As we start a new year, many of us will perform a system “year-end” for the prior year. Before you run your DMS system year-end process, it might be a good time to find out what happens to your data and is there any way to prevent it. As an explanation, there are two types of DMS accounting systems, buckets and data sensitive. A bucket system keeps all your data in an open bucket until you process the month or year-end and then it either moves it to historical data and/or compresses the data. The accounting process is that the total of sales, costs of sales, other income and expenses equal your net profit for the year. A typical year-end process sums up these items and posts the total into retained earnings. That is why the dreaded 13th entries are posted later the next year directly to retained earnings instead of debited an expense account. If you have a bucket DMS system, then there is a chance that you might lose some of that detail after you run year-end; thus the reason for needing a good backup of your accounting detail before this happens.
Next you need a backup of your inventories. Inventory reports are like snapshots of data. At the end of the year your new, used, labor, and parts inventories will never be the same after you start a new year. If you need that snapshot of your inventory do perform LIFO calculations. Finally you can combine cars and trucks for your LIFO pool, but it doesn’t hurt to make sure you run these data extractions separately just to make sure. Get as much detail as you can for all your inventories to make sure you’ll have what your accountants need.
The last two pieces of data are your sales transaction and customer files. A sales transaction is different from an accounting transaction. Sales transactions are parts tickets, repair orders, and car deals. The detail in these files are much more than the detail that you’d find in the journals and it is important to grab these in case your year-end process decides to tidy up a bit. You need information like the payoff date to sell to this customer again. If you’re converting to a new DMS system, many will only grab a certain amount of data so best to get all of that now. I have a client that has been on their DMS system for over 20 years, but their new DMS provider will only agree to grab the last two years of data and only customers who have had contact in the last two years! The new DMS provider won’t get any of the F&I deals since they are a lot of trouble to convert. Many of the systems have different name files and numbering structures. Some use the same number for different types of customers; for example you might have customer #223 that is a vendor and that same number is an employee and also a service or sales customer. If the system you are converting to has a single numbering system, then a few of the #223 records will be lost since most use the customer number as a “key” field and will only convert the first #223 that it loads. If that is the case, then find the overlaps and either give them different numbers before the conversion, or run a report so that the new DMS provider can upload the duplicates with a new number system you provide. For example if you have a vendor #223, for NAPA parts, then you might give it a new number of NAPA223 in the new system (if it will accept alphanumeric characters.) Be sure and map out the schedule and accounting records that are being converted for vendor #223 to the new number, otherwise you’ll be paying customer 223 or employee 223 for all the NAPA parts invoices! Each time a see a bad data conversion it is normally not the fault of the DMS provider – it is merely a difference between how your old DMS system stored data and how the new system stores its data. If you would like year-end and DMS conversion checklist for data, please visit www.Dealerstar.com and I’ll have it on the IT Manager page for you to download or stop by the Dealer magazine booth # 582 at NADA during my booth schedule times and I’ll give you a copy.