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Accounts » Soft Rock Software
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Dec 172009

On Wednesday 16th December 2009, the UK Payments Council came to a decision regarding cheque payments, as explained in this press release. It’s important to note that the situation isn’t quite as simple as some places have reported; it’s not just a case of “cheque payments to end by 2018, full stop” – there’s slightly more to it than that; the goal is to phase out cheque payments while encouraging the use of other methods, but there’s a possibility that it might not be feasible to do so, hence the “go/no go” decision scheduled for 2016.

However, that isn’t the topic of this item – just the inspiration; when reading about the decision to try to phase out cheques it set me to thinking about some of the problems I see when companies make payments to suppliers (some of which apply to cheque payments as much as to any other form of payments). The general problem is that of a lack of identification and clarity – while I see many payments clearly identified in terms of who they are from (or for) and what they are paying, I do see some which lack that information and this leads to time wasted establishing that information. The most common problems I see tend to be one of three: Continue reading »

Nov 242009

All of the companies I work for on a regular basis use one or another of Sage’s products for accounting purposes, but only one uses Sage Job Costings. As its name suggests, this is a program into which all the company’s costs are input, be that supplier invoices, employee time, etc, and allocated to a particular job, each of which has a unique reference, in order to provide accurate costings on a per job basis. If this program is used fully, it can also be used to generate invoices based on the costings – but (and I imagine this is common) the company doesn’t use it this way. Invoices are actually produced in the normal sales ledger module of Sage Line 50, using reports produced from Sage Job Costings as a basis. This gives them more control over the final invoices.

The downside of this approach is that the Job Costings program itself doesn’t know when a particular job has been invoiced (or, more accurately, when particular costs associated with a job have been charged out) and therefore can’t easily provide a figure for Work in Progress – which is, in essence, the costs associated with jobs that haven’t yet been charged out to customers. An accurate figure for Work in Progress is obviously needed for accurate accounts.

There is also an oddity in the way the company dates its invoices which, although I don’t fully understand the reasons for this, I just have to accept as the way things are done. It’s relevant because it does make calculation of a Work in Progress (WIP) figure that much more difficult.

It turns out that they have a list of every job in a spreadsheet, along with the date it was invoiced where appropriate – so by using that it’s possible to go through the list of jobs in Sage Job Costings and select those ones that haven’t been invoiced by a particular date (taking care not to select those new jobs that hadn’t been booked in by that date) and then run a report showing the total costings up to the desired date for all the selected jobs; this would be the WIP figure at that date. However, this is a very long and tedious job which is prone to error. It would possibly be a task that is bearable once every year, but certainly not something that anyone would want to do on a monthly basis. Continue reading »

Nov 102009

Welcome to the ‘Posts’ section of the Soft Rock Software website. The purpose of this section is as a repository of miscellaneous articles which would be usefully provided via the website, but in a content managed form rather than in the normal website design. These would be articles which are related to the business operations in some way, but which don’t themselves need to form part of the core site – items which previously might have appeared in the ‘misc’ section.

Over time, there has been the occasional item in that section, but they haven’t remained on the site beyond a move or major redesign (where more work was required than a few operations of WebChange, and I’ve thus concentrated on the core site; the information and downloads, etc). There have also been times where I’ve considered publishing something in that section, but didn’t because I was planning such a redesign (or whatever). By publishing such things in this WordPress blog in future they will survive such redesigns – they are now seperate from that core site.

The sort of thing that will actually appear here should be quite varied, and not just be limited to what (I imagine) most people who “know” Soft Rock Software online will expect, which is probably the RISC OS software etc. While there will be some of that, it’s actually the smallest part of the business – the biggest is accounting work, mostly using various of Sage’s packages, and I’ve sometimes considered publishing articles based on questions I’m often asked or issues I often deal with; so that’s an example of the sort of thing that’s likely to appear here.