Year End Backup in Pastel V17

Pastel Version 17 is upon us and development enhanced some of the regularly used features. One of these changes, affects the backup procedure when processing the year end. Let’s take a look at how this changed:

Backup regularly

Now as we know, making regular backups of your Pastel data is vital for any business. This doesn’t only help yourself when restoring a backup, but also provides your Pastel consultant with more information, should they have to do a data-fix.

Year End Backup V17

The year end procedure hasn’t changed much. The only difference comes in when you decide not to create a new company.

Do not copy company Backup

A backup screen will pop up, prompting for a backup before the year end process starts. Here you can backup like you normally would.

Yearend Backup

Should you exit the backup window you’ll be presented with a notification window of the implications when not creating a backup.

Warning Backup

When clicking yes, you will be taken back to the backup window. Should you click no, an entry will be captured in the System Changes Audit Trail under the Backup Parameter Category.

System Changes Audit Trail Backup

Xpress Start-Up V17

Please note: Xpress Start-Up packages only allows you to create one company. Therefore it is absolutely vital to make a backup before processing a year end, since you won’t be able to create a copy company.

Apart from making a backup at year end, I cannot emphasize how important it is, to make regular backups. Even if you make use of an automatic backup system like Irontree, please still make your own backups at year end. Backups make data fixing so much easier for your Pastel consultant.

Should you have any queries or need assistance with any Pastel related query, you can log a support incident on our website by clicking here.

Looking forward to hear from you

Pastel Partner Forms Designer V17

Editing forms in Sage Pastel has always been tricky, however, now with Pastel Partner Forms Designer V17 following a few of these easy steps your forms can look unique and professional:

Pastel Partner Forms Designer V17 Made Easy

Border Color, Fill Color and Rounded Corners on Boxes

Customize your documents by changing the border colors and the colors of the boxes on the documents. You can change the boxes from square corners to rounded corners to enhance the look of your documents.

forms-designer-1

Convert all Text and Fields to Individual Font:

Change the header and footer fonts on individual forms. This selection will then ignore the font settings selected in the Pastel Font Setup from the menu bar.

Currently all text fields are predefined (either as Main or Title) you cannot change the font or size, however changing it to individual you can. Selecting convert will change all text fields and you don’t have to select one by one.

forms-designer-3

forms-designer-2

forms-designer-4

Convert to Greyscale:

Convert your document to greyscale to ensure that the document is not printed in color on a color printer.

forms-designer-6

The form will then look like this:

forms-designer-5

Color Replacement Tool and Select all Same Color:

Select a color and replace the selected color with a new color throughout the document. This option selects all items in the form that are the same color and you can reformat these selected items.

forms-designer-7

forms-designer-8

forms-designer-9

Inserting a logo is not that difficult however for some reason the logo sometimes disappears, Now with Pastel Partner Forms Designer V17 the Image file is automatically stored in the company folder.

forms-designer-10

Images are sized according to available space and no longer change their aspect ratio (This can be overwritten by selecting no)

Images automatically resize when added to a document.

forms-designer-11

The form in short would then look like this:

New Forms Designer V17

If you require any assistance,  please call our call center:
+27 21 447 9565

Alternatively, click here to log a support incident via our website,  and a support consultant will contact you:

Sage Pastel My Customers Zone

What is Sage Pastel My Customers Zone? It’s an add-on providing your customers with an online profile to access their invoices and statements.

Ever wanted a web based solution where your customers can log in, view their invoices & statements and make payments online, right there and then? Now you can do just that with Sage Pastel My Customers Zone. Pastel introduced this fantastic feature some time ago and underwent a few updates and changes to enhance user experience. Let’s take a look at the features available in this add-on:

Sage Pastel My Customers Zone

There are two parts of the Sage Pastel My Customers Zone, namely: Customer Console and Admin Console.

Customer Console:

When a customer logs in on Sage Pastel My Customers Zone, a homepage displays where they can view the last invoice which was invoiced to their account, the last payment they made, the terms linked to their account as well as their credit limit.

Customer Login - Sage Pastel My Customers Zone

The Accounts menu, grants them access to view their statements or to see which transactions are still outstanding on their account. From here they can also print, save or pay (Sage Pay account needed) their outstanding invoices by a click of a button.

Statement - Sage Pastel My Customers Zone Outstanding Transactions - Sage Pastel My Customers Zone

 

Admin Console:

When logging in on the Sage Pastel My Customers Zone, a nifty dashboard displays, where you can view how many payments were made to you, the total Rand value of those payments and how many documents were paid. These payments appear on a nice graph which can be viewed in weekly, monthly or yearly format.

Admin Login - Sage Pastel My Customers Zone

The Settings menu consists of options to set up site branding and store additional branding images. Also link your cash customers or send invitation emails to ‘on account’ customers. This email contains a link for them to create their online profile on Sage Pastel My Customers Zone.

Branding - Sage Pastel My Customers Zone

Cash Accounts - Sage Pastel My Customers Zone

Communications - Sage Pastel My Customers Zone

Store Images - Sage Pastel My Customers Zone

The Documents Menu gives you access to view all documents, like invoices and credit notes, processed on Pastel. Use the search function to locate a specific document. You can also upload and attach additional documents to the online documents. This Documents report can also be exported to Excel.

Documents - Sage Pastel My Customers Zone

After linking your Sage Pay Account under the Sage Pay menu, you can view all payments made to you. Both successful and failed.

Sage Pay Payments - Sage Pastel My Customers Zone

Lastly you have access to an Authorization Report which displays who logged in & when. There’s also a Document Views Report which displays which documents were viewed by your customers. Both these reports also include the search function and can be exported to Excel.

Authorization Report - Sage Pastel My Customers Zone Document Views - Sage Pastel My Customers Zone

Need help setting up Sage Pastel My Customers Zone? Log a support request on our website by clicking here

Sage Pastel Mobility

Do you know what Sage Pastel Mobility is?  Think of it this way: Desktop Accounting meets Cloud

Have you ever wanted a mobile solution to your Accounting package where you can transact via your smart phone or tablet? Now, you can do just that with “Sage Pastel Mobility”. Pastel introduced this fantastic feature some time ago and underwent a few updates and changes to enhance user experience. Let’s take a look at the features available in this add-on:

Sage Pastel Mobility

With Sage Pastel Mobility, your sales reps will be able to process quotes, sales orders and invoices with this amazing app which interlinks with your desktop accounting software.

Pastel Mobility Quote

You can access your stock levels and pricing at any given time.

Pastel Mobility Stock Level Pastel Mobility Stock Price

Get customer information with a touch of a button, straight on your mobile device.

Pastel Mobility Customer Information

Like when selecting a customer address, it opens up your GPS app (like Google Maps) on your mobile device and locates the address on the map. Now just click on go and your app directs you to the customer.

Pastel Mobility GPS

Or when selecting a contact number, it automatically inputs the number on your dial pad.

Pastel Mobility Dail Screen

Or when you select an email address, it automatically opens up a new email with the selected email address.

Pastel Mobility Email

When processing an invoice, quote or sales order on Sage Pastel Mobility, it creates a document with a W prefix in an open batch on the selected user’s profile. WI for invoice, WW for Sales Order and WQ for Quote.

Have more than one company to transact on? No problem. Simply set up the Sage pastel Mobility users in each company and you will be able to open the different companies on your mobile app once logged in.

Pastel Mobility Company List

If you need any help setting up Sage Pastel Mobility, please log a request on our website by clicking here

Importing inventory count via excel

If counting inventory is a nightmare at month end. Importing inventory count via excel it is as easy as following the following steps:

Importing inventory count via excel

Click on process -> Count Inventory

Importing inventory count via excel process screen

 

The following screen will appear:

Click No

Importing inventory count via excel rebuild screen

The following screen will appear:

Click Next

 

Importing inventory count via excel inventory snapshot

The following screen will appear:

Please choose your store that the stock take will be made of.

Click Next

Importing inventory count via excel range snapshot

The following screen will appear:

Click Process

Importing inventory count via excel confirm operation

The following screen will appear:

Click No

 

Importing inventory count via excel count inventory assistant

The following screen will appear:

Click Continue

Importing inventory count via excel inventory assistant

The following screen will appear:

Please make sure the green radio button is at (Print a count sheet)

Click Next

Importing inventory count via excel print countscreen

The following screen will appear:

Change the printer to Excel

Also make sure the correct store is selected

Click OK

Importing inventory count via excel print screen

Excel will now open:

The following worksheet will appear:

Importing inventory count via excel excel drop

Type in the physical quantities in column H

Importing inventory count via excel add quantities

Delete column C,D,E,F,G

 

Importing inventory count via excel delete

Delete row 1,2,3

Importing inventory count via excel delete row

In column b type the store code (The code must be in uppercase)

Importing inventory count via excel add store code

Select column A -> right click and select Format Cell

Importing inventory count via excel format cell

Click Custom -> Select the word general and type (four zero’s) 0000 (Excel drops leading zero’s on numeric codes. For example the first code in pastel is 0001 however when exported it is 1) -> click OK

Importing inventory count via excel formattingImporting inventory count via excel formatting 2

In column D just make one space (This is called a phantom column) 

Importing inventory count via excel blanck cell

Click File -> Save As -> Choose your location and file name -> File save Type must be CSV (Comma delimited) (*.csv)

Importing inventory count via excel save

The following screen will appear:

Click Yes

Importing inventory count via excel save2

Right click on the new excel csv file that was created

Open with Notepad

Importing inventory count via excel notepad

The following screen will appear:

This is a check to see that the file saved correctly. The image on the left is correct. The image on the right shows incorrect lines at the bottom.

Importing inventory count via excel notepad2Importing inventory count via excel notepad 3

If your document opens and it looks like the image on right please delete about 20 columns after D (E till X) and about 20 rows at the bottom of your data (In this case from row 2546-2566)

Importing inventory count via excel check

Importing inventory count via excel delete rows

You can close remember to resave the excel sheet if any changes has been made.

 

Open Pastel

In Pastel make sure the green radio button is on Import a text file. This will allow importing inventory count via excel

Importing inventory count via excel import

The following screen will appear:

Select the first option of both

Click on browse

Importing inventory count via excel selecting

The following screen will appear:

Select your excel csv file that was saved

Click Open

Importing inventory count via excel browse

The following screen will appear:

Click Process

Importing inventory count via excel confirm

The following screen will appear:

Please take note of the line numbers (in this case 46,49,50,51,52,55)

Click Close

Importing inventory count via excel errors

The following screen will appear:

Click No

Importing inventory count via excel inventory assistan

The following screen will appear:

Importing inventory count via excel import

Open the saved excel csv file

Delete the rows as indicated (in this case 46,49,50,51,52,55)

Importing inventory count via excel check excel

Select column A -> right click and select Format Cell

Importing inventory count via excel formatting

Click Custom -> Select the word general and type (four zero’s) 0000 -> click OK

Importing inventory count via excel formatting

Click File -> Save As -> Choose your location and file name -> File save Type must be CSV (Comma delimited) (*.csv)

Importing inventory count via excel save as

The following screen will appear:

Click Yes

Importing inventory count via excel confirm

The following screen will appear:

Click Yes

Importing inventory count via excel confirm save

Open pastel

In Pastel make sure the green radio button is on Import a text file. This will allow importing inventory count via excel

Click Next

 

Importing inventory count via excel import

The following screen will appear:

Select the first option of both

Click on browse

Importing inventory count via excel browse

The following screen will appear:

Select your excel csv file that was saved

Click Open

Importing inventory count via excel find file

The following screen will appear:

Click Process

Importing inventory count via excel confirm

The following screen will appear:

In Pastel make sure the green radio button is on Enter or edit physical quantity on hand and the tick box is selected

Importing inventory count via excel change error

The following screen will appear:

Manually type in the quantities that was errors (in this case 46,49,50,51,52,55)

Importing inventory count via excel change errors

The following screen will appear:

Click Process

Importing inventory count via excel confirm

The following screen will appear:

Click Finish

Importing inventory count via excel operation complete

The Importing inventory count via excel is now complete.

If you require any assistance,  please call our call centre:
+27 21 447 9565

Alternatively, click here to log a support incident via our website,  and a support consultant will contact you:

 

 

 

Pastel Runtime error 5

When creating and using a company in Sage Pastel Xpress or Partner you may sometimes receive a ‘Run-time error 5 (Invalid procedure call or argument)”.  Sometimes the reason for the Pastel Runtime error 5 is that the database name is to long (as you can see this one has the date and time stamp on it, The date and time stamp happens when making a backup of your data)

 Pastel Runtime error 5

Steps to troubleshoot your Pastel Runtime error 5

1.       Go to the folder location and rename the folder (To a MAX of 8 characters) This should be C:\Pastel14 or if you on a network \\E2E(Your Server Name)\Pastel14

Pastel Runtime error 5

2.       Open pastel xpress or partner and click on Manage

Pastel Runtime error 5

3.       Click on Add company

Pastel Runtime error 5

4.       Browse for the folder that you have renamed and click ok

Pastel Runtime error 5

5.       Click on close

Pastel Runtime error 5

 6.       Select the company that you have renamed and click open

Pastel Runtime error 5

7.       Enter your password and click ok

Pastel Runtime error 5

Once you have completed these above steps your Pastel xpress or partner Runtime error 5 should now be gone.

Correcting your POS slip printer

As a Pastel Point of Sale (POS) user you may have noticed that your POS slip printer isn’t quite printing your POS slip with all the entries aligned correctly.  Now this might be a small point but if you’re like me, it’s an issue.  Read further below to see how you can do something about it.

As a Point of Sale user,  you may be experiencing issues with text that is not aligned when using a slip printer.  This is due to the Font that is being used.

Here’s an example of what the normal slip layout might be giving you.

Non aligned slip printer

If this is what your slip is looking like, then you might want to do something about it.  Studies have shown that even the smallest of changes to how one interacts with ones clients can have even a subliminal effect on future business.  Now not everyone looks at their POS slips, most of them hit the bin behind the counter, but for those clients that take it away with them it’s a way for you to leave a reminder to the client that your store is a point of convenience that they should return too.  When they look at your slip and it’s messy, it doesn’t really give a good “please return to us” kind of message does it?  Ensure your POS slip printer is printing a neat slip with your basic contact information and even if it makes a 0.01% difference to your annual client returns, it’s something.  Besides, at the very least it’ll look good!

Here are the steps you can follow,  to correct the alignment, when printing your till slip to a slip printer:

1.   Select Shortcut Functions | Printer font Setup
3 Printer Fonts button for slip printer
2.   Set the Main Font and Title Font to Courier New
4 Fonts Settings for slip printer
3.   Click OK
4.   Reprint the slip and you should see that the fields are now aligned as shown below.
5 Aligned Slip Printer

 

Good Luck!!

Steve Billington

Ransomware Poses a Serious Risk

Google describes Ransomware as a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid. These kinds of threats are not going to go away and new strains are being written all the time.

The only way to regain access to the encrypted data is to pay a ransom to the hackers – and even then it is not guaranteed that you will get your data files back.  After all, you are dealing with a criminal! There is very little that any IT expert can do to get your files back. Once encrypted, your data cannot be recovered.

The only way to mitigate the risk is to ensure that you regularly take backups so that you can quickly return to a pre-infected state.

6 Tips to Staying Safe from Ransomware

  1. Backup your data regularly.  If you choose to back up to an external hard drive, disconnect the backup device as soon as the backup is complete. This will prevent any potential infection from being passed along to your backup device.
  2. Ensure that your machine is patched to the latest version and that your antivirus software is up to date.
  3. Do not click on links in emails from unfamiliar sources
  4. Do not open unidentified attachments (pdf’s, etc)
  5. Don’t download “free offers” on websites or follow links to win prizes, etc. Hackers are successful because they bank on you wanting what they offer as an enticement.
  6. Become more vigilant. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

What to do if you suspect that your machine is infected with Ransomware

  1. Don’t try to open any files or folders on the machine.
  2. Don’t try to fix the problem yourself.
  3. Immediately switch off your computer and take to IT

More About Ransomware

Stay safe,

Brian

Sage Pastel Partner/Xpress – Status 30

Sage Pastel Partner/Xpress – Status 30 – Files in your Company database cannot be accessed.

With winter around the corner the usual bout of colds and flu viruses can only be expected, computer viruses however tend to take us by surprise.

One particular Ransomware virus known as ‘Cryptowall’ has been doing the rounds as of late, affecting networks both locally and internationally.

This mean bug encrypts your data and holds it to ransom.  Ransom takes the form of payment via bit-coin only and apparently your data is unlocked on receipt of payment.

The only other solution is a restore.

As this is not a Sage Pastel issue, if you have received this error or you find that your software is not working as it previously did, we can only suggest asking your IT Administrator to check the entire network.

Many of my clients have been receiving this particular error when working with Inventory:

Status 30 – (One or more files in your Company database cannot be accessed.  Please contact your local support centre or distributor for assistance) File 45 (Adjust Inventory – accbsj.000(user))

Sage Pastel Partner/Xpress – Status 30 – Files in your Company database cannot be accessed

 

After much troubleshooting and discussions with the Sage Pastel Technical Team, this is the “cure” I received:

The virus takes the form of a file left in the Sage Pastel folder or a company folder. If you open the folder is says “how to decrypt 3.0”. The errors that they have picked up are random.  

A format of the machine is required to completely get rid of the virus and thereafter one needs to restore a backup from a viable external source that was not affected by the virus.

You can attempt to delete all files with .00* extensions including defaults and controls. And thereafter try again.

Usually, when one deletes the batch file in question, the virus recreates it and it and goes on in an endless loop.

Should the deleting of the .00* files not work, the only other option is to restore a reliable backup.

 

Like any condition, prevention is better than a cure. One of the recommended applications to use to prevent an attack can be found here:
http://labs.bitdefender.com/projects/cryptowall-vaccine-2/bitdefender-offers-cryptowall-vaccine/

Before installing this, make sure that it is approved by your IT Administrator.

Please be vigilant and do not open any attachments that you are not certain about.

I sincerely hope you survive the winter without getting bogged down by this bug!

All the best,

Steve

Speed Up Your Excel Workbook

Are your Excel Spreadsheets so big and slow that you could literally go and make a cup of coffee while the workbook updates?  Good news, there is a simple and quick solution to Speed Up Your Excel.

I recently had a request from a client to assist them with improving the speed of their Excel Workbooks.  While working on their data it was taking so long for their workbooks to update that it was seriously affecting their ability to deliver their financial reports.  Running the initial report took nearly 6 hours (they would run it overnight).  Each time new data was entered, it would take a couple of minutes for Excel to recalculate, equaling hours per workbook!  It doesn’t take an expert to see that this is not good for business.

It didn’t take me long to find the problem, there were far too many worksheets in a formula heavy design.  The formula used were old look-ups (e.g: Index & Match combination resolves quicker and uses less system overheads with more flexibility than the traditional VLookup formula) and too many nested IF statement variables.  They weren’t using List referencing, Named Ranges and there were hardly any Pivot Tables (a great way to quickly summarise and analyse data, again, using less resources).

Newer Business Intelligence report writing methodology using newer software functionality greatly assists with the ever increasing volume of business data sources that need analysing and help to Speed Up Your Excel

That being said, you don’t have to rewrite all your reports just because they’re ‘old school’.  Sometimes we just have to make do with what we’ve got.  Luckily for you there is another easy way that one can use to speed up your Excel Workbook even if you really have to make use of a nested formula-heavy design.

Speed Up Your Excel by setting your Excel Workbook formula calculation to manual. 

What that means is that Excel won’t update your formula until you tell it to.  This leaves you free to open your Spreadsheet, edit your information, and, when you’re ready, calculate your formula.

By changing this setting I brought the report run time at my client down from over 6 hours to just over 15 minutes.  They are now able to run the report, make edits, and, update their information multiple times in a day, something they previously couldn’t do.

Here’s how to set your Excel Workbook Formula Calculations to Manual:

Step 1:
Go to the Formulas Tab in your Excel Workbook Ribbon, then select ‘Calculations Options’

Speed Up your Excel Workbook 1

Step 2:
Set to ‘Manual’

Speed Up your Excel Workbook 2

NB: Don’t forget, now that Excel calculates your formula manually, every time you’re finished updating your spreadsheet or want to update your workbook, you will need to come back here and tell Excel to ‘Calculate Now’

Speed Up your Excel Workbook 3

Hopefully this tip helps to Speed Up Your Excel and make your life using Excel a bit easier 🙂

Brian