular backups cannot be overstated, and having this scheduled to occur automatically is simply a good practice. And the ability to back up on demand easily is useful when performing tasks like archiving, where a backup is recommended just prior to running the task.
Note: all backups are done in the DATABASE ADMINISTRATOR.
How to back up on demand:
- Log into the Database Administrator
- From the Menu on the Left Hand Side, Click on “Tune Up/Back Up/Restore”
- Select “Back Up Companies” from the menu
- From the Window on the right hand side, select the company you wish to back up.
- Note the location for the Back Up file to be saved. You can Browse to select an alternate location.
- Press the “Create Backup” button to begin. A message will appear to the left of this button to indicate when the process is complete. (Be patient- it takes a little while)
Your backup will be saved for the number of days specified in the “Advanced Settings>Advanced Backup Setting” selection from the menu. In addition to setting the number of days to retain the backups, the default locations for the Back Ups can be set here. This will provide the DEFAULT in the Back Up window-an alternate selection can be made at any time when starting the back up.
How to schedule automatic backups:
- Log into the Database Administrator
- From the Menu on the Left Hand Side, Click on “Schedule Nightly Maintenance”
- Select “Create Maintenance Schedules” from the menu
- Select a company to create the schedule.
- Choose a length of time to keep the back ups.
- Press “Save Schedule.”
Don’t forget to leave the server and the machine on!
The backup will run nightly. Make sure that both the server and the machine where the backup will be stored will remain “on” at the back up scheduled time. Use the Other Menu Options to edit or remove an existing schedule.
Location, reminders, and offsite backup
The “Advanced Settings>Advanced Backup Settings” selection allows you to change the default location for the scheduled backups.
If for some reason your backup does not run, users will get a “warning.” If the backup does not run for more than one night, or has never run, users will get a “critical” warning. A manual backup can be done as a safeguard until the automatic backups resume.
And, if all this isn’t “easy” enough – there are prompts when setting up a new company, upgrading, and restoring backups to serve as reminders to create the backup schedule.
In addition to all of this, you should make sure that a regular copy of your data is kept offsite. If your entire server is compromised, and the only backup location you have IS your server, you are not protected!
It would be a good idea to review the available backup tools with your IT staff so that the best arrangement can be set up. Please refer to the “Database and Company Administration Guide” for details.
Need help with your Sage 100 CON backups? Pam and Kelcie can help! Click below to request an appointment.
How to create payroll formulas for paid time off
by Kyle Zeigler, Sage Senior Certified Consultant
New federal and state requirements for PTO
Creating formulas in Sage 300 CRE can be daunting for even the most experienced user, and payroll formulas are often the most complex. With expanding Federal and State legislation requiring paid sick leave, automatic accrual of hours for this or any other type of paid time off (PTO) is a worthwhile objective. But coming up with the formulas to automate the accrual becomes a challenge.
Beginning January 1, 2017, Executive Order 13706 requires certain companies that contract with the Federal Government to provide their employees with up to seven (7) days of paid sick leave annually. In addition, more and more states are following the Federal example and establishing paid sick leave requirements for employers in their state. For instance, beginning July 1, 2017, employers in Arizona must accrue a minimum of one (1) hour of earned paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. There is more to the Arizona legislation, so users in this state, as well as other states with similar requirements, should become thoroughly familiar with all aspects of the laws in their state requiring paid sick leave.
Types of formulas
In many cases, more than one formula may be needed to accrue any type of PTO, including paid sick leave. Separate formulas are often used to provide the following variables for calculation:
- Employee anniversary date
- Employee length of service
- Tests for Pay Group or department
- Total employee YTD hours accrued
- Total employee YTD hours taken
- Total regular and overtime hours worked during the pay period
For example, a PTO accrual formula that ensures the calculation occurs only on the first check in a pay period, checks the employee Pay Group where some employees are paid weekly and others are paid biweekly, and then calculates PTO hours based on formulas for the Pay Group might be written:
IF (Check Sequence [PR Check] = “First” AND Pay Group (PR check) = “BIWEEKLY”, Sick Accr BW (Public Formula), IF(Pay Group (PR check) = “WEEKLY”, Sick Accr WK (Public Formula)))
Note that this formula contains two additional formulas that were created separately and then combined in one relatively complex formulas in an “If – Then – Else” type calculation. Selecting the right records to use in each of the formulas is key to the success of the calculations, and logical sequencing is critical.
If your head hurts just reading this, don’t despair! The Help Topics in PR > Help > Formulas give great information and examples. And even more examples are available in the Sage Knowledgebase.
It’s important to test the formulas once created before using them in a live payroll. This is easily accomplished by linking the final formula into the Pay setup for the accrual, adding the Pay to an employee record, marking it as automatic, and then creating and processing a sample check using Enter Checks.
And as always, if you’d like a little expert help getting your paid sick time and other PTO accrual formulas set up and working in your system, please call Ledgerwood Associates at 480.423.8300.
Want help from a Certified Sage Consultant with Payroll formulas?
Do I need to install the Sage SQL Estimating Client on the SQL Database server?
by Renee Mullen, Sage Marketing Manager
The Sage SQL Estimating Client is not required to be installed on the SQL Database server. However, there are some required components that need to be installed on the SQL Database server in order for the Sage SQL Estimating clients to connect to the SQL Database server properly.
If you do not need the Sage SQL Estimating Client on the SQL Database server, when installing Sage SQL Estimating at the SQL server, select the option titled Sage Estimating Server only. This will install the required components without installing the full client.
For more information, see the Sage Estimating (SQL) Installation and Administration Guide and the Sage Estimating SQL Server Guide for your specific version located on the Product Documents site.
For more information on this topic visit Knowledgebase article 37669. You can find this information and more in the Sage Knowledgebase. Also, join the conversation at Sage City, available 24/7, the online community is your gateway to many Sage resources.