September 2019 Newsletter
Schoolin’ in September: Improving Tech Adoption | Learning Resources | Finance in the Cloud
- Need help advocating jobsite technology? 5 ways improve adoption from Procore Jobsite
- B2G1 Free on Users + Modules ends this month
- Ruth S. educates you on new learning and training resources
- Sage Intacct asks: What Can Finance Expect from the Cloud?
- Are you a Sage 100 CON user? Join LAI at the TUG Fall Workshop in Denver
- Awesome ‘Tips + Tricks’ for Accounting | Sage 300 CRE | Sage 100 CON | Sage Estimating
5 Ways to Improve Jobsite Tech Adoption
Reprinted with permission from Procore’s Jobsite – original post HERE.
| August 25, 2019
Of the original Fortune 500 Company ranking in 1955, less than 70 of those businesses are around today. One of the top reasons experts say they failed was due to lack of innovation, most notably failing to update technology and change with the times.
Adopting new technology can be difficult for your superintendents, project managers, and/or dedicated quality control staff who are squeezed for time and are not too keen about changing the way they do their jobs. But what if they were offered a powerful software tool that would make their work easier, faster, and smarter? Chances are, if it requires a lot of time, effort, and learning new skills, they’re going to pass on it.
Here are five surefire steps that will get you there:
1. Choosing the Right Software Company
Before buying any new software, make sure the company has an excellent customer success program that will engage and empower you and your team for as long as you need them. Most technology adoption fails because of shoddy implementation and a lack of support from the software company. Educate and inform your workers about the benefits of the software and how it will not only improve their quality control processes, but also benefit them personally by allowing them more time and freedom.
2. Identify Technology Advocates
Get some peers to serve as leaders in implementing the new technology. These tech-savvy team members can help get their workers up and running and also serve as advocates for the new technology. When fellow coworkers are using a new technology, and are excited about it, the chances for user buy-in are much higher. Pairing up your senior employees with junior team members who are more tech savvy can also serve as a win-win mentoring opportunity.
3. Adapt Your Training
When it comes to training employees on new software you can’t always take a one-size-fits-all approach. Construction firms employ a host of people who have a wide range of technological skills. It’s important that the users’ abilities are taken into consideration before training takes place. Ask your staff what type of training they would prefer and then adapt it accordingly. The proper training is critical for successful implementation. Make sure you factor in the training and ramp-up time. If your staff are ill-equipped or feel unprepared, chances are they’re not going to use it.
4. Start with the Basics
We are all creatures of habit and many of us don’t like change, especially when it comes to having to learn a whole new way to do our job. If you want your most resistant team members to begin using your quality management software, you need to start them with the basics. Do not overwhelm them with a slew of tools––keep it simple. Choose the most impactful tools like drawings and daily logs, and then every few weeks introduce another tool.
5. Standardization is Essential
Keeping things consistent is essential for adoption to take hold. To ensure your software’s implementation and success, your business processes need to be standardized throughout your entire operation. When you begin the process of standardization, it’s important to listen to your employees to ensure that what you put in place will work for their needs and capabilities. Standardization is key in not only ensuring its successful implementation, but in getting the most out of your project management software.
The success of jobsite tech adoption involves many moving parts, but with the right processes in place, your firm will reap the rewards of a powerful software system.
If you’d like to learn more about how construction project management software can vastly transform your business, be sure to check out these free ebooks:
For the 1st time this year…
The ‘Buy 2 Get 1 Free’ Add Users and Modules sale – who knows when it will come back?
Purchase any two Sage 300 CRE, Sage 100 Contractor or Sage Estimating modules or user licenses by 9/30/2019 and get the third module or user license for free!
Back-to-school for your employees!
by Ruth Stockdale, LAI Director of PSG
It’s back-to-school time! How does this relate to your business? Employees are generally back from vacations, workloads may change due to seasonal business demands, and planning for the final quarter may begin. In the middle of this seasonal change, it can be back-to-school time for your staff as well.
Yes, we mention training often in our newsletter and e-mail bulletins. But with staff changes and the ongoing need for professional development, training is always relevant for our users.
Here is a quick, current recap of some software-related educational opportunities:
- Lunch Topics — our Sage 100 Contractor users can look forward to some short lunch webinar sessions in September, October, and November. Link to all trainings HERE.
- LAI Year End resources from Ledgerwood Associates — look for the topics and schedule for webinars in our next newsletter.
- TUG Year End Webinars with – a benefit for members, check out their schedule at HERE.
- SAGE Year End Webinars with — log on to Sage City to find offerings along with community shared information.
- General Sage 100 Contractor (only) training with TUG – Regional Fall Workshop in Denver, October 14-15.
Don’t see what you need here? Let us know about specific requests. We can add topics to our Webinars based on your input!
Let us know if we can help! It’s No Big Deal.
What Can Finance Expect from the Cloud?
Reprinted with permission from Sage Intacct
BY CINDY JUTRAS, AUGUST 14, 2019 | Original article link here
This is the second in a three-part series where we address the main hurdles facing finance today and identify some tools and technologies that can help you overcome these hurdles. (You may find the first blog at this link.) Here we look at how operating from the cloud offers more connectivity and innovation, while also providing remote access and a platform for growth and expansion, without sacrificing governance and control. The cloud can put visibility in the palm of your hand. View a dashboard, make decisions and take action right from your mobile device, making you more effective and more efficient.
Eight to ten years ago deployment options were hardly a consideration. Most accounting solutions were still licensed and deployed on your own premises, or perhaps licensed and hosted by a reputable third party. “Cloud” had yet to become part of the business vernacular and Software as a Service (SaaS) was still a relatively new and poorly understood concept. While other complementary solutions, particularly Customer Relationship Management (CRM), were headed in that direction, entrusting your accounting to the cloud required a higher level of trust that had not yet developed.
But now—how times have changed! Today, the majority of businesses have some sort of cloud strategy and the shift to the cloud and SaaS has begun in earnest. If you are currently or soon to be selecting a new solution, it should be a critical factor in your evaluation. You might think decisions about deployment could be deferred until after you have chosen a solution. But this must be considered up front because not all solution providers offer the same choices of deployment options.
Defining Deployment Options
In our last few annual enterprise solution studies (including our most recent in 2019), Mint Jutras asked how the participant’s current solution is deployed. In this study, we use “ERP” as shorthand for the software used to run the business, and that includes accounting and more. We offer the following options to choose from:
- Software as a Service (SaaS): Software is delivered only as a service. It is not delivered on a CD or other media to be loaded on your own (or another party’s) computer.
- Hosted and managed by your ERP vendor: Software is licensed by you, but you pay your solution provider to manage and maintain (host) hardware and software.
- Hosted by an independent 3rd party: Software is licensed by you, but you pay another party to manage and maintain (host) hardware and software.
- Traditional licensed on-premise: You license the software and are responsible for managing and maintaining it on your own premises.
- Hybrid: Parts are licensed and maintained on-premise and parts (e.g. add-on modules) are SaaS.
Web-enabled user interfaces cloud the issue (pun intended). Many non-technical users simply don’t know whether their organizations have licensed a specific version of the product (and perhaps pay maintenance in order to have access to updates) or if they subscribe to software as a service. But for those responsible for the purchase and deployment decisions, it is of paramount importance to understand all the potentially confusing options.
With almost every solution provider hopping on the cloud bandwagon today and many of the largest claiming victory in the race to be the biggest and the best, we fear many business users are also hopping on that wagon without truly understanding the benefits. And without this kind of knowledge, choices are being made without full understanding and some of those benefits are being left on the table.
Many solutions that were once only available as traditional, licensed deployments (on your own computer or a trusted service provider’s) now offer a choice. But some of these “cloud” choices are really hosted solutions, which contributes to the confusion. Other solutions that were born in the cloud may only be offered through SaaS. It is important to understand the difference between cloud and SaaS, as well as the different “flavors” of SaaS (multi-tenant and multi-instance).
Cloud Versus SaaS
Many use the terms “cloud” and “SaaS” interchangeably, but there are some important differences. So, let’s distinguish between the two:
- Cloud refers to access to computing, software, and storage of data over a network (generally the Internet.) You may have purchased a license for the software and installed it on your own computers or those owned and managed by another company, but your access is through the Internet and therefore through the “cloud,” whether private or public.
- SaaS is exactly what is implied by the acronym. Software is delivered only as a service. It is not delivered on a CD or other media to be loaded on your own (or a third party’s) computer. It is generally paid for on a subscription basis and does not reside on your computers at all.
We can conclude: All SaaS is cloud computing, but not all cloud computing is SaaS.
Traditional on-premise or hosted solutions might (or might not) be accessed via the cloud, although this is more likely to be a private cloud. Those delivered as a service (SaaS) might be offered as multi-tenant or single-tenant (also known as multi-instance) or both.
Multi-tenant versus Single-tenant SaaS
With a multi-tenant solution there is only one instance of the software itself. The data belonging to each subscriber to the software as a service is segregated and secured. But everyone runs a common set of code; configuration settings may be used to tailor the look and feel and personalize business processes.
With a single-tenant (or multi-instance) SaaS solution each company is given its own instance of the (hosted) software, but may share common services, such as an integration platform, and security.
With the distinct advantage of only having to maintain a single line of code, solution providers that offer only a multi-tenant SaaS solution are typically able to deliver more innovation than those that offer the same solution with a choice of deployment options (on-premise, single-tenant and/or multi-tenant SaaS).
Solution providers that deliver on-premise solutions are forced to maintain multiple versions of the software. Very often the software is offered on a choice of operating systems and databases, and the vendor must support multiple release levels determined by its customers’ ability to keep pace with upgrades. For every person-day they spend on innovation, they spend another multiple of that day making sure it works across multiple environments. Those offering a multi-tenant SaaS solution exclusively can devote their entire development budget to innovation.
Solution providers offering single-tenant solutions might not have to deal with different operating systems and data bases, but the vendor still doesn’t have the luxury of maintaining a single line of code because not every customer will be upgraded simultaneously. Indeed, some promote this as a “feature” that offers the customer more control over the timing. Some vendors choose to not deliver their SaaS solutions as multi-tenant for one of two reasons: Either their solution is not architected to support this, or because they feel they can deliver a more customized solution through multiple instances. But with a modern architecture and a strong platform, Mint Jutras would question whether invasive customization is even necessary or advisable.
If the customization truly differentiates your business, it may be worth it. If it does not, if its only purpose is to perpetuate the way things have always been done (sometimes for no better reason than because an employee was unwilling to change), then don’t do it. Don’t risk building barriers to further innovation. It’s really as simple as that.
Potential Benefits of SaaS
If you are still undecided about your preferred deployment options, we share with you the possible benefits of moving to a SaaS solution. These benefits can be summarized into the following categories:
- Improved access and transparency
- Cost considerations
- Growth and distributed environments
The access any time, from anywhere nature of a cloud solution provides you a level of access to data that is simply not available through more traditional deployment options. As a finance leader you have a select set of key performance indicators that helps you keep a finger on the pulse of the business. In the past, you relied on laptop and desktop access behind a secure firewall. Today that level of security can be preserved but accessibility can be put in the palm of your hand. Don’t wait to get back to the office or your hotel room. Don’t wait for an email or text message alerting you to a significant change or event. View dashboards from a mobile device and with a truly connected cloud solution, take action immediately.
Cost savings can come from eliminating the ongoing cost of hardware and associated maintenance, along with the sheer cost of obsolescence. They can also come from lower startup costs. We found SaaS implementations typically shaved a full month off the time to reach a first “go live” milestone. Cost savings can also be derived from reducing the cost and effort of upgrades. The SaaS solution provider does the heavy lifting, which also leads to more innovation.
SaaS solution providers can potentially deliver more innovation through more frequent and robust upgrades, particularly those maintaining a single line of code through multi-tenant solutions. But investigate this thoroughly—just because they can doesn’t mean they do.
The access any time, from anywhere nature of a cloud solution is also conducive to supporting distributed users and bringing up remote sites rapidly and easily. Even if you don’t have a highly distributed environment, chances are you have remote workers or workers that are currently on the go and must access applications and data remotely, often from mobile devices. Or you might (just now) be expanding globally. The Internet has leveled the playing field, enabling even tiny companies to establish a global presence.
Historically the best opportunity for expansion was in established economies. The likelihood of that continuing is low. Today completely new markets are opening up in emerging economies. Innovation, advanced technology and the Internet have combined to create new consumer middle classes in countries that were hardly industrialized a short decade ago, creating unprecedented growth opportunity. Not only does this result in increasingly remote and distributed environments, it also adds risk and creates new challenges in maintaining governance and control. These opportunities also bring companies into uncharted territory. To capitalize on this opportunity, growing companies will need to take some chances and be willing to fail but fail (or succeed) fast in order to move on to the next opportunity. They will need to leverage technology in order to manage, maintain control, and reduce risk, and do so at a rapid pace.
When SaaS was far less popular, participants worked hard at analyzing the pros and cons of SaaS. Now with all the media and vendor hype, it appears to simply be a given. Like the tide, the surge towards cloud seems to be unstoppable. And as people and companies accept the inevitable, they stop looking at the decision with a critical and questioning eye.
The depth and breadth of choice between solutions and deployment options have never been greater. Look for these choices to continue to expand. But with more choice comes the requirement for better due diligence and good decisions. Don’t be held back by pre-conceived notions and misperceptions about technology that is rapidly advancing. Not all deployment options are available from all solution providers and not all SaaS solutions are created equal—don’t treat them as a commodity. Make a careful choice that is right for your business.
Our final installment will explore how financial applications built for the cloud can open new doors to help you make better decisions, faster.
Follow LAI on Social Media for current construction and technology news!
Missed our last webinar? No worries, view the hh2 recording: “Document Flow – AP routing and approval in the cloud”
Join us at the TUG Fall Workshop!
Join TUG and LAI Consultants in the Mile High City! Two days filled with hands-on labs and sessions (many taught by LAI Consultant, Pam Schulz)! They will be covering: Sage 300 CRE Basics, Sage 300 CRE Project Management, Sage 300 CRE Advanced, Sage 100 Contractor, Sage Estimating (Sage 300 CRE) and Crystal Reports.
Find all the sessions HERE.
Lunch Box Talks for Sage 100 CON
New and FREE! Get ready for Year End with these live events hosted by LAI Consultants
Cozy up to your computer, break out the PB + J sammy, and learn how the Consultants close the year in Sage 100 Construction. Classes will be held ONLINE, Thursdays at 11 AZ time.
September 19: 1099 Preparation
October 17: Employee W-2 Preparation and Audit
November 21: GL vs. Job Costs Reconciliation
December 19: Year End Close Out Procedures
It’s a good time to buy business equipment and other depreciable property
Submitted by Bryan Eto, CPA BeachFleischman
There’s good news about the Section 179 depreciation deduction for business property. The election has long provided a tax windfall to businesses, enabling them to claim immediate deductions for qualified assets, instead of taking depreciation deductions over time. And it was increased and expanded by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA).
Even better, the Sec. 179 deduction isn’t the only avenue for immediate tax write-offs for qualified assets. Under the 100% bonus depreciation tax break provided by the TCJA, the entire cost of eligible assets placed in service in 2019 can be written off this year.
Sec. 179 basics
The Sec. 179 deduction applies to tangible personal property such as machinery and equipment purchased for use in a trade or business, and, if the taxpayer elects, qualified real property. It’s generally available on a tax year basis and is subject to a dollar limit.
The annual deduction limit is $1.02 million for tax years beginning in 2019, subject to a phaseout rule. Under the rule, the deduction is phased out (reduced) if more than a specified amount of qualifying property is placed in service during the tax year. The amount is $2.55 million for tax years beginning in 2019. (Note: Different rules apply to heavy SUVs.)
There’s also a taxable income limit. If your taxable business income is less than the dollar limit for that year, the amount for which you can make the election is limited to that taxable income. However, any amount you can’t immediately deduct is carried forward and can be deducted in later years (to the extent permitted by the applicable dollar limit, the phaseout rule, and the taxable income limit).
In addition to significantly increasing the Sec. 179 deduction, the TCJA also expanded the definition of qualifying assets to include depreciable tangible personal property used mainly in the furnishing of lodging, such as furniture and appliances.
The TCJA also expanded the definition of qualified real property to include qualified improvement property and some improvements to nonresidential real property, such as roofs; heating, ventilation and air-conditioning equipment; fire protection and alarm systems; and security systems.
Bonus depreciation basics
With bonus depreciation, businesses are allowed to deduct 100% of the cost of certain assets in the first year, rather than capitalize them on their balance sheets and gradually depreciate them. (Before the TCJA, you could deduct only 50% of the cost of qualified new property.)
This break applies to qualifying assets placed in service between September 28, 2017, and December 31, 2022 (by December 31, 2023, for certain assets with longer production periods and for aircraft). After that, the bonus depreciation percentage is reduced by 20% per year, until it’s fully phased out after 2026 (or after 2027 for certain assets described above).
Bonus depreciation is now allowed for both new and used qualifying assets, which include most categories of tangible depreciable assets other than real estate.
Important: When both 100% first-year bonus depreciation and the Sec. 179 deduction are available for the same asset, it’s generally more advantageous to claim 100% bonus depreciation, because there are no limitations on it.
Maximize eligible purchases
These favorable depreciation deductions will deliver tax-saving benefits to many businesses on their 2019 returns. You need to place qualifying assets in service by December 31. Contact us if you have questions, or you want more information about how your business can get the most out of the deductions.
Beach Fleischman 2201 E. Camelback Rd. Phoenix, AZ 85016 | 602.265.7011 | http://beachfleischman.com | twitter: @BeachFleischman
Undo that Bank Rec you didn’t mean to Save
by Pam Schulz, Sage Certified Consultant
Pressing the FINAL save button on the Bank Reconciliation was so “final”; until now.
Sage 100 Contractor 2019 (v22) has added features in the Bank Reconciliation module (menu option 1-5) that will make reprinting and reversing a Bank reconciliation easier.
The SAVE screen has been enhanced to provide a way to name and date the file created upon saving the FINAL Bank Reconciliation for future retrieval.
The options are grayed out for a Trial Save since the pdf creation does not apply.
Upon Pressing the “Save Final” button, the Windows File Explorer navigation button appears, so the pdf copy of the Bank Reconciliation Report can be saved in a file folder of your choosing. (This has not changed.)
After saving a FINAL Bank reconciliation, the Bank Reconciliation file is stored, and can be reversed.
Note the new option at the top of the Bank Reconciliation screen:
Press “Previous Reconciliations”, then select “Saved Reconciliations” from the list. A window listing the Saved Bank Reconciliations opens. Select the Bank Reconciliation to open and press OK:
The Bank Reconciliation opened and can be printed and reviewed.
The Bank Reconciliation can be “reopened” as if the FINAL save had not occurred by pressing the “undo Final” button. When this is done, the Bank reconciliation is reverted back to its Trial state. Changes can be made and re-saved.
Of course, if subsequent Bank Reconciliations have been finalized after the one being opened, they would need to be “undone” first.
This new feature is an obvious timesaver if corrections need to be made, or if the proper reports were not printed when making the FINAL save.
Need help from a certified Sage 100 Contractor Consultant? Just click, and we’ll contact you in a jiff! It’s ‘No Big Deal, right?
Top secret security reports
by Kyle Zeigler, Sage Senior Certified Consultant
The security reports in Sage 300 CRE aren’t really top secret; they just aren’t included in any report menu. Why this is the case is anybody’s guess, but it’s likely because they are intended more for Sage security administrators than for the average user. In any case, they are hidden gems that can provide valuable information when the need arises.
Sage 300 CRE Security Administration can be a bit daunting when setting up users and creating security roles. There is a myriad of Sage setup selections, tasks, reports, inquiries and tools for each application, plus additional settings for Desktop, ODBC, and other features. Users should have the access needed to get their work done, but at the same time, be appropriately restricted from confidential data and administrative tools. Organizations that have used Sage 300 CRE for many years often find that their security needs have changed over time, but that security roles in the software have not been updated. Moreover, Security Administration options have expanded with the addition of new features, particularly with the latest versions of Sage 300 CRE. If roles have not been adapted to incorporate these changes, users may not even know about the new features because security access is not automatically included.
While the security reports are not included in a report menu by default, they can be added in any application using that application’s Report Manager. Adding the reports to either the General Ledger or Cash Management reports menu is generally preferred, as users with access to these modules typically already have access to more confidential information. It is recommended that the reports be added to a submenu labeled something like “Security.” Instructions for adding reports to your Sage 300 CRE report menus can be found in Knowledgebase Article 17087, “How do I add a report in Reports Manager?”
Use this to locate them
The security reports can be found on your Sage host server in the following Location: \\[servername]\Timberline Office\9.5\Accounting\Report. The reports included are:
- Security Administrative Users by Group.rpt
- Security Companies by User.rpt
- Security Companies.rpt
- Security Groups by Task.rpt
- Security Groups by User.rpt
- Security Tasks by Group.rpt
- Security User Details.rpt
- Security Users by Company.rpt
- Security Users by Group.rpt
It should be noted that these are Crystal reports, so this option should be selected for each report when adding the reports in Report Manager.
If you would like assistance locating the reports, adding them to a report menu, or reviewing and revising your security setup, please contact Ledgerwood Associates.
Need help from a certified Sage 300 CRE Consultant? Just click, and we’ll contact you in a jiff! It’s no big deal, right?
Totals Page (SQL): Dock the Totals Page
Reprinted with permission from TUG — Power to the User
Quickie, but goodie!
You can dock the Totals page by using the Docking button. The page can be docked at the top, bottom, or either side. Click the Hide Tool Bar button for more space in the window. Use Undock to have the Totals page float in lieu of being docked.
Find more of TUG’s Tips and Tricks HERE.