How to Capture Outside Data in Sage 100 Contractor
by Pam Schulz, Senior Certified Consultant
Your Sage 100 Contractor Software has seemingly infinite ways to access data internally and externally. 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.
Solutions by categories
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:
- Be 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 cautious. 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? Email us!
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