Dear Clients,

In clear weather, it’s amazingly easy to fly an airplane. Don’t tell the FAA, but I’ve done it in a twin-engine turboprop—keeping the horizon low and level while sliding through the blue sky, with a qualified pilot at my elbow of course.

What I’m not, nor ever tried to be, is “instrument rated” to fly in uncertain weather conditions without sight of the horizon and landmarks. Obviously, that’s a whole ‘nother level of pilot sophistication, but invaluable when the situation is challenging and you don’t have visibility to familiar surroundings.

Well, welcome to situation challenging without visible familiar surroundings!

The rate of change and level of uncertainty in business continues to rise—with volatility in the supply chain, cost of goods, interest rates, labor supply, currency exchange rates, global events… Thus, even the best-laid business plans need constant monitoring (What if inflation goes up or down by another 5%?) and subsequent adjustment as conditions change.

The first step of becoming able to adapt to changing conditions is to recognize the change is happening—and what the effect is. That’s accomplished with the right monitoring metrics—gauges and readouts in an airplane, but Key Performance Indicators in your business—to spot changes sooner and take early action from a position of greater control, rather than scrambling to react to surprises (which, by the way, always costs more…).

Take a fresh look at your KPIs to confirm they’re serving you well:

➤ 1. Do the KPIs that you monitor include both lagging and leading indicators, to help you identify problems before they happen?

For example, if customer retention is a focus, you might pull out the classic KPIs of RFM, or “recency, frequency, and monetary value” of sales orders by customer, to see what’s been going up or down over time. You might discover a leading indicator that predicts when a customer is about to change their purchasing habits.

➤ 2. Do you have a healthy mix of standard business KPIs (e.g. Days Sales Outstanding) and unique-to-your-business KPIs?

For example, newly monitoring Profit Margin per Sales Order (see The 2nd Most Important Report: AR Profit Margin) might turn up a product line that has a higher or lower average margin than the rest of your products—why is that? Then tune the rest of the operation accordingly to improve margins across the board.

➤ 3. Is there an initiative or department in your company that’s never used KPIs? A key metric can go a long way toward providing insights, engaging team members and their ideas, and increasing accuracy and efficiency.

➤ 4. Are there metrics that nobody’s using anymore? Either stop generating them, or update them as needed and refocus.

➤ 5. Are your strategic company goals reflected in your departmental metrics? If not, make it so. To get your whole team on the same page, maybe you don’t want to go quite as far as something like displaying the current number of on-time shipments on a big-screen TV in the warehouse, like one of our clients does to great effect—but maybe you do!

The good news is:

You’re running your company on a flexible accounting and ERP system! That means up-to-the-minute business metrics can be at your fingertips with ease.

There’s dashboards, and automatically emailed summary reports, and automated alerts that trigger under specified conditions, plus Business Intelligence tools that make pretty pictures (i.e. actionable charts and summary graphics) out of dense spreadsheets and real-time data, and more.

It sure is fun to fly in clear blue skies; unfortunately that’s not always the conditions we have to fly in… So it might be time to get “instrument rated” by setting up the KPIs where you need them and when you need them, so you can more easily stay ahead in today’s ultra-challenging market.

Regards,

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

New Ebook: Foster Long-Term Profitability with Must-Have KPIs

We talk a lot about the many options for flexible reporting that gives you insight into how your business is doing—so that you can take action to increase sales order accuracy and order fullfillment efficiency, reduce costs, fend off competitors, optimize inventory levels, increase profit margins, and more.

In every company, there are some Key Performance Indicators that roll up just the right data to give you a high-level snapshot of how you’re doing on the most important metrics.

Foster Long-Term Profitability with Must-Have KPIs is a new ebook from Acumatica. It’s an excellent guide to the considerations that go into choosing and using KPIs in a business.

Use this 12-page PDF guide as an outline to freshly re-assess your current business metrics—and to brainstorm new KPIs to measure and monitor. The 12-page booklet covers:

  • KPI types
  • KPI approaches
  • KPI mistakes
  • Financial KPIs
  • Sales and marketing KPIs
  • Customer and HR KPIs
  • IT and Operations KPIs
  • Using technology to measure and advance KPIs

View or download Foster Long-Term Profitablity with Must-Have KPIs.

If you have questions about how to set up a custom KPI in your system in a way that keeps the latest metrics up-to-date automatically, you know that NexLAN is always standing by here in the cornfields—hit us with an email, or call.

PS. If you’re a wholesale distributor, you might also like to get some ideas from Acumatica’s companion ebook, which includes many examples of distributor-specific KPIs: Distribution Metrics That Really Matter.

Final Reminder: Microsoft’s Extended Support for SQL Server 2012 Ends July 12, 2022

If the version of Microsoft SQL Server your AccountMate system is running on is 2012, there’s not a lot of time to upgrade—as SQL Server 2012 will be falling off the Microsoft Extended Support list next month.

Not sure if this applies to you?

  • If you’re running AccountMate/SQL V8.3 or earlier, then Microsoft SQL Server 2012 is the MOST RECENT version you could be running, and this does apply to you—so we need to chat about getting your system updated in its entirety.
  • If you’re running AccountMate/SQL V9.1 to V10.4, then you COULD be running Microsoft SQL Server 2012 (or it could be 2014, 2016, or 2017)—so we should look and possibly update only the SQL Server back-end version.

Without Microsoft Extended Support, there will be no product updates, no emergency patches, and no security updates after July 12, 2022, which would open up security risk to your company’s critical accounting and financial management data. This risk is preventable by acting now.

Microsoft typically supports versions for about 10 years before retiring them, as it’s doing with this version.  See Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Support Dates.

Wondering about other “end of life” dates specific to your system? Simply reach out to us anytime to check on your AccountMate, MS SQL Server, and/or MS Windows (file server and workstation) versions.

Plan Ahead for AccountMate Classes

1. Payroll Module: September 12-16, 2022

Registration will open later in June for online Payroll training.

Course overview

Course outline

Course schedule

2. Core Product Modules: October 6 – November 10, 2022

This 6-week online class has 2 sessions per week and covers nearly a dozen core modules.

Course overview

Course schedule

Please send us an email with any questions or to be on the list when registration opens.

June 14, 2022* Acumatica Community Meetup—Distribution Show & Tell: Dashboards

The next interactive “Show & Tell” meetup for users of the Distribution Edition of Acumatica, open to everyone, will be all about Dashboards. This new series of meetups features users who share their screens to show how they’ve set up Acumatica to fit their companies—to inspire new ideas and possibilities for other Acumatica users.

What are Acumatica Dashboards? Each user can configure their own dashboard screen as a home base for quick access to their most frequently used forms, Key Performance Indicators, widgets, and other information.

[*Update: This meetup was cancelled and will be rescheduled. Watch Events in the Acumatica Community Forum for a new date.]

Register now for the June 14, 1:00 – 2:00 CT event to learn what’s possible with Dashboards. Note: You’ll need to log in to the Acumatica Community portal or create a free account.

While the examples will be from companies using the Distribution Edition, all users will find the information about Dashboards useful.

AccountMate Tech Note: Understanding the Paid Leave Code Feature

Paid Leave codes are used to control and track the accrual of employees’ paid leave time. Using the Paid Leave Code Maintenance feature, you can set how paid leave time will be accrued for qualified employees.

For each Paid Leave Code, you can set up as many tiers as you need; each tier represents a specific employee category that will determine the leave time maximum hours that may be claimed during a year or carried over into a future year. You can also convert the employee’s unused leave time to cash and adjust the accrued leave hours or accrued leave balance. 

Article #1243: Understanding the Paid Leave Code Feature discusses how the Paid Leave Code feature is used in AccountMate and the kind of information it provides when you use it.

AccountMate Tech Note: Understanding the Reconcile Inventory Transaction Log Feature

AccountMate’s Reconcile Inventory Transaction Log feature provides solutions to inventory transaction log inconsistencies. It is important to understand the feature’s appropriate use, the kind of inventory transaction log inconsistencies that can be resolved, and the proper procedure to follow when you use this feature.

Article #1340: Understanding the Reconcile Inventory Transaction Log Feature discusses the circumstances that require inventory transaction log reconciliation as well as the AccountMate tables affected and validated during reconciliation. This document also discusses the prerequisites that must be in place prior to performing inventory transaction log reconciliation, the procedures to be followed, and the issues that may cause the reconciliation to fail.

AccountMate Technical Tips

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

Module: AR

Q: Is there a way to amend the applied finance charge?

A: You can adjust the applied finance charge using the Adjust Finance Charge function in the Maintenance menu. Enter the adjustment amount in the Adjust Amount field; enter a positive amount if you want to increase the finance charge, or a negative (-) amount if you want to decrease it.

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

Module: AR

Q: Item remarks are not printed on the invoice. I have verified that the Invoice checkbox is marked in the Inventory Maintenance ► Remark/Image ► Print Remark On area for the inventory item. Why are the item remarks not printed on the invoice?

A: This happens if the Invoice checkbox in the Inventory Maintenance ► Remark/Image ► Print Remark On area was marked after the invoice was created. The item remarks will only be printed on invoices created after the option was marked.

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

Module: AP

Q: The message “Past discount date” is displayed when I attempted to apply a discount for an invoice. Why?

A: The “Past discount date” validation is displayed when you apply a discount for an invoice where the invoice Discount Date is earlier than the System Date. You can get past the validation message by clicking the OK button in the message box.

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

Module: PR

Q: I was applying payroll for an employee when I realized that I need to change something in the employee record; however, when I accessed the employee record, it is grayed out and I cannot change anything. Why?

A: The Apply Payroll/Payment function requires exclusive access to the employee record; thus, when you accessed the record for an employee for whom you are currently applying payroll, the record is read-only. If you must update the employee record, then you must cancel the payroll transaction that is currently in process, update the employee record; then, apply payroll for the employee again.

Acumatica Technical Tips

Q: Why does the freight price which was overridden in the sales order not transfer to the shipment?

A: Acumatica ERP does not automatically transfer the Freight Price value to the shipment if it was updated in the sales order. In order to prepare an invoice with the correct Freight Price, two ways of calculating freight are available: shipment based, and sales order based. The user can specify the default setting for the freight price calculation in the Invoice Freight Price Based On box on the Shipping Terms (CS208000) form:

  • If the freight price calculation is based on a shipment, the freight will be copied to the invoice from the shipment and the sales order freight can be ignored.
  • If the freight price calculation is based on a sales order, the freight specified in the sales order will be transferred to the invoice.

For more information, go to Acumatica’s User Educational Resources and type “freight calculation” in the search box. The Freight Calculation section has full details about the options for automatic and manual freight calculations. It also covers freight amounts for partial shipments, correction of freight prices, and freight cost for different types of carriers.

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Q: I want to expand the Inventory Valuation report to offer inventory valuation by storage location. Does this option exist?

A: Yes. The Inventory Valuation report will reflect the storage location if the Cost Separately column checkbox in the Location Table is checked, in the Warehouses profile for specific Warehouse IDs (locations).

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