New website, FBS Upgrades, "Best Practices" for "List Codes", Multiple Checking/Savings Accounts, Free December Webinar Schedule
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 FarmSMART                                              November 2011 

In this Issue:

FBS Upgrades

New Website

"Best Practices" for "List Codes"

Multiple Checking/Savings Accounts

Free December Webinar Schedule 

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For many of you Harvest 2011 is history and you're well into planning for 2012 and beyond.  

Wrapping Up Harvest
Wrapping up harvest

Whether you're still stuck on the combine or hunched over your desk you'll be relieved that the upgrade process this year is nearly effortless.  Read about the cool new features and how to receive them instantly. 

Our Best Practices series turns to a topic that applies to all FBS users:  how to code and report on any "list" in our software. 

Sarah's back with her Q&A column providing advice for organizing multiple bank and saving accounts

Our blog site wonders whether it's really possible to do farm accrual accounting with Quickbooks and whether farm financial reportinghas been sucked into a time warp.


FBS Upgrades Plug Into Internet for Instant Delivery and Notifications   

New FBS Version home screen
FBS Version 8.12 and 10.1 include real-time notifications right on the home screen (highlighted box).

The latest FBS upgrades--Versions 8.12 and 10.1--provide clients a seamless transition into a whole new interactive software experience

Ready for immediate download (see instructions below), these upgrades include these features*:

  • Real-time notification window (see screen view above).
  • Greater capacities and user levels.
  • Scalable screens/fonts (Version 10.1 only).
  • More import options (contracts/ledger accounts).
  • Accounting User-Defined Report includes 33 columns.
  • New data fields added to Report Generator.
  • Import files form Trimble, John Deere APEX and Ag Leader SMS.
  • Feeding reports can combine nursery-finishing stages in performance analysis.
  • Expanded Feeding User-Defined Report lines and options.
  • More integration with DTN market data.
  • Numerous Smart Breeder enhancements.
  • New Parts Inventory Module with purchase orders.

For a complete "What's New" pamphlet click here

Version 8.12 is built on FBS's proven VB platform while Version 10.1 is written in .NET to take advantage of state-of-the-art computer processor and memory configurations. 

Program CDs have already been shipped to Corporate, VIP and Priority Service Agreement clients, with Basic-level clients scheduled to receive the CDs in December.  However, you don't have to go through the hassle of reinstalling from the CD to enjoy these features.  Just go to Utilities | Check for Updates on your FBS Home Screen for your download. (See menu option below.) 

Check for Updates Menu
Download your upgrade by selecting this menu option.

You must be current with your FBS Service Agreement to qualify for these upgrades.  For more information contact FBS at 800.437.7638 or email   

* Some new features apply to optional modules.  More explanation see the "What's New" document. 

Apply "Best Practices" to "List Codes"  

 Editor's noteThis article continues a new series on the "best practices" FBS users have developed to improve effectiveness, efficiency, internal control and compliance from their information system.  

Over that past six months we've been discussing "best practices" for FBS Ledger Accounts and Cost/Profit Centers. This month instead of concentrating on a specific category or module we'll share some across-the-board principles to help you get the maximum value out of FBS's coding and reporting logic. 


All FBS modules utilize specialized lists for accounting segments, inventories and sub-classifications. Most use up to six-characters with the exception of Projects and Groups which can include up to twelve characters. Although these codes are usually called "Numbers" (going back to the DOS days) they can include letters (upper and lower case) as well as numbers. 

"Illegal" Characters vs. Report Filters 

While nothing prevents you from using nearly any character on your keyboard in a list code, you should avoid these special characters used in FBS reports: 

"-" is used to define a range of items (800-870) 

"," is used to select multiple items that are not in a single range (B400, 9400, 69234) 

"?" is used as a "wild card mask" to find all items that match a specific criteria (5?? will return all items that contain three characters and begin with "5"). 

Code Length 

Don't make your codes any longer than absolutely necessary. Remember, you'll have to find and type these codes every day. 

To facilitate the "wild card" reporting described above you'll want to use the same number of characters within a particular list. The exception is the Center list, which can be grouped by frequency of transactions (i.e. sales centers using short codes appearing at the top of the list and equipment using longer codes at the bottom of the list). 

If you intend to use E.CLIPSE Management Accounting make sure your crop or livestock production centers don't exceed five characters so that WIP Centers can be automatically created.

Seed List
Seed numbers provide a logical coding system.

 Coding System

 Here you'll need to choose between the two schools of thought:

  • The Numeric view believes that data entry is most efficient way totype using the numeric keypad.
  • The Alpha camp is convinced that using meaningful alpha abbreviations is the most efficient way to locate something so you can type it.

Regardless of your preference here are some tips to improve your efficiency and reduce frustration:

  • Develop a meaningful hierarchywith the "highest" level of identifiers on the left and the least critical on the right.
  • Sort the Description column in the setup screen and items on many FBS lists will remain sorted alphabetically in the data entry mode.
  • Use commonly-used codes if available (i.e. seed variety numbers, supplier SKU numbers).
  • FBS will treat lower and upper case letters as separate codes (allowing 62 possibilities for each position (26 upper case, 26 lower case and 10 numbers); however, report searches are not case-sensitive.

Sort Logic

 Before you begin using a list coding system it's helpful to understand how FBS (and software in general) sorts items, which always appear in this order:

  • Shortest length of characters ("F" will appear before "10").
  • Numbers before letters ("99" will appear before "B1").
  • Upper case letters before lower case letters ("Z" comes before "a").

 So with six potential characters the first possible item on a sorted list is "0" and the last is "zzzzzz". That's why many FBS reports will "default" to "0-zzzzzz" in their list selection fields.

 We encourage you to fine-tune your own coding systems using these "best practice" guidelines. Remember you can re-label any list within FBS except Project and Groups without disturbing your data.

Visited Our Website Yet?
FBS Systems Home PageThere's a wealth of timely information waiting your inspection at our new website. Check them out now by clicking on the image or any of the links below.

To start your tour, click on the image above. 

Leave comments or suggestions regarding our website.

Free December Webinar Schedule
Webinar Screen
Year-end checklist, December 5  
Crop production reports, December 12 
Cost Analysis, December 19 


To register, e-mail by 9:00 am CST on the day of the webinar.

Q&A of the Month--Multiple Checking/Savings Accounts 
Sarah Dixon
Sarah Dixon, FBS Technical Services Manager.

Q.  How do I get my primary checking account to be the "default"account for checks and deposits?  Also is there a way that I can keep my savings accounts from being included with the list of checking accounts?   

A.  There are two ways to get a specific bank account to come up as the default.
  1. The "default" bank account on the data entry screen is normally the bank account that is first numerically on the Ledger Account Setup. So one way to move a bank account to the top of the selection list is to simply change its number so it's the first on the list.  (FBS permits on-the-fly account relabeling without disturbing historical transactions.)
  2.  The second way to set a specific bank account as the default is to go to Utilities | Set Preferences and find the TA+ Entry Bank Account line.  In the Value column enter the desired bank account number and click Save.  
Default Bank Account
Default Bank Account Preference

Savings accounts will appear on the list of bank accounts if they are set to Type M.  If you never write checks or drafts from the savings account, change it to Type A (Standard).  You can use a journal entry to record deposits and withdrawals. 

Otherwise number it with a higher number than the bank accounts so it's displayed on the bottom of the pick list.


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