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How To Do A General Ledger Year End In Spire

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User Defined: A hidden gem within Spire.

Struggling with communication within your business?

Spire has a few ways to improve communication, but today we will focus on a hidden gem within Spire, called User Defined Fields (UDF).

Ever since Spire added the UDF into the program, here at TriTech we have utilized it in many ways; one of which is creating a shared space where our Accounts Receivable (AR) team can communicate information that might be important and useful for each other to know.  For us, this could be the date we contacted a customer, or it could be a note to say that the customer missed an invoice in their recent payment and we have now emailed the missing invoice to them.   Another example of course, is everyone’s favourite “Cheque is in the mail”.  Each member of our team who has permission to see the UDF module can see and add information. 

Some of the main features of UDF in Spire are:

  • Custom fields can be added to different modules
  • Set as text fields, dropdown lists or checkboxes
  • Define mandatory fields
  • Print custom fields on forms and reports
  • Custom fields are indexed and searchable
  • Multiple word search of all custom records

How do you set up a User Defined field?

Continuing with our example of communicating within the aged AR, let’s learn how to setup your first user defined fields.

  • Open one of the customer’s in your AR list, and then click on the User Defined tab.
  • Once you have selected the tab above, next you will need to click the UDF Properties button.
  • First click the NEW PAGE and this will give your TAB a name. Name it AR NOTES.  
  • Next, click NEW FIELD and create a UDF text field that says NOTES and date field called CONTACT DATE and save & close.
  • Let’s test our new fields: Open up one of your customers in the AR module.  Then click on the User Defined tab, and add some notes into your new fields; then Save & Close. 
  • Go into your AR list again, right click on the column headers at the top of the list, and scroll all the way to the bottom where the newly created UDF fields will be listed. (Note: if they aren’t showing up right away, go into another module within Spire, and then go back into AR) 
  • Put a checkmark in your fields, and then go back to your AR list. 
  • Now whenever you update your fields with information such as “Cheque is in the mail”, anyone who has permission can see all the communication you have been doing and when you are expecting payment on the aged AR.  It is a great way to have automated communication between all departments within your business.

In one screen, you can see all of your notes and the last date they were contacted, on every customer who is showing up in your AR.

A few extra notes:

When creating new UDF Fields, there are eight different types of fields that are available:

  • Numeric
  • Text
  • Multi-line Text
  • Drop Down Lists
  • Check Boxes
  • Dates
  • Integer
  • Boolean

All of these fields can have a validation added. And can also be set to be a ‘required’ field, or not. If it is set to ‘required’, then the user will not be able to save & close if the field(s) are blank.

Have fun, be creative and think outside of the box!

Are you having trouble finding the UDF within your Spire? Or would you like some extra help to set it up? Just email the helpdesk at TriTech, and we can help you out!

Are your passwords secure?

When it comes to using computers and the internet we are challenged to create a plethora of user names and passwords to protect our information.  But how do you make up a username and password that will be easy for you to remember but impossible for anyone else to figure out?  Here are some suggestions:

First of all, there are good passwords and bad passwords.  If someone wanted to “crack” your password using computer software they would probably start with lists of common passwords.  For the dedicated “password cracker” there are actually huge lists of common passwords available online.  Also, when you hear on the news that the accounts of the XYZ Company or the ABC Website have been hacked those passwords can end up on websites like this one where other hackers can access them. Here is a list of the most common passwords used today:

1. 123456
2. Password
3. 123456789
4. 12345678
5. 12345
6. 111111
7. 1234567
8. sunshine
9. qwerty
10. iloveyou
11. princess
12. admin
13. welcome
14. 666666
15. abc123
16. football
17. 123123
18. monkey
19. 654321
20. !@#$%^&*
21. charlie
22. aa23456
23. donald
24. password1
25. qwerty123

So what makes for a good password?  Here are some basic suggestions but in the end it will be up to you to come up with something that works for you: 

1. Avoid common names, dates, phone numbers or things easily associated with you.

2. Avoid common words or phrases as they would be the first thing checked by password cracking software.

3. Use a combination of numbers and letters.  For example, substitute numbers for letters and letters for numbers in a word or phrase.

4. Make it something you can remember all by yourself.  Don’t write it down anywhere!

5. Don’t use naturally occurring keyboard sequences (like “qwerty” for example)

6. Try to make it at least 8 – 16 characters long.  Obviously the longer the better.

7. Plan on changing your password often.  Experts suggest changing your passwords at least every 6 months. 

Whether it’s about protecting the money in your bank account or just restricting access to your email, you’ll need to have good usernames and passwords to protect yourself.  Choose wisely.

Is it time to move away from RDP for remote users?

One of the most convenient ways of working remotely is remote desktop access. It is a widely known fact that opening a hole in a firewall in order to get a direct RDP connection is risky as it entails a weak encryption or VPN. Because it is convenient and so much quicker to set up a direct RDP rather than a VPN or a gateway proxy, most users tend to ignore the risks associated with it. Additionally, it is also considerably cheaper.

However, there are numerous disadvantages that accompany the use of direct RDP for remote users and perhaps the most important one is the concern for security. Because RDP makes use of port 3389 which is an open port, the security and safety of the user is at stake. The server can be immediately attacked by hackers through countless attempts of authentication in the hope that at least one of them would work.  It is best to rename your user account from ‘administrator’ to something different, as well as have a strong password and enable auto-lock on your account when there has been three attempts on entering the incorrect password.

The biggest problem concerned with the use of direct RDP is performance. Because of the aforementioned attempts to log into the server by hackers from all around the world, there are thousands of sessions created every minute which require the system to respond to them. Consequently, the main functions you are trying to perform on your server are affected through slower processing and unnecessary lags. There are some steps you can follow to ensure that your slow performance of the system is not because of a brute force attack; one of which is checking the session numbers to see whether they are insanely high or not.

While these can be temporary solutions, they are not always effective and the whole setup will still be a big threat to the safety of the user. Perhaps the best solution is to use a VPN or an RDP gateway proxy. These help secure the connection through the establishment of an encrypted tunnel in the network which prevents middle-man attacks and also helps provide a better network with better performance. A convenient and cheap as direct RDP sounds, it can be a source of a great deal of trouble in the long run and therefore it is advised to always take the safer route in order to avoid easily preventable costly incidents in the future.

Our technicians at TriTech are well informed and can help you get setup in a more secure environment. Send us a quick email to support@tri-tech.comand we’ll help you out right away.

Grow your Business with Integrated Business Management Software

The rapid pace of growth at many small and mid-sized businesses often leaves no time to consider how various software packages are supposed to work together. New software is added as needed, most of the time from entirely different vendors. Unfortunately, this siloed approach to software setup can lead to a lot of headaches down the road, including higher costs, lost productivity, and less insight into how well a business is actually performing.

The challenges of a siloed software system

The problem is that many small and mid-sized companies naturally revert to a collection of different software packages. They typically start out with basic accounting software, and then decide to add advanced software, such as inventory management or sales management software, on an as-needed approach.

This approach might work in the short-term, but over the longer term, this very inefficient silo architecture (in which the different software packages have a hard time integrating with each other) leads to a number of challenges, including wasted employee productivity, lack of real-time visibility into operating results, and extra costs (both in terms of time and financial resources) due to the need for integration.

Advantages of using an integrated business management software system

Now contrast this approach to that of an integrated business management software system, such as Spire. With an integrated system, you are able to streamline operations because all the various functionality is designed to work together. Instead of buying software on an a-la-carte basis, you are buying one integrated system that works great from the very start. As small and mid-sized firms are finding out, there are two big advantages of using an integrated business management software system.

First and most importantly, an integrated system enables much greater automation of routine business processes, everything from order management and fulfillment, to invoicing and expense approval. Data and information from one business function (such as sales management) can be very easily combined with data and information from another business function (such as inventory control). This makes things much easier for the team in accounting, which doesn’t have to worry about tracking down data across multiple software databases.

Secondly, an integrated software system improves visibility into the real-time operation of your business. In today’s real-time business environment, customers expect to know the current status of an order immediately, and members of the management team often want to put together reports on the fly. If you are using a siloed approach, this is almost impossible. But with an integrated system, you can quickly gain access to any key numbers or data that you need.

Grow your business with TriTech

At the end of the day, opting for an integrated business management software system like Spire is all about preparing your business for the next cycle of growth. Being able to manage business processes more efficiently can lead to lower costs, higher revenue and greater overall profitability.

Contact us today and ask how we can help you grow your business.