Archive for the ‘Sage Timberline Help’ Category
Are you aware of all of your software’s capabilities? The underutilization of information systems is a growing problem that seriously hits businesses hard.
One of the frequent comments heard from our Professional Service team’s visits to a client, is that the client is not using the system to its fullest capability. For example, one client has had Sage 300 CRE implemented for over a year, and he reported that his company has NEVER USED the Inventory or Purchasing modules!! This is far from uncommon; it is most prevalent with the clients which are smaller businesses.
“I don’t have the time or resources to learn more about my software.”
The challenge with a smaller business is the lack of resources or experience with a specific software and its corresponding enhancement modules. The preference of do-it-yourself methodology that prevails in smaller companies only enhances these challenges. Engaging an expert can be seen as time consuming, confusing, or costly; and as a small business owner, it is sometimes just difficult to admit to the obstacle of not knowing something.
What are the causes of software under utilization?
Why do features of a software get overlooked and underutilized? Good money was spent to pay for all of the capabilities, so why would someone not take full advantage of the system? Here are a few reasons that seem to surface in our research:
- The client is actually unaware that the feature even exists
- The benefit is not always immediately recognized by the user
- After main installation, the time to integrate additional modules was not taken
- Training time was not utilized
- Too much training all at once, and thus information overload has deterred full usage
- People are reluctant to change old habits or learn new (even if they are better) processes
You can have the best software in the world — but if you don’t fully understand its capabilities, you are not going to get the best value for the money spent.
If we look at the above reasons, we find the main cause of software underutilization is a classic case of ‘what you put in, is what you get out.’ Spending the time and effort to link between apps and modules, taking the time to train and learn about the features and capabilities over time, going back and re-training on previous knowledge, learning about updates and new regulations, and breaking old habits can all lead to better software utilization.
Attending initial training session(s) doesn’t guarantee fully taking advantage of ALL of the features! There can be a lot of information in any one training session and people can get overwhelmed. While initial training may be excellent, follow-up sessions that review advanced features are even more critical.
This why Ledgerwood Associates provides a plethora of training sessions every month. Most of the training has moved online, so you can spend less time out of your office and more time being productive. Some of the training does have a fee associated with it, and these are usually information packed sessions that greatly impact the efficiency of your business. However, many of the LAI training events are free of charge and are great, tightly focused sessions that will help you to better utilize all of the features you have in your robust software system.
There are several online “Live Wire” training session coming up in the near future. Look at the events you need to attend on our Training Calendar!
You’re a busy person, right? And now you’ve decided to upgrade to Sage 300 CRE (Timberline) before Year End – you must be overwhelmed!
Obviously, you need resources. No problem, Ledgerwood Associates grabbed all of the Sage 13.1 Release Documents for you, in one neat bundle.
The four documents include:
- Release Notes
- Important! document
- User’s Guide
- Installation checklist
Caveat: we need to make sure you’re our customer, as a best practice policy (we want to respect the other Sage Business Partners’ territories). Select the state you currently reside in, and enter the phone number on file with Ledgerwood Associates (usually the main # for your company).
And if you’re still on the fence about one of the most powerful releases in Sage 300 CRE, here are some of the reasons to hop on over to the grassy side:
- Electronic payments in Accounts Payable
- Enhanced inquiry reporting
- Exporting to Excel
- Subcontractor Compliance Management
- Lien waiver records moved from AP to JC
- Custom lien waivers no longer work
- Support for Windows 8 and Server 2012
- User interface improvements in AR, GL, JC
Recently at a CFMA meeting, I spoke with an accountant who was on a REALLY old version of Timberline. Commenting that Sage has made great enhancements in the last few versions, and that some upgrades may be required to support filing year end (with Aatrix), I incredulously asked her why. She simply stated, “It’s not broke.”
Of course, Sage would like clients to upgrade to the latest technology. But sometimes, clients are not quite ready to make a commitment and count on Ledgerwood to steer them in the right direction.
Ledgerwood consultants have a LOT of input and advice on upgrades. Let’s face it; they’re the ones out there dealing with bugs and fixes, under the pressure of performing to a client’s budget and business requirements (makes marketing look pretty stress-free!).
Learn About Upgrading Sage 300 CRE
Construction & Real Estate Software
In the Ledgerwood Associates September newsletter, Certified Sage Consultant, Kyle Zeigler addresses whether (and when) you should upgrade. (It will be in the “Sage 300 Tips” section of the LAI Newsletter. If you’re not signed up for the Newsletter, you can here.)
However, I will give you a little excerpt from Kyle on how to experience “Smooth Sailing” when you decide the time is right to take the plunge:
Several months ago, we presented you with the things you should consider when preparing to upgrade your Sage 300 CRE software. This month we’d like to discuss whether you should upgrade your Sage 300 CRE software.
Most of you probably know that Sage supports the newest version of the software along with the two prior versions. The newest release as of this writing is version 13.1, and the two prior versions are 12.1 and 9.8. We know that some customers prefer not to upgrade immediately to the newest version, and instead choose to upgrade to the next version in sequence. This strategy is fine if you’re upgrading from version 9.7 to 9.8, but it’s not going to work for you if you plan to upgrade from 9.8 to 12.1. Version 12.1 contains some significant changes to the data structure which were further enhanced in version 13.1, and Sage recommends that customers bypass 12.1 and upgrade directly to 13.1.
“Smooth Sailing for Upgrading Sage 300 CRE” will also be the topic for the upcoming Ledgerwood Skill Savor luncheons. Not only do you get a free, hot lunch but you get to pick our consultant’s brains on specific situations or lob questions to peers on their experiences.
The Skill Savor events are on September 25th in Scottsdale, and October 9th in Denver. There is no cost to you, but we ask you honor your RSVP as space is limited (also if you need to cancel, let us know so that we can alert the caterer). Register here. Hope to see you there!
Ah, the annual software upgrade! Sage typically releases the latest version of Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate (Timberline) at the end of the year, right when the accounting personnel of many companies are gearing up for closing the year, preparing tax filings, and surviving audits. It’s no wonder so many of our clients wait until late spring or even summer to begin thinking about installing the upgrade. This year’s release, version 12.1, is packed with lots of exciting new features, and a few tricky changes to the structure of the software as well. As with all software upgrades, making sure you’re adequately prepared before you begin the upgrade will save you lots of headaches, and potentially lots of time and unnecessary expense, if things don’t go well.
Here are some tips to prepare for an upgrade:
Read, read, read! Each new release comes with a .pdf file of Release Notes. These notes not only explain what changes you’ll see in the use of the software, but also provide essential notes on installation and a link to the latest update of the User’s Guide for step-by-step instructions.
Verify your system requirements. It’s a sad thing when customers spend hours attempting to upgrade their software, only to discover that the newer version wouldn’t run efficiently on their old system or wouldn’t run at all on their new system. Be aware: Sage 300 CRE is not yet supported on Microsoft Server 2012 or Windows 8 on workstations.
Make a plan. After thoroughly reading the Release Notes and the latest User’s Guide, create a checklist of the steps to be taken and the critical aspects of the upgrade process. For instance, if you use Estimating, at what point will you uninstall and reinstall the Estimating program? Do you use other Sage 300 applications that require special treatment during the upgrade, such as with Purchasing and Inventory?
The best tip of all! For the smoothest, most worry-free upgrade, contact Ledgerwood Associates, your Sage 300 CRE business partner, and schedule a consultant at least a week in advance to handle the upgrade for you. Then if an unexpected issue arises during the upgrade, you’ll have the best preparation tactic already in place!
-Guest post by Kyle Zeigler, LAI Certified Consultant
Welcome to the Ledgerwood Associates, Inc. Blog!
Find information here related to Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate (formerly known as Sage Timberline Office), Sage 100 Contractor (formerly known as MasterBuilder), Sage Construction Anywhere, Hard Dollar Project Cost Management, IPM Global Project Management Software, as well as updates, complementary products, tips, success stories, training and event announcements.
Ledgerwood Associates, Inc., (LAI) is a Sage Select Business Partner for the West with more than 1,900 clients in the Southwest and Rocky Mountain regions including Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, and Colorado.
Please feel free to post a question, comment or item of interest, or send us an email.
Q1 ‘Sage Break’ 300 CRE Users Group Meeting on January 10, 2013
Want to join us for April’s breakfast meeting? Click here for details!
The session theme was on Year End issues, and CPA and Sage Certified Consultant, Michelle Jardine, was there to moderate and advise the group. She started with whiteboarding issues and solutions. A couple of the issues raised appear below. But the question is – what would YOU suggest or share with the group?
Q: How do I access prior years’ (2 years back or more) financial statements and transactions after closing the current year? Or, in other words, I’m losing access to the previous prior year’s detail because I closed the year. How can I still access it after the close?
A: The solution, most users agreed, is properly archiving your data.
More suggestions made by the group:
- Use Timberline Tools to copy prior year’s data to a new archive folder
- Always roll back exactly 12 months when you are in the archive folder
- Go to Company Settings>General
- Use a naming convention that identifies the company folder by year and sorts it to the end like: ZZ(company name)Archive2009
Q: I’m closing late so I can’t generate financial statements because I’m waiting for adjusting journal entries (AJE).
A: The solution suggested is to close the year on time, enter the adjusting journal entries (AJE) as needed and reclose.
Lots of great whiteboarding tips!
And some users got down on their knees to explain archiving! Here’s Steve Mason in action.
The Sage 300 CRE Users Group meets quarterly in the Ledgerwood Associates Training Room.
Enhance your value to the company! Sign up for the next Sage 300 Users Group Meeting.
Still have questions about year end? Participate in the ongoing discussion! Join the LinkedIn Group: Sage 300 CRE Users Group – Ledgerwood Clients
Overlooked or delayed payables entries can mean incomplete or inaccurate job cost and general ledger information. The Recurring Invoices option in AP is a great way to manage these types of payables saving you time and money.
Most companies have at least some payments that are made to the same vendor for the same amount on some kind of scheduled basis. These are your monthly rent, loan and lease payments, quarterly and annual contract fees, and similar kinds of payables. You may not even receive an invoice for some of them and instead rely on lists and reminders to make sure they are paid.
Use Recurring Invoices to enter the payables once with the details, distributions and recurrence patterns, and then easily generate invoices for these payables. Add them to your open payables database according to their payment schedules and improve timeliness in posting distribution information to job cost and general ledger.
With Recurring Invoices you can:
- Create recurring payables for amortized or fixed amounts
- Specify joint payees at the invoice level or at the distribution level
- Assign payables to customized groups to easily report on them
- Set specific weekly, monthly and annual recurrence frequencies
- Create on-demand payables that don’t fit a fixed schedule
- Set limits on the number of invoices, total dollars, or date range
- Easily edit recurring invoices if amounts or other variables change.
Not sure how?
In AP, select Recurring Invoices from the Setup menu.
On the Setup Recurring Invoices screen, click the Help button.
Detailed information on setting up recurring invoices is available for you to view or print.
Submitted by Ledgerwood Associates Consultant, Kyle Zeigler.
Even with all of the power of Sage Timberline Office (now Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate) reporting, sometimes you just need to have the data in an Excel worksheet. Depending on your role within your company, you may need to periodically send information to benefits providers, auditors, banks, finance companies, government agencies, or even potential clients. Many times the recipient wants the information in Excel and often in a particular format.
Knowing this simple trick can save time when you need to compile that employee census or payroll information, those job lists with contract, estimate and job cost totals, lists of open receivables or payables invoices, equipment lists, and so on.
You begin by choosing the Sage 300/Timberline report that contains the information you need. The best reports to use are those that present the data in a columnar format. Instead of printing the report to paper, print the report as a .txt file to a location where you can easily retrieve it (such as your desktop).
“Print” Timberline Reports to Excel:
- In the Print Selection window, click on “Printer Setup”
- Check the box “Print to file”
- Click “Ok” and then click “Start”
- In the “Save in” window, navigate to the location where you want to save the .txt file
- Enter a name for your file in the “File name” window
- In the “Save as type” window, select “Plain text (*.txt)” from the dropdown
- Click “Save”
- Open a new Excel worksheet and then “Open” the text file from the “File” menu. The Text Import Wizard will appear.
- Follow the instructions on each of the three Wizard screens and click “Finish.”
When defining columns on the second screen, you’ll want to ignore page headings and create column breaks according to the size of the data in the report columns. If your report contains numeric totals, it helps to scroll all the way to the bottom of the report and use the totals to create column breaks.
To finish your new worksheet, you will want to clean up the report headers, remove page breaks, and possibly rearrange or reformat columns.
Don’t forget to save your Excel workbook and happy reporting!
Submitted by Ledgerwood Associates Consultant, Kyle Zeigler. For information on this and other topics contact Ledgerwood Associates.
Using the Desktop Reconciliation Tool for Cash Management
By Donna King, Sage Timberline Office Senior Certified Consultant
The Reconciliation Tool is an additional tool available from your Sage Desktop. This tool can help you reconcile your sub-ledgers to themselves, and then to the General Ledger. The Reconciliation Tool steps you through posting, running verification reports, and directs you as needed to Knowledgebase articles.
Where is the Reconciliation Tool?
Start – Programs- Sage Software – Sage Desktop
• In the Desktop from the View menu verify that Tasks is selected.
• In the Tasks pane, select Sage Timberline Office – Additional Tools
• Double-click Reconciliation to open the Reconciliation Tool.
How do you balance Cash Management to General Ledger after Reconciliation of your Bank Account?
• Print your Bank Reconciliation report after completing the reconcile task.
o Cash Management – Reports – Reports – Bank Reconciliation
Verify that the Adjusted Bank Balance and the Register Balance as of the Statement Date totals at the bottom of the report are the same.
• In the General Ledger from the Reports menu, select Year-to-date Ledger.
o General Ledger – Reports – Year-to-date Ledger
• Select the modify date range check box.
• Type the first day of the month you are reconciling in the Start date box, and type the Statement Date you used on your bank reconciliation in the End Date Box.
• Click Ranges
• Select the cash account you are reconciling.
• Click Print Preview.
• Verify the ending balance agrees with the Adjusted Bank Balance from your Cash Management Bank Reconciliation above.
How are the Cash Management bank account balances derived?
It might be helpful to understand where the balances are stored in Cash Management.
Cash Management – Setup – Bank Accounts
• Register balance on the General Tab. The register balance is the total of all transactions entered into CM.
• Bank Balance on the General Tab. Reflects the balance based on all cleared and reconciled entries.
• Last reconciled balance on General Tab. This displays the last balance from completed bank reconciliation.
• Posted CM Balance – Posted CM balance on the Totals Tab. The Posted CM balance reflects the balance based on all posted transactions. The Posted CM Balance should always equal the sum of the Cash Account totals.
• Cash Account Totals – Totals by GL Cash Account Tab. The cash account totals are the amounts posted to the cash accounts in GL. The sum of the cash account totals should match the posted CM balance. If everything is posted in the GL the cash account totals should match the balance of the corresponding cash accounts in GL.
Common Out of Balance Scenario
Change in Voided Accounting Date in Accounts Payable will affect the Cash Management reconcilation to General Ledger. When you void checks in Accounts Payable, you can use the original date or specify a date for the reversing entries. Cash Management always uses the original check date. This can cause reconcilation issues when you compare Cash Management with the General Ledger.
You can record entries in Cash Management Edit Register task to correct the out of balance voided check amounts.
• Go to CM – Tasks – Edit Register
• Select the appropriate Bank Account
• Type a description for the transaction and in the subtraction column type the original amount of your voided check.
• Verify the Date and Accounting Date is the same as your original check date. Select your cash account as both the GL debit and GL credit, this creates a washing entry to the GL that does not change your account balances
Now you need to create an additon adjustment to effectively place the void in the correct period.
• Go to Tasks – Edit Register
• Type the void date you used for your voided check in AP.
• Use the Adjustment for your Type in the column.
• In the addition column type the amount of voided check, verify the date and accounting date are the same.
• Select the cash account as both the GL debit and the GL Credit. Again this creates a washing entry to the General Ledger and does not change your account balances.
• Make sure you Post in CM and GL, go through the reconcilation process to verify the GL to CM is balanced.
For more information on this topic contact Ledgerwood Associates, the #1 Sage Timberline Business Partner in the Southwest!
“What could go wrong?” I ask. Three hours, two do-overs, and a desperate appeal to the software gods later I get the answer. I didn’t carefully read all of the instructions and supporting material and guessed wrong when I wasn’t sure.
I’m the kind of person who frequently gets into trouble when following instructions. Assembling household items rarely goes right for me the first time. Often it’s because I fail to clarify a vague or confusing instruction. Other times I simply assume that I know what I’m doing and find out later that I don’t.
Even though I’m not an expert on Sage Timberline Office, I’d like to help you avoid unnecessary pain and suffering. Judging by the complexity of the “9.8.0 Update 2” instructions, here’s what I would probably do wrong:
Make an incorrect assumption - I assume that Update 1 is a prerequisite to Update 2. Later I read the “Release Notes for 9.8 Updates” and find out that I could have skipped Update 1. That’s a few hours of my life that I will never get back.
Do it the hard way - After spending 7 hours updating the 14 workstations in the office, I go back and read the “Notes” near the top of the page and find: “you can use Sage Installation Manager to streamline the installation of updates on your Accounting server and workstations.” Arrrgh!
Misinterpret the big warning - Instruction 4 clearly states “Double-click 980AccUpdate2.exe only once.” In spite of the warning, I start the update application twice, either because the server is set to use single-click, or by realizing too late that the note to instruction 6 is a repeat of the instruction 4 warning.
Not allow enough time - Things would go wrong then I wouldn’t get the software back up before it’s needed by others.
No one likes to experience problems with an update. Here are three things you can do to avoid making mistakes like the above:
- Read all of the instructions and notes before you begin. Just like in the sixth grade exercise where the last instruction tells you to do only the first of several complex instructions, reading everything is probably the best way to avoid pain and embarrassment.
- Ask for clarification of vague instructions (even if you are male).
- Don’t blindly follow someone else. Ask why a colleague or support person’s directions differ from the written instructions and be sure you are doing it correctly before proceeding.
Good luck with the Update.
What do you do to avoid these kinds of problems with an update?