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ZBA Bank Reconciliation Procedure
Generally, divisions or subsidiaries of multi-location organizations use Zero Balance Accounts (ZBA) to make the best use of cash and credit lines.  ZBAs will automatically clear the balance to zero (or some nominal amount such as $5,000) by doing a daily transfer to/from the Corporate consolidating bank account (or Line of Credit).  The following illustrates an effective methodology for recording the ZBA sweep transactions and reconciling the appropriate bank accounts.
Assumptions:
  1. Two ZBAs are setup.  One for Disbursements (A/P check clearing) and one for Deposits and other miscellaneous transactions including outbound wires and ACH/EFT.  There are many other combinations of accounts, but the following concepts remain the same.
  2. The Division/Subsidiary utilizes online bank reporting to access daily/weekly/monthly transactions without waiting for bank statements.
  3. The bank reconciliation process is completed as part of the month end process, preferably on the first day of month end.  Alternatively, it can be done weekly or daily.
Procedures:
  1. AR and AP Transactions:
    • All deposits (not just customer payments) must be entered into Epicor ERP so they can be cleared in Bank Reconciliation.  These can be done in AR/Cash Receipts Entry, using “New Misc Payment.”
    • All disbursements (not just AP checks) must be entered into Epicor ERP so they can be cleared in Bank Reconciliation.  These can be done in AP/Payment Processing.
  2. Sweep clearing and Bank Reconciliation.  This must be done every month, but can be done daily or weekly if desired. 
    • Run the report from the bank to determine the total net value of checks that cleared during the month/day/week, and do a Bank Transfer from the appropriate Intercompany Bank Account (or Line of Credit) to the Disbursements account.
      • Alternatively, you can do a “Bank Adjustment” if you just want it to go to a GL Account for Intercompany.
    • Run the report from the bank for the Deposits Account to determine the total net value of “sweeps” during the month, and do a Bank Transfer from the Deposits account to the appropriate Intercompany Bank Account (or Line of Credit). 
      • The alternative “Bank Adjustment” option can also apply here.
    • Clear these Bank Transfers (or bank fees) and all other transactions that cleared the bank, using Bank Reconciliation.
    • Don’t forget to reconcile your bank statement so your GL account balances.

Posted by Paul Jackson, Senior Consultant, Epicor

Epicor® Eagle N Series™: From the Retailer’s Point-of-View

At the recent Ace Hardware Fall Convention & Exhibits, I had the opportunity to participate in a panel presentation with Wade Doss, owner of Bates Ace Hardware, and Bob Krieger, owner of Katz Ace Hardware. The retail business owners provided insights and firsthand experiences with the new Epicor solution for independent retailers, Epicor Eagle N Series. Here are a few highlights from that presentation.

Q: With a commitment to stay on the cutting edge of technology, what was the process like for your business to implement Epicor Eagle N Series?

Doss: Implementation was pretty pain free. The new modern interface of Eagle N Series has a clean look and feel. The solution streamlines procedures so that the daily tasks in our business are easier and quicker to execute. Eagle N Series eliminates steps and we’ve seen an immediate savings in time and money. The new software makes business processes seamless.

Q: Considering all the tools retailers can use to compete and grow successfully in today’s market, how can retailers position themselves for the future?

Krieger: One thing that cannot be overlooked is every retailer’s mission to outservice big box competition. Customers today have many choices, so how can you give your customers an unforgettable experience? By outservicing your competition those customers will keep choosing you. Eagle N Series helps position our business to respond quickly and cost-effectively as the retail market evolves. The software is intuitive; it’s where I need it, when I need it.

Q: Getting employees up and running on new technology can be a challenge. What has been your experience with introducing the new solution to your staff?

Krieger: You’ll find consistency throughout the entire Eagle N Series solution, which is crucial for learning and training employees. The solution is very user friendly. For example, my 10-year-old son learned how to use Eagle N Series in 45 minutes. This means that I can now train new employees faster, which in return saves time and money for our business.

Q: In the ‘age of the customer,’ customers are demanding immediate answers to questions. What is your business doing to combat this challenge?

Doss: One way to improve operations is to have access to vital information. Business analytics should be readily available at your fingertips. With Eagle N Series we are quickly and efficiently able to access information on customer buying habits, popular products on our shelves, inventory levels, and more. This information especially helps us when management is on the sales floor and needs to make a decision quickly. We now have all the information we need at the touch of a button. Retailers greatly benefit from tools that keep up with customers.

For a detailed look at the Bates Ace Hardware implementation of Epicor Eagle N Series, read their story here.

Posted by Carl Hildebrandt, Senior Product Manager, Retail Distribution Solutions for Epicor

Epicor University Provides Safety Products Distributor with Learning Support to Introduce New Technology and Business Workflows
Safety Supply Illinois (SSI) is a distributor of safety products ranging from earplugs to high-end safety equipment, including fall protection and confined space solutions. SSI converted to the Epicor Prophet 21 enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution in 2012.

According to SSI Owner/Chief Operating Officer Mary Porter, “The online learning classes from Epicor University were extremely helpful in introducing the new functional aspects of Prophet 21 to our employees. The online training schedule provided by Epicor’s Learning Management System (LMS) allowed me to create, schedule, and track user-specific training timelines.

“The LMS is wonderful for training new users on Prophet 21, and because it is organized by business function, I encourage our existing employees to listen to other classes and learn about all functional areas,” continues Porter. “We are slowly incorporating many of the Prophet 21 enhancements into our business practices with help from the Epicor Learning Center.”

The results speak for themselves. Porter observes, “In the last three years, we have tripled sales, in part because we converted to Prophet 21. In addition to increasing our overall customer base by about 20 percent, we are also attracting much larger customers such as utility companies. The Epicor technology and tools for learning and growing are all there; you just need to access them.” To read the full story of SSI’s success, go here.
 
Posted by Epicor Social Media Team
ERP and Mobile, Social, and Cloud – Breaking Down the Findings of our New Global Research

What are today’s biggest ERP deficiencies?  What are the most sought-after next-gen ERP features and functionality? And how are organizations around the globe leveraging cloud, mobile, and social collaboration to enhance business performance and responsiveness? The answers to these questions are revealed in our latest global research, which surveyed more than 1,500 business professionals in 10 countries.

For those of you who like the Readers Digest treatment, allow me to break it down for you as to our key takeaways: 

Survey results show a high percentage of ERP adoption but no raving fans. Most characterized the utility of their ERP as merely “adequate” or “basic”. This just shows that ERP is not helping companies drive value and growth, and/or interact with customers and employees in the way they’d like.

It takes too long and it’s too difficult to get info survey respondents need. This is an issue that has plagued the enterprise apps business for a long time, and a fact that reinforces that our recent investments in Epicor ERP 10 around ease of use and customer experience are very much on track with market needs.

The survey data shows cloud is becoming more accepted – not just for point solutions, but that organizations have now comfortable with the speed, benefits, SLAs and security aspects around cloud for running all or part (hybrid model) of their mission critical enterprise applications. We feel that many organizations will find a hybrid model to be the best solution to meet their needs (to meet regulatory requirements, multiplant, etc.) and so the flexibility for both on-premises and cloud deployment options and the ability to seamlessly interact across these environments will be key going forward.

On the whole are bullish on ERP capabilities including mobile, social and cloud, believing they offer new and exciting opportunities for improved organizational responsiveness. Mobile, social and cloud are changing business as we know it, and the gap between leaders and laggards will continue to widen.

Over the past few years, Epicor has re-architected our user interfaces to move away from the traditional data entry model. We believe data entry is a last resort on how information should be put into the system. Today information is being broadcast by machines, devices and people; our approach has been to intercept that information so it can be parsed and disseminated quickly and seamlessly throughout the organization.

Organizations know they need next-gen ERP capabilities, but many are fearful of the time, money and effort to have to replace your ERP system. The good news is much has changed in the past few years to improve ease of deployment and make ERP replatforming less daunting.

Many organizations have ERP systems that are 10 to 20 years old, which to learn and use required a lot of training. This is contrary to the way systems are used today by the current generation of users. The addition of things such as social and search serves to dramatically reduce the learning curve. SaaS has helped a great deal – often hardware investment is seen as a big barrier, as is the resources and skill sets needed to manage the infrastructure. SaaS removes these barriers.

By this time next year I predict that we won’t be talking about mobile, social and cloud as “next-gen” methods to extend the value of ERP. So what will we be talking about – what’s next?

I think we’ll be talking about connectivity and collaboration – specifically regarding social systems and machine-to-machine interfaces. We’ll be talking about using Big Data and analytics to move into more predictive realms. The manufacturing and distribution sectors, in particular, have a huge amount of information to unlock.

Posted by John Hiraoka, executive vice president and chief marketing officer, Epicor

Using Stories To Teach
Did you stay up later then you intended to last night? If you did, chances are you were sucked into a great movie or a favorite book. That’s what a good story does . . . it grabs our attention and holds it until a creative or surprising resolution gives us satisfaction and contentment. But stories do much more than entertain . . . a good story can help us learn and make it easier for us to remember something long after we see it on screen or read it on a page.
 
A simple example of this is a fourth grade spelling teacher showing the class a trick to spell “rhythm” by remembering the one-line story “Robin Hood Yelled To His Men!” Did you picture Robin Hood in full costume running around Sherwood Forest calling for his band of merry men? I always do. Stories make things easier to recall because they put our whole brains to work, imagining pictures and movement, sounds and smells. Stories power memory.
 
On a completely different level, think about the history student slogging through dates, data, and textbook explanations about the politics of World War II. Introduce that same student to Anne Frank’s diary and watch as the power of the story taps into his heart, transporting him from the school library to a secret annex in war-torn Europe. Stories make people care and arouse interest.
 
As difficult as it can be to apply stories to the world of ERP software documentation, top-notch documentation writers and classroom trainers often use examples and real-life stories to capture attention and engage with their students. The following are some examples of how stories can help people understand a difficult concept or remember something useful.
  1. Several weeks ago I attended a training to learn how to use Epicor software to schedule production jobs on a shop floor. There were many terms in the process that I didn’t comprehend right away and I had trouble discerning between them. The trainer who was leading the class used a story involving a burger joint drive-thru to help me remember how the process worked. For each step in the unfamiliar, she gave me a corresponding step that I understood: waiting in line, ordering, the burger being cooked and put together to my specifications, then lunch bagged and moved to the cashier. Stories reshape information into something meaningful. When embedded in the context of a story, it is transferred to the listener or reader in a unique way.
  2. When correcting a piece of documentation regarding on-time transaction approvals, I read the material and found myself hopelessly lost (noticing a theme here?). I scheduled a demonstration with a subject matter expert, who used various scenarios to help me understand the many ways that time transactions can be tracked and approved. Through the adventures of Peter Project Manager, Sally Supervisor, and Emilio Employee, I learned different ways to configure settings and how to obtain the desired results. Ultimately, I was able to pass the information along to end users by writing examples like his – what worked for me I knew would work for others. People take time for stories. If you want to maintain an audience’s attention through something tedious, you’re more likely to do it through storytelling.
  3. When developing a basic training video to teach users how material flows in an out of a distributor’s warehouse, a coworker created an effective piece using a story about a safety helmet. In the story, a customer came shopping for the helmet, went through the sales process, and an order was placed. The helmet was not on hand and had to be purchased, received, and then shipped to the customer. In following the ordered material through the process, the learner could take in the information the developer wanted to convey – how material moves from start to finish – and also learn terminology through the simple example. Explanations, especially of complex processes, benefit from having a beginning, a middle, and an ending.
In closing – those of us who are tasked with taking the complex (or the tedious, or the completely confusing) and interpreting it for others need to use every weapon in our arsenal to do our jobs. Storytelling is effective. And – even in the context of software documentation – it is, occasionally, rather fun.
 
By Deb Amato, Sr. Content Writer
Getting the Most Out of Your Epicor Prophet 21 ERP Investment

Implementing an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution is not a “once and done” activity.  It is vitally important to continue proper maintenance, reviews, and education for your company’s system and employees after go-live.

Whether you went live last week, last month, last year, or several years ago, there are a number of things you can do to get the most out of your system. Like many Epicor Prophet 21 users, you have probably spent a lot of time and effort getting ramped up. Now that you are fully up to speed on the system, it is important to keep the momentum going by developing a timeline for leveraging additional features and processes that will have the greatest impact on improving your business.

Immediate action items after go-live can include:

  • Gathering feedback from your management team on current system usage, challenges and desired improvements
  • Determining priorities for the next year
  • Developing a Business Continuity Plan to protect your data and put failover solutions in place
  • Reviewing the Epicor Learning Management System (LMS) for employees with incomplete courses

In the months following, you can:

  • Review Business Alerts to optimize productivity and profitability
  • Assign additional LMS courses that were not a priority during implementation
  • Take advantage of DynaChange to alter the appearance of screens to suit the needsof your employees and business processes, and create your own drilldowns from any field in the Prophet 21 system
  • Opt-in for e-mail alerts from the Epicor Customer Web Site
  • Develop a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) strategy
  • Assign shortcut and efficiency training courses to all end users
  • Conduct a process review to prevent the inadvertentintroduction of bad habits
  • Create a Business Intelligence framework for your organization
  • Review new feature training courses

Epicor Business Consultants can provide you with additional recommendations, roadmaps and checkpoints to advance your business with Prophet 21.

Posted by Epicor Social Media Team

ERP Part Numbering Standards for Manufacturing (Part 2)

In the previous blog post, we went over types of part numbering and general recommendations from Epicor. In this post, we will be giving a summary of part numbering options.

Standards for your Customers, Suppliers, and Manufacturers
This section refers to the base part numbering. It may not be within your control to change the part numbering methodologies of your suppliers, manufacturers or customers. It is, however, possible to have your own part numbers for all of the above.

Why Have Your Own Numbering System?
Why not use your supplier or customer part numbers for numbering your own parts?  There are a few reasons:

  1. Consistency: Just as you have multiple customers, your customers will have multiple part numbering standards.
  2. Elimination of Duplicates: What if two of your suppliers, or two of your customers, happen to both use the same part number to call out two different items? Now you have to come up with some method for eliminating these accidental collisions of data.

Summary of Options
There are several numbering options outlined below. Epicor recommends the third, “semi-meaningful” numbering system for most companies.

Meaningful Part Numbering
This is where the digits of the part number each have a specific meaning, resulting in the ability for a knowledgeable user to know what a part number translates into. However, having a completely meaningful system makes for a very complicated structure, and necessitates a strong engineering organization to control the part number assignment. Some companies choose to only use a fully meaningful part numbering system on their finished goods.

Non-Meaningful Part Numbering
In this case, the part number itself does not mean anything significant. This could be a sequentially assigned number, or can appear to be random. Also, sorting by part number is totally meaningless. When searching by part number, you must know what you want.

Semi-Meaningful Part Numbering (Recommended)
This is a system where there is some meaning in the part number—defining the type of part, but not down to every final detail. Not all attributes of the part are defined. At some point, there becomes too many attributes to track in the part, so a sequential number is assigned to differentiate from other similar parts. The actual description and differences are stored in the part description, as well as the part’s drawing.

To learn more about part numbering rules, best practices and recommended formatting, download the white paper ERP Part Numbering Standards for Manufacturing here.

Posted by Tim Shoemaker, Senior Principal Consultant, Epicor Professional Services

Cast Your Vote for MGM Resorts in the 2014 Constellation Research SuperNova Awards
Congratulations to Steve Schnur, director of merchandise planning and analytics at MGM Resorts International, who was recently nominated as a finalist in the 2014 Constellation Research Supernova Awards. The polls are now open, you can vote for MGM here.
 
The fourth annual SuperNova Awards program celebrates and recognizes individuals who have overcome the odds to successfully applying emerging and disruptive technologies within their organizations. 
 
Success of MGM’s Business
MGM has unusual retail challenges that heighten the importance of large quality data sets and analysis tools. For example, normal retail forecasts forward demand with just two components -- trend and seasonality -- while MGM has many other added layers of complexity.
 
MGM wanted to incorporate business intelligence (BI) for decision-support to put the tremendous wealth of its data to optimal use to speed of issue and opportunity identification, for more timely resolution and action, to drive overall improved business performance and responsiveness. MGM had an existing relationship with Epicor Software, and had leveraged Epicor Retail solutions for Store (POS), Merchandising, and Sales Audit successfully in the past. Working with Epicor, MGM incorporated the Epicor Retail Business Intelligence solution into its daily operations for greater control over the volume and velocity of data, and for distillation of valuable insights for improved decision-making.
 
Results:
  • BI is now used routinely by nearly 100% of MGM’s staff, including 150+ personnel at or above the assistant manager level
  • MGM empowers users with self-service access to the reports most relevant to their roles and responsibilities
  • Data made available by BI is used to shape business decisions and improve outcomes
  • MGM now identifies performance issues and opportunities faster and at a more granular level
  • BI solution is configured to automatically generate 350+ reports on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis
  • MGM cut its data collection and reporting labor requirements in half -- before 80% of effort was spent collecting/cleaning data, and 20% using it; now this equation has been flipped
  • Now more time can be spent applying the lessons learned from data to run and build the business

Read MGM’s full SuperNova Award profile here.

The voting period is now open and ends Tuesday, September 30, 2014. Cast your vote now by visiting MGM’s project profile here:

 
Winners will be revealed during the SuperNova Award Gala Dinner on October 29, 2014 at Constellation’s Connected Enterprise innovation summit located at the Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay in Half Moon Bay, California.
 
Posted by the Epicor Social Media Team
Epicor Prophet 21 Helps Medical Distributor Achieve World-Class Results
Since Mercedes Medical of Sarasota, Florida, first started using Epicor’s Prophet 21 software in 2004, their sales have almost doubled. Margins have increased by 15 percent, and A/R days outstanding have decreased by about 20 percent. In addition, sales per employee have increased by almost $100,000.

Every year, the company benchmarks against competitors in the healthcare industry, looking at everything from inventory, to gross profit margin, to financial performance. “We consistently perform at the top of the benchmarks, and I think our Prophet 21 system has a lot do to with it,” says Chief Operating Officer Andrew Wright.

Analyst firm Nucleus Research found that the Epicor Prophet 21 implementation enabled Mercedes Medical to improve visibility and efficiency, accelerate collections, reduce bad debt, and increase profits, for an estimated ROI of 605 percent and an average annual benefit of over $2 million.  To read the full story, including a detailed financial analysis by Nucleus Research, go here.

Posted by Epicor Social Media Team
Epicor Growth and Success Highlighted in Annual Software 500 Ranking
Epicor has been listed as one of the world’s largest software companies in Software Magazine’s Software 500 ranking, now in its 32nd year. The Software 500 is a revenue-based ranking of software and services providers, and suppliers, targeting medium to large enterprises, IT professionals, software developers, and business managers involved in software and services purchasing.
 
The Software 500 ranked Epicor at 103 based on total software and services revenue of $896.1 million and a growth rate of 12.44 percent.
 
“The Software 500 helps CIOs, senior IT managers, and IT staff research and create the short list of business partners,” says John P. Desmond, editor for Software Magazine. “It is a quick reference of vendor viability. And the online version is searchable by category, making it what we call the online catalog to enterprise software.”
 
The Software 500 ranking is based on total worldwide software and services revenue from the 2013 fiscal year. This includes revenue from software licenses, maintenance and support, training, and software-related services, and consulting. Suppliers are not ranked on total corporate revenue, since many have other lines of business, such as hardware. Financial information is gathered by a survey prepared by Rockport Custom Publishing, LLC using public documents and company input. It is published in print as well as posted online at www.softwaremag.com as both a digital edition and searchable database.
 
“We are honored to be recognized in the 2014 Software 500 ranking,” said Kathy Crusco, executive vice president and chief financial officer for Epicor. “Our position in this prestigious list is a testament to our commitment to providing a new approach to enterprise resource planning and business management solutions and services -- empowering Epicor customers to succeed in operational excellence.”
 
The 2014 Software 500 list will be released in the October issue of Software Magazine, as both a print and the digital publication, which is distributed on October 8, 2014. 
 
Posted by the Epicor Social Media Team
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