MultiTAS 5 released with new features


After months of hard work (and more than a little shouting at the computer), MultiTAS 5 has been released.

This is a major update to MultiTAS, building on a lot of the work that has gone in 4, and includes a raft of new features that have long been on our customers’ wish lists. We really were listening.

So, what are those new features? Here are some…

  1. Purchase Order Entry. This has been on our to-do list since version 3.5 (at least) and we’ve finally added it. Now… a little bit of expectation management.  There are no frills and fancy bits. There are no bells and whistles (for example: multiple locations, supplier specific price lists).  It’s purchase order entry, pure and simple.  The bells and whistles and whatnot will follow in subsequent updates.
  2. Address Lookups. This has been on most customers’ wish list since, well, forever. With MultiTAS 5 you can now search a database of addresses and automatically populate fields with the correct data. It mostly goes in the correct places!  It’s only available for UK addresses at the moment. We hope to add Irish addresses in a future update.
  3. Improvements to Purchase Order Printing. There have been some issues with this in some releases and many of our customers have been in touch with requests (compatibility for this or that, additional information, etc.) We’re pleased to say that MultiTAS 5 addresses these issues and a few others besides.
  4. Product Movements Report. Our revamped report now offers greater clarity, functionality and insight for users.
  5. Improvements to Customer Statements. With MultiTAS 5, we’ve added the ‘Remember these settings’ marble you see elsewhere in the software. So set your filters then double-click the marble and they will be saved for the next time!
  6. Bug Fixes. This goes without saying that there are minor bugs and glitches that appear from nowhere and never disappear.  Well, we’ve fixed them. Most of them. Oh, ok. We’ve fixed the ones we know about. If you find any others, please don’t be shy in letting us know…!

You’ll also notice that we’ve refreshed the look and feel of MultiTAS. Out with the old multi-coloured (and slightly distorted) logo and in with a new logo in keeping with Infoplex’s branding. We’ve also given the toolbar icons an overhaul to keep things “on point” and “on message”. Yes, we’ve been reading a book on buzzwords.

So there you have it. MultiTAS 5 is available for download now.

New MultiTAS GDPR add-on

No doubt most of you (if not all) will be tired of hearing about GDPR and what it means for your business. We’re sure that, by now, your business has followed the rules to the letter and all of your data is safely and securely managed in a GDPR-compliant way. No? Well, read on. We may just be able to help…

The way in which your business can obtain and use sensitive data has changed. Your business now needs solutions for assessing, implementing and maintaining GDPR compliance everyday. To help TASBooks users, Infoplex has developed an essential GDPR add-on for TASBooks.

Data Compliance Manager

Our Data Compliance Manager can help your business handle sensitive financial and personal data efficiently.  The add-on will search the TASBooks database and ‘wipe clean’ any data that is no longer needed. If a customer wants to be ‘forgotten’, the Data Compliance Manager can locate any records associated with that customer and remove their data securely.

With Data Compliance Manager, your business can safeguard customer and supplier data but retain business-critical information. This includes contracts, transaction data and VAT records. You can search the TASBooks database using in-built filters – such as customer, supplier or marketing codes – and make changes individually or in bulk.

We know what you’re thinking. Why now? Is it necessary? How much is this going to cost? Well, to help you out and explain things a bit more, we’ve put together a quick list of the most common (obvious) questions and some answers.

Why aren’t TAS doing this? Surely this means that TASBooks will be mothballed?

Not at all. Sage and TAS are under no obligation to update their software to make it GDPR-compliant.  Under the GDPR legislation, the burden for compliance shifted from software developers (like Microsoft or Sage) to the consumer (your business).  It is now your responsibility to make sure that your business and your software is compliant.

What does that really mean for you and your business?

Well, you could ask TAS to develop a solution for you. They will either say no or attach a pretty hefty price tag to it, along with a new support contract.

So why Infoplex and why now?

We’ve been the official TAS development partner for some years now. As such, a number of businesses reached out to us before the GDPR deadline asking for advice and help.  We explained the situation to them.  We’ve had time to look into the issue and work out how we could best help TASBooks users.  The Data Compliance Manager is our solution to the problem.

I thought GDPR was done and dusted at the end of May. Why are you asking me about this now?

If only. If only… It’s not as clear cut as that, we’re afraid.  Your business needs to identify, analyse and manage the data it holds everyday.  Data that was relevant to your business last week may no longer be so next week.  Your business needs a way to manage that change as quickly and as easily as possible. To put it simply, GDPR is for life, not just for 25th May.

How much is it?

We don’t know. We’re still working that out. It’s based on a lot of different factors, including the amount of time that we’ve spent developing it. What we can tell you is that not only will there be a one-off charge but there will also be an annual recurring fee too.

Why is there a recurring fee?

We want you use the latest software.  Every so often, we will let you know that there’s an update to the GDPR add-on and you can download the latest version.

Why will there be an update?

First, the GDPR rules will change.  At the moment, ‘personal data’ is anything by which a person can be identified.  The problem is that we can be identified in lots of different ways, not just our name or our address.  The definition of ‘personal data’ will change and we want to update your software to reflect that.

Second, there’s a new law called the ePrivacy Regulation.  It will complement the GDPR and offer individuals control over all their data and ensure that businesses handle data with care. It will be approved by the end of 2018 and come into effect next year.  To make things easier for your business, we’re going to update our GDPR add-on when the ePrivacy Regulation comes into effect.

Third, there’s Brexit.  We don’t yet know how data protection requirements will change after Brexit.  During the transition, we expect there to be ‘regulatory-alignment’ and ‘divergence’.  We want to help you stay in control and will be updating GDPR add-on as appropriate.

When is it available?

Soon. We’re testing it out at the moment. We’re seeing how easy it is to break (we’re experts at breaking things). Once we’re certain it’s ok, we’ll release it.

In the meantime… if you want to know more about it, why not give George a call on +44 (0)1592 598100 or send him an email at sales@infoplex.co.uk

Bespoke reports for MultiTAS

Businesses collect vast amounts of data everyday. Just take a few moments to think of the data that your business collects. Customer profiles. Payment details. Financial records. Sales orders. Historic data. Works orders. Component records for each and every item your produce. Compatibility records. Distribution schedules. The list goes on. And on. And on.

Now take a moment to think of how that data is maintained and used. How is it stored? How is audited or traced? Is it useful? We can’t answer all of those questions but we can answer the last one. Yes. The data is useful. Most businesses don’t realise that every bit of data that they have available to them can be used to inform business decisions and help to maximise profitability.

That’s why we’re introducing MultiTAS Reports.

MultiTAS Reports can pull together real-time data from every part of the TAS database and present it in ways that can help your business make the right decisions. MultiTAS Reports can help to break down data into relevant action points and let businesses explore and understand raw data in a meaningful way. MultiTAS Reports remove the complexities of sifting through this data manually. Organizations can make actionable, data-driven decisions with ease.

We’ve built a library of essential business reports that span the TAS and MultiTAS databases to provide users with the data that they need anytime they want it. Our reports can extract data from the Sales Ledger or from the Manufacturing module and present it to you in a variety of formats.

But we’ve gone further that. We know that are customers are unique. Their businesses differ in ways that you can’t imagine. That’s why we can build custom reports for you that go beyond the capabilities of our standard reports and manipulate data in ways specific to your business.

So… if you’ve ever wanted to unleash the true potential of TAS – and MultiTAS – now is your chance. Now you can with MultiTAS Reports.

How to… adjust stock in MultiTAS

This is a very common issue and it usually crops up three or four times in a week. With a little bit of luck, this should help explain how you can go about managing your stock in MultiTAS.

What are Stock Adjustments?

Stock Adjustments are used to adjust stock levels. They can be used for any number of reasons. These could be write-offs, stock takes, location transfers or simply to set an opening balance. Outwith of Sales Orders and Purchase Orders, the only way to adjust stock levels is via a Stock Adjustment. Unless, of course, you are using assemblies in which case you need to use the Build Assembly facility which is whole other kettle of fish.

How do I access Stock Adjustments in MultiTAS?

You can access the Stock Adjustment function from Stock > Stock Adjustments (program 5.2.1)

What can I do using the Stock Adjustment function?

The Stock Adjustment function allows you to process Stock Adjustments by entering a product code, the level the product is to be adjusted by and whether there is a cost involved.

On processing, the stock level of the product(s) is adjusted and – if necessary – a nominal transaction is created to update the product(s) cost of sales and stock nominal accounts.

Anything else I should know

You can’t process a stock adjustment for a product that is set up as a service. Nor for one that is set up as an assembly. Using MultiTAS, you can process stock adjustments en-masse by importing them. You can learn more about importing stock adjustments here.

Advanced

MultiTAS stock adjustments can work in two ways. The default is to adjust BY a particular number (Adjustment mode). But you can also adjust TO a particular number (Actual mode). This is set in the mode field in the top right corner of the form.

How to… set up MultiTAS Trade

So… You’ve bought MultiTAS Plus and the Trade option as managing stock at multiple locations has been a challenge for your business up to now. You’ve downloaded it. You’ve installed it. You’re about to run it for the first time. But wait! Here are some points to consider, plan and action before you go any further. If you have any queries about any of this please contact Support.

You might want to assign an NL department to each Stock Location. If this is the case you need to check that the necessary Chart of Accounts records have been set up in TAS. To do this use TASBooks function 111 Maintain Chart of Accounts to create the extra Sales/Income, Cost of Sales and Stock accounts which you need.

Tip: have a look at your existing Sales/Income chart of accounts to see how they are setup, then copy the various options as needed.

Next, for each extra Stock Location that you are going to create, make sure that a Purchase Delivery Address exists. Use MultiTAS program 7.8.1 Create Purchase Delivery Addresses to add extra Purchase Delivery Addresses. When creating Purchase Orders in TASBooks, make sure that you select one of these delivery addresses. It saves you time by helping to ensure that PO Receipts of Goods are allocated to the correct stock location.

Now, create the extra Stock Locations (Warehouses) that you need. To do this, you should use MultiTAS program 5.1.4 Maintain Warehouses (514) to add extra Stock Locations. If you want to assign them a different default NL Department and default Purchase Delivery Address then enter the relevant details into the provided fields.

If you chose to implement the different NL Departments for warehouses you need to ensure that this setting is switched on! You can do this in MultiTAS program 0.1.1 Maintain Central Information. Look for Stock group and choose the option ‘Assign Departments to Warehouses’.

For your customer records, you may want to change the default location assigned for each customer. You can do this via MultiTAS program 2.1.1 and expand the Analysis group of settings and set the Default Location. When you enter an order for this customer in MultiTAS it will automatically select this stock location.

You can do the same for your suppliers with MultiTAS program 3.1.1.

Next, consider what starting stock levels you want at each location. You can enter these in MultiTAS program 5.2.1 Stock Adjustments. Set the adjustment type according to how you are getting stock to the location.

Everday usage

With Trade, each product is provided a Product Warehouse record for each location. You can view these records by drilling down on a product in MultiTAS program 5.1.1 then clicking on Locations. You’ll see a summary of stock at your locations. Drill down on a location to view that location’s Product Warehouse record.

The Product Warehouse records are created on an as-required basis. If you selected to assign different NL departments for locations then the NL department used for stock in/out and invoicing will be retrieved from the Warehouse record (setup in MultiTAS program 5.1.4).

Essential: If you decide to change a product’s chart of account details (sales/cost/stock accounts), you must ensure it is processed in MultiTAS rather than TASBooks, so that the Product Warehouse records are updated!

And finally… Any movements processed in TASBooks can be ‘assigned’ in MultiTAS using program 5.2.2 Assign Stock Movements. To keep your MultiTAS stock figures as up to date as possible please use MultiTAS for processing where possible!

How to…set up MultiTAS Finance

So, you’ve bought MultiTAS Finance and now… well, now you want to get started. But there’s a problem – all of your business records and transactions are still on your ‘old’ system. What you really want to know is how to import transactions from another business system to TASBooks. Well, here’s what you need to know.

The first time you run MultiTAS, it will do an enhancement of your data. It does this for a couple of reasons. It needs to get some of the MultiTAS data files up and running and it also needs to check the validity of your data. Think of it as a check. When it checks your data, MultiTAS will be looking for any issues that may cause a problem (either right away or in two years’ time). Some of the situations the check is looking for include (but are not limited to):

  • Missing customer records i.e. customers you’ve sold to but whose code no longer exists in your customer list
  • Missing supplier records
  • Missing product codes or those incorrectly configured e.g. invalid chart of accounts in the nominal section

The length of time it takes depends on the amount of data you have. The larger the amount of data, the longer it will take.  If you know (or think) you have a large amount of data, now might be a good time to think about putting the kettle on…  But before you run this enhancement, you will need to ensure a TAS backup is taken and make sure that no-one is logged in.

Once the enhancement has run, MultiTAS will open. So far, so good, but don’t get excited just yet. There are two configuration jobs to do. Both of these jobs are in settings so open Settings – program 0.1.1 – and expand the Paths group of settings.

MultiTAS needs to be told what import file format you are going to choose. Now would probably be a good time to have a look at here and here and see the different options. You should choose the transaction type you are going to be importing (most commonly Sales Ledger Transactions). Select the file format you are using from the dropdown (most commonly TRANS.CSV)

Next, tell MultiTAS where the file is stored. Do this by setting the path to your Import file. You may need to check what this is with your vendor.

If you are using the MTADIF.DAT file format you are done.

If you are using TRANS.CSV then there is one more step. You need to tie the VAT rates in your other system to the TASBooks ones. Do this by expanding the Journal Import group of settings. You should see your TAS VAT rates with a text field next to them. Put the text/number that corresponds to each rate in your other system (you may need to ask the vendor what these are). Commonly, “T1” is used for the standard VAT rate, “T0” for a zero rate. So in the text fields you would enter T1 and T0 respectively.

Click Save to save these settings.

And there you have it. You’re done. Finished. Complete. Ready to go.

June 2016 Briefing: MultiTAS v4; Documentation site

MultiTAS v4

MultiTAS v4 has been generally available for a while now but hasn’t yet had a blog written about it, so lets fix that. With v4, the installation routine has been revamped completely – you now no longer need to install (our old pal) System Integration Manager first. Everything can be handled via MultiTAS – from choosing which companies to use the software with to setting up users and access rights. There is a short Installation Guide available which explains how to deal with updating computers that already have MultiTAS on and installing MultiTAS on a fresh computer.

The software is available from http://support.infoplex.co.uk and follow the links for downloads.

Queries can be emailed to support@infoplex.co.uk – the update is free for our awesome users who keep their Cover Plus subscriptions going.

A limitation: this version will not work with Windows XP (which is unsupported by Microsoft anyway so if you are still using XP, well, good luck to you)

(Geek note: the new installer was built with WiX, the same technology Microsoft Office uses for its installers. Quite a steep learning curve!)


New Documentation

Pleased to also let you know we’ve been working hard on our documentation. At present, our documentation consists of more Microsoft Word files than you would believe. These are stitched together into PDFs. The whole process is frustrating, time consuming and a task I generally dread hence the lack of updates.

Meet our new mini site: http://docs.infoplex.co.uk

At the moment, it consists of two items – the MultiTAS Data Transfer File Specifications and the TASLink reference manual (newly updated!). Gradually all our documentation will appear on this site. As it uses simple HTML its much easier to update and we make use of version control so changes can be tracked effectively.

(Geek note: it uses Github Pages, markdown and Jekyll. Very straight forward, gentle learning curve)

New MultiTAS update

We released a new update (v3.5.80) for MultiTAS last night and it’s now available for download.

Changes incorporated into it include a rewritten Stock Adjustment form (521) plus the following bug fixes:

  • Fixed an issue in Sales Order Entry (611) that produced an error when products had been created in TASBooks rather than MultiTAS
  • Fixed an issue in EDI Order Import (683) where the specified price of the first line of an EDI order was overridden by the TASBooks price no matter what
  • Fixed an issue in Build Assembly (565) where an endless loop was encountered when building the last assembly of the assembly list (sorry Suzy!)
  • Fixed an issue in the Product Report (531) where the extended description was not being exported

If you don’t already have it you’ll need to download and install SIM v4.65 first.

Finally – we’ve created a public Trello board to map out future MultiTAS development and allow customers to up/downvote ideas. See https://trello.com/b/1rbfVEjV/multitas-development – you’ll need a free Trello account for voting!

New – A public roadmap for MultiTAS development

A public roadmap is a great place to engage with our community, get input from power users, share the product’s development, and keep people up to date on any issues or releases. And we have recently been playing internally with Trello – a web based Project Management solution – which seems ideally suited to this task. So here goes.

https://trello.com/b/1rbfVEjV/multitas-development

There are six lists setup; each list contains one or more cards

  • Contribute to MultiTAS – an introduction to how this thing works and how you can contribute
  • Exports/Integrations & API’s – a list of 3rd party systems and API’s MultiTAS is integrated (or integrating) with
  • Under Investigation – a (hopefully short) list of reported issues that have yet to be confirmed
  • Known Issues – these are confirmed bugs that we are aware of and would normally progress from the ‘Under Investigation’ list
  • In Progress – things we are working on, both bugs and enhancements
  • Ideas – things we are looking into adding to MultiTAS in the future

So that our community can be a part of the development process, there is the added facility to comment and up vote items.

NB – this is a work in progress. It won’t be perfect for a wee while – any bugs we are already aware of will be added shortly.

Apex Fire streamline with MultiTAS

Apex Fire have joined the ranks of satisfied Infoplex customers and are now taking full advantage of our efficiency and time-management solutions.

Apex is Ireland’s leading provider of processes and systems for fire detection, protection, training and fire safety consultancy. They export their invoices from their Advanced Field Solutions software and they are now able to import them into TASBooks with our MultiTAS solution.

This has offered them significant benefits such as eliminating the double‐ and/or re-keying of data and doing away with double‐keying errors.