February 2019 Newsletter

What we’re flirting with in February:

  • We ‘heart‘ technology this month, sharing articles for the romantic geek in you:
    • Literal ‘nuggets’ from the 2018 JBKnowledge ConTech Report
    • Sage Intacct explains what “true love cloud” is 🙂
  • Bundle up and save up to 20% on Sage Service Ops and Field Ops mobile apps
  • It’s Trade Show Season! WOC was a hit, and IBS is coming up fast
  • Super urgent — are you signed up for Sage City? It’s the ONLY place to get updates!
  • Some SWEET ‘Tips and Tricks’ for Sage 300 CRE | Sage 100 CON | Sage Estimating

 


The 2018 JBKnowledge ConTech Report

The 7th Annual report has more respondents than ever!

For the seventh year, JBKnowledge surveyed AEC companies to compile information and share trends and insights across the industry. This year, JBKnowledge collaborated with the Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA), the Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA), the Texas A&M University’s Department of Construction Science — and new in 2018, the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) and Construction Dive.

As in the past, JBKnowledge has graciously allowed LAI to pick ‘nuggets’ from the report to share, and nugget callouts following graphics are direct quotes from the ConTech Report.

For the full report, click here. All images and quotes are used by permission, but should not be copied or reproduced from this LAI webpage without explicit consent from JBKnowledge. 

Participants

Conducted during the summer of 2018, this year there were 2,825 respondents, with 79.5% being male, and 20.5 female. According to the report:

Survey respondents perform a variety of roles from executives to foremen to project managers to bid coordinators, and most work for subcontractors or general contractors.


Mobile Strategy

Not surprisingly, when it comes to the device of choice, smartphones continue to “eclipse laptops.” Obviously, the ubiquity and size (and possibly cost point) of phones as opposed to laptops just make more sense in the field. With automatic software updates, and literally no IT costs to the company, phones are clearly the preferred technology device, with Apple’s iOS still dominating over Windows devices.,

Nugget:

This year, we see the ever-shrinking percentage of builders who deem mobile capabilities ‘not very important.’ As the construction industry, and the world at large, adapts to the availability of data any time, any place, mobile usage and dependency continues to grow on the jobsite and in the office.


Mobile Apps used the most

Nugget:

2018’s ConTech Survey showed Photo/Video, Daily Reporting, and Time Management are widely available and in use as solutions contained conveniently within apps. The rise of smartphone usage illustrated earlier in this report has clearly had an impact on the number of mobile apps infiltrating construction project workflows.


Workflow Strategy

Well this is good news! This decrease will directly lessen the risk of errors in estimating and bidding. They’re not gone, but it could indicate that software and app publishers are getting better at slicing and dicing important data into useful, actionable information.

Nugget

It is promising to see that all categories of workflows dependent on spreadsheets have dropped in 2018. One would expect a downturn in spreadsheet use to result in a rise in software usage; however, 2018 features only incremental changes in software usage. This could mean that builders are not only starting to reduce spreadsheets, but also reducing the number of software solutions they use that depend on spreadsheets. Spreadsheets are still the most dominant tool of choice for filling feature and integration gaps not yet filled by applications.


Accounting Software

Viewpoint moved from 2nd to 1st place this year (of identified products), displacing Sage. Note that combining Sage 300 CRE and Sage 100 CON would have resulted in a total 23.1% which would would have made it less than one percentage from the ‘other’ write-in category. 

Nugget

Write-ins for accounting software grew 10% in 2018. The only answer that accounted for more than 3% of write-ins was Microsoft Dynamics®. Additional answers for ‘Other’ ranged from software that have accounting features but are not dedicated accounting solutions to smaller, customized accounting software vendors. Aside from write-ins, Viewpoint® surpassed its second place standing in 2017 to take the top spot.


Project Management Software

Procore is clearly the front runner in this category! (With its integration with the Sage CRE solution, and LAI adding it to our portfolio this year — the winner could be YOU.) Sage, Viewpoint, and Dexter + Chaney were “frequent” write-ins for this category as well, although the survey classified them under ERP solution in an effort to differentiate solutions.

Nugget

Procore® jumped 7% this year and still leads usage in project management software. In this year’s ConTech Survey, contractors were asked which dedicated project management solution they used, in hopes of differentiating from more comprehensive ERP solutions, though several ERP write-ins were still frequent, including Sage®, Viewpoint®, Dexter + Chaney, and Plexxis. Project management is still a heavily customized process depending on ad-hoc integrations and systems developed in-house.


Conclusion – Geek out!

To paraphrase James Benham (the JB in Knowledge), the industry is still lagging in technology adoption and innovation. Small IT departments and budgets and a serious lack of commitment to R&D or IT resources (of the human type) are still the standard for the AEC industry.

Additionally, he poses, is there so MUCH technology and data from which to choose, that the whole industry is in a state of ‘analysis parylasis’ when it comes to decision making?

A voice for change

Benham continues with this encouragement:

So how can we change that? How can we view disruption as a challenge and not a threat …Create a culture of innovation. Start with yourself, then your department, then your company — in whatever order that makes the most sense for your role. Become a mad scientist — tinker with new tech, show others what you’ve learned, inspire them to do the same.


I say, bravo! Get that inner geek going and improve your skills, which benefits your company, which ultimately lifts up the industry. The emerging tools for the AEC industry are some of the most forward-thinking, time-saving and bottom-line saving of any industry. Let’s invest in the future that is here NOW.

Want to stay connected with the ConTechCrew?

Check out the weekly construction tech podcast from the ConTechCrew. You’ll be technically better for it!

 


Sage Sales Flash

Bundle up and save on mobile apps!

Been thinking of adding Sage Sales Operations (SSO) or Sage Field Operations (SFO) to your Sage Construct solution? Now you can save up to 20% on subscriptions!

  • Save 10% on 5 – 9 users
  • Save 15% on 10 -14 users
  • Save 20% pm 15+ users

No obligation, no big deal!

About Sage Service Operations (SSO)

Sage Service Operations bridges the gap between the field and office staff by bringing Service Management to the field. Core functionality provides Work Order (WO) processing, service site history, sales opportunity creation, and mobile Purchase Order (PO) creation. SSO works with BOTH Sage 100 CON and Sage 300 CRE!

With Sage Service Operations, managers and technicians have access to real-time information anytime, anywhere. Increase the efficiency of your service operations with the ability to track critical items in the field including assignments, work orders, quotes, preventative maintenance, purchase orders, customer equipment, site history, refrigerant, notes, and time worked.

Sage Service Operations has been designed to support most mobile platforms, including the Android and iOS. Provide your customers with accurate, real-time information on service requests, history, equipment and more.

About Sage Field Operations (SFO)

Sage Service Operations provides field technicians with the critical information they need while office teams receive real-time updates from the field, resulting in higher quality work, improved efficiency, and maximum profitability of your service operations. Integrated with Sage 100 Contractor and Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate, Sage Service Operations helps you deliver excellent customer service anywhere, anytime — so you retain your clients today and win new clients tomorrow.

 


There’s cloud and there’s true cloud

(Reprinted with permission of Sage Inacct. Original post HERE.)

BY BOB SHAWGO | DECEMBER 6, 2018

When a company chooses a cloud service, they have certain expectations. First off, most companies plan to enjoy the cost savings in IT—not having to maintain a powerful, scalable server with guaranteed up time. Rather than paying for room to grow, they anticipate that the service will be able to expand during times of peak demand—referred to as elasticity. Second, they expect fresh software that they don’t have to update. The provider updates the software at frequent intervals for all subscribers. Third, flexible costs allow them to pay for just the features, number of users, and server space they need, when they need it. And lastly, they expect to access the service from anywhere, even mobile devices. These are the expectations of cloud, but do these expectations always align with reality?

It seems like every new service hosted on the internet gets labeled cloud. But are all cloud services the same in terms of benefits—especially over the long-term? I recently came across an article that listed the three indicators of true cloud as “mobility, personalization, and integration.” These three things are a natural outgrowth of true cloud but can easily be baked into other solutions trying to mimic true cloud without the key ingredients that lead to a superior service.

As we look at the cloud space, we can drop services into four buckets:

  • Cloud Infrastructure: Technologies required to build cloud solutions, often used for building private cloud-like services. (Amazon Web Services, Heroku)
  • Cloud Hosted: Often an application set up for a specific client, that comes close to emulating true cloud, but without the innovation, integration connections, multi-tenant delivery, and flexible costs. (hosted WordPress, hosted Drupal)
  • True Cloud: Delivered in the public cloud (generally) and with multi-tenancy, elastic infrastructure, high configurability, self-service expansion, and integration APIs. (Salesforce, Sage Intacct)
  • Platform Hosted: Services built on top of existing cloud platforms that benefit from the platform—a way of creating specialized business offerings without building out all the underlying infrastructure. (Financial Force, Gainsight)

Let me layout a few key definitions, most of which spring out of multi-tenancy.

Multi-tenancy

Multi-tenancy gets thrown around cloud discussions a lot. That’s because it’s a big deal. A multi-tenant system essentially has all the clients residing on a single code base or set of applications. Rather than installing a new set of applications and a database for every client, the service has one application and one big shared database serving all the clients. The significance comes out in a couple of ways. Rather than rolling out new, limited space for each client, multi-tenant services focus on making the service bigger, broader, and more dynamic to handle whatever load clients need to throw at it. And when a multi-tenant service updates their code, everybody gets the update. Because a multi-tenant service provides a single code base to a broad audience, it also has more interest in making that system configurable by the client, allowing the client to use self-service tools to help them grow at their own pace, not the pace of the provider’s service department.

Integration Connections or APIs

Integration connections, also called application programming interfaces (APIs), allow a cloud service to talk to other services. The most common and least expensive options are between cloud services with built-in APIs. For example, Sage Intacct connects with Salesforce using APIs. This allows Sage Intacct to receive sales orders from Salesforce for processing and billing, while at the same time pushing order processing and customer payment information to Salesforce for sales visibility. Pure cloud services make this kind of connection easy.

Stacking up Cloud Categories

As you consider the expected benefits from a cloud service, you’ll hit limitations on the first two in a couple different ways.

On cloud infrastructure, you don’t benefit from freshness, because the solution, though very specific, has to be updated at the client’s direct expense. It’s unlikely that you’ll achieve the scalability of a multi-tenant system, because there hasn’t been any reason to build elasticity into the application itself, even though the infrastructure itself has amazing elasticity.

On cloud hosted services, you’re closer to the ideal cloud solution. The drawbacks are the lack of effortless updates and elasticity. It’s like having a desktop application delivered over the web. With a solution posted to the cloud client by client, updates are time consuming and not likely to come at frequent intervals. For much the same reasons, elasticity isn’t built into the system. It’s configured to function at a certain level, based on initial requirements. Growth has to be handled by engaging the vendor. This can also lead to customization lock in, where companies fail to make changes to customizations because of the cost and complexity.

Recommendations for cloud services seem to land squarely on true cloud. It’s the one system that delivers on all the expected benefits. One benefit above all others may be why true cloud services lead out on innovation. As a true cloud service works to meet the needs of a broad set of customers, they continually innovate to stay ahead of changes and possible disruptions in their area of expertise. This includes maintaining nearly unlimited computing capacity. For example, a cloud financial service like Sage Intacct will adapt early to a new accounting regulation like ASC 606 so that clients can transition to the new regulation without a disruption in benefits. This adaptation will often lead to more circumspect solutions as it did with Sage Intacct’s ASC 606 leading to advances in subscription billing on multi-element arrangements.

The forth[sic] category, platform hosted, grows out of true cloud as providers allow others to leverage their infrastructure to build additional services. The Salesforce platform Force.com is an example of a space where cloud enhanced services can be built and deployed for clients. They have many of the advantages of the Force.com platform with a few drawbacks. The main drawback is their dependence on functionality provided by Force.com. They have to work within the constraints placed on them by the platform. They can never create a service that goes beyond the limits of the platform they’ve chosen. In that regard, they are unlikely to be innovative visionaries.

As an innovator in the cloud space, starting the same year as Salesforce, before anyone had coined the terms Cloud or even SaaS, Sage Intacct has been able to follow and hone a pure cloud model. Sage Intacct was built from the ground up to deliver multi-tenant financial management over the internet, on a platform purpose-built for finance. As you consider your cloud strategy, you would be well served to look carefully at services, like Sage Intacct, built from the ground up to deliver on the promises of cloud computing.

‘No Big Deal’ Procore demo

Want to learn more about LAI’s newest cloud project management solution from Procore? Just click below, and give us a bit of info, and we’ll get it started, stat! No strings, no commitment, no big deal!

 


 

Visit Sage & LAI in IBS Booth #SU224

One of the best shows to network, learn, and see the latest in in home innovation and the newest products. Emmy Award-winning actor and comedian Dana Carvey will headline the Design & Construction Week® Opening Ceremonies. What else can you expect? Keep reading below for highlights, or go to the official show blog, here for more.

Register here

New products and hot tech!

Discover the latest products on the industry’s largest exhibit floor featuring 1,500+ top manufacturers and suppliers, PLUS access to the exhibits of the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show®(KBIS), as part of Design & Construction Week®.

Top trends!

Select from 130+ IBS Education sessions with 3-day access to the industry’s best speakers and knowledge in topics covering 7 industry-specific tracks. PLUS, a full-year’s subscription to IBS Education On Demand.

Learn tips + tricks

See construction demos led by industry experts showcasing the latest in building science in the High Performance Building Zone and tap into the knowledge of the people, products and processes that are transforming the future of our industry in IBS Live.


Sage 100 CON & 300 CRE product releases now only in Sage City

URGENT — sign up now!

Beginning in March 2019, all product release announcements, including tax and year-end updates, will be posted exclusively in Sage City. It’s critical that customers understand where to receive product update news and that’s why we’re asking you to assist us in delivering this message to customers. These product announcements can be sent directly to customers if they subscribe to the Announcements, News and Alerts forum for their Sage solutions in Sage City.

What is Sage City?

Sage City is the official community of Sage and the best place to get the latest product news. It’s also a great resource for connecting with peers in the industry, certified partners, and Sage pros to ask questions as well as share product tips and tricks.

How to sign up:

  1. Go to Sage City at www.SageCity.com.
  2. Click the user icon in the upper right-hand corner. If you are already signed in, your profile picture displays instead of the icon. Skip to step 4. If you are not signed in and you already have a portal account or Sage City account, enter your user name and password, then click Sign in. Skip to step 4.
  3. If you do not have an existing portal account or Sage City account, select Join here, then fill out the requested information, and click Join now.
  4. Hover over Support Groups and select your country.
  5. Select the Sage Construction & Real Estate product.
  6. Select Forums then any of the forums that you’re interested in receiving updates about:
    • Sage 300 CRE Announcements, News, and Alerts.
    • Sage 100 Contractor Announcements, News, and Alerts.
    • Sage Estimating Announcements, News, and Alerts.
  7. Click More on the right-hand side, then select Turn Forum notifications on.

 


 

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

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

 


Upcoming LAI Online Training and Networking Events:

Dec
17
Tue
Subcontractors: Connect your field and office teams with eSUB + Sage @ GoToTraining
Dec 17 @ 11:00 am – 12:00 pm

Want to see eSUB in action? Join LAI and eSUB for this online event!

Free webinar, December 17, 11:00 am, MST

Join eSUB and LAI as we show you how to improve field to office collaboration with testimony and case study from a large trade contractor. Learn more about Sage 300 CRE + eSUB, the leading field data collection and project management platform purpose-built for trade contractors.

You will learn how to:

  • Capture jobsite activity from a mobile device to keep the office team up-to-date in real-time
  • Integrate operations and financial systems to reduce manual data entry and increase accuracy
  • Establish best practices to standardize operations and improve efficiency

eSUB is THE field data collection and operations platform designed specifically for subcontractors. Built on 30-plus years of expertise, eSUB’s mobile-first, cloud-based project management platform captures valuable project data to help self-performing contractors increase standardization, accountability, and productivity.

Our guest presenter, Benny Baltrotsky, is the Chief Strategy Officer of eSUB Construction Software. Because eSUB integrates with many different solutions including Sage 300 CRE, Benny is passionate about integrations. He is also a founding member of the Construction Open Standards Alliance and Board Member of the Construction Progress Coalition, non-profit organizations dedicated to providing a framework to help develop open data standards in construction.

Register for Ledgerwood

Dec
19
Thu
Sage 100 CON Lunch Box Talks @ Go To Training
Dec 19 @ 11:00 pm – Dec 20 @ 12:00 am

Year End Close Out Procedures

Join an LAI consultant for a live, online FREE session.

 

Register here: https://attendee.gototraining.com/r/5275628714865636866

Feb
13
Thu
Overview of the Office Connector Product Suite @ Online
Feb 13 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am

The Excel Conundrum

Sage Office Connector webinarEvent1-logo

Excel is arguably the most widely used business application software on the planet. So why do advocates prefer to use it? Why do naysayers argue against using it?

Join us for this informative session and discover how Sage Office Connector can transform Excel, increasing how useful it is to your business while eliminating arguments against your use of easy to use yet immensely powerful technology.

We will show you how Sage Office Connector can streamline your reporting and analysis, improve the way you share vital business information and significantly enhance manual processes that may be tedious and prone to error. You will not only save hours of time preparing the Excel workbooks you currently rely upon, but you will also begin to see why thousands of Sage customers and tens of thousands of your peers utilize this powerful yet affordable technology to improve the way they use and share information.

What we’ll cover:

  • Excel-based reporting
  • Analysis and process enhancement

 

Jun
11
Thu
Liberty Reports for Sage SQL Estimating @ Online
Jun 11 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am

Event1 WebinarEvent1-logo

Join us for an informative presentation of the top reporting tool available for Sage Estimating, SQL Edition.

Learn how to:

  • Create itemized proposals in Excel
    • Explore your spreadsheet
    • Create a summary of your group cost codes
  • Drill into the details including subcontractor and supplier details
  • View interactive estimate
    • Excel-based view of the estimate sheet for Sage Estimating
    • Utilize Excel capability for functions, filter, sort, subtotal, copy/paste and more

In addition to the reports on the Liberty Reports LaunchPad, learn how you can design your own Excel-based report.

Sep
10
Thu
Buyout for Sage SQL Estimating @ Online
Sep 10 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am

Event1 WebinarEvent1-logo

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.

Nov
12
Thu
Excel-based project forecasting and WIP Reporting @ Online
Nov 12 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am

Event 1 WebinarEvent1-logo

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.

 

 



Should You Switch Your Business To a C Corporation?

Submitted by Bryan Eto, CPA BeachFleischman

Thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), the federal income tax rate on C corporations is now a flat 21%, for tax years beginning in 2018 and beyond. Under prior law, C corporations were subject to graduated tax rates ranging from 15% to 35%. This is a permanent change, as long as Congress doesn’t reverse it.

By comparison, the maximum federal income tax rate for an individual taxpayer’s income from sole proprietorships and so-called “pass-through” entities (including partnerships, limited liability companies and S corporations) has been reduced to 37% under the TCJA. Starting in 2026, the individual federal income tax rates are scheduled to return to the pre-TCJA levels (which maxed out at 39.6%).

Based on these tax rate considerations, what’s the optimal structure for your business now? Many business owners are asking if they should switch to C corporation status. The answer varies from business to business. But there’s more to consider than just federal income tax rates. And C corporations also have certain tax disadvantages that you need to understand before you can decide.

Double Taxation

Income earned by a C corporation can potentially be taxed twice:

  • At the corporate level, and
  • At the shareholder level when corporate profits are paid out as taxable dividends.

Under current law, dividends received by individual shareholders and trusts and estates are taxed at a maximum federal rate of 20%. But dividends have been taxed at much higher rates in the past. And there’s no guarantee that the tax rate on dividends won’t be higher in the future, if Congress changes the tax law.

In addition, dividends can be hit with the 3.8% net investment income tax (NIIT). This effectively raises the maximum federal rate to 23.8% under current law.

Double taxation can also arise indirectly if you sell your C corporation shares for a profit. The corporation’s income is taxed once at the corporate level and undistributed profits can be indirectly taxed again at the shareholder level — in the form of capital gains tax when your shares are sold.

Under current law, the maximum federal income tax rate on long-term capital gains from shares held for more than one year is 20%. However, the 3.8% NIIT may also apply.

The double taxation threat generally makes it a bad idea to use a C corporation to own appreciating assets, such as real estate and patents. When the corporation sells an appreciated asset, it can trigger tax at the corporate level and again at the shareholder level if the sales proceeds are distributed as 1) dividends, or 2) liquidation proceeds if the company is disbanded after the asset sale. Double taxation can also arise if undistributed asset sale profits contribute to selling your shares for a gain.

So, the fundamental tax planning objectives for C corporations haven’t changed under the TCJA. Corporate business owners should still try to avoid double taxation, if possible.

Excess Accumulated Earnings

One way to avoid double taxation is to keep all corporate profits and gains inside the corporation. However, if you do that, your corporation runs the risk of being exposed to the accumulated earnings tax (AET).

The AET is a corporate-level tax assessed by the IRS (as opposed to a tax that is paid voluntarily with a corporate tax return). The IRS can assess the AET when:

  • Accumulated earnings exceed $250,000 for a C corporation (or $150,000 for a personal service corporation), and
  • The corporation can’t demonstrate economic need for the “excess” accumulated earnings.

When the AET is assessed, the rate is the same as the current maximum 20% federal rate on dividends received by individuals.

Important note: When a business owes the AET, it’s in addition to the regular corporate federal income tax.

Personal Holding Companies

The personal holding company (PHC) tax is another corporate-level tax that’s intended to prevent C corporations from avoiding double taxation by keeping all profits and gains inside the business. PHC status is determined annually.

So, a corporation can inadvertently fall into the PHC trap if it wasn’t considered a PHC in previous years. Essentially, the tax planning objective to avoid the PHC tax is to maximize the odds that your corporation will fail one of two tests — or both.

Income test

To fail the income test, a corporation’s PHC income must be less than 60% of its adjusted ordinary gross income (AOGI).

PHC income equals the portion of AOGI that consists of dividends, interest income, royalties, annuities, rents, taxable distributions from estates and trusts, and income from personal service contracts.

A corporation’s ordinary gross income is income from operations minus 1) gains from the sale or disposition of capital assets (typically investment assets), and 2) Section 1231 assets (business assets that are taxed similarly to capital assets).

AOGI is ordinary gross income adjusted for certain rental property expenses, certain expenses allocable to revenues from oil and gas and mineral production, and other items.

Ownership test

A corporation passes this test for a particular tax year if more than 50% of its stock value is owned directly or indirectly by five or fewer individuals during any part of the second half of that tax year.

Ownership by five or fewer individuals can potentially occur at any time during the second half of a year. So, the test can’t be based solely on year-end ownership percentages if there have been ownership changes during the second half.

Sometimes the ownership structure will result in the corporation passing the ownership test. When that happens, the shareholders may be able to adjust their ownership percentages during the first half in order to fail the test during the second half.

Most closely held C corporations will find it easier to fail the income test than the ownership test. And, if you fail the income test, you can ignore the ownership test.

A corporation that passes both tests is a PHC that’s currently taxed based on its undistributed PHC income. This is calculated by making various adjustments to the corporation’s regular taxable income and deducting any dividends paid. The remainder is subject to the 20% PHC tax.

Important note: When a business owes the PHC tax, it’s in addition to the regular corporate federal income tax bill.

The PHC tax is designed to encourage corporations that are classified as PHCs to pay out earnings as taxable dividends to shareholders. So, paying dividends can reduce or eliminate the tax.

However, those dividends must be reported as income on the shareholders’ tax returns, and probably taxed at the maximum 20% rate for individual shareholders. If so, it’s basically a wash from a federal income tax perspective. The trick is to avoid exposure to the PHC tax in the first place, usually by managing to fail the income test.

Should Your Business Operate as a C Corporation?

Be aware that, if you do choose to operate as a C corporation to take advantage of the new 21% corporate federal income tax rate, the IRS may target C corporations and give more attention to the AET and the PHC tax under the TCJA. So, avoiding these taxes and providing thorough documentation should be a key planning goal for corporations in the future.

There’s no one-size-fits-all business structure. The best structure depends on your circumstances. Your tax advisor can help you put the pieces of the puzzle together to derive the best answer for your specific situation.

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

 

Stop Ignoring the BACKUP Warnings!

by Pam Schulz, Sage Certified Consultant

Ignoring the warning won’t make it go away

Do you sign into Sage 100 Contractor daily and see this warning, “Your nightly backup did not run”, or WORSE, “Your nightly backup has never run”? It’s time to stop ignoring the warning and fix the problem!

First, understand that the Sage Nightly Backup is needed even if you have made “other” nightly backup arrangements. The Sage Nightly Backup packages together all of the files you would need to restore your Sage data “neatly.” Your “other” backup arrangements should then include backing up that Sage Nightly Backup file somewhere safe.

If you are getting a warning, that means that a nightly backup schedule HAS been set up at some time. This probably happened when creating your company, or when upgrading from version 19. It is also possible that you have not set up a nightly schedule. In this case you would NOT be getting a warning, so it would be wise to review the backups NOW even if you are not getting any warnings. In Database Administration, Select Schedule Nightly Maintenance>Modify Maintenance Schedules. (Or Create Maintenance Schedules if none exists!)

If you ARE getting a warning, check the LOG to see why the backups are not occurring properly. The LOG is a text file located in the Nightly Backups folder “Sage100Con/Backups/Nightly.” Some common types of errors include:

  • Login failure. Make sure the users scheduling backup have the proper Windows rights.
  • Space issues. You do not have sufficient room for your backups.

What can you do about these errors?

For login failures, have your RIGHTS checked. The backup is a scheduled Windows event — often users can log onto the server but may not have sufficient rights to set up the backup.

Space issues can obviously be solved by adding more room, BUT you should also make sure you are being “smart” about the backups. You probably do not need to backup very one of your archives nightly, and certainly there is no need to keep two weeks worth of the archive backups. I advise making one backup “on demand” of your archive files to a special location that will always be kept backed up. Then, current files can be backed up nightly. You may or may not need to keep 2 weeks worth- especially if the backups are also being copied off site.

Finally, you should manually check your backups by periodically checking that backups are indeed in the nightly folder; AND from time to time, you should actually RESTORE a backup (you can rename the file when doing so) to make sure your backups are readable.

A few minutes well spent could save many hours of pure agony later. It’s really this simple:

  1. Make sure your nightly backups are happening
  2. Have the backup files get “backed up” off site
  3. Test your backups on a periodic basis
  4. Evaluate what is being backed up nightly in Sage to make the best use of your resources

Need help from a certified Sage 100 Contractor Consultant? Just click, and we’ll contact you in a jiff! It’s no big deal, right?

A sweet alternative to the AR ‘Enter Cash Receipts’ task

by Kyle Zeigler, Sage Senior Certified Consultant

Happiness = the ‘process manual cash receipt option’

Sage 300 CRE consultants are considered to be experts when it comes to using and troubleshooting this software. With nearly 15 years of experience working with Sage 300 CRE, you’d think there’s nothing left to learn. Not true! As Sage continues to re-engineer the software and add new features, there’s always something new to explore. This latest discovery is so sweet that I’m telling all of my clients about it. And what’s really embarrassing is that I didn’t even know it was there – a brand new user brought it to my attention!

You may be aware that the Accounts Receivable module is now integrated with Sage Payment Solutions (SPS), a service that enables you to electronically process payments from your customers, including checks, ACH (Automated Clearing House) transfers, and credit and debit card payments. To use Sage Payment Solutions, users must first sign up and receive a merchant ID and merchant key. Once these credentials are received, it’s a simple one-time setup in the Manage Electronic Payments window to begin processing customer payments. But that’s not all you can do with this task!

My brand new client has no intention of using Sage Payment Solutions (at least not right now). They already receive ACH transfers from some customers directly to their bank, as well as good old fashioned paper checks. They just need to record the cash receipts in Accounts Receivable to clear the open invoices. What they brought to my attention is that the Manage Electronic Payments task has a “Process manual cash receipt” option that provides the following:

  • A much more modern, user-friendly interface for recording cash receipts, particularly when working with large lists of open invoices
  • A very nice all-in-one payment details window where users select the customer and enter the payment information
  • The ability to immediately toggle to the list of open invoices and easily apply the cash receipt by clicking a checkbox, and even drill down to distributions on a specific invoice and apply cash receipts by distribution
  • The same posting process to other applications and journal printout as with the original Enter Cash Receipts task in Accounts Receivable

If you’re responsible for entering customer cash receipts in your Sage 300 CRE software, I encourage you to explore the “Process manual cash receipt” feature of the Manage Electronic Payment task as a fun alternative to the old Enter Cash Receipts method. Access to the Manage Electronic Payments task is security controlled, so if you don’t see this selection in your list of Accounts Receivable tasks, you may want to ask your Sage security administrator to make the task available to your user role. Also, it should be noted that Misc GL and Misc JC Cash Receipts cannot be entered using the Manage Electronic Payments task.

If you would like some additional information about Sage Payment Solutions, or need assistance with any feature of your Sage 300 CRE software, please don’t hesitate to contact Ledgerwood Associates.

 

Need help from a certified Sage 300 CRE Consultant? Just click, and we’ll contact you in a jiff! It’s no big deal, right?

 

 

Do you have a Sage Estimating License Server (SQL) on another computer?

by Renee Mullen, Sage Marketing Manager

Maybe you just had to upgrade or replace your server that has Sage Estimating Licensing installed? If so, you will need to deauthorize your current License Server and then authorize the new License Server.

Deauthorizing a License Server

Before you can reallocate your licenses to a different license server, you must release the allocated licenses to the Sage online licensing system. You do so by deauthorizing the original license server, enabling you to configure the new license server and register the licenses to that machine.

Caution! Do not deauthorize your license server if any users are working with Sage Estimating programs or have license uses checked out. Doing so can lock the licenses, requiring Sage Customer Support to resolve.

To deauthorize your Sage license server:

  1. Check your current license server information:
    • Start License Administration.
    • Ensure that the License server box contains the name of the computer you want to deauthorize.
  2. Deauthorize your current license server:
    • Ensure that no other users are working with Sage Estimating.
    • Click Deauthorize license server.

You should receive a message saying that deauthorization was successful.

To move your license server to another computer:

  1. Verify the full computer name of the computer you want to use as the new license server.
  2. Deauthorize your current license server.
    • Important! This step is crucial. You must release your allocated licenses to the Sage on-line licensing system so that they are available to reallocate to the server. Make sure you receive a message saying that deauthorization was successful before you proceed.
  3. Click Change server, and then, in the Specify License Server window:
    • In the Computer box, type the full name of the computer you want to use as the license server.
    • Click [OK].
    • Important! Entering a new computer name in the Specify License Server window points the License Administration window to a different machine, enabling you to administer licenses on that license server.
  4. To update your registration information, click Edit registration information, type your Sage client ID and registration name in the boxes provided, and then click [OK]. If the new server is authorized successfully, the Licensed Modules grid displays your licensed modules and license uses with your new registration information.

Note: After changing the license server, you will need to reconfigure each Sage Estimating workstation to point to the new license server.

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

For more information on this topic visit Knowledgebase article 393097. You can find this information and more in the Sage Knowledgebase.

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