November 2018 Newsletter

What we’re talking about in November:

  • Happy Thanksgiving from the LAI team to you and yours. We’re thankful for YOU!
  • What workforce shortage in the future? The new game app that recruits!
  • End of Financial Year resources from Ruth Stockdale
  • Complete schedule of Sage 100 CON & Sage 300 CRE Year End online classes
  • Estimating V18.12 is now available!
  • Awesome ‘Tips and Tricks’ for Sage 300 CRE | Sage 100 CON | Sage Estimating

‘Dig In’ — Recruiting game for the future

by Joanie Hollabaugh, Sr. Director of Marketing

Best. Hiring. Hack. Ever.

I was watching an episode of ConTechCrew’s weekly show about robotics in the construction industry. Scott Peters, one of the inventors of SAM robot (semi-automatic masonry) was being interviewed by James Benham of JBKnowledge and Jeff Sample, the “Iron Man of IT.” (I wrote about SAM a few years ago – read it here.)

Being a geek in general, I thoroughly enjoyed their discussion about SAM and the new “mule” robot for masonry heavy lifting; “swarms” of drones and 3D printers;  the passing of Microsoft co-founder, Paul Allen; and more. It was a great episode, watch it here.

What made me sit up straight, however, was one of the news nuggets they mentioned in an article about how to attract the younger generation into the construction industry. The article was published on TribLive, an online news source for the Pittsburgh area market. Entitled, “Construction union using video games to interest kids in apprenticeships” — I was struck by the brilliance of the idea, which the ConTechCrew fully recognized.

Evidently, a local Union (International Union of Operating Engineers Local 66) teamed up with a game developer, Simcoach Games, to create FREE apps for kids to play with — operating heavy construction equipment.

From the article:

The gaming company developed “Dig in: An Excavator Game” and “Dig In: A Dozer Game” for the union. They introduced their first game, “Hook: A Tower Crane Game” a little over a year ago.
Players move dirt, dig holes and make lifts using their thumbs to control the “joy sticks” through varying levels of proficiency and difficulty. They also receive messages connecting them to real life apprenticeship opportunities.

Now here comes the geeky marketing part — it’s a RECRUITING tool to get kids interested in construction, as early as grade and middle school. Paraphrasing James Benham: If they think it’s fun as a game app, imagine getting PAID to do it in real life! The game has conversion goals to attract interns, who get paid for classroom learning plus on the job training. After graduating four years later, they can earn as much as $60 an hour! Local 66 has more apprentices now than ever — so apparently, they have successfully targeted and converted this demographic. Brilliant.

So of course, I had to go to the App Store and download the game.

Accounting for the fact that most of the time I am an adult, I have to say I had a little trouble mastering the finesse. The controls are simple enough; two ‘target’ areas allow for movement R+L and up + down. What they don’t tell you is you must use the controls simultaneously and it takes a little dexterity (in full disclosure, I still text with my fingers and not thumbs like younger people).

Once you are trained, you head to the ‘job site’ where you rack up points for moving dirt to the designated area. In my first assignment just to move a pile of dirt, I racked up a lot of remarks from the super, like, “Don’t just swing it willy-nilly!” and “Careful, that digger’s not cheap!” and my favorite, “Whoa there, this isn’t a demolition job!” LOL. I also knocked over a field supervisor and dropped dirt on a pickup truck. As you can see below, I didn’t unlock the other construction sites (yet). Guess I won’t be changing career paths soon — but it sure was fun!

Screen shots from the game (Local Union and module selections):


Go ahead and share it!

In summary, I have to commend the ingenuity of Local 66 and Simcoach for creating an app that makes gaming skills into a relatable, age appropriate job recruiting tool for the next generations of construction workers. I really ‘dig’ it!

Please feel free to share this download link with your local industry organization, in hopes of attracting your local youth!

*Citations and links

Follows: @JamesMBenham | @TheConTechCrew | @JBKnowledge | @IronManOfIT

End of Financial Year End Resources

by Ruth Stockdale, LAI Director of Professional Services

Once again, we are approaching the end of a calendar year and most of you are asking two questions about how to prepare. What version do you need to be running and where can you find information about or assistance with the year-end steps in your software?

Version selection

For version selection, see more information in the Tips + Tricks section at the bottom of this newsletter, as well in blog posts on the Ledgerwood Associates website (there is a YE category). For Sage 100 contractor and Sage 300 CRE, the correct version for your situation may depend on several factors. Sage corporate is releasing new versions of both product lines and you should be receiving those emails. In the coming weeks we will have general recommendations for you. When in doubt, or if you have detailed questions about your situation, please check with us.

For information and learning opportunities, you will find a list of options below. Your choice may depend on whether your staff is experienced or not, whether there are complexities in your data setup, and your schedule for closing. Choose what options work for you — if you are uncertain about any of them, just give us a call for more details.

Information and learning opportunities

Ledgerwood Associates webinars

Check out the agenda of offerings below. There are sessions for both Sage 100 contractor and Sage 300 CRE. We are excited about these offerings because they provide you with a cost-effective way to hear the information in a live environment and ask questions.

Ledgerwood Associates documents and tips

Bookmark the LAI Blog page and select Year End as a topic in the right-hand column. You will see a variety of articles and blog topics for year end.

Sage City

If you have not registered for Sage City yet, you should. This is a central clearing house for Sage information and community forums.

Consulting services

Schedule time with a Ledgerwood consultant for individual one-on-one assistance. The calendar can fill quickly, so schedule this well in advance if possible.


If you are a member of TUG (The User Group), check out their website for information.

Sage 100 CON Schedule


Each INDIVIDUAL class is $50, but you if you sign up for all four – you get the last one for FREE ($50 value). So sign up ‘in order’ (by date) and when you register for the fourth ACA Report class, enter the discount code: 4THONEFREE.

Sage 100 CON Year-End Payroll

Covers payroll archiving to prepare for the new year. In this webinar the instructor will walk you through the screens for this process and allow for Q&A time. You can run through the process on your own system during the webinar. The session is repeated multiple times—sign up for the one that is best for your schedule.

PREREQUISITES — Make sure you have Database Administrator access and that you have backed up your files. Details will be provided after you enroll in the class. LENGTH — Approximately 30 minutes but may run longer due to the number of questions.




3:00 pm MST
10:00am MST
11:00am MST
8:30 am MST
2:00 pm MST
2:00 pm MST

Sage 100 CON Year-End Filing Reports – W-2s

Lecture/demo of steps involved with filing using AAtrix.

PREREQUISITES — None. LENGTH — Approximately 30 minutes but may run longer due to the number of questions.




10:00 am MST
10:00 am MST

Sage 100 CON Year-End Filing Reports – 1099s

Lecture/demo of steps involved with filing using AAtrix.

PREREQUISITES — None. LENGTH — Approximately 30 minutes but may run longer due to the number of questions.




2:00 pm MST

Sage 100 CON Year-End Filing Reports – ACA Report

Lecture/demo of steps involved with preparation and filing using AAtrix.

PREREQUISITES — None. LENGTH — Approximately 30 minutes but may run longer due to the number of questions.




2:00 pm MST


Sage 300 CRE Schedule


Each two-hour online class is $249.00

Sage 300 CRE Payroll Year End Procedures

This 2-hour class will include tips for reconciling the Payroll module to itself and to GL, step-by-step instructions for using Aatrix to prepare and print W2s, and what you should know about tracking and reporting ACA Compliance in Sage 300 CRE.





9:00 am MST

Sage 300 CRE Accounting Year End Procedures

This 2-hour class will include tips for reconciling the Payroll module to itself and to GL, step-by-step instructions for using Aatrix to prepare and print W2s, and what you should know about tracking and reporting ACA Compliance in Sage 300 CRE.





9:00 am MST

Sage 300 CRE Year End Archiving

This 2-hour class will include tips for reconciling the Payroll module to itself and to GL, step-by-step instructions for using Aatrix to prepare and print W2s, and what you should know about tracking and reporting ACA Compliance in Sage 300 CRE.





9:00 am MST

Sage SQL Estimating 18.12 is now available!

Sage listened to YOUR ideas!

From the Release Notes: Sage thanks you for your product ideas!

In Sage Estimating (SQL) version 18.12, we have incorporated the following customer requests:

  • In the Alternate Summary, excluded alternates are no longer included in the Totals column
  • Add-ons are no longer allocated to excluded alternates when you show excluded alternates
  • You can create variables and formulas “on the fly” from the Variable/Formula list when you add or edit item tables or formula tables

Other significant improvements:

  • Improvements to the Alternate Summary
  • More efficient ways to copy assemblies and items
  • A new tool in the Estimating Management Console that enables you to merge standard databases
  • The ability to create variables and formulas “on the fly” in the Variable / Formula List window
  • The ability to migrate report layouts from Estimating (Pervasive)

Click here for the Release Notes link

Follow LAI on Social Media for current construction and technology news!

Check out the LAI YouTube channel – recordings of past webinars and training classes!

Upcoming LAI Online Training and Networking Events:

IRS Updates Business Travel Per Diems

Submitted by Bryan Eto, CPA BeachFleischman

Set up expense reimbursement plans

Under current tax law, employees aren’t allowed to claim miscellaneous itemized deductions — including unreimbursed business expenses — on their personal tax returns for 2018 through 2025. So, it may be more important than ever for employers to set up expense reimbursement plans for business-related travel costs.

The recordkeeping for reimbursing actual expenses for lodging, meals and incidentals while traveling for business can be cumbersome. So, some employers instead opt to pay per diem amounts based on IRS-approved rates that vary from locality to locality. Here are some FAQs about this simplified process.

How does this approach work?

Under the “high-low method,” the IRS establishes an annual flat rate for certain areas with higher costs of living. All the locations within the continental United States that aren’t listed as “high-cost” automatically fall into the low-cost category. The high-low method may be used in lieu of the specific per diem rates for business destinations. Examples of high-cost areas include San Francisco, Boston and Washington, D.C. (See the chart below for a complete list by state.)

Under some circumstances — for example, if an employer provides lodging or pays the hotel directly — employees may receive a per diem reimbursement only for their meals and incidental expenses. There’s also a $5 incidental-expenses-only rate for employees who don’t pay or incur meal expenses for a calendar day (or partial day) of travel.

Do employees need to collect receipts while traveling?

If your company uses per diem rates, employees don’t have to meet the usual recordkeeping rules required by law. Receipts of expenses generally aren’t required under the per diem method. Instead, the employer simply pays the specified allowance to employees.

But employees still must substantiate the time, place and business purpose of the travel. Per diem reimbursements generally aren’t subject to income or payroll tax withholding or reported on the employee’s Form W-2. It’s also important to note that per diem rates can’t be paid to individuals who own 10% or more of the business.

What are the current per diem rates?

The IRS recently updated the per diem rates for business travel for fiscal year 2019, which started on October 1, 2018. Under the high-low method, the per diem rate for all high-cost areas within the continental United States is $287 for post-September 30, 2018, travel (consisting of $216 for lodging and $71 for meals and incidental expenses). For all other areas within the continental United States, the per diem rate is $195 for post-September 30, 2018, travel (consisting of $135 for lodging and $60 for meals and incidental expenses). Compared to the prior simplified per diems, the high-cost area per diem has increased $3, and the low-cost area per diem has increased $4.

The IRS also modified the list of high-cost areas for post-September 30 travel. The following localities have been added to the high-cost list:

  • Sedona, Ariz.,
  • Los Angeles, Calif.,
  • San Diego, Calif., Vero Beach, Fla.,
  • Jekyll Island/Brunswick, Ga.,
  • Duluth, Minn.,
  • Pecos, Texas,
  • Moab, Utah, and
  • Cody, Wyo.

On the other hand, these areas have been removed from the previous list of high-cost localities:

  • Mill Valley/San Rafael/Novato, Calif.,
  • Steamboat Springs, Colo.,
  • Petoskey, Mich., and
  • Saratoga Springs/Schenectady, N.Y.

Important note: Certain tourist-attraction areas only count as high-cost areas on a seasonal basis. Starting on October 1, the following tourist-attraction areas have changed the portion of the year in which they are high-cost localities:

  • Oakland, Calif.,
  • Aspen, Colo.,
  • Boca Raton/Delray Beach/Jupiter, Fla.,
  • Naples, Fla.,
  • Bar Harbor/Rockport, Maine,
  • Boston/Cambridge, Mass.,
  • Jamestown/Middletown/Newport, R.I.,
  • Charleston, S.C.,
  • Vancouver, Wash., and
  • Jackson/Pinedale, Wyo.

In addition, Traverse City, Mich., no longer includes Leland, Mich., and Bar Harbor, Maine, now includes Rockport, Maine.

Are there any special rules and restrictions?

Companies that use the high-low method for an employee must continue to use it for all reimbursement of business travel expenses within the continental United States during the calendar year. The company may use any permissible method to reimburse that employee for any travel outside the continental United States, however.

For travel in the last three months of a calendar year, employers must continue to use the same method (per diem method or high-low method) for an employee as they used during the first nine months of the calendar year. Also, employers may use either:

  1. The rates and high-cost localities in effect for the first nine months of the calendar year or
  2. The updated rates and high-cost localities in effect for the last three months of the calendar year, as long as they use the same rates and localities consistently for all employees reimbursed under the high-low method.

How much can employers deduct?

In terms of deducting amounts reimbursed to employees on the company’s tax return, employers must treat meals and incidental expenses as a food and beverage expense that’s subject to the 50% deduction limit on meal expenses. For certain types of employees — such as air transport workers, interstate truckers and bus drivers — the percentage is 80% for food and beverage expenses related to a period of duty subject to the hours-of-service limits of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Example: A company reimburses its marketing manager for attending a June trade show in Philadelphia based on the $287 high-cost per diem. It may deduct $251.50 ($216 for lodging plus $35.50 for half of the meals and incidental expense allowance).

Have Additional Questions?

Contact your tax advisor to discuss whether per diem substantiation methods could work for your business.

Contact Us

This article only scratches the surface of the proposed regs. Your tax advisor can help you sort through the details to get the most from the QBI deduction based on your specific circumstances.

Consult with your accounting, finance, and tax professionals who are familiar with construction best practices. This will make your life easier down the road as well as more profitable.

Beach Fleischman 2201 E. Camelback Rd. Phoenix, AZ 85016 | 602.265.7011 | | twitter: @BeachFleischman

Organize NOW for an easier year end

by Pam Schulz, Sage Certified Consultant

Before the year-end rush, spend a little time preparing.

Everyone using payroll records in Sage MUST “Archive” the 2018 payroll files prior to creating any payroll records for the new year, 2019.

The actual ARCHIVE process must be done within a certain time frame; After the last payroll for 2018, but Before the first payroll records for the new year. (There is a separate “General Ledger” archive; however because the timing of that archive is flexible, it is not discussed here.)

During January, W-2, 1099 forms and other tax reports will be required.

What to prepare NOW

Are you ordering tax forms? Sage 100 Contractor uses W2 (and 1099) forms that are known as “four-up” (four to a single page) — if you order or buy the most common forms at an office supply store you will be getting the wrong forms. Here are some choices to consider:

  • Order forms from Sage
  • Order from another source — make sure you get the correct forms
  • Use aatrix “full service” to print and send your forms for you- I have heard rave reviews about this!
  • Print to plain paper — this will help getting envelopes that fit

Prepare for 1099s

  • Review report 4-1-1-61; Vendor 1099 report. Here you see how much was paid to each vendor, their 1099 type, and their ID #. Clean this up now; here are some basic rules:
    • No one  should have a type of “undetermined” — if a vendor does not get a 1099 use the type for “No 1099” rather than “undetermined.”.
    • Anyone with a 1099 type that requires a form must have an ID #.
  • “Test run” your 1099 forms using aatrix at menu option 4-5; 1099 forms. If you have trouble loading aatrix, get this solved NOW. If aatrix shows “errors” in vendor IDs, or other data, fix it now.
  • Order forms, or get set up/enrolled for aatrix services – don’t wait.

Prepare for W2s

  • Run a payroll audit at menu option 5-3-7, and address all audit errors.
  • Test run the W2 forms at menu option 5-4-1. Aatrix will show errors such as duplicate Social Security numbers, missing addresses, etc- FIX YOUR DATA NOW.
  • Reconcile/Balance your 941 forms against the W3 totals. Create an excel worksheet to list the Wages, Tax, FICA wage and Medicare Wage from each quarter’s form 941. (This should also be done for your states.) Run the payroll reports for quarter 4- you can do this “now/early” if you like- the idea is to spot errors, not to produce a final report). Compare the totals with the information on the W3 form (or grid totals in the screen) created in your test W2 run. Now I a good time to file any needed forms 941x.
  • Order forms, or get setup/enrolled for aatrix services — don’t wait.

Prepare for ACA

You may need to file ACA reports (Affordable Care Act.)  Check with your advisers about this requirement.

  • Complete the employee information at menu option 5-2-1, Employees; there is a “tab” for the ACA information.
  • Run the informational reports for review at menu option 5-4-3, ACA reports.
  • Test run the reports that will be filed in aatrix at menu option 5-4-1, they are listed with the other Federal tax reports.

Prepare for the BIG NIGHT

Between your last payroll check of 2018 and your first payroll record in 2019, you must “archive” your payroll files. You will also “update” the new year’s files with new tax rates, and perhaps perform some employee maintenance in vacation and sick accruals. All of these tasks will be covered in future discussions, but for NOW get as much done as possible! More preparation = less stress!

Need help implementing your software? It’s ‘no big deal’ getting support from LAI — just click the form below.

Sage 300 CRE Upgrade Tips for 2018

by Kyle Zeigler, Sage Senior Certified Consultant

Sage 300 CRE Upgrade Tips for 2018

The coming of November typically marks the advent of the year’s holiday season. For many Sage 300 CRE users, it is also the time to finalize plans for upgrading your accounting software if you have not already done so. What you should know about upgrading to the newest versions of Sage 300 CRE:

  • After December 31, 2018, only versions 17 and 18 will be supported by Sage.
  • If you are presently running version 15.1 or prior, Sage recommends that you upgrade first to version 16.1, and then from version 16.1 to version 17 or 18.
  • If you use 3rd-party applications that integrate with your Sage 300 CRE software, check with the software vendor to confirm that their product is compatible with the version of Sage 300 CRE you are installing.
  • Sage Estimating Pervasive is NOT compatible with version 18. Only Sage Estimating SQL can be used with Sage 300 CRE version 18.
  • Create a complete backup of all data and system files for Sage 300 CRE using Sage System Administrator in versions 17 or 18, or using File Tools in prior versions.
  • Before upgrading to version 17 or 18, it is strongly recommended that you run File Doctor on your data to fix any potential anomalies in the data. According to Sage, “Even if you are not receiving a corrupt file message, there may be some issues File Doctor finds that it will not be able to fix after upgrading.”
  • If you use Sage SQL Gateway to replicate your Sage 300 CRE data into a Microsoft SQL database, you will no longer have the ability to use this product. Sage SQL Gateway has been retired and is replaced with SQL Replicator in the newer versions.
    • If you plan to take advantage of the SQL Replicator features that come with these latest versions of Sage 300 CRE, check the new System Requirements article in the Sage Knowledgebase, as some hardware or software modifications may be required for your server or workstations. If you haven’t updated your server or workstations in recent years, it’s a good idea to check the System Requirements anyway.
  • When installing the newer versions, you will no longer enter activation codes. The new License Administrator will automatically access the licenses for which your company is entitled.
  • When upgrading from version 16.1 to version 17 or 18, allow plenty of time for the Upgrade Files process to complete, as every record in the database will be upgraded.

If you have questions about upgrading your Sage 300 CRE software or would like assistance, please call 480.423.8300, or click below:

MIA? How to show the “Assembly”name in Sage Estimating SQL

by Renee Mullen, Sage Marketing Manager

Restore it to the Takeoff Order sort tab

You upgraded to Sage Estimating SQL and now Assemblies names do not show up on the Takeoff Order sort tab. No worries! There is an easy way to add a column that shows the Assembly name for all the items on the Takeoff Order sort tab.

In Estimating:

  • Select the “Save As” button
  • Enter a Layout Name
  • Select Personal or Shared
  • Select Edit
  • Add Assembly
  • Select OK

Now you can see what items were taken off by what Assembly and you can review and / or Edit Assemblies in the Takeoff Order sort tab.

Questions? Chat with us Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m.–8 p.m. ET. For more information on this topic visit Knowledgebase article 93329. You can find this information and more in the Sage KnowledgebaseJoin the conversation at Sage City. Available 24/7, the online community is your gateway to many Sage resources.