May 2020 Newsletter
What’s new this month?
- COVID-19 overload, but only the good kind! Curated sites, posts, and links to help you through the maze of now
- Tons of webinars! New products, new partners, new post-COVID scenarios
- Answers to COVID-19 tax questions from BeachFleischman, CPAs
- Sage 100 Contractor, Sage 300 CRE, and Estimating Tips + Tricks
Navigating the ‘New’ Now
By Joanie Hollabaugh, Senior Director of Marketing, ETHOSystems
While we are all anticipating the reopening of businesses (or already are back to work), we still need info on how to cope with the new normal. The reality is that we are being endlessly bombarded with information, often conflicting.
Some days you may be glued to the news outlets, and others you may turn it all off before your first cup of coffee is finished. In spite of the information overload, ETHOSystems has been scraping industry sites and publishers links for the most reliable and relatable resources to keep you focused and functional — for the new now.
Please note we also have a great ETHOSystems webinar on PPP as well as upcoming relevant Partner webinars with solutions and ways to work through these unusual times.
We hope this allows you some peace of mind for that second cup of joe.
AGC is hosting a COVID-19 updates and resource page
The Associated General Contractors (AGC) has created a comprehensive COVID construction-specific landing page with invaluable updates and resources, along with recent surveys. Links for every imaginable topic are clearly listed, and are easily searchable:
State of the industry surveys
As of March 20th, 28% of companies surveyed reported the pandemic had halted or delayed projects. By April 10th, 40% reported layoffs due to canceled projects.
PPP provides relief
For some good news, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has allowed construction companies to retain (and add) employees despite declining demand (sign up for our webinar on PPP below):
“Most contractors report they have applied for the new federal loans, which are intended to enable small businesses to keep employees on their payrolls,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “This program has already delivered funds to nearly half of the survey respondents, and many of them have already brought back furloughed workers or added employees, even though more clients are halting and canceling projects.” Click here(link is external) for additional video comments from Mr. Simonson.
More resources for getting the job done
In the spirit of helping our clients to sustain this crisis, we have curated a list of additional helpful links. From blogs to recorded webinars to web-based solutions for AP, we want to help you work successfully from OUTSIDE of your office.
Payroll setup video
- COVID-19 Support Hub
- FREE Product Training
- Sage 100 Contractor: How can I remote into my data from home?
- Sage Estimating: Steps to bring your work home with you
- General Information: Sage product alerts: subscribe now to get the latest notifications
Recommended remote AP, payroll, and document management apps and software
- Core Cloud Systems
- Sage Paperless
- WorkMax (webinar this month, register below)
- BirdDogHR (webinar next month, register below)
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What is the PPP?
*This ETHOSystems hosted webinar was recorded. To watch it click here.
A provision of the CARES Act designed to provide quick access to SBA loans for companies with 500 or fewer employees to assist with payroll and certain operating costs during short-term business disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Your Sage 100 Contractor, Sage 300 CRE, and Sage Intacct solutions can handle this for you.
- Forgiveness of up to 8 weeks of eligible costs, rules apply
- No SBA fees
- At least six months of deferral with maximum deferrals of up to a year.
What costs are covered costs from the PPP Program?
- Payroll costs
- Interest on a mortgage
- RentCopy of PPP-Loan-Forgiveness-Calculator
Tracking in your Sage Software
Your Sage Software is an excellent way to easily track all your eligible expenses for Loan Forgiveness of the PPP, using Projects (Jobs), Cost Codes, and Cost Types (Categories) for this purpose. We can show you how Sage Construction software handily tracks everything for you.
The Department of the Treasury and SBA issued guidance on May 13th to address questions from borrowers. They now say payments to Subcontractors are NOT qualified expenses. (Please see question 15). They say this is because those contractors can apply for their own loans for payroll. Read the PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM LOANS Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) document here.
PPP Forgiveness Loan Calculator
Want help calculating your PPP forgiveness amount? We have a spreadsheet for you to enter your loan amount, payroll, mortgage rent, utilities, interest, etc., which will calculate your total loan forgiveness (and what’s not). Send an email to Joanie.Hollabaugh@ETHOSystems.com and ask for a copy.
Expect the Unexpected: Lessons Learned for Accounts Payable
• Cost-cutting efficiencies when recasting your budget
• Increasing productivity and improving existing AP processes
• Leading change management for future growth opportunities
• Effectively use cloud-based platform mobility to pay bills anytime, anywhere
AvidXchange webinar — May 19, 2020, 9 AM MST
Upcoming Estimating webinars:
Estimating Suite — June 9, 10 AM MST
Learn how Sage Estimating can help your business streamline your entire estimating and vendor selection process. We will discuss how our Estimating Suite will help you:
- Grow your business with multiple methods of takeoff efficiencies
- Seamlessly integrate with digital takeoff solution
- Open up more opportunities with Navisworks integration
- Save and minimize errors that may occur with double-entry directly with Sage 100 Contractor or Sage 300 CRE
eTakeoff — June 24, 10 AM MST
Learn how eTakeoff Dimension can increase your efficiency utilizing the seamless integration with Sage Estimating. We will demonstrate how our eTakeoff will help you:
- Increase the speed of accurate takeoff
- Seamlessly integrate with Sage Estimating items and assemblies
- Track changes and quickly update the estimate
In these uncertain times, safety is an even bigger concern for contractors. Bringing everyone together in person and holding a live safety training is a challenge with COVID-19 and maintaining proper social distancing.
Contractors are also looking for cloud solutions to better manage their workforce that now includes remote workers, field workers, and office staff. To reduce risk, COVID safety forms must be submitted faster and more frequently than ever before. Find out how WorkMax can improve your COVID safety program by tracking time, forms, and assets in real-time all in one app.
Join Mike Merrill, COO of AboutTime Technologies, to learn how WorkMax:
- Expedites collection and sharing of real-time safety data to mitigate risk exposure
- Simplifies and automates safety data collection and sharing
- Rapidly deploys field safety training with videos on mobile devices
- Increases safety form completions
- Connects live field data to the back office for better decision making
If you’re not able to attend, make sure you register to receive a recording!
WorkMax webinar — May 20, 2020, 10 AM MST – 30 minutes
Is now the time to migrate to an HRIS? Meet BirdDogHR and preview our latest integration partner’s solution.
What is HRIS?
An HRIS, or Human Resource Information System, provides the core HR functions that your company needs to run properly. It helps you track, measure and automate employee tasks to optimize your business operations. An HRIS is a database at the center of your organization, tying information—like payroll, benefits, attendance and other related data—to individuals. It also handles recruiting, tax compliance, personnel tracking and reporting. Think of an HRIS as the engine that powers your entire HR vehicle.
BirdDogHR webinar — June 3, 10 AM MST
Do you have tax questions related to COVID-19? Here are some answers
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has affected many Americans’ finances. Here are some answers to questions you may have right now.
My employer closed the office and I’m working from home. Can I deduct any of the related expenses?
Unfortunately, no. If you’re an employee who telecommutes, there are strict rules that govern whether you can deduct home office expenses. For 2018–2025 employee home office expenses aren’t deductible. (Starting in 2026, an employee may deduct home office expenses, within limits, if the office is for the convenience of his or her employer and certain requirements are met.)
Be aware that these are the rules for employees. Business owners who work from home may qualify for home office deductions.
My son was laid off from his job and is receiving unemployment benefits. Are they taxable?
Yes. Unemployment compensation is taxable for federal tax purposes. This includes your son’s state unemployment benefits plus the temporary $600 per week from the federal government. (Depending on the state he lives in, his benefits may be taxed for state tax purposes as well.)
Your son can have tax withheld from unemployment benefits or make estimated tax payments to the IRS.
The value of my stock portfolio is currently down. If I sell a losing stock now, can I deduct the loss on my 2020 tax return?
It depends. Let’s say you sell a losing stock this year but earlier this year, you sold stock shares at a gain. You have both a capital loss and a capital gain. Your capital gains and losses for the year must be netted against one another in a specific order, based on whether they’re short-term (held one year or less) or long-term (held for more than one year).
If, after the netting, you have short-term or long-term losses (or both), you can use them to offset up to $3,000 ordinary income ($1,500 for married taxpayers filing separately). Any loss in excess of this limit is carried forward to later years, until all of it is either offset against capital gains or deducted against ordinary income in those years, subject to the $3,000 limit.
I know the tax filing deadline has been extended until July 15 this year. Does that mean I have more time to contribute to my IRA?
Yes. You have until July 15 to contribute to an IRA for 2019. If you’re eligible, you can contribute up to $6,000 to an IRA, plus an extra $1,000 “catch-up” amount if you were age 50 or older on December 31, 2019.
What about making estimated payments for 2020?
The 2020 estimated tax payment deadlines for the first quarter (due April 15) and the second quarter (due June 15) have been extended until July 15, 2020.
These are only some of the tax-related questions you may have related to COVID-19. Contact us if you have other questions or need more information about the topics discussed above. More information may be found on the BeachFleischman COVID-19 Resource Center.
Beach Fleischman 2201 E. Camelback Rd. Phoenix, AZ 85016 | 602.265.7011 | http://beachfleischman.com | twitter: @BeachFleischman
Getting more done in the new Workspace
by Pam Schulz, Sage Certified Consultant
Make sure you are getting as much help as possible from your Sage 100 Contractor software!
Almost everyone is working with fewer, or at least different, resources. These Sage 100 Contractor software features can help you get more from your time and workspace:
1. Set up the Desktop, or the Menu
Make it work for you. The desktop is unique to each user and so it can serve as a valuable timesaver by filtering unneeded icons and even outlining a workflow. This can really be useful to new users who may not be familiar with a workflow, or a user helping in a new module. Many options exist:
- Hide the desktops and work only with the menus
- Use the system menu
- Customize “My Menu” – choose which menu options are in the list.
- Hide the Menus and work only with Desktops (Activity Centers)
- Choose which Activity Centers to show/hide
- Add, move, rename and draw lines and boxes to connect icons for menu items and reports
Use the MENU and SETTINGS buttons on the main screen to make these modifications.
2. Know your shortcut keys
If you don’t use the FUNCTION keys to access valuable shortcuts you may be working harder than you need to. A brief summary of the keys is below; you can review the Function keys in more detail with the handy HELP topic (lookup Function Keys).
F4- Lookup with “criteria”
F5- Display Lookup Window
F6- Drill Down
F7- Administrative Use- Field Properties
F8- Pick List
F9- Indexed lookup
3. Customize entry screens
Entry screens can be customized. Some changes are done globally by the Administrator and some can be done by each user.
- ADMINISTRATORS can change the properties of fields using the F7 key. In this mode, fields can be required, renamed, forced to use a list, and a host of other field properties that will apply to every user. Administrators can also add and modify Custom Fields.
- USERS can customize the GRID sections of entry screens by showing, hiding, and resizing columns. Right-click in a grid to access options. Be sure to “save the current grid view” to preserve your settings.
- Users can also customize the lookup windows by showing, hiding, and moving columns. With an open lookup window, right-click in the header to Show/Hide columns, the click and drag in the header to move columns.
4. Schedule automatic reports and alerts
Sage 100 Contractor has a dedicated “alert” feature in addition to the ability to schedule the automatic sending of many reports.
- ALERTS are created and managed at the menu option “7-6; Alerts Manager.” Alerts are simple “list-type” reports that can be sent to an email or to a Dashboard. Create and manage alerts using the Wizard in this menu.
- SCHEDULED REPORTS are Sage reports that have been set up to run on a scheduled basis. These can be almost any report, with some requirements around setting selection criteria for run-time. Reports can be sent to email, printer, or fax. The initial setup is done on the report’s printing screen (using the calendar icon) and then is managed through the menu option “7-5; Scheduled Reports Manager.”
The timesavers above are easy and free – they are already in your software – take a few minutes to setup and learn a few things that will make the extra workloads easier to face.
Export Financial Statements to Excel
by Kyle Ziegler, Sage Certified Senior Consultant
A handy feature of Sage 300 CRE is the ability to “print” (aka export) reports to Microsoft Excel. This feature is built right into the print drivers automatically installed with Sage 300 CRE on your server and workstations. However, printing reports – and especially financial statements – to Excel can be an ugly business when columns overlap or merge and totals end up in the wrong positions in the spreadsheet. The good news is that many reports can be modified to export more cleanly to an .xls file type, even when it comes to financial statements.
Modify your Financial Statements so that the columns export nicely into Excel:
- Open the financial statement in the Financial Statement Designer application.
- From the File menu, select Save as, enter a unique name for the design (such as “TBalAccr_Excel”) and click Save.
- Remove page breaks from the Financial Statement design.
- Modify the Header of the design to create a blank header.
- Modify the Footer of the design to create a blank footer.
- Optionally, modify the Body of the design to add 3 blank rows at the top.
- Insert the company name field or prefix group description field in the top blank line and center the instruction on the page.
- Enter the name of the statement (e.g. “Trial Balance”) in the second blank line and center on page.
- Enter desired text and/or the period ending date field in the third blank line and center on page.
- Format all numeric columns as follows:
- Under Print Symbols, select No symbols.
- Increase the Width a small amount (e.g. from 1.50 to 2.00). You may also need to increase the Start value to increase the space between columns.
- You may need to change the column Heading text to be on one line instead of multiple lines. Consider abbreviating the text to fit on one line.
- From the Design menu, select Design Options, and change the options as follows:
- On the General tab, unmark Repeat column headings.
- On the Amount tab, change the Print abnormal sign as to -# and unmark Print commas.
- Click OK to save the design options.
- From the File menu, select Save to save all changes to the new financial statement design.
Test the new “export to Excel” version of your financial statement design by beginning the print process, but mark the “print to file” checkbox in the Printer Setup window. When prompted, enter a destination for the file, enter a name for the file, and change the “Save as type” selection to Microsoft Office Excel Workbook (.xls). Exporting financial statements to Excel can cause lines to be deleted, so be sure to check this after testing your export.
If you would like help modifying your financial statement designs or other Sage 300 CRE reports to export to Excel, please contact ETHOSystems.
by Renee Mullen, Sage Marketing Manager
Working from Home with Sage Estimating
Many Sage Estimating users have a need to work from home or other remote locations for the first time as communities observe social distancing guidelines. While it is not recommended to use Estimating through VPN from remote locations there are several other options available to accommodate this need and we encourage working with your Sage Business Partner and IT specialists to determine which option is best suited to the specific needs of your business. These options may include:
- Set up a terminal server that holds your software and all its data allowing users to remote into the server and work within the software
- Set up a Virtual Private Network (VPN) so that users can access their work computer through Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) from a home computer
- Install your software on a laptop or PC that you can bring home and work using a backup of the data
***This option would require performing a daily backup of your data and storing to a location that can be accessed remotely.
Note: If multiple people will need to access the data this may not be the best option because you would need to re-enter the data from all users when you are able to get back to the office.