The purchase of A+ Avalara Connector provides your organization with access to Avalara Tax Services. This includes sales tax calculation for all 50 U.S. States, the District of Columbia, and all Canadian Provinces and Territories (including GST, PST, and HST). We’ve put together a simple guide to get you started with the connector.

Avalara Provides Three Key Services:

  1. AvaTax, for tax calculation and reporting.
  1. Cert Capture, which is a separate portal where Customer Exempt Certificates are stored and maintained.
  2. Manage Return Services.

Five Steps to Get You Started:

  1. Initially, you’ll need to create and configure your AvaTax Portal in the cloud with the appropriate nexus.
  2. Aktion will install and configure the A+ / AvaTax Connector.
  3. Validate your customer’s addresses in A+.
  4. Then mark your customers as either Taxable or Exempt using the ‘Tax Exempt Cert#’ field.
  5. Apply the appropriate Avalara Tax Code to your Items and Special Charges.

Run the Address Validation Report

When beginning the process of integrating A+ with Avalara, it is extremely important to do a comprehensive verification of all existing Customer Bill-To and Ship-To Addresses. The report should be used to correct all invalid addresses in the system.

Maintenance Options

There are some updated Master Files in A+.

In the Item Master Maintenance:

*If the Product ID is left blank, Avalara assumes the item is classified as ‘Tangible Personal Property’ and is therefore taxable. It’s always best to code your items with the best tax code that matches your items or services.

Special Charge Definition Maintenance

Customer Bill-To / Ship-To Maintenance

Tax-Exempt Certification Number

The ‘Tax Exemption Certificate #’ field drives taxability at the customer level. The field should be:

The A+ ‘Tax Body Number’ field is no longer needed for tax calculation. All rates come directly from AvaTax.

Order Processing

Aktion developed, implements, and supports the AvaTax A+ Connector. Contact us to learn more about how the AvaTax A+ Connector can streamline your sales tax process and make manual sales tax calculations a thing of the past today.

Spoiler Alert! FACTS has functionality to communicate set critical information and data. Alerts were not standard in FACTS until v7.8. Before v7.8 users relied on reports, handwritten notes for reminders, shouting across cubicles or just flat out didn’t communicate until there was a problem. Are you looking at a sticky note on your monitor right now reminding you of an out-of-stock item? Alert Control Center (ACC) and Exception Control Center (ECC) help put an end to the sticky note madness.

Alert Control Center (ACC)
The ACC and ECC are very similar, but each are designed for different users.

The ACC is set up for general and administrative system users to receive alerts. You can get to the program a few different ways. Access code ACC or click on the icon in the upper banner.

 

Review your alerts. When you click on an alert, it will bring you to a program to respond to the alert. As an example, “CrdHold” will bring you to sales order review. When you are done responding to an alert, be sure to close it. Manage your alerts and try to complete them daily.

The ACC allows users with security to use the System Alerts Dashboard. With security, you can get to the System Alerts Dashboard in User Preferences by using “My Alerts”. The system Alerts Dashboard allows users to subscribe themselves and other users to alerts. You can also subscribe to ECC alerts. For each alert, you can define how you want to receive an alert. The choice is either email or within ACC or both. It is recommended to subscribe to your alerts with just ACC and not email. At the point your alerts are manageable, and you prefer email, you can go in here at any time to subscribe via email.

FACTS 9.3 has several new alerts that get into detail of various programs. As an example, you can be alerted if someone changes a field in a File Maintenance. It may be helpful to be alerted if a user changes a customer credit limit or credit terms. Perhaps you want to be alerted if a user changes an item class on an item or you may want to know if someone was in a file maintenance. These alerts are available and can be programmed specifically to information you want to manage.

Exception Control Center (ECC)
The Exception Control Center (ECC) is intended for buyers. Users can get to the program with the ECC access code or in the Purchase Order (PO) module in the PO Entry menu.

It is highly recommended to review your alerts at least daily. If not a few times per day. Some alerts will alert you immediately, whereas others will alert you after the nightly alert miner process. A very common frustration is going into ECC and finding too many alerts to deal with. Users get overwhelmed and end up just ignoring them and may miss out on critical information.

At Aktion, we help FACTS users to both design alerts and help make alerts more manageable. We have 25+ alert enhancements already created and currently in use by our customers. Let us help you get your alerts under control and go from getting too many alerts a day to just a few that truly need your attention. I hope this article has given you better insight into both the ACC and ECCs in FACTS. Feel free to reach out and contact us if you need help getting your alerts back on track or want to learn more about one of our custom alert enhancements.

The entry-level software that helped make your construction business better and more efficient might be the thing that’s now slowing it down. More and more midsize construction companies are looking to replace that basic accounting solution with cloud-based financial management software. It can turn into a real domino effect, one domino falling after another, all indicating that your current accounting solution might need to be upgraded.

Domino One: Your business is growing more complex.

As contractors grow, the accounting and overall structure is naturally going to become more complicated. Managing job site crews, compliance demands and the need for separate legal entities can give your accounting department a lot to deal with. Any company who adds employees does so very deliberately because it automatically adds complexities. People are clocking in on the job site. You have equipment that requires maintenance and tracking.

Domino Two: More complexity creates less productivity.

It’s a natural progression when a business grows but remains using the same accounting software. Seeing a productivity decline often aren’t the result of the employee, but rather having unrealistic expectations from the same people doing more complex activities. The workload is greater, so your team is scrambling to get invoices paid, to close out the end of the month or quarter and probably having to create or find workarounds for handling all of this in a timely manner.

Domino Three: Old reporting tools are inadequate for growth.

Preset reports are so handy when first starting your construction business because you can plug in your numbers and get the data you need immediately. But the first domino – growing complexity and the second domino – lacking productivity, create the need for better reporting. When you have people in different places, they all need access to the same data to be able to make decisions and understand each situation completely. This requires dashboards and construction-specific insights to help harness this wonderful business growth into profits.

Organizations who sit on an aging accounting system can really miss opportunities. It’s good to take a step back and look as objectively as possible at your construction and/or real estate company. How agile does it feel right now? Can your separate teams in the office and in the field access the data they need to perform their jobs? Finally, are business leaders able to drill down quickly and easily into company data to determine areas that should be grown, areas that are problematic?

There are some excellent choices for cloud-based construction software that requires less up-front investment in software and hardware. Seek out a solution that is accredited and secure, so you don’t have to invest in more staff just to maintain a new system.

Today, most general contractors subcontract out up to 80-100% of their work. In a competitive bid, or design/build project, the race is to find qualified sub-trades that can cover the scope of work on projects. It’s not just dollar comparisons, but also “scope checking” the sub’s “quantities of systems so you can qualify the validity of their “price.”

Here are some common examples of this:

How do you prepare your estimate, and “scope check” your subcontractors (subs)?

At Aktion Associates, we created a Divisions 1-48 specifications driven estimating database for Sage Estimating. Our estimating database has 4,653 Spec Sections as cost items, waiting for you to enter the price from “scoped checked” subs on bid day. Beyond Spec Section items, we also created 260 Scope Check items to check quantities, which are expandable.

Here is Aktion’s quick and easy process using our Division 1-48 Spec Section Database.

Grow your business with Aktion’s proven Specifications Estimating Database, paired with the most widely used estimating platform in the United States, Sage Estimating.  This combination becomes the major difference between you and your competition. Best of all, Sage Estimating integrates with all Sage Construction Accounting products. With Aktion Associates, you get real fast, and real easy solutions that produce winning results.

 

Infor A+ Graphical User Interfaces (GUI) also known as A+ WEB creates graphical interpretations of user interfaces allowing users to access their data in a modern web-like format. The GUI environment functions as a point-and-click Windows application with the ability to use dropdown menus, radio buttons, and easily export data into Excel documents.

Exporting in A+ GUI/WEB
By clicking the “Export” button from any of the screen options below you can quickly export the on-screen data to a .csv file.
The pages with “Export” buttons are:

There is also an “Export/Graph” button created in Sales Analysis to allow you to export your data to a .csv file and create a graph quickly in Excel.

Example of exported data:

Once in Excel, use F11 to create the graph:

Contact us to get more information on A+ GUI/WEB or have your questions answered on how to set up the export features.

Can you trust Infor FACTS to tell you when it’s time to replenish products in your warehouses? Of course, you can. If you don’t trust FACTS to guide warehouse product replenishment, it’s time to review your data parameters and Order Point (OP) adjusters.

Understanding your FACTS data is key to optimizing the product replenishment process. As a former FACTS user and application consultant I want to focus on how OP for FACTS v7.8+ can hone your product replenishment process.

What Affects Order Points?

Order Points are affected by usage, lead time, and safety stock. When issues occur with calculated replenishment values it helps to understand the relationship between these variables to determine how to best address and remedy the situation.

Ask Yourself the Following:

Check your replenishment parameters for lead time and safety stock. Prolonged supply chain lead times have caused it to be difficult to secure products than ever before.

As a reminder, lead time (LT) impacts your safety stock. If you review your safety stock and think FACTS is not calculating accurately, review your parameters on safety stock. There are parameters for minimum and maximum on safety stock.

Types of Item Order Points for FACTS:

Calculated OP is required and is generally the only type needed for most items. The other OPs listed above are optional and are not intended to be used globally. If you choose to use any other type of OPs than Calculated OP, FACTS will default to the highest value OP.

What if you have several customers that order small quantities of a product and one customer that orders many units at a time?

You want to be sure you have enough product on the floor in the event this customer places an order. To achieve this, FACTS has Average Shipment Quantity (ASQ) OP and Five-high Order Point. ASQ works well if there are few shipments with large quantities. Five-high ASQ is helpful in cases where you have a few customers who buy in large quantities and many who buy in smaller quantities.

Threshold Minimum vs Freezing Order Points

Setting a Threshold Minimum (T-Min) OP can be useful when you don’t want stock levels to drop below a specific point. Whereas Freezing OP waits until it gets to the assigned replenishment value. The advantage of T-Min vs Freezing OPs is if you have your T-Min set at a minimum value and FACTS calculates your OP higher than the set minimum, FACTS defaults to the higher value.

After reading this I hope that you’ve found more insight into optimizing your warehouse product replenishment process. Feel free to reach out and contact us if you need any help reviewing your data, replenishment parameters, and OP adjusters to get the most out of FACTS replenishment data.

The many ways Aktion is invested in your business.

The Acumatica platform continues to evolve to meet the needs of users. This modern, cloud-based solution makes changes easy. It’s architected for flexibility, adaptations and growth. It’s an exciting time to be a part of the Acumatica community.

Both Aktion and Acumatica are great resources for understanding the New Releases and the Independent Software Vendor (ISVs) applications that are available to you. Whether you need advanced business intelligence, project management tools or document management, there are so many choices to help you extend your current Acumatica solution. Then there are the excellent new features and releases that Acumatica comes out with a few times a year. The last Acumatica 2021 R2 came out in the fall to great reviews, with users enjoying the many upgrades available to them.

Our current Acumatica customers may already know the deployment choices you have with Aktion. Whether you’re in the Acumatica Cloud or a private cloud setting, there are other options available to you as well. Aktion prides itself on having two, privately owned data centers. As a result, many of our customers trust Aktion to host their software applications in our cloud environment. Not only can this avoid expensive server replacements, but Aktion also has an entire team of engineers to set up, train and support your technology needs.

Additionally, with our proprietary Lean Implementation program, we provide you with a proven process for goal-setting and measuring progress. From the start of each implementation, customers regularly meet with the Aktion team to discuss and reevaluate expectations. The overall goal is to reduce the time period it takes for your go-live.  We strive to increase project delivery both on time and on budget to earn your trust as a trusted IT provider. Finally, during the go-live interview, we ask for a Net Promoter Score, or overall level of satisfaction with your implementation.  “Our objective is to conduct a brief overview of your implementation experience. Our intent is to establish a consistent, repeatable process to better serve our customers,” explained Aktion’s Director of Service, Gary Kirstein.

We’re here to support you and be a partner in helping you build a modern IT infrastructure. Aktion’s team of technology experts provides you with valuable and wide-ranging resources. It’s a great time to be an Aktion customer AND an Acumatica customer. 

It’s been a year or more with many changes in the way we work. Reliance on technology has come to the forefront as we move to permanent remote work or a hybrid setup with part time in the office and part time at home. Cloud computing allows people to access the technology safely and securely that they need to perform their jobs. But handing over the bulk of your IT to a Cloud Services Provider does not absolve you from security threats.

Cyber security concerns grow greater all the time and unless people and companies remain diligent, it can be easy to find yourself the victim of a harmful attack. Below, I’ve listed some ways to educate and thus protect your workforce to enable them to keep themselves and your company data safe.

Firstly, you should provide employees with education opportunities, so they know how to recognize suspicious emails. Whether you’re sending out emails about potential threats or providing courses on best practices, teaching your workforce to be diligent is an excellent first step.

Phishing emails are designed to look like they come from a reputable company or person. These are designed to get you to click – so they tell a story to grab your attention. Whether it’s offering you something for free or telling you there’s been suspicious activity on your account, here are some ways to recognize whether an email is real or just a phishing attempt.

1: Does the sender know your name or is it using a generic greeting? (Hi Bill vs. Dear Customer)

2: Does the email domain match the company exactly? (costco.com vs. costcoenterprisesinc.com)

3: Is the subject line promising something unrealistic? (We have added $18,697 to your account!)

Aside from learning what emails are safe to click on and which ones are not, it’s also good to have some technology measures in place for better protection. These tools can prevent phishing attempts from being successful, but these additional resources on cyber security may also be helpful.

1: Protect your business and home with a secure internet connection. A Virtual Private Network (VPN) creates a more secure connection.

1: Use anti-virus solutions, malware, and firewalls to block suspicious emails from getting through to begin with.

2: Use multi-factor authentication that prevents threats from accessing your data by only guessing your password.

3: A password management tool can help you track and create safe passwords.

The good news is you don’t have to figure these details out by yourself. We suggest becoming partners with a technology solutions provider that you trust. Such a partnership can bring immense value to your company through security best practices and suggestions on the best tools to use to protect your company information. The even better news is that Aktion Associates partners with businesses like yours to provide just this type of support. We have an entire team of cyber security experts. Aktion can also recommend and implement the tools that will protect you from harmful cyber threats.

As distributors, you love your ERP system and all it offers.  The software is designed for processing and storing large volumes of business transactions, such as customer orders, vendor purchases, and invoice lines. The complexity of ERP data cannot easily give insights into customer buying patterns, track vendor performance metrics, or monitor sales trends.

Furthermore, how do you get the data out of your system for your sales and executive teams? Well, you can get the data out if you have someone on staff that can write custom crystal reports. However, wouldn’t it be easier if you had software that provides integrated built-in sales and business intelligence tools?

 

Business Intelligence (BI) Tools

With business intelligence software for your ERP, executives see the big picture and what to prioritize next. They can identify issues at the product, warehouse, and customer levels. By using inventory scorecards and reports, executives can easily track values that influence costs, sales, margins, and promotions.

For example, business analytic tools that look at customer life cycle can show you when churn happens and why. In addition, Business Intelligence (BI) can help you identify and address pain points to reduce churn. Further, BI tools can help improve margins and increase profitability.

 

ERP Tools That Fit Your Needs

Pick a solution that will work best for your company. Then, seek out software that will natively integrate with your ERP for an easy transition.  Look for prebuilt templates and reports for the distribution industry. Find a software company that understands your business and needs. This will ultimately make the process more streamline and have your teams running more effectively from day one.

 

What’s standing in the way of your success?

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software can give you a clear picture of every single customer or prospect’s areas of engagement. So often, distributors have disconnected systems that leave a lot of sales opportunities on the table. There are many reasons to look at a CRM solution and many ways in which one can help you provide a better experience to the customer and provide your team with a powerful sales management tool.

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management, and it needs to do all of this and more easily and in an integrated way.

Many distributors who look at a CRM solution have similar pain points that include:

Accuracy = Time Savings

Not only is double entry of data time consuming, but it also creates quite a bit of room for error. If there’s even one instance where a department must re-enter information, there will be omissions and errors, leaving your data incomplete and incorrect. CRM software eliminates this need by eliminating redundancy, as well as giving you cleaner and dependable customer data.

Insights = Quality Interactions

You already know that you want to provide the highest level of customer service possible. Detailed customer profiles let you maximize the impact of each touch point with true insight. Whether from sales, marketing, customer service or support, being able to see the bigger picture empowers your team to collaborate towards one end goal. A CRM solution gives you both insight and analytics so you can see greater revenue growth.

Engagement = Customer Loyalty

Increased customer engagement depends upon accurate information across all divisions. Instead of running one system for marketing and one for sales, you get full integration and one source for all the customer and prospect data. This integration improves the quality of each interaction, which translates to higher levels of customer satisfaction. As we all know, the happier your customers are, the more loyal they become.

A complete CRM solution will increase revenues and customer loyalty by breaking down the barriers between departments.  You can now forecast and plan for a superior and customized end user experience, from anywhere.

If you’d like to learn more, Aktion Associates is an Infor Gold Channel Partner. We sell and support Infor CRM software, the CRM solution that distributors turn to most. Use the links above to learn more about this Infor solution or reach out to me directly and we can get the discussion started today.