March 2017 Newsletter
What we’re talking about in March:
- Nuggets from ConstructConnect’s “Construction Industry Snapshot”
- Add Users/Modules sale ends on March 31st
- Coincidence? S300 CRE Tip this month = How to INSTALL additional licenses or new modules!
- Party on the patio! Event at LAI with Building Engines for Property Management professionals
- Webinar: Quickbooks CAN’T but Sage 100 Contractor CAN!
- Speaking of 100 CON, want to be a beta user for Timberscan 100?
- Awesome ‘Tips and Tricks’ for Sage 300 CRE | Sage 100 CON | Sage Estimating
A few nuggets from the ‘Construction Industry Snapshot’
by Joanie Hollabaugh
Thanks to our friends at ConstructConnect, for allowing us to share our usual “nuggets” gleaned from Chief Economist, Alex Carrick’s report. Follow on twitter @ConstructConnx and @Alex_Carrick for updated news and insights into the construction industry. Download the entire report HERE.
Business as usual in January
Due to a harsh winter, January’s month-to-month construction starts (non-residential) dropped 9.1% from December, mirroring last year’s similar drop of -8.5% — typical of January, historically speaking. In fact, January is almost always the slowest month, so no real surprises there.
Of note, set backs in commercial and heavy engineering/civil (-14.4% and -12.3% respectively) were countered by a nice uptick in industrial starts (+6.3%).
In a year-over-year comparison, the decline is more disappointing. January 2017 fared -11.6% from January of 2016.
The 3-year Snapshot
Starts by sectors
Ending soon – add Users or Modules sale!
Last chance to save up to 20%
Been wanting to add some users to GL, billing, or Service Management modules? Now is the time! Save up to 20% – the more you buy, the more you save.
Purchase Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate, Sage 100 Contractor, or Sage Estimating modules or user licenses by 3/31/2017 and receive the following discounts based off number of add uses/modules:
The more you buy, the more you save! Click HERE to send an email to get started!
• Add 2 Users or Modules, save 10%
• Add 3, save 15%,
Promotion is valid for Sage on-schedule products and select OEMs (My Assistant, Office Connector, eTakeoff, and Sage Paperless Construction). RS Means, SAP Crystal Reports, Document Management, and On Screen Takeoff not included.
Free installation directions from our Consultant, Kyle!
Feeling a little apprehensive still? We understand. That’s why we had Kyle Zeigler give you step-by-step directions in the Sage 300 CRE Tips in this newsletter! Scroll down or click here to read her article.
Commercial Property Managers – You’re Invited to a Party on the Patio!
“Transform Property Management” – Happy Hour Event
Join LAI and Building Engines for a FREE Happy Hour & Appetizers
Thursday, March 23rd from 5 pm to 7 pm at Ledgerwood HQ in beautiful Old Town Scottsdale!
Join us in the Training room for an overview of Building Engines; learn how to elevate commercial real estate operations by connecting activities, processes, and people through a single unified cloud and mobile platform!
Then catch the sunset upstairs on the patio with a glass of wine (or soft drink) and munch on some goodies with your peers.
Who Should Attend: Property Owners / COO’s / Directors of Property Management / SVP Property Management / General Managers / Senior Property Managers / Property Managers / Assistant Property Managers / Tenant Coordinators / Chief Engineers
Building Engines provides property owners or managers ways to connect ops and the tenant:
- Improve tenant relations
- Streamline operations
- Gain executive visibility into their portfolio
Want a preview of the software? Click image below to launch a quick, 4-minute video:
Quickbooks CAN’T — but Sage 100 Contractor CAN!
Outgrown QB and need Accounting software based on the JOB??
Let’s face it, QuickBooks Contractor is great for a small startup company; it shows the expected financials and has an easy learning curve. However, it was NOT designed with job-specific financial information that contractors, specialty contractors, subcontractors, GCs and commercial or residential builders need most. The focus of Sage 100 Contractor (formerly MasterBuilder) is based around the JOB.
The Sage 100 CON dashboard shows all of the same financials that QB does. However, it takes functionality to the next level with critical information of the JOB: cash flow by job, under/over billings by job, job contract budget and cost to date, job uncommitted billing, etc.
For example, the Job Contract, Budget and Cost to Date Status report in Sage 100 CON shows the contract, change orders to the budget, percent complete, and estimated profit on a job. Another exclusive feature in Sage 100 CON is the Committed Costs snapshot that lists standard Cost Codes separate from the parts list. QB combines those codes and locks them into one item category.
FREE Webinar: Thursday, March 16 from 11:30 – 12:30
Become a beta tester for Timberscan’s new mobile software!
Using Sage 100 Contractor (SQL)?
Core Associates, the makers of Timberscan for Sage 300 CRE (Timberline) will soon be releasing “T100” — for Sage 100 Contractor.
If you’re on the most current SQL version of Sage 100 CON, and want to take this puppy for a spin drive, let us know!
Follow LAI on Social Media for current construction and technology news!
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.
Ten Tax Developments that Happened in 2016
Submitted by Bryan Eto, CPA BeachFleischman
Several significant tax developments happened last year that may affect federal income tax returns that individual and business taxpayers file in 2017. Here’s a quick look at 10 key changes that you should be aware of during this tax season.
On December 13, 2016 — just over a month before leaving office — President Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act into law. In addition to funding cutting-edge medical research, this new legislation allows an employer with fewer than 50 employees and no other group health insurance plan to establish Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) for its employees.
These standalone HRAs aren’t subject to certain penalties and restrictions imposed by the IRS under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Plan ahead: The 21st Century Cures Act applies to plan years beginning after 2016.
Although the ACA might be repealed or modified in 2017, it’s still in effect for 2016. Under the ACA, employers must file information returns with the IRS and provide information to employees and other responsible individuals.
Recently, the IRS offered some consolation: It extended to March 2, 2017, the due date for furnishing to individuals 2016 Form 1095-B, “Health Coverage,” and 2016 Form 1095-C,”Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage.” This gives employers an extra 30 days to get their paperwork in order.
Premium Tax Credits
Taxpayers required to acquire health insurance under the ACA may qualify for premium tax credits to offset part of the cost. Although existing regulations include several favorable safe-harbor rules for determining eligibility, those rules don’t apply where an individual, with reckless disregard of the facts, provides incorrect information to a health insurance exchange.
New final regulations clarify that this provision for “reckless disregard of the facts” applies only to the conduct of the individual — not to information provided by any third parties.
Standard Mileage Rates
Each year, the IRS adjusts the standard mileage rates that taxpayers may use in lieu of tracking actual driving expenses. Due to lower gas prices, the rates have been reduced for 2017. The IRS recently announced that the flat rate for business driving is 53.5 cents per mile in 2017 (down from 54 cents per mile in 2016). Also, the rates for driving attributable to medical and moving purposes dropped to 17 cents per mile in 2017 (down from 19 cents per mile in 2016). Finally, the rate for charitable driving, which is set statutorily, remains at 14 cents per mile in 2017. In all cases, related tolls and parking fees can be added to the flat rate.
Valuations for Vehicles
Employees are taxed on the fair market value (FMV) of their personal use of company-provided vehicles. For convenience, the IRS permits FMV accounting methods based on the cents-per-mile rule (see “Standard Mileage Rates” above), as well as a fleet average value for employers with 20 or more vehicles, with the maximums updated annually.
Under a recent IRS Notice, the cents-per-mile thresholds in 2017 are $15,900 for automobiles (the same as in 2016) and $17,800 for trucks and vans (up from $17,700 for 2016). The thresholds for the fleet average rule in 2017 are $21,100 for a passenger auto (down from $21,200 for 2016) and $23,300 for a truck or van (up from $23,100 for 2016).
The IRS has now provided detailed requirements for certified professional employer organizations (CPEOs) — often called leasing companies — to remain certified. The IRS also has established procedures for suspending and revoking certification. Small businesses often contract with CPEOs to ensure compliance with workplace laws and regulations.
Under the Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014, a CPEO may be treated as the sole employer of employees for purposes of paying and withholding employment taxes. Professional employer organizations can be certified as CPEOs effective as of January 1, 2017.
A new tax law change requires the IRS to hold refunds for tax returns claiming the Earned Income tax credit or the additional child credit until at least February 15, 2017. As a result, many early filers still won’t have access to their refunds until the week of February 27 or even later.
Under the new rules, the IRS must delay the entire refund, even the portion that isn’t associated with the Earned Income tax credit or additional child credit. The IRS is advising taxpayers that the fastest way to get a refund is to file electronically and choose the direct deposit method.
The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2014 authorized special tax-favored savings accounts for individuals who are disabled before age 26. After the IRS issued regulations on this issue, individual states began rolling out ABLE accounts in 2016.
With an ABLE account, contributions aren’t tax deductible. But the amounts set aside in ABLE accounts are distributed tax-free to recipients if they’re used to pay for qualified disability expenses. Contributions to ABLE accounts may be sheltered by the annual gift tax exclusion of $14,000 for 2017 (the same as in 2016). Note, however, that if the account balance exceeds $100,000 it will impact SSI (Supplemental Security Income) eligibility.
Self-Certified Rollover Waivers
In general, an individual has 60 days to complete a tax-free rollover of a distribution from an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or workplace retirement plan to another eligible retirement program. If you inadvertently miss this deadline, the distribution is usually taxable unless you obtain a waiver from the IRS. Thanks to a new ruling from the IRS in 2016, a taxpayer can self-certify that mitigating circumstances caused the failure.
For this purpose, a waiver may be allowed due to:
— A distribution check being misplaced and never cashed,
— Severe damage to the taxpayer’s home,
— Death of a family member,
— A serious illness of the taxpayer or a relative,
— The taxpayer’s incarceration, or
— Restrictions imposed by a foreign country.
Important note: Don’t forget that qualifying taxpayers may still make contributions, whether deductible or nondeductible, to a traditional IRA until the day taxes are due, without extension. They also have until Tax Day to make a nondeductible contribution to a Roth IRA for 2016. Put simply, the deadline for individuals to contribute to traditional or Roth IRAs for 2016 is April 18, 201
Generally, a taxpayer who has over $10,000 in foreign bank accounts at any time during the year must file a Report of Financial Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR). In the past, the filing deadline was June 30 of the following year. Now the FBAR due date has been moved to coincide with federal income tax filings.
Accordingly, 2016 FBARs must be filed electronically with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) by April 18, 2017. Also, FinCEN will grant filers missing the April 18, 2017, deadline an automatic extension until October 16, 2017.
Just a Sampling
This brief article covered just a few noteworthy tax developments in 2016. The IRS made many other changes that could affect your tax obligations,
Beach Fleischman 2201 E. Camelback Rd. Phoenix, AZ 85016 602.265.7011 | http://beachfleischman.com | twitter: @BeachFleischman
Spring Into Action With Document Control
by Pam Schulz, Sage Certified Consultant
Document Control is available as an add-on module for Sage 100 Contractor, and is a very powerful and efficient tool.
Get more work done, in less time
Managing the paperwork required for your jobs is overwhelming. You are probably already familiar with the “basic” Project management modules within Sage 100 Contractor (Budgets, Change Orders, Purchase Orders, Subcontracts and Job Reports), but you may not realize that you can accomplish even more with the Document Control module.
The available features in the module include:
- Requests for Proposal
- Requests for Information
- Plan Records
- Daily Field Reports
- Punch Lists
- Project Hot List
Requests for Proposal
This module allows you to request and track quotes from vendors on various line items for a project. You can either complete the screen manually, or export from a Takeoff (menu option 9-5.) By using the programs “copy-paste record” feature you can easily copy the RFP to send to multiple vendors. There are fields to track the status of your request, and when a vendor’s prices are received, as well as their expiration date. Finally, once you decide on a vendor, you can export to a Purchase Order with a single button click.
Requests for Information
Tracking RFIs is so important, but many people have a hodge-podge system of tracking them, meaning that often each Project Manager has their own “micro” filing system. Centralizing these requests into the Document Control module will make the job easier and more complete by providing a consistent way to enter and track the information. This is an excellent place to use “scheduled reports” to get notifications when RFIs are not answered by the required dates. Also, you will see the HOT LIST mentioned below- another way to make sure that unanswered RFIs do not slip through the cracks.
When did I send that billing? Did we send 3 or 4 copies? How was it sent? All of these questions can be answered by using the TRANSMITTALS. Do you need a form for your courier to have signed when a package is delivered? Design it in FORM DESIGN to use as the printout for your Transmittal.
Tracking your Submittals such as Samples and Shop Drawings is so easy when you have the ability to assign a status and Required Action to each item in the Submittals screen. Again, the Scheduled Reports feature and the Hot List Module will help ensure deadlines are not missed.
Make sure you have the correct and current Plan Versions. Track who you have distributed sets to and if any Deposits have been collected with the Plan Distribution button.
Daily Field Reports
This module does so much – of course, the Daily Report itself is an important document in recording the events on each day’s jobsite. But, going way beyond that, the information entered into the Daily Field Report can populate Payroll, Equipment Costing, and update Unitary Billings. There are spaces for incidents (such as injuries) and to record Meetings (such as Safety Meetings.) It is so important to document the job’s events each day- it is even better to get automatic entry of information into other modules.
Tracking the Punch List items can’t be easier than this. Having the integration into your Vendor and Employee lists allow you to easily assign items. Using the Scheduled Reports feature and the Hot List module help you automatically update assigned resources to their tasks and keep you updated on what needs to be done.
Some users record phone calls, track emails and even write letters in this module. The screen is more or less “free form” so a simple letter could be typed. User Defined Correspondence types are available so you can easily categorize the entries.
Project Hot List
This is the “Capstone”- where it can all come together. All of the times mentioned above, AND a host of other job-related screens have a “Hot List” box available. When the box is checked the item will appear on the “Hot List.” The Hot List can be viewed by Job, by Project Manager, or by “Type” of entry (Change Order, Punch List, etc.).
This means that if you wanted to see “all outstanding RFI’s for all jobs,” you could. If “John” is going to be out unexpectedly, you can pull up a Hot List of all of his items on all of his jobs. If John just wanted to see all of his Open Change Orders for all Jobs, this would be easy. You can view all of your hot-listed items based on criteria you choose.
All of these screens are very easy to learn and use. Most are really replacing “other” tracking methods you use- most likely Excel. The BIG differences:
- Document Control is integrated into your other company data — Jobs, Vendors, Employees.
- Using Document Control will provide a CONSISTENT method of tracking- replacing the “islands” of data that exist when everyone has their own system.
- Using Sage 100 Contractor built in system features such as Scheduled Reports and the Hot List makes it easy for you to get the reports quickly, and even automatically.
Need help with your Sage 100 CON reports? Pam and Kelcie can help! Click below to request an appointment.
How to Add New Modules or Additional Licenses
by Kyle Zeigler, Sage Senior Certified Consultant
Adding more licenses
Congratulations! Your company is growing, you’re hiring new personnel, and you’ve taken advantage of one of Sage’s periodic sales on software licenses. Life is good! Now, how to get those new or additional Sage 300 CRE licenses for AP, JC, PJ, or other modules installed so your staff can use them?
Adding more licenses for modules you already own is relatively easy. The trickiest part is making sure all of your users have fully exited the system before you begin. Under some circumstances, even after all users have exited all Sage 300 CRE applications, the changes you make still do not update the number of uses available. This usually happens because files are locked by Pervasive or Windows. A reboot of the server just prior to making the changes will always be your best bet to ensure you don’t encounter this issue.
Once all users have exited the system, to add more uses for one or more Sage 300 CRE modules, perform the following:
For versions 15.1 and lower:
- From the server, launch Sage Desktop.
- Go to Tasks, Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate > Common Tasks > Tools > Change Registration and Uses.
- Enter the activation information provided by your partner or Sage.
- Click Finish to activate the additional uses and update activation information.
For versions 16.1 and later:
- From the server, launch Sage Desktop.
- Go to Common Tasks > Tools > Change Registration and Uses.
- Enter the activation information provided by your partner or Sage.
- Click Finish to activate the additional uses and update activation information.
It is important that you do not change the registration name during this process. The registration name must be the same as the name on file with Sage. Changing the registration name in the Change Registration and Uses window could adversely affect your ability to install future software updates and upgrades.
Adding new modules
If you have purchased new modules for your Sage 300 CRE software, these require installation on your server and all workstations using your downloaded installation files:
- Determine which updates have been installed on the server and workstations for your current version.
- Instruct all operators to exit all Sage 300 applications (reboot the server just to be safe).
- Backup all data and the C:\ProgramData\Sage\Timberline Office\9.5 folder.
- At the server, browse to the install download for your current version.
- Run Install.exe, select Modify, and then click Next.
- Make any changes or additions to the Uses and/or Activation Code columns for your applications and then click Next.
- Make any changes or additions to the Industry Reports & Inquiries or Sample Data options and then click Next.
- Click Install.
- Reboot the server when prompted.
- After the server has rebooted, wait at least 5 minutes for services to start, then install any updates which were installed prior to the modify install.
- Reinstall workstations.
Note: You must apply any updates you previously had installed before on your server and workstations. Also, you might consider scheduling the installation of new modules for a time when you can also install the latest update or version upgrade.
If you need assistance adding uses or installing new modules, please contact Ledgerwood Associates.
Want help from a Certified Sage Consultant with your Year End?
How to migrate Pervasive Estimates into SQL
by Renee Mullen, Sage Marketing Manager
Fixing the ‘Migration Failed’ error when migrating a Pervasive database into the SQL Estimating instance
The Sage SQL Estimating Management Console has a Migration tool that allows you to migrate Pervasive-based Estimates and Databases into your SQL instance.
On rare occasions, this migration process may fail with a message stating that the tool cannot obtain an ‘exclusive lock on database’. The following would be a typical error in the Event Viewer Log:
“System.Data.SqlClient.SqlException (0x80131904): Could not obtain exclusive lock on database ‘model’. Retry the operation later. CREATE DATABASE failed. Some file names listed could not be created. Check related errors.”
To resolve the issue, the service for the SQL Estimating instance needs to be restarted with all users out of all Sage SQL Estimating applications. Then, follow these steps:
- Have all SQL Estimating users exit all Sage SQL Estimating related applications.
- At the server that hosts the SQL Estimating instance, open the Windows Services by clicking Start, Run (or Search programs and files for newer Windows operating systems), and typing: services.msc
- Press the Enter key.
- Scroll down to SQL Server (SAGE_ESTIMATING), which is the default instance name, right-click and select Restart.
- Perform the data migration again in the Sage SQL Estimating Management Console.
For more information on this topic visit Knowledgebase article 25328. You can find this information and more in the Sage Knowledgebase. Join the conversation at Sage City, available 24/7, the online community is your gateway to many Sage resources.