e-Newsletter, February 23, 2005

Roundtable Software E-Mail Newsletter Issue #30, February 23, 2005

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In this issue...

Patch 15: New Fixes & Features
Patch 15 is a mix of new features and a few bug fixes. Here are the changes you'll find in the patch:
  • In Order Entry program 1, Prepare Orders, detail tax totals could double under some circumstances - this problem was only reflected in the detail tax section on printed orders, which few use. The actual amount of tax charged was correct.

  • In Order Entry program 1, if you manually added a freight amount on the third screen, the freight calculation could disappear if you then immediately printed the order or went to screen 1.

  • Order Entry program 54, Order From Estimate - if you assigned a new customer when transferring an estimate to an order, the new customer's secondary salesperson was not automatically added to the resulting order.

  • The credit card interface used by Accounts Receivable, Point of Sale, Billing Order Entry and Quick Sale did not properly recognize a manually specified path for REQ files. Worked fine if you used the default directory.

  • Import Data program 4, Read Delimited, has been changed due to Unix compatibility issues.
New Feature!

Job Cost program 19 (Update/Transfer Payroll) can now transfer piecework pay from your Payroll checks to Job Cost work orders. Previously Job Cost would only transfer salary and hourly pay. You should keep in mind when using this new feature that since Job Cost itself does not recognize piecework as a distinct type of labor (all Job Cost employee labor is based on hours), that the units posted in Payroll will transfer as hours. In other words, if you are paying an employee for 10 units of piecework in Payroll, it will show on Job Cost screens and default reports as 10 hours. As long as you keep this in mind there is really no functional difference between the two. You could, of course, change Job Cost screens and reports to reflect a more neutral term ('units' instead of 'hours') if you wish.

A few additional notes on this new feature:

  • Payroll allows you to post a combination of both regular pay and piecework pay on a single employee check detail line. While this feature is rarely used, it is worth pointing out that Job Cost program 19 will not transfer such details since they represent a mixture of hours and units, which makes it impossible for Job Cost to come up with a reasonable rate per unit because of the combination. Job Cost program 19 will display an error message if it encounters such a posting. If your employees receive both piecework and regular pay that needs to update to Job Cost, simply post these as separate pay details on their check.

  • Payroll also allows you to post a number of hours as a reference on piecework pay, so that you can indicate that the employee took so many hours to do some number of units. Be aware that this reference number of hours will not be used when updating piecework pay to Job Cost, the number of units is always used.

  • And one final item: we discovered when working with this program that a salary pay posted with zero hours (permissible but not usually done) would update to Job Cost with no cost because zero hours multiplied by any amount is zero. We have changed this so that if the number of hours on a salary pay posting is zero, Job Cost will change it to one hour so that the calculations multiply out properly. Note, though, that salary postings should preferably have a 'real' number of hours associated with them in order to create a meaningful posting in Job Cost.
New Feature!

In System Administrator program 11 (Modify Reports) we have added a new feature whereby you can set the number of decimals you wish to see on individual percentage fields. This addresses a request we've had many times over the years from users who dislike 4 decimals on discount percentages printed on orders and invoices. As you know, if you assign a 5% discount on an invoice, the system often can't assign that exact percentage to a line item on the invoice. For instance, a 5% discount on an item that retails for $1.89 comes out to a price of $1.7955. Of course you can't charge a customer that, so the price is rounded to the nearest penny, $1.80. By rounding the price, we no longer have an exact 5% discount. The actual discount given is 4.7619%, and this is the figure that we have to show as the discount percentage for the line item on the printed invoice.

Some users object to that, saying that customers are confused by these fractional percentages, especially when the rounding ends up like our example above, where the exact calculated discount is less than what the seller may have promised (just as many will come out higher, of course). Customers can get pretty hot under the collar when they think they're being shortchanged, even by 4/10s of a penny!

Therefore, our new feature allows you to decide how much decimal accuracy you would like to have print on these discount percentages. Given the example above, if we switched the decimal setting on the discount percentage to zero, the report would round the 4.7619% to 5%, and the customer is happy.

One caveat: Keep in mind that the smaller the prices you deal with, the wider the swings that the discount percentage can take, even such that a setting of zero decimal places could still give you a different percentage than the one you assigned on the invoice. Take for instance, an item that costs 7 cents. If you assign a discount percentage of 10% you get a price of 6.3 cents, which rounds to 6 cents. Using the rounded figure to recalculate the discount we come up with 14.28571%, well away from the original 10%. No matter how much we round, we'll never show a 10% discount for this item. If you deal with this situation, we recommend that you simply don't show the discount percentages on the invoice - let the customer see how much they saved in dollar terms and be done with it.

To use the new feature in System Administrator program 11, load in the section of the report format you want to change, select Edit, and place your cursor on the percentage field you wish to change. Press TAB and select Specify. A menu displays two options, one of which is Decimals. Choose Decimals and select the decimal accuracy you wish shown on the report. Save the format and you're done.

Patches The Easy Way: Replacement CDs
Just a reminder that if you don't want the hassle of downloading patches, there is an alternative. You can order replacement CDs through your dealer that include all the latest patches, then just install the latest version over your existing product. Replacement CDs are only available to users with properly registered version 4 product.

RTS-Advantage Version 4 for Unix Release Date

The release date of Unix version 4 is Monday, February 28, 2005. Here is the suggested retail pricing for this release:

Full Version


Update From 3.3


3.3 serial number required to order an update.

We appreciate the patience of our Unix users in awaiting this overdue release.

Terminal Dates That Won't Stay Current
If your terminal dates seem to not want to stay current since your upgrade to 4.0, you'll find that the problem stems from orphan TERMxx.LOG files. If you leave RTS-Advantage in any way other than by quitting normally, or if your system has security that prevents you from deleting files in your RTS-Advantage directories, the application does not get a chance to properly 'clean up' after itself. One result of this is that the TERMxx.LOG files created for each of your sessions get 'stuck'. Before the multi-session support of version 4.0 this was a minor problem since in previous versions the next time you went into RTS-Advantage the log files would be overwritten automatically. Now that you can have multiple sessions with the same terminal, these files are no longer automatically purged - the system has to assume that someone is using them. When a bunch of these orphan files accumulate the system ends up getting confused over who you are, and the most visible result is that your terminal date shows up as being from a previous day - the last date a particular session number was active.

The solution to the problem involves deleting files on your hard drive, so if you are not comfortable with that by all means get help from your dealer.
To fix the problem:

1. Make sure that ALL users are out of RTS-Advantage everywhere on the network.

2. Using a command prompt or Windows Explorer, go to your AFILES directory (typically something like F:\ADV\SYS).

3. Delete all files with names of the form TERMxx.LOG where the xx is any number 00 - 99.

4. Verify that the files WERE deleted. If they were not then you have security issues, read on.

5. Go into RTS-Advantage and go to System Administrator program 12, System Monitor.

6. Select View Activity and verify that you are the only one on the system. If not, you have security issues. Again, read on. Tab to the program's menu.

7. Select Workfile Purge and choose OK to proceed.

That should take care of the terminal date problem. To ensure that the problem does not recur, make sure of two things:

1. All users on your network that use RTS-Advantage MUST have delete privileges in all RTS-Advantage directories and the directories should not be set to Read-Only. If not, you will have no end of problems because users will not be able to delete work files and log files that are an important part of the operation of the application.

2. Unless absolutely necessary, never shut down or reboot a machine when RTS-Advantage sessions are active, and never use Ctrl-Alt-Delete or the X-Close button to exit an active RTS-Advantage session. Always quit out of all sessions of RTS-Advantage normally. If you do have to shut down abnormally, go through the steps discussed above to clean up before allowing users back in the system. Please keep in mind that RTS-Advantage is an incredibly robust program - if you are having sessions lock up then you have a software, data or hardware problem that needs to be addressed, not just lived with. Contact your dealer for assistance if you are having such problems.

X-Charge Credit Card Processing
We have had a number of inquiries about our new credit card processing partner, X-Charge, and the reviews from those who have switched to them have been excellent. We use their service here at Roundtable Software, and we can definitely give them a big thumbs-up for excellent customer service and very low rates, much cheaper than our old merchant services provider. As a matter of fact, when we switched our old provider asked to be given the chance to beat their prices, so we told them the rate schedule at X-Charge. They had to admit they couldn't do it!

If you'd like to test drive the new X-Charge credit card interface, you can simply install a demo version of the software right from your RTS-Advantage CD. For installation instructions see page 6 of your "Installing RTS-Advantage Accounting System Version 4" booklet (the yellow one). Then to get the interface activated in our software, see the "Setup Merchant Services Interface" sections in your RTS-Advantage manual for any of the modules Accounts Receivable, Billing, Order Entry, Point of Sale or Quick Sale (whichever module in which you plan to accept credit cards). If you have any trouble getting the X-Charge software to work, or have trouble getting it to interface with RTS-Advantage, you can call X-Charge for assistance--their number is 800-637-8268, or contact your dealer.

Notice To Iowa Payroll Users
We have just been notified that Iowa's withholding tax calculation will be changing as of April 1, their first change since 1998. The calculation has not yet been released but we will make new tax tables available as soon as they are.
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