The first time I came across the term “Costing Utilities,” I thought “what on earth is this?” It didn’t take long before I realized that this function really is the center of Visual ERP’s costing universe. But, just as the universe is vast, so are the applications related to this elusive function. I’ve received so many questions centered around this topic, that I decided to compile my own Top 10 Costing Utilities Questions list.
10. What is costing utilities and why do I need to run it?
The first two steps update the FIFO layers and work order costs. If you are standard costing, you only have one step which updates the work orders’ costs. This executable also creates postings for all the transactions happening on the manufacturing side. It can also close material and labour requirements if the work order is closed, depending on each company’s settings.
9.Why does the date default to the prior month?
This is a safeguard to ensure you don’t accidentally run for the next month if you haven’t finished postings for the current month. If this isn’t an issue, you can quickly change the date to the current month by clicking “T” for Today in the date field.
8. How often should (or can) I run Costing Utilities?
The first two steps should be run on a daily basis to ensure inventory valuation, gross profit, and work order reports show correct values. The manufacturing journals (the remaining five checkboxes) can be run as frequently (or infrequently) as you’d like. It’s most common for my clients to run these weekly, but some choose to wait and run them only at month-end. Others choose the opposite and run them daily.
7. Are there negative ramifications to running and posting the journals on a weekly basis?
Running costing weekly can actually be a good thing. Rather than taking longer at month-end, it can be broken down into weekly runs. This also gives you an opportunity to review the journals to ensure the numbers and accounts make sense. If your company has the practice of deleting transactions (i.e., packlists, receivers, labour tickets), the posted batches would prevent this. However, if it is critical to delete a transaction, the batch or batches could be deleted by someone with access and then the transaction could be deleted.
6. Yikes, I ran costing for last month by mistake. How do I fix?
Here’s the steps to follow:
- Simply post the entries in last month by going to “Post Manufacturing Journals,” Post All
- Go to General Journal Entry
- View Batch Information
- Select the Batch
- Click on Transpose. (You will get a warning message before this step is complete)
- Repeat for each of the manufacturing journals.
- Close out of the window and select the general Journal Entry. (You can identify this as it will have the described Transpose Batch #)
- Make a reversing entry into the next month.
- Repeat for all the journals. (If you have tracking currency, there will be entries for each currency)
5. We reported 100 hours of labour instead of 10. Can I enter -90 hours?
Visual ERP isn’t set up to accept negative hours, but there is another alternative:
- Open the month with the incorrect labour ticket. (Don’t worry about the prior month’s results changing. These fixes will be picked up in your next costing run and will be dated in the current month.)
- Select the labour ticket and change the hours to 10.
- Save the labour ticket.
- Close the accounting period.
- Next time costing is run this change will flow through the system.
4. When I look at postings what are the negative numbers telling me?
Don’t worry! In general, the negative numbers tell you that Visual ERP is correcting a previous posting. It could be correcting for a number of things, including a change in the GL account (this generally happens when you change an account on the Produce Code or Shop Resource). This could also be indicating that the amount has changed. This can happen for a number of reasons, such as a reduction in the Purchase Orders value because the AP invoice was less, a reduction of hours on a labour ticket, or, simply, returns.
3. Can we automate Costing Utilities?
In Visual 8, there is a built in tool to automate running Costing Utilities. In prior versions, some clients set up a scheduling program like Macro Scheduler or Automate to run Costing Utilities at night when there are a limited number of users on the system.
2. When I go to main “Post Manufacturing Journals” Window, there is no preview button like when posting the other journals. How can I look at the unposted transactions?
In the “Post Manufacturing Journals” window, go to Reports – G/L Transactions. Then, follow these steps:
- Select the month you are working on.
- Select Entity if you are multi-site or multi-entity.
- Select the journal type you want to look at or Print All.
- The Current User should be clicked off by default.
- Change the sequence to Order/Trans ID in order to scroll through to see the last item processed.
- The Transactions radio button should be set for unposted transactions which is the default.
1.Costing Utilities has been running for a while and it says “not responding.” How do I know it is still working?
You cannot tell from that screen but there is a way to see what is happening. To verify this, you can go to Accounting Window, Maintain, Close/Reopen Period.
- The Period should be the same period used when running Costing Utilities.
- Click on the test
- Check out the numbers in the Unposted
- Look at the manufacturing journals only (Purchases, WIP, Sales Shipments, Adjustments, Indirect).
- If you see zeros in the column, that means it hasn’t gotten to that journal type yet OR there are no journals.
- Write down the numbers. Or keep them in your head if you have a really good memory.
- Wait 20 or 30 seconds and click TEST
- If the numbers change it is still working. If they did not change wait another minute or two and give it another try.
- If there is no change, it is a good indication that Costing is stuck or it is processing a really complex transaction.
Do you have other questions about Costing Utilities? If so write them in the comment section below and I will do my best to answer them. Or if you want to know more about Visual’s costing or any other aspect of Visual financials, please check out the rest of our website. The blog and download sections have some helpful hints on month-end process or reconciling accounts.