BTerrell Group Blog

Michelle Tanner

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Your Most Common Questions for 1099 Reporting

Posted by Michelle Tanner on Fri, Jan 09, 2015

1099 reporting only happens once a year, so it is no surprise that we all forget the process to get these forms printed and distributed in a timely manner. Here's a quick link to our post from last year on Common Questions Re: Genertaing 1099-MISC Forms from Sage 300 ERP.

 

Tags: 1099

10 Best Practices to Prevent Failures in ERP Evaluation, Purchase and Implementation

Posted by Michelle Tanner on Thu, Jun 05, 2014

by Siying Wang

Launching an ERP system in your business is one of the most complicated and high cost propositions. However, the potential mistakes and unexpected situations are around every corner. How do you make your ERP system implementation a success? Listed below are 10 best practices in the ERP evaluation, purchase and implementation process that helps you avoid becoming an ERP horror story.

ERP Evaluation

Best Practice #1 Define clear goals for your ERP project

The simplest way to avoid failure in the ERP evaluation process is knowing why you need an ERP implementation. Before you start, we strongly recommend you look beyond the immediate business needs you are trying to accomplish. With clear goals, you can finally evaluate what critical business needs the ERP solution will address for you.

Best practice #2 Have a clear understanding of your business processes

Many companies failed just because they do not have an “inside look” before they begin an EP evaluation. However, a clear understanding of business processes is important for evaluating suitable ERP software, and helps you maximize the business benefits and efficiencies.

Best practice #3 Make sure you have enough time and resources

There is a common failure in the evaluation process that companies often underestimate the resources and time needed to launch a new ERP system. A successful evaluation requires sufficient time contribution, commitment by top management team, and front-line employee involvement. Make sure you have enough time and resources to run evaluations processes, or you may consider the assistance from professional consultants.

 

ERP Purchase

Best practice #4 Understand the key features and chose the right ERP software

Some business owners purchase the ERP software just because other companies in the industry are using it or through friend’s recommendation. While the reputation of a certain ERP solution in a specific field is an important criteria for ERP selection, you still need to make your own choice based on understanding the how the key features are used in your office daily. The right ERP solution that fit the company’s needs will boost the business process, complete functions faster, and support the whole management team.

Best Practice #5 Do your own research and properly vet ERP vendors

I think the American version of what my father taught me is, “Do not put all your eggs in one basket.” Actually, before you make your final decision, you should have at least three vendors’ names in your hand. Always ask for references, particularly those in your industry, about what they like and dislike about their ERP systems. Then call and discuss in detail the functionality, features, and challenges with vendors, do not just ask “yes” or “no” questions.

Best practice #6 Justify the investment and negotiate the contract

Purchasing ERP software sometimes means money costing, and you should always remember to justify the investment based on the specific ERP solution that you select. Be smart on your budget, the potential tangible and intangible benefits should compare to the costs. Then, you may get a better negotiating position because of your dedicated investment performance analysis.

ERP Implementation

Best practice #7 Make sure your data inputs are correct

Some of the clients fail in ERP implementation just because they input the wrong data. Your ERP system will work for you only if you input sufficient and accurate data. Therefore, if you are willing to minimize the potential errors and increase success in EP implementation, it is imperative to make sure that you put the right documents, programming, and procedural parameters in place.

Best Practice #8 Establish an active testing environment

Many ERP projects are deemed failures because of insufficient system and software testing before full operation. Before you get started, do not forget to look at various areas that may cause future problems. An active testing environment will help you avoid costly unplanned downtimes, such as unauthorized access, system overloads, and invalid data entering.

Best practice #9 Invest in training and education

The lack of investing in training and education can prevent an ERP implementation from succeeding. Therefore, ERP training and education is very important as most users must learn the keystrokes and transactions which are required to run the entire system. In addition, the well-trained employees may help your company shorten the frustration period of transition.

Best practice #10 Launch a maintenance strategy

It is obvious that the subsequent maintenance services absolutely are critical for successfully launching your ERP systems. If you do not take advantage of your support services, your systems will get outdated quickly and prevent you from improving your business processes. Therefore, a maintenance strategy should be added to the implementation process. Always ask your consulting partners for help on software upgrades, periodic system reviews, system modifications and more.

 

Reference material: How to Evaluate ERP Software 

 

Siying Wang is an MBA candidate at the University of Texas at Dallas interning with us this summer.


 

Tags: software evaluation, software implementation

Restoring a SQL Database to an Older Version of SQL

Posted by Michelle Tanner on Tue, May 13, 2014

by Kevin Yu


I ran across an interesting situation last week where I needed to restore a backup copy of a SQL 2012 database to SQL 2008 R2. You can restore databases from 2005 or 2008 to 2012 by using the backup and restore functions in SQL Server Management Studio, but not the other way around.

What I did to get work around this issue was to use the Generate Scripts… function.

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This brings up a wizard that lets you choose what objects you want to include and provides you some options with how your scripts should be saved or published. Within the Advanced Scripting Options window, I chose SQL Server 2008 R2 since that was the version I needed restored. I also included Schema and data for the Types of data to script.

If the script is not too large, you can just run the script in SQL Server Management Studio without any issues. However in my case, since I chose to script the schema and data, I got an error message when trying to run the script saying that I had insufficient memory to continue the execution of the program.

To work around this issue, I used the sqlcmd utility to run my script from the command prompt.

  1. Open command prompt window
  2. Type sqlcmd –S server\instance –i C:\MyScriptFile.sql
  3. Press Enter.

I’ve included a list of other arguments you can pass sqlcmd below:

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In this situation where the database versions differ, I actually recommend upgrading the older database version to match the newer version if possible. If not, then I hope the steps I took above help you work around the compatibility issues between versions.

Tags: SQL database, SQL

Configuring Intacct for Sales Tax Compliance Part 1

Posted by Michelle Tanner on Tue, May 06, 2014

by Chris Firra

 

I recently attended Intacct’s Advanced Implementation Training, where a variety of topics were examined. One of the class exercises caused me to think about the controller's chore of maintaining sales tax compliance when a company has multi-state tax liabilities. It's a task that is often under-appreciated in terms of its complexity and risk.   

 

Imagine that you are the controller of a services company with customers dispersed in an expanding number of states and localities. You select Intacct as your new best-of-breed, cloud-based accounting system, and you decide that your customer invoicing may be done through the A/R module. However, when you reach the point of configuring sales tax, you see that Intacct provides two options to handle your multi-state sales tax requirements, and you now wonder which option to select.  

 

Today, I'll focus on the first of these options, "Advanced Tax configuration." Sales and use tax calculation is built into Accounts Receivable, Order Entry, Accounts Payable and Purchase Order modules, so there are no additional subscriptions required to implement this strategy. The initial set up is straight-forward, but can be somewhat lengthy. As implied in the slide below (thanks to Intacct instructor, David Bell), sales tax configuration involves adding tax authorities with corresponding rate details, tax schedules, and then defining the taxability of both customers and items by "tagging" them with the appropriate tax group.

 

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Let's examine the required configuration steps for setting up the first tax jurisdiction when billing is done through A/R.  

 

Step 1: Configure Accounts Receivable or Order Entry to enable sales tax calculation on A/R invoices and to enable the use of Tax Schedules, the purchase of which we will see a little bit later.

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Step 2: Set up each Tax Authority for which the company has nexus. Keep in mind that the name of tax authority cannot contain non-alphanumeric fields, such as commas. An example of a valid tax authority might be City of Dallas TX or Cook County IL.

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Step 3: Create corresponding Tax Details, which contain the tax rates for each Tax Authority. There should be at least one tax detail for each tax authority.

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Step 4: Create a tax schedule for each locality or combination of tax rates that will be encountered. For example, you'll need a Tax Schedule for taxable sales within the City of Dallas, TX, which will be subject to the combination of sales tax from the State of Texas, City of Dallas and the Dallas Mass Transit Authority.

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Step 5: Tag each item sold within a tax group (Taxable or Non-taxable).
Step 6: Tag each customer with a contact tax group indicating jurisdiction in Customers Additional Information tab under Invoicing details. 
 

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If invoices are generated from Order Entry, there is are additional steps, which include tagging each taxable sales item with a tax group and setting up Tax Schedule Map for each jurisdiction. 

 

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Of course, a tax line must also be part of the invoice Transaction Definition in order to calculate and display sales tax amount on a customer invoice.

 

Once these configurations for Advanced Tax set up complete, invoices for multiple tax authorities can be generated and tracked.

 

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However, the controller's job of maintaining the sales tax configuration is not done and, in fact, it never quite is. Each new tax jurisdiction must be added and tax rates as well as item tax treatments must be maintained. This task is manageable, as long as the number of tax jurisdictions is not overwhelming. However, in a multi-state setting, the number of tax jurisdictions could number in the hundreds. Changing tax rates and tax treatment of items can require a near full-time employee equivalent to maintain the system.

 

In a future article, we'll take a look at the second option for Sales Tax in Intacct, which uses Ava-Tax, to reduce both the labor and risks of maintaining sales tax compliance in a complex environment. Please contact BTerrell Group if you have questions about the best method for maintaining sales tax compliance for your company.

 

Tags: sales tax, sales and use tax, Intacct