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Closing the Year in Sage 50: Some items to consider

Many of our clients generate their tax and financial reports on a calendar year basis. With that in mind, here are some year-end accounting items that should be reviewed as the calendar year draws to a close. These same points apply equally to clients reporting on a fiscal year basis.

Some of these may seem very basic. After many years as both an accountant and software consultant, however, I feel that they are very important steps needed to demonstrate the integrity and reliability of your Sage 50 database.

General Ledger

  1. The debit and credit balance totals on the general ledger trial balance should be the same, i.e., they should “balance”
  2. All balance sheet and income statements accounts should be reviewed for reasonableness, investigated and adjusted as necessary. Here are some examples of items that could require further analysis:
    1. If an income account has a debit balance, or an expense or a cost of goods account has a credit balance.
    2. Any prepaid account with a credit balance.
    3. Withheld payroll tax accounts showing a debit balance.
    4. Any other liability account with a debit balance.
    5. The proper allocation of notes or loans between current and long-term portions.
    6. Any balance which is obviously too large, for example; bank charges showing a $50,000 expense charge.
    7. If your books have a suspense, exchange, or clearing account, it should be reviewed and reconciled to the individual transactions where those charges properly belong

Cash and Bank Accounts

  1. All accounts should be reconciled by utilizing the account reconciliation functionality within the Sage 50 software. This is a powerful and easy-to-use feature of Sage 50.
  2. Review all old outstanding checks and deposits to determine if they need to be adjusted or written off.

Accounts Receivable

  1. The accounts receivable subsidiary ledger (i.e., the A/R aging report) total should be the same as the accounts receivable account total on the general ledger trial balance.
  2. The aging report should be reviewed for past due balances and considered for dunning calls or possible write offs.
  3. The aging report should be reviewed for any negative (credit) balances and verified or adjusted as needed.

Accounts Payable

  1. The accounts payable subsidiary ledger (A/P Aging aging report) total should be the same as the accounts payable account total on the general ledger trial balance.
  2. The aging report should be reviewed for past due balances and considered for analysis or possible write offs.
  3. The aging report should be reviewed for any negative (debit) balances and verified or adjusted as needed.

Inventory

  1. If inventory is an integral part of your accounting system, an annual physical inventory count should be taken.
  2. The general ledger inventory accounts on the trial balance should be adjusted to reflect the dollar value of the physical inventory count.
  3. The inventory subsidiary ledger (in Sage50 the inventory valuation report) should then match the physical inventory count and have the same dollar value as the sum of the inventory accounts on the general ledger trial balance.

Financial Statements

  1. At a minimum, the Balance Sheet and Income Statement should be printed and reviewed.
  2. On the Balance Sheet, the total assets must equal the total liabilities plus total capital (equity).
  3. On the Income Statement, the net income year to date must match the net income in the capital section of the Balance Sheet.

 Other Year End (or period end) Considerations

  1. If you are using the budgeting functionality, Income Statements with budget comparisons should be printed and reviewed.
  2. Budgets for the next year should be determined based on variances from the prior year and projections for the new year.
  3. Any chart of accounts ID’s, with no activity either at the year-end or during the year, should be considered for inactivation and ultimately for purging.
  4. The entire chart of accounts should be reviewed, and changes made, to properly reflect the financial information in a manner that is meaningful to management in assessing the financial health of the company.
  5. This is a good time to review customer, vendor and inventory records, to mark as inactive those records which have had no activity for a specified period of time.
  6. If the job cost functionality is being utilized, the various job cost reports should be analyzed and reviewed.
  7. The financial statements, Balance Sheet and Income Statement, should be reviewed for possible redesign prior to the start of the next reporting period, to reflect the evolving reporting needs of management.

You should of course consult with your accountant if you are unclear on how to perform any of these suggested review steps. TriStar may also be able to help you with the “nuts and bolts” of making the needed corrections in the Sage 50 software.  Please don’t hesitate to contact us at 610-941-2116, or by email at info@tristardatasystems.com, with  any questions you may have regarding the configuration of your accounting software or the design of your financial reports..

Posted in Tips & Tricks Tagged with: ,

Sage 50 Security Bulletin Released

Sage Software has recently posted a security bulletin regarding a potential “folder permissions” problem for users of Sage 50 2016 and earlier. This announcement has come on the heels of the release of Sage 50 2018.2, which is designed to address the “Sage 50 has stopped working” issue caused by a recent Microsoft update to Windows 10, which caused a key DLL file to fail when running certain functions within Sage 50.

Here is the text of the Sage 50 security bulletin from Sage Software:

The following potential security risks have been identified with folder permissions. Failure to update your folder permissions exposes your information to increased security risks.

  • During the installation process, users of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 had permissions applied to some installation folders that have now been identified as posing a potential security risk.
    • Granting full permission of shared data files to the group “Everyone” presents another potential security risk for all multi-user installations (including Windows 7/Windows Server 2008 R2). To address the security risk related to shared data files and folder permissions, please reference the following article in the Sage Knowledgebase: KB 10211.
    • To address the potential security risk related to installation, we have created a utility which must be run on all Windows 7/Windows Server 2008 R2 computers with Sage 50 installed that will adjust those permissions. In certain instances, it may be preferable to manually set permissions on the Sage 50 program path folders as an alternative to running the utility. Please reference the Sage Knowledgebase article,  KB 89438, for instructions on accessing and running this utility, as well as manually setting folder permissions.
    • Note: For either security risk to be exploited, an unauthorized user would need to have access to either your computer or to your local area network.

We were caught unawares about the release of this bulletin, and are unclear as to whether or not this security bulletin was released as a direct result of a security breach reported by one or more Sage 50 users. To date we have had no reports of security compromises in the Sage 50 databases for any of our hundreds of Sage 50 clients.

As we are comfortable with our own internal security protocols (we use a Dell SonicWALL to restrict unauthorized access to our internal servers), we have not made this change to our own internal Windows 2008 R2 server that houses Sage 50.

At this time we suggest that you forward this information to your IT service provider to discuss the pros and cons of making the recommended changes to your Sage 50 folder permissions. If you do not have a working relationship with an IT service provider, feel free to email us at info@tristardatasystems.com or give us a call at 610-941-2116 to discuss further or be referred to an IT service provider.

Posted in Errors & Alerts

Sage 50 Obsolescence Policy

End of the road for earlier versions of Sage 50Sage Software has recently notified us of a change in the “Sage 50 obsolescence policy” for supporting editions of the Sage 50 product prior to the current edition.

As of February 28, 2018, Sage will end support for any edition of Sage 50 prior to the 2018 edition (the current version). After this date The following will no longer be available to users of any version earlier than the 2018 edition:

  • Program updates
  • Tax table updates
  • Tax form updates
  • Direct deposit connection to Sage Managed Payroll
  • Credit card processing with Sage Exchange

This does not mean that you can no longer use your software after that date. You will, however, no longer be able to use any of the services listed above.

Aside from these listed services, your software will continue to operate normally, and you are under no license obligation to purchase new software unless you need to use any of the above services.

As has always been the case, TriStar will continue to support all editions of Sage 50, whether or not your edition is supported by the manufacturer. We offer both pre-paid annual support contracts, with a variety of benefits and options, and a la carte remote support sessions for any user of Sage 50, using any version of the product. You can read about our support services by clicking here.

Sage’s prior policy had been to support the current and two previous editions of their software. Sage felt that this policy change was necessary due to the more frequent updates to the Windows operating system released by Microsoft, and to the significant increase in the number of viruses and malware that have been circulating in recent months.

We understand Sage’s position, as a software company maintaining a complicated product in an extremely “fluid” environment.  We believe, however, that the decision on if, when, and how to upgrade a business’s mission-critical software should rest with the software purchaser, without penalty from the software supplier for choosing not to follow the supplier’s upgrade schedule.

TriStar has over 15 years’ experience supporting all “flavors” of the Sage 50/Peachtree product, with hundreds of clients using the software on a daily basis. As the guy from the Farmer’s Insurance commercial says on that clever ad, “We’ve seen a thing or two.”

Talk to us at 610-941-2116 or email us at info@tristardatasystems.com if you have questions  about your Sage 50 software and your upgrade options, or any other issues regarding your accounting software.

Posted in Errors & Alerts

Alert-Sage 50 has stopped working error

The latest update to Windows 10 appears to have “broken” some key elements of Sage 50 2018 and 2017, generating a “Sage 50 has stopped working” error, which then closes the Sage 50 application.

Sage Technical Support reports that the latest Microsoft update to Windows 10 (Windows version 1709) changed three critical Windows DLL files in the “dot net” portion of the Windows 10 operating system, which Sage 50 requires to operate properly. As a result, invoking certain functions in Sage 50 will cause the application to crash.

Sage is researching a fix for this issue, and expects to address the problem in their next Sage 50 2018 service release scheduled for March 2018.

In the interim, any users experiencing this problem should run the Sage 50 2018 or 2017 application in “Compatibility mode” for Windows 8. This is relatively simple to configure:

  1. “right-click” on the Sage 50 icon that you use to open the Sage 50 application (on desktop, task bar, or Start menu)
  2. Select “Properties” from the right-click menu
  3. Click on the “Compatibility” tab from the Properties menu
  4. Place a check in the box that says “Run this program in compatibility mode for”, and if it is not already selected choose Windows 8 from the dropdown menu.

To read the full text of the error report and the temporary fix published by Sage 50, click on this link.

If you experience this error and are not able to complete the steps outlined above, consult with your IT service provider for assistance, or give us call at 610-941-2116 so that we can help implement this temporary workaround to the Sage 50 error.

Posted in Errors & Alerts

Using a Modern General Ledger

modern general ledgerIn a recent white paper “The 10 Essentials of an Effective Financial Solution”, the first point identified as essential in the paper is a “modern general ledger”. Let’s see how Sage 50 meets this criteria.

Premise: The modern general ledger (G/L) is the core of every accounting system and must be dynamic, flexible, scalable and unconstrained by rigid code-block structures.

  1. A modern G/L system must allow for a predefined chart of accounts for a wide range of industries.
    The flexible nature of the Sage 50 chart of accounts allows the use of numerical, alphabetical and alpha-numeric assignment of account codes, as well as segmentation of those codes as discussed below. Sage 50 also provides embedded, industry-specific charts of accounts, if needed. Sage 50 has the added feature of being able to change a G/L account code and have all transaction using that code changed to the new account code automatically. This feature also changes any default information for customer and vendor specific G/L account assignments.
  2. The G/L should be transformative; not a static, one size fits all structure but a dynamic asset that enables companies to tailor G/L processes to meet their unique business needs and changing conditions.
    Sage 50 provides a 15 character chart of accounts code, which can include up to five segments. Financial statements and other reports can be produced using any of the five segments, to enable management to hone in on  specific areas of importance
  3. The G/L must be capable of handling an unlimited number of accounts to power a company’s innovation and growth.
    In our more than 20 years experience working with Sage 50, and Peachtree before that, with all different sizes and types of companies, we have never had a problem with the number of accounts in the G/L.
  4. The G/L must allow the user to define their own starting and ending points for accounting periods.
    We have seen Sage 50 clients with companies using”normal” calendar periods, off calendar periods – such as 52-53 week years – and quarterly periods. The periods in a Sage 50 year can vary from 1 to 13. The starting and ending dates of a year are totally customizable by the user.
  5. The G/L must have the ability to build automated processes.
    This criteria is handled via memorized transactions, recurring entries, copying of entries, and a totally flexible general journal functionality.

Based on the above, we believe that Sage 50 meets all the requirements of a “Modern General Ledger”.

Sage 50Our typical starting point for any new Sage 50 project, either a company new to Sage50, one converting from an earlier edition of Sage 50, or one converting from another software product, is a review of the General Ledger chart of accounts, and a redesign of the chart to meet the specific needs of financial management. Our approach typically is to “start at the end”, determine the company’s reporting requirements, and then work backward to design a chart of accounts that meets those reporting requirements, while also allowing ample room for growth and change.

Do you have reporting issues with your own Sage 50 system? Perhaps a “wish list” of reports you would like to produce more easily? Give the Sage 50 Wizards at TriStar Data Systems a call at 610-941-2116, or email us at info@tristardatasystems.com, to see how we can help you improve your reporting capabilities.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Features, Tips & Tricks Tagged with: , ,