November 2014 Newsletter
Marcia, Marcia, Sage.
With so many new ‘step-modules’ and ‘groovy’ year end specials, Sage is sure to make the competition jealous.
(And who doesn’t love a good Jan Brady paraphrase?)
In this edition of the LAI monthly newsletter we are unveiling the newest “Sage-y Bunch” of solutions you need to take your Sage 100 Contractor or Sage 300 CRE to the next level of performance.
In a nutshell, Sage’s newest Bunch, below:
Sage Billing and Payment Solutions | Sage CRM | eTakeoff* | IFS Core* | Paperless Environment*
(We covered the products with asterisks in last month’s newsletter. In case you missed it, you can review them here.)
Sage Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Or is it “Construction” Relationship Management?
LAI is extremely happy to add CRM to the Sage Family we sell and support! Available from LAI in Q4, Sage CRM will be available hosted on-premise, or in the cloud!
Used by over 15,000 organizations in over 70 countries, the award-winning Sage CRM will equip your businesses with the tools you need to find new customers, close sales faster, and build lasting, more profitable relationships across all channels.
Diane Haines is a Senior Director of Product Marketing and Product Management at Sage and is a CRE veteran who definitely knows her way around the construction/technology block! As a former Product Manager for Sage CRE and Sage Construction Anywhere, Diane has migrated to the CRM environment, where her ‘construction filter’ targets on how Sage CRM will perform for the industry. With her permission, we are reprinting a great article on the ways CRM can manage your backlog:
Most contractors know that winning work can be as difficult as performing the actual work. Keeping a healthy backlog for your company usually entails a daunting amount of paperwork and follow-up. Learn from the best practices of successful contractors who have mastered the bidding and sales process:
- Keep track of your bids. Simplify the bidding process by using a good CRM system to track bids you have submitted, where they are in the bidding process, follow- up items, and deadlines you need to meet. When you are subcontracting out work, you also need to keep track of all the same bid details that subcontractors have submitted to you.
- Be selective about what projects you bid on. Learn from every bid you have won or lost by analyzing your best bid-hit ratios and which projects were the most profitable for you. Rather than bidding on just any project or accepting any work that comes your way, a good CRM system will help you analyze all of the bids you have submitted so you can bid only on jobs that best fit your company’s strengths and that are profitable for your business.
- Execute your sales process flawlessly. Have you ever lost a client’s business and found out later that you missed a simple follow-up task that sunk your chances to win their business? Every step of the sales process is vital to establishing your credibility and reliability with a client. Sales and business development teams at the highest performing companies leverage a good CRM system to keep track of every aspect of the sales cycle to maximize their chances of winning deals.
By fine-tuning your bid management and sales processes with a CRM system, you can ensure your company will have a healthy backlog to carry you through the next few years.
Sage Payment & Billing Solution
Time is valuable.
Just ask your billing staff. The volume of accounts receivable they have to process every month is a major time sink and a constant source of anxiety – invoicing; payment processing; day’s sales outstanding. So much to stay on top of and accomplish and there never seems to be enough time. Until now.
No More Trips to the Bank!
Sage puts it all under one roof: debit and credit card processing, mobile payments, electronic check and PCH processing, plus an all-in-one management system (called the Sage Exchange). The highlights include:
- Process any type of major credit at your customer’s location or on your premise
- Swipe payments on your mobile device, with limitless transactions
- No more trips to the bank! Accept checks and ACH transactions using a check reader or imager connected to a CC terminal
- Not kidding about trips to the bank! Remote Deposit Capture (RDC) technology allows you to send an image of a check electronically – which speeds up fund availability to 2-3 days!
Buried Under Invoices?
The new Billing solution helps you EASILY create professional email invoices, using WYSIWYG or html, where you can choose the field types you need; brand with your logo and images; and click to send. Super simple.
This exchange dashboard gives you a centralized view to manage and control all of your Receivables and Payables.
How Much Can Your Company Afford to Lose??
Let’s talk about your accounting system of record. Do you back up the data and system files every night? How long do you keep the backup? Do you use a service that keeps a 30 day backup? Would you know if something was bad within 30 days?
That should be sufficient – right? Actually, when it comes to your company’s back up methodology, the real question is how much can you AFFORD to lose?
Let’s say you use a service that backs up your system in its entirety every night and saves the backups for 30 days. What happens if you have undetected corruption, (think about those pesky monsoon storms), that resulted from the power outage due to a transformer being struck by lightning two months ago. Now what? Everything seemed to be OK, until the auditors showed up and began requesting information from jobs that were closed and you have not looked at for a couple of months. The information doesn’t make sense. Information is missing. What about the back….? You are past the 30 day window.
These scenarios happen every day. Many years ago, a standard of practice was used to design a methodology to mitigate risks due to data corruption, natural disasters and equipment failure. This methodology requires the ability to have off-site storage location and storage media with a guarantee of compatibility for a predetermined number of years. One way to execute the method is the use of tape backup(s). We will use this medium for purpose of discussion.
The first step is to determine what you can tolerate in terms of data loss and what you are required to legally keep. Then, create a plan to accommodate the law and mitigate your risks. For example, say your company has to keep financial records for 10 years and your business volume dictates you do not have the personnel resources to re-create the history for even a week. You decide you MUST have a verified backup each evening that you can readily restore. Your Tape backup system schedule would look like this (note: ALL Backups are FULL and NEVER incremental):
- Seven tapes for daily backups
- Five tapes for weekly backups (to accommodate months with 5 weeks)
- Thirteen tapes for monthly backups – 12 months and one extra to pull to next year
- Eleven tapes for yearly backups – the 10 required + 1 for current year close
So, every night a full backup would execute. On Sunday, a Weekly backup would also execute. On the 5th of the Month, a monthly backup would execute. After the close of your fiscal year, the Yearly tape would execute. This would enable your company to restore information at any given time up to 10 years prior.
Good luck and remember, the question isn’t “What back up system should I use?” but instead, “What can I afford to lose?”.
Get a Jump on Year End – Special Offer
Get 25% off all of your 2014 Tax Forms when ordered before December 31st.
Sage Construction and Real Estate Tax Forms are the ONLY tax forms guaranteed by Sage to be 100% compatible with your software. Use Promo Code CFITCD when ordering at www.sagecreforms.biz.
Upcoming LAI Online Training and Networking Events:
Archiving Fiscal Year Data and Purging Old Jobs
Submitted by Walt Mathieson, Certified Sage 100 Consultant
When Sage announced the Multiple Fiscal Year General Ledger capability in the release of Version 19, most clients were truly excited, as they no longer needed to archive off the ending fiscal year data before entering transactions for the new fiscal year.
Every year end I would get numerous calls from clients worried about how they were going to archive off the old fiscal year before they were ready, yet they had transactions to record for the new fiscal year. Earlier versions of the program had a great facility for continuing to record data for most prior year transactions (period 0 postings), but there were challenges with operator errors and some types of transactions were not period 0 friendly. Thus, the Multiple Fiscal Year General Ledger capability of Version 19 was an exciting new feature!
It seems that most clients that upgraded to Version 19 are still working with two fiscal years in their general ledger. While there is no requirement to archive off fiscal year data, and more than two fiscal years can coexist in the general ledger, eventually users will experience some processing speed issues. If you have completed all accounting for your earliest fiscal year in your general ledger, I recommend that you consider archiving that fiscal year, taking it out of the current general ledger. What do I mean by having completed all accounting for your earliest fiscal year? Generally, you will have received and entered any year end adjusting entries that your outside accountant may have provided and you or your outside accountant will have compared your adjusted trial balance as of the end of the fiscal year to the accountant’s published tax returns or financial statements and determined that everything is in agreement. If that has been done, you can archive your fiscal year accounting data with confidence!
Users may also use this process to purge jobs and their related data from the current company. Jobs must be marked with a status of Closed or Refused, and must not have any open accounts receivable or accounts payable invoices. Users may also purge old Service Receivable records with a status of Paid or Completed and Closed Purchase Orders not tied to Jobs as part of the archiving process.
Archiving a fiscal year is accomplished through Menu 1-6 > Archive Fiscal Year 20xx. The process is well automated and practically runs itself. If you are uncertain, consider printing, reading and following the Year End Checklist, a 20 page document that can be found in the Home & Resources > Product Documentation menu. Backup your data before you get started, just in case something appears to be a problem. If you are still uncertain, call your favorite Sage 100 Contractor Certified Consultant to give you a hand.
Current Version: The latest and greatest version of Sage 100 Contractor at the time of this posting is version 19.4.58. We bring you this as a public service, so that you may keep your program up to date and take advantage of the most recent features and functions.
The Doctor is IN!
Submitted by Kyle Zeigler, Sage Senior Certified Consultant
Did you know that your Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate software comes equipped with its own built-in medical staff? “File Doctor” is a tool you’ll find in Desktop > Common Tasks > Tools. Just like any good medical doctor, File Doctor provides routine health checkups and cures for illness in your Sage 300 CRE data files. Unlike making a visit to your personal physician, however, there are some precautions to consider before using File Doctor.
When you first launch File Doctor, you will be asked, “Do you have a current backup of your data files?” If the answer is no, do not continue with File Doctor! Always make a backup of the file(s) on which you intend to use File Doctor.
After you have backup up your data and relaunched File Doctor, you are able to select one or more files in either the current data folder (the one from which you launched File Doctor) or all of the data folders in your Open Company selection list. File Doctor checks every record in every file, so if you have multiple data folders and you choose all folders and all files, File Doctor could take a long time to complete. Plan accordingly! Ensure that all users have exited Sage 300 CRE and that no users will access the software before File Doctor has completed.
After selecting the data folder(s) and file(s), File Doctor will:
Always examine selected files and check for corruption by verifying that all records and keys are linked properly. Use this feature as often as you like to check the health of your data files and be aware of potential issues. File Doctor will require you to print to a file the printout of results. This printout should be reviewed thoroughly after File Doctor has completed.
Optionally reduce the amount of disk space occupied by the selected file(s). Mark the “Compact good files” checkbox to perform this task.
Optionally restore (fix) the selected file(s) by correcting records and keys that are not linked properly. Mark the “Fix and compact bad files” checkbox to perform this task.
As a best practice, whenever using File Doctor, run it first with no optional checkboxes marked to only check files for corruption, and then review the File Doctor printout to identify files that require fixing. Backup the specified files and Run File Doctor again to fix and compact only those files identified as requiring fixes. Also, File Doctor should only be used by those who have advanced knowledge of your Sage 300 CRE database. Otherwise, contact your local Sage Business Provider for assistance in using File Doctor.
Barter Agreements and the IRS
Submitted by Bryan Eto, CPA
“I’ll do your family’s dental work for free if you build a deck onto my house.”
If you’re in the construction industry, you’ve probably received an offer like this or made a similar offer to someone else in a different line of business. It’s a modern variation of the age-old practice of barter. What makes it especially intriguing in this day and age is the idea that you can exchange services or products with someone without exchanging money.
|By bartering, you can trade away excess inventory, hang onto your cash and run jobs during slow times. You may also find yourself bartering when a customer doesn’t have the money on hand to complete a transaction. In some cases, receiving the customer’s services in exchange is preferable to pursuing the matter through the courts.|
Keep in mind, however, that there are tax consequences and the IRS often inquires about bartering when it conducts audits. Under the law, a barter transaction is generally subject to income tax even if the trade is relatively even. Each business must pay Uncle Sam based on the fair market value of the service or product received.
Going back to the previous example, let’s say that you would normally charge $25,000 to build your dentist’s deck and your family receives dental care that would have cost you $22,000 out of pocket. The law requires you to pay tax on the $25,000 as if you had actually received it.
Suppose you receive a promissory note from another business in exchange for your services. If the note is merely security for future payment of income, you don’t have to report the income until you start receiving it. However, if the note is a negotiable instrument, you must report the fair market value of the note in the year the note is received.
Keep in mind: If you trade your product or service for a deductible product or service, then you have both taxable income and a tax deduction. The two items offset each other but both must be reported on your return.
Ask your tax adviser for more information.
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