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Archive for July, 2011

A Cautionary Tale for Air Travelers

An interesting thing happened when I flew back from Sage Summit in Maryland this month. At Baltimore Washington International airport, I was randomly selected to be tested for explosives residue. It’s a simple test. A guard runs a giant cotton swab over the palms of your hands and then inserts the swab into a machine. In my case, the machine’s alarms bells and lights went off, and a paper ticket began spewing out of the machine’s mouth. Then I got special treatment.

No, seriously! I didn’t have to wait in line with all the other travelers and place my personal belongings – backpack, purse, computer, cell phone, shoes, and jacket – into gray trays while trying not to infringe on the personal space of the person in front of me and at the same trying not to hold up the people behind me. I got to place my personal belongings into gray trays with no one around me while being watched by a guard who had taken a personal interest in me. After successfully passing the full-body scanner test, (oh wait, I had to do that twice because the guard running that machine forgot to tell me to place my hands above my head,) another guard performed a full-body pat-down. Then I waited as another guard gave all the orifices of my personal belongings the same explosives-residue cotton-swab test. My bags and shoes passed, thank goodness! I’m not sure what would have happened next if any of them had set off more bells, lights, and paper tickets, and I don’t think I want to know. Because first of all, I’m fairly certain that whatever comes next would make me miss my flight. And second of all, I suspect body cavity searches might be next, along with terrorist interrogation tactics, and who wants to go through all of that? It would make for a good story, but here is where my story stops.

The man who probed my bags asked whether I had put on hand lotion that morning, and yes, I had. He said that my lotion probably contained glycerin, which likely triggered their nitroglycerin sensor. Well, there you go.  As most lotions contain glycerin, my word of advice to anyone who travels by air is this: ignore your dry skin and forego the lotion until you have cleared all security checkpoints.

Sales Tax Rate Changes for California

Most of you are aware that the sales tax rate for California decreased by 1% starting on July 1, 2011. Well, if you didn’t know, now you do. It is important that you make this change in your accounting system, whether you use Sage MAS90, Sage MAS200, Sage BusinessWorks, CounterPoint v.7, CounterPoint SQL, or any other system. Many of our clients made the change themselves back on July 1st, or called for help. I’m still finding clients who haven’t gotten around to it yet. If you need help, email or call us. It’s not difficult, but you may not remember what to do since these changes happen infrequently. We can tell you how to make the change, or simply remotely connect and make the change for you.

One noteworthy item is that the special Farm tax credit has not changed. For instance, in Fresno County, the sales tax rate is still 2.725.  So in each county, whatever the special rate was prior to July 1st, is still the same rate now.


For Anyone Who Speaks

If you ever need to speak, and I mean out loud so that other people can hear you, there is an excellent book I can recommend, “Confessions of a Public Speaker”, by Scott Berkun. The author covers a lot of issues that we all deal with at some point in our lives, whether or not we ever stand on a stage to say something. This book is an easy read, quite entertaining, and doesn’t inspire epiphany so much as it reminds us of things we’ve already learned or just intuitively know. If you’re not comfortable being called on to stand up and say something in front of a small group of peers, this book will help. If you look forward to being called on to stand up and say something in front of any size group make up of any kind of people, this book offers really great logistical and practical tips, and references many resources.  I read the entire book flying to and from Sage Summit last week. Enjoy!

941 Form Changes for 2011

If you need the 2011 941 form for Payroll, download it here.

This update is compatible with the following versions of Sage ERP MAS90/200:

  • – (already included with
  • – (already included with
  • 4.20

Prior to performing Payroll period-end processing and Quarterly 941 Printing, the following steps are required:

1. Complete all payroll entries and update.

2 .Using Windows Explorer, browse to ..\MAS90\Reports\.

3. Rename the following files in the ..\###-###\ and ..\###-xxx\ folders (where xxx = company code):

a. PR941A.rpt (example: PR941A.rpt.2010 rpt)

b. PR941P.rpt4. Install the 2011 Payroll Update.exe.

This enhancement is included in versions and

Payroll Tax Table for MAS90/200 3rd Quarter 2011

Effective 07/01/2011, the FUTA rate is now 0.6%. Be sure to finish your normal quarter-end processing for Quarter 2, and then download and install this tax table: 2011q3TTU. Let us know if you have questions or need help!