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.

 

Are You Using Adagio ePrint?

Adagio ePrint

It always surprises us at AccSys when we come across a client who is not using Adagio ePrint. ePrint saves paper, reduces the need for physical filing space, and makes document search and retrieval so much easier!!

When Adagio ePrint is installed, all reports and forms in Adagio can be automatically “printed” to PDF and saved with unique, meaningful, auto-generated names in a filing system of your choosing. ePrints features include:

  • Force all reports to PDF prior to printing – only create paper when absolutely necessary.
  • Protect your audit trail, making certain that critical audit reports are safely saved.
  • Save PDF output in separate Folders for Audit, Transaction, General, Financial Statement and Forms “printouts”.
  • Decide whether a specific report is an “audit” or “transaction” report, and make sure it is filed in the correct Folder.
  • Browse and scan generated printouts to quickly locate a specific report.
  • Quickly pays for itself in paper and staff time saved from manual filing.

If you’d like a quick online demo, we’d be happy to give you one. Contact Us today to line it up.

No one ever regrets setting up Adagio ePrint!

The Adagio Ledger Upgrade Essentials

Adagio Ledger has received a substantial functionality upgrade to 9.2B, and with that comes the following enhancements to this core module and its accompanying Financial Reporter:

  • You can now print the Trial Balance and Detail Listing reports to Excel using ExcelDirect.
  • ExcelDirect buttons have been added to the batches, entries and details grids.
  • An option to print a General Ledger Distribution Summary on the Posting Journals has been added.
  • A subtotal of Units by period on the GL Detail Listing has been added.
  • All Fiscal Period finders now show all 12 (or 13) periods.
  • A Find feature has been added to the Edit Departments function.
  • Ledger has been updated for Adagio Cloud.
  • The finder on the GL Department field is now restricted to the departments for the account selected.
  • The GL Department Description is now available to be added to the GL Account finder using the Column Editor.

Updates to the Financial Reporter include:

  • New SmartSheet commands “.Sort”, “.SortCase” and “.SortEnd” are available to sort a section of a financial statement into alphabetical (or some other) order.
  • The new Header/Footer code “$G” is now available to print the UTC date and time in the section.
  • An “Expression Notepad” has been added to improve the entry of complex formulas.
  • You can now “Pin” fiscal periods and Department choices so that they are applied to every sheet in the financial statement.
  • Conditional cell formatting using Styles and the formula editor has been added.
  • Net Changes, Budgets, Forecasts, Statistical Units and Provisionally posted amounts can now be easily summed over arbitrary fiscal periods.
  • GLUPDATE() has an optional additional parameter to select the Budget Year to update.
  • When drilling down into transactions, the displayed Grid will be banded according to the User Preference settings for color and banding frequency.

Upgrade Notes:

  • Adagio Ledger 9.2B requires Adagio Lanpak (if used) to be version 9.2B or higher.
  • Adagio Ledger 9.2B requires Adagio MultiCurrency (if used) to be version 9.2A or higher.
  • Adagio Ledger 9.2B requires Adagio FX (if used) to be version 9.2A or higher.
  • Adagio Ledger 9.2B requires Microsoft Server 2008 R2 SP1 or higher if running under Remote Desktop Services (Terminal Services).
  • If you have modified any of the standard reports installed by Adagio Ledger 9.2A, you will have to redo those modifications for Ledger 9.2B.

Many of these updates will be welcome features for Ledger and Financial Reporter users. If you are on maintenance with Softrak, you are eligible to receive this upgrade for free. You can download it from the Softrak website, or give us a call and we can help you with it.


This is an excerpt from The Score Adagio newsletter. Find more issues, technical tips and more here.

Who Is Still Using Paper Cheques?

Adagio payablesWith the emergence of new digital forms of payment such as email money transfers, use of paper cheques has been steadily on the decline in Canada, shrinking by roughly five per cent a year, according to the Canadian Bankers Association. With advancements in payment technologies that enable services like wire transfer, debit payments, PayPal and Bitcoin, electronic payment has now become ubiquitous. For regular payables “cheque runs”, e-payments are fast becoming the norm for businesses of all sizes and industries. Many businesses now only issue printed cheques when an unexpected situation arises that prompts the company to issue a manual cheque.

Small businesses that are still relying predominantly on printed cheques are also grappling with the escalating cost of paper cheque stock and the rising cost for clearing printed cheques through their bank. This is quickly forcing small business owners to reconsider employing e-payments over cheques.

Ten years from now, a paper cheque will go the way of the rotary phone and the fax machine. Technology will continue to add convenience and efficiency to business processes such as payments.

telpay electronic paymentAt AccSys Solutions we use and recommend Telpay for Business. Telpay features password protected single and dual payment authorization and system access, allowing you to replicate internal controls. With enhanced reporting, Telpay allows you to maintain a clear audit trail of all payments, including accounting distribution and payment history. With no outstanding cheques, bank reconciliation is easy. Telpay for Business allows you to pay 100% of your suppliers, employees, CRA remittances and international payments all in one easy to use system. We encourage you to check it out. No pun intended!

 

Why You Need A Payroll Continuity Plan

Have you considered the scenarios that might affect your ability to process payroll?

It’s a regular Wednesday morning. You get to work a few minutes earlier than usual because you’ve got a big day ahead of you; you have to run your bi-weekly payroll. But something’s different this morning, there’s a buzz around the office. Someone says she can’t get into emails; someone adds that although he can launch applications from his laptop, he can’t retrieve any file that was stored on a network server. Curious about what may be going on, you immediately log into your payroll application; or at least you try to. Nothing’s happening. That first tinge of concern sets in – you have to transmit your direct deposit file by 4 p.m. today or some employees may not get their deposit in time for start of business on Friday. Thirty minutes later, still nothing, and that tinge of concern is quickly turning into panic.

Just then, your phone rings; it’s your boss with information that IT has informed all Department Heads that the outage overnight is serious and that most systems are compromised, including your payroll application. She knows you’re running your national payroll today and asks what you do in these situations. She wants to know what your Plan B is. She’s assuming you have a Plan B. Do you?

If this happened to you, would you be able to give your boss an answer? Have you taken the time to think of what you would do should you ever be put into a situation where, for some unforeseen reason, you can’t get your deposit file to your bank in the normal fashion?

As the person responsible for ensuring that funds make it to each employee’s bank account on pay day, you have a responsibility, an implied contract essentially, that funds will be available on time. Your employees have arranged with their banks to have bi-weekly mortgage and loan payments withdrawn automatically from their bank accounts usually the same day as their pay is deposited. The impact of the funds not reaching their bank accounts become compounded; they start affecting people’s credit ratings. A 2015 survey by the Canadian Payroll Association (CPA) identified that, nationally, 48% of Canadian employees say it would be difficult to meet their financial obligations if their pay was delayed by a single week. You do not want to be the reason that happens.

You say your payroll is outsourced, so this doesn’t concern you. You’d be wrong! You may have contracted out the running of your payroll, but the responsibility to get funds into your employees’ bank accounts remains yours. The scenarios may be different than if you run your pay in-house, but you need to plan for possible vendor failures as well.

Here are the most common reasons you may not have access to your payroll system along with some of the questions that may inform your Plan B:

  • You lose access to your payroll system itself (the aforementioned scenario)
    • Do you have a backup payroll system you could use that is up and running, and up-to-date?
    • Could you use the last pay as a basis for this pay?
  • Your payroll system is fine, but you can’t get into your office to run pay
    • Do you have a tested remote processing site that can access your payroll system?
  • Your payroll system is fine, but the Internet is down and you can’t transmit the file to the bank
    • Could you hand deliver the file to a nearby processing centre?
    • Could you somehow get your bank to take your file to their processing centre?
    • Important Note: Some assume that you can simply ask your bank to re-deposit the previous pay, but they can’t! Most do not keep those files after processing, and most say they could not re-process a file that has already been used because the file sequence number prevents this sort of mistake. Could you manipulate a previously deposited file? That is up for discussion.
  • Your payroll system is fine, but the persons needed to run your pay have been struck by a debilitating flu bug
    • Are your processes fully documented so that pre-identified (and hopefully pretrained) individuals can at least get the basics out of your payroll system so that a file can be transmitted?
  • Your payroll system is fine, but the system that feeds its time transactions for hourly-paid employees fails. How would you calculate their pays? How many hours would you pay them without knowing how many hours they worked?
    • Do you have senior management approval to pay someone a fixed or average number of hours when you can’t really find out how many hours they actually worked?
  • Your payroll process ran fine, you’ve transmitted your direct deposit file on time, but your bank’s system has failed before distributing the deposits to other banks nationwide. How would you get money into your employees’ accounts?
    • Would you be equipped to give funds to the employees who need an advance until the funds reach their accounts?

These are just some of the possibilities to discuss when forming a Payroll Business Continuity Plan (BCP) for your organization. The CPA’s Payroll Continuity Best Practices Guidelines, available to members at payroll.ca, is an essential tool that enables organizations to develop a BCP and plan for unexpected scenarios that may affect payroll. Every situation will be different, every employer will be different and every scenario will have different outcomes based on your specific circumstances. Payroll practitioners should arrange to meet with all payroll stakeholders to have a detailed, frank discussion regarding payroll continuity. Who invokes the triggering of the plan? Who exactly does what, should any of the given scenarios happen?

There are so many different items to consider once you open this can of worms; but open it, you must. To not have a Plan B is a dereliction of your duties. Payroll is the reason people come to work, and you are mandated to ensure they get the monies owed.
Canadian Payroll AssociationThis article is an excerpt from Dialogue magazine, a publication for members of the Canadian Payroll Association. Find out more about membership at their website, www.payroll.ca.

 

Are You Prepared? The Importance of IT Disaster Recovery Preparedness 

adagio disaster recovery planCould your business succeed if you lost every bit of application data? Most businesses could not and yet many run without any sort of disaster recovery plan. And it’s easy to forget, since running a business effectively is hard enough once you count the day-to-day operations, legal requirements, and human resources management. Adding in the extra step of preparing for a theoretical disaster is usually one item too many for the average business owner. Unfortunately, the threat is all too real for even the smallest of businesses to ignore.

According to the 2014 Disaster Recovery Preparedness Benchmark Survey, “more than 60% of those who took the survey do not have a fully documented DR plan and another 40% admitted that the DR plan they currently have did not prove very useful when it was called on to respond to their worst disaster recovery event or scenario.” That’s a lot of people who simply decided that an absent or incomplete DR plan encompassed all of the preparedness their business needed.

The Types of Disasters

There are many disasters that can strike a business. These disasters include fire damage, water damage, electrical damage, storms and natural events, human error, equipment failure, and targeted attacks. In many cases, one type of disaster like a power surge can lead to others, such as complete hard drive failure. Losing your data is not an option if you want to succeed in today’s data-driven world.

Data encompasses more than your human resource records. It includes your VOIP systems and application settings. It includes your financial transaction history and accounting. It also includes your future marketing data, such as your customers’ buying trends and product preferences. Data that will contribute to your long-term business success over the next decade. Losing some or all of it due to poor preparedness is like leaving the door unlocked in a busy neighborhood. You can do it, but why should you?

What is an IT Disaster Recovery Plan?

When many business owners think of disaster recovery they think of things like fire drills and evacuation procedures, but there’s more to it than that. An IT Disaster Recovery (DR) plan is a set of resources you and your IT team will use to navigate before, during, and after an IT disaster. It includes steps to take before a disaster, such as regular database backups and restores and maintaining documentation. It includes the steps to take during a disaster, such as the chain of command and what to recover and test first. It also includes the steps to take after a disaster, such as tweaking the documentation, having a lessons learned meeting, and recording the incident steps in a ticket.

The Hindrances to Recovery

Missing just one component of a DR plan can have huge consequences on your ability to recover within your target service level objective. What if the database admin tasked with updating the documentation left, and all of the recovery knowledge was in his or her head? What if your IT team failed to follow through with regular backup and recovery, leaving you with a corrupted database? What if there is no budget to buy a spare hard drive? What if your server backup fails? What if nothing is documented? What if no one knows how to backup? What if your support plan with your vendor lapsed? There are many moving pieces in a disaster and missing even one step can considerably delay your recovery.

So when you’re thinking about what to document next in your business, consider a disaster recovery plan. You may never need it, but if you do it could literally save your business time and money it cannot afford to lose.

We are here to help you improve your business operations in any way we can, including disaster recovery plans for your financial data.

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.

Following AccSys & Softrak on Social Media

Are you following AccSys on social media?

Accsys on social mediaSocial Media is a great place to keep on top of what’s happening, both with us and at Softrak, the developers of Adagio Accounting. Here’s some social media sites to follow:

We are happy to keep up and connect with our clients in as many ways as we can.

And while you are at it, be sure to follow Softrak as well, if you aren’t already!

Adagio Cloud Is On Sale. Save Almost $1000!

Adagio In The cloudSoftrak has a limited time offer running on Adagio Cloud. If you buy Adagio Cloud (Core) you can get Adagio Invoicing for free for the first six months. Alternatively, you can get Orders instead at 50% off. Either way, the value you save is $960! Adagio Cloud Core consists of general ledger, financial reporter, accounts payable and bank reconciliation. Adagio Invoicing has accounts receivable and invoices. Adagio Orders features accounts receivable, order entry, service invoicing, CRM / quote management, RMA processing and sales analysis.

Why use Adagio in the Cloud?

As small businesses, including non-profits and government agencies, 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. Adagio Accounting is now available as a cloud (hosted) solution.

  • Ease of Use: Access your data from anywhere, at any time.
  • Save Money: Eliminate the high cost of servers, network software and other local area network infrastructure costs.
  • Cost Effective: Spread the cost over the length of the subscription, saving on up-front lump sum costs.
  • Easy Sharing: Multi-user access makes it easy to collaborate and share information with your team.
  • Recovery and Protection: Data is backed up daily and weekly. No need to continually back-up or use your own hard drive.
  • Security: Data is encrypted, ensuring that only authorized users can access the files.

This offer expires March 17. Contact Us today for details.