Canadian Payroll 2011 mid-year tax update

The mid year tax update is posted for GP10 and coming soon for GP2010.  Changes are only (so far) for Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan.

New this time around: this is only the Canadian changes.  At the end of June there will be a hotfix which will contain US tax changes and other bug fixes.  You only have to install the tax update if you are in the jurisdictions involved – the hot fix in June will be cumulative and will contain the tax updates PLUS the regular bug fixes that normally would be in one service pack.

Here is the download link for GP10.

Here is the download link for GP2010.

Edited: June 9th – added download link for GP2010.

Disenchanted with support? I understand your pain!

Is it me or is getting support sometimes like pulling teeth?  I've had a couple of experiences lately which remind me of why I am in this business and why my clients are so appreciative of the way I deal with them and respond to their issues.  The reminder for me is NEVER to let my clients experience this with my firm – no one deserves it and even more importantly no one deserves to pay for the privilege!

Yes, it's time for another small rant…

A client had a payroll issue two weeks ago – one that stumped me and I wanted to get some help with.  Fortunately for me, I don't have to go through this pain very often as experience does wonders in helping you resolve a great many things without needing to get help from partners.

I have a few pet peeves when it comes to support. 

  1. First and foremost, PLEASE communicate with me regularly… call me crazy but I like to know that someone out there is working on my issue, even if they haven't resolved it yet, just remind me occassionally that you are actually thinking about it and doing something about it.  And by regularly, I mean at a minimum every couple of days would be nice…
  2. When you do get around to answering me, or working towards that end goal, please don't insult me by giving me a poorly thought out answer that is clearly obvious and/or already discussed.  This is even more important if you decide to not respond for a week and then give me a non-answer.

The Issue

The client's issue was a simple-enough sounding message “Account Number does not exist”.  They can't post their payroll, Canadian Payroll would not create the poster file.  The error occurred on one person only, on a vacation “taken” paycode, and other people with the same paycode in that payroll all were fine (it found the account).

The Troubleshooting

There are a few moving parts at work with Canadian Payroll in how it posts but relative to other modules, there are really only a handful of things to look at really.  The account number is driving primarily from the paycodes themselves so we checked the Income Paycode and sure enough there was an account number there, and yes, it did exist in the GL.  We checked the GL Account to make sure it wasn't inactive or anything special that would prevent posting to it.  Hmm… the start of the head scratching!

Canadian Payroll also has a “masking” feature to distribute to departments – i.e. each department has a Salary Expense account and the company wants to post payroll to the dept the person worked in.  Fairly standard stuff, that setup is in the Canadian Payroll Control window and this company does not use it anyway.  Tick.  Crossing off things on the mental checklist.

Now I'm losing hair I'm scratching my head so much! (LOL).  The error seems so simple.  I used the Support Debugging Tool to generate some scripts and logging of the error.  It doesn't help but does lead me to look at a third party product, which was referenced with a “[Not Found]” error of its own.

Asking for Help

This was a payroll issue, fortunately it had no effect on payroll itself nor on getting the employees paid on time.  However they run a weekly payroll and this payroll needs to be posted – Canadian Payroll needs the “Update Masters” procedure to be run or else the next week's pay run's Year To Dates may be incorrect.  THAT would be bad.

First I was going to simply open a support case through my Partnersource account, sending them the documentation I've done on the issue to date and the SDT logs etc. and be on my merry way… not so fast!  Here is the short timeline which 14 days later is yet to be resolved.

  • Two weeks ago I tried to submit a support case.  It's pretty easy really, pick your customer, pick the module, type in some information and submit.  In my case, being a small partner, I don't buy support incidents because I don't use them very often (read: 1 per year would be a lot).  So for me I have to input my credit card information to pay for the case up front.  No big deal, it's part of doing business.  PROBLEM: I get a “you're not authorized” page when I get past picking my customer and the module.  Fortunately for me there's a handy link to “submit this problem to our support team” button… glad they make this easy! (note the sarcasm…)
  • This issue was submitted at night after hours, the next morning there was the auto-reply with a case number etc. – FABULOUS.  I love it!
  • Later the same day, less than 24 hours after submitting, I get an answer: You don't have any support incidents left.  DUH… that is correct, which is why I was trying to create a case with a credit card – something I've done in the past without issue.  I reply re-iterating my issue and the credit card thing.
  • 2 days later (3 days since the original) I have heard nothing and respond again, inquiring about the status of the case.
  • 3 days later (6 days since the original) I get an email where I am copied on the shuffling of my case to some other department and there are several “departments” copied on the email.  Lovely.  Mental note, large companies don't tend to communicate well between departments… losing faith this will get resolved.
  • 1 day later (7 days since the original) Someone who thankfully subscribes to a “regular communication is good” mantra follows up with me to ask me if I have heard back from this new department yet.  I respond.
  • 2 days later (9 days since the original) Someone forwards me the response from this other department.  The message in a nutshell is: we don't have access to this area, we can't fix it, the website is down and someone else needs to deal with this.
  • 2 days later (11 days since the original) I get an email telling me the case is being closed since it is resolved. 

It is now 14 days since the original support case was submitted and I have heard nothing else, nor do I expect to.  I don't know what department is supposed to resolve this, don't know how to get in touch and at this point, figure that by the time I need to do another it may be resolved.

If this was the experience a client received, I would be appalled…

Asking for Help – attempt #2

Avenue #2 was to look at this third party reference in the debugging tool scripts and sql logs.  This particular tool has literally nothing to do with the GL accounts on payroll paycodes but since it was mentioned in the scripts and did only occur on this particular person's records, according to the script results.  Perhaps there is something that is blocking this that they can resolve. 

This particular third party firm I can't submit a support case online so I call them and speak to someone there who I explain the issue to.  She patiently listens and asks me one or two questions and gets my contact information, and the details on the case.  I get an email with a case link that I can now follow online – fabulous!  Love the tools!  I log in and dutifully update the case with the supporting documentation, screen shots, everything I can think of that would help them including the support files that show an error from their product.

After nearly 2 days I update the case with a request for an ETA on when I might be getting a response, not the answer, just a timeline on a possible answer.

7 days later, I get an update with – sorry – a really dumb answer, an “insult to my intelligence” answer that I hope to goodness I am not going to get charged for.  Their response? “The ____ product does not affect the Canadian payroll distributions. We suggest to create the gl account the detail posting report is looking for and post the batch.”  Yikes!  Are you kidding me?  It's beyond stunning to me how a firm that offers support can think that is acceptable.  “Create the account then post the batch”.  DUH… one of the first things we discussed was that the account does already exist.

C'mon man!  *smacking my head in disbelief*

If I get a bill in the mail for this one, whoever answers my call then won't like me very much!

Asking for Help – attempt #3

In the meantime, clearly I continue to have a payroll issue to resolve and I went to the Partner Online Technical Communities to get some “free” help.  It took 2-3 days for someone to respond to my post but when they did, they did help me sort through some other possible areas to check. 

At the end of this all, I resolved it before getting any support from the 3 sources I tried – meaning I created a workaround to be able to post but we still have never resolved why it happened in the first place.  My message to support teams out there: It's payroll people!  That can't wait!  The online tech communities helped me look at things to continue to find a solution but in the end, I was left unsupported by the businesses I am supposedly “partnered” with and that was very frustrating.

The Lesson Learned

Companies get away with providing bad to horrible support every day but in the long run they lose clients because of this.  The unfortunate reality is for larger firms – and they tend to be the ones that offer lower quality support, at least until something is escalated until you get to someone who knows what they are talking about – new customers keep on coming in the door attracted to your shiny sales pitches and promises of grandeur.  Look at our fancy support website!  You can get support at all hours of the day!  Yeah right… it seems more like “you'll have to wade through our junior support people who will give you bad information before you work your way up to someone who can really help”.

I'm a small firm, every lost customer I could potentially have is a major deal.  I treat the clients like that, and so do many other STELLAR small consulting firms out there.  Small isn't always better, you miss out on the cumulative experience of a larger group but what you lose there, you gain in respect, hard work, and dealing with people who actually care about your issue and resolving it.

I do like running into situations like this every once in a while, because it is a reminder of what I strive to do differently in my business and always have in my years of consulting.  Please don't misinterpret this to be anti-Microsoft, what I describe above you will find at EVERY other large firm out there doing ERP business or other things requiring software support.  Unfortunately no one has this market covered when it comes to sub-standard support and there are diamonds in the rough out there in the large firms that do care – it's just hard to find them!

Update 1 (April 4, 2011)

I originally posted this on March 22nd, and I wanted to post an update in the interest of fairness…

Today I received a call from Microsoft – from Crystal, a support team manager who manages the payroll team, after she read this blog post.  I discussed my concerns with her and she will be looking into where the VOICE/website issue is as well as why there hasn't been any communication to me yet on it being resolved (yes, it is still outstanding).  It was fabulous to get a personal call, and I hope that it gets resolved shortly.  I don't actually know if I am the only one affected but it's hard to tell.  As for my client's issue, I haven't yet submitted a support case and explained why to Crystal on the phone… the workaround got the payroll posted and the issue hasn't recurred yet.  The client will test further to reproduce the problem and then we will resume troubleshooting, this time with Microsoft's assistance.

Update 2 (April 19, 2011)

Two updates: .

  • The VOICE/website issue is resolved finally… thank you!
  • The Third Party vendor I tried to get support from in “Attempt #2” billed me… well, it gets worse, they billed MY CLIENT directly for the support case.  Nice!  I'm a pretty reasonable person, I'm not a yell-and-scream-til-I-get-what-I-want person.  BUT, this is ridiculous – answer a question 7 days later, with a lame answer – then bill my client for it?  Seriously, I can't make this sh*t up.  I've voiced my displeasure – and if they insist the charges need to be paid, I WILL pay it, begrudgingly, because that is how I run my business… I don't like how they are running theirs but I'm not going to ruin my reputation on stiffing them or taking a chance that it affects my client somehow down the road when they legitimately need support.

Canadian Payroll 2010 Year End Tax Update – Round 2

The Dynamics GP Canadian Payroll Round 2 tax updates for year end are now all released (this is old news now as the first one, for GP9, was released on January 20th).

There are downloads for release 9.0, 10.0 and 2010, however the new T4A functionlity is only included for GP10 and GP2010.  The GP9 download is bug fixes and a Quebec RL-1 slip change only.

The installation guide had everything you want and need to know in terms of what is changed and what is included or not.  That guide can be downloaded here: Canadian Payroll Round 2 tax update 2011 (on customersource).

Release 9.0:

Download Link (Customersource)

Versions after install:

Dynamics 9.0.386
Canadian Payroll 9.0.387

 

Release 10.0:

Download Link (Customersource)

Versions after install:

Dynamics 10.0.1701
Canadian Payroll 10.0.???? (to be determined)

 

Release 2010:

Download Link (Customersource)

Versions after install:

Dynamics 11.0.1677
Canadian Payroll 11.0.1674

Canadian Payroll 2010 Year End Update – issues for GP9?

Hey Canadian Payroll fans out there… it’s me again with some possible bad news.  It seems there is an issue appearing that is pretty specific to a group of customers that fit a certain criteria, namely: customers on GP9 who had previously upgraded from something else to GP9.

The issue is with the table conversion on CPY10100, CP50100 where 4 columns in these two tables have incorrect lengths and the failed tables list is showing a status 135 meaning not having the correct structure prior to upgrading the database.

Updated Dec 23, 2010: the original download page now includes the file to correct issues with the incorrect column lengths.  Look in the Overview section for the link to the file.  Link is here.

The bad good news

There is no fix ready yet – Microsoft is working on a script and I’ll update the status of this post as we get more details.

Mid-way through writing this post I received another email with a resolution for this.  A script has been created and will be posted to customersource on Thursday.   I will update this post with the link once it’s posted.  (I have the script but don’t feel it’s wise to post it here, I’d prefer readers get the script via their partner or via their customersource account).

What to check

These scripts can be run at any time, ideally the earlier the better so that you can identify potential issues before you start your tax update.  There is nothing worse than coming in over the holidays, possibly during a seasonal shut down period, to do an update and only then find you have an issue.  Often times these year end updates are being run during times when partners and support-networks are on reduced hours due to holidays so preparing in advance and doing risk-assessment is very wise!

  • Run these scripts in SQL Management Studio
  • It is a database specific so select the company db(s) that have Canadian Payroll in them when you run the script.
  • It is wise to check ALL of your companies even if you don’t run payroll in them because the tables may still exist.
  • If you haven’t run an sp_help command before, it returns a bunch of information about a table that is irrelevant for this issue; the second set of results is the list of column names, field type, and length among other things with “Length” being the column of interest here.

sp_help CPY10100

sp_help CPY50100

  • Look for these fields in both sp_help results lists and determine if you see the proper field lengths for each or not.

PAddress1 – column length should be 61, incorrect table structure may show 31
PAddress2 – column length should be 61, incorrect table structure may show 31
PCity – column length should be 35, incorrect table structure may show 30
Pcountry – column length should be 61, incorrect table structure may show 20

(Edited Dec 23, 2010 to re-post link to GP9 tax table download where the link to the script to resolve this issue is located.)

Canadian Payroll 2010 Year End Update – posted

The Dynamics GP Canadian Payroll tax updates for year end are now released.

Canadian Payroll 2010 Year End Update – a two part journey

Hello Canadian Payroll fans… this is an update to my previous post last month, with some news from Microsoft.  Reminder: this update contains table changes which often means longer updates and more possibility of complications – ensure your process includes backups as you proceed through the install!

GP9.0 users – please note a Round 2 update is coming this year which is NOT being made available for GP9.  Please review the functionality that it contains if it affects the timing of your plans to upgrade!

Target Release Date

Friday, December 17th, 2010 is the aim for English with French to follow.  The release will be available for 9.0, 10.0 and 2010.

New! Expect Round 2 in mid-January

Yes, you read that correctly!  Some new functionality that is not in the year end update will be released in “Round 2” (E.T.A mid-January 2011). Very important for 9.0 customers who are delaying upgrading – you WILL NOT be getting the Round 2 update!  This is only being released for GP10 and GP2010.

What does Round 2 have?

The Round 2 update will be supporting the new T4A boxes (Patronage allocation, registered pension, pension adjustment, RESP, Charitable donation, etc).  For more information on the T4A re-design, see the Canada Revenue Agency’s What’s New link and New T4A codes for 2011.

What does the Year End Update have?

Apart from the normal tax rate changes and some bug fixes, here are changes specific to the year end update:

  • XML file format updates for RL-1, T4 and T4A
  • Update to RL-1 (ability to print amended and original)
  • New T4 boxes (66 Eligible Retiring Allowances, 67 Non-eligible Retiring Allowances, 68 Status Indian Eligible Retiring Allowances, 69 Status Indian Non-Eligible Retiring Allowances, and 86 Stock Option Cash-Out Expense)
  • T4A slip form layout change (2 part form instead of 3 part form)
  • Quebec added functionality around WCB CSST

Which tables are affected?

The following tables will have fields added to them to support the new functionality.

  • CPY10103 P_CPY_Employee_T4_MSTR
  • CPY50103 P_CPY_Employee_T4_MSTR_LY
  • CPY30250 P_CPY_Calc_MSTR
  • CPY30150 P_CPY_Calc_WORK
  • CPY50250 P_CPY_Calc_MSTR_LY
  • CPY30151 P_CPY_Employee_T4_WORK
  • CPY40105 P_CPY_R1
  • CPY70105 P_CPY_R1_LY
  • CPY40115 P_CPY_SETP_R1_Summary
  • CPY70115 P_CPY_SETP_R1_Summary_LY
  • CPY10100 P_CPY_MSTR
  • CPY50100 P_CPY_MSTR_LY

General Info on What’s New for 2011

The most significant changes are with the T4A and Retiring Allowances moving from the T4A to the T4 slip for 2011.  See the Canada Revenue Agency’s list of what’s new for more details.

Canadian Payroll 2010 Year End Update – heads up!

Two important notes for Dynamics GP Canadian Payroll clients!