November 2020 Newsletter
What’s ‘sparking’ this month in the news? Click on topics to jump to the article.
- CONSTRUCTION NEWS: If you could pick a superintendent’s brain for the best advice, what would he say?
- CLOUD ERP NEWS: Why did they build Sage Intacct Construction? Think native cloud and standard WBS
- YEAR END SAVINGS — Save up to 15% on new user licenses or modules%
- YEAR END ONLINE CLASSES: Sign up now – they fill up fast!
- UPCOMING WEBINARS: Year-end Classes | Sage CRE Accounting + Arcoro HR | Procore + Sage 100 Contractor
- TIPS + TRICKS: For Accounting, Sage 100 Contractor, Sage 300 CRE, and Estimating
The Best Advice Ever Given by a Superintendent
BY DUANE CRAIG | Reprinted with permission of Procore Jobsite | Original article here.
If you are new to supervising construction, and you really want to get an idea of what’s required to excel at construction management, you should talk to a superintendent. They occupy a unique place in the construction hierarchy because they are the ones who blend project management with project execution. If there is one person who has their fingers on the pulse of the jobsite, it’s the superintendent. If you were to pick a superintendent’s brain for some valuable advice, it might look something like this:
Nurture Your Passion for Building
At both the beginning and end of your busy day, having a passion for building will provide a wellspring of energy and enthusiasm. Sure, the money might motivate you for a while. And, there’s always a certain amount of ego boost you can get from being in charge. But, those things won’t sustain you in the long-term. Construction is not comfortably predictable, and the uncertainty alone can make for challenging days and sleepless nights. But when you have a passion for building, the obstacles simply become problems to solve on your way to building something you are proud of.
Superintendents spend their days on the front lines as go-betweens. Their job is to blend design intent, and management, with construction.
The plans you start out with will have flaws. The sequencing someone used for estimating won’t always match the sequencing necessary for the resources available at the time you start building. Designs are always going to need changes, and people are always going to be somewhat unpredictable. So if you’re just in it for the money, or the glory, it’s going to get harder and harder for you to sustain enthusiasm.
To nurture your passion for building, feed your curiosity about how things are put together, how processes and methods are changing, how new materials are getting incorporated into new designs, and how new technology is affecting the built environment. Take the time to help others learn about building, and don’t be afraid to let others teach you a thing or two about building.
Dive Into the Details
When your passion for building is keenly stoked, getting into the very fine details of the project is a natural outgrowth of your curiosity. Construction projects have many moving parts, and you need a crystal clear vision of how all those parts go together. Start out by making the project drawings your new favorite reading material. As you pour over them, ask yourself questions about not only how all the pieces are going to fit, but also about who is going to fit them together, and how they are going to do it. As you find the inevitable mistakes and oversights, consider the solutions, and make plans to propose those solutions well in advance of when they are needed.
Allow your deep dive into the details to power your design of an excellent schedule.
Allow your deep dive into the details to power your design of an excellent schedule. Armed with your knowledge of where all the potential roadblocks and dead ends exist, you are in the position of putting together a highly realistic, yet flexible schedule. But, most importantly, you can infuse your schedule with your deep understanding of how all the parts fit together. Then, as you go over the schedule with your employees and subcontractors, you will already know where the opportunities and pitfalls lie. Very few people on the project will take the time to really understand the details; so those who do are naturally in a better position to lead.
Value the Documentation
Even on a small construction project there are thousands of interactions between people along with events associated with materials, equipment, and the environment. It’s rare for a superintendent to minimize the importance of keeping accurate documentation. Only fools tread there, and they do so at their own peril. Some superintendents put it like this, “A log for everything, and everything in a log.” No matter how you choose to account for what happens on a construction project, just make sure you are consistent and thorough.
No matter how you choose to account for what happens on a construction project, just make sure you are consistent and thorough.
Fortunately, there’s an amazing array of tools to help you with your documentation chores. Your smartphone, tablet, the Internet arm you with software, digital logs, voice recording, video recording, photography, and a quick and easy way to share all of your information with whomever you need to share it with.
Communicate Sincerely and Effectively
If you are not an excellent communicator, in all forms, then do what it takes to get better. There is no substitute for clear, concise, and accurate communication between all parties involved in a project. When communication breaks down, projects break down. But, clear, concise, and accurate are just the beginning of effective communication. There is also the need for empathy. When you understand not just the message you are receiving, but also how that message is affected by the sender’s situation at the time, you become better at communicating with that person. Sometimes, using empathy might mean waiting to respond, while at other times it might mean dropping what you’re doing and responding immediately. Sometimes, using empathy could mean being more sensitive to emotional cues, or it could mean adopting a more matter-of-fact posture. The net result of communicating effectively is that all parties understand each other with little opportunity for anyone to misunderstand. When you are sincere in all of your communications, you enhance effective communication by improving trust.
Their job is to blend design intent, and management, with construction.
Superintendents spend their days on the front lines as go-betweens. Their job is to blend design intent, and management, with construction. It’s from this unique vantage point that experienced and professional superintendents can provide advice that goes to the heart of constructing. Their best advice can help anyone who supervises any level of construction.
Building Sage Intacct Construction
BY JEREMIAH McNICHOLAS | NOVEMBER 12, 2020/ Reprinted by permission from Sage Intacct / Original article here
Construction is a major contributor to the U.S. economy. According to the Associated General Contractors of America, the industry has over 680,000 employers with over 7 million employees and builds nearly $1.3 trillion worth of structures each year. Over 50,000 construction companies rely on Sage to drive success in over 7 million sub-contracts and 500,000 construction projects.
Sage is in a unique position to build on this success with the Sage Intacct cloud platform. Collaboration between Sage Intacct and the team responsible for Timberline has delivered a standout, cloud financial management solution designed to address the unique needs of construction companies. Bringing together the most trusted names in cloud accounting and construction software, Sage Intacct Construction delivers leading construction financial management functionality on our multi-tenant cloud platform.
From the first proof of concept to an early adopter release in March 2020, Sage Intacct Construction has come a long way to deliver on the complex needs of construction customers. Together, the combined team has translated construction-specific designs to the Sage Intacct platform, with the goal of providing our customers with a best-in-class construction financial management solution on a native cloud platform starting with a standard work breakdown structure plus two new standard dimensions.
Construction and cloud native collaboration
Built as a native cloud solution, Sage Intacct Construction empowers construction financial managers to make critical financial decisions, track and manage costs and productivity in real-time, from any location, and reduce typical financial consolidation from 100+ hours down to just minutes. For the first time, construction companies have access to the preferred financial management system of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). Sage customers have the option to leverage a best-in-class cloud financial management system at the time they need it most.
The early adopter release delivered a full multi-tenancy, multi-entity, multi-currency foundation with open APIs for integration partners such as Procore. Major features like standard work-breakdown structures for construction job management and the addition of two general ledger dimensions which are supported in transaction objects in all modules. Subsequent releases have also included critical features such as job estimates and AP/AR retainage for construction contracts.
Sage Intacct Construction is architected to connect with the mix of applications used by construction companies to handle both back office automation and operational tasks in the field. This ease of integration with an array of applications ensures Sage Intacct Construction customers are always using the best technology available to address their business needs. Plus, the native cloud solution removes the IT burden for construction customers, delivers automatic software updates, and offers accessibility to a remote workforce.
Cutting the ribbon
Since we unveiled the early adopter release, there has been an overwhelming amount of interest from financial managers in the construction industry and we anticipate this interest to grow as we continue to build more advanced product features based on customer feedback.
Additional functionality will roll out over the next several months as we approach our general availability release, including additional product integrations. Learn more about Sage Intacct Construction here.
Save up to 15% on new user licenses or modules
Great year-end savings!
Make your business more efficient with Sage.
Choose from a wide range of Sage construction solutions to improve critical areas of your business including field operations, business intelligence, AP automation, and project management. Or add users to the solutions you already have.
There is no better time to make the most of your Sage Construction solutions. Mix and match additional user licenses and modules to save big.
- Save 10%* with 2 user licenses or modules
- Save 15%* with 3 or more user licenses or modules
Not sure what you need? Here’s a little ‘gift’ list!
- General Ledger
- Job Cost
- Project Management
- Equipment Management
- Service Receivables
CAN’T MAKE AN EVENT? SIGN UP ANYWAY, AND WE’LL SEND YOU A LINK TO THE RECORDING!
Save the dates! Upcoming FREE Year-end Online Classes
In this session, we cover topics that will assist users in preparing for year-end, the timing of year-end upgrade, download and update taxes, closing the year, archiving: employees and checks. Additionally, items to complete after the archiving has been completed. We will also review reconciling Accounts Payable Vendor 1099’s and take you through the 1099 forms preparation. As a bonus COVID – 19 tracking will also be reviewed.
Sage 100 Contractor:
- Payroll, Filing Reports: ACA & 1099s — December 17th, 9 am – 11 am MST / 10 am – 12 pm CT
Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate (Version 20)
Gear up for the new year with any one of our complimentary* online classes focused on year-end procedures! Clear up any of the mystery or confusion on closing your fiscal and calendar year ends.
These two-hour seminars will offer you the insight you need to seamlessly close out this year and find success in 2021. This webinar will cover closing the year in General Ledger and all other appropriate modules, W2 and 1099 processing, and Aatrix processing. We will also provide attendees with a yearend checklist to assist you in this process. A concise how-to for year-end.
Pick the date that works best for you! Can’t make ANY? Register anyway and we’ll send you a link to the recording.
- GL closing | 1099 processing | W2 processing | Closing Checklist — December 10th – 9 am-11 am MST / 10 am – 12 pm CT
- GL closing | 1099 processing | W2 processing | Closing Checklist — December 17th – 9 am-11 am MST / 10 am – 12 pm CT
- GL closing | 1099 processing | W2 processing | Closing Checklist — January 7th – 9 am-11 am MST / 10 am – 12 pm CT
We will be recording all of the events and posting them on YouTube. Please subscribe to our Channel if you like FREE resources.
NOTICE: There is a limit to two seats per company, as class size is limited by GoToTraining. If you need extra seats, contact email@example.com and we will add them according to availability.
Snap AI for eTakeoff
December 08 – 10 MST | 11 am CT
Sage is introducing the next evolution in electronic 2D takeoff!
Sage will be releasing a new eTakeoff Dimension release in the near future. However, they are previewing one of the coolest features in the release.
The new Snap AI functionality in eTakeoff will be a game-changer! It will provide significant increases in productivity and accuracy for Estimators!
Connect Accounting + HR with Sage CRE and Arcoro
December 10 – 10 MST | 11 am CT
As we’ve seen throughout 2020, flexibility and paperless processes are essential for future business continuity. Join ETHOSystems and Arcoro to learn how integrated data can help you manage employee information more efficiently and streamline your accounting and people processes.
Arcoro helps construction companies:
- Find top talent fast and onboard them electronically
- Create configurable workflows to get payroll and benefits information to the right place
- Align company financial goals with individual employee goals
- Maintain HR compliance in the field, office, or remotely
- Reduce data entry risk
Related news – Sage CRE and Arcoro press release!
The Arcoro and Sage partnership and technology integration allows construction organizations to connect essential employee data between both systems for streamlined data management and compliance.
The Power of Partnership: Procore + Sage 100 Contractor
December 16 – 10 MST | 11 am CT
See how Procore and Sage 100 Contractor work together so you can forecast confidently from the field.
- Avoid errors and dual entry with synchronized project data cost
- Forecast confidently from the field. Accounting retains full control of pushing data into Sage 300 CRE
- Solve communication errors between accounting and project management
New on the ETHOSystems YouTube channel
Access to webinars, demos, and thought leadership topics! View them here, and don’t forget to subscribe while you’re there — we need at least 100 followers to get a ‘vanity’ url with our name in it!
New this month:
Anti-Fraud professionals are often hired to assist a business with identifying and quantifying the amount of losses from a recently discovered fraud. This reactionary response is likely the most common type of engagement these professionals may obtain. However, anti-fraud forensic accountants specialize in fraud risk management services and consulting services related to fraud prevention. We excel at both identifying fraud schemes and quantifying associated losses while also assisting businesses in the identification and mitigation of fraud related risks inherent in their day to day operations.
Formal Fraud Risk Assessments
A fraud risk assessment is a formal risk assessment used to identify an organization’s vulnerabilities to both internal and external fraud. Fraud risk assessments are key to creating effective anti-fraud programs and establishing effective controls which in turn, can help establish and foster an anti-fraud culture within your organization. When performed and used correctly, a fraud risk assessment may be the most important step you take in the fight against fraud.
Fraud risk is the result of financial and operational deficiencies within an organization from individuals. But what makes an individual capable of committing fraud? Well, Cressey’s Fraud Triangle teaches us that there are three elements which, when combined, can create the perfect storm for fraud. These elements include the individual’s motive to commit the fraud (ie. financial need, vengeance, etc.), the opportunity to commit the fraud (often present when internal controls are weak or non-existent), and the ability to rationalize their behavior or “need” to commit fraud. A fraud risk assessment can help businesses identify areas where these risks are present and develop an action plan to mitigate these risks and deter fraudulent behavior.
Because every organization is different, a fraud risk assessment is tailored to each individual organization in order to ensure business specific risks are identified and evaluated accordingly. To begin, a fraud risk assessment should first identify the fraud risks present in the organization and prioritize those risks. As the evaluation progresses, anti-fraud professionals may assist the business in developing a program to successfully manage fraud risk and assist management in identifying new fraud risks as they arise. These programs aim to:
- Improve communication and awareness of fraud within the organization
- Identify areas most vulnerable to fraud and activities which constitute the greatest risk
- Understand the individuals and positions which put the organization at greater risk
- Develop an action plan and techniques to identify, investigate and determine if fraud has occurred, and,
- Assess internal controls.
When contemplating the merits of a fraud risk assessment, it is vital that management understand the importance of an ongoing and continuous fraud risk assessment process. Fraud risk assessments should not be thought of as a one-time event never to be performed again. Let’s be realistic, as new technologies and programs are developed to identify and mitigate an organization’s exposure to fraud, new schemes are also created to circumvent new and existing controls. In order to continue to maintain a relevant anti-fraud program, management must be able to keep up with new and developing techniques in the fraud arena.
Whether you’re a new business looking to institute effective internal controls or an established organization that wants to update your anti-fraud program, a fraud risk assessment can help you establish the controls and processes necessary to allow for early detection, mitigation and deterrence of fraud.
Fraud risk assessments can also be extremely valuable in mergers and acquisitions when each party wants to ensure the current and future values of the businesses are not impacted by fraudulent activities already present in either business.
Fraud Risk Assessment or Financial Statement Audit
You may be telling yourself; I already have an internal control risk assessment during my annual financial statement audit. Is this necessary? The answer is YES. A resounding YES! A formal fraud risk assessment differs significantly from an audit risk assessment in that audit risk assessments test and evaluate controls already in place and are limited by materiality (a previously determined threshold over which missing or incorrect information is considered to have an impact on the users of the organization’s financial statements). In fact, external audits are responsible for identifying only 4% of all occupational frauds committed2. A formal fraud risk assessment evaluates first the business, as a whole, to identify the inherent and residual risks of fraud and then assists the organization with strengthening programs and controls already in place or developing and instituting new programs and controls. The goal of the audit risk assessment is to ensure accurate financial reporting to protect decision makers and increase their understanding and knowledge of the financial position of the company. The goal of the fraud risk assessment is to protect the company from internal and external fraud risks and proactively respond to those risks in a collaborative and comprehensive manner.
Beach Fleischman 2201 E. Camelback Rd. Phoenix, AZ 85016 | 602.265.7011 | http://beachfleischman.com | twitter: @BeachFleischman
Prep Now and Be Thankful Later
by Pam Schulz, Sage Senior Certified Consultant
Year-End is a BUSY time and some tasks have deadlines or require exact timing. Prepping ahead is critical.
Payroll archiving and forms are the most obvious items, but this is also a good time for other housekeeping. With the end of the year only a few weeks away you should begin.
What to prepare now
- Order tax forms; or consider other options: Sage 100 Contractor uses W2 (and 1099) forms that are known as “4-up”- if you order or buy the most common forms at an office supply store you will be getting the wrong forms. Here are some choices to consider:
- Order forms from Sage
- Order from another source- make sure you get the correct forms
- Use aatrix “full service” to print (or deliver electronically) and send your forms for you
- Print to plain paper- you will need to work around getting envelopes that “fit..” or use labels
- Sign up for training. If you use Consulting services for year end help you should book your appointment now.
- Prepare for 1099s. In addition to the “standard” instructions below, be on the lookout for a NEW form 1099-NEC. The Sage year end tax update (mid-December) will address this new form.
- Review report 4-1-1-61; Vendor 1099 report. Here you see how much was paid to each vendor, their 1099 type, and their ID #. CLEAN THIS UP NOW. Basic rules:
- NO ONE should have a type of “undetermined”- if a vendor does not get a 1099 use the type for “No 1099” rather than “undetermined.”.
- Anyone with a 1099 type that requires a form MUST have an ID #.
- Test run” your 1099 forms using aatrix at menu option 4-5; 1099 forms. If you have trouble loading aatrix, get this solved NOW. If aatrix shows “errors” in vendor IDs, or other data, FIX IT NOW.
- Order forms, or get set up/enrolled for aatrix services – see the choices above in the W-2 section- don’t wait.
- Review report 4-1-1-61; Vendor 1099 report. Here you see how much was paid to each vendor, their 1099 type, and their ID #. CLEAN THIS UP NOW. Basic rules:
- Prepare for W2s. In addition to the “usual” instructions, you may need to review your reporting for COVID pay. Sage used the entry of an “Absence type” on timecard lines and a report at menu option 5-1-8-91 (Absence Hours and Wages) to provide information for reporting on the Form 941.
- Run a payroll audit at menu option 5-3-7, and address all audit errors.
- Test run the W2 forms at menu option 5-4-1. Aatrix will show errors such as duplicate Social Security numbers, missing addresses, etc- FIX YOUR DATA NOW.
- Reconcile/Balance your 941 forms against the W3 totals. Create an excel worksheet to list the Wages, Tax, FICA wage and Medicare Wage from each quarter’s form 941. (This should also be done for your states.) Run the payroll reports for quarter 4- you can do this “now/early” if you like- the idea is to spot errors, not to produce a final report). Compare the totals with the information on the W3 form (or grid totals in the screen) created in your test W2 run. Now is a good time to file any needed forms 941x.
- Order forms, or get setup/enrolled for aatrix services- don’t wait.
- Prepare for ACA
- You MAY need to file ACA reports (Affordable Care Act.)- check with your advisors about the requirements.
- Complete the employee information at menu option 5-2-1; Employees; there is a “tab” for the ACA information.
- Run the informational reports for review at menu option 5-4-3; ACA reports.
- Test run the reports that will be filed in aatrix at menu option 5-4-1; they are listed with the other Federal tax reports.
- Prepare for the BIG NIGHT
Between your last payroll check of 2020 and your first payroll record in 2021, you must “archive” your payroll files. You will also “update” the new year’s files with new tax rates, and perhaps perform some employee maintenance in vacation and sick accruals.
For now, make sure you will have access to the Database Administration program on the server and plan the date so you can ensure exclusive access while archiving.
Other housekeeping items to consider now
- Clean up the Bank Reconciliation. Reissue or void old checks now.
- Review Security. Use reports at Menu Option 13-7; reports #22 and #23 to review User’s menu access and update as needed.
- Review your reports. Are there new reports you need, or should some of your reports be modified?
- Review your processes. Does anyone feel like they are “working too hard” to get or enter data? You may benefit from training, or learning some shortcuts.
These steps need to be done- now or later. Why wait?
Avoid 3rd Party Integration Pitfalls
by Kyle Zeigler, Sage Senior Certified Consultant
Enhance Sage 300 CRE with APPROVED apps and automation
New software products and technology can make a huge difference in our daily work lives. Add-on products for Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate such as MyAssistant, Procore, AboutTime, Sage Paperless, and TimberScan are Sage 300 CRE user favorites. These products help automate the processes of sending information and reports to recipients via email, provide smart-device access to back-office processes for an ever-growing mobile workforce, and streamline processes to work more efficiently and more productively.
Do your homework!
The products mentioned here were developed by Sage or by Sage development partners to specifically interface with Sage 300 CRE. Many other similar products exist in the technology marketplace, but not all of them provide the same level of seamless integration. It is important that when shopping for new technology to interface with their accounting product, Sage 300 CRE users do their homework.
Questions to ask the product sales representative might include:
- Are you a Sage development partner?
- Does your product integrate with Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate? Be sure to emphasize the “Construction and Real Estate”! Sage offers 2 completely different accounting products referred to as Sage 300 by users – Sage 300 CRE and Sage 300 Cloud.
- How does your product integrate with Sage 300 CRE? If the developer is not a Sage development partner, the process likely involves an export from the 3rd party product that can be imported into Sage 300 CRE. Before you buy the product, confirm that the product can export a file that meets the Sage 300 CRE import file requirements for the module where the data will be imported.
- Will your product require the purchase of additional hardware or software, such as specific smart devices or a full version of Microsoft SQL Server?
- Do my existing server, workstations, and smart devices support the addition of the product with regard to operating systems, memory, disc space, and other network considerations?
Before investing in the purchase of a new technology product and the implementation costs associated with the product, it is always best to check with Sage or your Sage business partner. Your Sage business partner can help you find the best product to meet your needs!
Sage Estimating ePlan Interface is Retiring
Notice from Sage Construction and Real Estate
Sage is ending support for Sage Estimating ePlan Interface effective December 31, 2020.
After December 31, 2020, you will still have access to the Sage Estimating ePlan Interface, but it may cease to function as intended with future versions of Sage Estimating.
We recommend making accommodations for an alternative to the Sage Estimating ePlan interface before updating to the next version of Sage Estimating.
If you are interested in a seamless integration with Sage Estimating we suggest considering the eTakeoff solution.
If you wish to explore options or get an eTakeoff demo, please email Tony Merry.