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Post Info TOPIC: Product records on sage


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Product records on sage


Hi, I've recently taken over the bookkeeping role at an engineering business and I'm finding my feet with Sage 50 cloud accounts professional while at the same time totally reforming their bookkeeping / back office process which was somewhat in the dark ages. 

The person who kept the books for the last 15years did not bother keeping products and parts updated on sage, they just adjusted figures after an annual stock take at year end. To me that seems ludicrous as they have no real idea of COGS each month, profit margins or the value of stock owned at any other point in time. 

Their bespoke (!) manufacturing data base (basically a sequal server access thingy) holds an accurate record of stock, calculates demand, has full BOMS for everything and gets updated via stock checks regularly, so I feel it should be entirely possible to set up the products properly in sage and import stock levels through each month (or ideally all the time through an integration of some kind).

I'd really like to find someone to help me identify better process and sort this out - is anyone on here the magical, experienced, tech savvy, sage expert, accounting whizz I'm looking for? 



-- Edited by Stormy on Tuesday 8th of June 2021 04:59:02 PM

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storm nuttall


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Is Sage the right software for what you are looking to do?

You need to be more specific about their database. Are we talking SQL server or Access? (Or MySQL, or Oracle, or one of any number of similar SQL based systems). Whatever, any SQL system (or Excel if you know how to use it) is a better option than Sage. Where you need to be looking is how to present the information from their stock records in a way that sets KPI's and gives management a good visual representation of position.

Look at automating peripheral processing using Excel / Power Query and start investigating using Power BI to pull the information together that the board needs.

Sage can do what you want it to but only if the entire company is signed up to spending their entire lives serving it and making sure that absolutely everything is correctly entered into it. They're not going to do that so you would end up doing it and if you are where do you find the time to improve their business?

I do understand where you are coming from. I just think that you are looking at it the wrong way around in that you are looking to increase the reach of Sage where I feel that you should be spending your time making their database systems more robust and treating Sage pretty much as the outgoing bookkeeper treated it.

You didn't say how large this company is? Are they big enough to afford the development of their own ERP system or are they perghaps in an industry where there are off the peg solutions that are a good fit to the business with easy migration from the exiting systems?

Think long and hard before advising the client on any course that increases dependance on Sage. Really understand what they want rather than attempting to impose a system on them that they do not.

Good luck,

Shaun.




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Shaun

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Thanks so much Shaun - I really need this kind of advice!

They have their own ERP system (I think). I am not looking to change the way manufacturing is handled through that system or migrate to using sage for stock counting and management. But i think it would be useful if stock value and stock levels that are readily available in that database, pushed through to sage each month (or more often if it can be automated) so when I run the end of month reports it knows what has been consumed in manufacturing / sold and what is still owned.

Maybe I don't need that information on a per product basis and should just seek to update an overall value at month end? Once a year just doesn't seem enough because when I run a P&L it's just deducting everything spent in the month from everything sold and calling that my profit - when in fact most of the stuff purchased hasn't yet been used. Much of the time the business buys large quantities of materials that last for 6 months so, in some months they show a massive loss when in fact they've just increased their assets. I'm not sure I'm explaining very well...

I really have no experience of this so please spell out how things are meant to be done so I can set myself realistic expectations and not attempt to reinvent the wheel!

Storm

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storm nuttall


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Sorry, forgot to mention. At the moment all products in sage are set up as stock items so every time you purhcase something or put on a sales order it asks if you want to update stock. Sometime people say yes, sometimes people say no. So the stock levels currently showing on Sage are all over the place - false negatives and inflated positives. Perhaps I just need to amend product records on sage to reflect all as non stock items so sage isn't trying to keep a count and move stock in and out as transactions are entered? At least that would stop all the annoying alerts and ridiculous stock values appearing in between manually entering stock values... IDK, as I said, really not sure where to start with this. I have literally NO experience - I'm just a bookkeeping admin not someone able to design a businesses bookkeeping process - I'd love to find the right person to help me identify best practice and establish good routines.

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storm nuttall


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The purchase of goods will shhow on the P&L but the reality of the Balance sheet is that the money has just moved from one place to another and there is no adverse effect on the true financial position... Of course, you can't spend widgets until you turn them back into cash but you get what I mean.

The key line in your response was "Sometime people say yes, sometimes people say no". This is a system where users are destroying the internal integrity of the data. Is it a case that people simply do not understand the importance of data integrity?

If something moves out of stock why would they ever tell the system not to update the stock figure? Maybe someone on here who is more of a Sage user can explain that one especially why would a system allow its users that option???

The impression that I get is that the business in reality works around their ERP system and pays lip service to Sage as they see no point to it... I can understand them as they seem to have two systems doing pretty much the same thing with the ERP system being the one that they regard as business critical. Its pretty obvious that the one that they really use is the ERP system. The Sage system though is used for reporting financial performance and it seems as though the job of the bookkeeper with this firm is to try and keep the Sage system in line with the system that they use.

It sounds to me (others opinions may vary) as if its in a complete mess.

I've seen similar before where accountants have imposed Sage (or similar) on businesses without really understanding how that business works. Then the busuiness who works around one system expects a bookkeeper to keep the accountantant happy by keeping the accounts software in line with the business critical software.

The previous Bookkeeper seemed to have the right idea. Just ensure that everything in the accounts software balanced knowing that the real nuts and bolts of the company was being run from the ERP system.

For me the real horror story here is that there is too much opportunity for things to go wrong between two non integrated systems.

Are you looking after this all on your own or do you have a team of people working with you? If you are spending all of your time firefighting how can you find time to ensure that there are no fires in the first place!

First step to working out how to fix this is to diagram the end to end process and look for the weaknesses where data may be lost, duplicated or corrupted. Only once you know where the system is going wrong can you really develop processes and software solutions to remove the risks of bad data.

Once you have a system that really works then you can start looking at power query (part of Excel) to start bringing the data from the two systems together for management reporting (KPI's, dashboards, etc.) and perhaps even automating the process using VBA / Excel timed events. Thats all icing on the cake though. For starters you need a whole system that works together and produces consistent results.

Don't expect this to be resolved quickly. There may be quite a steep learning curve and you may also need to bring in outside help especially for any automation work.

Management may not see the reason for the expenditure on a system that they think works so you are really going to need to be forearmed with hard facts showing lost revenue /excessive expenditure to make your cost justification case.

Good luck with everything Storm,

Shaun.





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Shaun

Responses are not meant as a substitute for professional advice. Answers are intended as outline only the advice of a qualified professional with access to all relevant information should be sought before acting on any response given.



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Stormy wrote:

, sage expert, accounting whizz  



-- Edited by Stormy on Tuesday 8th of June 2021 04:59:02 PM


Can do this easily.

My day rate is £950.  Initial meeting to scope out £500.

 

 



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I'd be interested in speaking to you. How do I find contact info?



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storm nuttall


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SageXpert wrote:
Stormy wrote:

, sage expert, accounting whizz  



Can do this easily.

My day rate is £950.  Initial meeting to scope out £500.

 


Hi,

would you like to introduce yourself to the site.

You say that you can do this easily but I am seeing it as more of an ingrained issue with the client site where any solution needs to take into account that the users are working predominantly around their ERP software rather than their accounting software.

Do you want to elaborate at all on how you would approach the scenario?

By the way, whilst this sort of stuff is my bread and butter I personally don't work with Sage at all so not attempting to steal your lunch money but just from one consultant to another some elaboration of what your approach to this would be helpful.

All the best,

Shaun.



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Shaun

Responses are not meant as a substitute for professional advice. Answers are intended as outline only the advice of a qualified professional with access to all relevant information should be sought before acting on any response given.



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Stormy wrote:

I'd be interested in speaking to you. How do I find contact info?


 

Do you have the clients authority? Or are you an external bookkeeper looking to get some training that you will pay this person for?

You say you are new to bookkeeping and new to sage.  Be careful changing systems with little knowledge.

Have you involved the company's Accountants and if not why not?

They have an ERP system that works, but you want to replicate it? Which could just add more layers of complexity and be more prone to errors. Why?   



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The client is actually my partner so I have authority and can spend money on bringing in the right support to sought this out. In hindsight we should have recruited a super experienced bookkeeper / financial controller to figure these problems out but it wasn't until I got here and started digging around that I realised there were some issues in the way things are currently done.

Basic bookkeeping functions and compliance needs are being met (enter invoices, pay suppliers, do the VAT return, process payroll on time etc etc), but the wider needs of the business (being able to access and analyse accurate data) are not because information which should be linked in someway in order to generate accurate reports, is currently kept apart.

As a simple example, purchasing information is held in sage. Costings, pricing and stock values are generated from the ERP system - which does not have any link to real time purchasing activity.

Equally, the amount of stock we hold has changed significantly because we are launching a web based shop. I get a stock levels and values from the ERP at the end of the financial year (July) but that stock value, fundamental to understanding the assets our business holds, is also based on those stagnant and outdated costs held on the ERP.

I don't want to duplicate or replicate information, but I do want our systems to interact on some level to improve the accuracy of information before exploring ways to make it more accessible via some sort of dashboard reporting. I need to work with a person who can get me to that point.

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storm nuttall
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