Archive | September, 2009

President Obama’s health care reform and your accounting software

14 Sep

What does President Obama’s health care reform have to do with your accounting software? Everything. We won’t know the details until the post-passage dust settles, but you can be sure that if you are an employer, both payroll taxes and insurance benefit administration will change. Are you ready?

Is your payroll tax table update subscription current? Whatever the new federal tax structure looks like for employers and employees, software companies will have to accommodate it. That means that you will need to install the latest tax table update, or if your accounting software allows manual changes to the federal tax tables, you must be prepared to make the appropriate changes.

What about the proposed tax credits? We don’t know what this will entail or how they will be calculated, but your payroll tax table update should allow you to handle whatever is finalized. If your accounting software requires you to make your own changes, be sure that you understand how to do so, and engage the developer’s technical support staff if necessary to make sure that your system is setup correctly.

Are you using a human resource management system (HRMS) to administer and track employee insurance and savings benefits? Historically, most employers didn’t consider an HRMS as required until they employed at least 50 people. (In the US, that’s the minimum number of employees above which mandatory HR-related reporting regulations apply.) As spreadsheets and/or standalone databases become increasingly difficult to maintain, even companies with fewer than 50 employees are realizing the benefits of efficiency, security, and effectiveness that an integrated HRMS provides. If you’re not currently using an HRMS that integrates with your accounting software, talk to us. We can provide you with information and guidance about this important issue.

Is your HRMS regularly updated for changes in federal laws relating to employee benefits? Whatever HRMS you’re using, be ready for changes in benefits and benefits administration. The changes may be straightforward (unlikely!), complex, or something between; regardless, your HRMS will need to be updated to accommodate the changes. You can be ready by making sure your HRMS software maintenance plan is current.

If the mandated federal laws have an impact on the laws of the states in which you do business, will you be ready? It’s certainly possible that new federal regulations will impact state laws as well. You’ll be ready by making sure that both your payroll tax table updates and HRMS system are capable of addressing state-level changes and that you’re guaranteed to receive these software updates when they’re released.

At this time, no one knows the exact details of the federal or state regulations that Congress will pass. You can be as ready as possible by reviewing the status of your payroll tax and HRMS software and related update plans. If you’re not current, get current now. If you’re not already using an HRMS–no problem. Call us at (425) 673-9299 or send us an e-mail. We can help!


Get Out of the Spreadsheet Jungle by Using Your Accounting Software

2 Sep

Are you, your department, or your company caught in a tangled jungle of spreadsheets? Are you tired of downloading data from your accounting software into Excel?

Beware: You may be putting your data and your company at risk. Here are just a few of the risks that you’re flirting with:

Lack of backup. When users download data, then manipulate it and report on it using spreadsheets, that data may not be backed up. If the spreadsheet is deleted or lost, you may not be able to re-create it.

Broken formulas and/or spreadsheet links. One mistake or typing misstep could cause hours of research and frustration trying to determine the source of the error.

Subject to human error. When data is taken out of the context of your accounting system, logical errors and errors of omission are more likely to occur. You’re shortcutting the checks and balances that are built into your automated system.

Misstatement of data. Accidentally or otherwise, spreadsheets allow rows to be deleted and cells and formulas to be modified. No one wants to present financial or operational information that is inaccurate.

Lack of security.Your accounting software has security built-in. For example, with Sage Accpac ERP’s “G/L Security” feature, you can restrict which general ledger accounts, departments, etc. users can access and view. Once the data is out of your accounting system, you’ve opened yourself up to a security breach.

The solution to these potential risks? Use your accounting software and its reporting tools to produce information directly from your accounting software. A wide variety of tools exist to help you with this. In Sage Accpac ERP, for example, your options include:

  • Financial Reporter–Excel-based financial reporting tool
  • General Ledger Consolidations module
  • Financial Link Pro reporting tool
  • Custom reports and dashboards created with Accpac Intelligence (coming this fall in Sage Accpac ERP version 5.6)
  • Custom reports created with Crystal Reports
  • Custom reports created with Stonefield Query

Of course, you will need to consider data security issues with these tools, as well as validate the output that they produce. However, you will certainly reduce your risks of lost or misstated data by climbing out of the “spreadsheet jungle.”