March 2015 Newsletter
We Lost Our “Associates”!
Not really. We still are Ledgerwood Associates, Inc. (LAI). We’ve just used a website update to shorten our lengthy web address (url). Don’t worry, though, the older, lengthy one will still (redirect) send you to the new site.
Update Your Bookmark to “www.LedgerwoodUSA.com”
There are many good business reasons why companies should redo their website: diversification, rebranding, changes in company’s vision, poor web performance, (the world’s LONGEST URL ever!).
At Ledgerwood Associates, there were two primary reasons: (1) to make a better user experience (“What do you do, and how can you solve my business problem?”) and (2) to introduce two new Sage offerings from LAI (Sage CRM and Sage ERP X3).
The timing for a new website launch couldn’t be better. While LAI has cornered the SW and Rocky Mountain regions for construction software, many of our customers were not aware of all the complementary products LAI has added to the suite of solutions; some of which are Sage-branded and some of which are third-party.
For instance, Sage added these products for Sage 300 CRE just last year:
- Sage Paperless Environment
- Sage Payment Solutions
- Sage eTakeoff
- Sage Executive Dashboard (included in S300 Version 14 and later)
LAI also brought on a great reporting solution for Sage 100:
- Liberty Reports
Did you know that LAI also offers scores of other integration products and partners? We offer “Complementary Products” for cloud and mobile solutions, takeoff software, nine different reporting options, payment management products, and bridge solutions? We also have an entire web page dedicated to industry data- and knowledgebases that will help you plug in standard pricing for estimating!
All About You – A “Geeky” User Experience
As mentioned, one of the goals of the new website is to allow users to quickly navigate to the content that fits their interest. For example, we are often asked, “What’s the difference between Sage 100 and Sage 300 Accounting?” We took that question literally, and created “personas” that have distinct needs when researching solutions to unique business problems. We then created an LAI “geek” who directs the user to the solution that best fits the question that persona asks. For example an owner, a controller, and an estimator all need different functionalities while looking for a single software solution. It’s YOUR decision, but LAI is there to guide you to a custom solution that’s right only for YOU!
Then, we added “complementary” products to core software, so you could learn what else will work for your particular business needs in a software solution. Do you want to be mobile, paperless, with in-depth reporting? It’s all there for you, and it’s organized by what you’re researching.
Feedback is A Gift!
We’ve also loaded a ton of videos, and we will be adding whitepapers, case studies, and additional resources. Want to comment on the new look or make suggestions? Email us with feedback – we’d love to hear from you!
Introducing Sage CRM!
With the upturn of the economy, many companies are looking for ways to manage their pipeline, increase engagement with potential prospects, and improve customer satisfaction. A sound business strategy is to add a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution, which increases communication across all business units, as well as with (potential) customers.
Why CRM for Construction?
You know by now, that LAI is strongly connected to the construction industry. Many of our employees worked for or owned construction companies. Within an industry facing fierce competition and tight margins, Sage CRM offers a low cost of ownership and a simple, scalable CRM solution.
What’s great about Sage CRM for construction is that it can track your bidding process, as well as all the standard CRM functionality like managing sales funnels and in-depth reporting; marketing campaigns with industry-leading email integrations; as well as an Outlook-compatible contact database.
Technology is finally being widely adopted by the construction industry. For a deeper look into CRM for construction check out Sage’s VP of Product Marketing, Diane Haines’, blog “How technology can improve your construction relationships.”
Meet Sage ERP X3
Fast, Simple Flexible Enterprise Resource Planning
For far too long, there has been a myth: Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems are complex by nature; they are designed for function, not ease of use. Not anymore!! Sage ERP X3 can significantly contributes to business growth, gaining new customers, and reducing operating costs – while being “friendly.”
Not Your Mama’s ERP
This solution goes wherever you do business! You can accomplish much more, much faster when you can access full ERP functionality online, using your browser and mobile device of choice. With Sage ERP X3 version 7, you can go where your business takes you—check on inventory, take orders, approve expenses, or pull up-to-the-minute reports—and make informed decisions on the spot.
Two New Industries
Just like a CRM solution, Sage ERP X3 can fit almost any medium to large business. To start with, LAI is targeting the Food & Beverage industry and Wholesale/Distribution for new business. If you’re a Construction company in a growth mode, you may want to consider ERP X3 to grow with you! Take a look, kick the tires, and spend a few minutes with Sage ERPX3 on the new website, here.
Take Control of Timberline with TimberScan!
TimberScan automatically routes invoices to the right approver based on your business rules. You define your users and how you want invoices routed. Once that’s set, all other data is coming from your Timberline database. Easy to set up, easy to use!
11 am – Noon, Mountain Standard Time (MST) with Tony Merry from LAI and Sandra Gioe-Rieders from Core Associates. Demo and interactive session!
Don’t Miss This Once-per-Year Sage Special!
Now is the time to save HALF OFF a second User or Module for Sage 100 Contractor or Sage 300 CRE when you buy one. (If you wait until Fall, you have to buy TWO to get one free.) Click the banner to inquire via a web form, or call us at 480-423-8300. ENDS MARCH 31st!
Upcoming LAI Online Training and Networking Events:
Archiving Best Practices
This 2-hour presentation will provide Sage 300 CRE users with step-by-step instructions and live demonstration of procedures used to archive data in all modules, including the creation of separate archive folders for GL and JC.
Backups? I Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Backups!
Submitted by Walt Mathieson, Certified Sage 100 Consultant
Now that I’ve got your attention, let’s talk about backups – effective backups.
To most people, the title above sounds totally ridiculous. Everyone knows you do need to back up your accounting data. So many things can happen to your accounting data that may require a restoration of data from a recent backup – inadvertent deletion of data, interrupted posting processes that result in corrupted data, an ill-advised change in an accounting process or principle that is easier to “roll back” to an earlier state than to make correcting entries, or the dreaded virus or malware infection.
I’ve recently had several clients suffer from the CryptoLocker malware infection or a variation of it. Someone in the office opens an email attachment that they shouldn’t, and before they know it, a malware program seeks out and encrypts database files on their network, rendering them totally useless. The encryption is a strong encryption that is difficult for anyone to crack without a decryption key. The extortionists that sent out the malware in the first place make a limited time offer to sell the decryption key, accepting bitcoin or some untraceable payment form for the ransom.
Paying the ransom is just wrong! It encourages other “evil-doers” and sets a bad example for your staff. The correct solution to the problem is to clean the infected machines of the virus, and restore your data from backup data. This is a moment of truth for your backup processes. I have had at least two clients discover that there were no effective backups being done, even though they were told by their IT professionals that backups were being performed! And several clients were down for more time than they should, waiting for their complicated backup restoration process to be performed.
Whether you get hit with the CryptoLocker malware infection or just need to restore from backup for some other less nefarious reason, don’t take the chance that your backup processes are faulty. Insist that your IT professional demonstrate to you that backups are being performed consistently, completely and securely, and that the data can be restored from backup in a reasonable timeframe. Make sure that the backups are insulated from your network so that a malware virus can’t infect the backup at the same time it’s infecting your live data. Also, insist on a process to periodically copy off a permanent, archival copy of your data each month and keep then in safe storage for a year or more.
If you want further help with your backup processes, contact your Sage Certified Consultant.
Current Version Information
The latest version of Sage 100 Contractor is version 19.5.34, the release of which was announced on January 23, 2015.
In addition, on February 27, 2015, Sage released a Tax Table only update to accommodate lately released tax table changes for the District of Columbia. This is not considered a version change, so your Sage Advisor Update does not appear to consider this a change worth notifying users about. If you have employees in the District of Columbia and have a current support plan, you should look for this Software Notice 15-B or give your Sage Certified Consultant a call.
More about Sage 100 Contractor here. Call Ledgerwood Associates at 877-918-8301 today and we’ll match your needs to the best solution.
Not-So-Secret Free Reports from Sage
Submitted by Kyle Zeigler, Sage Senior Certified Consultant
Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate software is used by all sorts of different companies with a diverse range of operations. With such a flexible product, it just isn’t possible for Sage to anticipate the unique, and often creative, reporting desires of all of its users. So, while the hundreds of reports that come with the software will certainly get the job done, many customers still request custom reports to be written. When it comes to a custom report, though, one of the first places to check is the Sage Knowledgebase.
Very often when searching the Knowledgebase (KB), users will find reports attached to some of the KB articles that appear in the search results. This is particularly the case when searching for articles intended to troubleshoot reconciliation discrepancies and other out-of-balance issues. These reports have sometimes started out as custom reports created to meet specific users’ needs, but found to be so helpful that Sage has made them available to others looking for similar solutions. Rather than add them to the already extensive menus of reports in the product, these additional – and completely free – reports are included in the Attachments section at the bottom of the KB article that addresses the issue being searched.
The free reports available in the Sage Knowledgebase can be downloaded and saved and even added to your Sage 300 CRE reports menus. And if you don’t know how to do this, there is a KB article that will walk you through the process!
Accessing the KB
The Sage Knowledgebase can be accessed through the Sage Service & Support link in Desktop > Web Resources or in the Help menu of any application. Access to the Knowledgebase is available 24/7 at no cost with an active Sage Customer Care Plan.
Important Tax Figures for 2015
Submitted by Bryan Eto, CPA
The following table provides some important federal tax information for 2015, as compared with 2014. Some of the dollar amounts changed due to inflation. Other amounts changed due to legislation.
* The Section 179 amounts are scheduled to be much lower in 2015 than they were in 2014 unless Congress acts to extend them. The amounts have been increased in recent years by various tax laws, including the Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014.
** The Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014 provided a retroactive increase from the $130 limit that had been in place for 2014. If Congress does not act to extend it, the amount goes down to $130 for 2015.
|Social Security Tax Wage Base||$118,500||$117,000|
|Medicare Tax Wage Base||No limit||No limit|
|Employee portion of Social Security||6.2%||6.2%|
|Individual Retirement Accounts||2015||2014|
|Roth IRA Individual, up to 100% of earned income||$ 5,500||$ 5,500|
|Traditional IRA Individual, up to 100% of earned Income||$ 5,500||$ 5,500|
|Roth and traditional IRA additional annual “catch-up” contributions for account owners age 50 and older||$ 1,000||$ 1,000|
|Qualified Plan Limits||2015||2014|
|Defined Contribution Plan limit on additions on Sections 415(c)(1)(A)||$ 53,000||$ 52,000|
|Defined Benefit Plan limit on benefits (Section 415(b)(1)(A))||$210,000||$210,000|
|Maximum compensation used to determine contributions||$265,000||$260,000|
|401(k), SARSEP, 403(b) Deferrals (Section 402(g)), & 457 deferrals (Section 457(b)(2))||$18,000||$ 17,500|
|401(k), 403(b), 457 & SARSEP additional “catch-up” contributions for employees age 50 and older||$ 6,000||$ 5,500|
|SIMPLE deferrals (Section 408(p)(2)(A))||$12,500||$ 12,000|
|SIMPLE additional “catch-up” contributions for employees age 50 and older||$ 3,000||$ 2,500|
|Compensation defining highly compensated employee (Section 414(q)(1)(B))||$120,000||$115,000|
|Compensation defining key employee (officer)||$170,000||$170,000|
|Compensation triggering Simplified Employee Pension contribution requirement (Section 408(k)(2)(c))||$ 600||$ 550|
|Business mileage, per mile||57.5 cents||56 cents|
|Charitable mileage, per mile||14 cents||14 cents|
|Medical and moving, per mile||23 cents||23.5 cents|
|Maximum Section 179 deduction||$ 25,000*||$500,000|
|Phase out for Section 179||$200,000*||$2 million|
|Transportation Fringe Benefit Exclusion||2015||2014|
|Monthly commuter highway vehicle and transit pass||$ 130||$ 250**|
|Monthly qualified parking||$ 250||$ 250|
|Married filing jointly||$ 12,600||$ 12,400|
|Single (and married filing separately)||$ 6,300||$ 6,200|
|Heads of Household||$ 9,250||$ 9,100|
|Personal Exemption Phaseout||2015||2014|
|Married filing jointly and surviving spouses||Begins at $309,900||Begins at $305,050|
|Heads of Household||Begins at $284,050||Begins at $279,650|
|Unmarried individuals||Begins at $258,250||Begins at $254,200|
|Married filing separately||Begins at $154,950||Begins at $152,525|
|Threshold when a domestic employer must withhold and pay FICA for babysitters, house cleaners, etc.||$ 1,900||$ 1,900|
|Net unearned income not subject to the “Kiddie Tax”||$ 2,100||$ 2,000|
|Federal estate tax exemption||$5.43 million||$5.34 million|
|Maximum estate tax rate||40%||40%|
|Annual Gift Exclusion||2015||2014|
|Amount you can give each recipient||$14,000||$ 14,000|
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Put it on My Tab!
Submitted by Jim Hoeppner, Certified Sage Consultant
The tabs at the bottom of the Sage Estimating screen are not like Excel worksheets. They are re-sorts or different sequences of the same items that are found on the first Phase/Item tab. There are many levels (up to 10 deep) and variations of possible tab combinations at the bottom of the Estimating spreadsheet.
Most users don’t know that they can sort by Material Class, Subcontractor, job cost phase, etc. If you use the Subcontractor Name column to dedicate line items to specific subs, it is sometimes handy to sort by that tab, to see your coverage by subs. You can also use the naming convention that I suggested in last month’s newsletter to have a special character, i.e., !Sub-not-defined name which will sort to the top of the page for those items that have no dedicated sub.
Here is another use: you could create a tab that is called Cost Codes by using the job cost phase sort. This is helpful for seeing if all your items have cost code assignments. The big benefit is that it helps you to quickly correct the Unassigned problem before sending it to job cost and causing a reject for a non-existent cost code.
Would you like a copy of our newsletter in PDF format? Email Joanie@ledgerwoodassociatesusa.com and we will email it to you!