BNA Fixed Assets Server Customer Support
Frequently Asked Questions
Latest Software Update
What is the latest version of BNA Fixed Assets Desktop Server and when was it updated?
The current version is Version 2013.1 which was shipped on August 27, 2013. The current web update is Version 2013.2, released on September 30, 2013.
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I don't see a State Tax depreciation book. Can I get one?
You sure can! While BNA Fixed Assets doesn't come with a pre-installed depreciation book called "State" or "State Tax," Fixed Assets lets you create an unlimited number of custom depreciation books that you can tailor to your company's needs.
To add a new book:
1. Click the Books icon on the toolbar to open the Book List.
2. Then click the New... button at the bottom of the Book List window to open the New Book dialog. Select the type of book you're adding, then click OK.
Note: Fixed Assets also allows books for more than one state at a time -- so you may want to name the book according to the state's name, rather than giving the book the generic name "State Tax."
3. BNA Fixed Assets will also build the depreciation data for your assets in this book when you're ready. Before building this data, however, you will want to visit the Asset Type table to review (and possibly edit) the default data assumptions that BNA Fixed Assets will use to build the depreciation data for the depreciation book you just created. Once you're ready, select your new book from the Book List window, then click the Build button at the bottom of the Book List window.
We like the default depreciation books provided in BNA Fixed Assets, but would love to be able to create additional depreciation books to meet our requirements for State tax, State AMT tax, and Regulatory reporting. Can I do this in BNA Fixed Assets Desktop?
BNA Fixed Assets allows you to create an unlimited number of depreciation books to meet all of your reporting requirements. To add a new book, simply open the Book List and click the New... button. The number of books may be limited, however, based on the disk space available to store the company file, since each book increases the size of the .cdb file exponentially.
Changing the Way an Asset is Displayed
I understand that I can see an asset exactly the way I want to see it. How do I change the view?
It's simple. Here's how.
When an Asset Viewer is open, the Summary, Balance/Accum, and Depr Expense tabs hold data about the asset in view. You can look at this data in any way that you want to see it. The very first time you open a viewer in BNA Fixed Assets, the asset's data is presented for all books, side-by-side, for a specific point in time. You can easily change this view by specifying a different view configuration.
In the Asset Viewer (when on one of the three tabs mentioned above), you'll notice a relatively large button on the window, located just below the Asset tab, with an illustration and the words "Switch View." Double-clicking this button will open a dialog called "Edit View Configuration." This dialog gives you the full access to configure (set) the view you want.
Changing the view does not affect the underlying depreciation calculations. You are simply changing the perspective on the calculated and reported depreciation amounts. Once you set a new configuration (such as the Federal Tax Book by year), the new settings remain until you change them to something else.
You may also click on the View button on the Asset Viewer to open the Edit View Configuration dialog.
Can I reuse the setting I've developed for the Asset Type table and other company and book settings?
BNA Fixed Assets allows you to create customized templates that are available for its use when establishing a new company. The default template is named standard.tpl. In general, when you create a new company in BNA Fixed Assets, the company settings (including the Asset Type table, report definitions) and book settings that exist in the standard.tpl company are copied to the new company being created.
You can open the standard.tpl template (or any other template that you create) and make changes to its settings. After you make and save the changes, Fixed Assets will use the customized settings in this template when you set up new companies based on this template. Note that changes made to a template do not flow back to companies previously created and based on the template.
You can create a template using a company that already has the settings you want. From the File menu, select Create Template. When the Create Template dialog opens, specify the company that you want to base this template on and the name of the new template, then click Create. The new template will open, displaying all its lists in windows.
Templates are treated in the same manner as companies, with the following exceptions: they cannot contain assets, their default extension is .tpl, and their default folder is ND\Template.
I don't like the default BNA Fixed Assets uses as the depreciable life for computers in the GAAP Book. Can I change the default setting so I don't have to revise the asset data for new computers after I've added them?
Yes! You have full access to modify the default settings for all Asset Types, and we encourage you to review and modify these settings to reflect your depreciation policies. Here's what you do:
1. To change a default setting for an asset type, first select Asset Type List from the View menu.
The list has two components: on the left are the depreciation books whose defaults may be customized; on the right are the Asset Types.
2. On the Book List, click to select the GAAP Book.
3. On the Asset Type list, select Computer by double-clicking it.
4. In the Edit Asset Type dialog that opens, you can edit many depreciation elements that together make up the default depreciation settings. (Double-click the red and green Asset Type icon to the left of the Start Date column to start editing.) The changes you make will be reflected in the default values that are set when you subsequently add new assets
For assets acquired prior to 1999, can I change the default ADS life used in the AMT, ACE, and E&P Books so that newly added assets are automatically assigned a specified AMT class life?
Yes, you can!
The ADS class life is specified on the Edit Asset Type Properties dialog.
1. Click the Types icon on the toolbar.
2. When the Asset Type List opens, click the Federal Tax book, then double-click on the Asset Type that you want to change.
3. In the top section of the Edit Asset Type Properties dialog, you will see "ADS Life" followed by boxes for year and month. Make the changes you want, then click OK.
I created a new Asset Type that I called Buildings, but my depreciation amounts are incorrect. What is wrong?
When you create a "new" Asset Type (by using the New... button on the Asset Type List), that Asset Type will use information for personal property. In this case, the new Asset Type Buildings had defaults for personal property rather than real property.
The best way to create a new Asset Type is to use the Duplicate button. Click on the existing Asset Type whose properties best match the Asset Type you wish to create.
1. For a new Buildings Asset Type, select Residential Real Property (or other appropriate selection).
2. Click the Duplicate button.
3. Enter your own description for the new Asset Type.
4. Review all the information in the Asset Type, for all depreciation books, to make sure it is correct. Make any changes as needed.
What is the formula or table multiplier BNA Fixed Assets uses to calculate depreciation expense?
The Asset Type table drives the calculations.
The settings for the selected Asset Types (along with the Placed-in-Service Date) determine the asset life, method, rate, convention, and source used to set up the depreciation information for all depreciation books.
To see the present settings in the Asset Type table for any Asset Type:
1. Open the Asset Type List.
2. Double-click on the Asset Type used for the asset in question.
3. Double-click on the line where the Placed-in-Service Date falls. The Edit Asset Type dialog opens, displaying the critical elements used for that asset's calculation.
Or, from the Asset Viewer, click on the Depr Expense tab. This tab shows the critical elements for the asset. You can edit them by double-clicking on any of the elements. This brings up the Edit Book Data wizard. The available values are listed on the right side of the panel.
Editing Depreciation Data
Can I edit depreciation data at any time in an asset's life?
To edit one or more of an asset's critical values for one of the depreciation books, double-click a cell in the spreadsheet contained in either the Balance/Accum tab or the Depr Expense tab of the Asset Viewer. Take special care in selecting the cell to edit, because the date at the top of the column you select for editing automatically determines the Change Date for those edits.
When the Asset Viewer is presenting information in the single-book view, each column shows a different time interval. This time interval determines the Change Date of the edit. The Change Date is interpreted as the first day of the interval shown. When the Asset Viewer is presenting information in the "all-books" view, each column shows a different book for a common time interval. The time interval selected for the Asset Viewer determines the Change Date of the edits.
If you select a "protected" period, the program issues a cautionary message reminding you that the period is protected and asking for confirmation before you can edit the data.
I edited an asset's information in the asset viewer but I'm not getting the results I expected; I changed the asset life and depreciation method but these changes were not reflected in my current reports.
You may have edited asset data while you were viewing an asset in the All Books configuration. If you edited this data in the single period displayed, you probably were expecting the change to affect all periods for your asset. The edited information will change going forward for all future periods, but BNA Fixed Assets's timeline will not have been changed for earlier periods.
To see the results more clearly for future periods, change the "Asset View" from All Books to a Single Book displayed by months or years. Then you can more precisely edit your asset's information beginning in the exact period you desire. Using this method, you can avoid accidentally editing asset information in a period other than the one you want.
How do I enter Luxury Automobiles into Fixed Assets Desktop?
The key is in the fact that any asset with a Property Type of AL automatically gets the limits imposed. When you assign an Asset Type of Automobile, Fixed Assets automatically assigns a Property Type of AL.
To enter a luxury automobile:
1. From the Asset List, select the New... button to start the Add Asset wizard.
2. Select the Asset Type Automobile and click Next.
3. Enter the acquisition or placed-in-service date and click Next.
4. Enter the purchase price and click Next.
5. Continue entering asset information as prompted by the Add Asset wizard.
BNA Fixed Assets uses:
- the cost and placed-in-service date to calculate the depreciation expense before limits,
- the appropriate luxury auto limit, and
- the lesser of the two for the calculated depreciation amount. Use the Asset Viewer's Depr Expense tab to review these amounts.
My Fixed Asset Management System (FAMS) file contains two companies with identical names. One company represents the tax books and one company represents the internal books. When I use the Convert FAMS utility to convert the file into the BNA Fixed Assets program, only one company converts.
If you modify the name of the second company slightly, you’ll be able to convert it.
Can you consolidate multiple companies into one data file and then convert the file through the FAMS conversion utility?
I am a former BNA Fixed Asset Management System (FAMS) user and I would like to get my Fixed Assets reports to look similar to the reports I generated in the DOS program. Is this possible?
The reports that BNA Fixed Assets prepares are unique. No report is identical to reports prepared by other programs, including the BNA Fixed Asset Management System (FAMS). Although differing in format and content, some BNA Fixed Assets reports are equivalent in concept to reports that FAMS prepares.
The tables in Appendix B, of the BNA Fixed Assets Desktop and Fixed Assets DesktopPro Guide "Making Fixed Assets Reports Resemble Reports of Other Applications," will help you prepare reports in BNA Fixed Assets that are similar to the FAMS reports that you have prepared in the past. Note that the items to the right of the BNA Fixed Assets Report Name indicate the settings to select in the Edit Report Properties dialog. You may need to make some additional selections (such as the Reporting Period) to achieve the desired results.
For example, the FAMS Book Depreciation report has separate columns for Month, Year-to-Date, and Life-to-Date depreciation expense. The Fixed Assets Depreciation Expense report has a column for Depreciation this Period, Beginning Accumulated Depreciation, Current Depreciation, and Ending Accumulated Depreciation. If you select a month for the Reporting Period, BNA Fixed Assets's Depreciation this Period is equivalent to FAMS' Month Depreciation; BNA Fixed Assets's Current Depreciation is equivalent to FAMS' YTD Depreciation; and BNA Fixed Assets's Ending Accumulated Depreciation is equivalent to FAMS' LTD Depreciation. However, if you select a quarterly or annual Reporting Period, BNA Fixed Assets's Depreciation this Period amount will not match the FAMS' Month Depreciation amount.
Will I be able to transfer my data from BNA's DOS Fixed Asset Management System (FAMS) into BNA Fixed Assets?
BNA Fixed Assets will convert FAMS data files that were last loaded using version 96.1 or later of the BNA Fixed Asset Management System (FAMS) and have current company calculations.
The Convert FAMS wizard leads you through the process of converting a company file and its assets from BNA's Fixed Asset Management System program, using a series of questions. Each question is presented in a separate panel. Please refer to the BNA Fixed Assets Desktop and DesktopPro Import Guide for more detail about the import process.
Can I use the BNA Fixed Assets Import CSV utility to import from CSV formats created using programs other than Excel and Lotus spreadsheets?
Of course you can.
To import data into a BNA Fixed Assets database, you must have a file with asset records separated in a specific format that BNA Fixed Assets recognizes. Fixed Assets Import reads a format called "comma separated value" (CSV). This common format is often called "comma delimited."
One of the helpful aspects of capable programs such as Excel and Lotus 1-2-3 is that they can pull data in from virtually any format you may have your existing database in (using "parsing" and other techniques, as required). Once the data is in a standard worksheet format, it's quick and easy to identify a "Save as type" of "CSV (Comma Delimited)(*.csv)" on the file "Save As" dialog.
As long as the data is in the required CSV format, you can use any application -- including a text editor -- to create the data file for import.
We are moving our fixed asset data from our old computer to our new Windows 2000 system and can't wait to begin importing data from our former fixed asset system! Naturally, I plan to copy my old data files to the new computer so that I can import that data into BNA Fixed Assets Desktop. Will I also need to install on the new computer the application program I used to use?
You do not need to install the old program on the new computer.
Remember, however, that the fixed asset system you used previously may require more than one file for the data. Be sure to bring all such files with you to the new computer. (For example, each BNA FAMS data file consists of two files with the extensions .amd and .amp.)
For the FAS1000/2000 import, BNA Fixed Assets Import needs the .asc export files and the company.saf file, all placed in a separate directory.
For the FAS for Windows imports, BNA Fixed Assets Import needs the .wfa export files, placed in a separate directory.
When I imported data into BNA Fixed Assets from the fixed asset system I used to use, the "Office Equipment" assets (which were using a life of seven years for the GAAP book) imported just fine. I just added a new asset with an Asset Type of Office Equipment and BNA Fixed Assets is using a depreciable life of 10 years. What's going on?
Importing assets and adding assets use different data sources.
When you imported the asset into Fixed Assets, its depreciable life was probably specified in the import source file. During import, Fixed Assets takes whatever information you make available for an asset and imports it (subject to validation). When you add a new asset in BNA Fixed Assets, unlike when you import, default depreciation elements are copied from the Asset Type table. In your example, you point out that the newly added asset has a depreciable life in the GAAP Book of 10 years. That's because the Asset Type table that Fixed Assets uses defaults to a life of 10 years for Office Equipment in the GAAP Book.
Values in the Asset Type table are freely editable. You can readily change the default life to seven years. Doing so will cause all assets subsequently added to this company with an Asset Type of Office Furniture to have a depreciable life of seven years in the GAAP Book.
I've imported asset data using the Import CSV utility. Some assets that have accumulated depreciation also have zero for the Business Use % for all prior years. These prior periods should have a positive Business Use.
If the asset has "zero" as the Business Use % for the period being imported, Fixed Assets Import assumes that the Business Use was "zero" for the asset's entire life, even when there is an accumulated depreciation balance. This triggers revisions.
If the asset was used for business purposes in prior periods, modify the CSV file to enter this business use percentage, rather than zero. After import, edit the asset in Fixed Assets to change the Business Use % to zero in the appropriate year.
I'm trying to import the FAS export files that my client provided to me into BNA Fixed Assets, but they won't import. What's wrong? I don't have the FAS program on my PC.
BNA Fixed Assets Import assumes that you're importing the FAS1000/2000 files from the same directory as they were worked on. There's one more file you need in addition to the ASCII files that may be missing: "company.saf ". Set up a separate folder that contains the FAS ASCII export files and the company.saf file, then try to import the company again.
There's another possible problem if you're not running the Enterprise Edition. BNA Fixed Assets Import will only import FAS data exported from FAS1000, FAS2000, or FAS for Windows. FAS1000/2000 are the Best! DOS Fixed Asset programs, and FAS for Windows is the lower-end Best! Windows Fixed Asset program. At this time Fixed Assets Import does not import FAS data from the higher-end Best!'s Windows Fixed Asset program, Encore, which has an entirely different file structure from the DOS programs. Please confirm that the files your client provided were exported from one of the FAS DOS programs or from FAS for Windows.
I am a former Best! FAS2000 user and I would like to get my reports to look similar to the reports I generated in the DOS program. Is this possible?
The reports that BNA Fixed Assets prepares are unique. No report is identical to reports prepared by other programs. However, some Fixed Assets reports are similar to reports that FAS2000 prepares.
The table in Appendix B, of the BNA Fixed Assets Desktop and Fixed Assets DesktopPro Reports Guide "Making Fixed Assets Reports Resemble Reports of Other Applications," will help you prepare reports in Fixed Assets that are similar to the FAS reports that you have prepared in the past. Note that the items to the right of the Fixed Assets Report Name indicate the settings to select in the Edit Report Properties dialog. You may need to make some additional selections (such as the Reporting Period) to achieve the desired results.
We're anxious to get BNA Fixed Assets Desktop going on a firm-wide basis! How much space should we plan to take up for the company databases we'll be creating?
As a benchmark, you should plan for approximately 4-10K of disk space per asset. The amount required depends in part upon the number of depreciation books you use. BNA Fixed Assets data files are fairly large due to the large amount of available information per asset.
How do I go to a specific asset?
Select the Go to Asset ID... command from the Asset menu. In the dialog box, enter the Asset ID number of the desired asset.
Note: You can also click the "xx of yy" button at the bottom right corner of the Asset List or Asset Viewer windows to open the Go to Asset ID dialog.
I'm seeing negative depreciation reported for some assets. What's going on?
It's just the revision balances being absorbed.
If you're seeing negative depreciation reported for any given depreciation period, it's probably due to the combined effect of having a revisions balance as of the beginning of that period and a "Revision Treatment" of "Immediate."
The application allows you to control how revisions balances will be handled. You may choose one of three revision treatments to apply to the revisions balance for any time interval of each book for each asset:
- Immediate—Absorbs the accumulated revisions balance immediately. Using this method, the calculated depreciation amounts in subsequent periods will agree with the reported deprecation amounts.
- Prorate—Absorbs the accumulated revisions ratably over the remainder of the asset's life. Using this method, the calculated depreciation amounts in subsequent periods will continue to differ (to a lesser and lesser amount) as the revisions balance is absorbed into the reported depreciation amounts. At the end of the asset's life, the revisions balance will be zero and the total calculated and reported accumulated depreciation amounts will agree.
- Never—Ignores the accumulated revisions balance and uses the calculated depreciation amounts as the reported depreciation amounts without further revision to correct the difference. The Reported Accumulated Depreciation will never equal the Calculated Accumulated Depreciation—the difference is equal to the Accumulated Revisions Balance. At the end of the asset's life, the Accumulated Revisions Balance (on the Balance/Accumulated Depreciation tab of the Asset Viewer) will equal the amount of the original Net Revisions amount (on the Balance/Accumulated Depreciation tab).
Using the Never method, the application will allow an asset to be under-depreciated at the end of its life. However, the application will not allow an asset to be over-depreciated at the end of its life. If the changes made result in excess depreciation at the end of an asset's life, at the point in time when the asset is fully depreciated the application absorbs any excess depreciation as a revision over the asset's remaining life to prevent over-depreciation.
When I try to print to either the screen or to the printer I get an "Illegal Operation ..." error message. How do I resolve this?
Go to the Web site for your specific printer, for example, the HP Web site, and download and install the current printer driver for your model printer. Go to the Web site for your specific printer, for example, the HP Web site, and download and install the current printer driver for your model printer. http://www.hp.com/cposupport/software.html
I love the completeness of the data that I am able to see on the screen for a particular asset. Can I print that data?
If you like the view you have in the Asset Viewer, you can print out the detailed asset record. This special report focuses on the portion of book data that is presently defined as the view configuration (i.e., multiple books for a single time period or multiple time periods for a single book) for the Asset Viewer.
Click the Print button at the bottom of the Asset Viewer window to start printing this report.
Is there a way I can run several reports at once?
Yes, there is!
We call the process of printing multiple reports "Batch Reporting." You can set up one or more batches of reports. Click Report Batches in the left pane of the Report List window to bring up the list of pre-defined report batches.
Click the New button at the bottom of the Report List window. When the Edit Report Batch Properties dialog opens, specify the name and description of the report batch. If you want, you can also choose to print the report batch status page, override the report properties specified for the books, and override the report focus period. Click the Reports tab. Select the reports on the left that you want to run, then click the Add>> button. You can then print the batch, or close the dialog (click OK) and print the batch later.
If you change the settings for the reports after you set up a batch, Fixed Assets uses the report settings that are in effect at print time.
Can I get my asset descriptions included in reports?
Each report lets you choose to include or exclude asset descriptions. Including asset descriptions makes reports longer and therefore the default setting is to not include them. To have your reports include asset descriptions, there are two places where you may specify the change: at the Book level and at the Report level. The better place to go depends upon your intent.
If you decide that you want asset descriptions included for all reports run for, say, the GAAP Book, you might want to make an appropriate election at the book level. By the way, asset description is just one of several report settings that you can specify at the book level.
At the Book level:
1. Click the Books icon on the toolbar to open the Book List.
2. From the list of Books, click on the depreciation Book whose settings you wish to change.
3. Click the Edit button at the bottom of the Book List window to open the Edit Book Properties dialog.
4. Click on the Reporting tab. A detail level panel is presented to allow you to select the defaults that the program will use when basing a report on the book's settings.
5. Select your desired setting(s).
At the Report level:
Now, let's say that instead of wanting to change the report display properties for all reports for a given book, you want asset descriptions included for only one or two specially chosen reports. In this case, you wouldn't want to establish a general policy, but would want to override the default detail level settings for these reports. You would make these changes at the Report configuration level (rather than the Book configuration level).
1. Click the Reports button on the toolbar to open the Report List.
2. From the list of Reports, click on the report whose detail level you wish to change.
3. Click the Edit button at the bottom of the Report List window to open the Edit Report Properties dialog.
4. Click on the Display tab.
5. When first visiting a report's Display Properties, you'll notice that the "Use Book Reporting Policies" check box is checked. Put another way, BNA Fixed Assets is designed so that the reports generally follow the book reporting policies with respect to a variety of display settings. To override any of the detail level settings, first uncheck the box that causes the report to "Use Book Reporting Policies." Once unchecked, the report settings for the Detail Level panel is editable. Select the settings you want.
I tend to run the very same reports every month. Is there a way that I can change the focus period for those reports in a single place without having to remember to go into each of those report configurations to advance the focus period?
Yes, and it's simple to do!
For any given report, you can specify the report's focus period in one of two ways: You can type in specific "From" and "To" dates to define the range of time. Or you can define the focus period with a general definition, such as "Current Month" or "Year to Date." Using a general definition, you can have the focus period automatically update when you specify elsewhere the month and year that the depreciation book is presently in.
To specify where a depreciation book is in the Open Timeline, look to one of two places:
The easiest way is to click on the Set Periods button located at the bottom of the Report List window to open the Set Periods dialog. For each desired book, select the reporting month and year that you want. The underlying report definitions are updated automatically.
Alternatively, you can set the report focus for each depreciation book by defining the "Reporting Month" at the depreciation book level. From the list of Books, click on the depreciation Book whose reporting policy you wish to change. Click the Edit button at the bottom of the Book List window to open the Edit Book Properties dialog. Click on the Reporting tab. Select the Reporting Month that you want. (Note that the Book List has the same Set Periods button as the Report List.)
What are revisions?
Revisions are amounts that reconcile reported depreciation to calculated depreciation.
BNA Fixed Assets always calculates depreciation using the latest set of depreciation elements available. This data, however, may be different from the data set that was used to report depreciation in an earlier time period. BNA Fixed Assets takes special care to preserve all values you used to report depreciation in any earlier time periods as well as the actual amounts of reported depreciation expense and accumulated depreciation expense for those periods. Where there's been a change in one or more elements in the depreciation computation after you've begun reporting depreciation, the difference between what you actually reported in earlier periods and what you would have reported in those periods, given the latest set of depreciation values, is the revision amount.