February 2020 Newsletter
February: The Technology Issue
- Life before texting and Facebook?
- Getting geeky! Annual nuggets from the 2019 Annual Construction Technology Report
- New cloud-based Sage Intacct platform for construction
- Do your tools ever ‘walk off’ your jobs? You’re going to LOVE the new Sage ToolsOp app!
- Awesome ‘Tips + Tricks’ for Accounting | Sage 300 CRE | Sage 100 CON | Estimating
‘Foursquare’ and Twenty Years…
by Joanie Hollabaugh, Sr. Director of Marketing
“Hey Siri, run payroll.”
Can you believe texting is only 20 years old? What did we do for information before 2001, when Wiki was launched? How did we spend our free time before Facebook? How did we drive anywhere without GPS and voice assistance? And how will technology for construction change?
The construction industry has been known as notorious laggards regarding technology adoption. But it’s slowly changing (as you will see in the ConTech report). Check out some of these innovative developments which have helped drive construction growth and efficiencies.
Cross your fingers that business processes in the future will be as easy as speaking to an AI device while sipping your drone-delivered coffee!
Some technology firsts back in the early 2000s:
- GPS was made available for the public (previously only for military use)
- AT&T introduces text messaging for mobile phones
- The first iPods and Xboxes became available
- Wikipedia launched
- Blue Rays and DVRs became available
- Safari launched
- Android founded
- Facebook and Firefox launched
- You Tube launched
- XBox 360 introduced to the market
- twitter launched
- Nintendo Wii became available
- iPhone introduced
- Kindle disrupted the publishing industry
- AirBNB disrupted the hotel industry
- Google Chrome released
- Bitcoin went global
- Uber disrupted the taxi/limo industry
Sources: https://abcnews.go.com/Technology/AheadoftheCurve/top-10-innovations-decade/story?id=9204931 | https://www.timetoast.com/timelines/technology-in-the-2000s | https://www.zdnet.com/article/technology-that-changed-us-the-2000s/
2019 Annual Construction Technology Report
For the eighth year, JBKnowledge surveyed AEC companies to compile information and share trends and insights across the industry. This year, JBKnowledge collaborated with the Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA), the Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA), Texas A&M University’s Department of Construction Science and the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA).
As in the past, JBKnowledge has graciously allowed LAI to pick ‘nuggets’ from the report to share, and nugget callouts following graphics are direct quotes from the ConTech Report.
For the full report, click here. All images and quotes are used by permission, but should not be copied or reproduced from this LAI webpage without explicit consent from JBKnowledge.
As always, the vast majority of respondents are male (90%), in the Finance/Accounting role, and are of the Millenial/Gen Y age set (Baby Boomers must be retiring). The top financial sectors responding were close: the #1 spot (21.5%) came from companies in the $21-50M annual revenue, 2nd place (18%) represented $6-20M, and 3rd (17.7%) reported $51-100 million in sales.
What’s keeping them up at night
Labor shortage is on the top of every owners’ and managers’ minds. This could logically cause the acceleration of robotics and AI and AR. Which of course, is an investment of a different type. Can the (forced) reduction in payroll and benefits roll over to fund automation and technology replacements? Or will the spend go to worker retention and higher wages?
Sage tops the list – again
Now that the vote isn’t split (Sage 100 Contractor and Sage 300 Construction & Real Estate were separate categories in previous years) – Sage Construction tops the list. The category has been updated as well from simply ‘Accounting’ to include ERP in the definition. Oddly, last year the top result was ‘Other’ with Viewpoint in the #2 spot, Sage 300 CRE in 3rd, and 100 CON in 5th.
Sage Estimating comes in solid
Making an educated guess that “other” would be spreadsheets, it’s encouraging to see Sage at the lead. It’s still a solid product and with the update to SQL a few years back it clearly the industry favorite.
Procore is still King
At over double the results from a branded system (Viewpoint Team), Procore gained the market share over its unnamed competition. Last year ‘Other’ took the 1st place (37.5%) over #2 Procore (30.5%), showing a nice uptick.
Meanwhile, in the field…
Procore nudged by Bluebeam to top the list for apps used for daily reporting.
Now it’s more than a slogan – it’s the outcome from the survey! Again, the non-eponymous ‘Other’ manages a top spot in the respondents’ answer.
Hand-picked nuggets directly from James Benham:
Integration is key
Companies must prioritize, and budget for, integration when choosing software and apps. Even at additional expense, technology that integrates to allows communication between workflows and departments for cross functional teams. It would be advantageous for companies to explore incentivizing integrations to reduce stress, optimize use-of-time, save money, and increase productivity. Seamless exchange of data reduces manual
entry and redundancies, making integration a crucial feature for modern construction. While a single solution stretching across every workflow hasn’t been created yet – software and apps that integrate are the next best
Education must continue
While high-levels of confidence in technology use and training was self-reported, why the lack of tech implementation? Is it because so many executive (CEO’s, CFO’s, CIO’s, etc.) respondents reported their level
of confidence, while the employees in the field may have different obstacles to tech adoption? The most logical step to bridging the gap is education. There’s an opportunity for “targeted” education topics regarding tech, IT, and BIM.
New construction functionality, new cloud-based platform: Sage Intacct
Reprinted with permission from Dustin Anderson, VP Construction and Real Estate
Happy New Year!
As we kickoff 2020 we are preparing to launch new construction functionality built on the Sage Intacct platform. This cloud-based construction financial management solution will leverage Sage Intacct’s native cloud technology and offer the power of choice in best-of-breed operational solutions.
Of course, our commitment to the solutions that your business uses every day is unwavering. Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate will be supported for many, many years to come. You will hear more about our plans for the Sage Intacct construction solution at ConExpo in early March. Upon availability, if you have interest in a native cloud offering, your Sage business partner will work closely with you to understand your organization’s specific needs and identify when the Sage Intacct construction solution may be a good fit. With quarterly releases of Sage Intacct, we will be transparent with the construction specific features and functionality and their availability for your business.
We fundamentally believe in providing you the power of choice when it comes to what platform works best for your organization and what tools are best for your business.
I assure you that Sage is dedicated to your business success and the Construction and Real Estate industry is stronger than ever!
I wish you a happy and healthy 2020!
CONEXPO-CON/AGG Show – March 10 – 14
Visit ETHOSystems in Sage Booth S64419 at the Las Vegas Convention Center
CONEXPO-CON/AGG is North America’s largest construction trade show representing asphalt, aggregates, concrete, earthmoving, lifting, mining, utilities and more.
2,500,000 square feet
150 education sessions
by Ruth Stockdale, former PSG Director and Linda Peterson, Director of Professional Services
In this ever-changing world that we live in, we have a newly merged company, a new name, but our core beliefs remain the same — we are committed to our customers and providing quality service.
You may be wondering, “How do I contact my consultant?” Or, “How do you contact your office to get software assistance?” It’s still easy. Please note while there have been changes in e-mail addresses to reflect the new name, all phone numbers remain the same, including office and cell numbers.
Here is a quick list of who to contact and how to reach them:
Support from your consultant
Everyone has a new ETHOSystems e-mail address with the same convention: (email@example.com). Their original e-mail address will forward to the new one but will eventually be ‘sunsetted.’ Please make a concerted effort to use the ETHOSystems address, so consultants don’t have to monitor TWO INBOXES, and potentially miss your email.
Support by phone
The phone numbers remain the same for both the Chicago and Scottsdale offices.
Sadly for us, but happily for her —Carolyn Carter has retired so you will be talking to other staff members when calling the Scottsdale office.
Support by email
A new e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org is now active, and the old email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org will forward to it.
All e-mails and phone numbers for Sage Support remain the same.
Additionally, we are pleased to announce that Robyn Brimhall has joined our staff as a consultant for Sage 300 CRE. Robyn brings a vast knowledge of Sage 300 CRE as she has used the software in her previous roles. If you happen to speak with Robyn, please welcome her to the ETHOSystems team.
Seven great reasons to join TUG!
Reprinted by permission from TUG.
Do your 2020 New Year’s Resolutions include mastering a new skill or investing in training and development? Now that 2020 is in full swing, let TUG help you accomplish your resolutions with all the member benefits we offer!
Featured TUG membership benefits to help you succeed:
- Employee User Accounts — Tap into your TUG resources by creating employee user accounts. Everyone in your company who uses the software can have their own log-in to access the features of TUGweb.com at their own convenience for a customized experience!
- Training Webinars — Our FREE training webinars are led by consultants and every day users on a variety of topics and modules. For a complete list of webinars and to register for upcoming training webinars, please visit the community calendar.
- TUG Pulse Newsletter — The recently updated TUG Pulse is a monthly newsletter publication full of advice, tips and feature technical, industry and product specific articles written by subject matter experts in the industry as well as users like you! All current and past issues are available to our members here.
- User Communities — TUG User Communities are special interest groups where members share a common interest, whether it be the same Sage software, module, industry or job responsibility. TUG currently offers six User Communities for users working in Sage 300 CRE, Sage Estimating, Sage 100 Contractor, and IT,
- TUG Tips and Tricks — Each week TUG shares Tips and Tricks from everyday users to help make your life easier. If you have a Tip or Trick that you know would benefit fellow users, click here to submit a TUG Tip of the Week.
- TUG Talk Online Forum — TUG Talk is a forum where members can post challenges or questions on a variety of topics, as well as respond to inquiries from fellow users.
- 2020 TUG National Users Conference — The 2020 TUG National Users Conference on May 12-15, 2020, at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans in New Orleans, LA, is the largest gathering of its kind for all user levels of Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate, Sage 100 Contractor, and Sage Estimating! All members receive a discounted registration fee!
For more information regarding your TUG membership and to explore all that your membership entails, please take some to visit TUGweb.com. If you should have any questions regarding your membership or require assistance of any kind, please email email@example.com.
Follow ETHOSystems on Social Media for current construction and technology news!
Cool new app! “Sage ToolOps” – powered by ToolWatch
Join Sage Construction for a complimentary webinar
Tired of losing tools in the field or from theft? Having a hard time tracking or knowing when to schedule maintenance or replacements?
Take control! Empower your Field Managers by allowing them to:
- See what tools they are accountable for
- Use their phones to search and track tools for a project
- Request tools from the warehouse by mobile device
- Automatically create service requests to maintain equipment
- Run analytics on equipment to forecast replacements and calculate ROI
Register for February 27, 2020 – 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. PT
Power to the User!
Save the dates:
2020 TUG National Users Conference | May 12-15, 2020 | Hyatt Regency New Orleans | New Orleans, LA
The annual TUG National Users Conference is the largest conference in the country where all levels of users of the following software meet to share knowledge, ideas, and experiences:
- Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate
- Sage 100 Contractor
- Sage Estimating
For questions about the TUG National Users Conference, please call (404) 477-5142 or email registration@TUGweb.com
Is it Time to Cash Out with Dividends?
Submitted by BeachFleischman, CPAs
Under current tax law, the federal income tax rate for C corporations is a flat 21%. Under prior law, C corporations faced a graduated federal income tax-rate schedule with a maximum effective rate of 35%.
The flat 21% corporate tax rate is permanent, unless Congress passes legislation to repeal or modify it. In contrast, the reduced rates for individual taxpayers under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) are scheduled to expire at the end of 2025. And they could end much sooner, depending on political developments.
In this favorable — but uncertain — tax environment, it could be advantageous for shareholders of profitable C corporations to arrange to pay corporate dividends to themselves. Here’s the story behind this potential tax-saving strategy.
C Corporation Taxes After the TCJA
To demonstrate the total amount of federal income taxes that would be paid on corporate income distributed as dividends to shareholders, consider this example.
ABC Company is a profitable business venture that’s owned by individual taxpayers and is operated as a C corporation. The corporation pays out most or all of its after-tax profits to the shareholders as taxable dividends that qualify for the 20% maximum federal rate.
ABC Co. pays corporate-level taxes at a rate of 21%. Plus, the shareholders pay individual-level federal income taxes on dividends at a rate of 23.8%, including the 3.8% net investment income tax (NIIT). So, the maximum combined effective federal income tax rate on the venture’s profits is 39.8% [21% + ((20% + 3.8%) x (100% – 21%))]. While this is double taxation made worse by the 3.8% NIIT, it’s still low compared to historical rates.
Before the TCJA, the maximum combined effective federal income tax rate in this scenario was 50.47% [35% + ((20% + 3.8%) x (100% – 35%))]. So, the current 21% corporate rate can significantly help lower the total tax bill for a profitable C corporation venture.
Individual Taxes after the TCJA
Through 2025, the TCJA sets forth seven tax rate brackets for ordinary income recognized by individual taxpayers. The rate brackets for 2019 and 2020 are as follows:
2019 and 2020 Individual Tax Brackets
2019 Individual Federal Income Tax Brackets
|2020 Individual Federal Income Tax Brackets
For 2021 through 2025 these rate brackets will be further indexed for inflation, assuming the TCJA remains in place.
Limited Time Opportunity
This taxpayer-friendly tax rate environment probably won’t last forever. In fact, the rates for individual taxpayers are scheduled to revert back to the pre-TCJA rates after 2025. Of course, that could happen much sooner, depending on politics. So, it could soon be a lot more expensive to convert theoretical C corporation wealth into cash.
To avoiding missing out, shareholders in profitable C corporations can consider making some moves to take advantage of the current relatively low federal income tax rates on dividends and long-term capital gains. One possible tax-savings strategy is to pay out corporate distributions while tax rates are still low.
Over time, profitable C corporations can build up a hefty amount of earnings and profits (E&P). E&P is somewhat analogous to retained earnings. While lots of E&P indicates a financially healthy company, it also creates tax concerns for two reasons.
First, to the extent a C corporation has current or accumulated E&P, corporate distributions to shareholders count as taxable dividends. (See “Refresher on Corporate Distribution Tax Rules” below.) Because the federal income tax rate on dividends received by individuals in 2020 (or 2019) can’t exceed 23.8%, dividends paid in those years will be taxed relatively lightly (assuming no retroactive tax increase is imposed for 2020 after the election).
The situation could be much worse in 2021 and beyond if tax rates on dividends increase. Therefore, C corporation shareholders should weigh the certainty of triggering a manageable current tax hit by taking dividends now against the possibility of taking a bigger (but deferred) tax hit on dividends received in future years.
Second, when a C corporation retains a significant amount of earnings, there’s a risk that the IRS will hit the company with the dreaded accumulated earnings tax (AET). The AET is a corporate-level tax assessed by the IRS (as opposed to a tax that is paid voluntarily with a tax return). The IRS can assess the AET when:
- The corporation’s accumulated earnings exceed $250,000 (or $150,000 for a personal service corporation), and
- The corporation can’t demonstrate economic need for the “excess” accumulated earnings.
When the AET is assessed, the tax rate is the same as the maximum federal rate on dividends received by individuals.
There are several favorable side effects to paying out distributions in today’s taxpayer-friendly rate environment. First and foremost, this strategy allows shareholders to cash out corporate wealth at a relatively low tax cost. Assuming no retroactive tax increase for 2020, the maximum federal income tax rate on corporate distributions paid in 2020 (and 2019) is 23.8%.
In addition, this strategy can help lower or eliminate the company’s exposure to the AET in future years when the AET rate could be much higher. For example, the AET could skyrocket if Congress passes legislation in the future to tax dividends at higher ordinary income rates (as was the case before the Bush tax cuts).
Finally, this strategy could result in better tax treatment for future distributions. To the extent that distributions are classified as taxable dividends, they reduce the corporation’s E&P dollar-for-dollar. This increases the likelihood that distributions paid in future years will be treated as tax-free returns of capital or as lower-taxed long-term capital gains. This could turn out to be a big advantage, because there’s no certainty that dividends will continue to be taxed at the same favorable rates as long-term capital gains.
Right for Your Business?
Paying dividends in 2020 could have some beneficial side effects. But it’s important to remember that this strategy will typically trigger current tax liabilities that could otherwise be deferred. Therefore, the cost of paying lower taxes now on corporate distributions must be balanced against the expected benefit of avoiding higher taxes if those same distributions were taken in future years. Consult your tax advisor to determine whether this strategy is right for your specific situation.
Beach Fleischman 2201 E. Camelback Rd. Phoenix, AZ 85016 | 602.265.7011 | http://beachfleischman.com | twitter: @BeachFleischman
Import Change Requests into Project Management from Sage Estimating SQL
by Renee Mullen, Sage Marketing Manager
Estimating 19.12 includes the ability to use integrated functionality to import Change Requests into the Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate Project Management module from Estimating.
To use this functionality:
- Sage 300CRE Accounting version 18.4 with Project Management and Sage Estimating 19.12 must be installed on the same computer.
- Begin by creating a Change Request in Project t Management
- In this new Change Request, select the “Price/Cost Estimate” tab
- Click “Estimate Change Request” and select the option that best fits your needs
- In Sage Estimating 19.12, access the corresponding estimate and select “Interface” then “send to change request” to begin the import process.
- When the Estimate has been successfully imported, the text that appears above the “estimate change request” button in Project Management will display the file name of the imported estimate.
Questions? Chat with us Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET.
For more information on this topic visit Knowledge Base Article 52345. You can find this information and more in the Knowledgebase.
Join the conversation at Sage City available 24/7, the online community is your gateway to many Sage resources.
It’s 2020 — “Beam me up, Scotty!”
by Pam Schulz, Sage Senior Certified Consultant
Your Sage 100 Contractor Software has seemingly infinite ways to bring in data from all over the world and maybe beyond…
The days of manually entering all your data are over. Improvements to your Sage 100 Contractor Software have made data capture from outside sources much easier and more reliable. Read on for a summary of what’s available and how to find the best solution for you.
What’s out there?
There are so many solutions available, there is no way to see all of them. In most categories, Sage has an offering in addition to other providers, all having different features and pros/cons. Even the TYPES of data collection are diverse, including:
There are many choices, providing entry for Contract Work, Service Work or both. Some are fully integrated with Sage 100 Contractor; others provide import and export files. Most write the data into the Daily Payroll Entry screen (menu option 5-5-1), however some offer options for entry into the Daily Field Report (menu option 6-11-6) or the Service Dispatch Lines (menu option 11-2.) Not every solution has a GPS option, and the functionality does vary from one option to another.
Work Order Dispatch and Management
Often related to time capture, these programs typically include a Dispatch Board and the ability to enter Work Order information remotely and update into the Service Receivables (option 11-2) screen. Attachment visibility and update into the server are usually included in the features offered by these programs.
Paperless invoice and import
Initial invoice “entry” is done outside of the Sage 100 Contractor program and after a pre-defined routing and approval process, the invoice and a copy are imported into the Sage 100 Contractor data. Each of the available solutions has unique features and processes.
Banking and credit card transaction import
In some applications, banking transactions can be “read” on your bank’s website and compared to existing posted transactions, then missing transactions can be coded and posted. With others the credit card transactions are captured and coded on a website, then imported into your Sage 100 Contractor data.
Find the solution that is right for YOU
This can be tricky. Besides having a LOT of choices you need to consider your own setup and use of your Sage 100 Contractor Software. Your Sage 100 Contractor consultant can serve as a valuable bridge for making sure the right questions are addressed and the solutions are compatible with your specific needs.
Other sources of information include ETHOSystems webinars, TUG (The Users Group) webinars and conferences and Sage webinars.
Tips for a successful search:
- Get SPECIFIC and VERY CLEAR about what you want the solution to do. If certain specific features are most important to you then it is a waste of time to consider systems that do not have them. If you do not know what you want then you will be at the mercy of what someone else wants you to see.
- CONSULT your team and your outside experts. Work closely with the people who will be implementing and using your new systems. They can provide insight that may not be obvious to less frequent users. Be aware that the field’s view and operation of many of these systems differ from the view and experience in the office, so make sure to have members of all affected teams involved in the process. Your Sage 100 Contractor Consultant can help ensure that your new solution is compatible with your current processes; OR help you implement necessary changes and new procedures to work with your new programs. This is time and money well spent.
- Be realistic about your ability to IMPLEMENT and embrace new tools and processes. This is the most important consideration. The best system in the world will not work if your people will not use it. This is a simple fact. There may be a limit to how much technology you can realistically implement – at least how much you can do at a time. Your implementation may need to be “phased in.” Just be realistic. Implementing any new system has enough inherent stress and problems without adding unattainable expectations.
- BE CAREFUL. Unless your intent is to engage a custom programmer, make sure that your proposed system actually does integrate, or appropriately export or do whatever it is supposed to in order to properly work with your Sage 100 Contractor Software. There are a few reasons to be cautious. Obviously you should be aware of things that simply do not work. But there is also a fair amount of confusion in the software world between Sage 100 and Sage 100 CONTRACTOR. This is an issue from time to time so it is wise to be on the alert for this type of confusion.
Finding the right solution will save time – allowing you to pursue and reach higher goals.
Need help from a certified Sage 100 Contractor Consultant? Just click, and we’ll contact you in a jiffy! It’s ‘No Big Deal, right?
Cash Management Out of Balance
by Kyle Zeigler, Sage Senior Certified Consultant
For many users of Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate, December 31st constitutes the end of the financial fiscal year and January 1st starts the mad rush to close the year and tie out subledger reports to general ledger balances.
Whether it’s year-end or month-end, one of the issues users may encounter is discrepancies between the general ledger and one or more of the balances displayed on the Bank Reconciliation report in Cash Management. The following information may be helpful in understanding and troubleshooting these balances:
- The Bank Statement Ending Balance on the Bank Reconciliation report is calculated as follows: The Bank Balance on the bank account less the total of all entries with a Cleared Date greater than the Statement Date on the report.
- The Adjusted Bank Balance total calculates as follows: The Last Reconciled Balance on the bank account plus all transactions that have an Accounting Date less than or equal to the last reconciled date with a status of open (O) or cleared (C).
- The Register Balance as of Statement Date total calculates as follows: The current Register Balance on the bank account minus all transactions with a Reference date greater than the Last Reconciled Date.
If the Bank balance on the bank account is wrong, the Bank Statement Ending Balance will not match the bank statement. Also, when finishing a bank reconciliation, the task may take some time to fully complete. If users access the bank account before the Reconcile task fully completes – for instance, to immediately print the Bank Reconciliation report, the balances on the bank account may not update correctly. It’s always a good idea to check Background Tasks to confirm that the Reconcile task completes successfully before accessing reports or the register for the bank account.
When balances are incorrect on the Bank Reconciliation report, the first line of defense for users is the Sage knowledgebase. Article 64702, “Reconciling the Cash Management Bank Reconciliation Report and General Ledger,” will walk you through the various reasons balances in Cash Management may not match General Ledger and direct you to additional knowledgebase articles to help you troubleshoot your specific issue.
Before beginning any troubleshooting effort, be sure to do the following:
- Confirm that you have clicked Finish in the Reconcile task for the bank account to be fixed and that no reconciliation is in progress.
- Use File Tools to back up the Master.CMM and Register.CMT files.
As always, if you need help troubleshooting year-end Cash Management or any other reconciliation issues, don’t hesitate to contact ETHOSystems.