First Option Newsletter

December 2017

It's that time of year again and we want to wish you a happy holiday season and provide some updates on pertinent information. 

On the First Option side, we are now offering High Availability and Disaster Recovery services through our partnership with MindSHIFT.  This service allows you to achieve your RTO at a minimal cost. 

We are also rolling out our outsource marketing support division as of January 2018.

Regarding 1099's, as of the writing of this newsletter there are no programming changes necessary. Instructions for running 1099's are listed below for your convenience. 

As a reminder, there are new deadlines for filing W-2s and 1099s, please see below for more information regarding this. 

On the IBM front, IBM will no longer provide maintenance for the Power 5 Systems as of January 2019. This is a great time to think about our hosting services as you review your 2018 budget. 

For year end, we have some sample knowledge base entries that you may find helpful and have added our holiday schedule for 2018.

We have also included an article on how to stay safe when shopping online for the holidays. 

And lastly, some final news from the Department of Labor regarding the Overtime Rule that was set to take effect December 1st, 2016.

Have a wonderful holiday season and don't forget about our "Refer a Friend" Program!

High Availability and Disaster Recovery Services
First Option is please to announce we will be rolling out High Availability and Disaster Recovery Services beginning January 2018.
No one ever wants to face a situation where their system is down for any amount of time especially long term. This could  mean the end for their business.
There is lots of talk in the industry regarding High Availability and Disaster Recovery services, especially after some of the terrible  declared disasters recently.

While everyone is in agreement of the need for these services, not all businesses can afford it. First Option has come up with a service that is both affordable and secure. This service allows you to achieve your RTO at a minimal cost.
High Availability and Disaster Recovery
  • Leveraging our partnership with MindSHIFT, First Option offers cloud based IBMi disaster recovery. 
  • We use our shared environment for a fixed monthly fee.
  • This service provides access to a recovery site in case of a declared disaster.
Contact for more information.
Outsource Marketing - Support Services 
Digital Marketing support is an integral part of every business and, in this highly technical marketing world, it's all about the data.  
For large companies, they have the advantage of a full marketing, advertising and public relations teams with assistance from outsourced agencies as needed.  

But what if you are a small to medium sized business that just can't keep up with the marketing work load, all the software and tools required? You are focusing on the core functions of your business and do not have the time to be blogging, tweeting and posting! The technical side of marketing is constantly changing and the list of skills needed continues to grow at rapid speed. 

Wouldn't it be easier if you could use an outside company to assist in some of the more daunting time consuming tasks? Marketing needs tend to shift and you may only need part time support for most of the year and to ramp up for special projects at other times.  Do you really want to go through the hiring process, or just pick up the phone and call your outsource marketing company. With our services you only pay for what you need and can adjust your hours accordingly.

Contact for more information.
January 31st Deadline for W-2s and 1099 Misc
Just a reminder
The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act, enacted last December, includes a new deadline for employers filing W-2s. Businesses are now required to file their copies of  Form W-2, submitted to the Social Security Administration, by Jan. 31st. 
The new Jan. 31 filing deadline also applies to Form 1099-MISC reporting non-employee compensation. 
  KB2Knowledgebase Entries
Year End Knowledge Base Entries

What options do I use to print 1099's?
Note: As of the writing of this newsletter there are no programming changes required for the 2016 1099's. Click link below for printing instructions. 

Accounting Period Open/Close
How do I change the G/L accounting period open/closed flags if I have already cloned them from a previous year?
To access and change the Valid for General Ledger fields in the Accounting file, and if you have cloned the accounting period and therefore copied the Closed period fields;
Use #14-Update Accounting Period Flags on the G/L  Supervisor menu.  
Enter the Corp# and year that need to be changed and press ENTER.  In the column 'Valid for G/L' key a 'Y' to allow entries to be posted into the period or an 'N' to prevent entries from being posted.  

Accounting Period Open/Close (cont.)

For more information about accounting periods, cloning and re-setting values go to the General Ledger Manual page 25 & 126.

Open New Year

How do I open a New Year for Accounts Payable and General Ledger?

Create the accounting period for each Corp/Fund for the new year. (this example is from 2016 to New Year 2017)
You can easily clone from one year to the next using Option 18 - Clone Accounting Periods , from the  General Ledger File Maintenance  menu.
You will need to key in the Corp/Fund and the "from" year 2016, then the same Corp/Fund and the 'To" year 2017, at the copy period closed area, key in a "N" and the following fields will appear.

From Corp# : 2 To Corp# : 2 

From Year : 2016 To Year : 2017

Copy Period Closed Data . . . .: N (Y,N) 

Set 12 months to Yes or No 
Valid For GL . . . . . : Y 
A/P Closed . . . . . . : N 
A/R Closed . . . . . . : N 

Set the Valid for GL, AP Closed, and AR Closed as shown above. You will need to do this for all Corps/Funds.

Stay Safe Online - Tips
Article by Melissa Goers - MindSHIFT

Follow these guidelines to help keep your online shopping in the safety zone.  

  • Update Your Computer Security Before Hitting the Cyber-Sphere
  • Avoid Clicking on Flashy Special Offers or Coupon Links
  • Verify the Site is Secure Before Entering Your Personal Data
  • Choosing An Online Retailer - Verify Legitimacy

If you suspect that you have been a victim of an internet crime, report it to your credit card company and the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center immediately. 

For the full article click here

DOL Overtime Law Update
 On August 31, 2017 U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant officially concluded that the FLSA overtime rule is invalid. This decision stemmed from a lawsuit brought forth last year. That lawsuit created a nationwide injunction for all employers blocking the Department of Labor (DOL) from implementing the new exemption rule that was intended to take effect on December 1, 2016.
What does this mean for employers? Nothing has changed. This latest development doesn't change the current course of action employers have already taken in response to last year's injunction. Employers should continue to update their job descriptions and ensure that their jobs meet one or more of the FLSA's "white collar" duties tests (Executive, Administrative, Professional, Computer and Outside Sales). The DOL is focusing its efforts on further rulemaking. In fact, the DOL has recently issued a "request for information" (RFI) asking the public for input to help guide them in potentially creating new rules.  
2018 Holiday Schedule
Click the link below for our 2018 Holiday Schedule.

If you would like to receive reminders, please Subscribe to our News section via the Helpdesk. 

Refer a Friend Program
referRefer a Friend

First Option's "refer a friend" program.

For each company, you refer to Hosting, that becomes a First Option customer, we will give you one month of hosting free! The referral can be for the GUI hosted financial package or hosting other iSeries applications. 

Make sure they use your name when contacting us or send us an email with the referrals contact information. 

Here is link to more information regarding Hosting with First Option!

First Option