by Brian Terrell
I built my business on automation, and often say I enjoy helping clients do more work with less effort. And, I sometime flirt with over automation, which occurs whenever an automation costs more to develop that it returns in savings. In other words, over automation results in doing less work with more effort. I feel disgusted when I fall into the over-automation trap; however, it occurs as an honest and overly optimistic outgrowth of technology curiosity that has other, not-so-easily measured benefits. I assure you that filing the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) quarterly state unemployment tax report using Sage 300 ERP (formerly called Sage Accpac) does not fall into the category of over-automation.
Sage 300 ERP provides an out-of-the-box state unemployment report filing function, but I never used it. Shame on me…it might be even easier. However, since I can execute my method in minutes per quarter without thinking, I'll wait to read some other person's blog to get up to speed on the out-of-the-box Sage function. Until then, I'll just recite what I have done for more than 15 years (times three companies times four quarters per year).
Step 1 requires obtaining a TWC login for the state commission's self service web site. Note that I can file on behalf of companies that I do not own if properly authorized, and this helps the managed payroll service provider, bookkeeper or CPA firm provide this service for a client.
After setting up my online account, I print Sage 300 ERP's Payroll Quarterly Wage Report by Employee to Preview and export to Excel. use the "data only" format, and I export directly to the application. After choosing the Format and Destination, accept all of the default selections in the export function:
This causes the report to open in Excel, whereupon I delete the first row and move the column headers in the new first row (the row that becomes the first row after I delete the original first row) one column to the left (overwrite that column header in Column A entitled TXSUTA). This places the column headers above the correct column heading.
Delete all columns except SSN, Last Name, First Name, Middle Name, and Total Earnings. Total Earnings, in this case, represents quarter-to-date total wages. Texas asks only for these five columns. I then move First Name and Middle Name to be between SSN and Last Name using the cut and paste command applied to the entire column. Next, I add up the Total Earnings column and tie it to the original report, which I leave open in the Preview window for this purpose. If the total ties to the report, delete the total and delete the first row. We no longer need the column headings and we no longer need the check total.
Save the file under an appropriate name in an appropriate location. Remember, the wage information for the entire company should be carefully managed. Log in to the TWC Employer Services web site, choose the correct Employer record (if managing several employers), and upload the wage information from the file. If there are any records containing zeroes in the Total Wages row, the site will ask if it can delete those records. Answer yes and tie in the results to the check total, which may still be open in the Preview window. Follow instructions for filing the report and remitting the payment.
Payment remittance can be made by credit card or by bank transfer. Alternatively, the website can prepare a remittance advice that I can then print to paper and mail in with my check. The online payment or check must be remitted by the last day of the month following the end of the payroll quarter.
22 years ago, when I first began to use the product formerly known as Accpac, I wrote a special report to print the TWC continuation pages using a dot matrix printer. If you remember what a "continuation page" is or even what a dot matrix printer is, then you are a veteran. choose my words carefully here, as I am a veteran, too! However, my time as a payroll veteran draws nigh…please look forward to an upcoming post on why I believe fewer and fewer SMBs will be doing their own payroll over time.