Archive for June, 2011


 

 

Period end is a serious time for Accounts departments. They need to make sure that their data is accurate in order to produce management accounts.

 

But often users do not know or understand what they need to do in Sage 200. 

 

The Sage 200 period control is all about controlling what transactions can post to the Nominal Ledger for a period. There is no effect on the Sales or Purchase ledger trading periods which are completely date based. The VAT return also uses its own Period control.

 

Though the period control is split by Sales, Purchase, Cashbook and Nominal; these descriptions relate to the type of transaction; and not individual Ledgers.

 

It is possible to allow multiple periods to be open at a time, which can help negate the need to close the different elements at different times. So though you may not be ready to close the current period you can open the next period anyway and report on both periods. The date of the transactions will dictate the period effected.

 

As Sage 200 is date driven a transaction will post into the period it is dated. If the transaction is future dated it will post into deferred until the period is opened. If it is dated for a closed period it will post in to the nearest Open period.

 

N.B. Date validation can help to prevent and/or control users entering closed or future period dates.

 

So….

 

How do you prepare for a period end?

 

What tasks need to be done?

 

What documents should be produced?

 

How do you perform a period end?

 

The attached document is a good guide of what a user needs to do and consider.

Talking Sage 200 – Period End Routines

 

Important…..

 

  • Remember to take a backup.
  • Process and update all transactions for the period.
    • Including foreign currency revaluation and processing SO/DD
  • Periods can be re-opened if required.
  • Reports can be run retrospectively.
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I have finally managed to look through the 2011 new features for BOM/Manufacturing.

The 2010 release saw some functionality lost that allowed users to update Operation details on mass. This was due to the changes made to the new BOM module. With all due respect this was an error, and in some cases became an upgrade stopper.

The GOOD NEWS is that 2011 (as promised) sees the return of this functionality.

Resources

Labour, Machine and Tools registers each have an update function that will allow you to update Resources to be based on their group settings. E.g. Labour items can be updated to reflect the settings attributed to the Labour Resource Group that they are assigned to.

The properties that can be updated in each register are:

  • Cost Heading
  • Cost Nominal Account
  • Allow Cost Rate Override
  • Overhead Nominal Account
  • Efficiency %
  • Overhead Recovery %
  • Time Units

 Operations

Operations have two separate options. 

Operation Update Details allows users to update the BOM Operation details (i.e. operations settings assigned to BOM records) to reflect the default settings assigned within the Operations register.

I.e. if you amend the default settings of an Operation(s) in the register, this routine will update these changes to the BOM’s with these operations.

You are able to update the following details:

  • Resources
  • Sub-contractor details
  • Overlap (Manufacturing only)
  • Run Time
  • Delay (Manufacturing only)
  • Shrinkage (Manufacturing only)
  • Notes

A useful option is whether you update BOM Operations that were manually amended to be specific to an individual BOM.

There is a lot of flexibility with this function as you are able to decide the BOM records that are updated.

E.g. If the Operation selected to update is assigned to 10 BOMs, the system will show the 10 BOM’s it is on, and you are then able to remove the BOMs that you do not want updated.

The system has an important validation process that lists Exclusions and Warnings, for those BOM’s that can’t be updated. May be they are on Hold, do not have an active version etc.

Update Operation Rates allows you to update Cost rates on Resources/Operations that are already on a BOM Operation.

Firstly you select a Source Type from:

                Resource Record (Labour/Machine/Tools)

                Resource Group (Labour/Machine/Tool)

                Operation Records

Then select the specific source:

                I.e. if you selected the type Resource record, now select Labour/Machine or Tools Register.

Then select the Target record:

                Resource

                Operations

                BOM Operations

I.e. what is it that you want to update?

If BOM Operations are being updated then a validation process is done. You then have the option to select specific BOM records that you wish to update. Where BOM records are being updated, you are given the option to re-cost the BOMs.

Bill of Materials

Add Component

This is utility allows you to add a component to Multiple BOMs. Simple and effective!

BOM Costing Analysis

There is now a Graphical analysis to allow better visualisation of the costing effects.

New settings allow you to determine the default behaviour for the cost analysis screen.

  • Select what data the charts display
    • Date range used
    • How to show sub-assembly costs
    • Whether multiple versions are shown
  • Select what values to show
    • Unit Cost including overheads
    • Suggest selling price
    • Profit
  • How the Chart is displayed, such as colours and labelled axis.

When the costing screen is viewed you are able to select two graphical views of the data. Analysis shows you a costing analysis with Unit Cost, Profit and Suggested Selling Price.

Actual Comparison shows the difference between planned costs and Actual costs. Planned costs are costing sessions done from within the BOM record. Actual costs are from the BOM Build/Confirm Build process.

For manufacturing sites, Works order Planned and Actual comparisons are also shown.

The first question end users will ask is – Can the Graph be printed? The answer is really, No; although there is a button to copy it to the clipboard!

BOM Reverse Build

The long-awaited BOM reverse build is introduced in 2011. This allows users to reverse the build of a BOM, previously completed within BOM. Effectively the function is a dismantle function to correct user error.

The feature is only for BOM builds, and not Manufacturing builds.

A new list view shows a list of BOM build records, and the whole reversal process can be managed from this list.

There a number of restrictions and outcomes to be aware of with this function, in particular:

  • You cannot partially reverse
  • The system checks that the stock of the finished item CREATED BY THE BUILD is still available.
  • An AVERAGE cost re-calculation is performed on finished items reversed from stock.
  • Nominal postings use the same Transaction Date & URN as the original build entry.
  • FIFO rules are NOT applied when items are returned to stock.
  • If the original build was created from a BOM allocation, then a New BOM allocation is created by the reversal.

BOM Workspace

A new BOM workspace in 2011 gives users an improved view of BOM records.

Conclusion… 

For me these new features are all improvements to what was already available. It seems that it has all been about making long jobs simpler for users.

Each feature will be a benefit to the user in the function that they are designed to perform.

The BOM reversal function may not go far enough for some people; who would have hoped to have been able to reverse BOMs for salvage type operations. However in the main I think that it will work for most and will be a worthwhile reason to upgrade.

I came across this problem having upgraded a site from 2009 to 2010. It is however a common problem that can occur with 2003 Servers.

Having installed 2010 I went to login into System administration, to update the databases etc.

However as soon as I clicked the icon I got the following error:

Error when trying to access Syatem Administration

Having clicked ok (Twice!!), the console form opens but without any System Administration options.

Solution:

Click ok (Twice)

Select File>Options>Disk Clean Up

Select Delete Files

If you attempt to log in to System Administration at this point the MMC console form displays with the following message:

System Administration MMC error

N.B. This is an error that can occur as a separate issue.

Run the following command prompt:

Cd c:\windows\microsoft.net\framework\v2.0.50727

< PRESS ENTER>

Installutil “c:\Program Files\Sage\Sage200\Sage.MMSAdmin.MMCSnapIn.dll”

You should now be able to access System Administration.

I have been amazed recently by the number of sites that pay their suppliers by BACS but do not make use of the Sage 200 E-banking functionality.

Users are actually duplicating work by entering payments into Sage 200 (either manually or by using Payment processing) and then manually entering them into their Bank.

Using the Payment Processing routine (sometimes called Suggested Payments), Sage 200 is the only place where the payments need to be entered. The routine will generate a .csv file of the payments created which can then be imported into your BACS system or bank account. That means potentially saving you hours of work as you only need to do half of the work.

  1.  Enable electronic payments in the Purchase Ledger settings.
     

    Enable in Purchase Ledger Settings
  2. Create a payment group that will generate an electronic file.

    Create a Payment Group

  3. Amend the Cashbook account that payments will be posted to. Here you are able to select which E-banking system you use. N.B. this tells Sage 200 what structure the file needs to be in.

    Amend the Cashbook account

  4. Amend suppliers so that you have their Bank details and so that they are part of the Payment group above.  

    Add Supplier Bank Details

    Add Suppliers to the appropriate payment group

     

  5. Use suggested payments in the normal way, to select your payments.
  6. Generate payments for the above payment group; this will create you a CSV file.
  7. Import the CSV file into your Bank system.
  8. Most Banks will allow you to view and amend, if necessary, transactions before you confirm them.

Since Workspaces became available in version 2009, I have found it quite hard to convince users to use and make the most of them.

What is preventing users from utilising workspaces?

 • The Speed it takes to load them up.

 • They are hidden away, and so often forgotten about.

 • They do not know how extendable they are.

 • Often seen as another way of being able to do the same things.

Do You Know How Powerful Workspaces Are?

Workspaces are interactive enquiry screens. They are laid out to allow you to view up to date information, on a number of panels, which interact with each other. You are also able to access the standard processing actions and reports.

A number of workspaces are available out of the box and these can be amended to suit your own requirements. The layout of each panel can be amended in a similar way to the standard list views available in each module. Columns can be added from a predefined list, filters can be made on the columns and columns can be re-sorted etc.

The most POWERFUL part of Workspaces is the Workspace designer, which gives users and Business partners the ability and flexibility to create new Workspaces. In some respects it means an enquiry screen can be created in the same way a report can! The designer also allows you to extend the out of the box workspaces, for example you may want to add a column to the workspace that isn’t available. Using the Designer you can make it available.

What are the Positives?

• You are able to view data in an easy and readable format.

• You are able to view data from multiple modules or even data sources, in one enquiry. N.B. Using the Designer you can add information from other data sources such as excel or CRM.

• You can easily view information and process transactions with limited clicks.

• You can view related data within the one screen, where you normally would need to run multiple reports or open different enquiry screens. For example the Credit Control Workspace allows you to get Customer account detail and then outstanding transaction details in the one view.

Credit Control Workspace

• You can create your own, new Workspaces.

What are the Negatives?

• The workspaces are in a separate area of the desktop, rather than within their related modules.

• They can be slow to load when the Workspaces option is selected on the module.

Go on, have a look….

1. To use the default workspaces, select Workspaces from the Tool Bar or Navigation Bar.

2. To create or edit workspaces, select Tools > Workspace Designer. (Your user properties will need to have access enabled via System Administration)

Look out for future posts with tips about amending Workspace!!!

Here is a document released by Sage, that details all issues that are resolved within the Sage 200 2011 release.

Sage 200 2011 Live Issues Fixed

In a recent data migration from Sage Line 100 to Sage 200 2010 I experienced the following issue with a bank transaction.

As per the migration checklist I did a ‘Prove Balances’ of the Bank accounts in Line 100 and there were no problems. After the migration I then did a ‘Prove Balances’ in Sage 200 and, for one account, an adjustment had been made.

The Migration Tool had completed, without any fatal errors. There was an error log, however nothing related to the cashbook.

In line 100 the balance was £47201.40 with 19109 transactions. In Sage 200 the balance was adjusted to £39116.40 with only 19108 transactions.

As the difference was made up of only one transaction, it made it quite easy for me to find out the transaction details. I used ODBC query to look for a transaction to the value of the difference (£8085.00). I then obviously looked within Sage 200 Cashbook, to make sure that the transaction didn’t exist.

With the details of the missing transaction found, I then set about searching for it within the log file by doing a find on the URN.

I found the missing transaction highlighted below:

Data Migration Log details

Data Migration Log details

The key to me solving the problem was actually in the details preceding the highlighted information. It is apparent that there is some sort of conflict with the currency on this transaction.

I used an ODBC query to find the ID of the transaction currency.

From this I was able to look at the currency’s details and found it did not have a Currency name. Because of this the currency is not migrated into the Currency table and therefore transactions using it cannot be migrated.

When importing stock items recently I experianced a bug, that is a known issue by Sage.

I did a validate and import and no invalid entries were identified. However when I did the Import I received the following error message: 

Stock Import Error
Stock Import Error
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
This was because a ‘Supplier minimum quantity’ had been entered for an item, but no ‘Supplier usual order quantity’ had been. Though this makes sense, the import templates do not specify this requirement, and the validate routine does not pick it up.

EC Sales List Viewer

The EC Sales list is only an XML file output, so that it is ready for submission to HMRC.

Business Partners are able to download an EC Sales list viewer which will allow you to show the details of the xml file with in a screen.

The viewer works as a separate executable. You set up where the XML files are saved and the viewer reads them from there. The drop down list allows you to select the relevent file to be viewed.

Within the viewer it is also possible to print the details, export to CSV and validate the file.

EC Sales List Viewer

EC Sales List Viewer

I am not sure why it isn’t a standard part of Sage 200 or at least shipped with the product, but it is a must for all EC Sales list users.

I am currently working my way through the new features included in Sage 200 2011 (core modules). Slightly later than I would have liked but the arrival of my baby daughter is my excuse.

There is not a mass of new features included in this version but I think there are certainly some key features that are not to be underated.

From a functionality point of view the introduction of Mobile for Iphone is a massive, massive bonus. For many users it seemed strange that Iphone was not made available as part of 2010, Blackberry being chosen instead. 

Functionality wise, there is no real difference to what is available on the Blackberry but it just seems to work better on the iphone. Its easier and quicker to navigate and just slicker.  It is still very much enquiry based enabling users to get information on the road by utilising the workspace options from the core system. And for any Sage 200 sales guys, demo this on the Ipad (WOW!)

Almost hidden away are improvements to the EC Sales list. For companies that are involved in intra-EC supplies of goods with 3 or more parties these changes will be very much welcomed. Functionality has now been included to identify the value of any Triangular supplies of goods on a separate line of the EC Sales list. Sales ledger and SOP transaction records include a tick box to specify if the transction is to be triangulated.

There are some points that users need to be aware of:

  • The tick box is at Transaction HEADER level, so ALL lines are treated as triangulated transactions.
  • It is not possible to consolidate orders, with differing triangultion settings, for invoice.
  • Orders created in Sage 200 CRM will need to be amended within Sage 200.
  • Retail, manufacturing and Project Accounting modules do not include the triangulation option.

I will aim to write about other suite new features once I have looked at them e.g. BOM/Manufacturing and Project Accounting.