May 2017 Newsletter
What we’re talking about in May:
- Just like bein’ on Oprah! EVERYBODY wins with Sage CRE this Summer!
- Tricky alert: managing the SQL migration in Sage 100 CON
- RealPage Roadshow for Property Management professionals
- Webinar: Quickbooks CAN’T but Sage 100 Contractor CAN!
- Awesome ‘Tips and Tricks’ for Sage 300 CRE | Sage 100 CON | Sage Estimating
Now, for some REALLY Big News!
by Joanie Hollabaugh
And YOU get a car, and YOU get a car…
Okay, maybe it’s not as exciting as scoring a new ‘whip’ on Oprah — but everyone is winning when it comes to Sage Construction and Real Estate!
Sneak peaks at Sage Summit in Atlanta
Do you want a really good reason to attend Sage Summit this year? Sage will be announcing MAJOR Construction and Real Estate software updates, releases, and new products — many of which will be demonstrated at Summit in Atlanta! And even more amazing – there’s something new and/or improved for everyone! And they’re ALL coming this summer.
Sage 100 CON V-20
Sage 100 Contractor has been updated to Version 20, including a migration to SQL. Unfortunately, there has been talk of no longer supporting the previous database, so if you want updates and upgrades to continue – you MUST update your version to V-20 and the SQL database. We have written a separate article to address some issues, below (Migration article immediately following).
Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate V-17.1
Sage 300 CRE Version 17.1 will also feature SIGNIFICANT changes, with a ‘controlled’ release scheduled for June 1- 30th. That means they will work out the bugs with some key clients, and will announce a ‘general’ release later in the year. We can tell you that the changes will include a first phase for SQL replication, and foundation code for the promised suite of Mobility tools.
Sage Construction Project Center V-7.5.6
Sage Construction Project Center is getting a new GUI (graphical user interface) and an enhanced UX (user experience). Navigation will be cleaner and more modern!
Estimating is getting a COMPLETE overhaul, with the careful direction of creating a path to BIM. There will be a “Core” version, and an upgraded version as well. Look for the launch at the end of May.
Managing Sage 100 CON V-20 Migration to SQL
What does that mean for you?
Earlier this week, Sage released a notification that tax updates would be discontinued beginning July 1, 2017. So what does this mean for your organization? Should you start to panic?
The good news? Ultimately, there is no reason to panic. Typically, most tax updates are released from January 1 through around March 31 as that is when most of the taxes are defined by local, state, and federal governments. Sage has also committed to supporting Sage 100 Contractor through the end of 2017.
However, if you have not already migrated to version 20 and are current on support, you should make plans to have this completed before October 31, 2017. This will ensure you plenty of time if issues arise prior to year end procedures.
So, how do you know if you need to migrate?
Two quick ways to tell:
- Look at your icons. Sage 100 Contractor SQL has a different icon. If your icon looks like the one on the top, you need to migrate. If it’s the one on the bottom, you’re good to go.
2. Access the Sage 100 Contractor Program and hover over the Home and Resources icon. Then click About Sage 100 Contractor. If your version says anything earlier than 20.x, you need to migrate! Your version will be shown here:
Now, prepare to…prepare!
Sage will stop supporting the Microsoft Access version of Sage 100 CON. If you are still on Version 16, you need to upgrade to 19.7 before going to SQL. THIS IS NOT AN EASY MIGRATION!
Complete critical steps prior to migrating:
- Check prerequisites
- Verify current version is 19.7
- Decide on SQL or SQL Express
- Upgrade hardware if needed
- Install SQL and v20
- Data Preparation
- Review and prepare data
- Edit reports for known changes
- Migrate Data
- Check confirmation reports
- Resolve issues
- New Features
- New Reporting Options
For current information about supported operating systems, Internet browsers, and other software, and about system requirements for servers and client workstations, refer to our Knowledge base article ID67758, available at https://support.na.sage.com/selfservice/viewdocument.do?externalId=67758.
Make sure your computers meet the system requirements before you install the software. Sage100 Contractor may not run properly or at all on computers that do not meet the minimum requirements.
Stayed tuned for more blogs, training, and info from LAI to help you with your updates and migration. If you want to skip ahead, and just book time with one of our Sage Certified Consultants, just click the button below!
Places to go, people to meet!
May is stacking up to be a crazy month for events, and there’s more coming in June and July! Just in case you don’t know about some of these events, here’s a handy list with links to the event websites. Or you can view (and BOOKMARK) the LAI calendar page to see everything in one place!
See LAI at both TUG and Sage Summit this year! Look for Ruth Stockdale and Kyle Zeigler up in Minnesota, and network with Ed Ledgerwood and Tony Merry at Summit!
TUG Conference – Minneapolis, MN
Sage Summit – Atlanta, GA
RealPage Roadshow – Scottsdale, AZ
ICSC | RECon – Las Vegas, NV
CFMA Annual Conference – Phoenix. AZ
RealWorld – Las Vegas, NV
ASPE Conference – Denver, CO
May 8 -11
May 21 – 24
June 3 – 7
July 17- 18
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, May 18th from 2:00 – 3:00 PM
Follow LAI on Social Media for current construction and technology news!
Upcoming LAI Online Training and Networking Events:
The Trailing Punch List
Submitted by Bryan Eto, CPA BeachFleischman
It’s a family affair!?
Customer relationships with general contractors or owners who give your firm regular work can be like family relationships. One specialty subcontractor remarked about his work relationships that, “You will be spending more time with me in a week than you do with your family!”
The problem is, the more you and your staff “feel close” to your customers, the more they can exploit your generosity by asking your team to do tasks such as:
- Finish up a parapet as a favor;
- Repair a crack (even though you didn’t cause it); or
- Build an extra section “as long as you’re here.”
You are asked to do this work even though it does not fall within the scope of the job or is listed on project documents. The work has not been negotiated up front, and was not included when the original estimate of cost was figured and your job was priced.
Bookkeepers, office managers, payroll coordinators and project managers often compound the problem without knowing it. That’s because in their minds, jobs are expected to start and finish in one effort … one complete motion.
If, therefore, a cost appears on a job that has been “finished” for several weeks, the bookkeeper or office manager may look and say, “That old job? So-and-so probably meant to put the cost on this new job for that same customer.”
Hence, the cost gets mis-coded and never gets recognized as belonging to the punch-out stage of the project it pertains to. And if these costs are not getting properly recorded, they are not getting recognized by those people who make project management and cost estimating decisions.
The amounts that accumulate in this way can be staggering.
Ultimately, there is a danger of costs being miscoded because these “late hits” to projects don’t make sense to the people recording the transactions. But there is also a tendency for project managers and executives to let projects “fall off the radar” for reporting purposes as soon as they finish.
In other words, completed jobs are no longer monitored on the weekly project performance reports because they are considered “done” and no longer relevant. So any costs that are going to hit these projects are lumped for cost management purposes into that one killer all-inclusive word: negligible.
Track punch out costs as a separate General Ledger account
Most job cost systems have construction cost codes which correspond to costs such as materials, equipment rental, and subcontractor costs. These cost codes are different from the General Ledger expense accounts.
For example, the General Ledger might have an account for materials and an account for job-site labor, while the cost code might specify more detailed cost information. For example, a cost code might reveal whether the materials cost was for a specific trade, if more than one trade is involved, or whether the labor cost was for salary or it was for benefits.
Having the construction cost codes as a deeper level of cost data on projects is excellent. However, even if your firm doesn’t do that — and just uses good old fashioned job numbers with the General Ledger — then keeping track of your punch-out costs can be quite helpful.
The major distinction should be made when tracking punch-out costs. When a final bill has been made on a project, or when it hits substantial completion, any costs that come in now have to be coded to warranty expense. That goes for:
- Materials costs;
- Subcontractor payments;
- Equipment rental costs; and
- Payroll costs.
Moreover, warranty expense can be a General Ledger account, which would then be further broken down into the different subcategories. Or it can be a separate identifying digit in the construction cost code if your firm utilizes a construction-specific software package which allows for it.
In either of these cases, the designation for warranty expense — as opposed to a standard project expense — should be made on a project level. Therefore, all warranty expenses can be summarized and reported to your senior management:
- By job;
- By subcategory of expense; or
- In total.
Summarizing and reporting warranty costs in this manner will tighten up your bookkeeping for projects, by alerting your office and project staff that you are looking for these trailing costs, and that they are important.
Perhaps even more significant is the point that, tracking your punch-out costs more accurately and explicitly will help your project managers and executives better manage your firm’s projects.
If you would like help setting up your construction cost codes list, or setting up warranty cost tracking and reporting, ask your accounting or tax advisor.
Beach Fleischman 2201 E. Camelback Rd. Phoenix, AZ 85016 602.265.7011 | http://beachfleischman.com | twitter: @BeachFleischman
Tracking Paid Time Off (PTO) requirements in Sage 100 Contractor
by Pam Schulz, Sage Certified Consultant
What you need to know about PTO
New “Paid Time Off Requirements” may already be affecting you soon. These may arise from State Laws (such as Arizona and California), certain contracts (Federal Requirements), and are likely to increase as more states and cities adopt them.
The GOOD NEWS is that Sage 100 Contractor has some features ready to help.
I am going to leave the actual laws to other articles and resources, and instead, focus on how you can use the Sage 100 Contractor features to comply with whatever rules apply to you. There are a couple of major “types” of requirements being adopted:
- Paid time off accruals that apply “across the board”
- Paid time off accruals that apply based on:
- Specific Locations
- Certain Contracts
In a nutshell, the various requirements state that employers must provide paid time off to employees. The exact calculations vary — in some cases (Arizona) they are based on an employer’s size, in some cases (certain California counties) they are based on a location, and in some cases (Federal Contract requirements) they can be based on a particular job.
In at least some cases, the accrual rate is “faster” than the actual maximum amount, so there must be both a rate and a maximum. Additionally, more than one accrual could be in place at a given time (a State requirement + “additional” amounts required for a Federal Contract job, or the normal “state” amount + a specific city’s additional accrual when working on jobs in that locale).
It sounds complicated, but once broken down and “translated,” you need to:
- Set up an accrual with a rate and a maximum. Depending on your exact needs, you will be using one (or both) of two methods:
- Accrual on the employee setup screen (Menu option 5-2-1; “Compensation” tab)
- Payroll calculations; perhaps tie to Paygroups (Menu option 5-3-1)
- In addition to setting up the actual accrual, you may be required to print new information on an employee’s payroll check stub. This is easily done through FORM DESIGN.
Setting up an accrual
Let’s move through some examples, from simple to more involved:
Single rate, applies to all employees
(Example: Employer < 15 employees- basic AZ rule: Employees of employers with fewer than 15 employees accrue a minimum of one (1) hour of earned paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. The employee shall not, however, be entitled to accrue or to use more than 24 hours of paid sick leave in a given year, unless the employer sets a higher limit.)
This can be done and managed right on the employee setup screen (Menu Option 5-2-1; “Compensation” tab.) See the screen shot below:
The ACCRUED SICK field is updated by the program to accrue an amount as each payroll is processed, and to deduct hours as they are used. This field reflects the employees current balance of hours.
Enter the ACCRUAL RATE as a number of hours to accrue either Per Pay Period or Per Hour.
In the ACCRUAL METHOD box, choose either “Per Pay Period” or “Per Hour” to match your accrual method.
In the ACCRUAL MAX box, enter the maximum number of hours to accrue for the year. Since most of these new rules have an accrual rate that maxes out faster than the year, this “maximum” field stops the over-accrual.
Since some plans have “carryforward” the LAST YEAR CARRYFORWARD box is used in conjunction with the accrual and maximum fields. At the end of a year the balance is carried over when payroll is archived. This can be overridden if necessary.
This will work for MOST employers. Some situations may require either supplementing or replacing the above with a PAYROLL CALCULATION (Menu option 5-3-1.)
Federal Projects subject to Executive Order 13706
A contractor works on Federal Projects subject to Executive Order 13706 (https://www.dol.gov/whd/flsa/eo13706/faq.htm#accrual_of_paid_sick_leave-2) , but is located in a state with NO requirement: This situation is handled better through PAYROLL CALCULATIONS (option 5-3-1) in conjunction with PAYGROUPS (option 5-3-4) since the accrual does not apply to every job.
Set up a payroll calculation as shown:
Note – this calculation will NOT create any General Ledger Posting, or Job Costs. When payroll is calculated the net amount accrued and used is shown in the calculation screen in the employee’s record. A report could easily be created to show the amounts used in payroll.
By using this calculation the PAYGROUPS (option 5-3-4); “Benefits”, the calculation can be turned “on” for some jobs and “off” for others.
This method works for compliance of the “Federal” requirements as well as for contractors who work in cities that may have imposed their own required PTO days.
There is a small “downside” to the method- there is not yet a way to “max-out” the accrual automatically. However, by writing and scheduling an automatic custom report, an “alert” can be sent when an employee has reached the accrual maximum. This would be a good time to log in through SAGE and create an “enhancement request” – to add “hours/year” as a max type. In the meantime, there are tools available to create automatic reporting, and the calculation can be turned off manually on the “Employee” screen (menu option 5-2-1; “Calculations” tab “Active” columns) when the maximum is reached.
Finally, the methods can be used in conjunction with one another.
Most of the “requirements” provide a list of items that must be shown on an employee’s pay stub. These changes can easily be made by editing the FORM DESIGN for the payroll check (menu option 5-2-4; “Edit>Form Design.”)
If the accrual on the employee screen is being used, this field can be inserted easily from the “Employee” table:
If PAYROLL CALCULATIONS are being used, a “Calculated Field” must be written in payroll to capture the amount (or amounts) from the source(s) – there may be more than one calculation being used, and there may be calculations being used in conjunction with the employee screen balance.
There is no argument that these rules can become complicated — but the tools are in place and ready to use!
For Sage 300 CRE users
We tackled this topic in last month’s Newsletter for 300 CRE users – read the article here.
Need help with your Sage 100 CON PTO set up? Pam and Kelcie can help! Click below to request an appointment.
Importing data into Sage 300 CRE
by Kyle Zeigler, Sage Senior Certified Consultant
The devil’s in the details!
Data entry is a necessary evil when it comes to updating your accounting records.
For larger organizations with hefty volumes of vendor invoices and payments, customer billings, journal entries, purchase orders, and other types of routine transactions, manual data entry requires more manpower and bears a greater risk of data entry error. When these types of transactions are available in a digital format, however, Sage 300 CRE helps streamline the process of data entry by providing tools for importing the data.
The modules in which data import is possible include:
- AP – Accounts Payable (Import Invoices)
- AR – Accounts Receivable (Import Invoices)
- CM – Cash Management (Import Cleared Checks)
- GL – General Ledger (Import Transactions, Import Budgets)
- IV – Inventory (Import Issues)
- JC – Job Cost (Import Direct Costs, Import Commitments, Import Estimates)
- PR – Payroll (Import Time)
- PM – Property Management (Import Charges, Import Payments)
- PO – Purchasing (Import Orders)
Know when you need .csv versus .txt extentions
The import processes in Sage 300 CRE are launched from the Tools menu of the module in which the import is to occur. Each import tool requires a specific file format for the import. In most cases, the data can be prepared in Excel and then the file saved as a .csv (comma-delimited) file type. In other cases, the .csv file extension must be changed to .txt to produce a comma-delimited .txt file. Some modules, such as AP and AR, include a button on the import window that allows the user to print the template required for the import file. In modules such as GL and JC, the import file layout can be found in the Help topics of those modules.
Data imports are used in a variety of ways to eliminate the need for time-consuming manual entry. For instance, Excel-based time sheets can be converted to import time in PR. GL and JC imports can be used for monthly indirect and overhead cost allocations, or for importing costs obtained from sources such as credit card transactions exported from the bank.
When first developing your import processes, it’s a good idea to do your testing in a copy of your company folder set up for testing only. Then, once the process is perfected, you are ready to apply this time-saving strategy in your live company folder.
If you would like assistance implementing the use of data imports in your system, please contact Ledgerwood Associates at 480-423-8300 or click below!
Want help from importing data?
How do I use the ‘Update Database from Estimate’ task?
by Renee Mullen, Sage Marketing Manager
Have you ever made price changes to some items in your estimate and now you want to update the database items as well? The ‘Update Database from Estimate’ task allows you to push changes to the estimate’s spreadsheet items to items in your database.
The “Update Database from Estimate” task is found under Pricing>Update Database.
You can print the journal to a printer, a PDF or you can select “None”.
Be sure to add the column “Update Database” so you can select which items on the database to update.
The following areas of an item can be updated to the database:
- Waste Factor
- Price (per item category)
- Productivity/Conversion Factor (per item category)
- Apply Waste (per item category)
- Taxable or Non-taxable (per item category)
- Job Cost Phase (per item category)
- Job Cost Category (per item category)
- WBS Code Values
- Add new item categories
Tip: Create a custom spreadsheet layout that only shows the columns you can update to the database.
Note: Estimating does not update items in the database with attachments in the estimate.
For more information, see the Sage Estimating (SQL) Installation and Administration Guide and the Sage Estimating SQL Server Guide for your specific version located on the Product Documents site.
For more information on this topic visit Knowledgebase article 34318. You can find this information and more in the Sage Knowledgebase. Also, join the conversation at Sage City, available 24/7, the online community is your gateway to many Sage resources.