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.

Resolve to Protect Your Data in 2017

Do you religiously run data integrity checks on your Adagio data? And do you then back up that tested data? Sadly, many Adagio users do neither of these things, and they are putting their data at risk as a result. If you fall into this group, resolve to protect your data in 2017!
DataCare for Adagio by SoftrakFortunately this can be easily achieved. Adagio DataCare automatically checks all your Adagio data, unattended. Set it once and forget it! If you are running multiple Adagio modules, or working with multiple company data sets, Adagio DataCare will provide peace of mind and ensure the integrity of your accounting data. DataCare provides both a File Integrity Check for all modules, and Application Integrity Check for all core modules.
Set up Adagio DataCare once, and let it work its magic every night while your accounting staff are at home. It opens and reads all your accounting data files, validates the information in the files, and creates a log of the work performed. Tell DataCare to run a job at a specific time, and leave it running on your desktop, or let the Windows Scheduler automatically launch DataCare and execute the checking you need overnight.
Create DataCare jobs, identifying which modules to check, and what to do on success or failure. Automatically create backups, and copies of backups on alternative machines on your network, or integrate with VitalEsafe for secure, offsite backups, protecting you from hard disk failure. DataCare will automatically keep as many backup sets as you desire, and remove obsolete backups automatically.
Use DataCare to automatically compact your accounting data, freeing up space from records marked for deletion. Smaller files mean faster backups, faster day ends and posting and an overall performance improvement.
DataCare will automatically send you an e-mail on success or failure of the integrity check. You can even have the job log transmitted as part of the e-mail too.
The peace of mind DataCare provides is invaluable. If you don’t have DataCare installed, call us today to set up an appointment. You’ll be glad you did.

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

Softrak’s Adagio Wish List Results

Every year, Softrak asks its channel partners and end users to complete a survey. It helps them stay aligned with the software needs of their clients and dealers, and allows them to gauge their Net Promoter Score measure for customer satisfaction. The results are always interesting. Here are some “take-aways”:

  • Less than 15% of the respondents work alone in Adagio (85% have 2 or more people working in Adagio concurrently).
  • The most popular avenue for learning about Adagio is Warren’s “Show me how…” video series.
  • Over 40% of end users said their Adagio Consultant was their most valuable resource.
  • PSR’s prefer to read the manuals.
  • Over 60% are already planning to attend AOC 2017, which will be held in Toronto this year, May 21-25.

Thanks to everyone who participated, Softrak appreciates your feedback.

4 Best Practices To Overcome Year-end Challenges

Payroll Year End Best PracticesReport taxable benefits throughout the year:

Not reporting taxable benefits on a per-pay-period basis (or as they are enjoyed) could result in late remittances, fines and penalties, and year-end adjustments. According to Canada’s Income Tax Act, benefits must be included in income as enjoyed or received. Therefore, taxable benefits and allowances provided by an employer are subject to source deductions on a pay period basis.
One of the more common taxable benefits that does not meet compliance requirements involves employer vehicles provided to employees that are not reported during the year, or mileage reimbursements paid out through accounts payable (which can often be taxable when not using the reasonable rates). There is a prevailing belief that reporting a benefit received throughout the year (such as an automobile taxable benefit) only needs to be updated through payroll at the end of the year if, for instance, the employee maxes out on Canada Pension Plan (CPP) Pension Plan contributions part way through the year.
However, this belief is completely untrue. The employer is required to attribute the per-pay-period value of the taxable benefit in each pay period in order to calculate the applicable CPP and income tax due on the benefit. In the event of an audit, an organization failing to do this may be subject to fines and penalties because the CPP/QPP would be considered as a late remittance.
Best Practice: Implement an internal policy to ensure transactions related to taxable benefits go through payroll first. At the very least, transactions should be run by payroll in advance to confirm reporting requirements.

Manual cheques and/or off-cycle bank transfers must be communicated to the payroll department immediately:

Manual cheques and any type of off-cycle payments need to be processed into the payroll system immediately. When this does not happen, it usually results in problems for the payroll department at year-end. Unfortunately, some payments are communicated to payroll after the year has finished. At this point, there is a significant risk that the employer will receive a Pensionable and Insurable Earnings Review (PIER), due to deficiencies in CPP and EI.
In addition to statutory deductions, payroll also has to manually update the payroll register to include these payments so that they report to the employee’s T4. These earnings also could affect additional contributions such as Workers’ Compensation premiums.
Best Practice: Implement an internal policy requiring communication between payroll and any parties outside of payroll who issue these types of payments to employees. Ensure that such communication happens within a few days of the payments. Communication is the most important element here. Lack of communication results in extra time required for the payroll team to handle possible late remittances, penalties and interest, PIER reports, year-end adjusting, T4, and other year-end reporting adjustments.

Reporting fees for services paid to self-employed individuals:

Fees for services paid to self-employed individuals are often handled through accounts payable. However, preparation of tax forms (T4As or T5018 for the construction industry) is usually handled by the payroll department. Internal communication is therefore crucial, as all parties involved must be aware of their respective responsibilities. For example, will accounts payable issue the payments and provide payroll with reporting information? Will accounts payable handle issuing payments and issuing tax forms? Will payroll be required to issue the payments and tax forms?
Best Practice: Regularly touch base with accounts payable to ensure that the implications of payments to self-employed individuals are considered. Furthermore, verify that the status of the employee-employer relationship is being considered to ensure that there are no potential compliance pitfalls in the treatment of employees and independent contractors.

Workers’ compensation reporting and reconciling:

From a workers’ compensation perspective, not all provinces and territories carry the same deadline and reporting requirements or maximum assessable earnings, nor do they recognize insurable earnings in the same way. As a result, organizations that have employees in more than one jurisdiction in Canada need to take extra care to accurately calculate Workers’ Compensation Board premiums and perform year-end reconciliation.
Best Practice: Create reporting for each of the provinces and territories in which the organization has incorrect payrolls. Based on the types of earnings that are used in the specific province, they may be assessable in one province but not the other. Monitoring the maximum assessable earnings in each jurisdiction is easier if each province or territory is logged separately. Most payroll software or service providers are capable of generating custom-built reports that will accommodate the variability, and in the event that an in-house system is used, the time spent on creating an in-house report is well worth the investment.

Keeping on top of year-end reporting requirements is essential, and a simple chart created internally that includes all of the applicable provinces and territories, deadlines, and maximum assessable earnings will help keep every professional on track. Another great tool to help facilitate smooth year-end reporting is the CPA’s annual Legislative Rates Sheet, available on the CPA website for members at the end of 2016.

Remember, it is always a best practice to keep year-end top-of-mind year round. Treat the year-end process like an ongoing evaluation of how payroll is processed throughout the year. Do not wait until after the end of the year to look for errors that might have occurred throughout the year. Perform regular audits throughout the year to ensure that earnings, taxable benefits, and deductions are being properly reported in the correct boxes of the tax forms.
Employers must remember that they are responsible for compliance, even if they are using the services of a payroll provider. A common misconception is that a payroll service provider will ensure proper reporting and payroll compliance, when in fact, this responsibility remains with the employer, regardless of the outsourcing arrangement. Visit payroll.ca for more information and the most up-to-date payroll compliance resources to support you at year-end – and throughout the year!

These best practices come from Dialogue Magazine, a publication for members of the Canadian Payroll Association. Find out more about their member benefits at payroll.ca

Do You Know How EDI Really Works?

Electronic Data InterchangeElectronic document interchange, or EDI, allows companies to exchange documents and forms, such as purchase orders and invoices, with their suppliers and customers electronically, rather than through the mail. By eliminating the necessity of human workers handling, filing, entering, and checking paper forms, EDI reduces errors, speeds up processing, and makes workers more efficient. More and more companies are discovering that use of EDI can make a significant contribution to their bottom lines.

But how, exactly, does EDI do its magic?

How EDI Works

With EDI, workers don’t handle paper. Instead, they fill in forms on a computer screen. For example, when a purchase order is to be sent to a supplier, the worker can fill in a form on an office computer and then have it sent electronically to the seller. When received by the seller’s computer, that purchase order can be automatically processed, checked for consistency, and entered into an order entry system. The seller’s computer can then send the buyer acknowledgment that the order was received.

The Role of EDI Translator Software

The big issue in business-to-business (B2B) electronic communication is that computers are rather single-minded and inflexible. A human can look at a form sent from another company and immediately recognize the specific details, such as item to be purchased, number of units desired, price, and date by which the order must be received, even if that person has never seen that particular form before. Most computers can only handle data that is already in a format they understand.

To successfully exchange business documents like invoices or purchase orders in electronic form, each document must be converted to a commonly accepted format so that the recipient’s computer can correctly interpret the information. For this reason, both sender and receiver normally use a piece of software called an EDI translator to encode a document for transmission, and to decode it when it is received.

How EDI Works in the Cloud

Until recently, a staff of experts was needed to keep EDI translation software up to date and matched to the translators of the customers and suppliers with which a company was trying to communicate. Along with the cost of setting up required servers and networks, EDI was cost-prohibitive for many companies.

Today, cloud-based EDI service vendors do all the hard work of providing software translators and keeping them updated according to changing standards. It’s part of the software as a service (SaaS) model that is making many applications that were previously too expensive for smaller companies available for a monthly fee. In this approach, it’s the vendor, not the customer, that’s responsible for keeping EDI translator software up to date and compatible with those of the customer’s trading partners.

EDI was once a complex process that required specialized software that was expensive and difficult to maintain. But with the advent of SaaS EDI offerings that can be accessed through a simple web browser, most of the complexities inherent in EDI are hidden in the cloud. Most users will never even notice them.

If you think your business might be a good candidate for EDI, or just want to ask more questions, please give us a call. We are here to help you improve your business operations in any way we can.
 
Email douglas@accsyssolutions.com, or call 1.888.534.4344 to get in touch.

This is an excerpt from The Technologist newsletter. Find more issues here.

Softrak Announces AOC 2017 in Toronto

AOC 2017Softrak has announced that their annual Adagio Opportunity Conference will be held in Toronto this coming May.

 

Channel Partners’ Conference 

May 21 – 24, 2017

Clients’ Conference:

May 23 – 25, 2017

Location:

Delta Toronto Hotel

75 Lower Simcoe St.

Toronto, ON

Details to follow as Softrak releases them. Stay tuned to this blog.

See what you missed at AOC 2016 here.

Do You Use Softrak’s Adagio YouTube Video Library?

Did you know that Softrak’s Adagio Accounting YouTube Library contains instructional videos on all Adagio products?

  • “Show Me How” videos will show you a brief overview of various processes or features in Adagio. They provide a quick way to investigate how a specific function works and useful tips on how best to use it.
  • “Watch Me” new release videos demonstrate significant new features in Adagio upgrades and what benefits they give.

The videos are all relatively short in length, so they can be “easily digested” and referred back to as needed.

You can subscribe to the channel so that you will be notified by email every time a new video is uploaded to the Adagio YouTube Channel. Also, you can search their library by keyword, or view by playlist to see all the videos pertaining to one particular module, as shown below.

 softrak youtube playlist

 

Here’s an example (below) of a recent video on how to evaluating your open receivables and reconciling to the ledger control account using the Aged Trial Balance Report in Adagio Receivables:


Be sure to check it out and add the channel to your browser bookmarks!

Why Smart Accountants Use Adagio BankRec

Performing a monthly bank reconciliation can be a tedious task for any accountant or bookkeeper. However, this necessary evil also keeps us on top of a company’s cash position, and thus cannot be neglected. Luckily, Adagio BankRec can speed up the bank reconciliation process significantly, while making it easy to account for NSF checks and apply payments to high volume accounts.

Adagio Bank RecBankRec, which integrates with Receivables, Payables and Ledger, provides a single point of entry for cash receipts into Adagio. An on-line inquiry instantly shows your current cash position, and allows you to recalculate the position “as at” any date in the past. The reconciliation process is simple and straightforward, easing month end processing chores. Unlike bank-based reconciliation services, Adagio BankRec does not require you to tell your bank what checks have been issued. The deposit slip report saves you the trouble of manually listing each check on your bank’s deposit slip.
BankRec’s top features include:

  • Monitor your cash position with up-to-date cash balances
  • Reconcile your bank statement with a few mouse clicks, or import your bank statements and reconcile your bank account electronically
  • Auto-apply cash to outstanding invoices in Receivables
  • Drill-down from a deposit to see the individual checks making up the deposit
  • Automatically reverse NSF checks, accounting for bank fees and charges to the client
  • Automatic creation of a cash batch for Adagio Receivables
  • Automatic retrieval of all checks written in Adagio Payables
  • Automatically mark cleared items in Adagio Payables
  • Import checks and check batches written by other systems such as payroll
  • Determine your expected cash position with the Cash Flow Report — forecast cash shortages and surpluses by aging Receivables, Payables and estimated payroll amounts on a single report.
  • Print donation receipts and maintain an audit file of donations
  • Print a bank deposit slip
  • Supports Multi-currency

We believe every Adagio user can benefit from BankRec. You can find out more and view a video demonstration of BankRec by visiting softrak.com/products/adagio-bankrec-li, or just contact us today!


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