March 2016 Newsletter
- Lions coming and lambs going, March madness, bewaring the Ides, GREEN BEER, egg hunts, anything but politics!
- New feature article this month, “Tony’s Picks” — our Merry Man opines on the latest and greatest Construction solutions
- BOGO-HO! Mix-n-match users/modules for Sage 100 & 300 Construction
- Millennials want a lot from employers. But what about YOU? Learn about ROEI from Sage HRMS
- Lunch & Learn: Have you outgrown Quickbooks??
- Create-A-Check gets a face-lift and you get it for FREE!
- TUG is playing ball in our backyard this summer!
- Tips and Tricks for Sage 100 & 300CRE, CON, Estimating and Accounting
A former construction contract specialist and Sage 300 CRE user, Tony does what most Sage resellers don’t: he demos the products himself (most Sage Business Partners rely on Sage sales engineers to do the deep dives). Why? Because Tony’s industry experience includes accounting, project management, and estimating — which mean he RELATES to your construction business needs.
The following products are what Tony thinks are the best-in-class, are new launches to the market, or are just particularly great performers.
Sage Construction Project Center — Made for GCs!
Why Tony likes it: full bid management, extras/sub-jobs, one-click Project close-out documentation
Sage just keeps making their cloud-based Project Management tool better and better! Sage Construction Project Center (SCPC) is a GC’s dream – connecting architects, engineers, subs, and the project team (in the office and the field) throughout the entire project lifecycle.
Why SCPC blows Procore out of the water:
- SCPC’s integration is FAR superior! Procore is not bi-directional like SCPC; just performs standard system imports (and Address Book is locked down)
- SCPC has custom reports; Procore doesn’t!
- No roles for log-ins based on permissions: just basic, intermediate, or advanced – which are non-configurable
- PRICE!! (Procore is based on reported GAR + price-per-project) SCPC is user-based pricing
New from AboutTime: WorkMax Mobile FORMS
Why Tony likes it: dynamic forms based on conditional prompts
Forms is a brand new module in the WorkMax platform from AboutTime. For those of you who are NOT fans of ShareFile, Google Docs, and Dropbox for your data collection (and who is?) this tool is for you!
The best features of Mobile Forms:
- Rich media (photos and videos are embeddable on the forms!)
- Triggered conditional forms
- Grids with calculations
- Unlimited forms (creation and capture)
Watch a video from AboutTime here.
Email Tony or call 480-423-8300 to pick his brain or set up a demo!
March Promotion for Sage 100 CON and Sage 300 CRE Users
Get another user or module for HALF OFF with the purchase of a single module or user.
Plus, you can mix and match (based on equal or lesser value)!
CLICK HERE if you miss Cheeseburgers.
The right people make all the difference. It’s true in small companies, large companies, and everywhere else. A business itself does not generate ideas, does not provide service, and by itself is neither innovative nor productive. People make all of those things happen.
Despite the importance of the workforce, many organizations have traditionally viewed their employees primarily as a capital expense. With an eye on salaries, benefits packages, and hiring, the chief concern of many human resource departments was to reduce costs. Then things got complicated .
Today, the business environment is hyper-competitive. Health care costs are an ever-present concern. Plus, a large percentage of
the workforce is retiring, while a younger generation of workers has higher expectations and is choosier about for whom they will work.
Sage’s industry-leading, customizable Sage HRMS solution enables you to decisively meet and respond to HR management challenges. With integrated payroll, benefits, recruiting, employee self-service, and analytics capabilities, Sage HRMS helps you to maximize every dollar you invest in employees. This is known as Return on Employee Investment (ROEI).
Free Sage HRMS Webinar Wednesday, March 16th @ 10 am PSTGet more ROEI!
Free Sage 100 Lunch & Learn at Scottsdale HQ
Do you find yourself inputting estimating, tracking, and billing jobs into Excel and then re-entering the information in your Accounting system?
Do you miss billing any change orders because they come too fast and furious? Have you outgrown your out-of-the-box, baby-steps system? Join LAI’s Mark Jensen as he expertly shows you the difference when your construction software is based on the JOB!
FREE Lunch and Learn – “What do I do when Quickbooks is not enough?”
March 23, at 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. | Limited space!
LAI Corporate Training Center | 7440 East 6th Avenue, Suite 200 | Scottsdale, AZ 85251 |
AvidXchange (formerly Piracle) wants to make sure you’re informed of the new features of Create-A-Check ePay 16. The MICR check printing solution you know and love has recently been updated to give you access to a new and exciting payment option! In order for you to utilize the enhanced payment processing option, you must complete the activation process.
In addition, support for version 10 or previous versions of Create-A-Check will no longer be continued.
WIIFY (What’s in it for you):
- Realize a significant reduction in your payment processing costs
- Make payments faster
- Gain more visibility into the status of payments
- Increase the overall security of every payment you make
And the best part is that any current Create-A-Check customer, regardless of version, can upgrade for free by committing to use our new payment functionality and completing the enrollment process by March 31, 2016.
Contact Corey Benson at firstname.lastname@example.org to upgrade today and let him know you’re a customer of Ledgerwood Associates.
Join LAI at 2016 TUG!
Not signed up for TUG yet? Click the image above to visit the official website.
Ledgerwood is TAKING YOU OUT TO THE BALL GAME!
Lucky winners will be bused from the Sheraton to Chase Field for a Yankees game against the Arizona Diamondbacks on May 18th! For TUG attendees only.
Click here to enter a raffle for the game.
Winners will be selected the week prior to the TUG Conference.
Follow LAI on Social Media for immediate construction and technology news!
Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn LAI Page | LAI Sage 300 CRE Users Group
Upcoming LAI Online Training and Networking Events:
Estimating Reports Webinar
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.
Estimating Buyout Webinar
Sage is excited to announce “Buyout for SQL Estimating.”
See how the new Buyout module works allowing you to “buyout” your estimate to different vendors and then create Purchase Orders and Subcontracts for those items.
The construction season is fast approaching!
Join us for this informative presentation and learn how you can gain greater control over your projects, better communication between the field and office and higher confidence from your Surety by creating integrated project cost forecasting that backs up your Work in Progress reporting using Sage Office Connector.
Two Tips this Month: the Forgotten and the Replaced
Submitted by Walt Mathieson, Certified Sage 100 Consultant
The Nearly Forgotten Module
How often does an owner or manager ask his accountant (or him- or her-self) “how much does that truck or piece of equipment cost us?” How often is the response to this question, “We don’t know?!” Is your investment in heavy equipment, shop equipment, or vehicles a significant cost of your operation? Is the cost of owning and operating this equipment being consistently and accurately charged to jobs based on a measure of use, like miles, tons, hours, days, weeks or months? Are you recovering enough equipment ownership and operating costs in your job costing and estimating assumptions?
The Equipment Management module is designed specifically to collect and organize the cost of owning and operating equipment, and then recover that cost by charging out to jobs the estimated cost of owning and operating that equipment using estimated cost recovery rates per measure of use (i.e. per mile, per hour, per day, etc.) With the module, a thoughtful and creative implementation, and diligent bookkeeping, users no longer have to hear the answer “we don’t know!”
If you want to learn more about using the Equipment Module, contact your Certified Consultant.
How to Replace a Check Written in a Prior Year
I have recently received several inquiries about how to replace a lost payroll or vendor check written in a prior period without affecting the previously reported financial statements or tax reports. If all you need to do is replace a previously written check with a new check to the same payee and for the same amount, follow these simple steps:
- In menu 1-1 Checks/Bank Charges, record a reversal of the original check by entering the original bank account, the original check number followed by the word “Void”, the current date, a description like “Void & replace lost check”, the payee name and address (or just enter the vendor number), and in the grid enter a clearing account and the net check amount as a NEGATIVE amount in the Debit Amount column. Save this entry to the current accounting period.
- Then, also in menu 1-1, record the replacement check by entering the bank account you are drawing the replacement check on, “0000” in the check number field, the current date, a description like “Replace original check number…”, the payee name and address (or the vendor number if it was used in the reversal above), and in the grid enter the same clearing account and the original net check amount as a POSITIVE amount in the Debit Amount column. Save this entry to the current accounting period also.
- Then, also in menu 1-1, click on the print button, enter the cash account for the replacement check, and print the replacement check on your check stock following the usual 1-1 check printing process.
- When next reconciling your bank account, clear the voided check and the original check, as they will offset.
By using offsetting entries in the same accounting period, you don’t affect your accounting and tax reports. Using the vendor number in both the reversing and replacement entries ensures that the 1099 balances are not misstated as well.
If you want additional guidance on this process, or more complex situations, give your Certified Consultant a call.
Current Version Information
On February 18, 2016, Sage released Sage 100 Contractor Version 19.7.52. This update includes all payroll tax table revisions known to date, and more importantly, fixes a problem created in version 19.7.43 with the Reconcile Credit Card Statement function. I strongly encourage users to consider installing this update.
More about Sage 100 Contractor here. Call Ledgerwood Associates at 877-918-8301 today and we’ll match your needs to the best solution.
Email Walt at email@example.com.
Super SQL Speed!
Submitted by Kyle Zeigler, Sage Senior Certified Consultant
Would you like the ability to have performance information and indicators delivered to your desktop not only with speed, but with the ability to customize the information you see and don’t see? Do you already have great custom reports for managing projects that take forever to run because of the number of jobs in your system? Do you avoid using Sage Desktop dashboards because of the time they take to load? If any of these questions apply to you, Sage SQL Gateway might be a handy addition to your leadership team’s reporting toolkit.
Sage SQL Gateway lets you take advantage of the reporting and business intelligence capabilities provided by Microsoft® SQL Server®, by copying your Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate data from the Pervasive database management system into a SQL Server data warehouse. With Sage SQL Gateway, you can also install Sage Executive Dashboard, which lets your leadership team quickly view key performance indicator graphs and summaries at a glance each day, and you control which components are included in the dashboard. Also, if you have more than one Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate company folder, you can merge your data folders into a single data warehouse in SQL Server, enabling you to summarize data from all company folders in Executive Dashboard, as well as in custom reports.
Sage SQL Gateway replicates the data at a designated time each day, preferably when no users are actively logged into the system. The replicated data is then immediately available for use in reporting and analysis without interference from users working in the live data folders.
And because the replicated data is supported by the power of Microsoft® SQL Server®, even the most complex custom Crystal reports are produced at lightning speed and dashboards populate with information just as fast.
NOTE: Sage SQL Gateway does not replicate Estimating, Purchasing, Inventory, or Service Management data. If you use these Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate modules, you will not be able to include data from these areas in your data warehouse. Also, existing custom Crystal reports would require slight modification to use the SQL data in place of data from the live data folders.
If you would like more information about implementing Sage SQL Gateway, please contact Ledgerwood Associates at 480-423-8300.
If you need help applying a solution recommended in any of the above articles, or need help accessing the Sage knowledgebase, please contact Ledgerwood Associates at 480.423.8300.
The “PATH” to Research
Submitted by Bryan Eto, CPA
The research credit is back — this time for good — and it’s better than ever for some small companies. The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act of 2015, signed into law by the president on December 18, does much more than extend this credit. Under the PATH Act, the research credit is restored retroactive to January 1, 2015, and has finally been made permanent. The new law also provides two additional tax benefits that take effect in 2016 for certain employers.
What Is the Research Credit?
The research credit was introduced in 1981 to encourage spending on research and experimentation activities by cutting-edge companies. But it was enacted on a temporary basis, and subsequent extensions — generally lasting only a year or two — have also been temporary. The last extension, approved by Congress as part of the Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014, was the 16th extension of the credit and applied only for one year before the credit expired again on January 1, 2015.
Over the years, the research credit has been modified several times. Currently, the credit equals the sum of the following items:
- 20% of the excess of qualified research expenses for the year over a base amount,
- The university basic research credit (that is, 20% of the basic research payments), and
- 20% of the qualified energy research expenses undertaken by an energy research consortium.
The base amount used in this calculation is a fixed-base percentage (not to exceed 16%) of the average annual receipts from a U.S. trade or business, net of returns and allowances, for four years prior to the year in which you claim the credit. It can’t be less than 50% of the annual qualified research expenses. In other words, the minimum credit equals 10% of qualified research expenses (50% of the 20% credit).
For an expense to qualify for the research credit, it must meet the following criteria:
- It qualifies as a “research and experimentation expenditure” under Section 174 of the tax code (see “Another Tax Break for Research Expenses,” at right),
- It relates to research undertaken for the purpose of discovering information that’s technological in nature and the application of which is intended to be useful in developing a new or improved business component, and
Substantially all of the activities of the research constitute elements of a process of experimentation that relates to new or improved functionality, performance, reliability or quality.
Is There a Simpler Way to Calculate the Research Credit?
In lieu of claiming the basic research credit as described above, Congress has authorized an alternative simplified credit (ASC). Currently, the ASC equals 14% of the amount by which qualified expenses exceed 50% of the average for the three preceding tax years.
The ASC may be preferable to the regular research credit for some companies. For example, your company possibly may opt for the ASC, rather than the regular credit, under the following conditions:
- You have a high base amount for the regular calculation,
- You lack detailed records to support qualified expenses during the base period years,
- You’ve experienced significant growth in receipts in recent years, or
- You have a complex history of organizational activity (such as a recent merger or disposition of a business line).
The ASC, which first became available in 2007, replaced the alternative incremental research credit (AIRC).
How Does the New-and-Improved Research Credit Measure Up?
The practice of periodically allowing the research credit to expire and then be reinstated, often on a retroactive basis, has made it especially difficult for companies to plan ahead. Previously, managers frequently made decisions about incurring expenses and authorizing projects without knowing whether those expenditures would be eligible for the research credit. This likely had a dampening effect on the research and experimentation activities at companies that heavily rely on the credit to help defray the costs.
Now that uncertainty is over. The research credit has finally been made permanent by the PATH Act, without any interruption since it was last extended in 2014. The new law also improves the credit for some small companies in the following two ways:
- AMT liability. Effective for 2016 and thereafter, a qualified small business may claim the research credit against its alternative minimum tax (AMT) liability. For this purpose, a qualified small business is one with $50 million or less in annual gross receipts.
- Payroll taxes. Also effective for 2016 and thereafter, a qualified startup company may claim the research credit against up to $250,000 in FICA taxes annually for up to five years. For this purpose, the company must have less than $5 million in gross receipts.
It’s important to note that the bill that worked its way through Congress also included a provision to increase the base figure for the ASC from 14% to 20%. Although this particular modification didn’t make it into the final version of the PATH Act, it’s likely that supporters of such an increase will renew their efforts to have the ASC modified in subsequent legislation.
Take Advantage of this Tax Planning Opportunity
Now qualifying companies can count on claiming the research credit when they plan for their research and development projects. Before doing so, meet with your tax adviser to develop a plan that maximizes the benefits allowed under the new law.
How to Integrate Excel into Sage Estimating
Guest post by Darren Pierce, Sage Field Sales Engineer – Estimating
Imagine if you will — a solution included with the Sage Estimating Suite that you may have underutilized, yet offers a tremendous amount of value.
What solution is this you ask? Sage Estimating Explorer of course!
Imagine the ability to search for estimates based on key criteria about the estimate, Project Type, Labor Amount, and Custom Fields, to name a few.
Imagine a solution that will automatically store your Estimates with access to detailed information broken down in the manner you want: CSI, WBS Code, and more. With a click of a button, send those details to Excel that includes a graphical breakout (below).
Let’s continue to imagine the benefits, how about running reports across multiple estimates. Summarizing details by dates, estimator, status, customer, and more.
Now, let’s stop imagining and start taking advantage of a valuable solution that can help organize and give you access to pertinent Estimate information without opening the Estimating solution. The best thing, you probably already own and just don’t know it!
Need more help with Estimating? Ready to upgrade from Standard to Extended? Shoot us an email to set up an appointment to learn more!