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Tip of the Month

Save time and frustration. Check back each month for our latest user tip.

----------------------------------------- December 2004 ------------------------------------------

Year-End Cleanup - Be Prepared

For many businesses December brings the close of their fiscal as well as calendar year. Not only are there a number of tasks to be accomplished but this is also great time for giving your data some attention.

Plan ahead. Make a list of everything which needs to be addressed, and then book early for those tasks which involve an outside service provider. This is a very busy time of year for businesses such as Altitude and accounting firms.

Reassess your data retention. Do you keep your data long enough? Do you keep it too long? Do you have enough space on your server for your growing data files?

Document your year-end processes. They only occur once a year, and it's difficult to remember everything that needs to be done, by whom, and when. Take the time this year to document everything. While it may be painful the first year, you will reap the benefits for years to come.

Do you have the necessary financial information? Do you need to redo your financial statements? How about considering a financial modeling tool such as CFO? Have you outgrown the logic built into your Chart of Accounts?

Run integrity checks to ensure a clean year-end closing.

As part of your annual clean up if you would like to change or combine inventory control item numbers, customer numbers, vendor numbers, or general ledger account numbers, year-end is a great time to do this. Contact Altitude about the availability of Number Changer(s) for your ACCPAC Advantage Series or ACCPAC Plus system.

December is a good time to review your year and define necessary changes.

----------------------------------------- November 2004 ------------------------------------------

ACCPAC Missing Display Information after installing Windows XP Service Pack 2

Question: After installing Service Pack 2 for Windows XP, My ACCPAC no longer displays the correct module names, license names, dealer, and CC names in the top right hand screen. Instead it shows:

Application (ObjectName)
Licensed to: User, Company
Dealer: Dear CC:QI

How can I fix this?
Answer: If you are running ACCPAC Advantage Series 5.2, the issue has been addressed in the System Manager Service Pack 2 for System Manager 5.2A, which has been released. If you are running the latest version of ACCPAC, Advantage Series 5.3, the issue has already been resolved.

----------------------------------------- June 2004 ------------------------------------------

Protecting Against Viruses

Undoubtedly, you have heard, read or seen the news surrounding the latest outbreak of computer viruses making their way around the Internet. There are several steps you can take to prevent these viruses from infecting your computers, and to make sure you are insulated from future threats.

One way these viruses spread is via e-mail. Usually, they come in the form of a file attachment which when opened triggers the virus. This can be avoided by adopting the practice of only opening attached files you are expecting. Most of the viruses will come from unfamiliar senders (though not always), and will indicate that you need to open the attachment in order to view the contents of the message.

Another way to prevent viruses from infecting your PC is to make sure you have some form of Anti-Virus software installed and working on every computer. Most Anti-Virus software has the ability to check the web for updates, or even better, to schedule automatic updates to run during nonworking hours. Either way, make sure that these updates are happening at least once per week. In a larger network environment, consider enterprise anti-virus solutions that allow centralized management of virus updates and PC anti-virus clients, making prevention and detection of all machines much easier.

Often, viruses will exploit security vulnerabilities inherent in Windows or Internet Explorer. Microsoft periodically announces security updates that correspond with the vulnerabilities being exploited by the virus. Make sure to check windowsupdate.microsoft.com at least once per month for these security updates. Windows 2000 and Windows XP machines can be set to automatically check for such updates.

The best method for preventing virus infection is to have an anti-virus product scanning e-mail before it gets to your inbox. This is most effective when your company is running an in-house e-mail server. Since some viruses can actually turn off and disable your PCs virus scanner once they are triggered, the best approach is to remove the virus before users have a chance to accidentally open it. Unfortunately, very few Internet Service Providers offer such service.

Occasionally, Anti-Virus companies &/or Microsoft send out a warning or update before the particular virus has had much chance to spread. These announcements are advisory, and indicate a higher potential for threat. Use announcements from your antivirus software or Microsoft as a motivator to check for Anti-Virus and Windows security updates. These announcements may also have information about a pre-built virus removal tool that can be used if an infection is confirmed. These tools can usually be found at www.symantec.com and www.networkassociates.com. Be aware that not all announcements are real. Hoaxes do go around on the Internet, and usually come from sources other than the Anti-Virus companies or Microsoft.

Let’s all do our part to ensure that each PC and network is well protected and viruses do not get a chance to infect any machine or spread any further in the future.

----------------------------------------- May 2004 ------------------------------------------

Procedures for Installing ACCPAC Service Packs

We have provided the instructions below for SupportPlus subscribers who would like to update service pack levels themselves. If you have any questions or would prefer to have Altitude Information Systems perform the installation, please do not hesitate to call us at (604) 598-8480.

Check For Current Service Packs

At the top of your ACCPAC window, click Help, then System Information. This will list the ACCPAC modules, versions and service packs that are currently installed on the workstation. Note which modules have a red checkmark to the left, along with which versions and service packs are listed to the right. These are the modules that are active for the company you are logged into. From this screen, also note the path of your “Shared Data Directory”. You will save downloaded service packs to subfolders of this directory.

Download New Service Packs

Point your web browser to www.accpac.com/support/service_packs.asp. Select “ACCPAC Advantage Series Service Packs and PTFs”. If you have any ACCPAC Option products, you can also review that link. If you have not previously signed on to ACCPAC’s website, you will be prompted for your user ID and password. This is the same as your client ID and password supplied by ACCPAC International. If you do not have this information, please contact ACCPAC International’s Client Care department at 800-773-5445.

Once you have accessed the Service Packs page, locate the first service pack needed and click on the link to the EXE file. Follow the prompts, then save the file to the Service Packs folder under your Shared Data Directory. We suggest you create a folder under the Service Packs folder for each version (5.0, 5.1, etc.) and folders under the version folder for each module (SM, GL, AP, etc.). All service packs are cumulative so if any older service pack installation files are saved here, you can remove them first.

Example: If your "Shared Data Directory" is G:\ACCPAC, the System Manager service pack for version 5.0 would be in:
G:\ACCPAC\Service Packs\5.0\SM

Repeat the download process for each service pack, placing each one in its own folder.

Extract Service Pack Files

Once all files have been downloaded, open Windows Explorer and browse to each folder and extract each service pack. Each service pack is saved as a “self-extracting executable” that, when double-clicked will extract the installation files needed.

Install Service Pack Files

Service packs need to be installed on all workstations which run ACCPAC. If installing a service pack for System Manager, install that service pack prior to installing others. On each workstation, complete the following steps:

· Close all programs on the workstation and disable any virus scanning programs.
· Click Start-Run, then browse to the first service pack folder. Click Setup.exe, then open
· Follow the prompts to complete installation of the service pack.
· Repeat the installation for all remaining service packs.
· Restart the workstation when complete.

----------------------------------------- April 2004 ------------------------------------------

Need To Determine Which Service Packs (patches) Have Been Installed?

Log into AAS (ACCPAC Advantage Series), using your regular user ID.

From the top tool bar click on HELP then choose SYSTEM INFORMATION.

This screen will display each module version number, directly followed by the service pack level. (Note: The red checks on the left side of this screen indicate active modules for this data set.) Compare your list with the versions and service pack levels listed here.

If your service pack levels are not current, contact Altitude Information Systems if you need assistance downloading and installing the updated services packs.

Caution – Please check with our office before installing any service packs. There will be situations when a patch may cause a conflict with other modules or if you have installed ACCPAC-related software, programs developed by ACCPAC Developer Partners such as UniDevCo or MISys, ACCPAC Options products, or other "non-core" modules.

----------------------------------------- March 2004 ------------------------------------------

ACCPAC on the Web!

Are you aware of all the information and resources available to you on ACCPAC’s web site at www.accpac.com? Besides product information, you can log in with your client ID and password and gain access to the following:

My Products and Services

· Update contact and address information
· Review registered products and activation codes
· Download products and request CDs
· Download US Payroll Tax Table and, if current on your PR tax update plan (PUP), review activation code
· Renew your Support Plus

Communicate via the Forum

On the ACCPAC User Forum you can review previously posted questions and answers or post your own questions.

Technical Support

If you are current on Support Plus, you can download service packs as they become available. If you have a technical support agreement with ACCPAC, you can also request support. We suggest that you contact Altitude Information Systems at (604) 598-8480 before installing any programs or service packs yourself to discuss any issues that we may be aware of.

Your client ID and password is shown on most correspondence you receive from ACCPAC, contact client care at 800-773-5445.

----------------------------------------- February 2004 ------------------------------------------

Spending Too Much Time Maintaining Budget Data?

It is budget time again for many of you and this can be a time-consuming and tedious process to update ACCPAC with your budget figures if you have a significant number of GL accounts. Here are a few hints that might make it easier for you.

Update your budget data via a VBA® macro. ACCPAC ships with a sample VBA macro designed to update budget data within ACCPAC. It's an Excel workbook that you can browse to in your program directory which by default is: C:\PROGRAM FILES\ACCPAC\MACROS\BUDGET.XLS. When it is launched, it will prompt you to log into a company. Choose the year of your current budget data and retrieve it from ACCPAC along with the actual figure for the same period into a spreadsheet. Choose another column to enter your new budget figures into. When you are ready, just push a button, confirm the fiscal year the new budget figures are to be entered into, and presto…….they are uploaded into ACCPAC! In addition, this macro can be modified to your particular budgetary needs. If you or your staff don’t have the VBA skills to do it, Altitude Information Systems certified consultants would be very happy to help you.

Budget data can be imported into ACCPAC. Within the General Ledger module locate the G/L Accounts function, then choose Budget Maintenance. Under FILE in the menu bar locate 'Export' and 'Import'. You can export specific budget data using the Set Criteria function to limit the year, choose budget data only, or a specific account range. You can then modify it in Excel using the standard tools built into Excel, then import it back in. To review the budget figures you imported into ACCPAC, you can create a financial statement that looks at only budget data. You can display the data in the format you need for departmental review before publishing the figures. What's really great is, once the statement is formatted, you can use it again and again.

----------------------------------------- January 2004 ------------------------------------------

Tips and Tricks - Using Keyboard Shortcuts

Using the mouse is great for things like navigating the ACCPAC desktop, quickly moving to a specific field, and re-arranging columns. For efficient data entry, using keyboard shortcuts can be much faster. Fortunately, ACCPAC Advantage version 5.0 introduced significant enhancements for users who rely on keyboard entry. Here are some shortcuts you can use in ACCPAC:

Keys to use throughout ACCPAC screens:
· F1 Display the online Help window. Context-sensitive.
· Alt+X Press the Alt key plus an underlined letter to activate a button or menu on the screen (for example, Alt+S activates the "Save" button).
· Spacebar Press the spacebar to activate any button with the "focus". The focus is represented by dotted lines around the button.

Keys to use in a Finder field:
· F5 Display records in a Finder that you can select from.
· Ins Press the Ins or Insert key on your keyboard to clear the screen or start a new record.
· Page Down Display the next record according to the selection criteria.
· Page Up Display the previous record according to the selection criteria.
· Ctrl/Page Up Display the first record.
· Ctrl/Page Down Display the last record.

Keys to use in Column/Grid screens:
· Ins Insert a blank row to add a new record.
· Del Remove the selected row.
· Tab or Enter Go to the next or previous column in a list (Shift+Tab or Shift+Enter to go back).
· Pg Up Go to the top row in view.
· Pg Down Go to the bottom row in view.
· Home Go to the first row in a list.
· End Go to the last row in a list.
· F9 Zoom In/Out Enlarge the selected field to display a pop-up window with more information.
· F10 Maximize/Minimize Increase or decrease the number of lines displayed in a list.

----------------------------------------- December 2003 ------------------------------------------

Hiding and Showing Columns Within A Data Entry Grid

Did you know, beginning with the release of ACCPAC Advantage Series 5.0, it’s easier than ever to hide and show columns within a data entry or inquiry grid? Utilizing these steps can help speed-up data entry and make it easier to view important information.

To hide a column you don’t need to see, right-click on the column title, select COLUMN TITLE from the popup menu. For example, if you don’t need to see Location Code in the Order Entry detail grid, right-click on the LOCATION column title and select “Hide Location”. The column will be hidden.

To show hidden columns, right-click on any column title, then select RESTORE COLUMN. The column will be restored.

ACCPAC retains column preferences by screen, and by user ID, so any changes you make to column setup will be remembered the next time you use that screen. The changes you make will not affect other users.

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