Addsum web site and general info

Postings here will focus mainly on Advanced Accounting software updates, tips, and related topics. They will also include general comments relating to troubleshooting PC/Windows/network problems and may also include reference to our other software products and projects including any of our various utilities, or to the TAS Premier programming language. We considered setting up separate blogs for different topics so that users/others could subscribe to topics mostly aligned with their interests, but decided that it would be better to keep things simple since some topics cross over into others. We would nonethelss welcome your feedback/input in this regard. Our web site URL is Call us at 800-648-6258 or 801-277-9240. We also maintain so that older Business Tools users in particular have a greater chance to find us.


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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

New W-2 and 1099-MISC deadlines starting in 2017

IRS forms W-2 and 1099-MISC that involve non-employee compensation now have to be filed by the end of January.   These new deadlines will apply starting with 2016 W-2 and 1099-MISC filings.

Previously, while recipient copies had to be provided by the end of January, employers had until the end of February to actually file them with IRS.  No more.

And this deadline is the same regardless of whether you are a paper filer or an e-filer.

This change makes sense; the IRS should have copies of these forms on file so that wage amounts can be verified sooner rather than later, and hopefully this will also lead to faster tax return processing.

Most of our users would typically file these forms by the end of January anyway; the only reason to wait historically would be perhaps to get recipient feedback in the event of any problems or errors.   Because the filing deadline has been moved up and for this reason, it will behoove users to get their recipient copies out to end users as soon as possible in January to the extent that may be a concern (perhaps at least by January 15).

More information about this new deadline:

Note that in some states, paper (where accepted) as well e-filing deadlines may still be later than January 31. 

What's ahead for year end and into 2017 with respect to payroll?   We'll be posting more information on this topic as it develops, but here are a few sneak peeks:

  • 2016 W-2 forms will not be changing  - forms can be ordered from Dynamic Systems, our forms provider, or they can be printed for you via our e-filing portal.
  • The same e-filing interface we developed at the end of 2015 has been re-tested with our e-filing partner and those tests were accepted on Novemer 28, 2016.    They will be opening that portal to accept  filings for 2016 as early as December 7.   If you are in a state that has an e-filing requirement or you simply want to e-file, or you want our e-feiling provider to print the W-2 forms (employee copies) for you, be sure that you have that update.  More information.
  • The social security tax wage limit will be increasing (unlike last year) from $118,500 to $127,200, and that will be one of the changes you will be making in your payroll division setup after your last 2016 payroll and after the PR-G option has been run (simply choose the option "Clear employees/process W-2s later" and then return to PR-G later when you are ready to print forms and/or e-file) and prior to your first 2017 payroll.  More information.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

When the requested security information is unavailable . . .

A rather peculiar situation relating to Windows security settings can occur if a copy of a file is subsequently placed into a previously shared folder that is not owned by any object (group) and/or that file is placed into the shared folder by a user that is not a member of group that has security privileges to the folder.

The highly unexpected result of this situation is that while the user is allowed to place a file (which is the same thing as "writing" to the folder) into the shared location (and it doesn't matter whether it is a new file, or a file that is replacing the same file that is already correctly shared!)  and can run/execute or read the file, other Windows users will be denied the ability to do the same.   

In the case of our software, the user will receive a message indicating that basically the program cannot be run or loaded.   Inspecting the properties of the file on the server and viewing the security tab, the rather unhelpful "The requested security information is either unavailable or can't be displayed" message is displayed:

This seems to be a  poorly designed aspect of Windows security.  This means that as a software developer, we cannot be sure that a file that we install on a remote system can be properly run by other users in a multi-user environment because of some pre-existing user/folders rights issue even though we in fact are able to write to that folder and even though it otherwise gives the appearance of working exactly as it should.  This is really not something our programs have control over and hypothetically should be none of our concern.   We should not have to double check the rights of each and every file  located on a server that we may not even have direct access to in every situation.

When we first ran into this problem simply when placing three new files into a program folder (and which we could test and run without issues but the end user ultimately could not) from a Terminal Services server (a common situation), we resolved the issue by getting access to the server, right clicking on each file and by "taking ownership" of them:

We then proceeded to add the "Everyone" group to file making sure users in the group had read/write rights.

But then more recently and on the same system (running Windows 2011 SBS Server), we replaced an existing program file via the Terminal Services server, we were again able to run and test it from that server and all seemed to be well,  but then today we were contacted by the end user who in fact could not run the recently replaced program.  Yet the file that was replaced had the exact same file name and was placed in the exact same folder that all users who had rights to that option within our software were able to previously utilize and now were being denied access.

Examining the folder's security, we noticed that there were no owners/groups assigned at the folder level.  Perhaps all of the files were all initially directly selected and shared in the folder previously (although this would not explain why a replacement file still failed nor why we could copy new files or replace existing ones in that folder at will).   By adding the  "Everyone" and "Administrator" objects/groups to the security of the folder itself, this will hopefully resolve future issues on this system of updating their installed software (and some testing conducted today placing new and replacement files into this folder and then logging into the server to view the security properties of those files indicates that it does).

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Will Advanced Accounting 5.1 run under Windows 10?

As long as you use the 32-bit version of Windows 10, yes, it will.   

An Adv 5.1 system running under Windows 10.  Screen shot taken on July 20, 2016.
( Company name changed to preserve end user confidentiality.)

Will we support this 1996 version of the software running like this?   Of course!

For newer versions of Advanced Accounting and Windows 10, see:

Windows 10 and Advanced Accounting 7i software

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Windows 10 default printer woes

Starting with an automatic update in November of 2015,  Microsoft made a change that has perplexed end users with multiple installed printers:  by default, the last printer you choose becomes your new default printer.

Logical?  No.  In most cases with multiple printers/devices and their drivers installed this preference setting makes no sense and nullifies the definition of a "default printer."  Further it defies the standard default printer logic that has existed since Windows 95. 
If the new setting preference was by default set to "Off" then at least it would not have created end user confusion; but that would have defeated Microsoft's reason for even having implemented this setting preference (i.e. apparently for end users who found setting their default printer to be too difficult).

This is an example of the "dumbing down" trend in PC's and mobile devices of all kinds that worsens, not enhances, the end user "experience" as so many like to refer to it these days.

Once you know why your default printer keeps changing without your having changed it in Windows 10, you can turn this setting preference off.

The hardest part about doing this is getting to the Windows 10 Settings section itself.    This should be something intuitive and obvious; yet it isn't. 

To get to Windows 10 settings:

(1)  The easiest say is to simply press and hold the Windows key and then the letter I, i.e:  Win-I.  (Intuitive? No.)

The Windows key (there are actually two of them on standard desktop keyboards) is both to the left and right of the space bar on the outside of each Alt key.  We tend to forget about them since they are essentially never used in touch typing and normally are meaningless. The symbol design on the key and its color varies from keyboard to keyboard, but its essential design is that of a gently waving flag:

Dell keyboard Windows key

Logitech keyboard Windows key

(2)  The next easiest method is to search for the Settings section by right clicking on the "Start" button (which however no long says Start) that is usually at the lower left on Win 10 desktops.  Then click on search and type settings.   Several options will be displayed in the menu above, any one of which will ultimately get you there (Start Settings, System Settings, etc.) but which may still require a few more clicks back and forth to get you to the main Settings page.  

From Windows Settings choose Devices.

Then choose Printers and scanners.   On the Printers and scanners page, scroll down until you see the option:

"Let Windows manage my default printer."

By default it will be On.

Click to the left of the On-Off switch so that it reads Off.   (An intuitive object? Not exactly.)

Now your  PC's default printer handling will again work the way it is supposed to.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Settting up customer discounts for early payments

This is easy to accomplish in Advanced Accounting,

You can always allow a discount on a customer payment  in AR (accounts receivable) option C where customer payments are processed regardless of the circumstances (for example:  you receive the payment on the 11th day following the invoice date and the discount period for the invoice was 10 days; you may still choose to let the customer take that discount even if the system doesn't automatically compute it).

To setup a specific terms number that allows the software to calculate the discount,  you would proceed to  SY (system maintenance) option B (Enter/Chg Terms Info).   Press Insert on your keyboard or click on the Insert button  to add a new terms number which will default to the next available number, or you can specify the number.   Alternatively you can edit an existing terms number to have discount characteristics (or to remove them).

If adding a new terms number:

Input an appropriate description such as 2%/10 NET 30.

In the discount column input:   2  (for a 2% discount).

In the type column input:    %
(to indicate that it is a percent type discount)

In the days column input:  10  (the discount period)

Max days: 30     (i.e., the desired number of days until due)

Use:   R  meaning this terms number is only for customers and you aren't going to use these same terms for accounts payable or purchase orders (or for all, just enter A).

Calc how:  A

To make this terms number the default for sales orders for a given established or new customer, input this new terms # as the default in the customer's AR-A maintenance screen. 

Most importantly:  when  creating sales orders, i.e. input the desired discount terms number to trigger the automatic calculation when later recording payments.   This value will be initially assigned to the customer's default terms value as established in AR-A.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Control whether your PC upgrades to Windows 10

We have long advocated controlling the installation of Windows updates and not having any updates  "install automatically" which is the normal Microsoft default.  In addition, the normal setting for "recommend updates" is to behave the same as "important" updates.    Earlier this year Microsoft changed the status of the Windows 10 update to "recommended" which means that now suddenly Windows 7 and Windows 8 users are suddenly finding their PC's having upgraded themselves to Windows 10 without any advance notification*.    This is because of the default Windows update settings.  You can however prevent this from occurring automatically and without your specifically choosing to update.

(*If you find that your PC has automatically updated to Windows 10, you may be able to revert to your prior version provided that you act quickly, i.e. within 30 days.   Review your Settings > Update & Security > Recovery to see if you can go back to your earlier version.)

To control your Windows updates, in Windows 7, go to Start > Control Panel  > System and Security > Windows Update.   On the left side, click on Change Settings.

Then look for the Recommended updates check box (see below).  At an absolute minimum, make sure the recommend update setting is unchecked.   You will need to click on OK to make the change but before doing that, consider also changing the behavior of "important updates" to not simply install automatically.  (Never update is our favorite option which renders the recommended update option moot, but at least give yourself control over when the important updates occur.)

In Windows 8.1, a similar procedure is available or via the PC Settings "app" you can go to Settings > Update and recovery > Windows update and then make the changes.  Again at the very least, uncheck the Recommended updates check box, and then be sure to apply those changes.

Once this is done you can also right click on any downloaded Windows 10 update and choose to hide it so that it is not accidentally installed.

There are other ways to accomplish the foregoing which include Computer configuration as well as the Windows registry.  See:

How to manage Windows 10 notification and upgrade options KB3080351

Since the free update to Windows 10 for Win 7 and 8 users will end in July, this issue will to some degree then go away; however, we would still strongly recommend that end users take control of how and when their PC's are updated.  

And, we greatly hope that Microsoft will provide that ability ultimately in Windows 10 as well, which is one of its biggest drawbacks.   Automatic updates potentially create all sorts of system stability and usability issues that can only be properly managed and monitored by the end user.  No operating system update should ever be forced.

The above is not meant to indicate that our accounting software does not work with Windows 10; in fact it does and with no known issues, see:

This does not necessarily mean that no Windows related configuration issues might have to be dealt with.  An operating system change is a major update, and the Windows 10 update in some cases may make temporarily undesirable changes on its own.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Windows folder or file padlock icon removal

If the ownership of a folder is SYSTEM, starting with Windows 7, newly added files will be "locked"  and the padlock or file lock icon will appear until those files are specifically shared with "Everyone" or some desired group of individual users or until the folder is shared differently in terms of its ownership on multi-user systems.

Note the padlock (also commonly referred to as a file lock) icon

Until the file is shared or the ownership of the folder is changed, the newly added file will be accessible/readable by the PC on which it was installed but not by other users that connect to that PC.

If SYSTEM is  listed first (in the above example, it is listed second) , then newly added files may be  be "locked" until they are specifically shared, or until a Users or Everyone group is added. Click on the Advanced button to view, in this case, the folder's owner.

Here is a helpful Microsoft technet article to help with on changing file or folder ownership:

(Take Ownership of a File or Folder, applies to Windows 7, WIndows Server 2008 R2)

As indicated via the MS article, you resolve by opening Windows Explorer, then locate the file or folder you want to take ownership of, right click on either the file or the folder, choose properties and then click on the security tab.  Under Advanced click on the Owner tab (in Windows 10 click on the clickable Change label  to the right of Owner).