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What is the goal of project accounting?

The Project Accounting add-on package for xTuple is a solution especially designed for professional services companies, non-profit groups who need fund accounting and manufacturers or distributors with advanced project accounting requirements. At the heart of Project Accounting is the concept of the "virtual" General Ledger (G/L) Account. With Project Accounting, virtual G/L Accounts are built dynamically or "on-the-fly" using a combination of existing G/L Account Numbers and the linked Project Name. Transactions flowing from Project-related Sales Orders, Purchase Orders and Work Orders are generally supported by Project Accounting.

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How do I configure my system?

Each database used by your organization has various extensions associated with it. These extensions may be modules (e.g., CRM) or other free or commercial add-ons. For each extension there will be configuration options. In most cases, your system administrator will be responsible for configuring your extensions. However, anyone with the appropriate privileges may also configure extensions.

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How can I learn more about job costing?

The topic of job costing is covered in some detail in the manual Managing Projects with xTuple. The book can be read online for free or purchased for download through the xTuple MarketPlace.

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My product is not showing up in the right group on the xTupleCommerce website. Where do I fix this?

The product catalog is managed in the xTuple ERP database. You’ll want to check the product catalog to make sure the product is in the right group.

Navigate to the item in the xTuple ERP database. Then, under attributes, look at the table on the bottom of the window. The group name will identify which group(s) the item is associated with in the catalog. 

If the item should be showing in a different group, navigate to the item groups via Products > Item > Groups. Then select the group you want to edit and make any needed change. 

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What is the contractor option on employee records used for?

The contractor option should be selected and used for employees who are not on your payroll. Time logged by contract employees is accounted for differently than it is for regular employees. The main difference is that contractor time is not considered a labor cost, as it is for employees. Instead, contractor time is considered an expense which can be vouchered and then paid by check. Just as you can for regular employees, contractor time and expenses can also be billed to customers.

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How do I drill down into inventory history?

The advanced search panel gives you the most control when trying to locate specific records or groups of records in inventory history. Click on the advanced search button in the main menu to open the advanced search panel. Using advanced search, you can specify multiple different parameters—making it possible to drill down and reach the specific records you are looking for.

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What is a characteristic role?

Characteristic roles define where characteristics can be used. For example, if you want a characteristic to be associated with contact records, you would select the contact role. Item characteristics would require the item role. And so on. Individual characteristics may be associated with multiple roles. The same characteristic might apply to contacts and addresses and opportunities. If you are having trouble finding a characteristic to associate, it's likely the characteristic role isn't defined properly.

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How are shifts used?

Shifts are used to track employees' weekly hours, including break periods and overtime hours. Shifts get assigned to employees on the employee master record. When employees clock into a shift—or to work orders during their shift—the rules of the shift are applied. The rules of a shift include pre-defined start/end times, break times, labor rate, etc.

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How do transfer orders differ from inter-site transfers?

Transfer orders are distinct from inter-site transfers in three primary ways. First, transfer orders allow you to move multiple items all at once between sites—instead of just one item at a time. Second, transfer orders always involve an intermediate transit site, for tracking inventory while it is "in transit." And third, there are reports (i.e., paperwork) associated with transfer orders.

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Can I use abbreviations for state names?

Yes, you may abbreviate state names. However, before manually adding a state (or province) you should check whether the state already exists in the database. (Hint: If you enter the country first, the corresponding states, if available, will appear.) For example, the default list of states for the United States uses the standard two-letter abbreviations. New York appears as NY and Virginia appears as VA in the list of U.S. states.

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Do you have basic project management information?

The topic of project basics is covered in some detail in the manual Managing Projects with xTuple. The book can be read online for free or purchased for download through the xTuple MarketPlace.

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How do I handle deferred revenue?

To handle deferred revenue, enter a cash receipt and specify you want the balance applied as a customer deposit. Doing this will ensure the cash balance is posted to the deferred revenue account, as defined in the receivables account assignments setup.

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Can I add PDFs to an item and have them show up on my xTupleCommerce website?

Yes, you can add documents, such as PDFs, to individual items in the same way that you would add images linked to items. Like item images, the PDFs need to be stored on a separate web server, with a unique URL for each PDF. However, the ERP should contain cross references to these PDFs, via their URL.

To enter URLs for PDFs in the ERP, go to the item master for the item in question and follow these steps:

  1. Select the documents tab
  2. Choose the ATTACH button
  3. Next to the "related to" option, choose the "website" option from the list
  4. Enter the URL for the PDF
  5. Specify a name to identify it

The PDF will show up on the product page as a link for the user to view and download.

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How do I install pgcrypto?

If you are going to use credit card processing or if you're getting this message ERROR:  function decrypt(bytea, bytea, unknown) does not exist then you need to install pgcrypto. Pgcrypto is a library used for encrypting sensitive data. The pgcrypto software is a popular add-on package included with the PostgreSQL source code distribution. The pgcrypto module is used by our credit card encryption functionality.  Even if you are not processing credit cards, we still recommend that pgcrypto be installed. 

First, we need to locate the pgcrypto.sql file.  One typical path to this is:

/usr/local/pgsql/share/contrib/pgcrypto.sql

If it isn't there you can always search for the file.  You may need to perform the search as root (be patient, this takes a while):

find / | grep pgcrypto.sql

Or if you're on Windows just use the Windows file search.

Once you've located the file the next step is to install it.  The command to install pgcrypto onto your database is:

psql -U mfgadmin NameOfDB < /wherever/the/file/is/pgcrypto.sql 

Or if you prefer using pgAdmin, connect to the database you want to install pgcrypto and open/execute pgcrypto.sql through the SQL Editor.  It is also a good idea to install pgcrypto.sql on the template1 database.

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What API keys and fields are required to use FedEx with xTupleCommerce?

If you want to include FedEx in the list of shipping options for your xTupleCommerce customers, you'll need to acquire API keys from FedEx, for both your production and development environments. Once you have the information and have added the keys to the ERP, the keys will need to be added to the xTupleCommerce website.

Here is an outline of the fields you need for both the production and development keys: 

Production Keys

  • Account Username
  • Account Password
  • Authentication Key
  • Meter Number
  • Account Number
  • Production API Password
  • Production URL

Development Keys

  • Account Username
  • Account Password
  • Test Key
  • Test Key Password
  • Test Account Number
  • Test Meter Number
  • Test URL
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What type of security is used on xTupleCommerce and the ERP?

Our systems, both xTupleCommerce and the xTuple REST API, require an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate to function. SSL is a standard security technology for creating and encrypted connection between a server and a client (for example, between a user's browser and the webserver). It allows sensitive information to be transferred in a secure fashion. Without an SSL the data would be sent between the server and client in plain text, which is not secure. In plain text an attacker could intercept the plain text data and have access to sensitive information.

Neither the xTupleCommerce system or the ERP stores plain text credit card information in the database. Both systems integrate with Authorize.net via their API. The same SSL technology is used to encrypt and send information to and from Authorize.net and we rely on Authorize.net to store credit card information in a secure fashion.

When storing a credit card on file we use Authorize.net tokens that represent the credit card information and customer data. On the ERP Postgres database we use the Blowfish Security algorithm for encrypting sensitive information. This ensures that the customer information is never passed or stored as plain text, but rather a encrypted string of letters and numbers that serve as a key to unlock that information. Without a direct connection to the Authorize.net system through the API integration, the keys are worthless which prevent attackers from obtaining the sensitive information.

Additional Resources

Authorize.net - how credit card processing works

Authorize.net - storing customer data

SSL information

Authorize.net API Reference Guide

Understanding PCI Compliance

Postgres Blowfish Security Algorithm

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Where can I find reporting by department?

The employee search screen allows you to filter employees by department. You can also write custom reports to include department and other employee information.

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Are incident severities configurable?

Yes, you can define your severities in any way you wish to meet the needs of your organization. And there is no limit to the number of severities you can create.

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Can time and expenses be charged to customers?

Yes, time and expense information entered on worksheets can be billed directly to your customers. Billing rates can be entered on an ad hoc basis—or you can set up pre-defined rates for your customers at the project task level.

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Does Connect support SSL or TLS?

Yes, beginning with xTuple Connect version 3.8, support is available for SSL and TLS encryption for email sent over SMTP.

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Why can't I ship my transfer order?

If you are trying to ship a transfer order but it doesn't appear in the list of orders to be shipped, there's a good chance the transfer order has not been released yet. Transfer orders must be open/released before they can be shipped. To release a transfer order, change its status from unreleased to open.

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How do shipment numbers get generated?

Shipment numbers are generated as soon as you issue stock to shipping for an order. The shipment number is pulled from the shipping configuration panel. During configuration, you define the initial shipment number—and then every shipment automatically increments the base shipping number by one. For example, if your starting shipment number is 60001, the second will be 60002, the third 60003, etc.

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What are the job cost recognition options?

The job cost recognition options establish the default costing behavior when creating work orders for average cost or job items. These defaults can be overridden at the item site level or at the level of specific work orders you create. If the to date option is specified, all of the WIP costs accumulated to date will be charged to the cost of sales when the item is shipped. If the proportional option is specified, a value up to the proportional value of the total quantity shipped will be charged to the cost of sales when the item is shipped. For an example of the proportional method, assume 3 items are to be shipped on a job work order and all the material has been issued—and if only 1 of the 3 is shipped—then 1/3 of the value charged to WIP at that point will be charged to the cost of sales.

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How do I get started with sales analysis?

To get started analyzing your sales performance, follow these steps:

  1. Select a cube
  2. Select a dimension (e.g., customer)
  3. Select a dimension level (e.g., customer name) or drag the level to columns or rows
  4. Select a measure (e.g., amount, booking) or drag the measure to columns or row

You should now see a table of measures organized by the dimension you chose. You can continue selecting dimensions and measures to analyze your data in other ways.

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What are item characteristics?

Item characteristics are used to create additional layers of information about items. For example, let's say you sell toy trucks. You might use item characteristics to define the various options available on your toy trucks—such as paint color or decal kit. Taking the color example, your toy truck characteristics might include "Red," "Green," "Blue," and "Yellow." Item characteristics are useful for reporting purposes. They also play a key role in the assemble-to-order configuration system.

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