A bill making its way through Congress—the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013—would allow states to require out-of-state businesses to collect sales tax. On May 6, 2013, the Senate passed the Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA). If this legislation passes the House, it will require Internet-based businesses to collect state sales tax based on the shipping address for qualifying states. A state can qualify by simplifying its sales tax and providing software to the public to compute the tax. If this bill becomes law, states would gain authority to make remote businesses collect sales tax, some within 180 days of the bill’s passage. If you sell products that may be liable for out-of-state taxes according to changes in the tax law, you will need to address the difficult tax of complying with the wide variety of state, county and city and special sales taxes nationwide AND ALSO the tax-exemption status for your customers in each affected state. We can help you evaluate Avalara’s AvaTax sales tax calculation and tracking add-on for Sage 100 (Mas 90 & Mas 200) and Sage 300 (Accpac). Avalara finds the sales tax rates even beyond using simple zip-code searches which aren’t always accurate. Avalara also files the necessary Sales Tax Returns for your company in each affected state. The Avalara solution is the only Sales Tax service directly endorsed by Sage. It does require your company to be active on your Sage maintenance plan. If you are concerned about Sales Tax changes, let us know if you would like more information on this product.
Sage has added complementary products that will work with your Sage ERP software for added capabilities. They have been tested and approved for use with Sage ERP products. Here are some of the products. Let us know if you would like more information on how to add these features to your system.
Sage CRM tracks your leads, prospects and communications with businesses before and after they become your customers. Sage CRM integrates with Outlook e-mail to save important correspondence within your ERP system for your access, not just on your salespeople’s laptops.
Sage Business Intelligence and Reporting – create custom financial reports into an excel format for analyzing both financial and non-financial data.
Sage Sales Tax management by Avalara – if you sell into many tax jurisdictions this product keeps your tax rates up-to-date.
Sage HRMS and Payroll – if managing payroll and employee status data is an important part of your business. Consider Sage HRMS to manage all the employee data.
Sage Fixed Assets will help introduce (via Purchase Order interface), track and calculate depreciation of major assets and post to your General Ledger.
Sage Payment Solutions – allows you to take credit-cards for customer purchases in a Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliant package.
Sage Budgeting and Planning – do you spend a lot of time budgeting and planning for the year – here are some tools to assist.
Sage Document Management solutions – document storage can save time, money and paper.
Sage EDI – Electronic Data Interchange for handling transactions with your customers and vendors
Sage 100 version 4.50 (formerly called Mas 90/ Mas 200) has new features for dealing with National (or parent) branch accounts so that you can determine how you analyze and bill companies with one or more branches. See the AR Options National Tab to activate this feature. Credit-limits can be based on the parent plus all branches or on the individual branch’s orders and credit-limit. Sales Analysis figures can be based on Parent or branch or Both (choosing both overstates Sales Analysis totals however). Set the most-common case in the AR Options National Tab as the default for new parent-branch entries. You can change the settings for individual parent-branch situations in AR Setup menu Bill-To-Customer-Maintenance or click the MORE listings on the upper right of Customer Maintenance and select Bill-To/Sold-To. Statement printing now has the option to print the “sold-to” customer invoices on the “bill-to” customer’s statement. Note that only invoices created since the parent-branch link was made will be combined on one statement.
When you first start to use the National Account features, you can link existing customers via the AR Setup menu Bill-to/Sold-To maintenance option for multiple customers, or individually through Customer Maintenance. Once you have setup the parent-branch relationships – if any of your parent/branch customers have credit-limits set to be based on the Parent, be sure to run the new AR Utility to Recalculate Open-order Amounts so all branch open-orders will be aggregated into their parent-company’s Open-Order balance for credit-limit checking purposes. Note: If you are thinking of renumbering your customers in the future, it is advisable to do the renumbering before you activate the National accounts feature – as it will slow down the renumbering process considerably.
Sage is giving financial incentives for their customers to move away from software that will be discontinued to one of Sage’s flagship products. Companies using Sage Businessworks, Platinum for Windows and Sage Pro ERP and now Sage 500 (Mas 500) can receive significant discounts by migrating to Sage 100 (formerly MAS 90 and MAS 200), Sage 300 (formerly Accpac) and Sage X3 under the Sage Investment Protection Plan. This is an important deal, and it should be reviewed as part of companies’ strategic planning. Companies will receive credits for their existing user-licenses (both companies on maintenance plans and off-plan) when they migrate. This deal will not last forever, and will be reduced in the fall of 2013. Friendly Systems, Inc. is a reseller of Sage 100 (formerly MAS 90 & MAS 200), and also Sage 300 (formerly Accpac), and we are available to help you in evaluating these products for your needs. Let us know if you have questions.
Do you have multiple companies set up in Sage 100 (formerly Mas 90/200) system? Do you ever get confused and look-for or enter data in the wrong company?
You can set different colors for different companies in Sage 100, formerly MAS 90 and Mas 200. Beginning in version 4.40.05 – Sage added a new feature to allow you to change the background color for all screens in a company. You can leave your primary company with the current grey background, and change other companies to other colors to further remind you what company you are in. The company color setting is in the Library Master -> Main menu Company Maintenance option. See the Preferences-Tab in the section for Background Colors. You can select from the 40 colors shown, or define your own color using the Define Custom Colors button under the color-pallette. Muted colors work best to allow the heading and data black-text on white-background to appear clearly. The screen background-colors do NOT apply to Library Master programs, so test your colors on other module options. You can easily turn your color-selection off if it doesn’t suit you. See below for some examples using XYZ (yellow) and ABC (blue) companies:
Right-clicking on a menu option in Sage 100 allows you to open that option in a secondary company without changing-company for everything else, including screens that you already have open. This can be useful for several situations: 1) If you have multiple companies setup in your system, this is a quick way to respond to momentary requests for information from another company without leaving your current company. You can enter data like a customer-contact change, or transactions such as a manual-check or GL Entry in another company, while all other options stay-open in your current company. 2) you might check for history in a history company if your history files have gotten so large that you save history in a history-company, or check info on a former employee in a payroll prior-year backup company. 3) you might like to test a procedure or option in a TEST company (copy of your live company data) before trying it in your live company. Finally, you may want to look at one of the Sage demo-companies ABC, ABX, XYZ to see how they have setup or used a feature that you are considering. Using the right-click on a menu-option allows you to stay in your main company while momentarily doing things in any second company. This feature was added to Mas 90/200 for versions 4.20 forward, and it works with all modules including work-order and payroll.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) strategies and technologies play a key role in helping organizations grow from small, entrepreneurial companies into multi-million dollar powerhouses. Studies have shown that organizations in the growth stage of their lifecycle typically need to formalize their information technology systems.
How do you grow, while providing a continued excellent customer experience? The next stage requires a new set of rules, processes and information systems. The good news is that CRM can add tremendous value in conquering new challenges and establishing a platform for sustained growth. Organizations that are able to create an environment, with proper levels of structure, information systems, communication protocol and reporting capabilities are the ones that are able to make the leap into continued growth.
Motivation: Help your teams see the benefits in the transition to enterprise CRM:
Putting data into the system will help your teams get more out of it. Having accessible, accurate information is critical to the success of the company. When a customer calls, more than one person needs to be able to help the customer. For a support issue, the sales/account and even marketing teams to be aware of the event.
Lead nurturing will bring more qualified leads, and is a team effort.
Success breeds success; happy customers are vocal and powerful and a valuable asset. As the organization grows, companies sometimes take their eye off the ball. The executive team must prevent this from happening. There will come a time when each sales team member will need a reference from “someone else’s” customer in order to close a deal.
Increased Information Value: to a salesperson when a support-case is visible before making a call, or to marketing when sales hears of a successful use of the product. The benefits to management are obvious: visibility into processes and ability to forecast future success with more accuracy. Your company can be more responsive to prospects and customers, and your customer acquisition and retention rates will grow.
Depending upon your approach, you may automate information sharing processes by using CRM technology. Teams will then have the increased ability to collaborate within and across departments.
Corporate Barriers: Functional Silos and Informational Silos. In growing companies, departmental rivalries can develop. Often this develops as people focus on their duties, tuning out what others are doing and keeping communications “vertically” focused within their department (instead of sharing information “horizontally” throughout the company). Functional and informational silos stymie coordination among departments.
Functional Silos Job functions once performed by one or two people are now done by multiple groups with several people in each group. Each individual performs his or her own part of the operational pie. The problem with growing companies is that the potential for decisions to be made in a vacuum by each functional area has now increased. Accountability can be lost. Fingers can start to point. Marketing, sales and customer service aren’t on the same page, and ultimately the customer suffers. In order to truly realize the potential of your CRM initiative, you must unify the functional silos that have developed throughout your entire organization.
Encourage each department to understand the roles they play in your overall operation. Develop a program that educates employees about mission, vision and the importance that all roles play.
Information Silos As roles are distributed across functions and individuals, information becomes separated and decentralized. What was once in the minds and systems of one or two people may now be distributed across many customer-facing individuals, and their respective “systems.” If you’re like most companies in your growth stage, customer information is fragmented across spreadsheets, word processing documents in multiple folders on laptops, network drives, and workstations. Emails, notepads, multiple databases such as ACT!, Outlook and Goldmine, and your accounting system contain data about prospects and customers. These disparate data sets, combined with insights in the talented minds of your employees contain the institutional knowledge that you need access to. Your customers expect everyone they interact with to be able to reference information about them in real time.
Bringing People and the Right Information Together If you are able to create alignment between people across roles and departments, they must collaborate around a central customer information repository that contains customer information from throughout your organization. This may require new integrated information systems, standardizing naming conventions and data maintenance guidelines. This alignment of your information is critical to gaining efficiencies now, and also providing the platform and framework for continued growth. When everyone who interacts with your customers and prospects has access to a holistic view of customer information, this has the potential to create a superior customer experience, and restore that small and intimate culture that originally propelled your historical growth.
Considerations for Unifying Data Identify all the places where customer information is stored today. Understand how each department manages and interacts with that customer information and how stakeholders create, consume and distribute information. Lay the groundwork for a unified data model that works for all constituents who will be using the CRM system. Create a unified procedures agreed upon by all stakeholders.
Define a clear road map for change. This will potentially include data cleanup, new guidelines, ongoing data cleansing activities, and a formalization of how data is allowed to be input into the system.
The biggest difference is that you need to move everyone to a centralized platform, maybe for the first time ever. The corporate system has to serve more constituents with more disparate roles. Systems initially serving an individual or small workgroups may have stretched their reach to the departmental level. Now it is critical that everyone collaborates and works from an integrated system to enable “oneness” as if you were still a small business. Many salespeople are not so willing to give that data up to “corporate Big Brother.” The cultural issue around technology will be their willingness to change from a contact-manager that was designed for their individual productivity to a CRM sales application that may enhance their individual productivity, but will designed for corporate productivity.
It is time for the company, not the individual salesperson, to own the customer data.
The account or opportunity is the core focus of the sales management, rather than managing a contact. That means you know more than one person at the company and you have multiple opportunities to juggle.
Metrics are needed to measure the success of sales opportunities, salespersons, marketing campaigns and customer satisfaction with support and the company as a whole.
Scalability: Multiply the number of salespeople by the number of contacts and the transaction records and attachments, and you will see that a database with a 100,000-record limitation is no longer enough. Relational databases with millions of records as a limit are now the needed norm. If you plan to grow, scalability is not an option, it is a requirement.
Mobile salespeople want to use their own devices for business purposes. Accessing and synchronizing data via tablet and smartphone devices is increasingly mission critical.
Pipeline management and Sales forecasting: pipeline management – seeing how each salesperson is doing, what they are doing and how they expect to do in the future. Forecasting: analytic tools for forecasting (and/or collaboration tools) that improve the chances of success in closing opportunities.
Marketing Automation / Revenue Performance Management is the latest growth engine for sales and marketing professionals. The ability to understand and respond at more granular levels of the sales process opens up new opportunities and challenges for marketers.
The goal of CRM is the single repository with a consistent view of the customer across stakeholder channels providing collaboration, synergy, superior customer service, marketing and forecasting capabilities for your company’s continued growth.
Ned Lilly, CEO of xTuple recently blogged concerning xTuple’s open-source philosophy: “Our users – whether they’re community members using the totally free version, or commercial customers using (a paid license-version)- are in control of their own destinies. They don’t have to worry about picking up the Wall Street Journal one morning and seeing that their software partner has been gobbled up (by a conglomerate). They have the source code, no matter what – and they are members of a thriving global community of users that is bigger than any one company.”
The xTuple PostBooks version(free download) is one of the most downloaded products on SourceForge. It includes extensive Accounting features plus Inventory, Sales Order, Purchase Order, Bill-of-Material, Workorder and also multi-bin capabilities, kitting, and an assemble-to-order configurator. It is built on the scalable PostreSQL open source database. If your business has reached the limits of QuickBooks, Peachtree or MYOB, or if you are looking for a starter solution that you won’t have to throw away in a year, then xTuple PostBooks can help. xTuple PostBooks is the ideal business software platform for many small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs). xTuple is listed in the InfoWorld 2012 Best of Open Source Software (Bossie Awards) in the ERP catagory.
xTuple PostBooks is the base accounting system for xTuple’s more extensive commercially licensed editions. xTuple’s commercially licensed editions include:
Standard - all of the Postbooks functions plus multi-warehouse, emailing documents, EDI, lot/serial control, RMA, revision control, and MRP (material requirements planning).
Project Edition – which is the Standard Edition plus project accounting.
Manufacturing Edition provides everything you need to run a sophisticated modern shop. it features multi-plant MRP, production scheduling, bills of operations, breeder bills for process manufacturing, capacity planning, and more.
Enterprise Edition—Manufacturing, Project, Web portal, Fixed Assets, xTuple Connect (formerly Batch Manager) data integration, plus the new Advanced Commissions module. For a comparison of features among these additions, see: http://www.xtuple.com/comparison
xTuple ERP 4.0.0 – Fall 2012 introduces Web/Mobile Client.
Web/Mobile Client: now includes a Mobile Web application – empowering you to manage your business without being tethered to a physical office – improving productivity and profitability.
Positive Pay Export is an anti-fraud service offered my many banks. It protects companies against altered or counterfeit check fraud. When you issue a check, it provides the bank with a list of the check information. When someone attempts to cash a check, the bank will validate the check against the information you provide and if it does not match, the check will be refused. Today’s printers and software are capable of creating fake checks and are cheap and easy to use.
A dishonest person copies your account number, routing and bank coding from a check into software which allows them to perfectly create a replica check in whatever amount they desire. When a bank cashes the check – the check appears genuine since all the account information is valid. Only later will you uncover the theft. In many cases the bank covers the loss but requests that for future checks you issue to them what is called a positive pay file.
Positive Pay is a listing of all the check numbers you’ve written, the payees and the amount. This file is loaded to your bank’s systems so when someone tries to cash one of your checks the bank knows whether the check is valid or not.
How do you create a positive pay file?
Sage 100 ERP Bank Reconciliation, as of version 4.40.02 has this capability built-in. You can choose from a set of common bank format templates – or easily create your own layout. The Positive Pay Export Wizard assists you in creating the export-file in the format specified by your bank. If your bank changes their format, you can use the Export Wizard to make changes to your export file format.
Sage 100 ERP exports this data to a text file when you print checks. You then upload this file to your bank for their use in seeking out possible fraud on your checking account. If you do not have the Bank Reconciliation module, or you are set with an earlier version of Mas 90 or Mas 200, let us know and we can add Positive-Pay file creation to your system.
Generate Purchase Orders from Sales Order Entry – Interesting Setup note in Sage 100 (formerly Mas 90 & Mas 200)August 9th, 2012 by Lee Graham
There is an interesting setup note if you want to generate Purchase Orders from within Sales Order Entry in Sage 100 version 4.50 (formerly MAS 90/200). On the PO Main menu, the Auto Generate from Sales Orders option contains a Default Settings button, which leads to a page where you set your defaults for generating Purchase Orders from Sales Orders. These default settings are used here, but they ALSO CONTROL the generation of Purchase Orders from within Sales Order Entry. These settings have to do with order-types to include, product-types to include and handling of comments and more settings. Other settings on the Purchase Order Setup Options Generate tab also control how Purchase Orders are created from Sales Orders. They include the option to combine multi-sales orders for a vendor on one P.O. and sales order fields to include, such as ship-to address, ship-via, FOB, etc. So when you start generating Purchase Orders from within Sales Order Entry, be sure to also review your Default-Settings options on the Auto Generate from Sales Orders option on the PO Main menu when you have a problem or wonder about additional features.