February 2018 Newsletter

 

 

What we’re talking about in February:

  • Part Deux of the 6th Annual 2017 Construction Technology Report from JBKnowledge and partners CFMA, MCAA, Texas A&M
  • Presidents’ Day Shopping? Save some Benjamins when you add SSO or SCPC to your software!
  • ‘Designing Woman:’ Ruth Stockdale helps you plan your Sage dashboard
  • Want to get rid of paper? Upcoming Sage Paperless Construction webinar
  • Warning: what you need to know about SQL autobackups in Sage 100 CON
  • Awesome ‘Tips and Tricks’ for Sage 300 CRE | Sage 100 CON | Sage Estimating

 


Part Deux:

MORE from the 6th Annual Construction Technology Report

by Joanie Hollabaugh, Sr. Director of Marketing

Each year, Ledgerwood is given permission by JBKnowledge to share hand-picked “nuggets” from theire Annual ConTech report. This month is ” Part Deux,” as the January newsletter only covered a fraction of the data the report contains. Read January nuggets HERE

The survey and report are created in partnership with the CFMA, MCAA, and the Construction Science department at Texas A & M University. Again, we want to thank James Benham, and Editor-in-Chief, Liz Welsh. Follow James on twitter @JBKnowledge, and @JamesMBenham; Liz @LizTweetsTech. Visit the main website: http://jbknowledge.com/.

DOWNLOAD THE FULL REPORT HERE.

Emerging technologies

‘Stranger Things’…

I don’t know about you, but the advances in technology and the potential for the construction industry is a mind blower! Between drones and robots, virtual and augmented reality, 3D printer construction and 3D scanners — it seems like the only limit is our imagination.

What emerging tech companies are trying?

While roughly 38% of respondents reported their company is not experimenting with emerging technology, it’s inspiring to note that this number has decreased by almost 20% over the last year.
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For those who are exploring emerging technology, drones once again reign over all other tech offerings, growing 10% in popularity this year.
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Making a commanding showing, pre-fabrication technology use has risen 12%. The apps StructionSite and Holobuilder gained popularity as supported by the 13% increase in 360 Degree Photos/Videos. Falling prices and growing number of features contributed to 3D scanning and reality capture from solutions like Leica, Faro and Matterport nearly doubling since 2016.

The impact of drones, smart tools, and sensors on the job site

How do companies feel about employee tracking?

For most survey respondents, job site employee tracking technology is more than just a passing craze. 57% of respondents reported they were “Considering” using worksite tracking. Despite the assumed privacy concerns (the Orwellian “Big Brother” sense of being watched) the true barriers preventing companies from implementing employee tracking were reported as: a lack of need for tracking, lack of benefits from employee tracking, and the cost of tracking. Privacy concerns or “that Big Brother feel” came in as the fourth most reported reason that respondents are reluctant to try employee tracking.

How are construction companies using sensors for jobsite tracking?

Reluctance to adopt worksite sensors over privacy concerns have been assuaged by the benefits of safety and tracking information. Triax experienced a sharp increase in adoption with its innovative safety platform making it the preferred sensor of 2017. Their addition of a Tag for equipment positions them to continue to innovate in the space. These innovations coupled with other IoT, wireless jobsites, productivity and tracking tools from Rhumbix, Redpoint, CAT, and DEWALT make the outlook for 2018 impressive.

What’s new with drone hardware and software in 2017?

With 2016’s implementation of the Federal Aviation Administration’s UAV Part 107, commercial drone use has expanded. The construction industry’s experimentation and adoption of drones continues into 2017, as part of drones’ steady rise to industry standard. Penetrating nearly 40% of the industry, according to survey respondents, drones have reached a tipping point and are now viewed as essential jobsite tools instead of just a luxury. Here’s what’s new in 2017:

  • DJI is clearly the brand of choice when it comes to drones for construction use
  • As previously mentioned, drone insurance (while not required in the US) is available from companies like Verifly
  • Construction workflows dependent on drones are expanding; such as earth movement, site documentation, structural inspections, and percent complete calculations

What were the breakthroughs in 3D printing this year?

While strides in 3D printing are gaining ground, the 3D printing industry on the whole is still in its early stages. As the cost of 3D printing continues to drop and barriers to adoption continue to decrease, commercial use of the latest materials and printing techniques may soon be more widely available. Regardless, the industry is pressing onward in the form of uploadable designs brought to life courtesy of Branch Technology. Apis Cor uses geopolymer, concrete, and fiber concrete to print buildings quickly and efficiently with minimal waste, and Fastbrick prints 3D printed bricks then meticulously places them within a specified framework

The changes and innovations to shape the future of ConTech to come

What will happen?

We can’t predict the future but we can certainly follow the trends. The goal of this annual report is to show the trajectory, triumphs and occasional obstacles the industry faces as technology adapts and changes. After compiling its contents, here’s what we understand will happen over the next year.
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The construction industry will continue to innovate given the technologies interspersed throughout our daily lives, including apps, smartphones, tablets, and other devices. The industry will continue to force business technology providers to match the efficiency, availability and low-cost we get from our consumer tech providers. Until then, contractors will opt to use personal devices and try personal solutions to solve short term problems. Therefore, the lines will continue to blur between personal and corporate data, hardware and software, so data security will remain a key issue.
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Automation is here and will gain traction, whether companies and individuals embrace it is a matter of choice and education. Education around what “automation” means for each company is key. If more construction professionals understood the work tasks that automation and Artificial Intelligence technologies can augment and enhance, they might focus less on the tasks they will “replace.”
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The demand for BIM will continue as will BIM’s influence on how construction projects are bid and won in 2018. Companies still not exploring BIM will find themselves more and more limited in areas of work.
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Workflows will be further digitized as companies mature and update processes, tinker with the latest mobile apps and devices, but they’ll need integration capabilities to follow. Software and devices will continue to become more affordable, and with more technology options than ever before, companies are using fewer solutions than ever before to avoid the headache of integrating data across multiple solutions. To remain competitive, tech providers will have to continue to team up to get on contractors’ short list of solutions that offer simplicity and data continuity.


Feel like shopping on President’s Day?

Skip the washer + dryer, new car, or discount furniture!

Save on software that will make your work life better EVERY day – Sage Estimating, Service Operations and Construction Project Center!

  • Save up to 25% on Sage Estimating software when replacing your current estimating or digital takeoff solution!  
  • Save up to 20% on Sage Service Operations (SSO) for Sage 300 CRE 
  • Save up to 20% on Sage Construction Project Center (SCPC) for Sage 100 CON or 300 CRE

Save some Benjamins!

Want a quick, no hassle, no obligation price quote? Want to see a demo or ask a question? Click below to shoot us an email, and we will contact you without preamble!

Why invest in more software?

Biggest Estimating release in a decade!

In case you missed it — Sage Estimating has been repackaged, including new functionality and modernized deployment—evolving and innovating to meet the demands of customers and the market. And now Estimating Standard customers have a clear migration path to SQL. Read more HERE.

SCPC makeover

Estimating wasn’t the only product that got some development love from Sage last year. With improved  usability, new features, and modernized GUI (graphics user interface) – “SCPC” is a stunner! Read more HERE.

SSO for Sage 100 Contractor

Service and specialty contractors face a slew of complexities every day. From keeping up with paper work orders to timely and accurate billing and payroll—all while keeping customers happy! When you add SSO, you’ll not only streamline your service department, you will boost your bottom line!

 


POP UP Training course starts NEXT WEEK!

Beginning Report Designer with Kyle Z.

Back by popular demand, Beginning Report Designer class series begins NEXT WEEK!  If you’ve wanted to learn how to modify your Sage 300 CRE reports or even create your own custom reports, this is the course to get you started.

Sage Certified Senior Consultant, Kyle Zeigler will present the Beginning Report Designer course, consisting of three 2-hour online classes that you attend from the comfort of your own desk:

  1. Thursday, February 15 – 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. MST
  2. Thursday, February 22 – 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. MST
  3. Thursday, March 1 – 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. MST

Click the link below to register for the course:

https://attendee.gototraining.com/r/523697776884717057

The cost is only $249 for all three sessions, payable using PayPal (via the registration link.) If you prefer to pay using an alternate method, please call our office at 480-423-8300.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the training.

 


Jump aboard the ‘TUG’ boat!

If you don’t know about TUG — The Users Group for Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate, Sage 100 Contractor & Sage Estimating — you are missing THE ultimate informational resource for your Sage software and opportunity to network with other users.

Founded in 1987 to bring together those who use these software applications for the construction and real estate industry, TUG is a membership-based, volunteer-led, and professionally managed not-for-profit organization.

An annual membership gives you access to conferences, newsletters, web forum and a weekly “TUG Tip of the Week” — all driven by users.

LAI and TUG

Ledgerwood has always supported TUG and its mission:

To connect members with others who use the software on a daily basis so that they can educate each other and exchange knowledge to find real-world solutions.

In recent years, LAI’s Sage Certified consultants have presented and assisted at several National and Regional Conferences. This year, Pam Schulz (Sage 100 CON), Kyle Ziegler (Sage 300 CRE) and Ruth Stockdale (Sage 300 CRE) will be presenting and assisting at the 2018 Conference in Orlando, FL.

Registration for the conference just opened this month! Take a look at the conference information by clicking below, and while you’re visiting the site, consider joining or renewing your membership.


Sage Paperless Construction Webinar

The flu. Hiccups. Ants. Telemarketers. Paper? What do you want to get rid of?

Are antiquated paper processes keeping you up at night? They should be!

Join Sage Paperless Construction (SPC) and Ledgerwood Associates for a FREE webinar on Wednesday, February 7th at 11 am MST.

SPC is a  content management and workflow automation solution that integrates with Sage 100 Contractor and Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate.

Learn how Sage Paperless Construction seamlessly routes for approvals, creates workflows, and makes you feel good about being environmentally responsible!

EMAIL Joanie@LedgerwoodUSA.com to get the GoToMeeting calendar invite to attend! 

 


Designing dashboards in Sage Construction software

by Ruth Stockdale, Director of Professional Services 

Monitoring major functions at a glance

Your accounting software has become more sophisticated in recent years, with an emphasis on providing a wide range of options for reporting and querying. Dashboard is the term that is widely used to describe a collection of these reports and queries to deliver information.

If you ask colleagues in your office what a dashboard should look like or include, you will probably get a variety of answers. One definition of dashboard, from Wikipedia, is that it provides the ability to “monitor the major functions at a glance.” Using that definition helps provide focus so that you can design and deliver individual dashboards that are meaningful to your office staff and decision makers.

Suggestions to help plan the design process:

  • What 3 key pieces of information — major functions — give users the best instant picture for their jobs? Depending on the person’s role, this could be OT Labor Hours by Job, Labor Costs as a Percentage of the job, Cost to Complete, or Cash Flow Projection (there may be more than 3 data points that are helpful, but start with just a few).
  • What as-of date or time is relevant for each? Some information won’t be meaningful until after a posting or update. For example, OT information might not be available until the end of a pay period.
  • Can the information be available on demand or does it need to be confirmed and delivered? That OT information could be provided automatically after the Accounting department has confirmed the completion of the pay period. The user would know they are always seeing only vetted information without having it on demand.
  • What graphics are useful, if any? Color charts are tempting to use, but make certain they help to clarify the data.

Your Sage 100 CON and 300 CRE software have options built-in to make Dashboard design and delivery easy. During 2018, we will be emphasizing tips, training options and Dashboard samples to help you. In the meantime, if you have questions or want to get started on your Dashboards, give us a call.

 


What you need to know about SQL backups for Sage 100 CON

by Mark Jensen, Business Development 

Autobackup WARNING

The Version 20 SQL release of Sage 100 Contractor brought many upgrades and additional features. One of the most significant features is the automatic back up of your SQL Database on a nightly basis. Caveat: there are some things you need to check to make sure you are receiving the maximum benefit from this function.

Getting an error message?

Many clients have inadequate security for the Database Administration. The error message you see may say something like this “An unknown error occurred running the nightly maintenance and backup of (company name).” If this is the case you should contact your IT support immediately. Instructions to correct this are in the Sage Knowledgebase:  https://support.na.sage.com/selfservice/viewContent.do?externalId=76338&sliceId=1

The other mistake some clients have made is trusting that the automatic backup is enough. Multiple clients have experienced Viruses or Ransomware attacks to their server. If the only backup that is maintained is on the affected server, your only recourse may be to rebuild everything from scratch. We recommend taking a copy of the SQL Back and storing it offline on a regular basis.

Some clients have elected to use an online backup system that does an incremental backup each night. These online systems are effective for general office documents, but are not sufficient for managing your Sage 100 Contractor SQL Server Backups.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! In one client’s case, a 15 minute session to make a copy of a backup would have been worth thousands of dollars in rebuilding a server.

 


 Follow LAI on Social Media for current construction and technology news!

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Check out the LAI You Tube channel – recordings of past webinars and training classes!


Upcoming LAI Online Training and Networking Events:

Feb 22 @ 9:00 am – 11:00 am
Beginning Report Designer @ Go To Training
9:00 am
POP UP training with Kyle Z! Back by popular demand, Beginning Report Designer class series begins NEXT WEEK!  If you’ve wanted to learn how to modify your Sage 300 CRE reports or even[...]
Mar 1 @ 9:00 am – 11:00 am
Beginning Report Designer @ Go To Training
9:00 am
POP UP training with Kyle Z! Back by popular demand, Beginning Report Designer class series begins NEXT WEEK!  If you’ve wanted to learn how to modify your Sage 300 CRE reports or even[...]
Mar 8 @ 9:00 am – 11:00 am
Beginning Crystal Reports with Kyle Z @ Go To Training
9:00 am
This course provides live, interactive instruction on the use of Crystal Reports for Sage 2013 SP2 with Sage 300 CRE. During five 2-hour online classes, learning objectives are to better[...]
Mar 15 @ 9:00 am – 11:00 am
Beginning Crystal Reports with Kyle Z @ Go To Training
9:00 am
This course provides live, interactive instruction on the use of Crystal Reports for Sage 2013 SP2 with Sage 300 CRE. During five 2-hour online classes, learning objectives are to better[...]
Mar 22 @ 9:00 am – 11:00 am
Beginning Crystal Reports with Kyle Z @ Go To Training
9:00 am
This course provides live, interactive instruction on the use of Crystal Reports for Sage 2013 SP2 with Sage 300 CRE. During five 2-hour online classes, learning objectives are to better[...]
Mar 29 @ 9:00 am – 11:00 am
Beginning Crystal Reports with Kyle Z @ Go To Training
9:00 am
This course provides live, interactive instruction on the use of Crystal Reports for Sage 2013 SP2 with Sage 300 CRE. During five 2-hour online classes, learning objectives are to better[...]
Apr 5 @ 9:00 am – 11:00 am
Beginning Crystal Reports with Kyle Z @ Go To Training
9:00 am
This course provides live, interactive instruction on the use of Crystal Reports for Sage 2013 SP2 with Sage 300 CRE. During five 2-hour online classes, learning objectives are to better[...]

 


 

Will Pass-Through Entities Survive?

Submitted by Bryan Eto, CPA BeachFleischman

Will pass-through entities still be popular under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA)? The tax rules for pass-through entities, including S corporations, limited liability companies (LLCs), partnerships and sole proprietorships, have generally become more beneficial — but also more confusing under the new law.

So which type of entity is best for your business? The answers depend on several factors, which are explained in this article.

New Deduction for Pass-Through Business Income

Under prior law, net taxable income from so-called pass-through business entities (meaning sole proprietorships, partnerships, LLCs that are treated as sole proprietorships or as partnerships for tax purposes, and S corporations) was simply passed through to owners and taxed at the owner level at standard rates.

For tax years beginning after 2017, the TCJA establishes a new deduction based on a noncorporate owner’s qualified business income (QBI). This break is available to eligible individuals, estates and trusts. The deduction generally equals 20% of QBI, subject to restrictions that can apply at higher income levels. The QBI deduction isn’t allowed in calculating the noncorporate owner’s adjusted gross income (AGI), but it reduces taxable income. In effect, it is treated the same as an allowable itemized deduction.

This break is subject to the following restrictions:

W-2 Wage Limitation

The QBI deduction generally can’t exceed the greater of the noncorporate owner’s share of: 1) 50% of the amount of W-2 wages paid to employees by the qualified business during the tax year, or 2) the sum of 25% of W-2 wages plus 2.5% of the cost of qualified property. Qualified property means depreciable tangible property (including real estate) owned by a qualified business as of the tax year end and used by the business at any point during the tax year for the production of qualified business income. In addition, the QBI deduction can’t exceed 20% of the taxpayer’s taxable income exclusive of net long term capital gains and qualified dividends.

Under an exception, the W-2 wage limitation doesn’t apply until an individual owner’s taxable income exceeds $157,500, or $315,000 for a married joint filer. Above those income levels, the W-2 wage limitation is phased in over a $50,000 phase-in range or a $100,000 range for married joint filers.

Service Business Limitation

The QBI deduction is generally not available for income from specified service businesses, such as most professional practices. Under an exception, the service business limitation does apply until an individual owner’s taxable income exceeds $157,500, or $315,000 for a married joint filer. Above those income levels, the W-2 wage limitation is phased in over a $50,000 phase-in range or a $100,000 range for married joint filers.

Important note: The W-2 wage limitation and the service business limitation don’t apply as long as taxable income is under the applicable threshold. In that case, you should qualify for the full 20% QBI deduction.

New Rule on Distributions after Converting from S to C Corp Status

In general, distributions by a C corporation to its shareholders are treated as taxable dividends to the extent of the corporation’s earnings and profits (E&P). However, a special “post-termination transition period” rule provides relief to shareholders of a corporation that changes from S corporation status to C corporation status.

During this period, any distribution of money by the corporation to its shareholders is first applied to reduce the basis of the shareholder’s stock to the extent the distribution doesn’t exceed the accumulated adjustments account (AAA) balance that was generated during the company’s life as an S corporation. Such distributions of AAA amounts are tax-free to recipient shareholders.

The TCJA modifies the post termination transition period relief rule for C corporations that:

  • Operated as S corporations before December 22, 2017,
  • Revoke their S corporation status during the two-year period beginning on that date, and
  • Have the same owners on December 22, 2017, and the revocation date.

Distributions from such corporations are treated as paid pro-rata from AAA and E&P. This can result in more of a distribution being treated as a taxable dividend and less being treated as a tax-free distribution of AAA. This change is intended to discourage the tax planning strategy of converting S corporations to C corporation status in order to take advantage of the new flat 21% federal income tax rate on C corporation income.

New Rule for ESBT Beneficiaries

As a general rule, trusts cannot be S corporation shareholders. However, an exception allows electing small business trusts (ESBTs) to be S corporation shareholders. Under prior law, an ESBT couldn’t have a current beneficiary who was a nonresident alien individual.

Thanks to a change included in the new law, such individuals can now be ESBT beneficiaries. This change is effective for 2018 and beyond.

“Technical Termination Rule” Repealed for Partnerships and LLCs

Under prior law, a partnership (or an LLC that’s treated as a partnership for tax purposes) is considered to terminate for tax purposes if, within a 12-month period, there’s a sale or exchange of 50% or more of the entity’s capital and profits interests. This so-called “technical termination rule” is generally unfavorable.

Why? First, the rule can require the filing of two short-period tax returns for the tax year in which the technical termination occurs. It also restarts depreciation periods for the entity’s depreciable assets. In addition, it terminates favorable tax elections that were made by the entity.

The TCJA repeals the technical termination rule for tax years beginning in 2018 and beyond.

Substantial Built-in Loss Rule Expanded

In general, a partnership (or an LLC that’s treated as a partnership for tax purposes) must reduce the tax basis of its assets upon the transfer of an ownership interest if the entity has a substantial built-in loss. (A built-in loss happens when the fair market value of the assets is less than their tax basis.)

This rule is unfavorable, because the basis reduction can result in lower depreciation and amortization deductions. Under prior law, a substantial built-in loss exists if the entity’s adjusted basis in its assets exceeds their fair market value by more than $250,000.

Under the TCJA, a substantial built-in loss also exists if, immediately after the transfer of an interest, the recipient of the transferred interest would be allocated a net loss in excess of $250,000 upon a hypothetical taxable sale of all of the entity’s assets for proceeds equal to fair market value. This unfavorable expansion of the built-in loss rule applies to ownership interest transfers in 2018 and beyond.

Loss Limitation Reductions for Charitable Donations and Foreign Taxes

Under a loss limitation rule, a partner (or an LLC member that’s treated as a partner for tax purposes) can’t deduct losses in excess of the tax basis in the partnership or LLC interest.

The new law changes the rules for charitable gifts and foreign taxes. For tax years beginning after December 31, 2017, an owner’s share of a partnership’s (or LLC’s) deductible charitable donations and paid or accrued foreign taxes reduces the owner’s basis in the interest for purposes of applying the loss limitation rule. This change can reduce the amount of losses that can be currently deducted.

However, for charitable donations of appreciated property (where the fair market value is higher than the tax basis), the owner’s basis isn’t reduced by the excess amount for purposes of applying the loss limitation rule. In other words, the owner’s tax basis in the interest is reduced only by the owner’s share of the basis of the donated appreciated property for purposes of applying the loss limitation rule.

Get Professional Help

As you can see, the tax landscape for various business entities has changed considerably under the new tax law. The type of entity that’s best for you depends on the industry you’re in, your income and many other factors. Consult with your tax advisor and attorney to determine the most tax-wise way to proceed.

 

 

Beach Fleischman 2201 E. Camelback Rd. Phoenix, AZ 85016 | 602.265.7011 | http://beachfleischman.com | twitter: @BeachFleischman

 


 

Be SMARTER in 2018

by Pam Schulz, Sage Certified Consultant

Here are some very old-fashioned ideas, but they are as relevant now as ever:

  • GET A LITTLE SMARTER
  • WORK SMARTER, NOT HARDER
  • KNOWLEDGE IS POWER

Ten tips for working smarter in Sage 100 CON

We have all heard these phrases or variations of them; the following are the Top 10 Sage 100 Contractor tips to implement NOW for a SMARTER 2018!

1. Join TUG

If there is one thing I would like to see everyone in our community do, it is to join with others (see the TUG article above.) TUG offers a wide variety of learning opportunities; webinars, monthly forums, and regional and national conventions. If you would be interested in forming LOCAL chapters, contact Ruth at Ruth@LedgerwoodUSA.com.

2. Take classes or schedule some training

Make a list of 3-5 things you would like to “do better” and schedule a one-to-two hour online training session. A “little bit can go a long way” when you are focused and organized on a few topics. Email Carolyn@LedgerwoodUSA.com to schedule time with a consultant.

Read LAI’s newsletters and emails for upcoming online classes. Also, bookmark LAI’s event calendar here: https://ledgerwoodusa.com/upcoming-events-calendar/.

3. Sign up for Sage City

EVERYONE is “supposed” to network here — Sage, Users, Consultants. Imagine the wealth of knowledge that could be available! It just needs a lot more users. You can subscribe to weekly or daily digests, so you don’t need to remember to check and see if anything new is posted. To sign up: https://sagecity.na.sage.com/?Redirected=true.

4. Read the release notes with each new update!

Pay attention to the sections with the user-identified enhancements. Go one step further and read the enhancement suggestions from your Sage Home Page menu. Seeing what other users ask for might help you understand your own questions. Vote for ideas that will make your experience better. You will be amazed at the variety of suggestions coming from other users and the impact your suggestions have on program enhancements.

5. Learn the shortcuts

The “f” keys on the keyboard, the down arrows, maybe the keyboard strokes — whatever you can use to move about more smoothly. My personal favorite is the “*f4” key that is used for a “string search” in a field. But I also use the “f3” (calculator); or a variation of its functionality frequently. Having these shortcuts as “second nature” frees my brain and keystrokes for the rest of what I need to do.  The “easy stuff” comes naturally, and I can save my brainpower. You can obtain a really nice list of these in the online help menu- Appendix A- topic “function keys and shortcuts.”

6. Customize your desktop

Do you use the same menu options or reports over and over? Customize your desktop so they are a click away. Use the blue “Click here to edit your shortcuts” command at the bottom of the home screen to open the menu bar for adding, moving, and otherwise customizing the desktop. Now your most used options are a single click away.

7. Consider custom dashboards

Each user can have their own dashboard, and the content category can be controlled through Security settings. Peruse the categories and available icons to see if your users could benefit from building a custom dashboard.

8. Master alerts and scheduled reports

This is easy, and can save SO much time. Explore the pre-built alerts, or build your own at menu option 7-6. Or, schedule reports to run “automatically” at the Report Printing window using the “schedule report” icon. Have important information automatically pushed to managers rather than making them run a report.

9. Customize your screens and entry fields

Users with “Administrative” privileges can create defaults such as particular dates and statuses, or the “next” invoice number and other default entries. They can also “require,” or “skip” particular entry fields. Individual users can further manipulate the “columns” in their entry grids, as well as the size and sort options in their screens and lookup windows. Understand and use these options!

10. Use Report Defaults

If you always like the “landscape report #31” and you want to send it to a certain printer, and always find yourself entering the same “status” selection- you need to save some defaults! At the top of the Report Printing menu, under “Defaults,” you can choose “save as default report” to default to your “favorite” report in the selection menu. Then, enter default selections like the printer and status selections and choose “save report defaults” to save choices like the printer, or entering data like a job status each time you run the report. Make the choices once, and use the defaults to remember the work for you.

None of these tips were truly “technical,” but knowing more and having these automations and customizations working for you gives you more SMART time and energy to use for other tasks. And who couldn’t use a little more of that?

 

If you need additional help, use the form below for help to set up an appointment with a consultant.

 

Financial Reporting for Prior Years

by Kyle Zeigler, Sage Senior Certified Consultant

Creating a GL Archive Folder (Restore Method)

To preserve the ability to print financial statements for the full two years prior to the new fiscal year, create a GL archive folder. Do this just before or after running the Close Fiscal Year task to prepare for the new fiscal year.

To create a GL archive folder, do the following:

  1. Locate the File Tools .tsZip2 backup file created just prior to running the Close Fiscal Year task.
  2. Use Common Tasks > Tools > File Tools and select Restore.
    • Click Skip all.
    • Click on the Name column header to sort the files by name.
    • Scroll down the list of files, select each of the following files and click Extract.
      • Current.GLT
      • History.GLT
      • Master.GLM
      • New.GLT
  3. Click the Browse button to browse to the location on your server where the files should be restored.
    • NOTE: This process will automatically create a folder that will be named exactly as the original data folder. Because of this, be sure you do not accidentally overwrite your live data! Instead, create a subfolder to hold your restored GL archive folders. Below is an example of how this might look on your network. Note that there are two GL archive folders inside a folder that is at the same level as the company data folders.
  4. Once the files are restored, use Windows Explorer to navigate to the location of the restored folder.
    • Right-click the folder and select Rename.
    • Rename the folder using your pre-determined naming convention for GL archive folders.
  5. Select Options > Open Company and click the Specify Folders button on the Open Company window.
    • Click the Browse button.
    • Navigate to the new folder location and select the folder.
    • You will receive the message, “This directory does not currently contain any data. Do you want to create it?” Click Yes.
      • Enter a Company name (for example, “z 2016-2017 GL Archive”). Hint: Adding a z or x at the beginning of the company name will cause the archive folders to be listed below other active data folders in the Open Company selection list.
      • Enter a Data folder description if desired (for example, “2016-2017 Financials”)
      • Keep the checkbox marked to Use current setup.
      • Click OK.
      • The new company folder will be added to the Open Company selection list.
  6. To use the same financial statements that you use in your live data folder, use Options > Open Company to select the new GL archive folder.
    • Use File > Company Settings > File Locations to enter the UNC path to your live data folder for the four File Types with the FS designation (see below).
    • Do not use mapped drives in File Locations! A UNC path is required and will be similar to “\\[servername]\Timberline Office\Data\My Company.”
    • Click OK to save the changes.
  7. Repeat these steps for any .tsZip or .tsZip2 file you have for prior years.

Done and done!

You should now be able to print financial statements for the year just closed and the immediate prior year, as well as for any other prior years also restored to additional archive folders.

Need help archiving? Call us to schedule a Sage Certified consultant today!

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Set Up Test Environment for SQL Estimating

by Renee Mullen, Sage Marketing Manager

Create separate configurations for production and testing

With the new versions of Sage SQL Estimating we have been granted some amazing new functions within the software — did you know there is new functionality surrounding the Database platform itself? That’s right! SQL itself brings a great deal of new functionality and resources to its users one of which is the ability to setup a completely independent test environment within SQL that you can treat as completely separate from your production or live data. In this article, we will cover the steps to creating a test environment within Sage SQL Estimating.

At some point in time, it might be appropriate for your business to have two separate configurations for your users: one for production, and the other for testing. Using this configuration allows you to configure this type of environment with the following benefits:

  • The two environments can exist on the same logical and physical device.
  • Easier Domain management for test environments. This allows you to configure two separate roles for a single Domain user, as tasks (like modifying a database) are managed totally separately per SQL Instance, but can use the same Domain login for authentication.
  • Works with existing configuration; the only mandatory additional configuration is the second Instance and Role assignments. No need to worry about License Manager or network issues; if one Instance works, they should both work.
  • Configuration is flexible; users can switch between the test and production environment if they need to finish production work.
    • Note: This requires particular SQL configuration and management. It is highly advised that the following tasks are performed by a qualified IT Professional, a qualified Database Administrator, or preferably an individual that has a working knowledge of both the IT management and Database Administration components of this configuration.

Step 1: Install the second Instance

  1. You must have an existing set of installation files for your version.
  2. Run the SetMeUp.exe installation launcher in the folder that contains your installation files.
  3. Confirm that the checkbox that will install the client application is unchecked, and that the checkbox that will install a new SQL Instance is checked.
  4. Create a unique name for your SQL Instance.
  5. Finish the installer as you normally would with a fresh install of Sage Estimating.

Step 2: Select the new SQL Instance as SQL Administrative user

  1. Launch the Estimating Configuration Wizard while logged onto a computer as a set of user credentials which has the Administrator Role configured in Estimating Management Console.
  2. Select the Change button.
  3. In the Server text box type the name of your SQL server and test Instance with a backslash separating them, (example: SERVER\INSTANCENAME).
    • Note: If the SQL server and SQL Instance are not on the local computer you are configuring Estimating Configuration Wizard on, uncheck the Local Only checkbox.
  4. Select Verify.
  5. Select Finish.

Step 3: Configure Security for test users

  1. Launch Estimating Management Console as the SQL Administrative user.
  2. Select the Security tab.
    • Optional: Configure the desired Roles for your test users if a Role does not already exist that will fit their needs on this test environment
  3. Add the users that will be utilizing this test environment and select the Roles that are appropriate.
  4. When finished, close Estimating Management Console.

Step 4: Configure the Estimating Configuration Wizard to utilize test environment

  1. When logged into Windows as the test user, launch the Estimating Configuration Wizard on the computer or workstation that they will be using Estimating on.
  2. Select the Change button.
  3. In the Server text box type the name of your SQL server and test Instance with a backslash separating them (example: SERVER\INSTANCENAME).
    Note: If the SQL server and SQL Instance are not on the local computer you are configuring Estimating Configuration Wizard on, uncheck the Local Only checkbox.
  4. Select Verify.
  5. Select Finish.

This test user is now accessing the test environment. They will be able to perform the tasks that fall within the parameters of the Role that was assigned to them in Step 3. This user can use Estimating Configuration Wizard at any time to switch to the original SQL Instance that houses your production environment, and will only be able to perform the tasks that fall within the parameters of their assigned Role in that SQL Instance.

There you have it! If you followed these quick and easy steps to setting up a secondary SQL Instance, then you now have a completely separate test environment available to you in Sage SQL Estimating.

Questions? Chat with Sage Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m.–8 p.m. ET.

For more information on this topic visit Knowledgebase article 83371. You can find this information and more in the Sage Knowledgebase.

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