Get Home Earlier (with less worry) with Financial Dashboards That Enable Quicker, Better Decisions
As the owner of a business-solutions delivery company, I have had many discussions with other executives, project managers, and business owners about dashboard reporting, or, as it is often called, “What keeps you up at night?” As the father of four kids, all within four years of each other, I guess discussing “What keeps you up at night” depends on the time of life to which we are referring. When we had four kids under the age of four, kids crying in the middle of the night kept me up at night. As the demands of growing our business increased at the same pace as our family, what kept me up at night kept changing. It became difficult to balance the needs of my family with the challenges of working with more companies that didn’t have a good way to manage their business other than Excel.
It amazes me how many large businesses would really struggle if they couldn’t use Excel. It is not that I don’t like or utilize Excel; however, if you are using it for billing, scheduling, resource planning, and/or reporting, you are in trouble when it comes to avoiding the fears that keep you up at night.
Before my family and business grew, gut feelings and driving energy were great tools to run both. Kids are sick? Okay, just stay up all night with them; no big deal. I don’t need to sleep. The project behind schedule? No problem, just pull an all-nighter and we can be back on track by the weekend. When you are small, you immediately know how things are going. Do kids get hurt? Spend a little one-on-one time with them and they will immediately light up. The client is upset? No problem, you just spend quality time with them, understand the issues, and do the things that make it right. You know whether you are able to fix the issue right then with instant feedback. You can use that information to make changes that will avoid future problems with other clients.
Kids become teenagers, and suddenly you have no idea who they are. What happened to the sweet, little kids that used to wear footy pajamas and think you were the greatest dad in the world? Now you feel like you are living on another planet and aren’t even sure how to talk to them. You still love them; would do anything to make everything right for them and help them avoid any pain, but it’s not as simple as it used to be.
Your business doesn’t seem like the same business you ran earlier, either. You don’t have the energy to pull all-nighters like you used to. Worse yet, you’re not sure even if you stayed up all night what you should work on. So you sit there pondering instead, losing sleep but without the productivity. This is where many discussions with executives owners ultimately come back to; what keeps you up at night?
I have the answer to your late-night anguish. The answer to your worries if you don’t have the financial dashboards you need (gauges, KPIs, and reports). This information can be a backlog, pipeline, receivables, payables, cash flow, project issues, project risks, or countless other information. With Intacct’s dashboard reporting I have the information I need to know where to spend my limited time, money, and energy. Having these tools don’t take all the challenge out of running an organization, but it does allow me to know when and how to make key decisions. And gets me home much earlier and without worry after a day at work.
And by utilizing Intacct dashboard reporting, I don’t have to stay up at night worrying about One Vision Solutions. The kids may be a different matter though.
Kreg Decker, Partner
Accounts Receivable Reconciliation Variables
Have you ever found your Accounts Receivable Aging or Ledger to be out of balance with your Accounts Receivable GL account in Intacct? I’ve found this is a common problem and extremely frustrating for a client. It seems so simple, but there are several variables that come into play when reconciling your Accounts Receivable subledger to your General Ledger. Below I’ve highlighted a few of the reasons this discrepancy might occur and how to stop this from happening in the future.
The first, and simplest reason these could be out of balance is in how a user pulls the subledger reports. To reconcile these reports to the GL it is important to customize the report in a way that includes all customers, all aging periods and is based on the GL Posting Date. The General Ledger Report (or Balance Sheet) must also be run for the same period to compare. If this solved your discrepancy, great news!
If the amounts are still not tying out, we have a few more places to investigate. Are there any journal entries booked directly to the AR account? Are there any line-items that specify this GL account on an Invoice or Bill? What about an Adjustment or Other Receipt? These would affect the GL balance but are not running through the subledger. If this is the case, I would recommend adding a few SmartRules (after cleanup) to keep this from happening in the future. SmartRules are a great way to add a bit of control to how and when entries can be made in Intacct, and what accounts can be used.
In addition to SmartRules there are also some configuration settings that can be reviewed to make sure your Intacct environment is set up to meet your needs. If overpayments are expected, what GL Account is used to record these? An Overpayment will affect the subledger, and the specified account they are configured to use should be included when attempting to reconcile to General Ledger. The account that is used on Overpayments is defined in the configuration settings.
Recording an Advance also affects the subledger and could create a discrepancy in the balance if a different GL account is chosen. In your configuration, you can set up a default account for Advances, but it is important to note that this can be overwritten at the transaction level. SmartRules are also not available on Advances. Using multiple AR accounts to differentiate each type of transaction is helpful, and it works well, but all accounts must be included in the GL account(s) balance to reconcile.
The final item to address when reconciling Accounts Receivable is the issue of timing. If a payment is received prior to the GL Posting date on the invoice there will be a discrepancy. The payment will lower the AR amount in the GL and the AR Ledger, but will not appear on the aging until the GL posting date. At that time both the invoice and payment amount would be present on the aging and it would once again balance to the ledger and GL Account.
By implementing SmartRules, adjusting your configuration, and performing regular reconciliation of the subledger to the AR General Ledger Accounts, you can prevent the variance in the future. The list below summarizes the areas to review:
- Make sure all Accounts Receivable GL Accounts are included when trying to reconcile.
- Verify the subledger reports are pulled for the same period, by GL posting date, and include one-time customers.
- Confirm there are no journal entries posting to the AR account.
- Confirm there are no line-item entries posting to the AR account on other objects (Invoices, Bills, Adjustments, Other Receipts).
- Review AR accounts used on Customer Advances and make sure these are included in the AR GL balance to reconcile.
- Check payment receipt dates to make sure they are not prior to invoice GL Posting dates.
Best of luck in your reconciliation!
One thing that marks the transition from one generation of business leaders to the next is the younger generation announcing with terrific and unshakeable assurance that the world— its customs and behaviors and interests, its trends and ideas for the acceptable and unacceptable, its protocols and politics, so on and so forth—is not like the world that preceded it. They display the problems and begin to make improvements (Sears to Amazon, for example), designing a framework that will help actualize their moment.
This requires the end of deference, which historically has upset their forbearers who, for comfort’s sake, still have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. It is much more agreeable, much less taxing, than trying to relearn everything. Some elders mock the developments with great humor and poignancy; sometimes they shout, or bemusedly watch the glittery but foreign present roll past with the yawning apathy of an elephant surveying a passing helicopter. Some retire—but many do not, and this division makes for a temporary discontinuity between the old and young, who are hard at work resolving the kinds of problems their predecessors tolerated.
In our industry this would mean the graduation from QuickBooks and Excel to the kinds of integrated ERP software offered from Sage Intacct and created for the institutional demands of our epoch, with cloud-based architecture, precise reporting and metrics through customizable dashboards, project-based specifics, and automated processes that have eliminated perilous tasks like duplicate data entry. Sage Intacct has been outfitted with solutions for the kinds of challenges that face the common non-profit or project service firm, to name a few. Preceding generations of accountants, who didn’t have access to such vanguard technologies, deserve thunderous applause for getting through nightly meals without spasmodic sobbing and routine collapse, clinical exhaustion.
The new ways are entrenched. We cannot look back on the old accounting solutions of our grandparents any more than we would want to exchange the conveniences of Amazon for those of Sears. We must adapt accordingly, understand that our situation is vastly different from theirs. And if the older generation gets too depressed they can take solace in knowing that soon there will be another shakeup that will produce similar confusion. What goes around comes around, after all.
Contact us today for more information on how Sage Intacct can help modernize your organization.