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Cogitate Inc Newsletters


Here you can find archives of our newsletters and other important information.


December 2017 Newsletter

One Time Charges in UtilAbility

A while back, we discussed adding One Time Charges such as Turn On, Turn Off and Service Fees to your accounts. Please reference our November 2013 newsletter, located in our newsletter archives at www.utilability.com for this discussion. Now, while that discussion included a detailed explanation, it’s worth revisiting to add a few more helpful tips.

Often, when adding One Time Charges, it’s only for certain services and only for specific accounts. You will need to first determine if the service even exists for each account and if so, locate and modify that record. If it doesn’t exist, you will need to create a new record to hold that information. Fortunately, UtilAbility provides a helpful lookup tool in UtilAbility Central that will help you determine these things.

If you open UtilAbility Central and click on the Accounts check box at the top of the form and then enter the Accounts tab, you will be able to search for any accounts within your database. You can search by any field in the Account Information table by clicking its column header. So, if you set it to search by the account number, you can simply enter it in the Search box. This will position the list to the appropriate account. Now, since we have the accounts check box already checked, you can immediately go to theServices tab to view all the services that are assigned to that specific account. Here, you can determine if the service even exists for that account.
If you see the service, you can double click that line or right click on it and choose Maintain to modify the record appropriately. If you do not see the service, then it has not yet been assigned to that account and you will have to add the record. You can double click or right click and maintain any line to open the Service Information maintenance screen. Rather than editing that account and service record, you would click the New button and create a new record to hold the appropriate information.
The same information would need to be set and saved either way, as described in our previous discussion. Additionally, it’s worth noting that you want to make sure that you have the appropriate rates entered based on the Calculation Type defined for your service. For example, services defined with Calculation Type 1 will use the Flat Amount field from the Service Information screen for each account and service, while services defined with Calculation Type 4 will use one central Standard Amount from its definition in the Service Types screen for all accounts when they are billed for that service. Please see our UtilAbility Help documentation for more information on Calculation Types.

Once you have the information saved, you can close the Service Information screen and return to the Accounts tab on the UtilAbility Central screen to locate the next account you want to set. You will need to repeat this procedure for each account in which you want to calculate a One Time Charge.

Once you are finished you can calculate your bills for that service along with your other services and they will be billed based on the information that you have entered.
If you would like more information on One Time Billing, please see our UtilAbility Help documentation or contact our support staff, we are always happy to talk with you.

 

Read Full December 2017 Newsletter

November 2017 Newsletter

The Latest & Greatest News

Hi everyone! I would like to update you on what we have been up to these last few months.  We just finished up a big enhancement to our UtilAbility product which allows our customers to enter phone calls and issue work orders.  One of many obstacles was to simplify the user interface and allow natural seamless data entry.  To accomplish this, we looked for new ways to enhance our looks a bit and found a great product called Syncfusion.  When we first started using Syncfusion we were skeptical whether it was better than what we were currently working with.  Our conclusion is that it’s a wonderful new tool for us to use to deliver exceptional products.

Another item we have been working on in the Pro Fund Accounting product is the window coming up behind another window.  It is a tricky thing to get right when you have legacy design and new code working together.  After many days of working through the issue we believe that we have the right solution to this issue implemented.  Please keep us informed by letting us know if it is still happening.

Regarding the audit enhancements that I spoke about at the finance meeting, we have looked at a lot of methods to track data changes.  We have determined the best method to capture the changes and save the information without drastically impacting performance.  So, over the next few releases of Pro Fund Accounting we will be adding the audit tracking to the tables.  If we do this right, you will not even notice when it happens.

And lastly, the new inventory rewrite is still progressing. We have met with some of our road commissions that are helping with the new system and have additional requirements to design and implement.  The system will be AWESOME!

~George Loescher, President~

 

Read Full November 2017 Newsletter

October 2017 Newsletter

Good News For UtilAbility Users

We have been hard at work and are pleased to announce we will soon be releasing our new Service Tracker Pro module for use with UtilAbility. Even more good news is this new module will be available to our Software Support Subscribers at no extra cost!

Our Service Tracker Pro module will allow you to manage your Service Calls and Service Orders from within UtilAbility. We hope you find its new features extremely helpful in managing your day to day operations. Before you can use it, you will need to give each user Service Tracker Pro Rights within Security Maintenance to enable their access. Once you have access rights, you will be able to click on the new Service Tracker Pro menu item from the Main screen in UtilAbility. Service Tracker Pro will allow you to create and maintain Service Calls and Service Orders for your UtilAbility customers. You will be able to build, save and print custom lists of your items based on criteria you specify for each list. You can even email Service Calls and Service Orders as PDF forms to your workers that were assigned to them. Using a PDF viewer, they can update various fields within the PDF files; saving data such as work they performed or completion information, etc. They can email the modified PDF files back to you and once you receive them, you can even import the new information to automatically update your records.

Service Tracker Pro should be delivered to you automatically when you run Check for Updates sometime within the next several days. We encourage you to check it out when you get a chance and see if it is something you may want to use to help manage your Service Calls and Service Orders. Service Tracker Pro includes detailed help documentation, however; if you have additional questions, please contact our support staff for more information

 

Read Full October 2017 Newsletter

September 2017 Newsletter

New AP Feature:  Unpay Invoices 

In the latest Pro Fund Accounting update, we have added a brand new way to unpay an entire Payables payment journal. Before you would have to go to GL Post and select the source of entry as AP, then you had to find the payment journal that the payments were in, then delete all the entries in that payment journal to unpay the invoices that were paid using that journal.

Now there is a new feature called Unpay Invoices under the Payables menu which makes it easy to unpay a payment journal. To unpay a specific payment journal, you now do the following:

  1. Go to Payables>Unpay Invoices
  2. Highlight the specific payment journal that you want to unpay
    • If you need to see the transactions in that journal, click on the plus button next to the journal number and it will display a list of the transactions that are a part of that specific payment journal
  3. Click on the Unpay selected payment journal button to complete the unpayment process

Once you finish the unpayment process, all the invoices that were paid in that payment journal are now considered unpaid. This means that you make any changes to the invoices, such as changing the dollar amount or distribution account. When you are ready to pay those invoices again, you would pay them through the Pay Invoices program.

You will have to add the security rights to be able to access the new Unpay Invoices feature using the security management program under Tools>Security.

If there are any questions about this new feature or if you have trouble setting up the security for the new feature, please give our Pro Fund Accounting support staff a call at 866-634-9991 x2.

 

Read Full September 2017 Newsletter

August 2017 Newsletter

Controlling Addresses Within UtilAbility

Our tip this month is one we have discussed before, but warrants revisiting. 

When you print your invoices, and shut off notices etc., you have the option to choose between any combination of up to three addresses that can be assigned to each customer. These include the billing address, an alternate address and the service address.

The billing address and the alternate address are maintained on their respective pages in Customer Information Maintenance while the service address is maintained in Account Information Maintenance. The addresses that are used depends on your settings.

First, whichever address you set as the Original Invoice address in Customer Information Maintenance will always be used and considered the original document address for that customer. Next, you can check the Invoice This Address check box next to each address to indicate you also want an item printed using that address for that customer. Any additional addresses that have this item checked will also be used and considered copies of the original documents. This can be useful in situations such as when a landlord or guardian may want to be sent a copy of an invoice to oversee them.

These settings can be changed at any time. This ability to easily maintain which addresses are used is helpful in situations such as when you have seasonal customers that may change their location at different times of the year. You can simply change the designated address that you want to be used without changing any of the actual addresses themselves.

If you have any questions about controlling the addresses you want to be used when printing items to send to your customers, please see our UtilAbility help documentation, visit our UtilAbility web site or contact our support staff for more information. We are always happy to help.

 

Read Full August 2017 Newsletter

June 2017 Newsletter

Financial Statements In Pro Fund Accounting

We have recently added some new financial statement reports to Pro Fund Accounting! These financial statement reports are as follows:

  • Statement of Financial Position - This report is essentially a balance sheet for your organization. It is designed for those entities that use our full 7 digit account numbers.
  • Statement of Activities - This report is essentially an income statement for your organization. It is designed for those entities that use our full 7 digit account numbers.

Both of these reports can be found under Reports>General Ledger.

These financial statement reports are formatted per the GASB regulations for financial statements. They are also exportable to Microsoft Excel for any advanced editing that you need to do to them. The financial statements show the balances just for the current fiscal year, if you need to have multi year comparisons; you would need to export each year to Excel and copy the numbers from each year in Excel.

If there are any other reports you would like to see added to Pro Fund Accounting, please feel free to contact our Pro Fund Accounting support staff and let them know what reports you would like to see.

 

Read Full June 2017 Newsletter

May 2017 Newsletter

What Is Your Backup Plan?

Accidental loss of user data, database corruption, hardware failures and natural disasters are bad enough, now we have malware called ransom ware.

Ransom Ware is a file used to encrypt your data that usually comes in from an email or an internet site. The ransom ware does not steal your data, but encrypts it, making it impossible to access unless you pay the ransom. This happens quickly and can leave you without data critical to run your operation unless your data is backed up.

What kind of backup plan do you need? Off-site backup up is essential for recovering your systems in case of a natural disaster. Your off-site storage should include copies of software needed to reestablish operational systems. It is essential to have a recovery plan. Who will be the primary contact? What steps are necessary and who do you call in the event you cannot access your data? A data backup plan can potentially save you money, frustration, and time.

Cogitate offers 9GBACKUP that is HIPPA and PCA approved to securely store your data in the cloud. Our pricing is competitive and our service will get you up and running again as quickly as possible. For more information and pricing, please contact any of our support staff at 866-634-9991.

 

Read Full May 2017 Newsletter

April 2017 Newsletter

Goals For New Inventory Management Process

Now that Cogitate has released version 8 of the Pro Fund Accounting package, we can now focus on the inventory management process. We are working out the major points to the suggested inventory system and want your input. At this time, we are still looking for 3 to 5 road commissions that we can discuss the details of proposed changes with and get their input. So please contact George by email at president@cogitateinc.com. I will share the current goals of the new inventory system, but as we get input from everyone I am sure we will add more.

 

CHARGES: The goal is to ensure the proper dollar amount and quantity is charged. To ensure this, we need to make it so that no inventory item goes negative. The proposed method to accomplish this is to create a pending state for the charges so that only the quantity will be entered in the post programs. Then at a specific time perhaps weekly or monthly the clerk can rectify or commit those charges and that is when the dollar amounts will be applied.

SIMPLIFY POSTING: The goal is to make the post program ‘tailored’ to the job you are doing. We propose that we have a different post program for fuel, one for parts, and one for road materials. Perhaps even a complete separate pit management system.

RECEIVING INVENTORY: The goal is to have inventory that is received capture and maintain a better price and quantity so that there should be a minimal write off at the end of the year. The receive quantity will be applied immediately, but the dollar amount will go into a pending state until an AP invoice is applied to it. This will allow timely tracking of the inventory quantity at the road commission.

SIMPLIFY RECEIVING: The goal here is to allow the parts, road materials, and fuel inventories to have a place that can receive the quantity as they get it. Perhaps in separate programs.

Please remember that these are goals and we want your input during the process of development.

So please contact George by email to confirm you like these goals and with any other ideas or enhancements to inventory you would like to see.



Read Full April 2017 Newsletter

March 2017 Newsletter

Financial Statements In Pro Fund Accounting

We have recently added some new financial statement reports to Pro Fund Accounting! These financial statement reports are as follows:

  • Statement of Financial Position - This report is essentially a balance sheet for your organization. It is designed for those entities that use our full 7-digit account numbers.
  • Statement of Activities - This report is essentially an income statement for your organization. It is designed for those entities that use our full 7-digit account numbers.
Both reports can be found under Reports>General Ledger. These financial statement reports are formatted per the GASB regulations for financial statements. They are also exportable to Microsoft Excel for any advanced editing that you need to do to them. The financial statements show the balances just for the current fiscal year, if you need to have multi year comparisons; you would need to export each year to Excel and copy the numbers from each year in Excel.

If there are any other reports you would like to see added to Pro Fund Accounting, please feel free to contact our Pro Fund Accounting support staff and let them know what reports you would like to see.



Read Full March 2017 Newsletter

February 2017 Newsletter

Controlling Account & Services Billed

This month we will review some of your options for controlling which accounts and services will be billed when running your calculations in UtilAbility.

If you need to control whether or not an account is billed at all for any given billing period, you can enable or disable the account. UtilAbility will include enabled accounts and skip disabled accounts when calculating your bills. To enabled or disable an account, you simply check or uncheck the Acct Active Check Box in Account Information Maintenance. You can do this any time before running a calculation.

Another way you can stop the billing for an account would be to change their Billing Cycle to one you have setup that you will not be calculating (i.e. a holding Bill Cycle). The Billing Cycle is often used to group your accounts together so you can control which groups of accounts will be included when you calculate your bills. UtilAbility will only include accounts within the bill cycle you specify. You can modify their Billing Cycle in Account Information Maintenance any time before running a calculation. If you want them to re-join your regular billing, you can change it back any time you wish.

If you need to control whether or not an account gets billed for any particular service, you can enable or disable that service individually for each account. This allows you to bill them for some services and not for others. UtilAbility will include enabled services and skip disabled services when calculating your bills. To enable or disable a service, you simply check or uncheck the Service Active check box in Service Information Maintenance. You can do this any time before running a calculation.

Finally, if you only want to bill an account just one time for any service, you can set its Calculate Date for that service to match the effective date of your calculation. UtilAbility will include services with either no Calculate Date or services with a Calculate Date that matches the effective date of your calculation. Services with Calculation Dates that do not match will be excluded. You can set the Calculate Date for any service in Service Information Maintenance any time before running a calculation.

As you can see, UtilAbility offers a wide range of options for controlling Accounts and Services Billed. If you need to control these things when calculation your bills and have any questions, please see our UtilAbility help documentation of contact our support staff.



Read Full February 2017 Newsletter

January 2017 Newsletter

Helpful Reminders For 1099-MISC Forms

It is the beginning of 2017, and that means that 1099 MISC forms will need to be filled out and submitted to the IRS. A Form 1099-MISC needs to be filed for each person to whom you have paid, during the year, in the course of your business, at least $600 in rents, services, (including attorney fees) other income payments, medical and health care payments.Payments for which a Form 1099-MISC is NOT required include all of the following:

  1. Generally, payments to a corporation. (See below)
  2. Payments for merchandise, telegrams, telephone, freight, storage, and similar items.
  3. Wages paid to an employee (report on Form W-2).
  4. Business travel allowances paid to employees.
  5. Distributions from Pensions, Annuities, Retirement Plans, IRA’s etc.

Here are some examples of what goes in the most common boxes:

BOX 1, RENTS
Real estate rentals paid for office space.
Machine rentals. If the machine rental is part of a contract that includes both the use of the and operator, prorate the rental between the rent of the machine (box 1) and the operator’s wages(box7)

BOX 6, MEDICAL and HEALTH CARE PAYMENTS
Enter payments of $600 or more made to each physician or other supplier or provider of medical or health care services. Include payments made by medical or health care insurers under health, accident, and sickness insurance programs. You are not required to report payments to pharmacies for prescription drugs. The exemption from issuing Form 1099-MISC to a corporation does not apply to payments for medical or health care services provided by corporations, including professional corporations.

BOX 7, NON-EMPLOYEE COMPENSATION
If the following four conditions are met, you must generally report a payment as non-employee compensation:

  1. You made the payment to someone who is not your employee
  2. You made the payment for services in the course of your business
  3. You made the payment to an individual, partnership, estate, or, in some cases, a corporation
  4. You made payments of at least $600 during the year.

Attorney fees of $600 or more paid in the course of your business are reportable in box 7. The term attorney includes a law firm or other provider of legal services. The exemption from issuing Form 1099-MISC to a corporation does not apply to payments for legal services. Therefore, you must report attorney fees paid to corporations that provide legal services. 



Read Full January 2017 Newsletter

December 2016 Newsletter

Duplicating Accounts in Your Chart of Accounts

When setting up a new fund or a new account branch under an existing fund, instead of creating each new account by hand, there is an easy way to duplicate multiple accounts. This process takes any existing account branch in your chart of accounts and copies it into a new branch. The following steps will guide you through duplicating an existing account or level in your chart of accounts.

  1. Open Account Maintenance
  2. Choose which account or account level that you want to duplicate
  3. Click on the Duplicate Account button
  4. Once the duplicate account screen appears, enter the new number for the account or account level that you picked in step 2. If you are doing an account level such as level 3, then you don’t need to enter a description.
  5. Click on OK to start the duplication process
  6. Exit and reopen Pro Fund Accounting to make sure that everything happened correctly.

For example, if you want to duplicate all accounts under 201-000 and want to change the 000 to 030, then you would select account 201-000 in step 2 and in step 4 enter 030. After the process is complete, all the accounts that are under 201-000 will be copied to 201-030.

If you need to add a new fund which has a similar account structure to an existing fund, then in step 2 choose the fund account level, and then follow the rest of the steps. When duplicating the fund account, there may be accounts that you don’t want to have in the new fund. You can simply delete those accounts from the chart of accounts.

This process will not remove or change any existing accounts.

If you need help with duplicating accounts, or if you have any questions about Pro Fund Accounting; please call our support staff at 866-634-9991 x2.



Read Full December 2016 Newsletter