e-Newsletter, March 7, 2007

Roundtable Software Newsletter #47, March 7, 2007

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In this issue...
Patch 30 Released
This patch contains minor bug fixes, a number of enhancements, and a new feature for use in conjunction with the new Windows version of the software. Click here to go to our Patches page where you can read all the details of this patch and download the patch file.

Tax Table Updates

We have added the recently released updated tax tables for the District of Columbia to the Payroll module. Click here to download the current tax tables.

RTS-Advantage 4 on Windows Vista
We tested the RTS-Advantage product on the final beta of Windows Vista, and will soon continue testing with the production version. So far we have not found any important problems in using the software on this new version of Windows. (And for all those who were dead certain that Vista would not have a DOS prompt, all we can say is we told you so).

One odd problem that you may need to address if you move your RTS-Advantage onto Vista is with our Windows Printer Utility. We have found that the Vista system does not like to have the utility installed in its default location suggested by our Setup program. Instead we suggest you install it into a directory along with your RTS-Advantage DOS application, for instance \ADV\PRINT or some such.

There are also reported problems with Vista's NET USE command to address network printers (problems we have not yet verified in-house) but that sound like something for which Microsoft is likely to issue a patch.

Q & A
Duplicate Terminal Numbers

Q: When I enter RTS-Advantage I constantly get messages telling me that I have duplicate terminal numbers. What's wrong?

A: It will be one of four things. If you are on a network the most common problem is that your network account does not have permission to create and/or delete files in the RTS-Advantage folders. These rights are absolutely necessary to running the software. Consult your network administrator to get the problem fixed.

If that's not it then the next most likely problem is that you are not exiting normally from RTS-Advantage. If you use the Close Window button (the one with the X in it) to end your RTS-Advantage sessions, or turn off your computer without exiting the RTS-Advantage session(s) you are not allowing the software to shut down normally. Exit the software normally and the problem should go away.

If that's not the problem, and you're using the Launchpad to run multiple sessions of RTS-Advantage, then check the Launchpad settings under Tools ... Settings. If the session setting is for Single Session Mode, change it to Multiple Session Mode and the problem should go away.

If that's not the problem, then you are probably experiencing a rather obscure networking problem that we identified on a few isolated systems a year or so ago. Click here to download a patched version of ADVMULTI.EXE that you can install to solve the problem. NOTE: This version of ADVMULTI is added to the product with patch 30.

Federal and State Treat Employer Contribution Differently
Q: In Payroll I have to implement a new benefit that we are offering to our employees. According to my research the employer contribution to this plan is not taxable by the federal government, but the state, not being so nice, says that it is to be considered part of the employee's wages for tax purposes. Can I implement such an odd thing in Payroll, and if so, how should I set it up to get proper reporting at the end of the year?

A: In order to have the system calculate taxes on this amount, this new benefit must be entered as a pay type. But since we don’t actually want to add anything to the employee’s check amount, that pay is auto-deducted. In order to keep that pay from being taxed by the federal deductions, those deductions are listed on the pay type master as exempt.

Our first step, then, is to set up a deduction in Payroll program 3 to act as our auto-deduction number. This number can be anything you like but should have a Federal Reference of zero and a State and Local Reference number matching your normal (Hourly, Salary, etc.) pay types. No table codes are assigned to this deduction–-program 15, Calculate Taxes, will automatically withhold the total amount of the pay to which this deduction is assigned as an auto-deduction number.

Now add a pay type in program 1, entering the appropriate State and Local Reference numbers for your situation. You can set up the fields where the cursor should stop in program 14 as needed, but at a minimum, you’d want to stop at the Rate field and answer No to the Is Rate Per Hour prompt. On the right side of the Pay Type screen, enter the deduction set up previously in the “Auto Deduction Number” field and enter the exempt Federal deductions in the box labeled “Deduction Types Not Applicable To Pay Type”. Up to 16 deductions can be listed here.

This pay type is then posted each pay period through program 14 with the employer’s contribution amount entered as the pay amount. Program 15 will include this pay when calculating state taxes but exclude it when calculating the taxes listed as exempt in the pay type master, then remove the entire amount of that pay from the check amount.

Sizing of DOS Windows
Q: I read your newsletter where you explained why running a DOS session full-screen on Windows is a bad idea. However, if I run my RTS-Advantage session in a window the darn thing is so small I really have trouble reading it. Any suggestions?

A: DOS windows can be resized to fit your needs. To do so first start up RTS-Advantage in a DOS window (if you use Launchpad, be sure to activate it from there). The DOS windows you are using may or may not have a bar of buttons along the top edge. If it does, select the Properties button, then the Font tab or get there directly using the Font button. If your DOS window doesn't display a button bar, right-click on the title bar at the top of the window and choose Properties from the menu, then choose the Font tab. Be sure to do this from the window’s title bar and NOT the icon-–we’ve seen it behave differently based on where this property is set.

In the scroll box along the right side you'll see a long list of dimensions that you can choose from. Some are rather oddball sizes, so stick to the sizes that give you the right proportions. You can click the Apply button to preview the selected size on your current window. There are plenty of options, and they'll take you almost up to full screen at the largest. Play around a bit with the options–-many users find that using the Lucida Console font at 25 points gives a window that fills up the width of the screen.

On Windows XP when you save your settings you should see a dialog asking if you want to save these settings for future sessions. Be sure to take this option. On older versions of Windows this prompt doesn't appear, but usually Windows does remember the settings for future sessions. If it doesn't, try setting your default Command Prompt window to the same settings. This usually takes care of the problem.

Bank Reconciliation For Windows Release Date
Our new Bank Reconciliation module is all done with programming and testing and a few new features have been added that were not in the beta version but we're still a few days away from having the installation ready for prime-time. This module is not only Windows native, it also represents a huge step forward in the functionality of the Bank Reconciliation module. The interface is far easier to work with, making reconciling your bank statement actually enjoyable (okay, almost enjoyable!).

The Windows Bank Reconciliation module is 100% data-compatible with the DOS version of RTS-Advantage, as will be all the Windows modules in development. You can run the two products side-by-side on your system and use them both at the same time.

Among the main enhancements to the module, which retains all the existing features of the DOS product, but adds so much, are:

  • A fantastic new interface for the reconciliation process, including one-touch clearing and unclearing of transactions, live updating of bank balances and uncleared transactions, and instant switching of view modes (two different sort orders, plus show all or just uncleared transactions).

  • In the Bank Master you can access your bank's website or write an email to your bank contact with the click of a button.

  • You can save the date you opened your bank account along with the opening deposit amount for enhanced reporting.

  • The Gather function and all reporting and purging functions use our new Super Range capability that lets you set ranges and/or wildcards on practically any of the fields and files affected.

  • Lookups have been enhanced so you can customize them to include much more information than could be shown in the limited DOS version.

  • Preview reports on-screen in a much more user-friendly format.

  • Print your company logo on your reports, create forms, and do custom watermarking with the new Report Images feature.

  • And perhaps most exciting of all, the new Charts and Graphs option which allows you to visually inspect your bank balances and transaction volume over time, compare multiple bank accounts in pie charts, and customize the charts and graphs in practically any way imaginable.

Click here to see a multimedia preview of the Bank Reconciliation for Windows module

A fully-functioning, limited-use demo version of the Bank Rec module will be available with the release of the module.

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