August 2016 Newsletter
Photo Credit: ChronicleLive
- Just back from Sage Summit: a very “unofficial” review.
- Critical software updates you should know! Plus a 40% discount to ease your pain.
- PART 2: Sage 100 Contractor V20 Upgrade — Recommendations and system requirments
- Try an Enterprise Content Management system MADE for Sage 300 CRE (FREE webinar)!
- Epic Tips and Tricks for Sage 100 CON | Sage 300 CRE | Sage Estimating | Construction Accounting.
Sage Summit 2016 – More Cowbell!
by Joanie Hollabaugh
This is my fourth year attending Sage Summit. Each year, I review pros and cons of my experiences in an opinion piece.
Sage Summit has become a monumental, impressive event — this year’s attendance was 15k (2,500 of which are “Partners” – resellers/service providers like Ledgerwood)!
Sage dedicates the first day to their Partners with a keynote from CEO Stephen Kelly, followed by “roadmap” sessions of development plans by product type. The three remaining days are open to Sage software users (mostly accountants and business owners) and prospects.
Each year the event gets bigger, with more star power, and production polish.
This year’s theme was “Ignite Your Passion” which dovetails into Sage’s habit of “re-imagining” a business process or practice. Last year, the emphasis was on SMBs (small-to-medium businesses) and the Sage branded a”Golden Triangle” of accounting, payroll and payments. This year, they redefined “SMB.” Small business now = “Start Ups;” Medium business = “Scale Ups;” (and ironically, “Enterprise” remained enterprise). It’s a marketing strategy, with Keynote Speakers and Featured Conversations following the theme; linking new products to companies’ needs to start up, scale up, or go enterprise.
Sage’s primary focus was encouraging businesses to do business in the cloud, namely, Sage One (accounting for start ups) and Sage Live (an accounting dashboard). Also, the introduction of a (instant messaging) ‘bot’ oddly named Pegg, for pulling live financials. As in texting, “Pegg, what are my payables today?” Or, “Pegg, how much money did I make this month?” And lots, lots more cowbell.
In the spirit of Sage Summit, I’ve “re-imagined” my own pros and cons:
The Pros Accolades
A good CEO should have poise, intelligence, and charisma. Stephen Kelly is a rock star. Part David Bowie, part James Bond — Kelly handles himself, his Sage leaders, and his famous guests with polish only attainable in a great suit and a proper British accent.
The keynotes hosted by various Sage Execs are always the most fun and informative. Kudos for bringing Richard Branson to the stage! Complimented by amazing video footage, his business accomplishments were peppered with personal stories and references to the importance of his family.
‘The giving economy’ session featuring Gwyneth Paltrow (founder and CCO of ‘goop’) and Zoey Deschanel (co-founder of HelloGiggles) was well, entertaining. Gwyneth was composed and business-literate, and Zoey was a face-scrunching, ingénue-eyed charmer. Neither really contributed any groundbreaking advice to the audience of business owners and accountants – but hey, just to hear GP ask ZD if she was growing pot in her “organic aquaponics” farm in Texas was worth getting up early for the laugh.
Arguably the best chemistry was demonstrated by ‘Shark Tank’ stars Robert Herjavec and Daymond John. Their banter was loaded with quotable nuggets on starting up, scaling up, and succeeding in general (with many quotable failure examples, no less).
In my humble opinion, Ashton Kutcher stole the show. Sharing the stage with Kickstart founder, Yancey Strickler, and interviewed by Sage’s Global Chief Marketing Officer, Santiago Solanas, AK proved to be insightful as he is clever (SS asked him where he wanted to be in 50 years, and AK quipped, “Alive!”). As far from his Kelso and Punk’d personas as possible, he displayed great instincts for disruptive business models (he’s invested in AirBnB and Uber) and emerging technologies. His newest interest is in cyber-security. Time to dig up my coffee can in the garden!
While Sage is very adept at commending themselves and their software development accomplishments, credit should be given where credit is due. Announcing a one-year anniversary of the Sage Foundation, their (video review of) contributions to targeted geographic areas was impressive. Truly.
Rolling a video with highlights from The Invictus Games held in Orlando this year, I couldn’t help feeling pride in Sage’s multi-year commitment to being an Official Supporter. I might have even welled up a bit.
Sage’s North America President, Mark Sheipe, US Naval veteran and a former FA-18 strike/fighter pilot, hosted a multi-national panel of vets (and the CEO) who participated in the Invictus Games including: Team Canada Captain Bruno Guevremont, Team UK competitor Mike Goody, Team USA competitor Air Force Staff Sergeant Sebastiana Lopez Arellano; and Brian Stann, Marine Corps veteran and Hire Heroes USA CEO. Heartwarming and humorous, the audience gave standing O’s to these heroes and marveled at their stamina and character.
Following the philanthropic theme of the “giving economy” Sage announced their global support for Hire Heroes, a program to help more military veterans transition into civilian life. From Sage’s press release on July 27th:
Initially, the program will support military veterans transitioning into civilian life by providing career training, connecting veterans with mentors from the Sage community of colleagues and customers, and by matching individuals with potential careers and job placements.
Mike Ditka, suprise! | The awesome drummers! | The kilt. | The great graphics and production team. | The cool fountains in McCormick Place. | The ambassadors at McCormick Place. | The awesome shuttle service. | The beautiful Palmer House.
The Cons Opportunities
Did anyone else have trouble logging into the Sage Summit web portal? It took me a couple of weeks and a few support tickets to succeed. And when you did log on, could you access anything other than your registration confirmation? It more or less dead-ended for me, and then I had to go back to the main page, thereby erasing my log in.
My workaround was to click on the Sessions, select one, and then log in. I thought I would like the Favorites as a bookmark for finding alternate times to fill up my Agenda, but I got confused in the View mode. And when I could finally download my selections to my Outlook calendar, it duplicated each event. I assumed it was loading my Favorites too, and I could delete (clean up) the dupes, but not the case. My plan became to use the mobile app in lieu of my iPhone Calendar.
A Whole Lot of (App) Scrolling Going On
I’m just saying — not the best third-party mobile app from DoubleDutch, IMHO. The app features (many of which no longer load) were logical enough, but went mostly unused. The top two for me were the Twitter Feed and the Sessions|My Agenda.
Last year (or maybe a few years ago), your personal agenda was printed on the back of your registration badge; flip it over and you know your schedule for the week. I know, it’s old school – but you should have seen the lines of people at the Agenda printing stations!
And oh, the Session feature! Serious scroll fatigue. For example, if you wanted to look for a session to add to your Agenda in your free time, say 3:30 PM — but you’re researching it at 8:30 AM, you had to scroll through ALL of the sessions from the current time to the prospective time — literally hundreds of sessions.
No Cheerios for YOU!
This is the first year that no breakfast was available. And I was NOT prepared for that. I recommend Sage re-allocates some budget bucks for The Most Important Meal of the Day, instead of making me scramble at Starbucks or dig through my purse for an (how old?) energy bar.
It was so nice one year, to get my badge at the hotel I stayed in, the day before the event started. Despite getting to McCormick Place early on Partner Day and waiting in a massive line, I was unable to get my badge before the keynote from Stephen Kelly. Fortunately, we were allowed in the theater, but had to re-queue AFTER the program to get registered. And then had to wait in ANOTHER line to pick up “materials.” Loosely translated, that was my badge (a nice backpack from Sage for being a partner, helped soothe the sting).
Where’s the Construction and Real Estate Vertical?
While it’s nice to see Sage jockeying for major market share with cloud accounting products, Sage 300 CRE and 100 Contractor were sorely missing from any featured business presentation. CRE may be a vertical outlier, but it’s still packing the bread and butter in Sage’s lunch box. As a partner, we were able to learn a little in Partner Day Roadmap sessions, but if I had been a user, I may have felt woefully neglected. And while Sage is not “forcing” (their words) CRE clients to go to the cloud, the sky-writing is on the wall.
Then again, my dance card was filled with Marketing and SMB sessions, and users may have found plenty of material to swing to! Let me know here: email@example.com.
The mashup of the Ditka/football metaphor with Braveheart in the same speech (both were a bit mundane) | The NOISE: nearby (open stage) presenters were fighting for “ear-space” – so distracting! | Vendor booths (took me 2 days to track down a certain booth). | No snacks (with the exception of the nice popcorn lady). | Bathrooms too few, too far apart (not your fault, Sage). | Less Hollywood, more business keynote speakers, please. | “Roundtables” need more guided interaction and less ‘organically’ free-form #crazyladyhijackedmysession.
Chicago was one of my favorite venues (being a mid-western girl). And the energy and yes, “passion” was contagious; the twitterverse is lit up with non-stop nuggets. Fulfilling its brand promise as the “Largest gathering of small and medium businesses in the world” Sage Summit was fun, inspiring, and entertaining.
*For a day-by-day recap, I recommend you check out Zen Terrelonge’s RealBusiness op pieces. Hint: click on the Sage Summit tag to the right of the article to read other daily posts.
It’s back! The B2G1 Free Sale
Add Users & Modules for Sage 100 CON, 300 CRE or Estimating
Purchase any two Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate, Sage 100 Contractor or Sage Estimating modules or user licenses by 9/28/2016 and get the third module or user license of equal or lesser value, for free!
Discount only applies to additional Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate, Sage 100 Contractor or Sage Estimating modules or user licenses, not to be combined with other offers or promotions.
Promotion is valid for Sage On-Schedule products and the following Off-Schedule products:
- My Assistant
- Additional Paperless users
Click below for a quick quote!
As with any depreciable business asset, software is acquired, leveraged, and eventually retired. Sometimes an asset is simply replaced or becomes unavailable. As you VAR, it’s our responsibility to notify you (sometimes even we’re NOT the first to know), and to help you find replacement solutions that are even better.
We have three notifications: Sage 300 CRE Residential Property Management has been “sunsetted” by Sage; the plug-in for PlanSwift to Sage Estimating has been killed by Oracle; and we are recommending a new cloud-hosting service provider.
We admit it. You’ve been too long without a modern Residential Property Management (RM) software module. Trust us, no one has “suggested” an update to Sage more than the Business Partners who resell Sage 300 CRE.
The Bad News
Sage sent out a notice last December that they were “sunsetting” (industry term for retiring software) the RM module because it is “built on a platform that is not compatible with the latest Microsoft operating systems including Windows 8 and Windows 10.” (NOTE: The Commercial Property Management module in Sage 300 CRE remains UNAFFECTED and is fully supported by Sage and LAI.)
The Good News
Also included in Sage’s notice — their “approved” replacement solution from RealPage:
On June 21, 2016, we communicated that we were identifying a possible alternative for your Residential Management software. We have identified RealPage OneSite as a viable alternative. A Sage Construction and Real Estate Development partner is building integration that will connect Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate and the RealPage OneSite solution.
The Really, Really Good News
We, at LAI, are VERY happy with this alliance. RealPage is an industry-leading producer of property management software. OneSite is a powerful, on-demand cloud management tool tht automates and simplifies many aspects of commercial lease administration.
With OneSite you can maximize your Net Operating Income (NOI) potential by creating standardized or custom expense recovery methods for tenants. Calculate projected expense recovery any time during the year, while maximizing revenue using flexible market rent adjustments.
Behind the scenes, Tony Merry vetted out dozens of solutions for cloud/hybrid hosting until he found the one to meet LAI’s high standards: Swizznet. We wrote about it in “Tony’s Picks” back in the June Newsletter.
Excerpted from Tony’s recommendation:
I am happy to proclaim that with each conversation, transaction, and collaboration we have had with Swizznet, our experience has been nothing short of exemplary. Starting with best of breed hardware and software following right through onboarding and support, Swizznet’s entire team and business model continues to impress not only myself and our organization of technical consultants, but has exceeded our customer’s expectations monumentally.
Worried about migrating your Sage applications from a local network and taking your business to the cloud? Uncertain about the advantages of the cloud and need more information? Join Swizznet for a webinar to learn more about Private Cloud Hosting.
During this webinar, Swizznet will give you a first hand look at how easy it is to add anytime, anywhere access to your Sage CRE Solution!
Thursday, August 11, 2016 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM MST
PlanSwift Takeoff… Took Off?!!
On June 10th, 2016, Oracle completed the acquisition of Textura, a leading provider of construction contracts and payment management cloud services. With NO warning (to Sage), Oracle suspended all “plugin” sales for Sage 100 CON and Sage 300 CRE!
This is another serendipitous event, as there’s an electronic takeoff product we like more – Etakeoff! (Another of “Tony’s Picks” in the April Newsletter. He must be clairvoyant!)
eTakeoff was integrated into the Sage family a little over a year ago, developed by a former Sage CRE executive. Tony sits on the development board for eTakeoff, and it’s his enthusiasm for this product that is helping to drive enhancements and upgrades.
Moving forward, LAI strongly encourages all PlanSwift clients to adopt eTakeoff Dimension as your primary integrated 2D solution. It is available in both an entry level and a premier edition.
eTakeoff is also a key partner in the BIM alliance!
Promo runs through Sept. 30th. Call Tony at 480-423-8300 for details!
V20: Recommendation + System Requirements
by Pam Schulz
As I previously mentioned (in Part One in last month’s newsletter), upgrading to Sage 100 Contractor Version 20 this is not your “typical” update. Some of the changes are significant, and there are some setup items that you need to be aware of.
- Check your Hardware/Systems requirements NOW. Know what you have and need.
- Engage your consultant early. Don’t mess it up first, then call. Hook up with resources that can make this transition smooth.
- Get your “IT” people involved early. Many of the changes affect them. There are very specific instructions and loading requirements. Make sure they obtain and follow the installation guide.
- READ the documentation provided by Sage. The guides and checklists are some of the best materials I have seen in a long time.
- PLAN the upgrade. Make sure you allow time to test and fix data. If you have custom reports or third party add-ons you need to allow time to trial convert and test.
- FOLLOW instructions.
- Make sure your hardware and operating systems comply with the requirements. Here is a link to the most recent Knowledgebase Article:
- You MUST be on version 19.7 of Sage in order to upgrade. If you are on an older version, now is the time to update so that your data can convert to v20
- Some of the most significant changes have to do with company security. Highlights include:
- Users will be required to sign in with their “own” user name and password. Specifically, no one will be able to log in as the “Supervisor” in the future. Passwords will also be required. So, if you are logging in as Supervisor, OR if you do not have passwords currently, you will need to fix this.
- HOWEVER, you do need to give this careful consideration in light of the options provided. Specifically, you will set users up to log into the SQL Server. In this step a choice is made to either use the “Windows Authentication” (how that user logs into their computer), or establish a separate SQL login. This will affect your users setup in Sage. So, this is one time I STRONGLY recommend you study the process and get help if needed.
- The “Supervisor” functions are being moved out of the program itself and into the NEW “Database Administrator.” As part of your review of the user names, password, log ins and security, you will need to understand this. Allow time to learn the new processes so you can incorporate this into your security setup.
- Do you have third party add-ons? Make sure they are compliant with v20. Some are, some are not, and the list is changing as more third-party developers report compliance. Just CONFIRM.
- Do you have custom reports? The reports that have been written using the built in Sage report writer SHOULD convert. A tool is provided to convert and move them to the appropriate folders. However, it is only smart to do that conversion and test your reports before you plan on being “live.” If you have a report written in an “outside” report writer (Crystal reports, etc) you will need to have some work done to them for the upgrade.
- Allow time to perform a test migration of your data. The data migration tool will provide “error” reports when migrating your data. You will need to decide which errors need to be fixed, and then fix them in your 19.7 data prior to your FINAL conversion/go-live. The two most important ideas you need to remember about this:
- Allow sufficient time to do this
- Get help from your consultant or tech support – we have special tools available to fix errors if they are not fixable through your normal screens (or in some cases, they are but there are too many to do manually.)
- If you have more than one company, plan which to migrate and when. (This is a really good time to review the security changes, and what happens when you set up the Users/Authentication.) While it may seem practical to convert a smaller company first, this may affect the User log ins for other companies. Ask questions before you convert so that you get the results you want.
- What month is it? Do NOT plan to upgrade at your busiest time. While it might sound like a good idea to upgrade “January 1st”- this is probably NOT a good time to do so. Make sure the timing makes sense- will you have your own time and outside resources to help?
The program changes are exciting! Sage has provided excellent tools and documentation, and trained Consultant and Support resources to make the conversion go smoothly. Plan it, and ENJOY!
Need help planning and implementing your upgrade to Sage 100 CON v20? Call us at 480.423.8300 and say you saw it in the newsletter!
Timberscan – Made for Timberline (Sage 300 CRE)
Timberscan is the ONLY Enterprise Content Management (ECM) System designed specifically for Sage 300 CRE (formerly Timberline)!
Join us for a live webinar and learn how you can automate and simplify your A/P approval process. Here’s what other construction companies are saying about Timberscan:
“We love TimberScan! The main reason we purchased TimberScan was the accessibility of invoices to everyone. From the project managers to the President everyone is experiencing increased efficiencies with the ability to quickly see scanned images. Our COO can monitor outstanding invoices and it’s a fantastic management tool. And at the end of the month, we know who’s holding us up. The purchase has paid for itself in 2 to 3 months.”
This session will show you how your company can benefit from a highly automated paper-free approval system that is easy to use and designed specifically for Timberline.
If you haven’t looked at Timberscan lately, you’re missing all the improvements and enhancements!
Need a Great Reason to Finally Buy CRM for Your Construction Business?
How about an Integrator that syncs with your Sage 300CRE?
Leverage Sage CRM to provide a better customer experience with Sage CRE 300!
Join Cornerstone Solutions and LAI as they present CRM4CRE — an Integrator between Sage 300 CRE and Sage CRM — which keeps your business software all “in the family.”
CRM4CRE Integrator automatically syncs (from Sage 300 CRE):
- Address book
- Service Management
- Property Management
Do you know someone who’s looking?
We are getting busy! And in order to serve you best, we need to add to our team. Research shows that the majority of successful hiring comes via networking — so we are asking if you know someone who is looking to join a casual, flexible, and BUSY company, please send them our way.
Thanks for helping us to grow and continue to serve YOU!
Look Who’s Back!
Back by popular demand, our two series of online classes have just been scheduled for this Fall! Take the Fear Out of…Report Designer is a 3-series class, and Take the Fear Out of…Crystal Reports meets five times.
Still priced super-reasonably at $249 and $349 respectively, these live classes are led by Kyle Zeigler, Sage Certified Senior Consultant.
Course materials are provided, the sessions are recorded for your later reference, and there’s even tests! Now that’s SCARY!
Follow LAI on Social Media for immediate construction and technology news!
Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn LAI Page | LAI Sage 300 CRE Users Group
Upcoming LAI Online Training and Networking Events:
Estimating Buyout Webinar
Sage is excited to announce “Buyout for SQL Estimating.”
See how the new Buyout module works allowing you to “buyout” your estimate to different vendors and then create Purchase Orders and Subcontracts for those items.
The construction season is fast approaching!
Join us for this informative presentation and learn how you can gain greater control over your projects, better communication between the field and office and higher confidence from your Surety by creating integrated project cost forecasting that backs up your Work in Progress reporting using Sage Office Connector.
Knock Out More Tasks With the PUNCH LIST
Submitted by Pam Schulz, Certified Sage 100 Consultant
The Punch List is located at Menu Option 6-11-7 in the DOCUMENT CONTROL module. If you do not already own this module and would like more information, please contact the LAI office.
You may already be using the PUNCH LIST option in the “traditional” way (if not, you should seriously consider it) – but you can easily expand your use of this screen to make other job management tasks work better. Even in your use of the PUNCH LIST in the “traditional” way, you may be able to take advantage of a few basic program features to get a bigger result for your effort.
Use the PUNCH LIST for “other” job management tasks
Your use of the PUNCH LIST should not be limited to the “traditional” thinking. EXPAND your thinking and set up templates to manage processes like:
- Job Setup
- Job Closeout
- Billings and Certified Report Filings
You can have more than one Punch List for a given job. Create a template for “Administrative” lists such as a Job Setup template that includes Lien Filings, obtaining business licenses, etc. It is simple to create a TEMPLATE.
- Fill in the screen.
- Export template file (Upper Left Hand Corner of screen: File>Save as template)
- Use the template by “Loading” it (File>Load template)
The beauty of this screen lies in the variety of date, value, responsible party and notes fields that make tracking the “who, what and when” easy:
Just like tracking outstanding items of work that need to be done, you can track the administrative tasks as well. Because you can have more than one punch list for a job, creating these “special use” lists do not interfere with any other use. Note the available “User Def” fields that could be used to define “Types” of Punch Lists for reporting purposes. You could determine your own procedure for using the “Scheduled, Completed” and other columns.
Now, make your information more valuable by using the available reporting features. Of course you can create reports, but to step up to something even more useful:
Use Alerts and Schedule Reports to Get Reminders
Getting reminders from this data can be easy using either ALERTS or SCHEDULED REPORTS. Both solutions will send you the data automatically. Choosing which to use depends on a couple of factors including the type of data you want and the “delivery method” desired.
A brief summary of the main feature differences:
|Report content||Typically alerts will consists of “Lists” of data- math calculations and complicated data are not included in alerts.||Anything that can be written into a report can be included in a scheduled report. You DO need to address SELECTION CRITERIA considerations when scheduling a report, since these choices cannot be made at run time when the report is being run automatically.|
|Report format||The email format looks like a plain text message. The dashboard delivery looks like a plain worksheet.||The report, if emailed, is delivered as a pdf attachment. In all delivery methods, the format of the report is exactly as the report is written and designed in the report writer and form design.|
|Report delivery||Can be sent to YOUR dashboard, another user’s dashboard, or an email recipient||Can be sent to a printer, an email recipient, or a fax (remember fax?)|
As an example, I could easily create an ALERT to let me know what jobs do not have verified business licenses.
Typically alerts will consists of “Lists” of data- math calculations and complicated data are not included in alerts. Anything that can be written into a report can be included in a scheduled report. You DO need to address SELECTION CRITERIA considerations when scheduling a report, since these choices cannot be made at run time when the report is being run automatically.
The email format looks like a plain text message. The dashboard deliver looks like a plain worksheet. The report, if emailed, is delivered as a pdf attachment. In all delivery methods, the format of the report is exactly as the report is written and designed in the report writer and form design.
Can be sent to YOUR dashboard, another user’s dashboard, or an email recipient. Can be sent to a printer, an email recipient, or a fax (remember fax?)
If I wanted a report of all jobs that have incurred job costs but do not have a pre-lien filed, I would need to create a SCHEDULED REPORT.
As you can see, these features can be used for all types of PUNCH LISTS, including those in the more “traditional sense.”
Both can be fairly simple to set up. While not covering the actual report creation, the steps to creating an Alert and Scheduling a Report are summarized below.
Creating an Alert
a. Menu option 7-9; “Alerts Manager.”
b. Use the WIZARD to create the alert
i. Desired TABLE:
ii. Fields to include:
iii. Selection Criteria:
iv. Schedule the alert
Your “alert” will be delivered according to the method and schedule you set up.
2. Scheduling a Report
a. This can be done with any report type. Begin at the report printing window.
b. If you need to create or modify a report, navigate to the new report.
c. Press the “schedule Report” button in the report printing menu.
d. Create the delivery schedule and options for the report.
e. Remember that you need to be able to have the report “run automatically”, so make sure that selection criteria are addressed in scheduling the report.
By using the PUNCH LIST screen and automating the delivery of the resulting data you can greatly smooth out your administrative functions. You can have eliminate “forgotten” items. And, you will be using the same screen and processes that are useful to other users (those using the screen in the traditional sense); allowing for cross-training and the ability to help one another.
Learn more about Sage 100 Contractor here. Or, call Ledgerwood Associates at 877-918-8301 today and we’ll match your needs to the best solution.
Microsoft Office Versions Compatible with Sage 300 CRE
Submitted by Kyle Zeigler, Sage Senior Certified Consultant
Did you know that you can send reports as email attachments from your Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate software to others both inside and outside your organization? Were you aware of this feature, but just haven’t had time to set it up or been able to get it to work? This is the first of three articles that will give you what you need to know to use the Send feature within Sage 300 CRE.
There are two methods for sending reports as attachments via email, using the Send feature: Method 1 is to use a compatible version of Microsoft Outlook. Method 2 is to set up SMTP settings in Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate (Sage 300 CRE). This article focuses on Method 1 and provides information on the Microsoft versions that are compatible with the supported versions of Sage 300 CRE.
Please note: ONLY Professional Versions of Microsoft Office are supported with Sage 300 CRE. If you are using Business or Home versions, you will need to upgrade to a professional version in order to use the Send features in Sage 300 CRE.
Method One – Using a Compatible Version of Microsoft Outlook
The following MS Office versions are compatible with Sage 300 CRE and Sage Estimating:
- Microsoft Office 365 and/or Microsoft Office 2013 “Click to Run” – Compatible with Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate 14.1 with Accounting Update 1 or later. Note: Project Management Correspondence Log is still not compatible with this version, but is compatible with version 15.1. Contact your Sage business partner for more information.
- Microsoft Office 2013 Professional, 32-bit (requires Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 or newer) – Compatible with Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate and Sage Estimating 13.1 and later. Note: Reference Software Notice 13-X in the Alerts and Notices document in the Sage knowledgebase. Also, the Project Management Correspondence Log add-in requires an additional install, review the article 26693 “Project Management Correspondence Log does not appear to work with Microsoft Office 2013” in the Sage knowledgebase.
- Microsoft Office 2010, 32-bit – Compatible with Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate and Sage Estimating 9.7.0 and later. Note: As of the 9.7.0 release, the Send function in Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate is compatible with the 32-bit version of Microsoft Office 2010. However, at this time you cannot use the Project Management Correspondence Log add-in in Microsoft Outlook 2010 without installing an additional patch found in the article 19232 “Project Management Correspondence Log does not appear to work with Microsoft Outlook 2010.”
- Microsoft Office 2007 – Compatible with Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate and Sage Estimating 9.5.0 and later.
- Microsoft Office 2003 – For Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate versions 9.5.0 and later, install Microsoft Office 2003 Service Pack 3.
- Microsoft Office 2002 SP3 – Compatible with Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate and Sage Estimating 9.4.x.
The following Microsoft Office versions are NOT compatible with Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate and Sage Estimating:
- Any 64-bit edition of Microsoft Office. Only Microsoft Office 32-bit editions can access Timberline ODBC data sources.
- Any Microsoft Home and Business version. This version is a Click-To-Run application. The Outlook portion of this application does not appear to support add-ins and does not work with PJ Correspondence Log. It may or may not work with Send. This version of Office has not been tested with Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate and is not supported.
Next month: Method 1 – how to use a compatible version of Microsoft Outlook to send reports as attachments via email. In the meantime, if you would like more information or need any assistance with your Sage 300 CRE software, please contact Ledgerwood Associates.
If you need helping installing an update or upgrade, one of our skilled consultants at Ledgerwood Associates would be happy to assist you. Call us at 480-423-8300, and ask for Carolyn!
7 Tax-savvy Ways to Give to Charity
Submitted by Bryan Eto, CPA
Charitable giving is on the rise. And the momentum is expected to continue, given the natural disasters and human tragedies that have happened in recent months.
Last year, charitable donations reached an all-time high of approximately $373.25 billion, according to Giving USA 2016: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2015. This report is published jointly by the Giving USA Foundation, a public-service initiative of The Giving Institute and the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.
Besides fulfilling their philanthropic needs, donors may also benefit from charitable deductions on their personal tax returns. If you’re considering donating to a new cause or a long-standing favorite one, remember that gift-giving may come in many different forms. Here are seven ways you can offer support
If you donate cash to a qualified charity, your gift is generally tax deductible. The same holds true for cash-equivalent contributions, such as an online payment to the charity using a credit or debit card.
Important note. To determine if an organization qualifies as a charitable organization, go to the IRS Exempt Organizations Select Check. Giving money to an individual or a foreign organization is generally not deductible, except for donations made to certain qualifying Canadian not-for-profits. Political donations also don’t qualify for a deduction.
The deduction limit for your total annual donations, including cash gifts, is 50% of your adjusted gross income (AGI) (or 30% to the extent donations are made to a private foundation). Any excess may be carried forward up to five years. In addition, the tax code imposes strict recordkeeping requirements for charitable contributions. For example, if you make a cash donation of $250 or more, you must obtain a contemporaneous written acknowledgment from the charity that states the amount of the donation and whether any goods or services were received in exchange for it.
2.Gifts of Property
You may also donate property — such as marketable securities, artwork or clothing — to a qualified charitable organization. In some situations, this can result in an extra tax break: For property that would have qualified for long-term capital gains treatment had you sold it — such as marketable securities you’ve owned longer than a year — you may deduct the full fair market value of the property. Thus, the appreciation in value while you owned the property will never be taxed.
For you to deduct the fair market value of gifts of appreciated tangible personal property, the property must be used to further the charity’s tax-exempt mission. For instance, if you give a work of art to a museum, it has to be included in its collection, rather than auctioned off at a fundraiser. Gifts of appreciated property are limited to 30% of your AGI, subject to the same five-year carryforward rule as cash gifts.
For you to deduct gifts of clothing or household goods, the items generally must be in good used condition or better. Your deduction equals the current fair market value of the item, which likely is substantially less than what you paid for it.
For a donation of property worth $250 or more, you must obtain a contemporaneous written acknowledgment from the charity describing the property, including a statement of whether any goods or services were received in exchange for the donation and a good-faith estimate of the gift’s value. Note that an independent appraisal generally is required for a charitable gift of property valued above $5,000 other than publicly traded securities.
3.Quid Pro Quo Contributions
In some cases, a charitable donor may receive a benefit in return for the contribution. These are referred to as “quid pro quo contributions.” If you make a donation at least partially in exchange for goods or services exceeding $75, the charity should provide you with a good faith estimate of the goods and services received and the amount of payment exceeding the value of the benefit. Your deduction is limited to the difference between these amounts.
For example, suppose you attend a charitable fundraising dinner. You pay $200, but the charity values the meal at $50. In this case, your deduction is limited to $150. Low-cost trinkets and nominal gifts, such as a mouse pad featuring the charity’s logo, won’t reduce your deduction.
Unfortunately, you can’t deduct the value of the time you spend helping out a qualified charity. But you may be eligible to write off out-of-pocket expenses you pay on behalf of the organization. This includes such items as travel, mailing costs and lodging at a convention where you’re an official delegate. But travel expenses aren’t deductible if the trip is merely a disguised vacation.
If you have to buy special clothing for your charitable activities — such as a Boy Scout or Girl Scout uniform for a troop leader — the cost is deductible. And any uniform cleaning costs also may be deductible as a miscellaneous expense, subject to the usual 2%-of-AGI floor.
A donor-advised fund may appeal to someone who wants to retain some control over how the charity will spend his or her contributions. Typically, these funds are established with a reputable institution that vets charities for you and doles out money based on your recommendations. A minimum deposit of at least $5,000 may be required.
As with other donations to qualified charities, contributions to a donor-advised fund are fully deductible within the usual rules and limits. Donor-advised funds are usually easy to set up and maintain because the institution does all the administrative work for you. If you want to stay out of the limelight, you can even arrange to make your gifts anonymous. The increase in the popularity of donor-advised funds has been documented in the Giving USA reports in recent years.
Do you support your alma mater or a local college by contributing to its athletic booster club? Typically, these clubs enable you to purchase preferred seating at the school’s sporting events. For example, booster club members might receive priority ticket ordering privileges for home football and basketball games.
Under the current rules, you can deduct 80% of the cost of a donation made to a booster club. Any part of the payment that goes toward the purchase of actual tickets is nondeductible. But you might want to grab this tax break while it’s still available: The Obama administration has advocated its repeal and support for repeal is also growing in Congress.
7. Conservation Easements
Usually, you must give something away in order to claim a charitable donation deduction. However, under the rules for conservation easements, you can donate an interest in real estate to a qualified organization, such as a government unit or publicly supported charity, without relinquishing ownership and still qualify for a deduction. The donation generally preserves or protects the land or building in its current state so it can be viewed
The amount of the deduction is based on the difference between the fair market value of the land with and without the easement. Under special rules, the annual deduction is limited to 50% of AGI (or 100% for farmers and ranchers), as opposed to the usual 30%-of-AGI limit. Any excess may be carried forward for up to 15 years instead of five years. This tax break was recently made permanent by the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015.
The catch is that the gift must be made in perpetuity. In other words, you or your heirs can’t alter the property or rescind the organization’s rights to the property at a later date.
Considering a Charitable Donation?
There are many creative gifting options available to philanthropic individuals — and many types of donations also qualify for a tax break on your federal return. But special tax rules may apply, so consult with a tax adviser to help ensure that your donation is deductible and your recordkeeping is sufficient.
Changing the Spreadsheet Layout in Estimating
Submitted by Darren Pierce, Field Sales Engineer – Estimating
Have you ever wanted to make changes to the Estimating Spreadsheet or reports to reflect the information in a manner that fits your need, the customers need, or for review purposes? It’s easy to accomplish using Spreadsheet layouts. This also can be completed on every sort sequence specifically tailored to your liking! Several methods are available to you to change the spreadsheet layout.
Move columns on the spreadsheet
You can change the order of the columns in the spreadsheet in one of two ways:
- To change the order temporarily, click in the column heading and select the column or columns you want to move. When your cursor becomes a 4-way arrow, hold down the left mouse button and drag the selection to the new location (indicated by the highlighted vertical grid). Release the button.
- To change the order permanently, select View > Spreadsheet Layout and then click Edit. In the Modify Spreadsheet Layout window, select the row that contains the column name you want to move. Click the Reposition Column buttons to move the column to the location of your choice.
Columns that contain both a quantity and unit are moved together automatically.
Rename your spreadsheet columns:
- Click the column heading to select the column.
- Right-click the column and select Column Properties.
- Enter the new name in the Column Name field. (You can also change column names in Spreadsheet Layout.)
TIP: If you want to know the original name, hover your mouse over the column name. The new column name appears as a tool tip, with the original name in parentheses. To return the column to the original name, select Column Properties, delete the Column Name field, and click OK.
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