Software Africa Newsletter - March 2018

Online Business Tip ~ Excel Tip


We are still short of rain this year making continued drought in Gauteng a certainty. Please realise that we have to limit our use of water throughout South Africa.

Toastmasters Pathways - a new way to leadership and presentations

Launching next week on time and with celebrations, we'll inform you of where to go to experience this excitement next month. To find out more go to or contact Judith.

Adobe - an Exciting Development

We have linked up with Dax Data to take advantage of their rich offerings of this dynamic and growing range of products. Here are some examples from their newsletter:

The Latest Release of Adobe Captivate

The 2017 release of Adobe Captivate lets you be smart from the start and productive to the end. 
Take advantage of smart authoring to create fully responsive eLearning courses and deliver visually stunning learning experiences across devices. Adobe Captivate does the heavy lifting for you, allowing you to create fully responsive content quickly and easily.  Read more here (PDF)....

Announcing Updates to Lightroom CC

The latest updates to Lightroom CC, released in February, includes updates across Operating Systems - including optimised performance updates, support for new cameras and lenses, as well as new features for desktop and Android.

Adobe's Creative Cloud team says their primary focus with this release was internal beauty, as they put a lot of effort into tuning and improving stability.  Read more here (web)....

5 Reasons You Should Take Corporate Training Online

The complex corporate environment adds to the challenges of delivering effective corporate training and skills development initiatives. Corporate eLearning strategies leveraging innovative technology and the mobile workforce can increase the effectiveness and reduce the challenges of corporate training.

Here are 5 reasons taking your corporate training programs online will get results and cost you less:  Read more here (web)....


What is Adobe XD


Introducing the all-new Adobe Captivate

We will be setting up a dedicated website for enquiries later this month.

Activating your Autodesk Software

Please note that your new Autodesk software has to be activated using your account log on within 30 days. Thereafter, please log onto your account monthly to receive the latest updates, so that your software stays current. You can use your account to access training videos and support via AVA as well. If AVA can't solve your problem, it can be escalated to Autodesk Support who will phone you to sort it out. This is an exceptional development as it makes problem solving so much faster than previously.

As an Autodesk customer, you matter to them as well as to your reseller. More and more solutions are sitting on your customer account - please explore them!

Online Business Tip #17 - The VAT Rate Changes on 1 April --Handling this in QuickBooks:

You will need to be in single user mode: Make sure that other users have logged off, then, on the File menu, select Switch to Single-user Mode. Make a backup in case you come to regret anything: File > Create Backup.  Copy the backup to a removable device or (preferably) to Cloud backup.  Now proceed:

There are two methods to do this.  The first, which is quick and dangerous, is to change your existing VAT code:

A) You have to do this after you have created all your March invoices and entered all your March bills received, but before creating any April invoices or entering any April bills.

  1. From the VAT menu at the top, choose VAT Code List. This  opens the VAT Code List dialog.
  2. Highlight the "Standard" or "14%" VAT code, dropdown the VAT Code menu and choose Edit VAT Code (Ctrl+E)
  3. If the description mentions 14%, change it to 15%.
  4. Next to "VAT Item for Purchases (Standard Purchases)", click Edit and change the rate to 15%. Click OK.
  5. Then do the same for "VAT Item for Sales (Standard Sales)".

QuickBooks is clever enough not to tamper with the VAT rate on existing invoices --as long as you do not change the VAT code!  However, if you copy an old invoice (or it recurs), it will still carry 14% VAT and you may only notice this when you run the next VAT report!  To fix VAT on a copied invoice, choose a different VAT code and then revert to "Standard".

If for any reason you need to have both the old and new VAT codes available (for example, for a refund with the old VAT), you will need to use the second method:

B) The second method, which is safer but much more complex, is to create a new VAT code and deactivate the old one.  You can do some of this in advance (steps 1--17), but must still do the rest on your changeover day.

  1. From the VAT menu at the top, choose VAT Code List. This  opens the VAT Code List dialog.
  2. Highlight the "Standard" or "14%" VAT code, dropdown the VAT Code menu and choose Edit VAT Code (Ctrl+E).
  3. Record the details that appear in the dialog box. One way to do this is to press Alt+PrintScreen, swap to Paint (found under accessories) and Paste (Ctrl+V).
  4. Swap back to QuickBooks.
  5. Next to "VAT Item for Purchases (Standard Purchases)", click Edit.
  6. Record the details that appear in the dialog box.
  7. Cancel the "Edit Item" dialog, then do the same for "VAT Item for Sales (Standard Sales)".
  8. At this stage, your record in Paint might look like the picture on the right.
  9. To create the new VAT code, return to the VAT Code List dialog.
  10. Click the VAT Code dropdown menu and choose New (Ctrl+N).
  11. In the New VAT Code dialog, give the code a name (e.g. S15) and description (e.g. "Standard 15%").
  12. Fill in the rest of the dialog so that it looks like the Standard 14% VAT code recorded above.
  13. Next to "VAT Item for Purchases", choose "Standard Purchases" and click Edit.
  14. All the details should be filled in as for the second dialog you recorded (check!).
  15. Change the VAT percentage to 15%, Click OK.
  16. Then do the same for "VAT Item for Sales": choose "Standard Sales".  Set 15%. Click OK.
  17. You now have your new VAT code.
  18. After you have created all your March invoices and entered all your March bills, but before creating any April invoices or entering any April bills, proceed:
  19. Log on as Admin (Administrator).
  20. Choose Edit > Preferences.
  21. In the Preferences dialog box, choose VAT at the bottom of the list on the left. Choose the tab, "Company Preferences".
  22. Under "Assign VAT Codes", for "Choose the VAT code you use most often for - Taxable Items", choose your new code, e.g. "S15". Click OK.
  23. Open the VAT Code List dialog again: VAT > VAT Code List.
  24. Right-click your old "Standard 14%" VAT code. From the pop-up menu, choose Make VAT Code Inactive.
  25. Now comes the really laborious part. Click Lists > Item List.
  26. In the Item List, double-click each item and change the "Sales VAT Code" from the old code to the new code (this will be applied only to new sales invoices). Click OK. Do not forget "Capital Purchases" and "Capital Sales" at the bottom of the list.
  27. Click Lists > Chart of Accounts.
  28. In the Chart of Accounts, click each Expense item and use Ctrl+E to edit it, then change the "VAT Code" from the old code to the new code (this will apply only to new purchase invoices). Click Save and Close for each one.
  29. That's all there is to it!  Send the bill for all the extra work to SARS.

When you enter new supplier bills in April, check that they have indeed added 15% rather than 14% VAT.  When you run the March and April VAT reports, check that all items on the former are at 14%, and all items on the latter at 15%.

If you have special cases that cross the VAT change, like recurring transactions that use the old tax rate, invoices created before the tax change date but future-dated, or invoices created on or after the tax change date but back-dated, use the second method above and consult this checklist.

QuickBooks in the Cloud

This is currently on a 90 day free trial, for accountants and bookkeepers the link is here For Small businesses, it's here .

Quick Payroll

Please contact Judith for the new KeyPlayer software and assistance in getting your data file to QuickBooks for conversion.

Green Tip

Please use containers for hot drinks that you can re-use, instead of the not recyclable ones supplied by the coffee bars etc! This will make a difference to the amount of waste being dumped into rivers and landfills.

On the really positive side of things - Sweden has been recycling so effectively that it has run out of local material and is now importing other countries' rubbish!! Some amazing machines are now being used to clear rivers and the oceans of their plastic waste.

Excel Tip #163 -- What's New in Excel 2016 for Windows? New Statistical Box and Whisker Charts (III)

We are looking at what is new in Excel 2016 for Windows Desktop, compared with Excel 2010.  On the Insert ribbon, in the Charts group, the new button for the new Statistical charts produces Box and Whisker charts, which we introduced in Excel Tip #161.

Last month we saw how to break the diagram into several bars based on text data in the first column. Alternatively, we could create several bars by using separate columns of data.

Here we summarise the variability of three different exchange rates in separate columns: Rand / Dollar, Rand / Pula, and  Rand / Metical.  Because they are so different, the actual rates produce an awkward chart. However, if we use the percentage variation from a base date, the chart becomes more understandable, as seen on the right (the appearance of the chart has been enhanced from the default).

As we can see, for the period 2014 to 2017, the Rand varied the least against the Pula and the most against the Dollar. If, however, we consider only the first to third quartile (the coloured block), then the greatest variation was against the Metical.  The red dot at the top of the upper whisker for the Pula is an outlier.

More next month.

Computius Say:

Something wrong with civilization there may be, when sign "Authorised Apple Reseller" more likely found in computer shop than at greengrocer's.

Remember:  We can make your business run better by:

All the Best from the team!
Judith and Rick

Members, Communication in Action cc trading as Software Africa
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