ACH & Beginning of Year Checklist

In Backups, Payroll, Year End by Kevin Stroud

Dear AccountMate Clients,

The first issue of every year, I always provide the “NexLAN/AccountMate Beginning of Year Checklist,” but before getting to that wanted to briefly discuss the built-in ACH features as we’ve had several inquiries regarding this lately.

The AccountMate system has built-in support for creation of ACH-formatted files for paying employees or vendors—and even for auto-billing customers, which is very handy if you have subscription-based invoices. Since banks rarely charge a transaction fee for ACH items, this is quicker, saves money and is more secure (says the guy that recently had two of our outgoing checks stolen from the USPS system and cashed by other parties).

The ACH file format is kind of a “loose standard,” so if you’re considering implementing this, here are the questions to ask your bank:

  1. Do we send Credit (220 records) only, or Mixed Debits & Credits (200 records)?
  2. Do you require an offsetting entry (additional record in the footer)?
  3. Do you require a blocking factor (so number of lines is divisible by 10)?

I recently put together a document detailing how to configure and use ACH for the Accounts Payable module (much of which is applicable to Accounts Receivable and Payroll) and happy to share the PDF here: Electronic (ACH) Payments in AccountMate/SQL Accounts Payable. Of course, hit us with any questions!


And, here’s the annual NexLAN list of “Things We Recommend You Do at the Beginning of the Year!“ slightly revised and updated.

  1. Lock your January 2019 fiscal period!  Whether you’ve closed the fiscal year or not, now is the time when people typo the year in a transaction and accidentally post it 12 months in history. So head to <Housekeeping><Posting Period Restrictions> in General Ledger and check the boxes for each module to restrict posting in that period. You can also use this during the year to keep transactions from hitting periods that have already been audited and approved—and you can always unrestrict the period if you really do have to post back.
  2. Make a backup of your live company!  You’ll want detailed listings to validate your Balance Sheet with—whether that’s an AR or AP Aging report or a Warehouse Quantity Listing—and while AccountMate provides “as of” reports for validating many of the Balance Sheet accounts, all too often someone backdates a transaction which you really didn’t want backdated and then it’s nearly impossible to create the validating report. For AccountMate/SQL clients, if you have our NexSQLBack utility installed then this is only a few mouse clicks. Details of that are here, and remember that it’s FREE for direct clients of NexLAN. For AccountMate/LAN clients, look at the properties of your desktop shortcut then just make a “copy” of the entire directory (and sub-directories) that it’s pointing to—which I bet would fit on a USB drive you could put in your pocket for safekeeping at home for an extra level of protection against loss of your facility.
  3. Check your Database Maintenance Plan Directory!  For our AccountMate/SQL clients, and LAN clients using the Payroll module, we always put a SQL “database maintenance plan” in place which runs nightly to re-index data files (to improve performance), truncate the log files (so the database files don’t grow to consume the entire drive), and backup the database to flat files (where we can easily access it for quick restoration and so that “simple” file backup programs can capture the data). Those backups are usually set up to be “rolling five days,” keeping the most recent five days and overwriting the oldest, and when we set up that database maintenance plan we provided the directory path of the directory those files will be written to so you can be sure they’re backed up by your IT department with offsite storage. That should all still be running, but if the account it runs under has been disabled or the password expired then it’s possible it’s NOT. Of course, it’s always worth confirming your backups are happening—so check out that directory to make sure the date/time stamp on the files is recent, as “after you need it” is a bad time to find out otherwise. If you don’t recall where that directory is, you know how to reach us.
  4. Set your AP 1099 Year!  When you print 1099 reports and forms (which you’ll need to buy at your local office supply store, see below) they will reference “Current 1099 Year” and “Prior 1099 Year”—without specifically saying what year each of those is. To set that, hit <Housekeeping><AP Module Setup> and then access the “1099 Setup” tab to set the Current Year in the combo-box at the top. The combo-box only shows three years at a time, so if you’re more than a year back, then you’ll need to set it to the latest year you can, hit <OK> at the bottom, and then go back in again to advance it another year.
  5. Photocopy your wallet!  Some clients laugh when I include this here, but just as you back up the important information on your computer systems, take five minutes to get all the cards out of your wallet, line them up face down on a photocopier and hit the button—then flip everything over and make a copy of the backs for the important “lost card” call-in info. This five minutes will save hours of effort if you lose your wallet during the coming year and is a good opportunity to review for any expired or expiring cards too.

Looking forward to a GREAT 2020 together!!!

Regards,

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

Supported Tax Forms for AccountMate

As much as us geeks would love the world to be completely paperless, if you’re not filing your 2019 tax forms electronically then you’ll need special paper—but what special paper?

Below is the detailed list and, to simplify the process, the forms are available for purchase in multi-quantity packs at https://www.accountmateforms.com/ so we’ve also listed the product item numbers.

Payroll Tax Forms

  • W-2s
    • Federal copy on 2 up on perforated blank paper—Items # 5207, 5222
    • State, employee and employer copies on 4 up on perforated blank paper—Items # 5209, 5221 (Note: The Employee copy can have the instructions printed at the back, but it is not required.)
  • W-3
    • On plain paper only for Federal filing
  • 1099-MISC
    • Federal copy on RED 2-up perforated pre-printed form—Item # 5110
    • State, recipient and payer copies on 4-up perforated blank paper—Item # 5221 (Note: The Recipient copy can have the instructions printed at the back, but it is not required.)
  • 1096
    • Federal transmission on RED pre-printed form—Item # 5100

ACA Forms

  • Federal 1095 and 1094—both use plain paper (Note: For the Employee copy, you can either buy paper with pre-printed instructions on the back or use a plain paper and print the instructions on another sheet of paper.)

Accounts Payable Forms

  • 1099-MISC
    • Federal copy on RED 2-up perforated pre-printed form—Item # 5110
    • State, recipient and payer copies on BLACK 2-up pre-printed perforated form—Item # 5111 or 5112 (Note: The Recipient copy can have the instructions printed at the back, but it is not required.)

March 4-6 AccountMate Core Product Training

The next 3-day Core Product Training class for AccountMate SQL and Express is scheduled for Wednesday-Friday, March 4-6, 2020 at AccountMate’s headquarters in Petaluma, CA.

Users who attend consistently report that it was time well spent. Attendees gain insights they can directly apply in their work, and learn how much more they can do within the AccountMate system than they realized—no matter how long they’ve been using AccountMate.

See the course description here and tuition is $2,000 per attendee but you receive one seat per year with your Lifecycle subscription. Contact us to register.


Technical Tips

Version: AM11 for SQL and Express

Module: AR

A new report called Slow-Selling Inventory Report is introduced in AccountMate 11.1 for SQL and Express. This report provides information about the inventory items that generate the least sales quantity and sales revenue within a specified period and can help you make decisions on whether to continue or stop selling an inventory item. You can access this report under Reports ► Inventory Reports in the Accounts Receivable module and here’s some tips on the functionality:

TIP #1: Aside from the Item # Sort By option, you can also generate the Slow-Selling Inventory Report by Net Sales Amount or Sales Quantity. The sales quantity and net sales amount information are sorted in ascending order in accordance with the selected Sort By option.

TIP #2: Prior to generating the Slow-Selling Inventory Report, be sure to enter a value in the Sales Qty/Amt Below field. Inventory items with sales quantity or amount less than your entered value are considered as slow-selling inventory items and will be included in the report.

TIP #3: By default, the Slow-Selling Inventory Report will include information on sales return. If you must exclude this information in the report, then be sure to unmark the Include Sales Return checkbox prior to generating the report.

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Versions: AM11 for SQL and Express
AM10 for SQL, Express, and LAN
AM9 for SQL, Express, and LAN
AM8 for LAN

Module: PR

Q: I entered the SDI (State Disability Insurance) rate in PR Module Setup ► State ► Overwrite Default SDI Rate ► SDI Rate field; however, no SDI contribution was calculated when I applied payroll to employees. Why?

A: AccountMate only calculates SDI contributions for states which have mandated disability insurance. Currently, only the following states are required to withhold state disability insurance:

  • CA (California)
  • HI (Hawaii)
  • NJ (New Jersey)
  • NY (New York)
  • RI (Rhode Island)
  • PR (Puerto Rico)

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Versions: AM11 for SQL and Express
AM10 for SQL, Express, and LAN
AM9 for SQL, Express, and LAN
AM8 for LAN

Module: GL

Q: After posting a prior year-end adjustment, do I need to re-close the fiscal year?A: Absolutely not. When you post a prior year-end adjustment that involves Income Statement accounts (e.g. revenues or expenses), AccountMate automatically adjusts the Retained Earnings account’s current year beginning balance. If the prior year-end adjustment involves Other Comprehensive Income accounts, then AccountMate automatically adjusts the current year beginning balance of the Equity for OCI GL Account ID assigned to each Other Comprehensive Income account used in the adjustment. If the prior year-end adjustment involves Balance Sheet accounts (e.g. liabilities or assets), then the balances are carried over to the current year.

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Versions: AM11 for SQL, Express, and LAN
AM10 for SQL, Express, and LAN
AM9 for SQL, Express, and LAN
AM8 for LAN

Module: GL

TIP: It is important to remember that closing the last period of the fiscal year must be done only when the company is ready to close the fiscal year in the General ledger module. Closing the last period of the fiscal year in subsidiary modules will advance the current period to the first period of the next fiscal year. Any module with a current period that is in a different fiscal year compared with the current fiscal year in GL will not allow recording of transactions that post journal entries (e.g., AP Invoice Transactions, Ship SO, Print Check, etc.). The validation message, “Cannot continue with this function. General Ledger is in a different year,” is displayed each time you access the affected Transactions function.


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