Monthly Archives: January 2014

Update Your Tax Tables


Update your Tax Tables

If you use flowerSoft’s payroll program to calculate your payrolls, make sure that…

  1. Your Federal tax tables have been updated (we usually do that).
  2. Your FICA, Disability, State and Local tax tables have been updated (we never do that).

flowerSoft only supplies updated Federal tax tables.  Never for tables dependent on your state or locality.

Tip #177 – Temp. Drivers


Tip #177
Temporary Drivers
A lot of you hire temp drivers with their own vehicles to do deliveries during Valentine’s week.  A lot of you also pay those drivers based on a fee per individual delivery, either as a set amount or as a percentage of the delivery charge.
This post will show you how to set up those drivers in the Employee file so that flowerSoft can keep track of  their deliveries.
First, enter the temp driver into the employee file as if they were a new permanent employee.
You have to give them a login name even if they are not going to be logging into the system.
drivers01
Make sure you enter an “N” in the Manager’s status field.  You do not need to enter anything else on this screen if you do not want to.  Hit <Page Down> to access the pay information screen.
drivers02
Select one of the 2 methods available to pay the driver.
The first one is a set amount per delivery, while the other one is a percentage of the delivery charge on the order.
driver02
At this point, you can hit F9 to save the record.  No other information needs to be entered.

To calculate how much you should pay the driver after he or she has made the deliveries, you have to make sure you have entered the driver’s initials into each order they have delivered.
You can enter the driver’s initials into an order several ways.  The easiest way is by requesting route & delivery sheets.  This logs the driver’s initials into the orders automatically.
If you do not use route & receipt forms then you have to enter the driver’s initials into the order by pressing “D” while in Edit/View orders.
drivers03
Please note that if the designer’s initials are not recorded, flowerSoft will first ask you to enter the designer’s initials.

To calculate how much you owe each temp. driver, go to the Employee operations of the Manager’s menu and select the “Commissioned Agents” option.
drivers04
From there, select the “Print Driver Commissions Report” option.
drivers05
Then select the time period and initials for driver desired…
drivers06
and you will get a report similar to this one…
drivers07
Each temp. driver’s earnings report prints on a separate page, so you can give to driver for his records.

Tip #176 – The “Bench” Option


Tip #176
The “Bench” Option

“What is the “bench” option?”, you ask.
The “bench” option refers to the designer’s “bench” and is a feature similar to what you see at fast food restaurants, where one person takes your order at the counter and another one fills your order in the back.

The “bench” option was written many, many years ago to satisfy the needs of at that time  New York City’s largest florist.  If you have a computer available for your designers, you may want to take advantage of this feature.

The way this feature works is this…
First, you have to turn the feature on in flowerSoft’s default menu.
bench01
After you turn this feature on, each time you have a local or incoming order, flowerSoft will save a copy of the order to the “bench” file.
To access the “bench” file, your designers have to use this option found in the “Other Functions” menu.
bench02

The Design Bench Menu
bench03
Let’s look at the options…

When you select O- Orders to be filled, flowerSoft will display a list of indexes for your designer to choose from…
bench06
Most of the time, your designers should choose index A – Delivery Date.
Indices D, E and G are used mostly for searching for orders.
Index D requires the designer’s initials, so unless the designer for the order has been pre-assigned, this index is of little use.
Index E requires the recipient’s last name.  This is of some use if you want the order for a certain recipient to be filled first.
Index G requires the invoice number, so I see very little use for this index.

So let’s assume your designer selects to use index A by hitting the <Enter> key from the date field without entering a date (if you enter a date, you need to hit <Enter> twice in order to skip the delivery time field) so as to get the list of orders needing to be filled with the earliest delivery date first.
flowerSoft will then display a list of all the order needing to be processed in ascending  date order, with any orders having an entry in the delivery time field at the top of the list…
bench07
If you or your order entry clerks do not use the F6 key while in the delivery time field and since flowerSoft allows you to enter just about anything is that field, your designer will need to interpret the entry in that field to determine which orders need to be filled first.  The delivery time contents are sorted in descending order because if they were sorted in ascending order all the orders with blank delivery times with come up first.

The way computers sort characters is by what is called their “ascii value” which is a number.  The character with the lowest ascii value that can be used in the delivery time field is a blank space.  So if the first character in the date field is a blank, it would be at the top of the list (if it was an ascending sort) even if characters following the space were not blanks.  So that you can understand better what I mean here is a partial table of  characters.
bench11
The characters are sorted from the top left box, the one reading “space” with a decimal value of 32, down and then over to the next column.  Because flowerSoft converts any letters in that field to uppercase, it doesn’t matter if you enter the time using upper or lower case letters. An “A” or an “a” will have the same decimal value of 65 because flowerSoft will convert the lowercase “a” to an uppercase “A”.
The reason I’m explaining this is because if you do not use the F6 key to enter the delivery time, the field contents will be sorted using the ascii value of the characters and that is how they will show on the list of orders that need filling and also on the route & receipt forms.

On the screen shot of the orders needing to be processed above, invoice # 48635 would probably need to be filled first (even though is fourth on the list) because is for an AM delivery.  The “AM” came up fourth because the sort is in descending order  and a “B” has a higher ascii value than an “A”.

If you or your clerks had used the F6 key while in the delivery time field, the orders needing to be filled first would always come up first because flowerSoft sorts the entries a special way when the F6 key is pressed so that the different delivery times show up in a logical order.

bench10I highly recommend that you use the F6 key is you need to enter a delivery time.
Going back now to our list of deliveries that need filling…
bench12
Let’s say your designer highlights and selects invoice 48635 because it is for an AM delivery.
bench02
Notice the options shown at the bottom of the screen.  The designer can choose I to see if there are any designer instructions, R to view the recipe for any items sold that have a recipe, C to view an item’s components (if any) and M to record the materials used to make up the order.  If the order has any designer instructions, a popup reminder will be shown automatically.
The most important option is P to mark the order as processed.  The designer should do this after the order has been completed, so that it will be removed from the file.
When the designer hits P to mark the order as processed, the first thing flowerSoft will do is ask for his or her initials…
bench03
Once the designer enters his or her initials, flowerSoft will mark the bench copy of the order as processed and update the designer initials field.  It will then lookup the record for the order on the sales file and update the designer’s initials there and the update the delivery record information with the designer’s initials and the date and time the designed was completed.   After it does this, it will show a message saying that the order has been processed…
bench04
and then delete the bench copy of the order, so when the designer looks at the orders needing to be process the processed order will not be there.

If you have any comments or improvements you would like to see made, please let me know.

Thanks.

Tip #175 – The PrePaid Method of Payment


  Tip #175
The Prepaid Method of Payment
There are occasions when you need to enter an order into the computer that has been paid through some method outside of flowerSoft, usually (but not limited to)  a credit card .  You do not want to charge the customer’s credit card again but you need to enter the order into flowerSoft, especially if you want to keep your records accurate.

The way to do this is through the PREPAID method of payment.
The PREPAID method of payment behaves just like a credit card payment in that it pays the order in full but, does not attempt to get an approval from Merchant Warehouse.
It will also give you an opportunity to enter the approval and token numbers, if they are available to you.
Here is how it works…
ppd01

This may actually happen pretty often during holidays like Valentine’s and Mother’s Day.
Let’s say the above was a walk-in sale made at your counter and you had no access to flowerSoft at the time.  You had to write the order on a piece of paper or manual ticket and needed to get an approval right way (lots of customers waiting in your store) so you had to resort to either your smart phone, VeriFone terminal on Genius device to get the approval.
ppd04ppd03ppd02

So now either the mad rush Is over or you give the manual ticket to one of your employees who you’ve designated as the person to enter all manual tickets.  Great, he/she goes into flowerSoft and enters your manual ticket and gets to the point where he or she is going to need to enter a method of payment, just like on the screen-shot above.
Enter the PREPAID method of payment.
ppd05
As you can see below, selecting this method of payment completely bypasses all other fields and goes directly to the “Ready to Save” field.
ppd06
After you confirm you do not have any corrections to the order, flowerSoft will ask…
ppd07
and if you answer “yes”…
ppd08
ppd09
ppd10
and if you answer ‘yes’ to the above question, your approval and token numbers will be recorded, as you can see below.
ppd11
So that is how you can take credit card payments when a flowerSoft terminal is not available at the time.

A similar function is also available from the A/R module.
Let’s say on Valentine’s Day a customer walks in the store when there are 30 other customers waiting to be helped and shows you his statement and wants to pay in now, with a credit card and there are not flowerSoft terminals available.
Same thing, record the payment amount on paper and get the credit card approval through some other device and then later on, enter the payment.

To enter a PREPAID method of payment in the A/R module you must enter PP in the payment reference field.  See below…
ppd12
after you enter PP, hit the <Enter> key, just like you do when the method of payment is credit card and you enter CC or cash and you enter CA.  flowerSoft will automatically assign a control number to the transaction.
ppd13
Enter the amount of the payment just like you normally do and then let flowerSoft take over…
ppd14

ppd15
ppd16
ppd17
I hope these tips help you cope with the madness coming your way.

Have a very busy Valentine’s Day!

 

Tip #174 – Valentine’s Madness Help


Tip #174
Valentine’s Madness Help

I know you all started getting ready for the Valentine’s Day onslaught already.
As you do every year, you probably already placed your flower orders, looked to hire temp help for that week, made sure your fridge is in good working condition, etc. etc.
Yet, every year you swear you are quitting the flower business during that week.
I have never worked in a flower shop, so I really have never had that experience but I have been in several flower shops on February 13th and 14th and have seen the chaos first hand.
All I can offer help with is flowerSoft, so I’ve added a feature that may save you lots of time and aggravation on Valentine’s Day.
On of the more time-consuming task you and your employees have to perform is sending delivery confirmations.
If you use flowerSoft’s route & receipt forms, you have access to a fairly simple and fast way of indicating which deliveries have been completed and which ones have not.
If you do not use the route & receipt forms then the task is a lot more difficult and time consuming.  When you make 200-300 deliveries in one day, the delivery confirmation task can be overwhelming.

Enter the new “Log-in deliveries by scanning” flowerSoft feature.
What is this new feature that is going to save me hours of work if I choose to use it?
Let me explain.
For many years flowerSoft has had a barcode option.  What this barcode option does is print a barcode representation of the invoice number on the invoice form and on some reports such as route & receipt forms.
This option may be turned off in your system, so if you want to use this new feature you will have to turn it on.  You can find the option in the “Operating Defaults” option of the Manager’s menu.
dcscan11When you turn this option on, flowerSoft will start printing barcodes on the invoice forms and route & receipt forms.
dcscan12If you do not use the route & receipt option, then your drivers will come back with stacks of signed delivery tickets.  You will need to use these tickets to tell flowerSoft that the orders have been delivered and signed by the recipient.  Without the barcode option this task can take hours of your time when you do not have any to spare.
With the barcode option in place, the task can take just a few minutes of your time or one of your employees.  Here is how…

First, let’s talk about what you will need to do.  We already talked about turning on the barcode option, so that the barcodes start displaying on the invoices.  You will also need a barcode scanner.
dcscan13

If you do not have one, you will need to buy one.  You do not need to buy a very expensive one.  You should be able to get one for under $100. It has to be a usb scanner so that you can connect it to one of your computer.  Cordless scanners are a lot more expensive than corded ones and I don’t think you need one to scan the delivery tickets when they come back signed by the recipient.
That is the only piece of equipment that you need to buy if you do not already have.
So what do you do when the signed tickets start coming in?  This is what.
First, let me start by saying that there are some compromises that have to be made.  When you use the route & receipt form to log-in your deliveries, you have the opportunity to enter specific information for each order you’ve delivered, as you can see below.
dcscan14All these options are great but it does take a little time to enter each delivery and when you have hundreds coming in, you simply do not have enough time to do them one at a time.
When you scan the deliveries from the barcode, you do not have the option to specify the specific delivery time, you have to enter an approximate time that will be used for all the deliveries you scan at any one time.  You also cannot specify the name of the person who signed for the order.  flowerSoft will automatically retrieve the first name of the recipient and use it for the signature.  You also do not get to specify the initials of the delivery driver if you do the deliveries for more than one driver at a time.  You only get to enter one set of initials as you will see below.  Those are the 3 compromises you have to make.
So how do we start scanning the invoices?  Here is how…
dcscan01From the Dispatcher’s menu, select the L – Log-in Deliveries Made
dcscan02From that option, select the S – Log-in Deliveries by Scanning
dcscan03flowerSoft will assign a control number and display this screen for you to fill…
Note that you only get to enter one set of driver’s initials, one delivery date and one delivery time.
The “Signed By” field should be left blank if you want flowerSoft to retrieve the name of the recipient from the order itself.  If you want to enter something else in that field, you are free to do so (such as signature on file) but remember that whatever you enter in that field will be used for all the deliveries you scan at one time.
You can then use your barcode scanner to start scanning the invoice numbers of the deliveries made.  As you scan each invoice number, flowerSoft will display that number in the green bar below.
dcscan05If you scan an invoice that has been previously scanned in the same control number set, flowerSoft will respond with…
dcscan15and will not let you scan it again.
If flowerSoft finds that you have previously scanned the invoice but on a different control number set, it will respond with…
dcscan16If you answer “Yes”, flowerSoft will allow the invoice to be scanned again.
Once you have finished scanning all the tickets you have on hand, you must hit the F9 key to save the information and exit the program.
If you hit the Esc key to get out of the application, flowerSoft will respond with…
dcscan06If you respond with a “Y”, telling flowerSoft that you really want to Abort the process, the delivery records for the orders scanned will not be updated with the delivery information supplied, it will delete all the scanned records for that control number set and the e-mail confirmations will not be sent.
So make sure to hit F9 to exit the application and save the delivery information to the delivery records.
dcscan07
Route & Receipt forms limit you to 30 deliveries per form, but there is no limit on the number of invoices you can scan using one control number.  You can literally scan hundreds of delivery tickets at one sitting if you want to.
If you rather keep the deliveries for each driver separate, make sue you use the F9 key when you are done scanning the one driver before you start scanning the deliveries for the next one.  This will make flowerSoft give you a new control number and a fresh screen to enter the driver’s initials, delivery date and time.
dcscan08After you finish one set of deliveries, you can use the option to e-mail the delivery confirmations for those orders.
dcscan09This option will only send delivery confirmations for the orders scanned through this new option.  Deliveries recorded using a different method will not be selected.
dcscan10Note that flowerSoft will only send delivery confirmations for the accounts that have provided you with e-mail addresses.  So even though you may have scanned a much larger number of invoice numbers, flowerSoft will only report the actual number of delivery confirmations that were sent.

As this is a brand new feature, I am looking for volunteers to start trying this out and work out any bugs that may exist or features that need to be added.
Hopefully then, it will be perfect for the big holiday.
So if you are willing to help, let me know and I’ll install the option in your system.  Please be aware that you must either already have a barcode scanner or be willing to purchase one.

Thanks!

Tip #173 – Viewing Existing Orders


It has come to my attention that some of you are viewing existing orders by using the “rescue” function in flowerSoft.  In other words, by pressing “R” from the New Orders menu and then highlighting the order they want to view and hitting “v” to view it.
Although an ingenious way to quickly access existing orders, you are not really looking at the actual order that exists in the sales file but at a copy of it that is kept in the rescue file.
In order to prevent this misuse of the “rescue” function, I’ve come up with a way to basically do the same thing but look at the actual invoice in the sales file.

Instead of hitting “R” to access the list of invoices in the rescue file, hit “V” to view the invoices in the sales file.
This option will only not only let you view the invoice selected but will also allow you to perform every action you are allowed to do when editing/viewing an invoice.

newopt01

Hit “V” and the list of invoices will display…

newopt02Highlight the one you want to view and hit “V” to view it or…
Hit “I” to enter a specific invoice number you want to go to…newopt03then hit either “V” to just view the invoice or “E” to get all the functions you normally get from Edit or View Existing Orders option.
newopt05I think this new option will work better than using the “rescue” function to view existing invoices.

Deciphering the Daily Financial Report


Deciphering the Daily Financial Report
(A.K.A. The Daily Activity Snapshot)
dfr15I’ll admit it, the Daily Financial Report is hard to understand and sometimes it makes mo sense at all.  So let’s try to demystify it by breaking it into small pieces.
Let’s first take the “Order Types” section.dfr05
This one is a fairly easy section to understand.  It probably needs no explanation except perhaps for the Dollar amounts.  The Dollar amounts in this section include everything.  Product,  discounts, delivery, relay and sales tax.  The average order amount is obtained by dividing the total amount by the number of orders.  So this average amount does not paint a true picture of how much your customers spend each time they place an order with you because it includes sales taxes, which you do not get to keep.

Now let’s look at the “Revenue Sources” section.dfr06

A “Cash” sale is any sale that does not have an ON ACCOUNT method of payment or is received from one of the wire services.
“House Charges” are any sales with an ON ACCOUNT method of payment and “Wire Services” is any orders received from one of the wire services.
The Dollar amounts in this section also include all charges, including sales tax.

Let’s now look at  the “Sales Tax – Liability vs Collected” section.dfr07

Here you’ll see a breakdown of the sales taken on that day into taxable sales and tax exempt sales.  Sales allowances coming from the A/R module are also reported here.
The Dollar amount reported here does not include any sales tax collected on the orders.  The sales tax collected is reported just below under the heading of “Collected”
The sales tax amount you are liable for is reported under the “Liability” column.  These 2 amounts  never match each other because of the rounding done when calculating the sales tax to be collected, but they should be fairly close to each other.
flowerSoft allows you to have up to 3 different tax rates mainly because Canadian shops had that many different rates at one time.  If you charge a different rate if you deliver to a different state, then enter that rate as either Rate B or Rate C.

The “Cash Receipts” section.

dfr08

The actual amounts for cash, checks and credit cards are reported here.  It should give you a pretty good estimate of what your bank deposit should be for the day.  Note that the credit card amount is the gross amount.  No deduction is made for the percentage you pay the credit card company.

The “A/R  Activity” section

dfr09

This section shows you how many payments were received that day and the amount of money received.  Please note that the amount does not include any sales or finance/re-billing charge allowance applied through the A/R module.
Credits and Debits issued through the A/R module are also shown here.
Please note that finance /re-billing charge allowances are not considered credits (although they really are) and are not included here.  They are included in the “Misc. Charges” section.

The “Methods of Payment section

dfr10

dfr11

This section shows you the different methods of payment you used on your sales for the day.  The Dollar amount includes sales taxes collected.  The ON ACCOUNT and SPLIT methods of payment are shown but no amount is included.  The methods of payment used to pay for those orders are included (preceded by an asterisk) when the orders are paid for.

The “Credit/Debit Card Receipts” section

dfr13

This section shows you the amounts received as payment using the credit cards you accept.  In order to give you a better idea of how much you are really getting from your credit card sales, flowerSoft shows you a “Net Amount” which is obtained by multiplying the total receipts for each card by 3%. 

The incoming and outgoing orders section is pretty self-explanatory and all I’m going to add is that the net amount received and the commission earned are calculated using the entries made in the incoming and outgoing wire services database.

The “Source of Orders” section.

dfr14

This section shows you how your orders came in.  The amounts include the sales tax collected.

Finally, the “Misc. Charges” section shows you…

dfr16

Delivery, relay and finance/re-billing charges collected.  If a finance/re-billing charge was waived through the A/R module, that amount will be deducted from this section.

That concludes the demystification of the Daily Financial Report, also known as the Activity Snapshot.  Hopefully this post has helped you understand a little better how the numbers in this report are obtained and what the represent.

CC-PRE-AUTH (Cont.)


CC-PRE-AUTH (Cont.)

OK here is more information on pre-approval of credit cards.
The CC-PRE-AUTH method of payment will display (or not) based on a setting in the defaults file (see below).  If the delivery date is further than nn days from today’s date the CC-PRE-AUTH method of payment will display on the list of methods of payment.  If it is less than that number, it will not display on the list but can still be used by selecting #2 from the list (its shortcut number).  If you want the cc-pre-auth method of payment to display all the time, enter a zero (0) in the field.
ccpa06

This field will control only when the cc-pre-auth method of payment is displayed on the list, not when it can be used, which is at any time.
I’ve also provided a couple of easy ways the get authorizations on pre-authorized cards.The first one is by pressing the letter A at the New Orders menu prompt.ccpa07Pressing A from the New Orders menu will tell flowerSoft that you want to fully authorize a previously pre-authorized sale.  flowerSoft will then search your orders and find any orders with a CC-PRE-AUTH method of payment and display them for you to select which one is the one you want to get approval for.
ccpa08Highlight the desired order and then hit A again to start the authorization process.ccpa09Select the credit card number (it should already be there since you did a pre-authorization) to be used…ccpa10and you should have an approval for the balance of the invoice in a matter of seconds.ccpa11flowerSoft will then return you back to the list of orders that still need approval (notice that the one you just approved will not be there) in case you have others to process.ccpa13I think this is the most efficient way of getting approvals on orders that were pre-authorized but just in case I also added the option in a couple of other places.
From the “Other Functions” menu, you can select the credit card authorizations option…ccpa14and from there select the display list of unauthorized option…ccpa15It should give you the same or very similar list as before.  The only difference is that this option displays all unauthorized credit card sales, not just the pre-authorized.
Although the default is “Yes”, it is possible to answer “No” to the question below …ccpa17So the 1 – Display List of Unauthorized displays any credit card order that has not been authorized for the full amount (cc-pre-auth method of payment) and those where no attempt to authorize was made.  The list does not include declined authorizations, as an attempt was made to get those authorized.ccpa16As you can see from the screen shot above, invoice 55006 has no credit card information at all even though the method of payment is credit card.  This indicates that an approval was never attempted.
The other place where this function can be performed is from the Manager’s menu by following this path… M > C > 9 > C > 1ccpa28This option will give you the same results as the 1 – Display List of Unauthorized explained above.
If you think I may have missed something, please let me know asap.

As always comments are welcomed.

New Method of Payment – CC-PRE-AUTH


New Method of Payment
CC-Pre-Auth

Some of you have asked for a way to save a customer’s credit card for future use but not charge the account at that time.  Something like a pre-authorization that hotels used.

To accommodate this request, I’ve come up with the CC-PRE-AUTH method of payment.

ccpa01

What this method of payment will do is get an approval on the order for just 1 penny.  The credit card number will be saved in Merchant Warehouse’s vault for future use and when you decide to charge for the balance of the order, the card # will be available.

ccpa02

Enter “Y” to get the authorization for $0.01

ccpa03

Then, later on when you need to charge the balance, simply bring the order up in Edit/View and hit the letter “A” and select #5 to get the authorization.

ccpa04

ccpa05

I still have a couple of things to work out, but it should be available very soon.