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Mat Foundation

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I am analyzing a mat foundation, supporting 4 columns, by the FEM with compression only springs on Visual Analysis. Moments are pretty straight forward. Punching shear can be calculated by hand. Beam shear varies widely from the "hot spots" near the columns to other locations. ACI formulas figure an "average" beam shear over the width of the entire mat which would be quite a bit different then that at the "hot spots". 

I have a hard time believing that beam shear is even an issue but I want to get some opinions on how others handle this on generic FEM software other than SAFE or MATS. How does SAFE and MATS calculate beam shear? Is it an "average"?

Jim K.

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