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.

How ready are you for a payroll audit?

Audit. How can such a simple five letter word cause payroll practitioners to cringe? The mere thought of going through an audit can be very stressful. The reality is, if you are responsible for payroll, chances are you will be audited. However, if you are compliant, keep up-to-date with changing legislation and maintain complete and accurate records, your audit should be a piece of cake!

Following these simple steps may help mitigate the risk of noncompliance penalties and fines.

Getting Ready

Typically, there are three types of audits that payroll professionals may encounter: an internal compliance audit, an external audit, and a government audit. A government audit is performed by an agency responsible for overseeing a particular area of legislation. Government regulatory bodies including the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), Workers’ Compensation (WC) Boards, the Ministry of Finance, and the Ministry of Labour conduct audits on a regular basis.

Audits can be administered on-site or at a third party’s establishment.They are carried out to ensure that organizations satisfy their obligations related to the employment of workers, payment of salaries and wages, the collection and remittance of statutory withholdings and the accuracy of annual returns. To ensure a smooth audit, you are recommended to prepare information ahead of time, cooperate with the auditor, and be available for any questions they may have.Payroll Solutions

Be Proactive

Being proactive and keeping complete and accurate records is the best approach to ensuring a smooth audit. Follow these best practices:

  • Ensure that employee records are set up properly (e.g. tax brackets, pension set up)
  • Conduct a self-audit to ensure a reasonability test is complete (e.g.Are all the taxable benefits and allowances on the payroll register reported on the T4 in the appropriate boxes?)
  • Confirm that all taxable benefits are set up correctly
  • Verify that all taxes are withheld and remitted on time and that you balance back to your required financial reports (e.g. general ledger) and
  • Conduct monthly or quarterly Pensionable and Insurable Earnings Review (PIER) testing.

Taking these steps will help you determine if you need to make additional changes to your organization’s processes to mitigate any further risks from non-compliance.

Documents Required

Depending upon who is conducting the audit, any of the following records may be requested for review:

  • Payroll records, registers and supporting documents (e.g. time & attendance)
  • Financial statements
  • General Ledgers
  • Payment records including cancelled cheques
  • Accounts payable records including payments to contractors
  • Records of any independent operator rulings issued by CRA or a WC Board
  • T4, T4A slips and summaries and other information returns filed with the CRA
  • RL slips and summaries filed with RQ
  • Clearance Certificates for the year(s) under review in a WC audit
  • Organization meeting minutes and other governance/managerial records and/or
  • Files and working papers used to calculate payroll remittances.

The auditor will contact you in writing to indicate the place of the audit and which records they require. Therefore, it is essential to keep a detailed paper trail or traceable transactions of your payroll from start to finish.

Employment Standards gives inspectors wide ranging powers related to investigations, including the ability to:

  • Enter and investigate without a warrant;
  • Examine records;
  • Require production of relevant documents;
  • Take records or any other relevant documents; and
  • Question any person, including employees.

The most common records that inspectors investigate include:

  • Time records
  • Vacation records
  • The different employee positions in the workplace and
  • Payroll records.

RECORDS Retention

Regardless of which type of audit is being conducted, there will be a requirement to produce organization documents for review. It is the responsibility of the organization to maintain and store accurate records. For example, the CRA requires that organizations must make the records available and permit the auditor to make or receive copies, as requested. Electronic records are allowed, as long as they are supported and maintained in an accessible and readable format. All backup copies must be stored, preferably at a Canadian site other than the operations location.

If you deduct Canada/Quebec Pension Plan (CPP/QPP) contributions, Employment Insurance (EI) and income tax from remuneration or other paid amounts, your records must include the following:

  • Hours worked by employees
  • Amounts withheld for CPP and QPP contributions, EI premiums and taxes
  • TD1/TP1015.3-V forms
  • CRA Letters of Authority to reduce tax deductions for certain employees for a specific year
  • All issued information slips
  • All filed returns and
  • Registered Pension Plan (RPP) information. (For RPP members, this is required even if there are no statutory deductions.)

CRA

Records of an employee’s gross earnings, CPP contributions, EI premiums and income tax (payroll register) must be kept for six tax years plus the current year. Records must also be kept of the remittances paid to the CRA, as well as T4 and RL-1 filing.


This is an excerpt from Dialogue Magazine, a publication for CPA members. Best practices for topics like audit preparation are available to members on their website at www.payroll.ca.

Fall Events for Accounting Professionals In BC

It always feels like “back to school” this time of year, and that applies to our colleagues and clients as much as it does our children. Accountants in BC have a number of conference opportunities this month to help them get into the “back to school” spirit.

the-one-bannerThe One 2016 National CPA Conference

Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada)’s The ONE National Conference is designed for all CPAs who want to be at the top of their game. CPA Canada and CPA British Columbia are proud to present this year’s event. Connect with the top professionals in your field and customize your own professional development experience.

When: September 19-20, 2016

Where: Vancouver Convention Centre, Vancouver BC

Website: http://www.castore.ca/product/the-one-national-conference-2016/2356

GFOA 2016 Western Conference

“Making Connections Count” is the theme for this year’s Western Canadian Government Financial Officers Association Conference.

When: September 21-23 2016

Where: Delta Grand Okanagan Resort, Kelowna BC

Website: http://westcangfoa.ca/2016-conference/

The IPBC IGNITE Conference

This is the annual conference for the Institute of Professional Bookkeepers of Canada, where you will have access to experts and thought leaders in key areas of professional business practices that will ignite your business, your employees, and your life!

When: September 28-Oct 1 2016

Where: Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel, Richmond BC

Website: https://ipbc.site-ym.com/page/IPBCIGNITE

How To Avoid Being Infected by Malware

malwareAny time you go online, you are at risk of becoming infected with some form of malware, like viruses, Trojans, and spyware. Even if your computer is protected with some type of anti-virus/anti-spyware application, it is still possible for malware to infect your computer.

All too often, users forget to update their anti-virus/anti-spyware application, leaving their machines at risk of infection by newer versions of malware. If you have forgotten to update your virus protection, it is possible that your computer is already infected.

What are the signs that your computer is infected with malware?

  • Poor performance is one of the initial signs of malware infection. Once your computer is infected, it may begin to perform each task more slowly than usual. This is because its resources are being used up by malware.
  • If you suddenly find your online searches being re-routed to websites that have nothing to do with the term you are searching for, then you can suspect that your computer’s browser has been hijacked. If you look closely, you may even see some minor changes to your browser when you open it.
  • Another sign that your computer is infected with malware is sluggishness during start up or shut down. Generally, this occurs because the malware application is hogging computer resources.
  • Another sign that your computer is infected by adware or some form of computer virus is the frequent occurrence of pop-up ads. Some of these ads may even suggest that you click on them to run a clean-up utility or download an anti-virus application. All too often, these simply trick computer users into downloading spyware, adware, or a virus.
  • Malware infections can also cause you to lose the ability to access your hard drive, your email, and other areas of your computer’s functionality. Even if you are able to open your email account, you may discover that it does not work properly.
  • If your computer suddenly begins to make funny noises or acts as though it is working harder to start up, shut down, Malware Infection Warning Signs or access files or applications, it is possible that your computer has become infected with malware. The noises indicate that your computer is dealing with more than it can handle – in this case, the finger is pointing at the presence of malware.

If your computer shows any of these warning signs that it has become infected with some form of malware, you should take steps to rid your computer of the intruder. If you already have an anti-virus/anti-spyware application installed, you should update it so that it is current with the latest protection. Next, you should run your anti-virus/anti-spyware application to remove the malware. In almost all instances, this will rid you of the problem.


This is an excerpt from our Technologist Newsletter. You can find more issues of The Technologist here.

Why System Admins Love Adagio Console

Adagio Console eases the administration of complex Adagio sites that manage large user communities, complex day-end processes and remote office locations. Console is an Adagio System Administrator’s best friend!

console

With Adagio Console, you can:

  • Clone users, to quickly set up new users
  • Force users out of Adagio to perform module updates or data integrity checks, even when the user has left for the day
  • Copy user settings to multiple data sets, quickly propagating Grid and Email settings, Report Favorites and Sets, and other Preferences
  • Automate repetitive tasks such as Day End or Batch Posting.

User Management

Adagio Console lets you quickly normalize a user’s settings across multiple companies, or to set up a new user with known security settings and preferences in seconds. Delete all references to a user from within Adagio with a single function. Clone a user to make sure that security settings and other options are set up properly. Use Console to copy settings from one company to another.

Automation

Adagio Console enables task Automation in all Adagio core modules. You can easily create a sequential list of tasks to perform in an Adagio module.

All modules support common tasks such as:

  • Set session date
  • Backup Module | Related | All files
  • Perform Data Integrity Check
  • Import Data
  • Print a Report Set

Specific commands are available to:

  • Retrieve & Post batches
  • Perform Day End processing
  • Charge interest
  • Print statements

Adagio Console will create Batch (BAT) files that automate an entire sequence of processes across multiple modules, allowing you to perform many routine tasks automatically, all in a single step that can be run at a time convenient to your accounting department. Failure at any point in the process will cancel the automation run so someone can verify the error and fix the problem.

Administration

Send messages to users in Adagio, and force users to log out of their applications so you can easily perform system maintenance. Users who are not at their station will be gracefully exited from the Adagio modules they have left open, minimizing the risk of data damage. You can schedule system shutdowns to make sure that everyone is out of Adagio for backups and data integrity checks.

Find out more about Adagio Console by contacting us, or visiting softrak.com/products/adagio-console-li.


This is an excerpt from our Score Newsletter. Read more here.

Technology Trends Smart Payroll Practitioners Need to Know

Payroll Technology TrendsTechnological changes are a constant in many industries, and payroll is no exception. New software, upgrades and portable devices make payroll tasks more efficient, accurate and agile. And though hardware has taken a backseat as applications and data storage migrate to the cloud, there is still a need for faster machines with more memory. Whether you are recruiting for a payroll position, looking for a new role, or aiming to enhance your value in your current role, understanding technology is important. Here’s a brief summary of what to look for in 2016.

THREE PAYROLL TECHNOLOGY TRENDS

Moving to the cloud

Across businesses, departments are transferring data from personal computers and in-house servers to third-party hosts. Also known as software-as-a-service (SaaS), cloud-based applications allow users to access data remotely, thereby eliminating servers, the associated hardware and costly maintenance and upgrades. While some businesses have been hesitant to make the shift, primarily due to security concerns and an unease over not being able to “control” the data, there’s no doubt cloud-based accounting technology is becoming a new industry standard. SaaS offers several benefits. By utilizing the latest available technology, payroll professionals can cut down on paperwork, save time and money, and improve accuracy. Cloud-based applications can quickly and easily back up data and eliminate onerous manual tasks such as inputting data. Using cloud software, which updates regularly, ensures that users have the latest numbers, deductions, percentages and compliance checklists. As for security worries, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has implemented strict security guidelines, and all vendors are subject to audits.

Better enterprise-wide integration

Another technology trend is to facilitate communication and collaboration between payroll software and platforms from other departments, such as accounting and human resources. By doing so, businesses can streamline processes, cut costs and obtain more robust data. This integration is frequently achieved through application programming interfaces (APIs), also known as middleware, which make communication between different systems possible.

Mobile access and self-service

Across Canada, payroll managers are keeping up with the global trend towards mobile. Employees want to view pay statements and benefits info from their mobile devices, and payroll administrators want to monitor direct deposits and earnings on the go. Apps also make payroll data accessible to employees who do not have easy access to computers.

CONSIDERATIONS

If your organization is not already using a new payroll technology, chances are good that it will be soon. To ensure a smooth transition when updating your payroll systems, be sure to think through your business needs, for example, the size of your organization, the age of your software and hardware, geographic requirements, training demands, etc. Also consider the cost of the update. Certainly there are financial costs, though subscriptions for SaaS and data storage may cost less in the long run than investments in hardware and software upgrades. As you consider new technology, you should also account for downtime and the associated loss of productivity. You can minimize the disruption by scheduling migrations after business hours and on weekends.

Payroll technology and software are changing fast, and you and your payroll department need to keep up. By understanding the technology trends in your field, you can help your business remain competitive and profitable, and help yourself stay marketable.

This article is excerpted from Dialogue Magazine, which is a perk of CPA membership. You can find out about the Canadian Payroll Association at their website,www.payroll.ca.


free_wfm_white_paperAccSys Solutions can help you implement and improve the technology you use to run your payroll. If you haven’t done so already, download our White Paper: “Workforce Management – Challenges for Small to Mid-sized Businesses” to better understand how automated workforce management can help your organization realize significant savings in both time and money.