July 2019 Newsletter
What we’re jumping for in July
- From Procore: Jobsite technology improves safety and productivity during the labor shortage
- 3 Partner Webinars this month: Timberscan – Paperless Approval | Procore – The Power of Two | hh2: Document Flow
- Why Ruth S. wants you to start Year End planning THIS month!
- Intacct interviews 2 financial pros on the real cost of QuickBooks
- Awesome ‘Tips + Tricks’ for Accounting | Sage 300 CRE | Sage 100 CON | Sage Estimating
Construction Turns to Tech to Ease Labor Shortage
Reprinted with permission from Procore’s Jobsite – original post HERE.
Construction’s labor pool is getting pinched from both sides by the dual forces of an aging workforce and fewer younger workers pursuing careers in the trades. Simultaneously, the demand for work is seeing all-time highs. Similarly, construction spending [is] surpassing $1.2 trillion in 2017 and nearly $1.3 trillion last year. That disconnect is taking its toll, with a recent U.S. Chamber of Commerce survey showing 81 percent of contractors have had to ask their workers to take more on. Seventy percent admitted they have struggled to hit deadlines because of the diminished labor pool.
Labor shortage or not, at the end of the day the work still needs to get done. That’s why contractors are increasingly resorting to using technology to keep pace with demand in light of diminished labor resources.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and UGS Corporation’s Q4 2018 Commercial Construction Index contained hints of optimism in spite of the challenges. It showed three-quarters of contractors viewed advanced technologies as a potential solution to improved productivity. The labor shortage actually seems to be spurring innovation, with 66 percent of the surveyed contractors saying labor needs are the chief driver of their companies’ investments in technology.
Interestingly, most of the new technologies being embraced aren’t about replacing human labor with machines. Instead, their purpose is to improve human workers’ skills and make them more efficient and safety-minded. Thus, they enable workers to work at peak productivity with reduced risk of injury. “When confronted by the labor shortage, there is an even greater need to identify meaningful solutions that will lead to growth and innovation,” said Jennifer Scanlon, president and CEO of USG Corporation. “To achieve the expected growth, it is important that contractors, architects, and designers invest in understanding how technologies like robots and 3D printing can transform jobsites and impact businesses in the near- and long-term.”
Interestingly, most of the new technologies being embraced aren’t about replacing human labor with machines. Instead, their purpose is to improve human workers’ skills and make them more efficient and safety-minded. Thus, they enable workers to work at peak productivity with reduced risk of injury.
The report showed a more than 50 percent adoption rate for some combination of technologies including drones, wearable sensors, AR/VR or equipment tagging. Seventy-four percent said they expected to be using at least some of them within the next three years.
According to the report, wearables, in particular, are poised for big growth. Even though just 6 percent of contractors said they use them today, that number is set to nearly quadruple over the next 3 years, according to the report. The vast majority of contractors, 83 percent, said wearables were one of the best ways to improve worker safety. Rounding out the top three expected uses for the technology were workforce management (56%) and productivity (36%).
“Today, our economy is being rapidly reshaped by technology and other forces,” said Thomas Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “This transformation is creating opportunity, but too many people lack the skills or credentials they need to compete for 21st-century jobs and too many businesses can’t find the skilled workers they need. To maintain America’s competitive advantage, it’s imperative that industries and businesses adapt and leverage technology as a way to address workforce challenges.”
Somewhat ironically, the very technologies adopted to address the labor gap might well be drawing new blood into the industry. Construction’s reputation as a staid industry and a slow adopter of technology is one thing often cited as a discouraging factor to potential Millennial and Generation Z workers. As more new technology is woven into the fabric of the day-to-day job for workers at every level, the need for skilled operators will increase—and those “digital native” 20-somethings are often best equipped to fill those jobs.
Necessity is the mother of invention, and more contractors than ever are turning to technology out of necessity to bridge the labor gap left by a rapidly retiring workforce and a narrow up-and-coming talent pipeline. Assuming both trends continue, it’s likely even more companies down the line will be forced to explore similar solutions to get the most out of their workers.
Timberscan -TOMORROW !
Paperless Approval for Sage 300 CRE
Join Core Associates TOMORROW — July 11, 2019
Join us for a live online webinar and learn how you can automate and simplify your A/P approval process. Here’s an example of what construction companies are saying about Timberscan:
It streamlines the invoice approval process, and ensures proper coding of all invoices, eliminates lost invoices, and improves payment terms.
Tom – Model Group
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 Sage 300 CRE! And now for Sage 100 CON too!
Click below to send an email to Allison at Core Associates for the registration link.
Connecting your field and office teams with Procore + Sage
‘The Power of Two’ webinar — July 24th at 10 am
Let us introduce you to Procore, the all-in-one construction management software built to help you finish quality projects—safely, on time, and within budget.
Procore will walk through the platform and showcase how Procore can integrate to your Sage 300 CRE or 100 Contractor solution.
What will be covered:
- Introduction to Procore
- High level product demo
- Sage + Procore integration
- Open Q & A
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the training.
AP Routing & Approval – 100% in the cloud
hh2 webinar — July 31st at 10 am
hh2 Document Flow provides a complete cloud-based solution built for construction with tools that help you capture and code invoices, CC transactions, and reimbursements all using a fully customizable workflow. Best of all you can code and approve your invoices at any time from anywhere, at a fraction of the cost of other solutions!
What you’ll learn:
- Device agnostic
- Acquiring invoices
- hh2 workflow
- Credit card transactions
- Pricing – no upfront or contracts
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the training.
Year End planning in July?
by Ruth Stockdale, LAI Director of PSG
Mid-summer always seems too early to even think about year-end software releases, but it pays to do some initial planning now.
Sage has announced current and upcoming 2019 version upgrades for Sage 100 contractor, Sage 300 CRE, and Sage Estimating.
From the Sage 300 CRE communication:
Starting with this year end, we will exclusively support the latest version of Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate. For the 2019 year end, we will support version 18. The year-end update (version 18.5) will be available in December.
To help ease the transition to one supported version, Sage will continue to support and enhance version 18 this year. In August, we will offer version 18.3 which will include many improvements to APIs that will enhance product integrations. In September we will offer version 18.4 which includes a stand-alone update for SQL Replicator.
Tips for getting started:
- Understand exactly what version(s) you are currently running. You should check on your primary Sage applications as well as any third-party products such as Timberscan and other integration products you have implemented. Even if a third-party product does not directly integrate with Sage accounting applications, there may be common requirements for Windows components.
- Check your Sage emails for information about upcoming releases. Sage just sent notices regarding all product lines and plans for year-end requirements. You need to be aware of what versions will or will not be supported for handling W-2s, 1099s, and any other year-end closing changes. Keep in mind that even though Estimating does not have tax-related changes, the version needs to match what is supported.
- Make sure your contact information is correct. Check with Sage support and Ledgerwood Associates to update this so that bulletins and last-minute information get to you.
- Decide WHO will do the software upgrades. You may be able to upgrade the software yourself, or you may need help from your IT people and our consultants. Some upgrades are easy, with minimal changes in the software. Some are extensive and require knowledgeable consultants to plan and execute. If you aren’t certain, ask your consultant or call our office.
- Schedule the time to perform the upgrade. Don’t wait until November to schedule this! From November through February, schedules fill quickly, and resources are scarce. This is true whether you are using our consultants, outside IT people, your own staff, or Sage support.
Let us know if we can help! It’s No Big Deal.
Financial Pros Weigh the Real Cost of QuickBooks
Reprinted with permission from Sage Intacct
BY BOB SHAWGO, SAGE INTACCT, CONTENT MARKETING | JULY 2, 2019 | Original article link here
How do you know when the low-price solution is costing you more than you’re saving? A few weeks ago, I interviewed two financial professionals who moved their organizations off QuickBooks and started seeing a big payback. You can watch a recording of the webinar here.
Both webinar guests work with companies that have graduated to Sage Intacct and made great strides in building automation and visibility into their accounting processes. Both guests also have extensive backgrounds in finance, leading back to early career positions with big accounting firms. The two companies they work for have very different business processes and focuses, but both found that the flexibility built into Sage Intacct allowed them to adapt the finance system to their ways of doing business.
Consolidated financials for multi-entity restaurant management
In the webinar, Pam Bakker of Laird Management was the first to tell her story. Laird Management runs more than 30 Burger King restaurants across Arizona. As you might imagine, Pam had huge requirement needs around multi-entity functionality and cash processing. She talked about the need to manage purchasing from the top level to take advantage of the scale of their business when ordering everything from food to cleaning supplies. They continue to grow, and Pam likes that she can add entities in minutes at any time without IT support.
Prior to moving to Sage Intacct, she spent days building out reports in Excel to the business owner’s specifications. After moving to Sage Intacct, she went into the financial report writer and built out all the reports she needed, in the format the owner required, using only Sage Intacct’s built-in help system. Now she has a reporting package that helps her add strategic insight into company growth decisions by having key metrics at her finger tips.
Streamlined insurance claims payments
Kristy Facchini, with AutoClaims Direct, talked about the need to automate expense processes. Her goal was to achieve a paperless process for the more than the 700 claims that they pay each month. Between the custom integration from their claims system to Sage Intacct and ACH payment functionality, she reduced the time to process payments from a full day to a couple of minutes. She now runs payments on the 15th and last day of the month like clockwork in just 5 minutes. And her team has time to strategically analyze the business and help guide growth.
She talks about the enablement process and how her IT staff was able to easily integrate their claims system by simply mapping fields, saving them three days each month in finance. They added custom fields specific to their business into Sage Intacct transaction documents to capture vital, claim-specific details on payment remittance. These fields also allow them to do more in-depth reporting than they were ever able to do with QuickBooks, allowing the company’s leadership to monitor key trends such as profitability and revenue by customer by month. Facchini even built a personalized Sage Intacct dashboard for the company’s CEO, with metrics he monitors daily to track indicators like year-to-date revenue measured against prior results and current targets.
Find out for yourself
The panel discussion includes answers to questions around how to increase visibility to better inform company decisions, replace unscalable manual processes like multi-entity consolidations and bulk payment processing, and cut the time to close by 50% or more. Panelists even field questions from listeners on the specifics of switching to Sage Intacct.
Talking to Sage Intacct customers helps me remember why, year after year, Sage Intacct continues to be #1 in Customer Satisfaction on G2 crowd. Don’t take my word for it. Watch the webinar and see if it’s time for your business to graduate from QuickBooks to Sage Intacct.
Follow LAI on Social Media for current construction and technology news!
How to get a business loan
Submitted by Bryan Eto, CPA BeachFleischman
There are a couple of old sayings that relate to getting a loan. The first one is that bankers only want to lend money when you don’t need it. As frustrating as that is, it’s understandable, since bankers naturally want to minimize their risks.
However, you can change the odds of getting cash when you need it by gaining a clearer understanding of the lending process.
• Be honest regardless of whether the information is positive or negative.
• Present a clear, concise and comprehensive plan. Know the amount you need. Provide written documentation.
• Set an appointment to discuss your request with a loan officer. Allow enough time. Negotiate loan terms and rates after presenting a complete request.
• Ask questions about anything you don’t understand.
• Make promises that you’re unable to keep.
• Ask the loan officer how much money you can borrow.
• Be demanding and over-anxious. Insist on term and rate information over the phone before presenting the necessary information.
• Spend the money before your loan request is approved.
What they look for being repayed
Loan officers will look for at least two sources of repayment, and possibly a third:
- Cash flow from operations for short-term loans and continued positive earnings for long-term loans;
- Collateral such as a mortgage on fixed assets, accounts receivable, or inventory as a backup to the first source, and
- A personal guarantee if the lender wants a third source that demonstrates your commitment to the operation and its success.
Know the 5 C’s
There’s another aspect of the loan application process from the lender’s viewpoint. The loan officer is generally going to investigate how the Five C’s of Credit apply to you. Those C’s are: Capacity, Collateral, Capital, Character, and Conditions.
- Capacity is your ability to meet the financial obligations of the debt and the track records of both you and the business? It’s a plus if you have experience in the same industry, preferably in management.
- Collateral is the assets can you pledge to support the primary source of repayment.
- Capital represents how much equity there is in the business and how much of your own money you’ve devoted to the project.
- Character simply means how trustworthy you and your partners are. Regardless of the financial forecast presented, the loan officer must evaluate the owners’ integrity.
- Conditions are the outlook for the economy and your industry.
And that other old saying? “Forewarned is forearmed.” Understand the process, be prepared to explain how you fit in with the Five C’s. Be convincing and you boost your chances of borrowing the money you need.
Beach Fleischman 2201 E. Camelback Rd. Phoenix, AZ 85016 | 602.265.7011 | http://beachfleischman.com | twitter: @BeachFleischman
What’s new in Sage 100 Contractor v22
by Pam Schulz, Sage Certified Consultant
Something for everyone!
HOT features include:
- Bank Posting and Bank/Credit Card Reconciliation Improvements
- Major changes to the “final save” in the Bank Reconciliation process now allow viewing, and even reversal of a previously “final” saved bank reconciliation
- The Bank Reconciliation window has been made more friendly
- Sort by item amount button has been added
- The Credit Card Reconciliation window has been made more friendly
- Subtotals by credit card have been added
New options make transfers between accounts easier
Both the Checks and Bank Charges (menu option 1-1) and the Deposits/Interest (menu option 1-2) screens have new options to “Transfer Between Accounts.” Using this menu option creates two transactions in the General Ledger, using a clearing account in both transactions. This allows the bank reconciliations of the affected accounts to be done without the errors that previously occurred with accounts that were not reconciled “in order.”
Command Level Security
In addition to the existing menu and field level security, some of the Post Commands and other options can now be controlled.
- Recurring Transactions; menu option 1-4; the POST commands are controllable by security (previously “anyone” could post in this window)
- Accounts Receivable (Job setup) Menu option 3-5; the VIEW button/option for the Budget, AR invoices, etc., are all controllable by security
New Takeoff Options in Basic Estimating
The new “Templates” features allow more flexibility and greater visibility of job templates by allowing you to build a “template” without assigning it to a job. Another (brilliant!) use of this would be to create “alternate” estimates for a job.
The templates are viewable without replacing an existing job estimate. The templates can be modified and resaved. This is more flexible than the current method of importing and exporting “takeoff” files.
Sage has created a Message Center and a Message Carousel to enable you to receive product-specific messages from Sage. Messages can include Support Updates (including Critical Alerts), Update Notices, Promotions and a variety of Sage Communications. Each user can set preferences to enable or disable for the types of messages to receive (with the exception of support alerts).
Critical messages are displayed when the program is started.
The Message Carousel is accessed by clicking the Message button at the bottom of the Home Screen. Messages are displayed one at a time and can be marked, and dismissed here.
The Message Center is accessed through Home & Resources>Sage Messaging>Message Center. Messages are displayed in a Grid and can be marked, and dismissed here.
- A new option to provide a warning in Accounts Payable if an invoice is being posted to a vendor without a Subcontract, and the warning is turned on.
- Use tax reporting for use tax on payable invoices
- Better sorting of many grids
- New Over/Under reporting options
- Payroll Records posted to the wrong checking account can easily be corrected
- The text in Notes fields can be resized
And EVEN more…
You can easily access the upgrade files through Sage Advisor Update (loaded on your computer) or through a Sage City update (join Sage City if you have not already done so.)
As a reminder, many of the product enhancements originated with USER suggestions! Be active in your Sage 100 Contractor development by submitting Product Enhancement suggestions. This is easy and accessible — see the “Submit Product Idea” option in the Home & Resources menu on your Sage 100 Contractor desktop.
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?
Ain’t nothing but a … bean counter?
by Kyle Zeigler, Sage Senior Certified Consultant
“I have no use for bodyguards, but I have very specific use for two highly trained certified public accountants.” – Elvis Presley
Even Elvis knew the value of a good accountant. So when it comes to hiring a new accounting professional, finding an experienced Sage 300 CRE user is a huge plus. However, the wording of your job posting can make a big difference in the quality of candidates who apply. For instance, advertising for someone experienced with Sage 300 can be hugely misleading. Sage distributes two significantly different accounting solutions, both of which were rebranded as Sage 300 – Sage 300 ERP (formerly ACCPAC) and Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate (formerly Timberline). A user experienced in Sage 300 ERP will be completely lost in your Sage 300 CRE accounting software! Likewise, using only the word “Timberline” in your advertising may limit the number of applicants you receive. To attract the best candidates for your accounting position, specifying “Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate (Timberline)” or “Sage 300 CRE (Timberline)” is best.
Vetting applicants who claim to be experienced Sage 300 CRE users is also important. Let’s face it – job applicants tend to exaggerate their qualifications in hopes of landing a job. Rather than asking, “Are you experienced in the Accounts Payable module?” a better approach would be to ask, “Walk me through the features you used in the Accounts Payable module. What exactly were the steps?” This may help validate the candidate’s claims and determine his/her true level of experience.
Finally, with changes in accounting personnel, it’s always a good idea to contact Sage and update your organization’s communication preferences, especially if your primary contact with Sage has changed. This ensures that you receive critical communications from Sage, including notices of upcoming version releases and potential changes in the software. To update your preferences, you can do one of the following:
- Email your contact list to firstname.lastname@example.org (include your company name and Sage customer account number)
- Or call Sage at 800-551-8307
Whatever changes are taking place in your organization or with your Sage 300 CRE software, we at Ledgerwood Associates are here to help with the transition. Please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 480-423-8300 or visit us at LedgerwoodUSA.com.
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?