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Best Practices & Recommendations for Your Remote Finance Team

BY KATIE MCCLOSKEY | JUNE 11, 2020 | Reprinted with permission of Sage Intacct (truncated version). For full content, click here.

Sage Intacct knows that our customers and partners are depending on us and the services we provide now more than ever. We are committed to continuing to support their core finance, HR, and People systems. The crisis will pass, and when it does, we want to ensure that our customers come out the other side stronger and more resilient.

In an effort to continuing to provide practical support and guidance, we compiled the below document of best practices and recommendations for remote finance teams. We hope you find this helpful!

Administrative practices

  • Enable email notifications* in the system as they pertain to actions required by the user’s role at the company (i.e., if they are an approver, make sure to enable all approval email notifications* in every applicable module to prevent delays in the approval process).
  • Define who the Full Admins are within the organization, communicate this to your Sage Intacct users, and make sure they’re easily accessible. Knowing who your Admin is will avoid password reset delays and ensure necessary approvals are ready to go.
  • Also, have a back-up Full Admin for password resets, lockouts, or two-step/MFA inquiries and make sure they can be easily reached. This is especially crucial when one Full Admin gets locked out and requires the assistance of the other Full Admin to unlock them or reset the password. Consider, at a minimum, one Full Admin and one limited Admin.,
  • If using IP Filtering, make sure the IP addresses or IP range for each user is set within the company’s security settings. This will prevent log-in errors relating to IP mismatch. If the user doesn’t know what their IP address is, they can simply go to Google and search “What is my IP.” You can find this by going to: Company > Company > Security > Password > IP filter. (Note: If you are using the IP Filtering, we recommend that the users IP address is listed to prevent login error messages.)
  • Keep the company message board updated within your instance of Sage Intacct. An Admin can do this via Company > Admin > Scroll down to the “More” section > Select +Company Messages. These messages post to the Message Board on the Home page when your users log-in; they can set priority and expiration of the message accordingly. For example, ‘Company wide’ announcements or Release Notes or upcoming deadlines.
  • Utilize the User Access Report within the Company > Admin menu. This will explain when your users log in, from what IP address, and for how long.
  • If utilizing Purchasing Approvals, set up delegates. This way, when a user who is vital to the approval process is out of the office, they can go to their Preferences, turn on their delegation, and their approvals will then route to the configured delegate approver going forward until the out of office is turned off. Please note this requires two steps. Step 1 – Enable and Manage delegation by going to: Purchasing > Configuration > Approvals > Enable delegation > Manage delegate. Step 2 – The best practice is to turn on your delegation under ‘My Preferences’ when you are OOO and turn off upon your return.

*types of email notification settings – GL, PO, AP & Spend Mgmt. Reminder, these can also be individually set in My Preferences, if enabled.

General recommendations

  • Cross-train users and make sure everyone has a back-up. If someone must be OOO for an extended period of time, this is critical. When users aren’t cross trained within an organization, we will see a sudden influx of cases because a user who performs a crucial task is out unexpectedly.
  • In addition to cross-training, document all processes and actions each user performs as it applies to the individual role. What does the Staff Accountant do within Sage Intacct and what permissions do they have in order to do that job? What does the AP Clerk do within Sage Intacct and what are their permissions? etc. When roles aren’t documented, or applicable permissions and actions outlined (step-by-step internally or referencing a prod help/KBA), users who suddenly must be someone’s back-up to a vital workflow or task will not have a contingency plan to follow. This often results in contacting support with a multitude of training related inquiries, and the support team will recommend training courses.

Virtual tips

  • Pick up the phone and call a team member.
  • Turn your cameras on during your virtual team meetings.
  • Talking and interacting with your coworkers helps you feel engaged and there is a real benefit to the ‘water-cooler conversation’.
  • Talking with cameras on will bring new perspectives and spark new ideas.
  • Use an instant messaging platform to keep your status updated, allowing you to maintain visibility when you are available.

 


Stay ahead of the competition – Buy 2 Get 1 Free!

For a limited time, when you add two modules or user licenses to your existing Sage solution, you get a third one free.

Now is a great time to extend your Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate, Sage 100 Contractor, or Sage Estimating software solutions’ functionality with new modules that connect multiple departments or add additional user licenses for the new members of your growing team.

Act quickly to take advantage of our best offer yet in 2020. This special promotion expires September 30, 2020, so don’t wait. Get the resources you need for better productivity and profit potential today.

 

GET A FREE QUOTE

 


OSHA Releases COVID-19 Reopening Guidelines for Construction

Reprinted with permission from Procore | JULY 20, 2020 BY JOHN BIGGS | Original article here

In an effort to promote safe and healthy workplace as businesses across the country are reopening, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently released its recommendations to help construction workers and employers avoid exposure to COVID-19.

These aren’t mandates, unlike some new enforcement policies issued (and revised) in May, but rather a set of best-practices, advisories, and recommendations to help companies keep workers safe and reduce the chances of infection.

Evaluating Risk Levels by Type of Construction Work

The agency recommends companies determine how risky certain construction tasks are and perform a job hazard analysis. OSHA has broken out varying types of work and their associated risk into three main categories.

Lower (caution)

  • Tasks that allow employees to remain at least six feet apart and involve little contact with the public, visitors, or customers.

Medium

  • Tasks that require workers to be within six feet of one another.
  • Tasks that require workers to be within six feet of customers, visitors, or members of the public.

High

  • Entering an indoor worksite occupied by other workers, customers, or residents suspected of having or known to have COVID-19, including when an occupant of the site reports signs and symptoms consistent with the coronavirus.
  • By evaluating each task on this scale, companies can better manage risk to workers or site visitors. OSHA recommends delaying nonessential high-risk tasks until they can be conducted safely in accordance with appropriate infection prevention measures. This could include wearing of personal protective equipment (PPE) like masks or face shields, gloves, or other safety gear.

Indoor Construction Work

For essential or emergency construction work that has to get done, OSHA recommends “closed doors and walls, whenever feasible, as physical barriers to separate workers” from anyone experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.

The agency also recommends putting up additional barriers like plastic sheeting when workers must work in close proximity with someone suspected of having the virus.

New Training Recommended for All Construction Workers

Companies will be better equipped to thwart jobsite exposure to COVID-19 if their workforce is trained in how to reduce their chances of infection, according to OSHA. To that end, OSHA issued a series of recommendations for ways companies can better prepare their workers.

The agency says workers should be made familiar with “all signs and symptoms” of COVID-19 and with how the virus is spread, including asymptomatic carriers. Knowing what to look for will improve the odds that suspected infections are properly reported and sick workers are sent home or isolated appropriately.

OSHA further suggests that social distancing and hygiene practices should be taught. Workers should avoid physical contact and maintain at least six feet of space between themselves and others. Even basic hygiene practices should be covered, for instance, proper cough and sneeze covering (into a tissue or the upper sleeve, never into the hand) and how to properly wash their hands for at least 20 seconds.

Also recommended is teaching workers how to correctly wear PPE to maximize their effectiveness. Proper handling, disposal, removal, and decontamination of safety equipment is also emphasized.

General Workplace Safety Practice Recommendations

Some OSHA safety recommendations are basic in nature, while others are a bit more involved. For example, all visitors to a construction site should be screened for symptoms of COVID-19 ahead of their arrival. The agency recommends adopting staggered work schedules to reduce the number of workers on-site and improve social distancing. Any job site “choke points” where groups of workers are forced to stand in close proximity like hallways and elevators should be identified and evaluated.

Site deliveries should happen under controlled circumstances to minimize contact with others. OSHA also recommends delivery personnel stay in their vehicles when possible.

The best way to keep everybody safe is to err on the side of caution. None of these guidelines carry the force of law, but OSHA’s mandate is to keep workplaces free of hazards and ensure workers remain safe.


Special Shout Out to Procore and Arcoro

Helping the construction industry get back to work!

Procore, a Project Management solution integration partner for Sage Construction and Real Estate, launched a free construction Job Board in conjunction with Arcoro, a leading HR software company (also an integration partner).

Employers can post open positions, and job seekers can view opportunities.

Well done, Procore and Arcoro!

 


Announcing: Sage Estimating Subscriptions

Sage is now offering the industry-leading Sage Estimating solution as a subscription at a very competitive $149/month introductory price point. This new subscription offering comes bundled with the Advanced Reporting module and is sold with an annual term and either monthly or annual payment options.

Also available with the new Sage Estimating Subscription are new subscription versions of the Crews and Models modules, as well as Liberty Reports, Buyout, and eTakeoff.

Don’t need assemblies? Sage Estimating Essential is for you!

Alongside the new Sage Estimating subscription solution, Sage is also introducing Sage Estimating Essential. This new subscription product is a simplified version of Sage Estimating that includes all the powerful estimating functionality found in the Sage Estimating solution if you only need individual item estimates. Starts at only $99 per month!

 

Sage Estimating Webinars

August 19—30 Minutes could save you 30%
August 20—Bridge your Estimate & Accounting with the NEW Sage Buyout solution
August 25—Sage eTakeoff just got better
August 26—Creating custom Estimating reports
August 26—Sage Estimating Suite

 



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Quickbooks versus Sage 100 Contractor

Have you outgrown Quickbooks for your construction company? Do you find yourself inputting estimating, tracking, and billing jobs into Excel and then re-entering the information in your Accounting system? Let us show you how Sage 100 Contractor is a true construction-based system based on your JOBS!

Wednesday, August 26  | 9 am MST, 11 am CDT

 


 


Check out the new ETHOSystems You Tube channel!

We even color-coded it for you! Sage 100 Contractor and Sage 300 CRE have yellow slides, Sage Estimating is navy, our integration partners and apps are gray,  and our Corporate events are light blue.

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!

 

 

 


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Businesses: Get ready for the new Form 1099-NEC


Reprinted with permission from BeachFleischman, CPA Firm. Original article HERE.

There’s a new IRS form for business taxpayers that pay or receive nonemployee compensation.

Beginning with tax year 2020, payers must complete Form 1099-NEC, Nonemployee Compensation, to report any payment of $600 or more to a payee.

Why the new form?

Prior to 2020, Form 1099-MISC was filed to report payments totaling at least $600 in a calendar year for services performed in a trade or business by someone who isn’t treated as an employee. These payments are referred to as nonemployee compensation (NEC) and the payment amount was reported in box 7.

Form 1099-NEC was reintroduced to alleviate the confusion caused by separate deadlines for Form 1099-MISC that report NEC in box 7 and all other Form 1099-MISC for paper filers and electronic filers. The IRS announced in July 2019 that, for 2020 and thereafter, it will reintroduce the previously retired Form 1099-NEC, which was last used in the 1980s.

What businesses will file?

Payers of nonemployee compensation will now use Form 1099-NEC to report those payments.

Generally, payers must file Form 1099-NEC by January 31. For 2020 tax returns, the due date will be February 1, 2021, because January 31, 2021, is on a Sunday. There’s no automatic 30-day extension to file Form 1099-NEC. However, an extension to file may be available under certain hardship conditions.

Can a business get an extension?

Form 8809 is used to file for an extension for all types of Forms 1099, as well as for other forms. The IRS recently released a draft of Form 8809. The instructions note that there are no automatic extension requests for Form 1099-NEC. Instead, the IRS will grant only one 30-day extension, and only for certain reasons.

Requests must be submitted on paper. Line 7 lists reasons for requesting an extension. The reasons that an extension to file a Form 1099-NEC (and also a Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement) will be granted are:

  • The filer suffered a catastrophic event in a federally declared disaster area that made the filer unable to resume operations or made necessary records unavailable.
  • A filer’s operation was affected by the death, serious illness or unavoidable absence of the individual responsible for filing information returns.
  • The operation of the filer was affected by fire, casualty or natural disaster.
  • The filer was “in the first year of establishment.”
  • The filer didn’t receive data on a payee statement such as Schedule K-1, Form 1042-S, or the statement of sick pay required under IRS regulations in time to prepare an accurate information return.

Need help? If you have questions about filing Form 1099-NEC or any tax forms, contact us. We can assist you in staying in compliance with all rules. Beach Fleischman 2201 E. Camelback Rd. Phoenix, AZ 85016 | 602.265.7011 | http://beachfleischman.com | twitter: @BeachFleischman

 


 

Understanding Posted and Committed Costs in Sage 100 Contractor

by Pam Schulz, Sage Senior Certified Consultant

“When did THAT happen?” Have you ever looked at a Job Cost report, and then been completely astonished a few hours later when the same report has changed drastically?

Not all Job Reports include the same information. Some include ONLY posted costs, others include Committed Costs. Make sure to use the report that is most suitable for what you are trying to find out. Sage 100 Contractor Reports that include Open Committed Cost data are always clearly labeled.

Using the sample Committed Costs report (Menu option 6-1-12; report # 31) below:

 

  • POSTED COSTS are costs that are already “posted” in Sage 100 Contractor; through Payable Invoices, Inventory Allocation, Payroll posting, or any other Job Costed accounting entry.
  • COMMITTED COSTS are costs that almost certainly WILL be spent and are “Committed” through Purchase Orders, Subcontracts, and Accrued Labor. (The “remaining”/open amounts of these Commitments.) NO accounting entry has taken place yet; the costs are not “Posted.”

Being aware of COMMITTED COSTS provides information that is more up-to-date than reports that only show posted costs. How? There are three columns in the sample Committed Cost report below that provide the Open COMMITTED COST information.

Committed Contracts – the REMAINING amount of the Subcontract. As amounts are billed against the Subcontract, they “move” into the Cost to Date column. So, in this column, you see what you are “still committed” to pay as soon as you “commit” the money. And by the time the job is “closed out” this column should be depleted since the contracts should be billed; this serves as a nice double-check to make sure all billings have been received.

Purchase Orders – like the Subcontract amounts above, this represents the REMAINING amount of the Purchase Order.

Accrued Labor – completing time daily in the “Daily Payroll Screen (5-5-1)” allows the “Accrued Labor” to be added to the up-to-date information available. When this report is run, for example, a popup allows for an estimated “Labor Burden” to be entered, so a close approximation of the Labor spent can be available every day.

These open Commitments, added to the “Cost to Date” (the POSTED job costs), are then compared with the Job Budget to have a current view of the actual remaining costs, after all “commitments” are satisfied (ending up as POSTED costs).

What should I look for in my Job Cost reports?

In general, in Sage Job Cost reports, unless otherwise specified:

  • BUDGETS – Original Budget + Approved Changes. SOME reports are “period sensitive” regarding the Approval Period for the Change Order.
  • COST TO DATE- these are costs that have been POSTED (through an accounting entry)
  • COMMITTED COSTS- Open POs and Subcontracts (unbilled balance) + Accrued Labor.

How do I get the BEST reports?

Each of these ACTIONS has more BENEFITS than just better reports

  1. Enter Job Budgets (screen 6-2)
  2. Use Change Orders (screen 6-4-1)
  3. Implement Purchase Orders (screen 6-6-1) and/or Subcontracts (screen 6-7-1)
  4. Enter Daily Payroll (screen 5-5-1)- use a field time entry system to save even more time

The benefits of more up-to-date Job Cost information added to the additional CONTROL and time-saving of each of these actions are immense.  Understanding whether your report is showing Open Committed or just POSTED costs will help avoid surprises, improve job management, and make more money!

 


 

Invest in your existing assets — it’s a ‘SURE’ bet!

by Dom Pernai, Midwest Director, ETHOSystems

Most of our clients who use Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate (formerly known as Timberline Office) have applied many software updates over the years. Even with the best intentions though, few take the time to learn or implement the enhancements contained in the releases.

In addition, situations may have changed since Sage 300 CRE was originally purchased. Whether it has been staff turnover, reporting and regulatory requirements, IT infrastructure, IT vendor changes, mobility of their workforce, etc., we have found that clients very rarely maximize the use of their existing Sage 300 CRE software.

A few examples: some clients would like to change their cost code or general ledger structures; others have resorted to rekeying data into Excel to get the reports they need, rather than take the time to design the report in Sage 300 CRE. Some are looking to track data they are capturing in Excel or Access when they should be able to track it in Sage 300 CRE.

Now is the time to invest in your existing assets: your people and your software! To help you do that, ETHOSystems offers a service: Software Utilization Review (aka SURE).

We will review all aspects of your software setup, IT infrastructure (as it pertains to Sage 300 CRE), workflow processes, and reporting requirements. We will interview your key personnel in each functional department. We will then provide you with a detailed report informing you of the current status of your Sage 300 CRE software usage and the steps you can take to maximize the return on your investment in Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate.

As part of this engagement we will:

  • Provide a detailed agenda
  • Review your organizational structure as it relates to the setup of Sage 300 CRE
  • Review each of your Sage 300 CRE applications
    • Review set up and application control settings
    • Workflow (if you have procedures manuals please provide)
  • Current workflow
  • Workflow issues
    • Reporting (please bring copies of forms and reports)
  • Current reports used
  • Suggested report improvements
  • Excel Reports containing Sage 300 CRE data
    • Other
  • Any additional information about working within this application
  • Review any third-party applications in use within the financial and operational processes.
  • Review workstations and server for maximizing the performance of Sage 300 CRE
  • Review backup procedures and test to confirm accuracy and completeness
  • Review Sage 300 CRE security set up
  • Interview key personnel by functional group to determine
  • Proficiency with the software
  • Training requirements
  • Reporting improvements
  • Productivity improvements
  • Upon completion of our review, we will meet with you to review a detailed report of our findings regarding your company’s use of Sage 300 CRE
  • Findings and recommendations may include:
    • Changes in control file settings that will allow the software to better meetyour requirements
    • Incremental training recommendations
    • Improvements in workflow
  • Your requirements
    • Incremental training recommendations
    • Improvements in workflow
  • Better understanding of your Sage 300 CRE implementation
  • Recommendations to improve reporting
  • Use of custom fields
  • Refining menus and desktops to improve each end user’s use of Sage 300 CRE
  • Additional Sage 300 CRE applications
  • Third-party integrated applications

The Payoff

  • A well-trained staff
  • Streamlined processes
  • Better efficiency and productivity
  • Full return on your Sage 300 CRE investment

The Investment

The investment will vary based upon the Sage 300 CRE applications in use, though we are certain that the investment will pay for itself many times over. These engagements are performed only by our most senior consultants, each with over 10 years of experience with Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate software. As such, we are able to schedule only a limited number each month. Please contact Linda Peterson, Director of Professional Services, as soon as possible to get your Software Utilization Review scheduled.

If you would like a SURE assessment, please click below.

request-support

 


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Updating Database Pricing the Easy Way

by Renee Mullen, Sage Marketing Manager

Highlight and Tag Spreadsheet Cells

Estimating 20.1 now includes the ability to highlight and tag cells in your spreadsheet. As an example, you may be uncertain about how to quantify a change now, but you know you will need to make changes later. Flagging this cell for review is easy with the new update. You can set the cell to a different color to set it apart from other cells while also including a note on what you need to revisit.

To use this functionality:

  1. Select a cell or a cluster of cells you wish to highlight, then right-click. You can select using CTRL + Left Click or by clicking and dragging.
  2. From the shortcut menu, click Edit Highlight.
  3. In the Highlight Color window, select your fill color, and then click [OK].

After applying the highlight to your items, you can click the new [Show Only Highlights] button on the Home tab to display only the rows that include a highlight.

To tag a highlight for easy reference, later:

  1. Right-click a highlighted cell, and then select Tag Highlight from the shortcut menu.
  2. In the Set Highlight Tag cell, enter a name to provide some significance to the highlight color, and then click [OK].

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

You can find this information and more in the Sage Knowledgebase.  For more information on this topic, visit Knowledge Base Article 105982.

Join the conversation at Sage City available 24/7, the online community is your gateway to many Sage resources.