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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 nonetheless welcome your feedback/input in this regard. Our web site URL is www.addsuminc.com. Call us at 800-648-6258 or 801-277-9240. We also maintain www.advancedaccounting.us so that older Business Tools users in particular have a greater chance to find us.

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Thursday, November 12, 2015

W-2 reporting of employer-sponsored health coverage

Using Advanced Accounting's editable W-2 feature pertaining to boxes 10, 12, 13 or 14 first introduced in version 6 in 2007, the costs related to employer-sponsored health coverage can be easily input so that W-2 forms will contain this information as may be required.

While the requirement for this information went into effect in 2012, the IRS has provided transition relief for many businesses until "final guidance" is provided that still appears to be pending.  The current recommended course of action can be found hereIRS 2015 W2/W3 general instructions on the one hand indicate that reporting of these amounts is required, but then makes a somewhat circular reference to the Box 12 instructions which then refers one back to the recommended reporting guidelines and the reference to future guidance.

For those companies who either want to, or are required to, report the amounts, they are reported using code DD in Box 12 (a, b, c, or d). The amounts reported are not taxable to the recipient and are simply an information requirement (logically then Box 14 would have represented a more appropriate place for them, but that is not where they are reported). Unlike deferred compensation amounts included in Box 12 and carried over to box 12a on the W-3 form, code DD amounts are not reported on the W-3 transmittal form.

Previously anything entered in one of the four slots in Box 12 via Advanced Accounting's W-2 option were summed and included in the W-3 Box 12a total.  Starting in 2015, we have added programming logic to exclude any DD code amounts from being included in that total.   Other than this change (and adding some additional instructional language on the main screen of Advanced Accounting's PR-G option used to print W-2s as well as when presented with the "edit" question along with some screen changes to reference code DD on the pertinent input screen), the program remains the same.    

While we still support all versions of Advanced Accounting ever released, only the latest version (7i with latest updates, and soon version 8) will contain the changes described above.

So what are the steps for reporting this information?

(1) Give yourself enough time to tackle processing your W-2 forms even though it may not be particularly time consuming.  In this regard, take advantage of the "do it later" feature (i.e. under PR-G and then the option:   Clear employees/process W-2s later) which was first introduced in version 7i in early 2012;

(2)  Before proceeding to process your W-2 forms, accumulate information you may either be required to report, or that you may want to report, in the editable boxes.    Read through the latest W-2/W-3 instructions from the IRS and/or the instructions on the back of the W-2 forms paying particular attention to the editable boxes.  With respect to the cost of employer-sponsored health coverage, IRS instructions indicate that it should include both employer and employee paid amounts;

(3)  Nothing related to code DD is initially selected when tying employee deductions to IRS boxes, because the amount you might report under code DD will not likely correspond to those deductions.  Simply process as normal until you reach this question:




Answer:  Yes.

(4)  Next you will see a screen for each employee like this:




The highlighted Box 12 section is where you input the code DD and then to the right of that code, the cost amount for that employee.  It does not matter in which of the a,b,c, or d slots that you input the code and amount.  Further, you can input it in different places for different employees if you need to. (For simplicity however we would recommend using Box 12d for all DD amounts; or chose some other box that is the same for all; but again, this is not required.)  The program will include all amounts entered in Boxes 12 a,b,c, and d into the W-2 transmittal's Box 12a except it will now exclude any DD coded amounts.

(5) Simply continue to the next employee and process to completion as normal.



More information:
IRS Employer-Provided Health Coverage Informational Reporting Requirements: Questions and Answers

Sunday, November 1, 2015

XLS files: converting text to numbers


When retrieving an XLS file generated directly from the print to file option included in all Advanced Accounting versions from 6 through 7i (see printing to a file in Advanced Accounting) as well as upcoming release 8, numeric data may be initially formatted as "text" rather than as numbers.  In order to use the data in calculations, this text data can be easily converted from text to numbers via a few steps depending on the spreadsheet program that is used.  The discussion that follows outlines options available in OpenOffice Calc and Microsoft Excel to accomplish this task.

First, here's a preview of a sample report generated out of upcoming Advanced Accounting 8's enhanced sales tax analysis report grouping sales by month:





The discussion below involves retrieving the XLS file generated from this report and converting some of the columns to numbers.


OpenOffice Calc:

In OpenOffice, a leading apostrophe denotes text formatting.  





Rather then edit the cells individually, after retrieving the XLS file (click on File then Open and navigate to where the file was saved), first select and format all cells to numeric (not currency) with two decimal place precision.





Note:  a convenient way to select cells is to simply click on the first cell and then hold the SHIFT key and use down and ultimately right arrows.   Then click on Format then Cells to get the option above.

Without unselecting the cells, do a Find and Replace (click on Edit and then Find and Replace, or CTRL-F) .

Search for:

^. 

(i.e. input the caret or exponent symbol produced via Shift-6 followed by a period)


Replace with:

&

(i.e. an ampersand character, Shift-7)

Click on More options if the option list is not already expanded and make sure that "Regular expressions" is checked.

Click on Replace All, then Close.




All of the selected cells are now numeric.

The above procedure works in OpenOffice 2, 3 as well as the recently released 4.

Microsoft Excel:

There are many different versions of Excel, each of which may offer different approaches to accomplish this task.   A general reference document can be found here: How to convert text to numbers in Excel.

The "text to column" approach is one method (Method 7 in the link above), although it only works in selecting one column at a time and is not as convenient as in the OpenOffice Calc example.  Here is an example using Excel 2010 and this method.

Select one column of text that contains numbers.

Under the Data menu or tab, choose Text to Columns.

Choose Delimited, click on Next and choose Tab and again click on Next.






Choose General for the column data format.   Via the Advanced button, the decimal and separator options can be made, and then click Finish.   





Repeat for each column.