Collections Window: Stop Scribbling Notes Everywhere!

-Written by Bill Lannan

How much time and effort do you spend on AR Aging and collection reviews? Are you still using outdated printed reports? How are you capturing recent cash receipts, adjustments, and credits? Do you still write hand notes all over your printed copy of AR Aging and pass it around? What happens to those notes when you’re done? Can you easily retrieve them when needed? Are you able to share them with others easily? Is information being shared in a timely manner?

The Collections Window in VISUAL is an excellent way to organize your collection activities. You can run it for all customers or just one customer. It only shows what’s open and can be filtered for just past due or all items. It’s sortable allowing you to organize data by dollar amounts, age of receivable, etc.

You can attach customer notes which are viewable by Customer Order Entry. You can attach collection notes which are viewable by Accounts Receivable. You can attach invoice notes which are viewable by Customer Service. You can attach invoice collection notes which are viewable by Accounts Receivable.

Every time you open the Collections Window, it’s automatically updated with recent invoices, recent cash receipts, and recent new or updated notes.

So if you haven’t been using the Collections Window and notations, give it a try! I bet this will help to better organize and streamline your collection activities.

As always, if you need more information, training, or assistance, Synergy Resources is available to help. Just contact your Account Manager or Customer Care today!

Actual Costing is the Preferred Costing Method of Manufacturing Companies

Written by Jack Hughes of Synergy

It is no surprise that actual costing is preferred over standard costing or average costing.  The VISUAL help menu explains these choices under costing method.

Actual costing in VISUAL allows analysis not only of the gross profit of each order but the cost components (material/labor/burden/outside service) as well.  This can be seen in the Gross Profit Report under the engineering /manufacturing menu.  This enables throughput analysis as well as contribution analysis.  As you may know, throughput is described as revenue less material and outside service cost.

The Gross Profit Report in an actual cost database provides accurate cost/revenue data (summary or detail) with 6 selection criteria as well as your desired range of ship dates.

Inventory/Cost of Sales is valued at FIFO (First in First out) unless the Customer Order or Purchase Order is linked to the Work Order which then results in specific costing.

The standard costs are always available as a benchmark for variance analysis and reporting.  These can be seen in the Work Order Master Cost report also under the engineering/manufacturing menu.

Tracking your company’s true actual manufacturing cost is a great way to understand the issues and opportunities you have to reduce costs and generate more revenue and throughput.

 

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Generating Single Site Trial Balance in a Multi-Site Environment

When Infor™ VISUAL first introduced multi-site functionality –  originally released as VISUAL version 7.1.0 – in July 2012, it was painfully obvious that a number of “known” processes would change overnight with this upgrade.  One such change was the inability to print the Trial Balance for a single site – operating in a multi-site environment – via the traditional methods.  For many users, this was incomprehensible?!  How could a robust system – having such powerful capability for site management – be marred by such a minor annoyance?  Was there something we were missing?  Surely Infor ™ and its army of talented developers could not have intended to brand this change with the catchphrase “working as designed”?  Well, as someone much wiser than me once said, “I hate to spoil the ending for you, but everything is going to be OK”.

As luck would have it, Infor™ had a couple of tricks up their sleeves when it comes to new functionality – one of which included the creation of Reporting Calendars.

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Reporting Calendars are designed – per the Infor™ online books – as a way for users to “run financial reports for calendars that are different from your financial calendars” as well as “run reports for several sites, even if the sites use different financial calendars” in multi-site environments.  I don’t see why this wouldn’t work for running a single site then, do you?  Let’s give it a try!  The setup is fairly straightforward…from Ledger | Application Global Maintenance | Maintain | Reporting Calendars the Reporting Calendar Mapping window appears.  Place your cursor into the Calendar ID field, enter a new Calendar ID, i.e., FEB15 – a message will appear stating the Calendar ID does not exist, click OK – and then enter a description for the Calendar ID.  Insert a row, double-click the “Start Period” magnifying glass and locate the correct starting period (from the Financial Calendars).  Repeat this step for “Ending Period”.  Save and close.

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It is “GO” time…  So, let’s test our new reporting calendar and see if it actually solves that pesky reporting issue – shall we?  From Ledger | Accounting Window | File | Print Trial Balance select the Advance Tab.  Make the selections as follows:  Select the Report Calendar ID, drop down on the Site ID and uncheck those that should not be included, verify Report Currency and other settings, then click “OK” to print.

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Voilà!  We have a Trial Balance Report for a single site in a multi-site environment!  How easy was that?  Another problem solved with a little ingenuity and exploration.  Now, let’s see what YOU can do…

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Throughput Accounting

Welcome to Synergy Resources’ Continual Improvement in Manufacturing (CIM) Journal. Over the next several months, we will be exploring here a variety of techniques that can be used to continually improve manufacturing operations. We strongly encourage you to post questions and leave feedback.

The greatest benefits come from addressing problems in fundamental areas. An important element in continually improving is the ability to accurately predict the benefits that an improvement will bring to the company. To accomplish this, we recommend a school of thought known as Throughput Accounting.
Managerial accounting is the process of gathering and analyzing data for the use of managers in making decisions. Throughput accounting is a school of thought put forth by Dr Eli Goldratt (1948-2011), author of “The Goal” and several other excellent books. Dr. Goldratt invented Throughput Accounting to replace the more traditional Cost Accounting approach that had been in use since the early part of the 20th century and which had begun to fail managers. The purpose of the measurements called for in Throughput Accounting is to give managers clarity: to predict the effect of proposed actions on the profitability and health of the company.
A primary measurement in Throughput Accounting is called “Throughput (T)”. If we think of the company as a money generating machine, T measures the amount of money that the company generates through sales. It is not the same as the sales of the company. The throughput value of what is sold is the selling price less the “Truly Variable Cost (TVC)” that was incurred in order to make what was sold. TVC includes costs of materials, purchased components, sub-contracted services and sales commissions paid for what was sold. TVC does not include any labor that was paid for by the hour or salary nor does it include any costs associated with running the company that cost accounting typically call “overhead”.
In essence then, T measures the value that was added to the elements needed to accomplish the sales that were paid for with a unit price.
Here is some data about Alpha Bravo Manufacturing Company (ABM):

Sales value of orders to be shipped this month $33,000.00
TVC for orders to be shipped this month $10,000.00
Expected Throughput this month $23,000.00
Cost to operate plant each month $21,500.00
Expected pre-tax profit $1,500.00
Capacity hours per month $688.00
Cost per capacity hour $31.25

Let’s suppose that we are managers at ABM and we are in a meeting on the first day of our month. We are being asked to decide whether or not we should take an order. This order will increase our monthly sales by $3,500. The material will cost $1,600. Manufacturing the order will take 68 hours of capacity which will not cause any of our resources to be overloaded.
Traditional managerial accounting would look at the cost to make the order and compare the cost to the sales value. In this case, 68 hours of capacity would equal $2,125 in manufacturing cost. Add to this the $1,600 in TVC (material) and the total cost of manufacturing would be $3,725. Comparing this number to the sales value of $3,500 would lead us to decide to not accept the order since accepting the order would cause us to lose $225. Better to leave the resources idle than to lose money!
But wait: it costs us $21,500 to operate the plant whether it produces or not. We do not expect to have our workers to take unpaid time off on days there is not a full day of work for them to do. Let us look at this question through the lens of Throughput.
An order bring $3,500 in sales that uses $1,600 material would generate $1,900 in Throughput. Our new expected T number for the month becomes $24,900. Manufacturing this order does not increase our cost of operation. We will only use capacity that otherwise would have been idle. Therefore our expected pre-tax profit would increase be $3,400, an increase of $1,900. The entire increase in T brought on by this order would be profit! By accepting this order, we would not lose money; rather we would more than double our profit!
This example is only a brief glimpse into the power of Throughput Accounting. Please come back for next week’s blog post to learn more.