What Are They and Why Do I Need Them?
If you’re using Sage 300 (formerly “Accpac”), you probably rely on any number of Macros that are performing some very important and specialized tasks. You can say that Sage 300 Macros are the unsung hero of your ERP software, quietly working away in the background without the fanfare of other more prominent features or modules.
But not everyone knows what a Sage 300 Macro is or what it does. So let’s take a closer look at this powerful tool.
What is a Macro?
In short, it’s a scripting utility and framework that’s delivered as a built-in feature of Sage 300. Using Macros, you can customize the system, modify screens, schedule reports to run automatically, connect Sage 300 with external applications, and so many other workflow modifications that might otherwise require costly and complicated code-level customization in other ERP systems.
How Do Sage 300 Macros Work?
Using the built-in Macro recorder that’s available in the Sage 300 toolbar, you simply run through your task while the recorder works in the background documenting screens, keystrokes, and operations you performed. All of the code that was generated behind the scenes is saved as a Macro.
Now you just click the new Macro you created and the task/process you recorded will run on its own.
Why Are Macros Important?
In most cases, Sage 300 Macros are used to reduce keystrokes, shorten transaction processing time, and automate tasks that are unique to your business.
While Sage 300 meets a wide range of needs “out of the box”, many businesses need to modify certain tasks or procedures so that the system workflow more closely matches their unique requirements and process.
For example, some of our clients in the medical field use external software to manage insurance billing. Because of the highly specialized billing process, they need to use industry-specific software that runs outside of Sage 300. At some point, the billing transactions captured in the external software need to be transferred into Sage 300 for accounting and reporting.
That’s where a macro comes in, automatically moving transactions from one system to the other without the added time, hassle, keystrokes, duplicate data entry, and risk of transposition errors that would result if those same transactions were re-keyed manually.
How Are Sage 300 Macros Used?
Here are some common examples of Macros we’ve created for our Sage 300 customers:
- Import invoices from external software applications to Accounts Receivable
- Import transactions to the General Ledger (i.e. Payroll from ADP)
- Pull additional info from other modules (customer history, inventory status, etc) into a specific screen like order entry.
- Create totally new and unique lookup screens
- Import data to Accounts Payable (i.e. external bank transactions)
How Is a Macro Different Than Customization?
Indeed, Macros are used as a way to customize Sage 300. However, using the Macro approach is different than what most people think of as a “traditional” customization that would actually modify the source code of the software.
Macros do not modify Sage 300 source code.
That means Macros are unable to break the core Sage 300 business logic or corrupt your database. It also means that Sage 300 version upgrades are easier than an installation where the source code has been modified because Macros are largely “upgrade safe.”
Lastly, relying on Macros significantly reduces development time when compared to source code customizations. In our experience here at Acumen Information Systems, we’ve cut development time down from days to just hours using Macros instead of traditional source code customization.
NOTE: Even though it’s easier than modifying source code, creating a Macro may still require some programming knowledge and understanding of databases and table structures. Depending on your level of technical skill combined with the complexity of the Macro you want to create, you may still need the knowledge and guidance of a Sage Authorized partner like Acumen.
How Do Macros Affect Sage 300 Upgrades?
Some customers are concerned that once they create Macros, they’re stuck on the current version of Sage 300 and can’t upgrade without breaking the system.
That is simply NOT the case.
Sage 300 Macros are highly “upgrade safe.” On occasion when a new version is released, Sage changes a database table in Sage 300 that might affect how your specific Macro works. In that case, you simply modify the Macro so that it works in the new version.
In short, a Sage 300 upgrade could break your Macro (on occasion). But your Macro is never going to break Sage 300 (which would be far worse!).
In fact, any time an existing Sage 300 customer decides they want to start working with Acumen Information Systems as their support provider, one of the very first things we do is perform a complete audit of all their existing Macros, read through the code, and document the findings. Part of our meticulous Onboarding Process, this Macro audit provides the critical information we need to get up to speed on your system setup, configuration, and customizations so that there aren’t any surprises that crop up when it comes time to upgrade.
Still Have Questions About Macros?
If you still have questions about what Sage 300 Macros are or how they work, leave your name and question below. One of our friendly experts will follow up with you shortly.