Dear Clients,

I’ve had several client discussions recently regarding how to get Sales Orders entered quickly. We’re always about removing friction from systems, and with the recent rise in number of open employment positions this seems like an apropos topic to share more widely.

Even if manually entering Sales Orders, there are improvements available— such as ensuring your system is configured for correct pricing (quantity price breaks, customer-specific pricing)—but the real speed improvements are to be had with importing Sales Orders, so that’s what we’ll focus on here.

Before considering the options, we need to ask the following questions:

  • What’s the quantity of orders in, say, a month? Automating Sales Order import is only cost effective for a sizable volume of sales orders. For 10 orders a month, keep keying; for 1,000 orders a month, almost definitely worth importing; for 100 orders a month, we’re in the grey area…
  • If there’s pricing in the import file, do you use/trust it or have to restate it?
  • Is the item number correct? Often it’s a customer item number that needs translated to your item number. Not a problem to automate that translation, but definitely a consideration.
  • Are there unit of measure conversions? E.g. the customer is ordering a 6-pack and the order should thus be for 6 cans.
  • If the customer-supplied file includes Required Date, do you automatically accept that or will it need to be restated according to your business rules? Especially in light of recent supply chain effects…

So, with those answers in hand, there are several options for improving your system efficiency by importing Sales Orders into your system—and more! Here’s an overview along with considerations for each.

1. Text or Excel File from your Customer: Also called homegrown/fake EDI, these are often delivered as an email attachment directly from your customer. The format is “whatever you and your customer agree on,” which, unfortunately, is usually different for every customer. Still, you can make a big impact by focusing on your top few accounts that represent a large portion of your Sales Order entry time.

a) This is a simple option to implement as we/NexLAN can write a utility to re-format the provided file into one compatible with the built-in Sales Order import format.

b) Of course, for every customer that has a different format, we have to build a different translator. So if your customers can agree to a single standardized format then this is easier to scale.

2. Non-Integrated Web/Online Entry: If you don’t already have your products online in your website, this requires more investment on your part. But if your customers will manually enter orders on a website, then there’s a single format for text import as above.

a) We’re really just moving the manual labor part from your staff to your customer, which works well when they would like to browse and compare products before making a purchasing decision.

b) If you have an online storefront at, say, Amazon or eBay, that you’re then keying in orders from manually, then this is the solution for you!

3) Integrated Web/Online Entry: Similar to the second option but integrated in real-time, so orders appear automatically in your system, perhaps as Sales Quotes so you have the opportunity to review them.

Numerous other functionalities abound with this approach as it’s then a small step to provide a complete customer portal so they can check their order status, see shipping/tracking info, make online payments, etc.—all of which make it easier for them to do business with you, and reduce effort of your staff to provide that higher level of service.

4) ANSI/X12 EDI: This is “real” EDI (Electronic Data Exchange), with highly defined standard file formats for different transactions that pass through a VAN (Value Added Network), akin to an email server, to validate the senders and receivers plus transaction times. This is the holy grail of automating not only Sales Orders but numerous other functions and it easily scales to multiple customers as well.

a) A typical process flow between you and your customers will resemble the following:

i. Customer sends you an 850 (their purchase order, which may include only their item number)
ii. You reply with a 997 (order acknowledgment) and/or an 855 (order acceptance)
iii. When you ship, send your customer an 856 (advance ship notice or ASN) and an 810 (invoice) or combine the two in an 857 (shipment and billing notice)
iv. Customer pays via ACH or wire and notifies you with an 820 (payment advice)

b) Initial setup of integrated EDI is cost-prohibitive for a low volume of orders, but if your customers or vendors are insisting you get on board, then it’s possible to use a simple web interface and then manually enter orders in your accounting system.

c) A high volume of orders justifies integrated EDI, which connects directly into your accounting system, and automates numerous other functions besides Sales Order entry.

5) Incoming Fax/PDF: This is the most tedious option for importing Sales Orders, so I’ve listed it last… Effectively, these are images of orders. So the first step is to convert the image to text with OCR (Optical Character Recognition). Then we follow the path for the first option of importing a Text or Excel file. While that sounds simple enough, it’s guaranteed that in this option every one of your clients has their own format and thus will require their own translation program.

a) Because this is a multi-step process (convert image to text, run reformat utility to convert to importable format, then import), it’s best suited for Sales Orders with numerous line items. A Sales Order with only a couple line items is usually quicker and easier to manually enter.

b) While OCR is pretty good these days, it’s not perfect, so the error checking for this option has to be more robust.

All of the above are excellent opportunities for accelerating your Sales Order entry—and we’re always standing by in the cornfields to discuss the details of your particular requirements and provide the best options!

Regards,

Kevin E. Stroud
kestrou@nexlan.com
NexLAN, LLC
https://nexlan.com 

Major New Features in ShipIt for AccountMate

ShipIt from AKA Consulting is an AccountMate plug-in that integrates your shipping and invoicing process to UPS, FedEx and USPS. Well, that used to be the case—the exciting new version integrates to many more carriers. It also adds new functionality, and is now powered by the popular cloud-based ShipStation, where you can process packages, print labels, shop for the best rates, and use a mobile iOS or Android device to process and print labels and receive tracking updates via text message. And more.

➤ For a full product overview, see our ShipIt for AccountMate page.

➤ For companies that already have ShipIT, here are some of the coolest features in the new release:

  • New carrier options: In addition to UPS, FedEx and USPS—now DHL, Purolator, Canada Post and others are available—with LTL on the near horizon
  • Mobile device operation—commit the carrier shipment from a phone or tablet while scanning the order number via bar code!
  • Your corporate branding on shipping labels and automated emails
  • SMS (text message) tracking updates
  • Dimensional weight cross reference table
  • Ability to browse rates and select the most cost-effective shipping option
  • No longer has “Pro” and “Lite” versions—the latest ShipIt includes more features than Pro and is priced less!

Notes for current users:

1. With the move to ShipStation, the engine of your current ShipIt version will be phased out in the near future. We’ll need to talk soon about replacing your current installation, getting it set up and users trained, etc.

2. The new version requires a ShipStation subscription.

3. If you’re also using the MKT Credit Card plug-in and automatically charging the customer credit card on shipment, let’s chat as we’ll need to come up with an alternate means of handling this process.… Committing the shipment to the carrier is now a separate step from the AccountMate <Ship Sales Order> screen, so the invoice doesn’t have the shipping charges applied immediately upon shipment.

Support for AccountMate SQL/Express Versions 9.x Ends March 2022

Version 9.1 was launched in March, 2014—and per AccountMate’s practice of providing 8 years of Maintenance Plan support for major releases (4 years of Regular Support + 4 years of Extended Support) before retiring them, March 2022 will bring an end to Version 9.x support. Payroll tax subscription coverage will end December 31, 2022.

This will be the end to any bug fixes and security updates for those versions, and will bring the potential for technical support issues to have no easy solution.

So if you’re running Version 9.x it’s time to put an upgrade plan in place and catch up on 8 years of AccountMate product enhancements. Let’s chat and go over your system’s components to let you know what upgrade steps would apply. Email support@nexlan.com or call us, as always.

How to Fix the Missing Display of Data in EEO forms in AccountMate Tax Forms

Is your company required to submit annual federal EEO (Equal Employment Opportunity) forms to the U.S. Department of Labor? Generally speaking, this applies to companies that have at least 100 employees, and federal contractors that have at least 50 employees.

If so, install the newest Payroll Tax Subscription Update to correct an issue where the job category info and ethnicity info aren’t displayed in the EEO forms in Tax Forms.

Use the Check for Payroll Subscription Updates function from the Utilities menu to download and install this update as you would any other AccountMate Payroll Subscription update.

Don’t hesitate to email support@nexlan.com with a question or call us.

 

AccountMate Tech Note: Understanding the Journal Entries Created When Processing an Employee’s Regular Payroll

Multiple transactions occur when companies process their employees’ regular payroll; thus, multiple journal entries are generated to represent these transactions. AccountMate’s Payroll module generates these journal entries when you record transactions in the Apply Payroll/Payment, Print Payroll Check, and Post After-the-Fact Payroll functions. ”Regular payroll” in this Technical Note refers only to employee records that are assigned earning codes that have the Regular earning type assigned.

Learn what journal entries will be generated when processing an employee’s regular payroll, and the source fields where you can find the GL Account IDs being used, in this PDF: Article #1314: Understanding the Journal Entries Created When Processing an Employee’s Regular Payroll.

 

AccountMate Tech Note: Understanding the Revenue Amortization Feature

Service-oriented firms usually utilize deferred revenue recognition. Typically, these companies received advance payments from their customers for services that are to be rendered. The service contract term may span twelve months or beyond. This will mean that the revenue from this transaction must be recognized over the service contract term. The Revenue Amortization feature in AccountMate can specifically handle revenue realization transactions.

Article #1328: Understanding the Revenue Amortization Feature discusses how to activate and set up the Revenue Amortization feature. This PDF also discusses how to use the feature and lists the reports that show the revenue realization transactions.

AccountMate Technical Tips

Versions: AM12 for SQL and Express
AM11 for SQL and Express
AM10 for SQL, Express, and LAN
AM9 for SQL, Express, and LAN

Module: PO

Q: Why does the Ship To address show “See PO Remark at the bottom of this Purchase Order” instead of the shipping address?

A: The “See PO Remark at the bottom of this Purchase Order” remark in the Purchase Order ► Ship To area appears if line items in the purchase order are to be received in multiple warehouses. By default, the Ship To address is the warehouse address. In this case, since there are multiple warehouses, each warehouse address is displayed at the bottom of the PO.

This behavior applies if the Use SO Shipping Address checkbox is not marked in the Create Purchase Order ► Bill To/Ship To ► Shipping Address area.

■ ■ ■

Versions: AM12 for SQL and Express
AM11 for SQL and Express
AM10 for SQL, Express, and LAN
AM9 for SQL, Express, and LAN

Module: AR

Q: I generated finance charges for one customer. All invoices are past due and have the same pay code. Finance charges were not generated for some invoices. Why?

A: This happens if the Apply Finance Charge checkbox in the Customer Maintenance ► Settings tab is not marked when the invoices are created. To verify, access Table Browser and Exporter and select AR Invoice File (ARINVC). You can use the Criteria section to filter the result. Check the value in the Apply Finance Charge (ARINVC.lfinchg). The value is 1 if the Apply Finance Charge checkbox is marked when the invoice was created; otherwise, it is 0.

■ ■ ■

Versions: AM12 for SQL and Express
AM11 for SQL and Express
AM10 for SQL, Express, and LAN
AM9 for SQL, Express, and LAN

Module: AP

Q: How can I set a due date that is different from the invoice date for debit invoices?

A: The Due Date for debit invoices is always the same as the Invoice Date. The Terms fields are disabled when you enter a debit invoice/negative invoice amount.

■ ■ ■

Versions: AM12 for SQL and Express
AM11 for SQL and Express
AM10 for SQL, Express, and LAN
AM9 for SQL, Express, and LAN (MS902 and higher)

Module: BR

Q: There are records in the Reconcile Bank Account ► Details grid with red dots. What are these records and how can I get rid of them?

A: The records in the Reconcile Bank Account ► Details grid with red dots are imported bank transactions. These imported bank transactions are no longer displayed in the grid after they are matched and reconciled. They will continue to appear in the grid if they are not matched and reconciled.

Refer to Article # 1345 (Understanding the Import Bank Transactions Feature) to learn more.

Subscription Information

If you or someone else in your office would like to automatically receive our NewsLine in your inbox each month, please email newsletter@nexlan.com.