Is Your System Sick?

In AccountMate LAN, AccountMate SQL, MKT Level 3 Credit Card Processing, Payroll, Product Releases and Updates by Kevin Stroud

Dear AccountMate Clients,

Inspiration for the NexLAN/AccountMate NewsLine usually comes from recent client projects and challenges, but this one is personal as the idea hit me about a month ago when I had the flu and was wiped out for a few days – immediately followed by my 6yo daughter having the flu and me having to work from home while tending to her.  Then the point was driven home days later when I crashed one of my motorcycles, an Orange County Chopper, breaking three ribs (which hurt), shoulder blade (which Hurt) and collarbone (which HURT) – taking me out of the office for a couple weeks.  I’m on my feet now and will recover fully, but am still nursing those broken bones for at least another month.

So, here’s some common “ailments” we see with AccountMate systems – and suggestions on how to address them.

1. Intermittent Crashes: The first question we always ask regarding a problem is, “Can you reproduce the error?” – because if the root of the issue is in the programming or data then it should be reproducible and we can figure out the solution.  But if it’s truly intermittent and not reproducible then there’s two likely causes…

Network Connectivity – A drop in the network connection from the client PC to the server is the most common, and these can be TOUGH to figure out.  Simply put, AccountMate is a way more data-intensive application than pretty much every other application you run.  Unlike, say, Microsoft Word or Excel, which only pulls data from the server when you open or save the document, the AccountMate application is constantly reading/writing data so it’s much more susceptible to network glitches – which could be caused by power settings on the PC putting devices to sleep, or a bad crimp on a network cable, or a loose connection in a jack, or noise in the network from an RF (Radio Frequency) device, or a myriad other things.  The easiest way to rule network connectivity in or out is to have the offending PC connect to the server via Remote Desktop (which is built in to Windows Servers) and run from there – as that practically removes the network from the equation.

Overfull Temp Directory – Your desktop Windows operating system has a “temp directory” defined for writing files to which many applications, including AccountMate, use for writing temporary data to during operation.  All applications should delete their temporary files, like AccountMate does, but not all do… so that directory can end up having many thousands of files in it and that slows down the indexing of the files and can cause applications to be sluggish and time out.  The solution here is to have your network administrator add a line to the domain login script to clear all users’ %temp% directories upon login.

2. Lack of Backup: Kind of like high blood pressure, this is “the silent killer” which many companies don’t know is a problem until it’s A PROBLEM!!!  You need nightly automated backups of the front-end executable files and the data – ideally for at least a rolling seven days – with off-site storage, but when’s the last time you looked to see that was actually happening or, better yet, did a test restore?  We always recommend having your own personal “test company” in AccountMate that’s a copy of your live system (so you can test with your customers, vendors, items, chart of accounts, etc.) and it should take maybe a half-hour to restore a recent backup to that test company to confirm your data backup is really working.  If you don’t have a test company that’s a copy of your live company with a recent snapshot of your data, call us so we can ensure you can survive a catastrophe.  This is only a matter of “when”, not “if”…

3. Not Closing and Restricting Fiscal Periods: You can technically post anywhere in a three-year window of “last year,” “this year” and “next year” in your AccountMate system – subject to <Posting Period Restrictions> which are set in the GL module.  The problem is that some clients don’t close periods until forced to at the end of a fiscal year – so the system just gets slower and slower as the year goes on and then it takes a long time to close multiple periods at once (we had a client operationally down for a whole day earlier this month to close all 12 periods of the last fiscal year).  Worse yet is when clients THINK that a fiscal period is complete – so they’ve reported financials to stockholders or the bank – and then somebody (typo?) posts to history and restates historical financials.  Keeping up with fiscal period closings and period restrictions improves system performance makes your financials reliable – so do these things!

4. Unvalidated Balance Sheet: You honestly can’t trust the bottom line of your Income Statement unless you’ve validated your Balance Sheet and know that the values shown for your Assets and Liabilities match the detail reports in the system.  It’s just too easy to have something mis-configured or improper procedures or even a typo make your Balance Sheet incorrect – which means your Income Statement is incorrect and that’s not REALLY your profit on the bottom line of that report.  To make errors easier to find (and correct!) we recommend you validate the Balance Sheet at the end of every month, and we even have documents written specific to each version of AccountMate on how to do that.  Contact us if you don’t have this valuable document.

5. Unvalidated Detail Data: Surprisingly, sometimes we see detail data in systems that you can tell at a glance is incorrect – usually because it’s so old.  This could be open sales orders, or open customer invoices, or uncleared checks in Bank Rec, or open purchase orders, or Accrued Received Goods from YEARS ago. On the other hand, we’ve also seen some entries (such as Sales Orders and Purchase Orders) with “required dates” ten years in the future.  Huh?  Typo!  So, take an opportunity to proof the detail reports sorted by “date” when you get a chance.

While there could certainly be configuration issues in your system, if the above list is good then your system will at least run well and be accurate on the bottom line – a great place to then start optimizing for your business!

Regards,
Kevin E. Stroud
NexLAN, LLC
http://nexlan.com

 

AccountMate/LAN News: V7 Retired and V9.3 Released Soon

As we’ve mentioned in the last few NexLAN/AccountMate NewsLines, manufacturer’s support for AccountMate/LAN V7.X ends 6/30/2018 – so no more patches released after that date (even for emergencies!) and no payroll tax update for 2019.  We’ll do our utmost here at NexLAN to provide support, but we’re limited in what we can do to the architecture itself so if you’re on AM/LAN V7 then NOW is the time for us to chat about getting your system up to date.

The product continues to be viable and supported though – with the release of AccountMate/LAN V9.3 expected later this month.  No details yet on the new functionality, but the new feature webinar will be Tuesday, June 26th, noon to 1pm CDT.  Please register: here


Core Product Training June 20-22, 2018

The next Core Product Training class at AccountMate’s headquarters in Petaluma, California, is scheduled for Wednesday-Friday, June 20-22, 2018.

The three days of classroom training is applicable to both first-time and existing AccountMate users – and don’t forget that if you have an active Lifecycle Maintenance Plan, it includes one seat per year so your only cost would be travel expenses.
Contact us for additional information and see the course description here.

Tech Note: Using the Vendor Last Received Cost as Default Purchase Cost

Depending on the industry, vendors may keep their pricing consistent for a certain time period.  Thus, when you order an item that you recently purchased from the same vendor, the price may not change since the last time you received the inventory.  To expedite data entry when you create purchase orders, AccountMate provides you with the flexibility to use the last received cost of an item as default vendor price provided that the Last Received Cost feature is activated in the vendor record.

This month, we publish Article # 1176: Using the Vendor Last Received Cost as Default Purchase Cost to discusses the procedures for activating the Last Received Cost feature and the timing when AccountMate updates the Last Received Cost and Last Received Date in the inventory item record.  The Technical Note also discusses how the last received cost affects default vendor prices.


Tech Note: Tracking Commissionable Sales

One strategic way to motivate your sales force is to implement commission-based compensation. You must have information about which sales are subject to commissions so you can measure the performance of each salesperson and estimate the commissions that are due to them. AccountMate offers two options for tracking commissionable sales. You can set up AccountMate to track commissionable sales on each inventory item sold or on each sales order or AR invoice.

This is covered in our Article # 1228: Tracking Commissionable Sales in AccountMate, which discusses how to set up the basis for tracking commissions, creating and maintaining commission codes, how to use the feature, and the report you can generate and how to run the report to get the most information.


Technical Tips

Versions: AM10 for SQL and Express
AM9 for SQL and Express (MS904 and higher)
AM9 for LAN

Module: SM

TIP: You may experience an ODBC connection issue when you launch AccountMate from Windows 10 workstations where the application folder (AccountMate Program Files) is mapped to the server after installing Windows Update 1803, also known as the Windows 10 April 2018 Update. Perform any of the following to resolve the issue: 

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Versions: AM10 for SQL and Express
AM9 for SQL and Express
AM8 for SQL and Express

Module: PO

Q: I need to amend the reference account for a line item in an existing purchase order; however, the Reference Acct field is inaccessible. Why? 

A: A receipt have been recorded for the line item. You must cancel the receipt before you can amend the reference account in the Reference Acct field.

Note: The Reference Acct field in the Create Purchase Order by Vendor > Line Item Details tab is subject to user access rights (i.e., View/Edit Reference Account in PO). The field is not displayed to users with no access right. 

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Versions: AM10 for SQL and Express
AM9 for SQL, Express, and LAN
AM8 for SQL, Express, and LAN
AM7 for LAN

Module: BR

TIP: If you wan to print the Bank Reconciliation Report showing details of the bank reconciliation, then be sure not to finalize the reconciliation (i.e., Click the No button when the validation message that asks you if you want to finalize the reconciliation is displayed). This validation message is displayed after you have reconciled the bank account and clicked the Save button). If you have finalized the reconciliation, then you have to print the Bank Statement Report which has a different presentation compared with the Bank Reconciliation Report.  

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Versions: AM10 for SQL and Express
AM9 for SQL, Express, and LAN
AM8 for SQL, Express, and LAN
AM7 for LAN

Module: AR

Q: What report should I generate to see the list of items and the total quantity sold to each customer?  

A: Generate the Invoice Line Item Report by Subtotal. In AccountMate 9 for SQL and Express and higher versions, select the Customer # as the primary sorting option and the Item # as the secondary sorting option in the Sort By area. In AccountMate 8 for SQL and Express and AccountMate for LAN (all versions), select the Customer # + Item # sorting option in the Sort By area.


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