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It is that time of year. You may think beginning of summer or end of school, but I am thinking about something else. Wedding season. June is one of the most popular months for a Wedding.

It got me thinking how a wedding and a Visual ERP implementation are very similar. How can that be? Well, both require a lot of planning. The planning could take as little as a couple of months (my niece planned her wedding in 10 weeks and it was fabulous). But another niece took a year to plan another spectacular wedding.

Now what about Visual ERP? There is a lot of planning and hard work with any Visual ERP implementation or re-implementation. There are lots of decisions. What are all the cool aspects of Visual you plan to use?  Who will be responsible for different aspects of the project? How do you want to use the 1,000’s of fields in Visual ERP. You will more than likely need help from your consulting team. Kind of like my Dad taking dance lessons before my parents got married. He didn’t know how, so he asked an expert. Then he practiced. Just like you practicing using Visual ERP. You keep working at it because you want everything to be perfect. Any good implementation requires at least 2 or more ideally 3 pilots or test runs.

Then there is the rehearsal. For a wedding, it is typically the night before. For Visual ERP it should include a mock go live. All your maintenance files need to be loaded. All the beginning balances (inventory, customer orders, purchase orders, work orders) would be loaded for the operations folks. The accountants need Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable, bank info and Trial balance. All of these need to be matched from the old system to the new.

And then comes the big day. If your planning has gone well, there are no hiccups. Or at least nothing catastrophic. I don’t know about you, but I can feel the stress. When the wedding day or go-live weekend is done, there is a sigh of relief. You did it. Yippee!!

Next, it’s the honeymoon phase. Things are new, fresh and exciting. There is a lot of attention to details. The couple is giving each other their undivided attention. With Visual ERP, the company is concentrating on making things work well. A lot of time, effort and money has been invested.

But like some marriages after a while, the couple takes each other for granted. It becomes the same thing, day after day. Visual can get like that too. The users get into a groove and use Visual the same everyday. Sometimes they are too busy too look for better ways or they have been lulled into “that’s just the way it is”. So similar to a marriage, is it time to spice things up a bit? Maybe the marriage requires a date night or a romantic getaway. Does your Visual ERP need a date night?

Let’s see what that could look like. Could you have a weekly or bi-weekly meeting of the management team on the status of your Visual ERP? Think about the different aspects of Visual that you may not have implemented yet. Have you started using activities to enhance the communication around Visual? Or how about using Dashboards? Or Customer & Vendor groups? There are so many options available.

Here’s some other ideas:

  • Do “lunch and learn”. Have a user present some aspect of Visual they think is really cool.
  • Or it could be just a time to chat. I always find a glass of wine helps the chats with my husband but that may not be appropriate in your work environment. But you get the gist. Get a few users together and listen to their ideas and frustrations. There are always better ways.
  • Or send a user or two to local users’ group, external training (check out our course offerings at backtobasics.ca) or conferences like Visual Focus. There is nothing like a change of scenery to revitalize things. When the users get back to the office, they could share things at your “lunch and learn” sessions.

I hope you don’t think that this is too much work. Ponder this. Is it cheaper to keep your current spouse than to get a new one? It is far less expensive to keep your current ERP. Give it a little TLC, I hope you will be amazed at how good things can be. 

And I would love for everyone to share their ideas and successes of how they have spiced things up with Visual ERP.

The post Love is in the Air with Visual ERP or Is it? appeared first on Back to Basics (BTB).

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I am sure you are always looking for ways to make more money for your company. Did you know that Visual has multiple reports to help you assess the profitability of your customers and parts?

The two key reports are the Gross Profit Report under the Engineering/Manufacturing menu and the other is Gross Profit from Post Manufacturing Menu.

  • Gross Profit from Eng./Mfg. – pulls from Inventory_Trans. The sales values are converted if non-system currency uses rate from Customer Order.
  • Gross Profit from Post Mfg. Journals – is based on the Postings to the General Ledger. If sales are in non-system currency the exchange rate in effect at the time of the sale is used.

Since the data is being pulled from 2 different sets of tables, the two reports may differ on a month-to-month basis. Reasons for differences:

  • Partially received work orders costs will change over time. For example, part was shipped last month and Visual’s costing valued the receipt at $1,000. As the work order is completed, the final cost of the work order is used to update the Inventory Transaction value. So, it might show as 1,044. The Eng./Mfg. report for last month will change but the Post Manufacturing report for last month stays the same. The extra $44 is picked up in the current month.
  • Costs are added to a work order after completion:
    • Labour Ticket to closed work order.
    • Material cost changes as AP invoice may differ from PO.
    • AP invoice charged directly to work order after work order closed.
    • Negative inventory is fixed, thus changing costs of issues.

In this case, the costs get reported in Post Manufacturing Journals for the current month.

Once an order is completed, then the 2 reports will agree.

Which one to use? If you want to agree to financial statements, then Post Mfg. Journals would be the one. The Eng./Mfg. is useful as all costs are reported on the 1 inventory transaction line. However, if you run the report for this month and then rerun it again a couple of months later, the costs may change. I wouldn’t expect the differences to be significant but it can cause questions from the users.

One thing in favour of the Gross Profit from Engineering/Manufacturing is that it provides some extra information: quantity shipped, packlist ID and the option to show the estimated costs. I find the last one extremely helpful for looking for potential problems. Also, this report can be run for any time period. Do you want to see a week or a day? It is your choice. On the other hand, the Gross Profit Report from Post Manufacturing Journals, provides the total profitability of the entire order. All on one line. But keep in mind, when this report is run it shows the results for the entire month.

Such decisions. Which one to use? The real answer should be based on the users of the reports and how soon after month-end are you running them.

Oh, not that I haven’t given you enough options. There is 1 other report. You could look at the Actual Throughput from the Throughput window. This is based on the concepts from the book “The Goal” by Eliyahu Goldratt. Throughput is defined as Sales less Direct Costs. The cost shown on this report, as espoused by Eli Goldratt, are material and service costs only. Labour and overhead are considered fixed costs under Throughput Accounting. This one gives the option to copy and paste to Excel. And you can also, look at the Throughput per Resource. If you know your bottleneck, this can be a game changer.

If you have never read The Goal, I would highly recommend it. Even though it was first published 35 years ago, it is still relevant and full of common sense. It’s a text book written as novel. After that, then maybe you will be inspired to have a look at the Throughput Window.

The post Decisions/Decisions – How to reach your Goal of Increased Profitability in Visual ERP? appeared first on Back to Basics (BTB).

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I love a good mystery. As I kid, I would read Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys or Ellery Queen. Who would have thought that reading those novels in the early days would have been training for working with Visual ERP? They helped hone my investigative skills. Now, my days are filled with mysteries. I thought I would share.

Mystery #1

Client – “I have WIP journals posting to my Customer Deposit account. Why?”

Well that did seem odd. I had a look at their database and sure enough there was a WIP posting. But I noticed there was also postings from Purchase Journals, Bank Adjustments and General Journal Entries. So what was happening? Any guesses? Just in case, you love a mystery too.

I looked at the GL Interface Table and sure enough the Customer Deposit account was referred as the Service Receipt Accrual.

Here’s how the service receipt account works:

PURCHASE JOURNAL – Dr. Service Receipt Accrual, Cr. Purchase Receipt AccrualWIP JOURNAL          Dr. WIP, Cr. Service Receipt Accrual

The PUR journals should always equal the WIP. Thus the account nets to zero.

I looked at the account number and it was immediately after the Purchase Receipt Accrual. Another indication that at one time it was called Service Receipt Accrual. My suspicion is that a new account was needed for Customer Deposits and it looked like the Service Receipt Accrual wasn’t being used because it had a balance of zero. Rather than set up a new account, the account was renamed. Very environmentally conscious (reduce, reuse, recycle.)

Mystery #2

Client – “Help!! My Inventory Valuation Report shows $2.5 million but the Inventory Balance report shows $1 million. It’s month-end and it needs to be fixed.”

First thing, we confirmed that Costing Utilities and Manufacturing Journals had been created for the month. The next step was to run the utility “Recalculate Inventory Balances” (under Costing Tools) to repopulate the table for the month-end date. Sure enough, that fixed it. The original cause of the “disappearing inventory records” was likely using Costing Tools without having creating the journals for the current month. The reason, I know this one is because, I did it quite a few times before I figured I was the guilty party.

Mystery #3

Client – “I am trying to post the payments in payables. It shows there are 7 entries, however when I go to post and review the payments they are not there.  Any thoughts?”

If you go to file, Print GL Transactions the payments will show.  However, the payments have not been printed and thus cannot be posted to the General Ledger.  Also, just an FYI, the 7 shown in the test close reopen period represents the # of lines not the # of payments.  So, it might only be a couple of payments.

No wonder I love my job.  It is almost as good as an Ellery Queen mystery.

The post Visual ERP Mysteries appeared first on Back to Basics (BTB).

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What?  Gold in Visual ERP?  You betcha. 

Have you ever wondered if transactions are being processed properly in Visual? Especially, inventory transactions.  There can be so many of these with lots of different people involved.  With that volume of transactions there is definitely a possibility for problems.  If you want to get a comfort level, have a look for negative inventory.  It is like a goldmine because in there are all the different things that are going on incorrectly in your database.

Just think of the things that could have gone wrong:

  1. It could be a part has been substituted on the floor but no one told Visual.  This is where I have to say “Visual is an ERP System, not an ESP system.  It cannot read your mind.”
  2. You are not receiving things timely. Did the paperwork get lost? Is the paperwork sitting on the receiver’s dock but hasn’t been received yet?  Or has the paperwork been sent to the office to be processed instead of being done at receiving.
  3. You’re shipping an order that hasn’t really physically shipped.  But you say, I need the paperwork. You may want to consider the picklist instead. 
  4. We’re shipping the parts in Visual, but we haven’t received the work orders in Visual yet.  Again, this could be an opportunity for a process improvement. Can the parts be received on the floor as soon as they come off the line?  Could they be bar-coded to make it even more efficient?
  5. How about a physical inventory count?  The count was entered incorrectly or just plain counted wrong.
  6. Or then there is the fat finger. Or the trigger-happy finger. The latter, is always fun.  I remember a case where a user entered 7 into the quantity field on their bar-code system. This was a lot of years ago and response times were not as good as today.  So, they clicked on the 7, again and again.  On top of that the parts were set to auto-issue.  The 7,777,777 for each part on the work order were issued.  That was a bit of a mess. 
  7. We could even enter the incorrect Part ID on a customer order. 

But these really are not negative.  I really don’t like to think in negative terms. These are opportunities for improvement to make your Visual even better.  There are lots of reports to help you with your inventory accuracy.  How about:

  1. The Work Order Requirement – Unissued Materials Report.  This will show you by work order where not enough materials have been issued.  Pick a date range to focus your efforts.
  2. Comparative Material Usage Report.  Select for All closed work order and pick a date range.  I like to modify this report to streamline it a bit.  Remove the page breaks, get rid of extra blank lines. 
  3. Review your RMA’s.  What are the reasons for returns?  Wrong part shipped? 
  4. Inventory Transactions – by filtering on adjustment only.  Each time there is an adjustment, you should as why? 

So, you might ask, why is this important?  Many times, I hear “we just do an adjust in or out to fix.  Inventory is then accurate.”  As an accountant, that makes me cringe.  Adjustments don’t end up on the cost of the product.  Accurate costs are necessary to assess the profitability of parts and customers.  It will help guide the company on where to focus the future direction of the business. 

So, negative inventory is full of little gems to teach you, or to help you identify places where you need to improve your process and ultimately improve the profitability for the company.  Hey, if the company makes more money, they might just pay more.  So, it is good for everyone.

The post Is there Gold in them their hills in Visual ERP? appeared first on Back to Basics (BTB).

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Who would have thought that an island tour of Antigua would be full of wisdom about Visual ERP? But there was so much that we gleaned from our trip that we just had to share.



We were picked up at our resort and within a minute, our driver, Shawn stated “Words are easy to maneuver but numbers don’t lie.” Wow, I thought, how profound. Just think of all the numbers in Visual. They are telling a story. There are so many numbers:

  • Gross Profit sorted by lots of different options:
    • Order
    • Customer ID or Name
    • Part ID
    • Product Codes
    • Commodity Codes
  • Backlog showing all your open orders. Again, you have the same sort options as above plus:
    • Territory
    • Sales Rep
    • Due Date
  • Inventory and Work in Process Balances. Again, sorted by:
    • Product Code
    • GL Account
    • Warehouse (if you are FIFO by part location)

Gosh my head is swimming with all the numbers. Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable, Cash, Sales, Expenses, Profit. Wow, there are so many. And they don’t lie. The facts are the facts.


Our tour of the island continued. If you have ever been to a Caribbean island, you may have noticed some rather fast driving. This is where Shawn tossed out another gem. “If you’re late, you already are”. He then explained, there is no reason to rush like a crazy person and then get into a wreck. Again, got me thinking about Visual. (I know, you’re not supposed to think about work when on vacation but I do love Visual so I can’t help myself.)

Firstly, what Shawn was saying was “you shouldn’t be late”. Of course, in Visual ERP, there are lots of things you can do to avoid being late.

  • You can run the scheduler to make sure you have enough capacity to meet demand and if you don’t then take actions accordingly.
  • The Material Planning Window and reports are full of information. I like the Material Planning report with the option “Parts with Shortages” only. Sure helps you focus.
  • You can run the Shipping Delivery report for the upcoming shipments. Lots of options on how to run. I love the Status showing: “In Stock”, “Expected”, or the dreaded “No Supply”. 


If you do in fact have a problem with your numbers in Visual ERP or you are going to be late, Shawn has the right attitude. He states these things are “Figure-outable”. When he is presented with a difficult situation, he thinks = “How can I fix it? Who do I know?” I am sure you do the same in your work environment.

At this point on our tour, I was starting to relax. I was supporting the island economy by trying a beer from a local micro-brewery. I have to admit, thoughts of Visual were not even entering my mind. But Shawn didn’t stop with his wisdom, so I just have to share a couple more tidbits.

  • When asked how old the building was, he stated “It’s been there since I’ve known myself”. How cute is that.
  • After observing workers at the dockyard, he stated how serious they get when things need fixing. “You can’t sail knowing things are broken.” Okay, I have to admit I did think about Visual at this point. I get obsessed when numbers are not coming out as expected in Visual. Good news, is there is always an answer. Once fixed, it is smooth sailing.

Shawn left us with one more piece of wisdom “As an adult, you realize the importance of powering down for a couple of minutes”. Well, I have definitely had more than a couple of minutes of “powering down” and it feels great. But, it is now time to get back to “Helping others love Visual as much as we do!”.

The post Words are easy to maneuver but numbers don’t lie … in Visual ERP appeared first on Back to Basics (BTB).

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You know the old adage where “Everything comes in Three’s”.  Well that has been the case the past couple of weeks. At 3 different clients, I have had the request: “We want to add some extra costs to our work orders. How can we do that?” Now we go down the discovery path.

Kim:                      “What type of costs are we looking at?”

Client #1:            “Well we have trucking costs that we incur but we don’t charge it back to the customer’s work order. Sometimes it is a small fee, say $25, but other times we use a bigger truck and the cost is $75. Some of our jobs are cost plus so we want to show the cost.”

Client #2:            “We are expensing some pretty big consumable costs on a monthly basis. They only apply to one of our product lines. How can we add this cost to the work orders so we have more accurate product costing?”

Client #3:             “We have 1 part that should have extra burdens. I looked into Purchase burdens but the materials used on this part are used on lots of different parts. I looked at adding an extra amount to the resource, but again, this resource is used for different parts. I can’t change the shop resource or it would overinflate the other parts. Got any ideas?”

I could go through the technical solution but it might be a bit boring. I don’t want you to think that accountants are boring. Let’s switch it up a bit. Now let’s imagine that this isn’t any plant but a Chocolate Factory. And who doesn’t like chocolate? 

#1 The Delivery Challenge

The delivery cost is the estimated cost to have the “Singing Delivery Person” bestow the beautiful heart-shaped box of chocolates to a “sweetheart”.  In this case, the chocolate factory wants to show the offset of this charge against the salary of the singing delivery guy (Let’s call him Roberto), who is on salary. Not all of our chocolates are delivered so we need to control when the delivery charge is used.  

The Delivery – Solution

Here’s what we devised. We set up a dummy part ID called “Delivery” with a value of $25. We set up a “Creative” Product Code called X_DELIVERY. 

We put an X in front for 2 reasons:

  1. We want it to be added at the end of the list of any reports by Product Codes
  2. X for EXPENSE

This product code has the Inventory Accounts and the Adjustment Account as Delivery expense. 

We then adjusted in 1,000 units. Since the accounts are the same, there is no impact on the income statement. The DELIVERY part ID is added to the Engineering Masters for our chocolates.

If Roberto delivers the chocolates, then we issue the Delivery Part ID to work order. Here is where the accounting get’s fun. There is a credit to the Delivery expense thus moving cost to the work order. In the end, the cost of Roberto is being reduced. 

Also, if Roberto had an extra special delivery that required more songs effort, instead of issuing 1 DELIVERY part ID- 2 or 3 would be issued. More effort, more cost.  

#2 The Big Consumables – Challenge

This one was a bit trickier. The chocolate factory (that also made cookies) was spending a lot of money on sprinkles. Some cookies require red sprinkles. Others require white sprinkles. Some require both.  Depending on the surface area of the cookie, more sprinkles are needed. We couldn’t just apply a burden rate because the consumption was significantly different between the parts. And some cookies didn’t have any sprinkles.

The Big Consumables – Solution

After a lot of discussions, we bit the bullet (or the cookie) and resigned ourselves to the fact that these “consumables” were in fact material Part ID’s. We decided instead of buying these sprinkles as consumable part ID’s, which had been the practice, that we would buy them as stock-able parts. Each Engineering Master (or recipe) would have the estimated number of sprinkles added. Since there are lots of different cookies with varying surface areas, we had to involve some special magic to get them added (Translation – we need an application to add the sprinklers). Once added, then we could auto-issue the sprinkles.

#3 The Extra Burden – Challenge

Our chocolate factory makes a variety of chocolates. They go into the big mold and heated, then formed into different shapes and sizes. But there is 1 special chocolate where we use extra time and energy. They are slowly cooled and checked on frequently. It’s all the same equipment and all the same materials but a slightly different process. In this case, we want to add extra burden so that our “Elite Chocolate Delight” shows more cost.

The Extra Burden – Solution

Our cooling process, normally has a burden rate of $25 per hour. For our Elite Chocolate Delight, the rate will be $44 per hour. We can do this IF, we change our Burden Rate in Application Global to “Operation” instead of “Resource”. This means it will look at the work order instead of the resource. All we need to do is to change the rate on the Engineering Master to $44. Now each time labour is charged the rate of $44 is used.  

Other Solutions

There are so many different options in Visual for adding costs. If one of these don’t quite work for you, then you may want to consider these options:

  1. Labour Tickets based on hours (with or without burden).
  2. Labour Tickets based on quantity completed. Again, burden could be applied. Think of piece work.
  3. Purchase burden which is adding a % or unit cost when a part is received. This is really helpful if there is a duty or freight costs for a raw material. Or even a royalty. 
  4. Material issued to Work Orders (WO).  Again, lots of options here-
    1. Issue based on a Purchase Order linked to a WO
    1. Issue directly to a WO
    1. Auto-issue or backflush of materials to WO
  5. Outside services can be added to a work order with the use of a linked PO.
  6. Issue burdens which is adding a % or unit cost to a work order whenever a specific material is issued to a WO. 
  7. Materials or service costs can be added from an Accounts Payable invoice. This is extra handy for expense reports.

Next time you want to add some costs to your products, give these options a try. You will just need to figure out which one fits best with your requirements. And that’s where the fun begins.

Kim Worrall, CA, CPA is a Visual ERP Application specialist and owner of Back To Basics headquartered in the Greater Toronto Area. Kim has spent over 20 years consulting with Visual Enterprise, with an in-depth focus on all aspects financial. From costing to reporting to processing transactions as efficiently and accurately as possible. Kim is obsessed with how Visual works. She combines her healthy obsession, her thorough understanding of Visual’s functionality and tables, her puzzling skills and down-to-earth communication style to help companies get the most out of their Visual ERP.

Kim likes to share with her monthly Visual ERP Tips & Trips and monthly Blogs on all topics Visual. Her life’s objective is “To help others Love Visual as much as she does”.

The post Visual ERP Requests That Come in Three’s appeared first on Back to Basics (BTB).

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As we go into the holiday season, I had a little fun with a holiday classic and Visual ERP.

‘Twas the night before Go Live, when all through the plant,

Not a creature was stirring, not even an ant;

The data was entered in the tables with care,

In hopes that the Go Live would soon be there.

The techies were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of Visual danced in their heads;

And the president in his office and I at my desk,

Had just settled our brains for a well-deserved rest.

When out in the plant there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from my chair to see what was the matter.

At first, I was worried, what could be wrong?

Then I relaxed, we were ready … all along.

Nothing was going to ruin our Visual load,

We had been working too hard on the code;

We had tested and tweaked and tested it twice,

At first it was naughty but now it was nice.

But Visual was ready, as ready could be,

Our dress rehearsals had worked – that we could see.

Everyone would be arriving promptly at eight

To check all the balances, it was a date.

Of course, there would be coffee & cookies galore,

Keeping everyone energized is such a big chore;

We can see it, as we check off our to do lists,

The database will be building, like magic, oh bliss.

Now P.O.’s and C.O.’s and Work Orders appear,

Next Inventory, Invoices and Vouchers to clear.

The accountants will be happy as we balance each buck,

Down to every penny, it’s more than just a little luck.

As I drew in my head, and was turning around,

The pres. appeared with a joyous sound;

Everything is in and balanced to boot,

We are ready to go – oh, this is such a hoot.

A bundle of joy he was beyond belief,

I smiled but inside felt immense relief;

His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples, how merry!

His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,

He was excited as he cheered “IT’S A GO”;

The months of hard work had paid off in spades,

We were just waiting for the great accolades.

He was ecstatically happy, a right jolly old elf,

And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,

Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to the team,

And shook each of their hands.  Was this a dream?

And laying his finger aside of his head,

And giving a nod, out the door he just fled.

He sprang to his car and to his team gave a whistle,

And they flew down the street as fast as a missile;

But I heard him exclaim, as he drove out of sight—

“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

We hope you and your family a joyous holiday season and an incredible 2019.

The post A Holiday Classic and Visual ERP. appeared first on Back to Basics (BTB).

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It is that time of year. You know, time to get the turkey, time to buy gifts, time to put up the decorations, time for baking treats.

But might it also be time to update your standard costs in Visual ERP?  You might say: but we are an actual costing database- we don’t use standards. Even though that is true, did you know there are times where Visual will use the standard or estimated costs?

The #1 thing is when a part is adjusted into stock. Visual will use the standard cost, that is unless the user overrides. The practice of overriding the price has its own challenges as sometimes users calculate the cost wrong and mess up the cost layers. If you are using Visual’s physical inventory module, the adjustments into inventory will use the standard cost from part maintenance. The other aspect of the physical count is Visual ERP will use the standard costs on the report to show the potential variances. If your standards are incorrect or even worse zero, you may not be doing recounts on high ticket items.

The 2nd most important question from a financial perspective is “Do your work orders have estimates?”  The possible components on:

  • your material requirements.
  • internal operations. That means a run rate plus a rate for labour and burden.
  • external operations for outside services.

Now why would this matter in an actual costing database? If you always receive your work orders in 1 receipt, then it will not have a financial impact. If you partially receive your work orders this is extra important. Visual uses a projected cost to determine how to value the receipt. The calculation is a combination of:

  • Estimated costs for the work not yet completed. That means you MUST enter a quantity complete. If not, Visual will take 100% of labour costs + 100% of the actual cost to determine the projected labour and burden cost on the operations. This would overstate the projected cost.
  • Estimated costs for materials not yet issued. Here is the kicker, if your standard cost is zero, then the projected cost equals the actual cost. In this case, the material costs would be understated.
  • Estimated costs are used for services not yet received.
  • Actual costs are used for labour completed.
  • Material issued will be a FIFO cost.
  • Services received will use the actual cost from the PO.

Sounds pretty complicated. You can check out your system by going to the Manufacturing Window, under Info, Costs. Check the projected cost at the right-hand side of the grid. Or here’s an example of what Visual might do:

  Quantity  Cost/Unit   Total   Material   Labor   Burden   Service
Estimated Cost


       3,530           17,650              2,500              5,000           10,000                 150
Actual Cost to Date               16,990              3,325              4,500              9,000                 165
Projected Cost               23,290              3,625              6,500           13,000                 165
WO Receipt Value


       4,658              9,316              1,450              2,600              5,200                   66

In this example, there is a projected cost of 4,658. Visual will use this cost to value the receipt. But what happens over time?

⇒ Costs added to work order.

⇒ Projected cost changes.

⇒ Value of receipt changes.

⇒ If the receipt was sold then cost of sale changes.

If the work order is receipts span multiple months, then this cost can fluctuate until the work order is closed. If your estimates are accurate (i.e. close to your actuals), the amount of the fluctuation is minimized. The good news is when the work order is closed, Visual will revalue all the work order receipts to the actual work order cost.

I have had calls from clients when they had profit numbers they couldn’t explain. After some digging, we determined that the fluctuation was caused be inaccurate estimates. I worked with another client updating their estimates and ensuring they reported quantity completed. We found that costs were over stated 10 – 15% due to this missing information.

The 3rd aspect of keeping accurate standards is providing a benchmark to compare to actual cost. Are you doing better or worse then expected?  There are all kinds of reports in Visual that you can use for comparisons. Have a look the Eng./Mfg. menu of Visual ERP. Here a few that can help:

  • Work Order Master Cost Report
  • Comparative Materials
  • Comparative Labour
  • Gross Profit Report (click on the Show estimates checkbox)

I like to run the Inventory Valuation report based on estimates and then based on actuals.  (Note – Make sure you have run the 1st 2 steps of costing first.)  If the values are close, it is an indication that your standards are pretty accurate. But sometimes, you get different answers. During our recent class on Inventory, the students did this test. Some were really close. Others were out 2 or 3 times. It actually helped them find a problem with their estimates. Thank goodness, they discovered it prior to doing an inventory count.

Looking at these reports can help in management decision making. Should you be putting in a price increase? Or, do you have too much scrap and need to focus on the manufacturing process?

So next time one of my clients say, we don’t really need estimates- we use actual, I think I will refer them to this blog. Have I convinced you it is time to update your standards? I hope so. I want you to have as much information as possible to run your business and to have accurate financial information. I have to go. I have cookies to bake.

Get your free step by step procedure for how to Update Standard Costs HEREDOWN LOAD

The post Is it time in Your Infor Visual ERP? appeared first on Back to Basics (BTB).

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My husband always wants a new car. He wants something faster, sleeker, sportier or maybe like one of his friends. Yes, he has car envy. It leads to lots of interesting discussions. Like: do we really “need” one? What options will this new car have? Is it worth the cost? My favorite question – “What colour would we get?”

These conversations got me thinking about buying new ERP software. You may have heard rumblings at your company that some people think it is time for new software. You might be in the same boat as I am- and love Visual ERP.  You think why would we want new software? but management is asking.

Just like a new car, you would go shopping. The process might be something like this:

  1. Identify the specific needs for your company.
  2. Check out ERP software either by searching the internet or asking others for recommendations. If you are like me, this comparison would be on a spreadsheet showing the options versus features and costs.
  3. Then you would pick a few to have a test drive.
  4. After that, everyone would meet to give their opinions about the test drive.
  5. Then another test drive for a smaller number of software vendors.
  6. More discussions.
  7. Then the negotiation phase.
  8. Eventually you pick new software and start the implementation process.

Buying new software (or a car) can get expensive.  There is:

  • the software,
  • training,
  • consulting,
  • report writing,
  • new procedures,
  • customizations and

Not to mention the time for your people to be involved with the project taking them away from their day-to-day jobs. You can see how this can add up.

Panorama Consulting Solutions, published a report that states “Expect to spend a total of 5x your direct cost of software”.  There are other statistics showing the split of the costs like graph below.

Now what if … instead of buying a different new car, you get the same model but a newer year.  You can get this with your Visual ERP software – it doesn’t cost you anything extra to buy the software. It is included in your maintenance.

Of course, it isn’t totally free but what would the cost be for the newest Visual ERP model?

  • Training on new features and functions.
  • Technical support to upgrade your database or you may want to consider a re-implementation.
  • You might need a new server.

But here is the beauty of upgrading.

  • The amount of training is significantly less.
  • There is an opportunity to “relook” at how you are doing things. There may be new functionality or existing functionality that is not being used. Hey – Check out Visual ERP’s customizable dashboards. It is almost like a car’s instrument panel.
  • The users can adapt quickly since the screens contain the same functionality plus some new tweaks. Just like getting some new features in your car. Gosh I remember my 1st car with power window. And don’t get me started with keyless ignition.
  • Some reports may need to be changed but the vast majority will work. How many custom reports do you have? 20, 30, 50, hundreds? Oh, and don’t forget your Excel queries and applications.
  • Only a few new forms to be done. Your existing invoices, orders etc. could be the same. You may need to do a “match to standard” to bring in the new fields but that is a quick job.

Like any decision-making, it requires a grid.

New Software Update Visual
Software $$$$ 0
Hardware $$$$ $$
Training – New Features & Functionality $$$$$$$

All employees would need to have in-depth training.  Everything would be new,


Limited amount of time required.

Reports & Forms $$$$$$$

All customized reports would need to be created for the new software.


Minor changes required on some reports and forms

Process Mapping $$$$

All procedures involving the ERP system would need to be rewritten.


Procedures could be updated to consider new functionality.

Customizations $$$$$

Any special requirement that is unavailable in the software would need to be specified, written & tested. And then retested.  It always takes multiple times to get it tuned in just right.


Would need to be reviewed to see if there are any field/table changes that would impact this.

Total Investment $$$$$$$$$ $$$

Now let’s think about it.  Do you want a brand new entirely different car or maybe a newer model of a car you know and love?  I know my pick.

Kim Worrall, CA, CPA is a Visual ERP Application specialist and owner of Back To Basics headquartered in the Greater Toronto Area. Kim has spent over 20 years consulting with Visual Enterprise, with an in-depth focus on all aspects financial. From costing to reporting to processing transactions as efficiently and accurately as possible. Kim is obsessed with how Visual works. She combines her healthy obsession, her thorough understanding of Visual’s functionality and tables, her puzzling skills and down-to-earth communication style to help companies get the most out of their Visual ERP.

Kim likes to share with her monthly Visual ERP Tips & Trips and monthly Blogs on all topics Visual. Her life’s objective is “To help others Love Visual as much as she does”.

The post Visual ERP Upgrade vs New Car appeared first on Back to Basics (BTB).

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It is a big week in Canada. What is it? Trump & NAFTA? Start of hockey season? No – It is the potential mail strike. We should know on Sept. 26th if there will be a strike …. or not. That got me to thinking about my blog from a couple of years ago, when there was a possibility of a strike by Canada Post.

Brothers, Jack and Ted, are meeting for a coffee to discuss their jobs. You see both are Controllers at manufacturing companies that use INFOR Visual ERP. Jack is the more experienced and Ted is frequently relying on Jack’s expertise to make himself look good. Today, Ted seemed rather tense. He started talking really quickly “Jack, I don’t know what I am going to do. This talk of a postal strike is making me nervous. We aren’t using Electronic Funds Transfer to pay our vendors. My boss asked me to do it a few months ago but I just didn’t get it done.”

Jack replied “Don’t worry Teddy. I have been through this. I can help you get set up in no time. But before we get started I have to wonder why didn’t you do this before?”

Ted replied “Well, I got a little pushback from accounts payable and I didn’t want to push her. You know how I like everyone to get along.”

Jack being the older brother and much, much wiser said “you know sometimes being the manager, requires seeing the bigger picture. Here are some benefits that accounts clerk and the company would get.

  • A mail strike for one could be a huge problem. If we didn’t have our EFT’s set up, we would be concerned about getting the payments to the vendors on time and possibly holding up our purchase receipts. Not to mention, the cost of sending a payment by courier. That can get expensive.
  • Another thing that’s really helpful is, no more fraudulent checks. Last year alone, before implementing EFT’s, we had a string of six checks over $10,000 that somebody tried to sneak through our account. Now that we’re using EFT’s that just can’t happen.
  • And the amount of time to reconcile the bank has dropped significantly. We can clear all the payments at once since they all go through the bank that day. Plus, we never have any stale-dated checks”

Ted came back “Okay, okay I hear you. I’m convinced but what do I have to do to get it running and fast?”

Jack grabbed a napkin and starting making notes. After a few minutes, he handed it to Ted: step-by-step instructions of how to implement EFT’s in Visual ERP.

  1. Contact your vendors to get their banking information.
  2. Contact your bank to get you set up for electronic banking. This will include:
    • An agreement. Make sure you include any bank accounts you want to have enabled for EFT’s. You can do US as well. They are called ACH’s.
    • The bank’s required format for uploading the EFT payments.
    • Banking software for uploading the payment information.
  3. Set up the vendor banking information in INFOR Visual ERP.
  4. Specify payment type as F for File on vendor maintenance.
  5. Set up the EFT export format in Visual ERP.
  6. Link the export format to bank account maintenance.
  7. Depending on the export format you may need an extra program that will convert the Visual export format to the bank’s required formats.
  8. Get some training on how EFT’s will change your check run process.
  9. Do a test run and give the file to your bank.
  10. If all is good, begin implementing.

It wasn’t overly complicated. Ted looked at it. “Heck I can do that. It shouldn’t take too long.” Then Ted had a puzzled look on his face. So, Jack questioned why. Ted stated “that all sounds great Jack.  Thank you so much. But how are the vendors going to know what we paid them?”

Jack replied “Oh, that’s easy. We got a little program that pulls the payment information out of Visual ERP and e-mails a remittance advice directly to the vendors. It is all seamless. The entire system is great. Our vendors are happy because they get their money. Our accounts payable lady is thrilled. She actually really likes it. It is actually, less work.  Plus, she gets way fewer collection calls.”

Ted seemed more at ease. He had a plan in his mind.

  • Collect the data.
  • Get it into Visual ERP.
  • Get the bank agreement and software set up.
  • Implement.

Piece of cake.

Ted and Jack finished their coffees and got up to leave. Ted quickly volunteered to pay for coffee.  He said “that’s the least I can do for all this good advice. Thanks so much.”

Kim Worrall is a CPA, CA with over 30 years of business consulting and financial management experience. Kim has been consulting with Visual ERP for over 20 years. She knows the tables like the back of her hand – something to do with her excitement over solving number problems. Kim’s love of numbers has made her the go to person for solving complex issues within Visual ERP.

The post Strike 2 Visual ERP appeared first on Back to Basics (BTB).

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