September 2017 Newsletter

 

What we’re talking about in September:

  • So long summer. Bye, bye, B2G1 and Sage summer sales!
  • Also over at EOM: the FREE Estimating upgrade to Core and Core Plus
  • Think strategically about your data files (especially prior to an upgrade)
  • TimberScan for Sage 100 Contractor? Meet T100!
  • YeeHAW! TUG Regional Workshop coming to Austin, TX
  • Is it time you considered an HCM system?
  • Awesome ‘Tips and Tricks’ for Sage 300 CRE | Sage 100 CON | Sage Estimating

 


Sage Summer sales ending Sept. 29th!

Get what you need for Year End – NOW

Sage is making your life easy with so MANY ways to purchase new, add on, switch, and finance right now! And there’s no telling if this special will be repeated before Year End (it wasn’t last year)!

And if you are currently off plan” – Sage wants you back “in the family.” There have been so many great new features, upgrades, and improvements this year — this is a GREAT time to get your business on the most current version of the software! 

 


Buy Two Get 1 Free – Add Users/Modules

THE DETAILS: Purchase any two Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate, Sage 100 Contractor or Sage Estimating modules or user licenses by 9/29/2017 and get the third module or user license of equal or lesser value, for free!

Discount only applies to additional Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate, Sage 100 Contractor or Sage Estimating modules or user licenses, not to be combined with other offers or promotions.

Now is the time to add additional uses of:  AP | AR | Job Cost | Service Management | Purchasing | and more!


Buy Sage Paperless Construction and save up to 30%

THE DETAILS: 20% off when purchasing either Paperless APFlow or Premium solution (licensed) – OR – 30% off when purchasing Paperless APFlow or Premium (licensed) PLUS a Paperless subscription. Choose from eForms, eCapture, or ePortal. 

Switch to Sage Estimating and/or eTakeoff and save 30%

THE DETAILS: 30% off Sage Core or Sage Core Plus when you replace a competitive estimating or takeoff solution (like switching from PlanSwift, OnScreen, MC2, ProEst, WinEst, etc.).

0% Financing for new purchases

THE DETAILS: 0% financing for a 2- or 3-year lease, on approved credit.

Come back to the Sage “family!”

If you have been off the Business Care plan for three years or more, you must repurchase your software. Being on the current version ensures that you receive software upgrades, important tax notifications, and Sage support when you need it (think year end help)!

Sage is making it easier for you to “come home” with substantial discounts!

THE DETAILS: 30% off license fees when repurchasing just the accounting software. 50% off license fees when repurchasing estimating only, or estimating AND accounting.

LAST reminder – Free Sage Core Estimating upgrade ends

To promote the biggest Sage Estimating release in a DECADE, Sage is not charging for the upgrade from Pervasive to SQL (read about the new features and modernization in this blog post).

This unprecedented offer also ends on September 30th.

 

 


Think strategically about your data files!

by Ruth Stockdale, Director of Professional Services

Number ONE priority — develop a strategy for your company

In the August newsletter, we wrote about cleaning up data in anticipation of the end of the year and before your next software upgrade. This month, we’re giving you general suggestions about how to approach the process – more of a “big picture” solution (for very specific directions for Sage 100 Contractor refer to the Tips and Tricks section, below.)

The most important first step is to develop a strategy for your company. This can be based on operational reasons, legal reasons, or data best practices.  Keep your strategy in mind when you choose your options. There is no single right or wrong approach.

Clean up your data files

What needs to be cleaned up?

The most obvious targets are your major data files — payroll transactions, general ledger transactions, etc. But you also have probably accumulated a lot of journals and logs in various formats of print files (i.e., .prn, .pdf, .txt). If your queries export to Excel, you may have inadvertently produced more of those files than you realize.

Why would you want to move or remove any of these?

You may encounter problems with space, speed, or sanity. Disk space is no longer the problem it once was, but there is still a limit to what you want to have accessible. Speed of a process or a report can be affected by very large files. And long pull-down lists of record or files can be frustrating. Finally, preparing for an upgrade may involve eliminating problem records.

How do you clean up data?

These are the most common options:

  • Reorganize — for print files, move the files to folders based on business use (entity or job), or by dates (e.g., separated by year).
  • Archive — this involves moving records from one file to another, usually from a current file to a historical one. The program steps are usually easy, but the process requires some thought.
    • Operational and legal reasons may dictate how you archive job information at time of job closing. Is there a process to gather all related records for data and documents, both print and digital? In this case, archiving may not mean moving data, but capturing all relevant data in .pdf files and transferring the entire set to some other media.
    • Record retention policies may dictate when to move information into separate files.
    • Data best practices may dictate retaining some records in current files. Some report designs or queries may function better with data in one location, rather than archived in separate files.
  • Delete or remove — this is rarely recommended, but may occasionally be necessary.
    • Prior to an upgrade, there may be utilities available to check for problem records and handle them.
    • If you are considering removing dormant records, such as vendors, consider flagging them as inactive or changing to a “DO NOT USE” description instead of deleting. You may not want old vendor ID to become available for a different vendor. (You can still archive all their transactions to a history file.)

Regardless of your timing or your method, be sure to back up files first!

You can find information about the suggestions above in previous newsletter articles and blogs. And don’t hesitate to ask your consultant for advice or assistance.

Action Items for upgrading Sage 100 CON

  • Read (and save) the Release Notes from Sage.
  • Review the hardware requirements and make changes as needed. Read the Sage Knowledgebase article on requirements.
  • Download the upgrade file (using the Sage instructions), but don’t install it — make sure the download is successful before we tell you how to install it! This is a complex, IT-involving download, and we want to protect your system by proceeding cautiously and deliberately.
  • If the download is not successful, contact us: Support@LedgerwoodUSA.com.
  • Put a date on your calendar later in the year to complete the upgrade process. Set a reminder to contact LAI 2 weeks prior to that date to schedule consulting assistance.

More valuable resources:

https://ledgerwoodusa.com/afraid-to-upgrade-to-sage100con-v-20/

https://ledgerwoodusa.com/help-for-migrating-to-sage-100-con-v-20-sql/

http://www.top-sage-resellers.com/blog/introducing-sage-100-contractor-2017

http://cdn.na.sage.com/docs/en/customer/100contractor/20_5US/open/Sage100Contractor_Checklist_QuickStart.pdf

http://cdn.na.sage.com/docs/en/customer/100contractor/20_4US/open/Sage100Contractor_Checklist_GoingLive.pdf

 


Event: Introducing “T100” — TimberScan for Sage 100 CON

FREE webinar Thursday, September 21st at 10:00 AM

Experience what over 25,000 Sage 300 CRE customers enjoy with the leading AP automation solution – the POWER of paperless AP automation!

With T100, Sage 100 CON users can:

  • Automate AP invoice approvals with precision routing rules
  • Gain tighter control of document management with real-time insight
  • Get a simple, real-time status view of invoices and documents
  • Customize workflows, security, & more!

Join Core Associates, a Sage CRE Development Partner, and Ledgerwood for this FREE webinar demonstration.


2017 TUG Regional Workshop

Save the date: October 12-13th in Austin, TX

The 2017 TUG Regional Workshop this October 12-13 in Austin, Texas delivers the live, in-depth training you need now to maximize your Sage Construction software, whether you are just starting out or have been working with the software for years.

Five reasons why you should register right now:

  1. Two days packed with in-depth sessions and hands-on labs led live and in-person by expert users and consultants
  2. Vital user insights including step-by step instructions, tips and tricks and best practices.
  3. Networking with fellow users to build a support network.
  4. A marketplace of third party ideas and solutions that integrate with your software.
  5. Earn up to 14 CPE credits.

 


Is it time to consider an Human Capital Management (HCM) system?


The economy feels stable. Construction projects have picked up, and you’re finally back in the hiring mode! Life is better, right?

Yes, these are all positive things, but… hold up! When your business gets busy fast, your increased workload is inevitably harder to manage. You’re still sending out the troops to win more business and manage current accounts and strive for profitability. At a time of rapid growth, do you really have the time or resources to manage your most valuable assets — your employees?

Perhaps you were used to thinking of staff as a capital expense, especially during the recession. Now, with the scarcity of workers you are beginning to think differently. You will need to become more competitive in salaries, benefits, and and increased importance of culture. The latter is especially true with Millennials — frankly, the people who’ll eventually run your company.

Employees are always an investment, but here’s the challenge: think of them as a competitive differentiator.

The right people make all the difference. This holds true for small companies, large companies, and everything in between.

A business itself does not generate ideas, does not provide service. By itself is neither innovative nor productive. Bottom line — people make all of those things happen!

Return on Your People Investment

Ledgerwood Associates can help. Industry-leading, customizable Sage Solutions (Sage HRMS and Sage People) enable you to decisively meet and respond to HR management challenges. Integrated payroll, benefits, recruiting, employee self-service, and analytics capabilities — Sage Solutions helps you to maximize every dollar invested in people. We call this the Return on People Investment.

With the right HCM Solutions, you can be assured that you are compliant, consistent, and competitive employer.

Here are some of the HCM functions Sage Solutions handles:

  • Payroll management and processing
  • Recruiting and onboarding
  • Risk mitigation and compliance
  • Time and attendance management
  • Employee benefits management
  • Paperless HR
  • Talent management
  • Decision support

Webinar: The ROI of Automating Your Human Capital Management

Join LAI for a webinar on Tuesday, October 3rd at 11 am MST

What you’ll learn: Human Capital Management (HCM) is the set of processes related to your organization’s payroll, HR, time & labor, scheduling, and other administrative needs. Through automating HCM functions, organizations can see significant savings in the form of time, money, litigation exposure, and overall aggravation.

 


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

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Upcoming LAI Online Training and Networking Events:

Jan
23
Tue
Go! Complete your forms and begin 2018  @ Online
Jan 23 @ 8:00 am – 9:00 am

For Sage 100 Contractor users

Resources for completing government forms

This presentation will provide info on  how government forms are handled, and how to prepare for your CPA. Review of W2s, 1099s, and ACA printing.

Feb
1
Thu
Sage 300 CRE Data Archiving @ GoToTraining
Feb 1 @ 9:00 am – 11:00 am

Archiving Best Practices

This 2-hour presentation will provide Sage 300 CRE users with step-by-step instructions and live demonstration of procedures used to archive data in all modules, including the creation of separate archive folders for GL and JC.

Feb
7
Wed
Sage Paperless Construction Webinar @ GoToMeeting
Feb 7 @ 11:00 am – 12:00 pm

What do you want to get rid of?

The flu. Hiccups. Ants. Telemarketers. Paper?

Are antiquated paper processes keeping you up at night? They should be!

Join Sage Paperless Construction (SPC) and Ledgerwood Associates for a FREE webinar on
Wednesday, February 7th at 11 am MST.

SPC is a  content management and workflow automation solution that integrates with Sage 100 Contractor and Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate.

Learn how Paperless Environments seamlessly routes for approvals, creates workflows, and makes you feel good about being environmentally responsible!


 

 

Protect Your Use of Independent Contractors

Submitted by Bryan Eto, CPA BeachFleischman

Chances are, your construction business hires subcontractors, rather than employees, to perform some of the work. These arrangements obviously save your company a lot of time, money and headaches.

Basic recordkeeping and financial differences:

When you compare the two types of workers, hiring subcontractors is a no-brainer. But make sure your independent workers really qualify for this status under law. Your company can pay a heavy price if you treat an employee as an independent contractor without having a “reasonable basis” for doing so. The IRS routinely “reclassifies” contractors as employees and the costs can be devastating for business owners. You can be required to pay a bundle in unpaid federal payroll taxes, interest and penalties.

Caution: There have been a number of highly-publicized lawsuits filed against companies by independent contractors who claimed they were really employees. Disgruntled workers contact the IRS to complain that they are misclassified. There’s even a special IRS form workers can fill out to ask for a determination of their status.

So how can you protect your money-saving use of subcontractors? The issue is complicated so consult with your tax advisor, but here’s a rule of thumb: Workers are considered contractors if you have little control over the way they get the job done. The more you direct a worker, the more likely the IRS would classify him or her as an employee.

Unfortunately, no single factor determines a worker’s legal status.

The IRS looks at a number of issues, such as:

Providing tools

An employer usually gives tools, equipment and work space to employees. In contrast, subcontractors often provide and invest their own money in equipment, tools and facilities.

Offering services to the public

Subcontractors make their services available to the general public and are free to work for two or more businesses.

Setting hours

Employees often have set work schedules, while contractors are allowed some flexibility. (However, the IRS recognizes that some work, by its very nature, must be done at specific times.)

Hiring assistants

Employees don’t hire and pay anyone to help them do their jobs. But contractors often hire, supervise, and pay their own assistants.

Getting paid

Employees are generally paid hourly or weekly, while contractors are paid by the job. It’s a good idea to require contractors to submit invoices since they provide proof of non-employee status.

To protect your company, it’s crucial to have written contracts with outside workers that clarify details of the relationship. Once you draft contracts that treat workers as independent contractors, live up to them. Resist the urge to supervise subcontractors the way you oversee employees.

Make sure to maintain good records!

Obviously, you need to keep the worker’s taxpayer ID number and other information required by the IRS, but also keep items that help prove the person is self-employed. For example, business cards, a letterhead, invoices and advertisements placed online or in newspapers. A simple listing in the yellow pages of the phone book is sometimes enough to convince an IRS auditor.

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

 


 

Clean UP for UPgrade

by Pam Schulz, Sage Certified Consultant

A little clean up and organization can go a long way towards a smoother upgrade to v20.

If you have not upgraded to V.20 yet, it’s time! (You can review our previous ‘help before upgrading’ blog posts HERE and HERE.)

First, get your data and reports cleaned up and ready:

Data

  1. Have you archived your last fiscal year? Archiving offers the opportunity to cleanup closed and refused jobs, as well as other records.
  2. Even if you have archived, you can still delete unused vendors, customers, jobs, GL accounts and Cost Codes directly in their “Setup” screens. (The program will “protect” you from deleting records with activity in the current year, but this does not apply to Cost Codes. To scan for unused Cost Codes, run report 6-1-4-21 and check the “combined” box. You will see a list of all codes that have Budget, Change Order or Cost activity in the current files.)
  3. Be ruthless. In the old days it was common to see expense accounts for items like “Fax”. You may have vendors that are out of business. If you are no longer using accounts, delete them.
  4. Run audits and take care of issues. Run the General Ledger audit (option 1-6), the Payroll audit (option 5-2-7) and the Inventory Audit, if applicable (option 12-3.) Clean up any errors.
  5. You may encounter “issues” in your trial data upgrade that necessitate more data cleanup prior to the final “go-live.”

Custom Reports

  1. Do you have custom reports that are not being used? You can delete them in Windows Explorer– they are stored under MB7/Custom Reports. If you are not sure about the finality of deleting the report, create a subfolder called “Unused Reports” and move the file. (Remember that the file “Name” is the “address” of the report; the file named 05010201.rpf is the report you would run at menu option 5-1-2; report #1.)
  2. Now is the time to get rid of pesky “Private” reports that were created accidentally. These are stored on your computer under: C:\users\(your user name)\appdata\local\Sage\Sage 100 Contractor- Here you will see the “Custom Reports” folder. If you have a private report on your computer, it will override what YOU see when running that report if a “shared” version exists. Other users see the “shared” version. My advice is to stop using Private Reports. Determine which version is valid and move it to the Custom Reports folder on the network (making it a shared report.)
  3. Version 20.5 introduced a new feature called “Company Specific Reports.” If this applies to you, make a list of the reports and forms that should become company specific after you upgrade- there is an easy way to “move them.”

Report Forms

  1. The same rules from above apply to the “Form Designs”- they are stored under folders named “Report Forms” in the same locations as the Custom Reports described above.
  2. This is an excellent time to clean up “logo clutter.” Create ONE logo file. Adjust your report forms to point to that single file. Determine the proper sizing and height/width ratio so that all of your forms will have a consistent look. Of course you can do this after the upgrade, but this exercise will also help you weed out “excess” forms as you go.

Once you have cleaned up, it’s time for a “trial convert” of the data and reports, and testing prior to your final go-live! Spending a little time cleaning up will make the conversion and testing more efficient by focusing only on the data and reports you wish to “keep.”

Trial Convert Data

  1. Data can be test-converted as many times as needed.
  2. Based on the “issues” report produced at conversion, the version 19 data is “corrected” or “fixed” until an acceptable conversion is achieved.

It is important to note that not ALL issues need to be addressed. Your Certified Consultant can help determine what to fix and how.

Convert and Test Reports and Forms

  1. Reports and Forms are converted through the Database Administrator.
  2. Canned (Sage) reports convert as part of the program installation.
  3. Test-run your custom reports and forms to ensure that everything works in v20.
    • Errors? Your Certified Consultant can assist with modifications needed for reports to run in v20 if you need help.

Go Live!

Once the Trial Run is done, and everything looks good, plan the “final conversion.” This is the last time the data will be converted. Shut off access to v19 on user’s desktops – you are live on v20!

Upgrading to Version 16.1 — things to know

by Kyle Zeigler, Sage Senior Certified Consultant

Fall is the typical time of year for companies to install one of the two versions of Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate that will be supported by Sage at year-end.  Sage released the latest version, 17.1, on August 3, 2017, but we recommend waiting to install this version and instead install version 16.1 by the end of the year. No matter what version you choose to install, review the following prior to upgrading your Sage software.

Highlights of Sage 300 CRE Version 16.1

  • Support for latest operating systems:
    • Windows 10
    • Windows Server 2008 R2
    • Windows Server 2012
  • Operating systems no longer supported:
    • Windows XP
    • Windows Vista
    • Windows Server 2003
    • Windows Server 2008 R1
  • Upgraded components:
    • Simba ODBC driver upgrade to version 10
      • Provides compatibility with OfficeConnector, Paperless, and MyAssistant
      • Many reports will run faster!
    • Actian Pervasive upgrade to version 12, which resolves a series of compatibility issues with Microsoft updates
    • Office Connector to release 2455
  • No more TS Main icon:
    • In version 16.1, TS Main is only available from within Sage Desktop
    • In version 17.1, TS Main is no longer available

Preparing for the upgrade

  • Verify that your system meets the minimum requirements:
    • Hardware
    • Operating system
    • Software (compatible versions of Adobe, .NET Framework, MS Office products)
  • Read the release notes!
  • Make a note of your Desktop configuration file or “save as” a custom named file
  • Consider adding or abandoning modules or licenses (if you’re going to add modules or licenses, contact Ledgerwood Associates for the Sage sales going on until September 29!)

Also, while we recommend waiting to upgrade to the latest version, if you would like to consider installing version 17.1, the Sage knowledgebase contains the following videos and articles to help you make the decision:

  • 85195 – Introduction to Mobile Projects (video)
  • 84765 –  Introduction to Sage SQL Replicator (video)
  • 85272 – Using the System Administrator to back up and restore data (video)
  • 81067 – System Requirements for Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate 17.1

For assistance in upgrading your Sage 300 CRE software, call Ledgerwood Associates today to schedule your appointment.  Fall is our busiest time of year, and availability may be limited.request-support

 

How do I activate and manage Sage SQL Estimating licenses in V17.11?

by Renee Mullen, Sage Marketing Manager

You spoke, we listened. Beginning with Version 17.11 of Sage SQL Estimating the physical Protection Device or USB licensing dongle is no longer required! The new License Administration tool in v17.11 allows you to activate, monitor and maintain your software application licenses. This tool is typically used at your server and requires internet access to communicate with the new special Sage Entitlement Server. Here is how you can manage your licenses.

To determine the name of a computer:

  1. On your Windows desktop, click Start > Settings> Control Panel
  2. From the list, scroll to and then double-click System. The System Properties window appears.
  3. Locate the line Full computer name, and then make a note of the name.
  4. Click [Cancel].

To designate the Sage license server:

  1. Open the Specify License Server window in one of the following ways:
  2. In the License Administration window, besides the License Server box, click Change Server.
  3. In the Estimating Configuration Wizard, in the navigation panel, click Licensing. In the right-hand panel, select the License Server option, and then click [Change].
  4. In the Specify License Server window that opens:
  5. In the Computer box, enter the name of the computer running the License Server. Or the IP Address of the computer running the License Server.
  6. In the Port number box, type 48650 if that is not the port number displayed in the box.
  7. Click [OK].

Note: When you change the license server, you must specify the new license server on the computer you are using as the license server and on each workstation that runs Sage Estimating.

To activate your license:

  1. On the machine you designate as your License Server, open the License Administration window.
  2. Click the Edit Registration information link.
  3. Enter your Sage Client ID.
  4. Enter your Registration name.
  5. Click [OK].

Note: A message confirms whether your registration information was updated successfully. If your registration was successful, the Licensed Modules grid displays the modules and number of uses that you have purchased. Your license server is now ready to serve licenses to your Sage Estimating (SQL) users.

To specify the license server:

  1. Open the Specify License Server window in one of the following ways:
    • In the License Administration window, beside the License Server box, click Change Server.
    • In the Estimating Configuration Wizard, in the navigation panel, click Licensing. In the right-hand panel, select the License Server option, and then click [Change].
  2. In the Specify License Server window that opens:
    • In the Computer box, enter the name of the computer running the license server.
    • In the Port number box, type 48650 if that is not the port number displayed in the box.
  3. Click [OK].

 

For additional information such as Checking out a License for offline use, Running the Sage Estimating Licensing Service under your local user account, Maintaining License information, viewing licenses for a different license server or general troubleshooting with the License Administration tool please review Chapter 6 of the Installation and Administration Guide.

There we go! All the information you will need to know to Activate and Manage your Sage SQL Estimating Licenses. The new version of Sage SQL Estimating’s License Administration tool is an amazing new feature.

Questions? Chat with Sage Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET.

For more information on this topic visit Knowledgebase Article 34212. 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.