Hot Fix vs Service Pack vs Upgrade – Do You Know The Difference?

adagio updateWe often get asked what the difference is between the various “levels” of upgrade releases Softrak puts out. Here is our best explanation:

  • A Hot Fix is an update addressing a very specific issue. Generally these are not publicly announced, but rather are made available to those users who are experiencing the specific issue.
  • A Service Pack is a collection of fixes to the latest version of an Adagio Accounting System module, released before the next feature upgrade version is released.
  • An upgrade contains new features, in addition to the accumulation of all prior Hot Fixes and Service Packs.

In all cases, you need to be on an Upgrade Plan with Softrak to receive these updates. Their Upgrade Plan is an annual service that provides software upgrades, Service Packs and Hot Fixes for all Adagio modules. An Upgrade Plan ensures that you always have the most current releases of Adagio, and may take advantage of all the new features as they become available.

Do I Need To Be On Softrak Support?

We always recommend our clients keep up their Upgrade Plans with Softrak. Their upgrade plan ensures that you always have the latest versions of Adagio Accounting System, which is crucial to the long term health of your system. Plus you get additional perks like access to Webinars and their Q&A forum.

Softrak also provides good basic technical support. However this doesn’t include online support — they will never login to your system to resolve your issues, nor will they make changes to your files (unless you are paying for their database repair service).

This more in depth aspect of technical support is always referred to their consultant network — consultants like us.

Has Your Payroll Service Become an Expensive Hassle?

Outsourcing your payroll may come as an enormous relief. You are able to get a time-consuming task off your plate and free up some time for the other countless projects you have to get done. But over time, you may find that costs are getting higher and the time required to make changes or fixes is increasing. Suddenly, it’s no longer the relief that it once was.

It may be time to bring your payroll in-house. Many of our clients were in the same position. We help them compare doing payroll in-house with PayDirt Payroll software with payroll bureaus.

Usually organizations are spending about $80 – $85 per employee every year with a payroll bureau. If a fix is needed or there is a change to the payroll information they find themselves sidetracked with endless calls or emails to the bureau to make the correction. They also find the entry process and methods used for processing payroll runs difficult and rigid.

So we did some calculations and found that for the most part, organizations that change from a payroll service to PayDirt Payroll enjoy the following benefits:

  • Annual savings of 90% or more on the direct costs of using a bureau (approximately $75 per employee).
  • Time savings during payroll processing of about 50% – as payroll data entry is much easier.
  • Payroll output can be sent directly to their General Ledger, so journalizing payroll expenses will no longer be necessary.
  • Improved ability to properly distribute all payroll expenses to the appropriate departments.
  • Elimination of the endless annoyance of having to call or email the payroll bureau every time a correction needs to be made (and then having to wait).
  • Ability to report on all aspects of payroll at any time (at no charge).

The chart below shows the savings that companies of various sizes should expect as a result of changing from an outside payroll service to PayDirt Payroll.

PayDirt Payroll

 

Of course, there is no way to calculate the value of all the time saved during the process of handling payroll, in addition to the dollar savings, but it will be significant, to say nothing of the other benefits of switching, such as: ease of use, better reporting, easier fix ups, and faster results, to name just a few.

We would love to talk to you about adding payroll to your accounting systems. Contact us today and we can discuss what this would look like for your business.

4 Easy Ways Adagio Accounting Can Save You Money

We all know how accounting departments face constant pressure to economize. Here are a number of ways you can use Adagio Accounting to save money…

Eliminate Expensive Preprinted Forms

If you are still buying custom preprinted forms, you should consider using Softrak’s inexpensive blank cheque stock to print cheques instead. You don’t need any preprinted forms for invoices or customer statements either. All those forms can be printed on blank paper with your Adagio modules.

adagio saves moneyDitch The Snail Mail

Since Adagio first shipped in October 1999, first class letter rates have climbed significantly. And those window envelopes don’t come for free. So why are you still using “snail mail”? Mobile phone companies, cable companies, utilities and banks are all pushing e-billing heavily. Why? Because it saves them a lot of money. With Adagio, you can send all these items electronically:

  • Payables – cheques (using electronic payments; contact us to see if your preferred method is supported)
  • Invoices – credit notes and invoices
  • Receivables – customer statements and letters
  • OrderEntry – order confirmations, picking slips, credit notes, and invoice
  • BankRec – receipts
  • Purchase Orders – purchase orders
  • SalesCQ – quotes and letters
  • Time&Billing – invoices and credit notes
  • Crystal Reports – any reports
  • GridView – views or workspaces (using ExcelDirect)

Not only will electronic transmission save the cost of postage, paper, envelopes, and labour, but the information has more immediacy. In fact, just speeding up your cash flow can have an impact on your bottom line.

Append Electronic Marketing Tools

Since email is free, why not also take further advantage of your outbox, by adding marketing tools to your emails? Attach a PDF document when sending statements or letters, such as a promotional offer or product literature. You save on both postage and professional printing.

Accelerate Your Cash Flow

With computerized accounting, particularly accounts receivable, it is much easier to get aging reports to help identify a pattern of slow- or no-payment by certain customers. By emailing or faxing overdue invoices, you quickly and easily get your overdue invoices the attention you want them to have. But just sending the invoices themselves does not give you a complete collections effort. You should also encourage the customer to communicate with you. You can do this quite easily by sending with the faxed or emailed invoices a cover letter indicating your eagerness to resolve the overdue receivable. Develop a series of at least four or five different collection letters, each building on what the earlier ones have said and each one more firm in your request for payment. The letters should also offer to work out a convenient repayment schedule to help ease the plight of those customers who are in short-term financial difficulties.

Clearly, a small investment in an Adagio product can produce a significant return on investment. Call us today if you need help making the most of your Adagio’s penny-pinching powers.

Warning Signs the Wireless Network You Are Using Has Been Compromised

wifi security

Hackers use many methods to gain access to computers, smartphones and other devices, but the compromised wireless network has long been a favourite point of entry. Once the bad guys gain access to the Wi-Fi network, they also gain easy entry into every device that connects to that network.

If you are using wireless networks to perform work functions, you need to be especially mindful of these security threats.

Intrusions that once could have taken weeks or months can be accomplished in a matter of hours, especially in busy locations like bars, restaurants and shopping malls. Many users who have come to trust these Wi-Fi networks implicitly often let their guard down, not realizing that the seemingly trusted network they just connected to is a hacker nest in disguise.

The prevalence of these compromised wireless networks is on the rise, and the informed user is always the first line of defense. Before you connect to any Wi-Fi network, you should take a good look for signs of a compromised connection. Here are some telltale warning signs of a compromised Wi-Fi network.

A Name Mismatch

Watch out for Wi-Fi network names that do not match the name of the business or organization that supposedly hosts it. If you are sitting in Bob’s Corner Coffee Shop, but the first available network is named Jack or Access Point, you could be looking at a spoofed network set up by hackers or other cyber criminals.

If you are unsure of the legitimacy of the Wi-Fi network, ask the owner of the business for the name and password. If the name matches what you see on your phone or another device, go right ahead. If not, let the owner know that someone is spoofing their network.

Open Access

The bad guys want you to connect to the fake Wi-Fi networks they create, so they make it as easy as possible. Use caution when connecting to a wireless network that requires no credentials and uses no security. While legitimate businesses sometimes set up these open-access networks, open Wi-Fi is also a hallmark of the hacker community.

It is best to stick to Wi-Fi networks that use some form of security. It only takes a minute to ask the barista behind the counter or the owner of the business for the Wi-Fi password, and your data will be safer for it.

Slow or Spotty Connections

Hackers often set up their malicious networks in a hurry, trying to fly under the radar and keep their clandestine activities under wraps. As a result, connections to these fake networks are often slow and spotty.

If you notice reduced connection speeds or other problems, it is best to disconnect from the network and remove it from your device. At best, the slow connection and poor quality will prevent you from getting your work done. At worst, it could be a hacker network trying to steal your personal information.

As the bad guys get better at what they do, it is best to err on the side of caution. Assuming that the wireless networks you see are unsafe until proved otherwise and running sensitive surfing through a virtual private network (VPN) are both good strategies for staying safe online. Knowing the warning signs of a compromised network is a good first step, but it is just one part of data protection in a dangerous world.


This is an excerpt from this quarter’s issue of The Technologist. Read more issues here.

Access Adagio Anywhere With Adagio Cloud

Adagio CloudWith Adagio Cloud, Adagio Accounting is conveniently available to you—in a cost-effective, secure, 24×7 environment, accessible from anywhere you are.

As small businesses recognize that the life cycle of servers and related equipment is typically 36 months, the trend for cloud-based applications continues to build momentum. The cloud provides small businesses with a more cost-effective way of acquiring software and computing power. Specific benefits of running Adagio in the cloud include:

  • Provides the benefits of a common organizational database, while it eliminates the large upfront costs of purchasing and maintaining a LAN.
  • Provides advanced financial reporting and best-in-class audit controls.
  • Enables you to schedule software upgrades and updates according to your timetable, so as to not disrupt events like year-end close or audit.

Products Available In The Cloud

Adagio Cloud includes all accounting applications. To assist you in getting up-and-running quickly, we can set up your Adagio Cloud, migrate data from your legacy systems, and provide training and on-going support. Your accounting and management personnel simply require internet access to log into our products through Adagio Cloud conveniently from any authorized computers and devices, 24×7. Whether you are processing transactions in the office, reviewing quarter-end sales reports at home, or performing inventory stock-taking at a remote warehouse,

Adagio Cloud is a safe, reliable choice.

  • Adagio Core: General Ledger, Financial Reporter, Accounts Payable and Bank Reconciliation
  • Invoicing: Accounts Receivable, Time and Billing, Service Invoicing, CRM / Quote Management and RMA Processing
  • Orders: Accounts Receivable and Order Entry
  • Inventory: Inventory Control, including Bill of Materials and Purchase Orders
  • Costing: Job Costing and Purchase Orders
  • MultiCurrency: Enables foreign-currency capability
  • Reporting: GridView, ChartView, ODBC and FX Pro.

Affordable Pricing

Adagio Cloud is priced for cost-conscious businesses starting at $295 per month. The on-going costs are affordable and predictable from year to year. You may terminate the service at any time. Adagio Cloud is a convenient alternative to running your accounting system on a local- or wide-area network.

Hosting Services

Adagio Cloud Hosting Partners operate state-of–the-art datacenters throughout North America that ensure 24×7 service and availability. The Adagio Cloud environment includes:

  • 50 GB Storage: additional space available for purchase.
  • Adagio Manager: for managing companies, users, applications, security, updates and upgrades.
  • Adagio Datacare: for running automated data integrity checks and on-demand backups.
  • OpenOffice (Optional): subscribe to Office 365, or use your existing MS Office locally.

Adagio Cloud Datacenters are equipped with advanced security, hardware and software to ensure your data is private and safe. The physical premises are also secured and reinforced. Your Adagio Cloud environment is backed up daily and weekly to provide you with a total of 15 backups at all times with 10-daily and 5-weekly backups. In addition to this backup regimen, you may use DataCare to do your own backup in the cloud, and then transfer the zipped backup to your local workstation.

Get in touch with us today to learn how Adagio in the Cloud can benefit your business!

Do You Have These Q1 & Q2 Adagio Accounting Updates?

Softrak has released updates to many of their Adagio modules this spring. Want to find out if you are up to date? Here’s a list from January to July of 2017:

Adagio users on maintenance plans are eligible to receive these upgrades free of charge. If you need assistance implementing these upgrades, please give us a call at 1.888.534.4344, or email us at support@accsyssolutions.com.

 

Did You Get Caught By These Top Ten Employer Payroll Audit Adjustments?

Top Ten CRA audit reasonsEach year, the CRA provides a list of commonly requested adjustments to an employer’s payroll as a result of wages and benefits not being correctly reported by the employer. Don’t get caught out! Here is the CRA’s top ten list for the last tax year:

 

  1. Unreported payments for services to an independent worker (T4A) – Organizations are not reporting payments for services to subcontractors on the prescribed T4A form.
  2. Salary expenses – Includes unreported salary and wages such as bonuses, commissions, cash payments, etc.
  3. Reclassification of employment status – Individuals operating as self-employed contractors when they should be treated as employees or vice versa.
  4. Automobile standby and operating expenses – Employees are not maintaining proper logbooks to separate personal and business driving so employers are not calculating the benefit correctly. There is an incorrect perception that if a vehicle doesn’t meet the definition of an “automobile” there is no benefit to be reported.
  5. Vehicle allowances – Employers are giving flat-rate vehicle allowances to their employees and not reporting the benefits as income.
  6. Personal and living expenses (employees or shareholders) – Many corporate owners look at this type of expense as personal drawings and are therefore not reporting it as taxable income. These include appropriations of corporate assets for personal use. Some employees as part of their compensation agreement may have personal living expenses paid for by the employer unless these fall under a specific exemption this would be considered taxable income.
  7. Travel expenses and allowances – In order to be treated as non-taxable, travel expenses and allowances must be reasonable and clearly validated as business expenses that primarily benefit the organization.
  8. Housing, low/free rent, board & lodging – With the exception of special or remote worksites, most employees that receive free or subsidized housing from their employer would be deemed to receive a taxable benefit based on fair market value (FMV). In some instances, the value of the benefit may be reduced.
  9. Parking – Employers are not reporting the value of this benefit and when they do, they report a minimum amount and not the true FMV.
  10. RRSP and Retiring Allowances – Ensure proper reporting of eligible and non-eligible amounts and that the full value of the retiring allowance is reported on the T4, including amounts transferred to an RRSP.

Are you reporting these payments, expenses and benefits correctly? The Payroll experts at AccSys Solutions can help.

This article is an excerpt form Dialogue Magazine, a benefit to members of the Canadian Payroll Association. Find out more at www.payroll.ca.

AOC 2017 Recap

Softrak’s annual Adagio Opportunity Conference brought together a record number of Adagio community members to Toronto May 22-25, 2017. In keeping with AOC 2017’s theme “Share the Knowledge”, Softrak personnel from Customer Service, Marketing, QA, Documentation, R&D, Training and the executive suite helped Softrak clients improve their Adagio skills over the course of the 4 day event. Developer partners and resellers stepped up to add their expertise to the mix – making the conference a true sharing experience.

This year’s conference started with a special keynote from Alan Salmon of K2 Enterprises, who has spent more than 30 years providing professional training to accountants on technological topics like Excel. He looked back on the changes he has seen, and the steps he has taken to remain current in an ever-changing profession. Ward Blatch, also from K2, talked to everyone about technology trends that he expects will change some of the work in the accounting department.

Finally on the opening day, Softrak showcased some of the R&D they expect to make available by the fall. Front and centre was the announcement of Adagio DocStore, a module that enables attachment and viewing of PDFs to transactions and master files throughout Adagio. Powered by a simple drag-and-drop interface, PDFs can be attached to a transaction at batch entry, and then remain with the transaction as it flows through the other modules in Adagio. This will enable someone working in Ledger to see all the invoices paid by a single check by clicking on the Credit Entry in the bank GL account.

They also previewed a major new upgrade to Adagio OrderEntry which included not only expanded fields and address information, but also many new processing improvements including Notes and Optional Fields at the detail level. Finally, Softrak announced R&D plans to include integrated credit card processing in Adagio before AOC 2018.

After the opening plenary, attendees got to visit with Adagio Developer Partners in the Exhibitor Laneway. North American Payment Solutions, LNG Management Services, TelPay, North49 Business Solutions, QLAB (PayDirt Payroll), Shadowsafe and SRSoft all had quality time with the attendees showing their Adagio integrated software solutions.

This year set a record attendance for AOC 2017. Stay tuned for details on AOC 2018!

Ransomeware Defined — Are You Protected?

Ransomware is a type of malicious software (malware). It stops you from using your computer or mobile device normally, holding your system for ransom.

There are many ransomware variants, targeting different platforms and showing different behavior. Ransomware may target home computers, tablets and smartphones; it may also target servers and networked systems such as those used by businesses, hospitals, or even government agencies. All forms of ransomware prevent you from using your device or files, and all will try to make you do something to regain control of your system.

Ransomeware protectionSome of the things ransomware may do are:
  • Lock you out of your system.
  • Encrypt files and data so they can’t be accessed.
  • Prevent some applications from running (for example, your browser or file manager).

Ransomware will typically demand money in order to restore access to your system and decrypt your files. The standard ransomware model is to offer the encryption key used to scramble your files in exchange for payment. In some cases, there may be an additional threat; for instance, the ransomware may falsely claim that illegal material has been found on your computer and demand that you pay a fine to avoid prosecution. Rarely, the malware will demand something other than money, such as information.

It is sometimes possible to restore your system to its original state without paying the ransom. Some ransomware infections do not encrypt any files at all, and you can recover your system simply by removing the infection. Older variants may use broken encryption, allowing you to decrypt any scrambled files without needing to pay for the encryption key.

In many instances, however, the encryption is real and unbreakable. Even if the ransom demands are met, there is no guarantee that your system will be restored. You may be able to get rid of the ransomware itself, but your files will still be lost.

The only way to ensure that your data isn’t destroyed by ransomware is to avoid becoming a victim in the first place. Robust and effective security will prevent the majority of infections, while regular backups and a solid recovery plan will avert data loss and reduce downtime.

Talk to your IT professional today to make sure your system has all the necessary safeguards against ransomeware in place. 
 

Need an audit of your accounting data backup and recovery systems? Email douglas@accsyssolutions.com, or call 1.888.534.4344 to get started.


This is an excerpt from this quarter’s issue of The Technologist. Read more issues here.


Douglas Dickie Presenting At Adagio Opportunity Conference 2017

Douglas Dickie from AccSys Solutions presented yesterday morning at the Adagio Opportunity Conference, Softrak Systems’ annual reseller and end user conference.

This year’s AOC is currently being held in Toronto Ontario at the Delta Toronto Hotel, from May 21-25.

In this session, entitled “Designing Support Plans”, Doug moderated a three hour workshop to help Adagio resellers design and implement fixed price Customer Support Plans. Doug has spent several years fine tuning three-tiered Support Agreements on offer to his protected clients.

AccSys Solutions has long been recognized as a leading Adagio Consultant Reseller, and Doug is a frequent speaker at this event.