How To Use Keystroke:
Keystroke End Of Year Procedures
When the end of the year is near, there are a few topics that you may want to review in preparation. While most of these procedures are optional, some may be necessary steps to maintain your data and maximize the benefits you receive from the Keystroke system in the coming year. If your business operates on a non-calendar fiscal year, some of these topics may still be helpful now, while others will pertain to your particular fiscal year.
If you have further questions, depending on the nature of the issue, please contact your local Authorized Keystroke Dealer, SBS technical support at 800.275.4727, or your accounting/financial professional. SBS hours are 8am to 6pm Mountain Time, and if you are not subscribed to Software Maintenance Service we will be happy to explain your options when you call.
Perhaps the most important task you should perform annually is to review your normal data backup process and make a separate backup copy, in addition to your normal procedure. If you do not already have a regular backup procedure in place, now is a good time to start.
Think of your data backup procedure as a very inexpensive insurance policy. If you ever experience a loss of data caused by natural disaster, equipment failure, or even human error, a recent usable copy of your data is the only thing that can restore your Keystroke system. You can always build a new building, buy new inventory, buy a new computer and re-install the Keystroke software, but it would be impossible to accurately re-create your sales history, accounts receivable records, and inventory levels without a copy of your data files.
A data backup is merely a copy of the computer files where the Keystroke system stores your business information. It is a snapshot of your data at a point in time (i.e., when the backup copy was made). A data backup is not only helpful in the event of a catastrophe, it can also be useful to generate reports based on the point in time when the backup was made. Although we also suggest you run certain reports at the year-end, such as accounts receivable balances and inventory value (see below), having a complete copy of your data is another way to create the ability to view data as of a previous point in time. This is necessary because the Keystroke system is real-time, and data is therefore perpetually changing as new transactions are entered.
For more information or assistance on how to create backup copies of your data files, it is best to contact your local Authorized Keystroke Dealer. Your local dealer can help you be sure you are making reliable data backups, and teach you how to maximize the efficiency and benefit of your data backups. While it is not a replacement for an automated backup system, the Keystroke system does include a relatively simple Backup utility in the Configuration Manager module. For more information on this utility, go to the Files menu, select Backup, then the Standard option, and press [F1]. Also see the Keystroke Backup Tips section on this page.
The Keystroke system maintains inventory on a real-time basis, meaning that when a sale or purchase transaction is entered, inventory quantities are adjusted immediately. In a perfect world this would result in you always knowing exactly how many of each item are in stock at any given time. However, there are two issues you must periodically address when using a real-time perpetual inventory system.
First, the inventory levels in the system do not reflect unrecorded inventory changes such as theft, damage, spoilage, entry errors, etc. In Keystroke, we call these Variances, and there is a special function you can use to record them. Just like sales and purchases, Variances are transactions which adjust inventory quantities. The main difference is that Variance transactions are typically used to adjust the Quantity On Hand to a known value which is determined by physically counting available inventory. The VARIANCE.PDF document includes step by step instructions on how to use the Variance function. Although New Year's Eve is probably not when you want to count your entire inventory, you may still use the Variance function to take a snap shot of inventory levels on that day.
Second, since inventory levels are real-time, if you need to know the value of your inventory on a particular date such as the last day of the year, you will need to make a record the inventory levels on that date. There are several ways to accomplish this. The most obvious way is to print a report (in Report Manager, Inventory menu, Database function). The Totals report Forms will include your current Cost Of Inventory and QOH for all inventory items. Review the report settings carefully being sure to include all Inventory items, except perhaps Service items. It may be helpful to send the report to a file especially if you have many thousands of items which could require many pages of paper. Other options to record the inventory levels on a particular date are discussed earlier in this section, including making a Data Backup, and using the Variance function.
Just like inventory, Accounts Receivable balances in Keystroke are real-time. Therefore, if you need to know Accounts Receivable balances on any particular date, such as the last day of the year, you will need to record the information on that date by either: printing a Receivables report, or saving a backup copy of your data. As soon as you begin entering new sales or ROA payments in January, your customers' balances will be affected and will no longer reflect the end of year balances.
Reset/Clear Cumulative Data Fields
Similar to Inventory Quantities and Customer Amount Due, there are a few other data fields in Keystroke that are perpetually updated. These include Total Sold, Total Received, and Total Purchased in Inventory; and Total Purchases in the Customer and Contact databases. If you never edit these fields, they represent totals since you first started using the Keystroke system, which can be misleading. While that may be desirable depending on how or whether you use this information, you may wish to periodically reset or clear any or all of these fields in order to define them to represent year to date (YTD) or other limited values.
Keep in mind that you can also run specific reports in Keystroke to determine most of these data values; however, resetting them will provide access to YTD values (for example) that can be used in report filters and viewed immediately on database records. The easiest way to reset any of these values is to use the Search & Replace function on the Find menu in the Database Manager. As the name implies, this is a two part function. Search is used to define whether you want to affect all records or only records which satisfy certain criteria. Replace is where you define how you want the records to be affected, such as to zero or delete the Total Purchased field. You can find more help by pressing [F1] from either the Search or Replace screen.
Warning: If you are careless, the Search & Replace function has the potential to cause significant data loss. This is yet another reason to be sure you have a complete and working data backup system.
Sales Tax Rates
January 1 is often the date when new sales tax rates take effect. In Keystroke, you can define start and end dates for Sales Tax formulas so there is no reason not to put in the new tax formulas as soon as you are notified of rate changes. When configured properly, new rates will automatically become active when they should, and old rate formulas become inactive.
For example, let's suppose your state sales tax rate is changing from 3% to 3.25% on January 1, 2005. Do not change the Tax Amount on the existing formula. Instead, change the End date on the current 3% formula to 12/31/04, AND using the same Tax Code (and other settings) add a new formula for 3.25% with a Start date of 1/1/05. The TAXRATE.PDF document also offers more extensive instructions.
Review Transaction File Settings
The Keystroke system offers some unique methods to manage large volumes of transactions without slowing system performance at the point of sale. There are many configuration settings available which your Authorized Dealer may have used to fine tune the system for your needs; however, there are two settings in particular that you may want to review at this time of year. These are the Transaction Lock and Transaction File settings; both are located in the Configuration Manager, Settings menu, Databases function.
The Transaction Lock Date/Time allow you to limit all users (regardless of Security Level) from "editing" sales invoices prior to a specific date. There are various reasons to adjust these settings at year end, such as after transferring data to an accounting system, or providing printed reports to an accountant or bookkeeper. Previous transactions remain available for reporting and even reprinting, but users are prevented from changing transactions in the previous year.
The Transaction File settings are used to control when the Keystroke program will split to a new transaction file. The file split can be determined by Size Only (ranging from .3 Mb to 6 Mb), or by various calendar options (Week, Month, Quarter, or Year). How you use these settings depends mostly on the volume of transactions your business processes. For example, if your business averages about 1000 transactions per month, you could set the system to split on Quarter and the size to 4 Mb (1000 transactions requires about 1 Mb, so you would want to increase the Max Size setting to well over 3 Mb). If you are not yet familiar with how Keystroke splits transaction files, you may want to speak to your local dealer to learn more. The [F1] Help will provide additional information regarding these settings.
Keystroke Physical Inventory Tips
I want to do a physical inventory of my store. How do I adjust QOH?
The Variance sub-module is used to adjust the Quantity On Hand (QOH) amounts in your inventory database, and at the same time record any difference between the actual physical quantities and the current Keystroke Inventory levels. Entering items on the Variance screen is similar to entering items on an Invoice. The Variance screen is accessed from the Special Menu in the Database Manager.
If you are using The Variance function to record QOH adjustments to one or only a few inventory items, you can simply enter the appropriate items onto the Variance screen. Enter the actual physical quantity in the Phys column (or the change in quantity in the Var column). Press [Enter] or [F10] when finished entering items, then select [Post] to complete the transaction. This saves it as a Posted Variance and adjusts the QOH amounts in the Inventory database.
When taking a store-wide or departmental physical inventory count, additional steps should be taken before you get started. The first step in this process is to make a backup copy of your data files. It is also important to be sure that there is no movement of items between the time you enter the items on the Variance screen and when you physically count the items (i.e. no purchases or sales). The ideal way to ensure this is to close the store or department when taking a physical Inventory count. The second step is to print out a "count sheet" on which to record your actual physical counts. Count sheets can be printed in the Report Manager - Inventory menu - Database function. Set the <Detail> parameter to Price List or Cost List and change the Leave QOH Blank setting to ON. This will put a blank line in the Quantity column, giving you room to fill in your count amounts for each item. To make data entry easier, set the <Group By>, <Sort By> and <Filter> settings to produce a report that sorts the items the way they will be entered on the Variance. Then physically count your inventory items.
You can enter Inventory items onto the Variance function manually, or use the Auto Fill function [SHIFT F8] to automatically input all or a specific group of items. Enter your physical count quantities on the Variance screen by using the Tab key to move to the Phys column, then enter your counts. A portable barcode data collector can also be used via the Import File function on the Special Menu. Contact your Authorized Keystroke dealer regarding data collectors which are recommended for this function.
To avoid accidental data loss, periodically hit [F10] and select the <Save> button while working. Since QOH amounts are adjusted by the calculated Variance quantity (not replaced by the Physical quantity), actual input of the Physical counts can take as much time as necessary. For example, you can work on a department at a time, saving as you go.
When all information has been entered, print out the Un-Posted Variance report and double-check it for accuracy. When you are certain it is correct, select [Post] to complete the Variance transaction. When a Variance is Posted, the QOH field on your inventory records will be adjusted by the amount shown in the Variance column, resulting in accurate Inventory amounts. For a more in-depth discussion of the Inventory Variance function, refer to the Keystroke User Guide.
Keystroke Backup Tips
CD ROM Writers (CD-R or CD-RW):
KSBACKUP.EXE is a utility which uses PKZIP to make a backup of all changed files (those with attribute A turned on) in the current directory and all directories below it to the specified location (Use the ATTRIB +A *.* /S command to turn on the attribute on all files first if you want to back up everything). One great way to use this program is with a CDR, CDRW or Zip drive (or even another hard disk) to automatically create backups every night. To write files to a CDR or CDRW, you must have software installed and running that allows you to write directly to the CD.
The program will create three files in the specified destination. YYMMDD.ZIP, YYMMDD.LST, and LASTBACK.TXT. YYMMDD will be the date of the backup (a dash followed by a character may be added if a backup already exists for the current date). The .ZIP file is the backup and the .LST file is a list of all the files that were backed up. LASTBACK.TXT will hold information about the last backup performed.
The file NOBACK.LST in the current directory can be used to enter the names of files you do not want to back up (list each file on a separate line, wild cards can be used. e.g. *.TMP).
The syntax is KSBACKUP Z:\. Note that you can only specify the destination for the backup and that the source is always the current directory and those below it. Also, the file name will be created for you.
KSBACKUP supports only the special switches described in the documentation located at keystrok\doc\ksbackup.doc.
KSRESTOR.EXE is a utility to restore a backup made with KSBACKUP.EXE. It will check LASTBACK.TXT to find the name of the last backup file and will then ask if you want to restore it. Note that the program will ask for a password. If one was entered when the backup was made the same exact one must be entered to restore the files. If no password was used, then just enter anything and the program will continue. The only switch supported is the path where the backup file is located.
The backup programs that normally come bundled with CDRW drives can also be used for backing up and restoring. Consult their documentation for directions on their usage.
There are several ways to use the Internet for backups. Hard disk storage space can be purchased from on-line data storage service companies. A file transfer utility should be provided by the company of your choice to allow you to copy your data files from your store to their storage facility.
If you have a web site, chances are you also have an FTP site that came with it (check with your web site hosting service). An FTP site can serve as your own on-line data storage service, which is already paid for. All you need is an FTP program (many of which are available for free) with which to copy your data files from your store to your FTP site.
Portable Drive Backups:
Portable drives (such as USB thumb drives or external hard disks) make for easy and fast backups. And, they run faster than CD ROM drives. Use a different thumb drive for each day of the week or simply backup each day into different folders on a single drive depending on space requirements.
Backup To Another PC on the Network:
Backup to another PC's hard drive over the network (if you have one). Use the Keystroke Backup function or simply copy the data files from the Keystroke server to another PC on the network that has sufficient space on the hard drive. This is also a very fast, efficient way to accomplish successful backups.
Low-End Tape Drive Backups - DO NOT USE THEM!:
Low-end tape drives give a false sense of security by reporting successful backups every time. It is only when disaster strikes, and you need to restore from a tape, that you find out the tape drive won't read the tape. We at SBS have received numerous tapes from Keystroke users that were completely unreadable.
Periodically take a copy of your backup to a physical location away from your store!:
Once a week or at least once a month, take a copy of your backup home, put it in your safe deposit box, somehow get copy of it physically removed from your store location. Your backup may be impossible to recover in the event of an unfortunate physical disaster at your business, such as a theft, fire, flood, tornado, etc.
No matter which way you chose to complete your backups, please do them regularly. A few minutes spent daily on a good backup procedure can save you countless hours of work in the event of an unfortunate data loss disaster!
What's the difference between Sales Orders, Layaways and Quotes?
These sales transaction types represent potential sales, where Invoices are fully tendered final sales transactions. You might think of a Quote as a means of recording prices you've promised to a customer. Quotes do not affect your inventory in any way, nor can payments be accepted on a Quote. Sales Orders and Layaways; however, are more like promises from customers that they intend to buy certain items. When you enter an Order or a Layaway, the system does allocate items (i.e., QOH is reduced and Allocated/Layaway quantities are increased). Although, not required by the system, the customer may provide a partial payment (deposit) in exchange for the store setting aside inventory. Technically, such a deposit payment is sort of a loan from the customer and is therefore a liability on your accounting records.
A Sales Order is typically used when inventory is not currently available and needs to be ordered from the Vendor. When items on a Sales Order are shipped, an Invoice is automatically created for those items. The resulting Invoice must be fully tendered; otherwise, the system will prompt you to save the resulting Invoice as a Layaway. Any prepayments on a Sales Order, are transferred to the Invoice when items are shipped.
You might think of a Layaway as a "temporarily delayed sale" due to the customer's request. This is normally used in the traditional sense (i.e., when the customer wants an item that is currently available but is not able to fully pay for it). While Orders are constituted by quantities remaining to be shipped, Layaways are determined by payment less than the Invoice total remaining to be tendered. When a Layaway is fully tendered, it is automatically converted to an Invoice.
What is a Credit Memo and how do I create one?
A Credit Memo is a reference to an ROA Payment made toward a customer's credit account that has not yet been fully applied to unpaid Invoices or Finance Charges. In other words, a Credit Memo is a reminder or "memo" referring you to an outstanding credit (an ROA Payment) which remains to be dealt with. Because many accounting systems use the term "credit memo" specifically for miscellaneous adjustments, the term can be misleading. In Keystroke, although a Credit Memo may sometimes represent a miscellaneous adjustment toward an account, it is really just a reference to an outstanding ROA Payment, which could've been tendered using any Payment Type ("Check" or "AR Adjustments").
A Credit Memo should not be used for merchandise returns. To allow for proper handling of inventory, a return or refund should be entered as a new Invoice with a negative line item quantity. Whenever possible, miscellaneous adjustments should also be entered as Invoices. About the only reason to enter a miscellaneous adjustment as an ROA Payment is when writing off bad debt. And this should never result in a Credit Memo since it would only be done if there are unpaid Invoices to which it can be immediately applied.
A Credit Memo can be entered in the Transaction Manager (Special menu); however, this function is available only for the convenience of accepting ROA Payments at the point of sale. Whenever possible, ROA Payments should be entered on the main screen in the Accounts Receivable module. A Credit Memo reference will then only be created when the payment amount is not fully applied to open Invoices and/or Finance Charges.
Some Helpful Hints On Using Keystroke:
Look at the Computer Screen. If you're not sure what to do next, the message bar along the bottom of the screen will often give you clues to get you headed in the right direction. If you don't remember where a particular function is, press [ALT] then [Enter], and scroll across the menu bar using the arrow keys. You're likely to find what you need almost immediately.
Press [F1] for Help. The [F1] key is used to display context-sensitive Windows Help screens. [SHIFT][F1] pulls up a Table Of Contents which allows you to choose Help screens by Module.
Know Your Keyboard Template. The template provides an overview of function keys and other special keys used in Keystroke. Keystroke uses several special keys for functions which are used frequently. Many of these functions can also be selected from pull-down menus; however, after working with Keystroke for even a short time, you will probably find these keys faster and more convenient. Call SBS if you need more keyboard templates - they're free!
When All Else Fails, Call Keystroke Technical Support Services. Once you've exhausted all other options, call SBS. We are available to help you resolve and overcome technical problems encountered while using Keystroke. Please remember that Technical Support Services are not intended for step-by-step training. The best source for hands-on training is your local Authorized Key
Keystroke POS Quick Tip 1
Use More Hotkeys & Function Keys
Do you ever find yourself pounding on the [TAB] key trying to get to the bottom of a menu or dialog box, wondering if there isn't an easier way? Yes, there are easier ways, you just have to stroke the right keys!
The fastest way to get around in Keystroke (as well as most other software programs) is to use Hotkeys and Function keys. Hotkeys can be used to quickly select menu options and option buttons, or to move the cursor directly to a data entry field (skipping everything in between). Function keys allow you to access frequently used menu options without going to the menu.
Hotkeys are identified by the colored letters on menu options and dialog boxes (e.g., the 'T' in Transaction). They're normally red, except on monochrome screens where they're reversed.
In most cases (especially on dialog boxes), press and hold down the [ALT] key then press the desired Hotkey letter. Although you don't always have to use [ALT] with a Hotkey, it's best to get used to doing it that way. On menus, for example, once you hit the [ALT] key to get to the menu, you can release it. Then press just the Hotkey letter, such as 'x' for 'Exit'.
Function keys [F1] - [F12] are located along the top of your keyboard (usually). The Keystroke keyboard template is a good reminder for most Function keys, or you can press [F1] twice to look them up on-screen. If you need another keyboard template, just ask for one - they're free! Also on the keyboard template, you'll find some "Other Special Keys."
The best way to learn about Function Keys and other special keys is to experiment with them. Press [F1] for Help and navigate to the Function Keys page for details on how to use the many convenient Function Key options.
Hotkeys and Function keys may not sound like the hottest features under the sun, but the more you use them, the more you'll love using b>Keystroke!
Most Function keys do exactly the same thing as if you selected the respective function from the menu. In fact, if there is a Function key for a menu option, the appropriate key (or key combination) is referenced right there on the menu. Some Function keys have different purposes, depending on where you are in the Keystroke program. For example, [F3] the Edit key, can be used in most list boxes to edit the highlighted item (limited by Security Level of course). But in the Database Manager module,[F3] brings up a list box from which you can select which item you want to edit. Another favorite is the [F10] key, which is the same as saving or accepting whatever you've entered on the current dialog box. It's often a quicker way to select the [Save] or [Ok] button if there is one.
Keystroke POS Quick Tip 2
Entering Dates the Easy Way
Ok, it's not that hard to type in a date. But did you know there's a faster and easier way in Keystroke? When the cursor is in a date field, such as the Start or End Date for a report, you don't have to type the whole date. Keystroke will assume the current year and month unless you tell it differently. In other words, if the desired date is within the current month and year, all you need to enter is the day of the month.
For example, in April just enter  for 04/03/01, or type [3.3] for 03/03/01. This works in any Date field, such as the Start/End Dates on reports, or the pop-up Calendar function. If you want to enter a date in a different type of field, such as for Comments, just press [SHIFT F6] to enter today's date and time, or press [F6] to pop-up the Calendar. Then with the appropriate date highlighted, press [ESC] to paste in that date.
Surge Protectors, Voltage Regulators & UPS's - How to Protect Your Computer Equipment and Your Keystroke Data from Bad Power.
Has your computer system ever troubled you with random crashes, unexplainable errors, or corrupted data files? Hopefully not but if so, bad power is probably the culprit.
Studies conducted by several large corporations on what causes computer problems and data loss have confirmed that bad power is the most common reason.
So what should you do to protect your computer equipment from getting bad power? Like most things, this depends on how much money you want to spend, and how safe you want to be.
There are three basic types of power protection devices: Surge Protectors, Voltage Regulators, and Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS).
Each computer you own should at the very least be plugged in to a good quality Surge Protector (power strip). However, a recent Bell Labs study concluded that nearly 90% of all power disturbances are power sags (brownouts), not surges. While power surges can certainly cause damage, sags can starve your machine of the power it needs, causing frozen keyboards, unexpected system crashes, lock-ups, and/or data loss. Power sags can also reduce the life span of your equipment.
A common misunderstanding is that Surge Protectors and all UPS's (uninterruptable power supply) will protect a computer against most power fluctuations. Since most power fluctuations are sags not surges, this is simply not true. Therefore, Surge Protectors leave people with a false sense of security. The best power protection device is a good UPS with built-in "voltage regulation." Or, if you can't afford a good UPS, get a Voltage Regulator instead. Most UPS's include Voltage Regulation. Clean power can only be ensured by using a quality UPS with voltage regulation.
If you have a network, the file server should always be plugged into a good UPS. In the event of a power blackout, this will give you time to shut down the network properly. Another common mistake is to assume that if the network fileserver is protected, the data files are safe. Not true. Any machine on the network experiencing power fluctuations can potentially cause data problems. Also, if you want the ability to continue running your system for a limited time during a power blackout, you'll need a good UPS for each individual computer.
Here at SBS we've installed a variety of Voltage Regulators and UPS units. Most of our computers use Microsoft Windows to run several programs at the same time. Adding Voltage Regulators has definitely cut down on the frequency of "unexplainable" Windows lock-ups.
We use several brands of UPS's which have display lights showing low and high voltage conditions. It's amazing to see how many times each day the voltage regulator has to pump up the voltage. The display lights show how often power fluctuates (mostly sags, rarely surges) on what we would otherwise have believed to be good clean power.
To find out what it will cost to protect your computer equipment, call your local Keystroke Dealer.
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