First Option Newsletter      


November 2012  


In This Issue
First Option Holiday Schedule
Sneak Peak GUI Based Financial Application
Year End Tips
IBM Power 7 Implementation Tips
Top 3 Reasons to Host
Quick Links
First Option Holiday Schedule

All of Us at First Option Wish You and Your Families a Very Happy Thanksgiving!


First Option will be closed Thanksgiving and the day after, Friday 11/23.  If you have a  work stoppage emergency,  we will contact you as soon as a resource is available.  Otherwise, we will respond to your ticket on Monday, 11/26.    

Click link below for the Holiday Schedule for the remainder of 2012 and 2013.

Holiday Schedule 

 Sneak Peak - New GUI  Based Financial Software.
software services

Our beta sites have been testing the new GUI based software for the past six months and the reviews are great!

The release date is currently targeted for Mid February 2013. The hosted customers will have the first opportunity to convert to the new system and then we will begin offering to the remainder of customer base.

Some of the new features include:

  • Easy to Maneuver Screens - Command Keys have been replaced with buttons. System function keys have also been replaced by easy to read buttons.
  • Same format - The application menus remain in the same navigation as the green screen so you will be familiar with your day to day functions and not slowed down by training issues.
  • GL Upload - The GL upload can now be done via the Daily Processing menu in General Ledger.
  • Customize the size of your screen - You can make your screen larger for easy reading.
  • Screens are easier to read and don't have glare of green screen.
  • Can access First Option's helpdesk from your application screen and enter a ticket or view the knowledgebase and News section.
  • Can access First Option's blog from the application main menu and get software tips and updated news.


Click on link below for a sneak preview of the GUI based version.  


Sneak Peak 


Year End Tips

IT Services

It's hard to believe that 2012 is coming to a close. Based on data from the tickets entered for fiscal year-end 2011, here are the most frequently asked questions.


1.)    Why am I getting the message "Accounting Period Not Open For ...?"Click  Knowledgbase Entry - The most common reason for this message in January of a New Year is the accounting periods have not been cloned. The best time to clone your 2013 accounting periods is December of 2012. Avoid the message and clone 2013 accounting periods now!


2.)    How do I change the accounting period open/closed flags if I have already cloned them from a previous year? Click Knowledgebase Entry The most common reason for this message in January of a New Year is the accounting periods have been cloned but the "Copy Period Closed Data" was set to "Y" instead of 'N". You can update the closed flag by using option #14-Update Accounting Period Flags on the G/L Supervisor menu. Avoid this message and select "N" for "Copy Period Closed Data"


3.)    Which options on the Year End Processing menu do I use for generating my 1099s? Click Knowledgebase Entry It's best to review this knowledge base item well in advance of creating/printing 1099s. Also, remember to order your 1099s early and select the appropriate form for your company (e.g., two up or four up.)  


4.)    How do I run the GL Year End Close - See page 89 on the online General Ledger manual. 


5.)    I ran the GL Year End Close, but my beginning balances did not post to the New Year - why? Click Knowledgebase Entry The most common reason for this message in January of a New Year is a batch has been rejected in most cases because of an invalid accounting period. (see items 2 & 3)

For more detailed information, review the knowledge base entries listed above.    


If you have not registered as a help desk user, please click Helpdesk and sign up now!  

IBM Power 7 Implementation Tips


Upgrading to the iSeries Power 7?


The performance increase for the price is a pretty compelling argument to make the jump. In some of the migrations this means jumping from V5R4 to V7R1 skipping V6R1. At a high level, the typical upgrade process should include but is not necessarily limited to:


1.) Contact all iSeries software providers for new software license keys, if applicable.   Also, to ensure the version you are currently running is compatible with the target OS release.


2.) Upgrade to the First Option Financial Software V7R1 compatible version. A dedicated system is required for the upgrade which typically takes 2-3 hours. The duration is dependent upon your current First Option Financial Software production software (i.e., if you have not upgraded for a couple of years the duration could be longer.) Enter a help desk ticket if you are unsure as to whether or not you have been upgraded to latest version.

3.) Load V5R4 PTF that contains analysis functionality. Your IBM Business partner should be consulted to help plan/load this software.

4.) Run conversion analysis to determine if there are any objects that do not have observability. If objects found (they are typically objects in a customer's unique library or other third party software products), resolve issues with those objects. If you would like First Option to participate in this step, please enter a help desk ticket and we will be happy to provide an estimate.


5.) Once item 4 is complete, schedule a time to migrate with your IBM business partner which should include a customer acceptance test. The customer acceptance test is VERY important.   The plan should include but not be limited to your daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly procedures. It is also important that you test backups and interfaces. The bottom line is a detailed scripted test plan will stage the project for success.

5.) Migrate i5 to i7 system

6.) Perform customer acceptance test and have a 'fall back' plan if it fails.

7.) If step 6 is successful, GO LIVE!



Top Three Reasons First Option Financial Customers' Host.
software services


First, peace of mind - Your system is up and running 24/7 by 365 except for scheduled maintenance. Even with the threat of hurricane Sandy, First Option's iSeries server remained up throughout the entire storm! Intermittent connection problems with Internet Service Providers were identified, escalated and resolved on a timely basis.


Second, avoid the cost of hardware and software maintenance, monitoring, backup tapes, PTF's and operating system upgrades - Hosting your First Option Financial Software in our shared environment allows you to share the cost with other customers.  


Third, Focus resources on your business not IT - The internal cost of hiring, managing, and training IT resources can be costly. Use First Option's experienced network of IT resources for business critical projects which allows you to grow your business not your IT staff.   


For more information on our hosting package please email 

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