Newsletter March 2016


Welcome to our Autumn 2016 newsletter.

Summer has now officially ended and we are heading into the colder seasons.  So just a reminder  that Daylight savings ends on Sunday, 3 April 2016, 3:00:00 a.m.  Clocks go back 1 hour “back to winter, forward to spring” Easter is also fast approaching so a quick reminder to employers that under the Holidays Act 2003 Easter Sunday is not classed as a public holiday.

At Strategic Software, we observe Southland Anniversary on Tuesday 29 March 2016, so our offices will be closed for Easter from Thursday 24  April at 5pm until Wednesday 30 April at 8.30am.  If you need urgent assistance, please call our support phone 03 2112595.

In this issue:

Successful stocktakes                                                                 

It is that time of the year and most businesses are thinking about their annual stocktakes.  The timing of Easter does not help this year, with shortened work weeks leading up to the end of March.  We have put together some tips to help with making the stocktake as smooth as possible.

Advance planning

Before the actual time, plan and discuss the process taking into account:

  • Do we need extra staff?  Can you use staff from other areas in your business?  Should we consider getting some students to come in and help.
  • How long does the counting usually take?  Set aside enough time to get the counting done.
  • What time of day is the quietest?
  • What equipment do we need?

Organise your stock

Are the same stock items stored in one place?  It is easier to count stock that is well laid out, easy to access and appropriately grouped together.

Get your processing up to date

Recounts are likely to be less when you are entering stock coming in and going out or being used as it happens.

Count everything

Don’t make guestimates of quantities.  Open boxes, climb up a ladder or get down on the floor – do what needs to be done to accurately count the stock.  Some businesses prefer not to provide the staff with the expected quantity on hand as they believe it may influence the counting, but giving staff the expected quantity can help locate variances earlier.  If expected quantities are provided, they must be up to date and as accurate as possible.

Make sure staff know what to do

Be clear with instructions to staff – make sure staff know what to count, how to record the counts and who is counting each area.  Ask that phones are not used to minimise distractions.

Look at variances

If need be, recount if there is a large variance.  Discuss why variances have occurred and take action to try to minimise variances for the future.

Enter the counts as soon as possible

Update stock on hand quantities as soon as possible as this will lead to minimising future variances.  Start with items that are serial tracked or lot tracked – for these we suggest you enter the stock on hand before entering future movements.

What can we do to help?

  • Export stock sheets into Excel – Excel is a great took for analysing, plus counts can be imported into ABM.
  • Set up Barcoding – Barcoding can assist stock being entered directly into Excel.
  • Use a tablet – If you aren’t set up with barcodes, consider using a tablet for entering at the time of count.  Contact us to discuss apps and transferring files onto a tablet.
  • Importing stock takes from Excel

Ensure your staff are trained on stock take processes.

What changes can Employers expect in 2016?

There are a number of upcoming law changes in 2016 that will affect all businesses.  These are:

Minimum Wage Increase

New minimum wage increase takes effect from 1 April 2016.

Current rate New Rate from  1 April 2016 Daily Rate 8 Hours Week Rate 40 Hours Annually
Adults $14.75 an hour $15.25 an hour $122 an 8 hour day $610 a 40 hour week $31720 a year
Starting Out / Training $11.80 an hour $12.20 an hour $97.60 an 8 hour day $488 a 40 hour week N/A

The Employment Legislation Standards Bill has been passed and will come into effect on the 1 April 2016.

The changes in this bill are as follows:

Calculating PAYE on holiday pay The Act clarifies the appropriate treatment of holiday pay when calculating PAYE deductions.

Please click here for further information.

Enforcements of employment standards Employment standards are requirements such as the minimum wage, annual holiday, written employment agreements and accurate record keeping. These standards protect vulnerable workers and help to make sure that workplaces are fair and competitive.

Please click here for further information

Health and Safety at work The Health and Safety at Work Act will come into force 4 April 2016 Please click here for further information

Paid parental leave On 1 April 2016 Paid parental leave will go up from 16 weeks to 18 weeks. Please click here for further information

ACC Levy Changes From 1 April 2016, most businesses will pay lower work levies due to the residual levy being removed and an average drop in the work levy rate.   Please click here for further information.

Zero hours contracts

As the Government wants to prevent unfair employment practices in New Zealand, these changes will mean that employers must guarantee to give employees agreed hours of work when hiring.  Please click here for further information

Customise what you see in ABM – Using Column Chooser                                                             

Users can change the columns they see in each module in ABM

  • place the mouse pointer over a column heading
  • right click, and then select column chooser.
  • you are then given a list of columns to select from on the left, highlight the line you wish to see
  • either click Add or double click on the line.
  • selected line will move to the right of the screen.  You can then use Move Up or Move Down to change the order of the columns.
  • click Ok and the new screen layout will be displayed.

The columns chosen are unique to each user.  Columns can be added or removed as often as the users wishes.  The column chooser is available on all module main screens, in transaction list screens, and also in Project invoicing screens.

IMS Payroll End of Year Procedures In addition to the standard end of year reports that you save, we would recommend you also save the following reports in PDF format:-  – Total Leave Report – Terminated Value Selected  – Annual Leave Report – Accumulator Option  – Company Payroll Summary

Excel Tips – Paste Special

When copy and pasting, Paste Special gives you more options regarding how data is pasted. To access the Paste Special Menu, select the cell to be pasted into, right click on the cell and click Paste Special or press Ctrl + Alt + V. Some of the features within Paste Special are the Values, Transpose and Paste Link.

  • Values option allows the pasting of a value calculated by a formula, as just pasting into a cell will paste the formula. To get the actual value calculated by the formula, select Values. Values and number formats can also be used if the original cell has been formatted.
  • Transpose option allows for pasting a column as a row or vice versa. For example, if there is a list of items in a column that are to become row headings, copy the list, select the first cell to be pasted into and tick the box Transpose. This will paste across the row rather than into a column.
  • Paste Link button will paste a link back to the original data rather than the formula or value. Any changes made to the original data will be updated here also.

Paste Special can be run multiple times on the same cell with different features selected without re-copying the previous cell, i.e. first paste the value, then the format, then any comments from the previous cell copied.

SQL 2005 Support Ceasing

Microsoft have recently announced that support for SQL 2005 will cease on 12 April 2016, so we suggest sites running ABM on SQL 2005 consider upgrading to SQL Server 2014.  Microsoft advise a test in 2014 indicated that SQL Server 2014 runs up to 13 times faster than SQL 2005.  For smaller sites, SQL Express is a free version that is available and it is easy to install and move to.  We suggest any larger sites using SQL 2005 contact their network consultant to discuss their options.

If your network requires upgrading, this may be an opportune time to consider hosting options, such as ABM Cloud.  Please click here for further information.

Microsoft Office Tip – Format Painter

Formatting a document can be time consuming and frustrating, especially when you are not sure how to.  To help Microsoft have added Format Painter to many of their products, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote.  Format painter allows the user to copy the formatting from one part of the document to another.  E.g. you have formatted one of the headings as you want them to be and you now want to apply the same changes to other  headings.  Click on the correctly formatted heading, then click on the Format Painter icon on the Home Tab      when you’ve done this the icon will change to a paint brush.  Then select all the text you want to apply the formatting to.  When you let the mouse go the required format will be applied.

     Nikki’s Pandora app

A free personalised radio that plays music you love.

Are you a music buff? Do you enjoy music from all different genres’?  Then Pandora is a must for your mobile device.    It is free to download and works on both android and apple.  Simply enter the name of your favourite song, music type or favourite artist and Pandora will do the rest.     You can create up to 100 unique “stations.”  Once I have chosen my stations, all I do is press the shuffle button and I have a selection of all my favourites playing.  Stations are easily added and removed. There are a few adverts but they don’t last long and you’re back moving and grooving to your favourite beats.


“We have used Strategic Software for many years for our Accounting Program as well as our Payroll and have found them to be extremely efficient and reliable. They have a vast knowledge of Accounting Systems and Payroll, nothing was ever a problem. Payroll was a very easy and painless task, Strategic Software took care of every aspect and the reports we received weekly were very detailed with all the information we needed. We have since changed our programs to match our Head Office, however . . . during the change over Strategic Software couldn’t have been more helpful. Their understanding of what was needed was paramount for a smooth transition.”

Owen Webb, Manager
Carpet Court, Invercargill

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