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October 2015 Newsletter

Sidetracked Again!

Have you ever been to the Amtrak train station and looked at the board only to see that one or two trains are delayed? I was picking up a family member recently and came across this delay, so I asked the ticket attendant what makes the trains delayed. His answer seemed odd to me when he said "The train is sidetracked". Regardless of the meaning ‘sidetracked’, it meant that I had to wait longer for my family member to arrive.

With that experience fresh in my mind, I am reporting that the Inventory rewrite we are working on is SIDETRACKED.We got a good start on the inventory update, but then…. Sidetracked. We just finished another round of enhancements for the call log system, including adding an option to import road names and segments from a road soft database. We are currently sidetracked with the Affordable Health Care reports that you will need to produce for each employee and to the government. It is a complicated reporting issue, and we hope to sort it out and release it by end of October. We are sidetracked as well from the Windows 10 release and the updates required to the PFA Works Timecard system. So it looks like we will be on the side tracks for a while and the inventory updates will be DELAYED for a bit.



Read Full October 2015 Newsletter

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September 2015 Newsletter

Cloudy Weather

Around here over the past year there has been a lot of thick, orange cable getting placed in the ground. I watched as it was laid alongside the roads by digging ditches and unreeling it or by a DitchWitch horizontal boring machine would do about 250 feet underground without any ditch at all. It was fiber optic cable with 192 strands of glass and I’ve been lusting after the possibility of getting just one tiny fiber to my computer.

I was just a half mile away from the glassy paradise, but it might as well have been a hundred miles. That’s called the Last Mile problem in the industry. It was being laid to supply high speed internet to a string of hotels and motels along the road, but that Last Mile was only going away from me.

I’ve got pretty good internet now over wireless and 10 megabits up and down is something I’ve come to rely on. That used to be what we had to and from a server inside our office using an old Ethernet cable and now it’s just there, in the air. But, as is always the case in the computer business, I would like to have more.

The problem is “The Cloud”. For the last year or so, I’ve been hooked on storing all my ‘stuff’ in the cloud. I’ve uploaded almost three terra bytes to some unknown place in the Cloud. I really don’t care where, all I care about is that the Cloud promises to keep it safe and secure and backed up as long as I pay for my service. So it’s always there, someplace safe, in the Cloud.

It took me several months to transmit all that data to the Cloud, but over time I slowly got it uploaded and I came to really appreciate how much data there is in three terabytes. I was actually lucky because my wireless internet provider lets me use all the bandwidth there is when I’m uploading and since most internet data is downloaded, I had lots of 30 megabits per second uploads to the cloud. That’s fast.

Of course, data in the Cloud is useless unless you can get to it. And there’s the rub. My download speed is pretty good and I get a consistent 6 to 10 megabits a second, but when I need something it’s usually in 10 or 30 gigabyte chunks and that can be 10 hours to download. And it’s even longer in practice because the downloads are stopped and started between each file and that cuts my speed by about a third. So my 30 gigabyte download will take more than 13 hours.

I’m reminded of the old joke about a write only storage device for backup. I was just a brick. You could quickly write anything to it, but it was “write only” so you couldn’t read it. With the Cloud, I can read it but it’s as slow as a brick. I know that analogy doesn’t really work but it’s just so slow when I need gigabytes and I want them now!

So that’s why I want just one tiny, little fiber of glass coming into my computer. Maybe if I moved into one of those hotels? I wouldn’t have to mow the lawn either!



Read Full September 2015 Newsletter

August 2015 Newsletter

Reboot

I remember the bad old days when I had to reboot my computer several times a day. The reasons were the usual suspects: the computer hung up in some unresponsive state; operations had slowed down so much that a clean reboot would make it go faster and I would gain back the time lost rebooting; going out to lunch and not wanting to keep the computer running and disk drive spinning; having a hard time debugging some code and wanting to just start with a clean slate; wanting to save power and lessen the air conditioning load, etc. etc. etc.

Of course the most famous reason was the BSOD. That’s the Blue Screen of Death introduced by Microsoft sometime in the 90’s to let one know that the operating system was so fouled up that it couldn’t unscramble itself and wanted to be put out of its misery by a nice clean reboot. Of course, ‘they’ blamed it on faulty hardware so it was really, really not their fault.
Over time the need to reboot got less and less as the operating systems got more reliable and robust, and hardware, such as memory, got even better, and disk drives and the computer would put themselves to sleep to keep wear and tear to a minimum. Over even more time, the need to reboot got even more infrequent and I found myself letting my computer run for days, weeks and months at a time without a reason for a reboot.

Until, recently I was working away at my system when suddenly it locked up as we used to say. I figured it was just some update getting in the way and gave it a couple minutes to clear things up. That didn’t work so I decided I would have to reboot my computer for the first time since I got this new one in over a year ago.

Then I had the awful realization that I didn’t know how to reboot my computer! I couldn’t believe that I didn’t know. I’ve booted computers thousands of times in my career and I was looking at the computer trying to find the button and I had to get down to floor level to look around the sleek and stylish cabinet to find the button. I found two but couldn’t read any label so I poked one and then the other with no response. There used to be reset buttons that would immediately reboot a computer and I guess that wasn’t the case here. So I did the press and hold for 6 seconds trick and that did it. If that didn’t work I would have gone to the wall plug, but the computer was alive enough to know I wanted a ‘hard’ reboot.

But not knowing how to reboot my computer really struck me as a watershed moment in my history of using computers. The hardware and software have become so good, so long lasting, so reliable that there’s probably people who have never had to reboot their computer. Well, there’s probably not that many but I’m sure they’re around and their numbers must be growing.

I also realized that I’ve got to bring my programming skills up to new levels so that my programs are up to the reliability of the computers they’re running on.
I think I need to reboot myself but I’m not sure if I’ve got a power button I can hold for 6 seconds! And I’m not sure I would want to!


Read Full August 2015 Newsletter

July 2015 Newsletter

The Economics Of Hamurabi

Yes, that’s not the correct spelling. It should be Hammurabi. The shortened version is because very early computers only allowed 8 character file names. That was back in the day when every byte was a precious commodity and Hamurabi was a just a small computer game.

The game was very simple, the player must tell Hamurabi how to allocate resources and manage the city of Sumeria. A city has population, acreage for farming and grain in storage. The player can buy or sell land. More land needs more population to tend it. More land brings in more food which can attract more people or can be used for storage. Droughts, rat infestations, and variable harvests are random events which are beyond the player’s control. If one is wise, the kingdom grows and prospers, if not, people starve to death and the kingdom shrivels.

It was remarkably difficult to play wisely even with the trivial number of parameters, and the game would perhaps mock you for starving so many people or maybe make you emperor because you made your kingdom prosper. It was Econ 101, or maybe Econ 1750 BC. In fact, emperors, kings, chiefs, dictators and others played this game throughout recorded history and even up to the present day. There was no rule book or set of theories to guide the leaders of humanity on how to make the best economic decisions. Until 1776.

In an amazing coincidence, Adam Smith wrote the Wealth of Nations in the same year that America declared its independence. He discovered and explained an economic theory and America turned out to be the laboratory that proved it. Simply put, the best decisions for an economy are made by the sum of all individuals each making decisions that they deem best for themselves. He called that the "invisible hand" that would guide an economy to the best outcome. A necessary ingredient for people making their own decisions is freedom and that is why America became the laboratory and our prosperity is based upon the remarkable success and power of the "invisible hand."

All this is generally accepted over much of the world but not everywhere. There are many countries where economies are run by the direction of strong men, politbureaus and even kings. They believe their decisions are best and they try to handcuff Adam Smith’s "invisible hand." There are also many individuals across the world who enviously look at the top down decision making because they see high speed rail systems, titanic sky scrapers and all the citizens happily working towards a single goal.

But all this economic theory and practice is giving me the same headache I got in Econ in college. I don’t know how anyone gets through this stuff without going crazy. I guess I should just remain an invisible part of the "invisible hand" and do what I think is best for me. Right now that means I’m going to play some mindless computer game to ease my mind. But not Hamurabi!



Read Full July 2015 Newsletter

June 2015 Newsletter

CULTURE TEST

I always pride myself on knowing everything so I’m going to put that little piece of vanity to the test. I’m going to give myself a culture test right here in front of your eyes (and I won’t even cheat!). Here we go:

WHAT YEAR DID CAESAR DIE?

JIM: 43BC.

GOOGLE: 44BC 

Jim 0, Google 1

NAME THE 4 HORSEMEN OF THE APOCALYPSE

JIM: I remember being asked that question long ago and I answered: Death, War, Famine and Greed. As soon as I said it, it didn’t sit well with me and I wondered aloud, "What’s a nice guy like Greed doing with that bunch of cut throats and I changed it to Pestilence.

GOOGLE: A documentary film directed by Russ Ashcroft. I asked Google if that was its final answer and, reconsidering it answered, Death, War, Famine & Conquest. Because it got a second chance, I’ll give Google half credit even though I’m not sure it’s the correct answer. Maybe I should ask Bing?

Jim 0, Google 1 ½: So far, not looking good for me.

NAME THE 3 MUSES

JIM: I know this is a lot of classical knowledge that’s probably not of much interest so I’ll try to get more ‘with it’ in the following questions. My answer is Singing, Music and Art. I know that’s probably not correct but sometimes you just gotta give it your best shot! I wonder where ‘they’ get such weird questions from anyway.

GOOGLE: This page can’t be displayed.

Jim 1, Google 1 ½: I may not be even close but Google really fell flat here, someone should get a point.

HOW LONG TO REBOOT MY COMPUTER? (Now that’s a more ‘with it’ question)

JIM: 52 seconds, though it took me 2 minutes to save and shut down all the stuff that was up and running.

GOOGLE: waiting for google.com. I gave it some time to reconsider and it finally came up with many How to Restart, How to Reboot, How often do you need tor Reboot your PC, etc. In fact Google came up with 99,200,000 answers. I think being able to answer that many times is cheating. I’m going to give Google a -1 for bad sportsmanship and not even being close.

Jim 2, Google ½: I was exactly right! Take that Google!

Now Google is unhappy with the test scoring and it comes up with Music, Poetry and the Arts for the preceeding question. That’s completely out of order even though that sounds correct. Generously, I’ll give Google ½ point and I’ll deduct a point from me since I was probably wrong though singing and poetry are really pretty close.

FINAL SCORE: Jim 1, Google 1

Well the time’s up and though I can see I don’t know as much as I thought I did, at least I’m as good as Google. I bet Google would never ever concede that it’s only as good as me and it would probably give many, many answers to that question. In fact it gave 1,400,000,000 answers! I still think that’s cheating!



Read Full June 2015 Newsletter

May 2015 Newsletter

Emailing Paystubs To Your Employees

One of the more recent updates to Pro Fund Accounting added a program which allows you to email paycheck stubs to employees who have a valid email address on file. Emailing paystubs makes a lot of sense when your employees receive their pay electronically via direct deposit as you wouldn’t need to print a paper paystub for those employees anymore.

Emailing paystubs is a very straightforward process, run the Export Paystubs utility which can be found under the Payroll menu in Pro Fund Accounting and then choose the payroll that you want to email paystubs for. After the payroll is selected, simply click on the Start button and this program will automatically email each employee their paystub for the chosen payroll.

There are a couple of things that need to be configured correctly before your employees can start receiving their paystubs by email. The first thing is that employees who want to receive their paystubs by email need to have a valid email address entered in Employee Maintenance. The second thing is that there is a little bit of initial setup that needs to happen the first time the Export Paystubs program is ran. The Export Paystubs utility needs to know such things as what your SMTP server settings are and where you would like to save the PDF copies of the paystubs to.

If you would like to get started with emailing your employees their paystubs, and need help with the initial setup; please feel free to call our main Pro Fund Accounting support line at 866-634-9991 x2.

Read Full May 2015 Newsletter

April 2015 Newsletter

Spring Is In the Air, Time For Spring Cleaning 

Spring is in the air and it is time for a good spring cleaning. These words my mother would say the first warmer day in April. And sure enough I was voluntold (forcibly volunteered) to open and clean all the windows from the top of the house to the bottom. Inevitably during the cleaning we would hear the words "how did this place get so dirty?" And of course nobody dared to suggest any answer to my Mom for fear of extra chores. When it comes to viruses and malware for your PC, I hear the same question many times, "How did I get infected?" I will try to answer that by giving the 9 easiest ways to get infected.

1.Simply click on any links. Simply clicking on any links without proper investigation will result you in having the risk of accessing either a malicious site or phishing site. Any of those are not good and you stand a high chance to get your computer infected, especially if you click on incoming links from unknown user.

2. Never perform software update. Attackers sometimes can make use of your out-dated software which consists of certain vulnerabilities to attack your computer and gain full control of it. A very good example is Adobe Flash player, your web browser, or any other application that has the potential to go out to the internet, and it stands a very high chance to get infected. As a result, just go on without updating your software and the attacker will find the vulnerability to penetrate where the attacker will then gain full access to your computer and plant a Trojan there.

3. Turning off automatic Windows update. Turning off the automatic Windows update is like turning off a security feature. Making your Windows update automatically means getting the latest security patch automatically as well. If you want to get infected, just don’t update your Windows and by 2-3 months’ time, you should be able to see the list of Windows vulnerability that you have.

4. No antivirus installed. If you still do not have any antivirus installed, I would like to know how you can tell if your computer is infected with a virus? How are you going to disinfect them? Antivirus software today can come as cheap as free and there is no reason for you not to install one. Let’s put it this way, antivirus software is like a security guard, do you see any banks operate without at least one security guard?

5. No firewall installed. A Firewall is not an antivirus. If you owned an antivirus and treating it like a firewall, then you might be wrong. A firewall is best at preventing and not disinfecting. Firewalls today can also come as cheap as free. Since we have a security guard as antivirus, firewall is going to be things that can prevent theft such as a solid steel door, CCTV, and good alarm system. As a result, if you don’t have a firewall, you are just welcoming the Malware to your computer.

6. Executing unknown file without scanning. When you download a file from somewhere or receive a file from your friend, do you run a scan on the file before executing it? How sure are you that the file you are about to execute is not malicious? Scanning just one file or two does not hurt and it should be done whenever you want to execute them especially when you just received a file. If you want to get yourself infected, download more files randomly from the internet and launch them without a proper virus scan.

7. Do not have a regular full system scan. Even human body needs regular medical checkup from time to time to know the condition of your health. The same goes for your computer…it needs to be scanned regularly so that you will know your own computer is Malware-free or not. Malware today does not have to be active 24×7. Most of them hide themselves and you can’t detect them until you scan your computer. As a result, scan your computer at least once a week to tell the Malware that the hide and seek game is over.

8. Do not read error messages. I realized that there are some users who somehow can read a long error message in less than a second. They are fantastic speed readers, aren’t they? No, they aren’t. They just ignore those error messages and click OK without reading them. If you do not know what is going wrong on the site you are visiting, you might just be visiting an unsafe site. They might have some security feature turned off and you did not realize because you didn’t read the error message. So now, do you want to spend your one minute to read the error message or just don’t read them and think that you are too smart to know everything?

9. Ignoring error messages. For some of the users who read error messages, but are somewhat stubborn or have no concern for their security, they just continue their browsing as usual. This happens commonly when the website is trying to tell you that the site that you are visiting has HTTPS connection error. This could lead to either the certificate had already expired or the web address had been compromised. That is why the Certificate Authority revoked the web certificate so that it can warn you all about the compromised event. However, many users just ignore them and don’t give a piece of concern at all on the HTTPS issue and just visit. Do remember that if you are visiting a non-HTTPS site, it means your communication channel is not encrypted!

Credit: Alan Tay

 

Read Full April 2015 Newsletter

March 2015 Newsletter

Posting Meter Readings With Automatic Meter Reading Devices

This month we are discussing the procedures for posting your meter readings when using Automatic Meter Reading Devices. When using Automatic Meter Reading Devices, your meter reading data is exported from and imported into UtilAbility via Meter Reader Interface text files that are recognized by both UtilAbility and your Meter Reader software.

When it’s time to read your meters, you first need to export your data so that your Meter Reading Device is aware of any changes that you have made within UtilAbility since you last read your meters. These changes may include things such as your updated last readings, any new home owners, any specific comments regarding your meters and any meters that you have replaced. You can export your current data from the Export to Meter Reader menu item under the File Menu From the main screen in UtilAbility. Here you can specify some parameters for your export including the file name to be exported. Your data is exported a file that your Meter Reader software can read and ultimately export to your Meter Reading Device.

Once you have read your meters, you will need to transfer the new readings to UtilAbility. Typically, your readings are first imported into your Meter Reader Software and then exported to a text file that UtilAbility can read. You can import that information into UtilAbility using the Import from Meter Reader function from the Post Meter Readings screen. Finally, you can review the imported automatic meter readings and commit your Meter Reading Journal the same way you would as when entering your readings manually.

Before you calculate your bills, it’s a good idea to run your meter reading reports and review your reading and usage information to be sure there are no mistakes. This can save you time in the long run as it is better to catch any problems before you calculate rather than correcting them later. The Account Meter Reading Exceptions List report will show any potential problems with your meters, such as meters you may have missed or meters with higher than average usages, etc. The Meter Reading Journals and Details report will show all the readings posted in your entire meter reading journal.

If you have any questions about Posting Meter Readings with Automatic Meter Reading Devices or would like more information, please contact our support staff or visit our UtilAbility web site at www.utilability.com.

 

Read Full March 2015 Newsletter

February 2015 Newsletter

Planning For Disasters

If I’ve told you once I’ve told you a thousand times!... I can still hear my mother’s voice in my head every time I read those words.

This phrase evokes a different set of emotions in each of us.

These words never ring truer then when it comes to preparing your municipality for a computer disaster.

A clear checklist of procedures helps to keep everyone working towards recovering from the disaster.

Once you have a checklist developed, practicing this list on a regular basis is very important.

Imagine a group of firemen that do not know the procedures trying to put out a fire! A large part of your checklist should be devoted to the recovery of critical data. Practicing the data recovery procedures will help to identify any weaknesses in your data backup systems. So before any computer disaster happens to your municipality please develop and practice your checklist.

Whether you have 9G Backup at your municipality or another backup system, please make sure that your data is backed up and able to be recovered if a disaster strikes!

 

Read Full February 2015 Newsletter

January 2015 Newsletter

Chasing Shadows

I think I wrote once about chasing Rainbows and that’s something I continue to do when the weather looks cooperative. Somehow it’s just something I enjoy and I find lots of them. There’s something else I chase though and that’s shadows.

Chasing shadows has a negative connotation in that it implies that you’re chasing something that can’t be caught or chasing something only imagined. I know I’ve chased a rather large number of programming bugs that I thought were there, but turned out to be not a bug at all, but actually something that was working well all along. In those cases, the bug turned out to be in my mind as an incorrect expectation of how the program should work. It’s on those cases where I slap my forehead and say ‘Oh!’ I think over the years I’ve developed a dent in my head where I slap my palm.

The shadows I do chase are shadows cast by the sun. The most amazing of those are total eclipses of the sun when the moon’s shadow is cast upon the earth. It’s something that I’ve experienced twice. Chasing a total eclipse of the sun usually requires travel to distance places and even if one gets to the right place can be spoiled by bad weather. That has happened to me more than twice.

Next in the shadow amazing quotient is the annular eclipse of the sun or ‘ring eclipse’. That happens when the sun and the moon are lined up perfectly, but the moon is a little further away from the earth in its

elliptical orbit and cannot cover the full face of the sun when observed from earth. That leaves only the sun’s outer limb visible. A ring eclipse is very strange and I’ve seen exactly one of those and I only had to travel 10 miles from home to see it.

The earth’s shadow can also be cast upon the moon and I’ve seen several total lunar eclipses. When fully eclipsed by the earth’s shadow the moon turns a strange shade of red as the dust in the earth’s atmosphere diffracts the sun’s rays.

Another partial eclipse of the sun is when the planet Venus passes over the face of the sun in an event called the Transit of Venus. It’s very impressive to see a little dot of Venus pass slowly across the face of the sun. I’ve seen two of those.

There are always numerous partial eclipses of the sun and the moon. They’re not as inspiring or amazing as the other I’ve mentioned, but it’s fun to go out and catch them.

Now I’ve got a new shadow that I’m chasing. That’s of rock formations left by American Indians where a shadow is cast upon a rock face by another rock at a solstice or equinox. I found out that there’s one close to me and so I went out this past winter solstice to see it for myself. As it turned out there was no shadow of interest cast at all, but looking at the arrangement of the rocks and stones it seems I was probably one solstice off. I’m thinking the alignment only happens during the summer solstice.

So I’ll chase that shadow next June 21st and see if I can add it to my list of "Shadows that I have Caught."

Even if it turns out to be a failure, it will sure be more fun than chasing a program bug that isn’t there!

 

Read Full January 2015 Newsletter

December 2014 Newsletter

Save Schrödinger’s Cat!

Schrodinger’s cat is neither alive nor dead. It is in a box and until a human opens the box the cat is in a juxtaposition of quantum states where the cat is both alive and dead. Ah, quantum physics at its unknowable best! This famous thought experiment in the early 20th century, by Erwin Schrödinger, was meant to show the absurdity of Neil Bohr’s theory that an atomic object exists in all possible states until it is observed.

No, I don’t understand any of this either.

But I find my programs are always in a duality of states: ‘there is no bug’ and ‘there is a bug’. Any program can have a bug or it can be perfect, but that is unknowable until a human interacts with it and observes the result. Hopefully that human is the programmer, and in my case me, but it frequently is the program’s user who causes the ‘quantum wave function to collapse’ into either the no bugs or bugs infested state. We always get a phone call when it’s the latter and it’s never from Erwin.

Most findings of a bug are done by a diligent programmer, but many are found right away or years later by the even more diligent users of the program. It is the ‘years later’ discovery of the bugs that have lurked in a program that I find most, let me say, ‘interesting.’ If a bug can lie undiscovered for a number of years then there’s a lot of subtleties lurking about and they can be quite challenging to solve. I spend a fair amount of my time chasing these bugs down and fixing them. I sort of enjoy these challenges (with emphasis on the ‘sort of’).

But the solution is easy: Don’t look! This would save Schrödinger’s Cat from being found dead and it would save my programs from being found imperfect and you and I will be living in an idyllic state where my programs would both contain bugs and not contain bugs, but we wouldn’t care because we’re not looking!

Of course, I wouldn’t have much work to do either!

--Jim Harlan

 

Read Full December 2014 Newsletter

November 2014 Newsletter

Support For MERS Defined Contributions
Cogitate is proud to announce a new program to help you in reporting the MERS Defined Contributions for both Employee and Employer contributions. The following procedures will help you in setting up your files to make this program work.

Special Note
Please note that this new procedure should be started AT THE BEGINNING OF A MONTH.

Payroll Setup
A special deduction code is to define each participating employee’s contribution. You can use any Deduction Code you desire, but something like MDC would be easily remembered. In the Deductions’ description there must be ‘MERS’ and ‘Contribution’ present. For example: “MERS Defined Contribution”. Multiple deduction codes can be set up as your needs dictate.

  • Short Name: Can be anything, for example, ‘MERS DC’
  • Calc Type: Can be any valid calculation type, EXCEPT 12 (the standard MERS calculation). 6 for flat amount and/or percent is preferred.
  • Deferred Comp Flag: Needs to be checked
  • Calc Order: Should be 28
  • W2Info: Should be 414-H2
  • Tax Code: Should be Box 14
In the deduction’s ‘PR/PRS Parameters Titles’ tab:

  • Parameter 3 description should be set to ‘Match Amt’
  • Parameter 5 description should be set to ‘Match Pct’
  • These titles will then show up when adding or editing the deduction code for an employee
Employee Setup
Each participating employee should have this deduction code added to their list of deductions. The parameters will vary depending on the calculation type you specified.
Matching amounts are defined on the employee’s deduction code parameters dialog by filling in the Match Amt and Match Pct fields. If the match is 100%, then 100.00 should be entered in the Match Pct field.

Creation of the MERS Defined Contribution Data File
The MERS Defined Contribution data file is created once a month. Under the Payroll menu item, click on the ‘MERS Contribution File’ entry and a
dialog will appear title ‘MERS Contribution Plan Datafile creation’. This is similar
in layout and operation as the MERS EPass program.

  • Enter the first day of the month that you will be reporting
  • Enter the MERS Plan Name
  • Enter MERS Plan number (6 digits)
  • Enter IRS Number (9 digits, no dashes)
    • The last 3 items will be saved and will appear automatically each time
      you run the program
  • Once the above “header” information is entered, press the FIND PAYROLL
    DATES BUTTON. This will cause the Deduction codes that have in their
    description the words ‘MERS’ and ‘CONTRIBUTION’ to be listed. This
    confirms that there are valid MERS Defined Contribution deductions defined
    and that they have been used in a payroll calculation. There will also be listed
    the payroll dates of payrolls where those deduction codes have to be used to
    create deductions.
  • Press the ‘Create MERS Contribution File’ button to create the file. You will
    receive a confirmation of the files creation and the total amount of the
    contributions. The file will be named ‘MERS Contribution xxxxxx.txt’ where the
    ‘xxxxxx’ will be your MERS Defined Contribution plan number. The file is
    usually stored in the Pro Fund Accounting Output directory.
(Employer) Matching Amounts
Unlike the employee’s Defined contribution that is arrived at by the deduction code
and its calculation type, the employer’s matching amount (if any) is not defined by
a separate deduction calculation since the amounts are not deducted from the
employee’s paycheck. Instead, the matching amount is calculated at the time the
data file is created based upon the contents of the ‘Match Amt’ and ‘Match Pct’
parameter fields.


Reporting
In the Reports/Payroll folder, there is a new report named MERS Defined
Contribution List. Parameters include date range, employees, deduction
codes and others. It shows details and total of the contribution amount and the
match amount.

 

Read Full November 2014 Newsletter


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