Year-End Survival Checklist

There’s no doubt the holidays are the most wonderful time of the year, but once the celebrations are over, that tune quickly changes. January can be the busiest time of the year for you and your business with all that goes along with year-end close. Use this year-end survival checklist to get a strong start on the new year.

Make your list and check it twice
Here are a few items every business should look at and/or make sure are completed before closing the year:

  • Reconcile general ledger accounts to bank statements
  • Complete all invoicing
  • Record all your supplier bills
  • Print year-end reports for historical review (i.e. accounts payable/receivable, inventory, financial, payroll, etc)
  • Make adjustments to reports as needed ( i.e. write off bad debts, account for depreciation expenses, adjust entries for accruals of payroll tax liabilities or pre-paid expenses, etc)
  • Print and mail 1099s (due by 1/31)
  • Print and mail payroll forms if you do it yourself (W-2, W-3, 940, 941)
  • Print and mail 1096 to IRS (by 2/28)

Wiz Through Year-End with Sage 50 Year-End Wizard
When you’re ready, close any other applications and start the process at the end of your business day because you’ll want to leave your computer running. Before launching the wizard, print out any items such as invoices and payroll checks as well as clear the Waiting on Bill from Vendor check box in the Purchases/Receive Inventory window for any outstanding vendor purchases.

The Year-End Wizard guides you through the process. Simply select Tasks, System, Year-end Wizard.  Sage 50 requires you to make a backup so give the back up a unique name and consider putting it on removable media (CD, flash drive, external memory, etc.) for future reference.

You will also be prompted to run year-end reports, which you can do on paper, export to Excel, or to a PDF file. It’s recommend you retain a backup file of your Peachtree/Sage 50 data for seven years, plus save PDF copies of the following reports for seven years as well:

  • General Ledger for the year you are closing
  • Under general ledger, General Journal for the year you are closing
  • Under accounts payable, Check Register for the year you are closing
  • Under accounts receivable, Cash Receipts Journal for the year you are closing
  • Under payroll, Payroll Journal for the year you are closing

The best advice to survive year-end? Keep your financial activities consistent and thorough each month of the year (with the help of Sage 50), so you’ll prevent year-end from becoming a major undertaking.

 

photo attribution: © melpomene/depositphotos

Don’t Stress Over Tax Time

Today’s tax laws can be complex and confusing. Do you have a hard time keeping up with the constant changes and revisions? What’s even more daunting is that the simplest, most innocent mistake can result in unexpected penalties.

It’s tax time, and as your business filing deadline looms, it’s important for small business owners to stay on top of current tax changes and be aware of what to watch for in the future.

What Can You Deduct?

In preparation for filing, there’s a lot for small business owners to think about, and just as many deductions to benefit from. Just to name a few:

  • Current capitalized expenses
  • Auto expenses
  • Business and professional fees
  • Bad debt
  • Insurance costs
  • Home office expenses
  • Retirement contributions
  • Meals and entertainment expenses
  • Travel expenses

The Affordable Care Act 

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) added an estimated 2,400 pages to the U.S. tax code, further complicating the tax landscape for businesses of all sizes. Most familiar to business owners is the tax penalties for businesses with 100 or more employees who fail to provide health insurance to full-time equivalent employees and/or not reporting to the IRS what type and the cost of coverage provided for employees. 

Beginning Jan. 1, 2016, businesses with 59 to 99 employees will also be required to offer health insurance.

Don’t Let Taxes Trip You Up

Tax law can be complicated, but they don’t have to trip you up. Consider these tips:

  1. Think about taxes all year long. Waiting until the last minute could make thing more complicated and limit your money-saving options. 
  2. Bring in a professional. Hire a knowledgeable tax attorney or accountant who can tackle complex tax laws with ease and help you identify tax breaks and deductions you might otherwise miss. 
  3. Always be aware. Even with the help of a skilled professional, it’s your job to keep up with news related to laws.
  4. Never assume. Even though Congress has always passed the tax-extender bill at the last minute, it’s never guaranteed. Don’t make any business decisions on the assumption that tax breaks will pass. 

Sage 50 Accounting not only has its Year End Wizard to help simplify your year end processes, this business management software also helps with simplified reports for you or your accountant to help speed up your filing process.

Sage 50 with Payroll offers error-free tax filing, standardized and customized reporting features, plus support from professional payroll experts.

Calculating deductions, keeping up with changing tax laws, and easily preparing employee paychecks and reports — reducing errors and saving time with every transaction.

6 Things Smart Managers Do to Better Manage Cash Flow

Businesses run on cash. It’s considered the lifeblood of business, and no company can survive without it. But if that cash isn’t managed properly, things can go downhill fast.  

For many managers, cash flow is about money coming in. But what they often don’t realize is that paying attention to the money going out is also a huge part of maintaining finances. As a manager, there are some things you can do to better manage cash flow for your company.

Figure out your budget

If you know your breakeven point, you will be better equipped to manage your money. Rather than focusing all your efforts on your profit, try focusing on properly managing your money.

Make collecting receivables easy

Set up a lockbox so that customers can easily send in payments. You may also consider setting up a direct payment option for repeat or long-term customers. Also, to ensure timely payments, set your invoices to net-30 or net-60 terms.

Offer incentives for early payment

This may sound counterintuitive, but it’s not. Offering an incentive of some sort, such as a slight discount, can really encourage your customers to get their payments in right away. Yes, your profit margin takes a slight hit, but overall you will come out ahead if this thwarts any non-payments.

Extend your payables

On the other hand, when it comes to your payables, try to extend your deadlines as far out as possible. Ask vendors for net-60 or even net-90 terms. Just make sure to pay on time as many vendors will charge a late fee.

Keep credit limits in check

If your business offers credit to customers, make sure to put limits on your credit lines and really evaluate each customer before approval. Check into their history and finances to determine if they can pay you on time. Non-payments will really bring your profits down and ruin your positive cash flow.

Keep good accounting records

Cash flow doesn’t just encompass your profits and losses; they should take into account your payroll and other expenses. Use a good accounting system like Sage 50 Quantum Accounting. It will give you everything you need to stay on top of your cash flow, as well as track orders and add users.

It’s great to bring in a profit, but smart managers know that staying on top of their cash flow is so much more than that. Track receivables and payables and keep good accounting records and you will be on the right course to managing your finances even better.

 

Sage 50 Memorized Transactions

Save Time with Sage 50 Business Templates You Can Use Later

If you often find yourself sifting through stacks of papers or wrestling with Excel when you need a report on monthly sales and inventory or customer invoices, you’re probably not alone. No matter the size of your business, managing the books is a necessary evil, and one of the most vital activities that contributes to your current and future success. Robust programs for accounting and customer relationship management can increase your ability to compete, but only if they are used strategically and effectively.

Do you:

  • Provide the same/similar service for a customer on a regular basis?
  • Pay a bill to the same company on the same day each month?
  • Have a repeat order with a vendor?

Rather than spending valuable time entering and re-entering data for every new transaction, why not make use of Sage 50 Quantum’s memorized transactions and create templates that can be saved and used later? Sage 50 can memorize and save quotes, sales invoices, purchase orders, payments, and general journal entries for payroll and month-end accruals.

Memorize Repeat General Journal Transactions

Using memorized transactions can save time in repetitive data-entry tasks… here’s how:

  1. Access a Memorized Transaction or create a new one from the Maintain menu.
  2. Under Memorized Transactions, select General Journal Entries and make your entry as you typically would in the Memorized Journal Entry shown and give it a Transaction ID (i.e. PRTRANS-01)
    Sage 50 memorized transaction
  3. The hidden little arrow in Sage 50 (just to the right of the List button) needs to be selected when you go through your normal General Journal Entry process.
  4. After selecting the little down arrow button, click on the Select button to get to the list of memorized journal entries.
  5. From the list of memorized transactions, select the memorized transaction you want to use and select the OK button to create your journal entry.
  6. After your memorized transaction has been pulled into your current journal entry you can change your reference number, amounts and even add lines to the entry as needed before you save it.

Start using memorized transactions from Sage 50 Quantum so you can free up your time and focus your energies on those that matter most – your customers.

The Beauty of Archives

Sage 50 Premium and Quantum products come with advanced accounting features including advanced budgeting, archive company data, and change order processing.  Previously, we showed you change order processing earlier, so now let’s take a look at archiving company data.

Purchase orders, sales orders, and stock transactions can all be archived before closing out your year.  This will help with software processing speed plus keep your data clean.

Back Up

You should always make a back up of your data before making these types of changes to your system (within Sage 50, go to File -> backup).

If you absolutely must keep copies of your invoices and other records, consider creating .PDF copies of them and storing them in a separate digital file on your server or external hard drive.  This will free up space in Sage 50 for increased performance.

Archived company data can still be retrieved by opening the archived company from the file menu.  But by pulling it out of your current data, your system runs faster allowing you to get more done every week.

Clear the Audit Trail

Go a step further and clear the Audit Trail to remove paid and reconciled transactions to free up even more space.  Consider doing this annually to keep your system from getting bogged down unnecessarily.  This can be accessed by going to Tools -> Period End -> Clear Audit Trail.  The online wizard makes the process easy.

Advanced Security Controls for Sage 50 Accounting

Using the Built-In and Advanced Security Controls Within Sage 50 Quantum

There are several standard features in Quantum that keep your business running securely: automatic data backup, account reconciliation, and system alerts (e.g., letting you know when credit or purchase limits are reached).

However, there are a few other features you might not be using.

We all want to trust our employees, but we still need to take precaution to protect the business.  Sage 50 has a built-in audit trail that will generate logs of transaction history to allow you to see when a person enters, edits, or removes data. If you find mistakes, you’ll know to provide additional employee direction; if you find fraudulent activity, well… you can take appropriate action.

You can further limit risk by creating user profiles to allow access only to specific areas in Quantum.  You can create that for each individual employee, right down to the screen level if you need to. Or if you have a lot of employees, create role-based profiles to save time.  Either way, select from over 100 specific areas to give add, edit, view-only or no-access rights. It doesn’t take long to set up.  To get there, go to System -> Set Up Security Now.

The internal accounting review feature searches the company data for potential mistakes and fraudulent activity for you.  There are multiple system checks available and if any trouble is spotted, a comprehensive report is generated to help you to take appropriate next steps. To use this feature, go to System, in the Data Integrity section find Internal Accounting Review and click on Run Report.

With security features built into Sage 50 Quantum you can sleep better at night because you’re taking care of business.  Plus, you know the business is secure with built-in security checks, comprehensive audit trails, module- or screen-level security and role-based security controls.

Sage 50 Job Management Center

Feature overload?

Extra features sound great when you buy a product but, when it comes time to use it, can seem overwhelming and tough to get started.  This is very often the case with software.

The Job Management Center in Sage 50 seems like a lot – and there IS a lot of functionality there.  However, by spending a few minutes to set up your job system, you can save loads of time down the road with simplified processes.  Did you know you could proactively track job status and quickly access interactive, real-time reporting in the Job and Project Management Center?

If you’re not yet using the Job Management Center in Sage 50, read on… there is a lot in there to make your life easier.  (For instance, did you know you can even apply labor burden rates for employees at the job level?)

Simply efforts – even if you only have a few jobs

Access the dashboard under the Jobs tab. There are two screens available – the Jobs Navigation Center and the Job Management Center.

The system is set up with standard defaults for the dashboard, but like many other dashboards throughout Sage 50, this is customizable as well.

Customizable views

Access job status, information on the client, purchases and sales transactions applicable to a job, and Job-to-date Profitability reports are available in one central location.

Sage sets a few default modules on the dashboard.  But if you take advantage of customizing your dashboard view to highlight the information most relevant to your processes, you’ll be able to make faster, more informed (and more profitable) business decisions.

There is a long list of job-related modules available to add to the dashboard (availability is dependent on individual user security settings).  Plus, each module can be further customized to fit user preferences.  Reports can also be printed (or emailed, exported to Excel or PDF) straight from the dashboard.

  • Change orders
  • Credit memos
  • Payroll entries
  • Time tickets
  • Vendor credit memos
  • Receipts applied to revenues
  • And many more…

Key Features

Interactive reporting allows you to analyze specific information on a job or project – activity or history of job, phase, or cost code.

One feature many people overlook is the change order functionality.  Using this feature protects your business plus provides greater insight into the impact that change orders have on a job’s revenues and expenses.

  • Updates estimated revenues and expenses once changes are approved
  • Eliminates manual change order tracking processes
  • See when a change order is approved, when it’s applied to transactions, if the changes impact the projected job end date
  • Plus, all your notes are maintained in one place… with the job.

Rethink Job Management

If you’re not yet using this Job Management Center, or not using it fully, we encourage you to take a 20-minute look in the Job Management Center to see how much more you can do.

Running a business at peak efficiency is one of the most important things you can do to help your business grow.  If you need additional guidance on setting this up for your specific business, give us a call 866-686-1329; we can certainly help with that.

Making multiple vendors/customers inactive with batch processing

Too Many Vendors?

Tired of scrolling through achingly long lists of outdated vendor records?

Well say goodbye to endless scrolling. Shorten those lists by making the records inactive (and also improve system performance).

Sure, you can go into each record and manually mark them inactive… one… at… a… time, but who has that kind of time?

Clear those inactive vendors quickly with batch processing in just a couple of simple steps. This rarely used feature has been part of your Sage 50 Quantum for a while but it’s not something many people think about using or even realize the function is available.

Use it! It will shave time off tasks every day and, as you know, every second adds up. Here’s how to do it:

  1. To set multiple records as inactive, go to the menu bar, select Maintain, then Make Records Inactive.
  2. There you can make old or unused records inactive all at once and even opt to view records you haven’t used since a certain date.
  3. After you complete the above task, go to Options -> Global to “hide inactive records” so you no longer see them in your lists.  You also have the option to “purge” those records.

This will speed up your day but it should also improve your software performance.  By the way… you can do this same thing with your inactive customers!

Have You Outgrown Your Accounting Solution?

Do you sometimes feel like you’re playing Jenga each time you run a report in your accounting software… like it could just crash at any moment?

Your Sage 50 business accounting software provided you with the bookkeeping capabilities you needed to get your company started, but you’ve grown, have more customers, more employees, more data and more demands.

Signs you’ve outgrown your accounting solution:

  • You find yourself and your staff spend more time creating  “work arounds” than time spent generating revenue
  • Your reports take so long to run you’re wondering if you should go back to paper ledgers
  • Processing anything takes so long you’re considering bringing a pillow to work
  • You still have clients in your database from 1996 but haven’t done business with them since 1998
  • You have inventory SKUs listed in your database that won’t even work with today’s technology
  • You started using your accounting software when your daughter was born and she just graduated middle school

So what do you do when you have outgrown your current accounting software?

Be Proactive – don’t wait too long to replace your inadequate system as you’ll eventually lose productivity and not be able to pull sufficient data to make good business decisions.

Make the Decision to Move to a New System Based on Potential Return- moving your business to a new accounting system is a large decision that needs to be based on cost evaluations.  What is the potential cost if you continue using your inadequate system?  What efficiencies could your business achieve with an updated, automated accounting system?

Find a Trustworthy Software Reseller as Your Partner – software resellers exist to help support companies during their move from one software package to another.  Be sure to find one that is looking out for your best interest, not just trying to sell you “their” software solution.

Determine Your Needs and Wants in a New Software Package – software resellers can help you determine your current and future must have software features as well as new and exciting feature that could benefit your company.

Select the Right Solution to Fit Your Unique Business Needs – make sure the new system will be able to grow with your company and be sure to understand the differences between standard functionality versus extra customizations.

If you want to update your system, run more efficiently and finally get a software solution as sophisticated as your business, call Quantum Buyers for a free needs assessment (valued at $250).

Call 866-686-1329 or e-mail us today at sales@quantumbuyers.com.

What To Look For When Selecting New Accounting Software

Over the years we’ve helped a large number of customers choose the right software solution for their business.  So we know a thing or two about selecting new accounting software and we’re pretty good at helping you figure out what you need too.

Needs Assessment and Priorities

Develop a list of must have features and like to have features.  A software partner should be able to help you narrow this down and prioritize the features absolutely vital to your business’s success.  Ask for a needs assessment from your vendor to help you assemble and organize your list.

Ease-of-Use

Of course there will always be a week or two for a learning curve, but whichever software you end up with needs to be easy for you to use or you’ll days will soon become nightmares.

I’m not just talking about a pretty interface either.  Are reports simple to run? How many steps does it take to enter a deposit?  Can you run bank reconciliations while managing other tasks?  Are there too many features you don’t use that makes the software tough to manage?

Functionality

If you run a distribution company, you more than likely need a solution with features specific to your business (like advanced inventory management and reports necessary for you to run an efficient business).  If you’re in manufacturing, look for a solution with control and tracking of assembly jobs.

Industry Requirements and Regulations

If you’re looking at software that claims to be made “just for your industry,” make sure it’s up to speed on all industry regulations.  For instance, if you take credit card payments, you need to make sure the software is PCI compliant.

Compatibility

Make sure your existing set-up (current hardware, network, any software that should integrate with your accounting solution, etc.) is current enough to be able to handle your new software requirements.  Or, if it doesn’t, make sure you have the budget necessary to cover the improvements to your system.

Most solutions list all the system requirements on their website or on the product box, but any software partner or vendor should be able to also help you determine if everything will work happily together.

Usability

Do you need access to features on the road? Do you need to be able to view inventory from your iPad?  Make sure your solution works where you do.

Longevity

Check to make sure the software manufacturer is financially sound and committed to its product.  You don’t want to be left without program support next year and have to start all over again.

If you are just starting to look for new accounting or ERP software and have questions or would like a free software needs assessment us at 866-686-1329 or e-mail us today at sales@quantumbuyers.com.