Archive for the ‘Sage Timberline Office’ Category
There’s currently a paradigm shift in confidence regarding the state of the construction industry, in my humble opinion. With the subtle rise in construction starts, there seems to be reticent optimism in the air. Do you believe we will experience another meteoric rise in residential and commercial building, or did the recession ‘school’ us to tread with extreme caution? Perhaps something in between: fits and starts based on regional markets, littered with economic (and political) road bumps? It almost feels like we need to hedge our business forecasts!
And how should we owners and employees navigate this bumpy road? Having buckled down beyond our bootstraps, how will we fill gaps in resources and infrastructure to cope with the next microburst of building starts?
Of the few big builders that survived the last five years, flexibility was a key factor, according to Builder Magazine1. Citing a “less is more,” policy (so tired of THAT one!), sustainable and energy-efficiency building features, modular solutions, etc., – I found the common denominator for all of these surviving businesses was a solution wrapped around technology.
So, what role will technology play in the future of construction? Sage says “100% of construction companies have employees in the field” and Nielsen2 reports that 46% percent of Americans own a smartphone (with 62% in the 25-34 age bracket) – how can companies manage devices to their advantage? Will software efficiencies replace headcount? How stable and secure is the cloud?
The answer to these and other emerging issues will be the center of Technology Day at Ledgerwood Associates. We’ve gathered vendors, customers, and Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to bandy this about for a full day. Based upon your role in technology (accounting, PM, owner, estimator) and the type of construction you perform (residential, trades, real estate management) – we are offering a FREE day of discovery and revelations!
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), bring your questions, bring your mama (not really, she’s busy) – but SHOW UP on April 4th for a great networking/brain-dump session at the Doubletree resort in beautiful Scottsdale. We invited the Sage Construction Anywhere experts; we have a device-agnostic broker, and a special keynote speaker who will lead a discussion on the risks and benefits of cloud hosting!
Joanie Hollabaugh, Sr. Director of Marketing
Welcome to the Ledgerwood Associates, Inc. Blog!
Here you can find information related to Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate (formerly known as Sage Timberline Office), Sage 100 Contractor; Sage Construction Anywhere, Hard Dollar Project Cost Management, IPM Global Project Management Software, and other construction management solutions; updates, complementary products, tips, success stories, as well as training and event announcements.
Ledgerwood Associates, Inc, (LAI) is the #1 Sage Construction and Real Estate Business Partner in 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. Over 30,000 customers worldwide use the Sage CRE products we represent.
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
Adapted from “Cloud Computing and the Construction Industry” by Sage Construction and Real Estate Solutions
The construction industry balances back office functions—billing, paying invoices, running financial reports, payroll, planning logistics—with the physical presence needed on the job site or in a client’s office. Today’s technological solutions must be able to serve users in both work settings.
As a result, making mission critical business applications available remotely is a hot topic these days. Remote access allows staff to work from any location without being tied to a specific physical location.
With the amount of consolidation, decentralization of offices, travel-based positions, and project work being done in different regions of the country or even internationally, being able to offer solid remote access technology to employees is critical for a construction company’s success. For many companies, solving this challenge means moving some of its applications to the cloud.
Collaboration between contractors, owners/clients
As a recent Constructech IT survey notes, “today’s construction professional also needs to be highly collaborative. The word ‘team’ has taken on a whole new meaning in the construction industry. Every team needs to obtain a high level of transparency and accountability for the property owner. Overall, construction companies will be more collaborative, using technology to connect all project team members- from subs to general contractors to owners- in one central location.”
Yet, it is highly unlikely that each of the project team members utilizes the same back office business management applications. So, as general contractors, subcontractors and owners individually look to the web to leverage its capabilities, it will be critical to look at ways that technology can ensure the secure and timely exchange of project information between them.
As noted in the survey, contractors will then take project information “out to the jobsite with mobile devices as well as applying a host of applications on these mobile devices.” As the survey reports, construction companies are reporting from the field as well as “carrying out project management, scheduling, punchlists, and time tracking tasks in the field today.”
This is evidenced by the growing momentum in the use of mobile technologies in the construction industry. Given the advances in and adoption of tablets such as Apple’s iPad, strong growth is anticipated in the use of these devices.
Given the fast moving area of mobility, today’s business management solutions need to support the highly mobile workforce of the construction industry today and into the future.
Does that mean that your construction company needs to scrap everything it’s using today for new cloud-based applications? In today’s economy, many companies are looking more towards extending the applications that they are using today into the cloud where it makes the most sense.
For a number of years Sage has provided field reporting, time tracking, and other web-based or mobile services through extensions to its Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate (formerly Sage Timberline Office) and Sage 100 Contractor (formerly Sage Master Builder) products.
With the release of Sage Construction Anywhere in 2012, Sage has further extended its cloud-based offering with web-based tools to help construction companies better manage their projects, communicate between team members and vendors, and deliver information whenever and wherever it’s needed—in the office, on the jobsite, at a client’s office.
With web-based tools for time capture, project management and service management, Sage Construction Anywhere delivers a comprehensive cloud –based solution to address the evolving construction management needs of customers. This new cloud-based offering is available now to the more than 20,000 construction and real estate companies who are using Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate today.
In the near future these tools will be available to Sage 100 Contractor users as well as those utilizing a non-Sage back-office business application but needing the operations management tools that construction companies need to meet today’s industry demands.
Sage 300 CRE/Timberline Office users love the software, but often grumble about the stacks of paper that print out after clicking the “Finish” button at the end of common tasks. These entry and posting journals document the changes that were made in the current module and each interfacing application. Even the simple entry of a few invoices can result in several pages that chronicle the effects on Accounts Payable, Job Cost, General Ledger, Billing, etc.
Some users review the journals and then store or shred them, while others print them to an online “junk” file, never to give them a second thought. With Sage Timberline Office version 9.8 you can maintain easy access to your journals and never print them again!
Store journals in a way that fits the needs of your company with the Automatically Print Journal to File feature in Sage Timberline Office version 9.8. The setup is relatively simple and you can specify folders and assign the naming conventions you prefer. Do you want separate journal folders for each task within each application? How about for each user, or just each date? Would you like the files named by user, or by the task and date? It’s entirely up to you!
To access the feature to Automatically Print Journal to File:
- Go to the “Tools” menu of any Sage Timberline Office application.
- Select “Options”.
- Then click on the “Journals” tab.
- Click on the Help menu to get step-by-step instructions.
An additional tip: If you want to eliminate the possibility of overwriting journal files, add the date and time to the journal file name. Example:
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.
Construction controllers and CFOs might be curious about the technology behind Sage Construction Anywhere, (SCA) the new cloud offering from Sage Construction and Real Estate. In this article I look at the platform on which SCA is built, Microsoft Windows Azure.
On the Sage Construction Anywhere website I found this description:
“Sage Construction Anywhere is an easy-to-use, cloud-based service that gives you instant access to real-time project information anytime, anywhere from web-enabled tablets, smart phones and other mobile devices.”
On the same site Sage also says a little about the technological foundation of the product:
“Sage Construction Anywhere is built upon Microsoft’s industry-leading cloud services platform, Microsoft® Windows Azure™. As the industry standard application hosting platform, it ensures the highest available levels of data integrity and confidentiality.”
I was curious about Windows Azure, so I did a little research. I found that there are three major players offering cloud services platforms. The platforms are Amazon AWS, Google App Engine and Microsoft Windows Azure. Microsoft’s Azure seems to be an excellent match for Sage Construction Anywhere.
Microsoft says, “Windows Azure is an open and flexible cloud platform that enables you to quickly build, deploy and manage applications across a global network of Microsoft-managed datacenters… And you can integrate your public cloud applications with your existing IT environment. Azure’s messaging capabilities enable hybrid solutions that run across a cloud and on-premises enterprise environment.”
Sage takes advantage of those capabilities to integrate Sage Construction Anywhere with your existing IT environment and your Sage Timberline Office application and data. That means that SCA gives you cloud-based operational functionality without scrapping your existing back-office systems, a big plus for Sage CRE customers.
Azure is scalable, which means that as demand for Sage Construction Anywhere services changes, the computing resources needed to support the application can be easily adjusted accordingly. That means you get rapid response times regardless of the time of day or year. Windows Azure promises 99.95% uptime.
Azure has less complexity to manage than Amazon AWS or Google App Engine, which gives Sage more time to work on newer versions of Sage Construction Anywhere software instead of managing cloud infrastructure. You get more features sooner.
Azure integrates more tightly with Microsoft technologies than the other platforms, making it a good fit for a Windows based product like Sage Timberline. It all works together.
The technology blogs I searched agree that Azure is a more managed environment. Amazon AWS is more open and complex. They confirm that Azure includes a secure bridge to on-premise applications and is better suited for integration with MS technologies. The price is similar. From what I can see, Sage CRE chose the right cloud services platform.
Sage Construction Anywhere (SCA), the cloud offering from Sage Construction and Real Estate has been a long time coming, but it’s definitely worth the wait, and will continue to get better as new versions are rolled out.
SCA was launched in May, 2012 and information from Sage about the product continues to arrive. Recently I participated in a webcast where Sage marketing executives related their plans for the product and gave Business Partners the green light to share them with customers.
The first release of SCA contains three components, a “connector” installed at the home office which links to your Sage construction accounting applications, Windows project portals running on Microsoft’s Azure platform, and access anywhere from a secure remote device. The portal is designed to run on a variety of devices including home PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones. It contains a flexible way to request and access reports from your back office system, project maps and all of the necessary security and housekeeping functions. The connector installs quickly on your server.
A compelling example in the area of risk management was given to illustrate the value of having this kind of access from the jobsite. A superintendent could easily check the insurance of an arriving subcontractor before allowing them to begin work.
The first release of SCA currently is available only for Sage Timberline Office/Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate. SCA will eventually link to all Sage construction applications and will provide access for project participants like owners and architects even if they don’t have Sage construction software.
Functionality to be added in the near future (some of it this year) is going to target the needs of specific roles in the organization. First up is the superintendent, with some functions applying also to the project manager. Here are the planned features:
- Project Document Access and Management (including file syncing)
- Remote Time Capture (job centric and employee centric)
- Jobsite Time Approval
- Daily Reports
- RFI Management
Some companies currently using VPN’s to access data from the jobsite will find that SCA gives them the same access with greater flexibility and control.
Service Technician Tools
The first release of SCA is a good start. More exciting is the fact that Sage is devoting some serious resources to SCA and knows where it’s going. Further down the road you are going to see Service Technician Tools which will include customer site access to service requests, status, and service history, with more functionality sure to come.
Facilitating an Increasingly Mobile Industry
Today’s decision making can’t be confined to a desk since managers and their teams are at job sites, with clients, and on the road. In order to keep projects on track and make sure everyone is in the loop, Sage Construction Anywhere places critical project data at management’s fingertips wherever they go. Sage envisions greater collaboration, faster communication and improved jobsite decision making, speeding up projects and changing the way construction companies operate.
Sage Construction Anywhere is an easy-to-use, cloud-based service that gives you instant access to real-time project information anytime, anywhere from web-enabled tablets, smart phones and other mobile devices. For more information on available cloud technology, mobile applications, and TimberCloud Hosting contact Ledgerwood Associates.
“Bottom line – Ledgerwood Associates and Sage Timberline Office gave us power we didn’t have before and put us on a par with larger companies.” David Waltham, President, Coyote Development
Strategic alliances and technology improvements can help smaller construction companies compete more effectively. Read how this company used collaboration and new software to get more work.
Marketing Strategy Requires Collaboration
Coyote Development’s marketing strategy was to develop a strong relationship with larger companies who would recommend them on their big projects. This strategy required that they share information and reports with their larger partners. Their QuickBooks software was not up to the task. Coyote wanted a more reliable and construction oriented system with job cost reporting that would let them get the numbers quickly to the lead contractor’s office.
Sage Timberline Office
In September, 2010 Coyote Development worked with Ledgerwood Associates to install Sage Timberline
Office including job cost accounting, estimating and the core accounting modules. Ledgerwood Associates was involved with every aspect of the set up and conversion, including Coyote’s jobs listing (100 jobs), account structure, and beginning balances. The owner and lead estimator were trained on using cost
databases and how to transfer their estimates into job costing.
New Capabilities Win New Business
Coyote has landed several big projects since Ledgerwood Associates got them going on Timberline Office and Estimating. It’s much easier for them to demonstrate their capabilities to larger companies.
David Waltham, President of Coyote Development summarized the effect on their business, “Bottom line – Ledgerwood Associates and Sage Timberline Office gave us power we didn’t have before and put us on a par with larger companies.”
Coyote Development*, a project oriented Arizona general contractor, builds a variety of government and
commercial projects in Arizona, Nevada and the Southwest. Focusing on technology improvement and streamlining the bid process has helped Coyote put together a string of successful projects resulting in consistent growth in a difficult economy.
*The company name has been changed here for competitive reasons.
What other ways of collaborating have brought you more business?
Ledgerwood Associates Achieves President’s Circle Business Partner Status
Scottsdale, AZ – January 9, 2012 – Ledgerwood Associates, Inc., a Sage North America business partner specializing in the sales, installation, and support of Sage Timberline and Sage Master Builder, has been named to the Sage America President’s Circle for the 2011 business year. President’s Circle award winners are the top performing business partners for Sage products. Sage recognizes Ledgerwood Associates and all President’s Circle winners for their outstanding contributions in 2011.
The Sage North America President’s Circle is awarded to the leading performers among Sage business partners representing a host of segment-leading brands, including Sage ERP Accpac, Sage ERP X3, Sage Timberline, Sage ERP MAS 90 and 200, Sage SalesLogix, Sage Fund Accounting, Sage Abra HRMS (human resource management system), Sage FAS Fixed Assets and others.
“We honor Ledgerwood Associates for their hard work and their focus on our mutual customers, which has earned them the Sage North America President’s Circle Award,” said Tom Miller, VP of Channel Management for Sage. “Congratulations to the entire team Ledgerwood Associates for this accomplishment, and we wish them continued success in the coming years.”
President’s Circle award recipients for 2011 will receive further recognition from Sage at an exclusive executive retreat to be held in Nashville, Tennessee in August, in conjunction with the 2012 Sage Summit conference, where they will be celebrated among thousands of their peers and Sage customers attending the event.
“We are pleased to represent Sage to the construction industry here in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and the West,” said Ed Ledgerwood, President, Ledgerwood Associates. “We’d like to thank our customers who made this achievement possible.”
About Ledgerwood Associates, Inc.
Ledgerwood Associates, Inc. (LAI) provides construction cost management services to over 1,000 construction and real estate industry customers throughout the western United States. LAI’s experienced professionals apply best practices in finance, workflow management and software to improve business performance. LAI is one of the largest Value Added Resellers of Sage Construction and Real Estate software products and services. www.ledgerwoodassociatesusa.com