One of the clear advantages of the Advantos Enterprise application software is the ease with which it can be used by untrained operators. The screens are designed so operators can quickly perform the basic functions with minimum supervision. This ease of use is due to a modularized module design, which separates specific A/R tasks from other data entry; and the availability of On-Line Help messages. Having this Help Function ensures an operator can quickly resolve data entry problems without supervisor assistance, taking the "guess-work" out of information processing and ensuring a more accurate data base. Additionally, all on-line documentation, error messages and help messages can be printed if Operator manuals are desired.
The primary purposes of the Advantos Enterprise Accounts Receivable module are to create and maintain Customer accounts, post receipts, create deposits, and finally, generate invoices and generate statements. Each of these areas are reviewed below, from the standpoint of bringing an operator to a satisfactory performance level.
Create and Maintain Customer Files
In order to perform these processes satisfactorily, an Operator no longer needs to assign a number to each account added to the data base. However, since all modules are now sharing the Address Book, the operator should search the file to be sure the client name is not already in use. If it is, then the A/R record can simply be appended to the Address Book record, with a separate number assigned in the A/R System. If the client name does not exist in the Address Book, it will need to be added.
The Address Book can be accessed from any menu by selecting the [F3] function key. In addition to the name, a mailing address and phone/fax number information are also included in the Address Book File. All other information is added in the modules using the record. In addition to the decisions regarding the name, the Operator should also have access to billing addresses, customer phone numbers and contact names, and understand how to post recurring charges or credits to individual accounts.
The Advantos Enterprise A/R System allows the Operator to set up automatic transactions on an account, up to 26 different items. Various billing cycles can be assigned to these transactions, but only one G/L account number can be assigned to each transaction. It is a good idea for operators to understand what "critical" general ledger accounts can affect financial statements and to seek supervisory approval before assigning G/L account numbers to transactions.
Post Charges, Credits, NSFs, and Reversals
In order to handle this process satisfactorily, the Operator will need to understand the process of creating invoices or credits, doing reversals or posting returned receipts or NSF checks. Again, the most critical decision is selecting the G/L account numbers when setting up new charges or reversing and correcting previous entries. The On-Line Help feature will respond to a [?] in a G/L account number field with a listing of all G/L accounts available for the Client selected, but the operator can also research prior charges or refer to a supervisor to determine the correct account number to use. Transactions created in this process can be printed on invoices immediately to send to customers, or included when monthly statements are printed. Operators will need to decide, when selecting this process from the A/R System menu, whether to send invoices to the spooler for printing. Please refer to the section on Generating Invoices and Generating Statements for information regarding the differences between the two processes. The Operator can create a credit on a customer account for any amount or reason in this process, but some regularly processed credits can be set up to be handled more automatically through the Customer File Maintenance program, especially if the amount and G/L account number are repetitive.
Post Receipts to Accounts
This process allows the operator to handle the receipt posting and depositing functions separately, permitting deposits to be done on a "batch" basis. Receipts can be posted as received, with a system-generated receipt available, primarily for cash receipts. The system can accept different types of receipts, including cash, checks and credit card receipts. All receipts can then be held until a sufficient number are on hand to warrant processing a deposit. The operator must simply be able to identify the account number the receipt is to be applied to and post the item through one special screen. At this point, no other decision has to be made. The system will "hold" the receipt, messaging the account about the receipt, until it is deposited. The account balance and the bank account are not updated until the deposit is processed. If the receipt does not equal the account balance, the system will not apply the receipt to outstanding invoices, but will require an operator to make this decision later in the month-end process.
Make Adjustments to Accounts
Because of recent changes in the Advantos Enterprise A/R module, the operator can now use a new screen to make adjusting entries on accounts. These will include posting Advance and Unapplied balances to outstanding invoices, writing off invoices as Bad Debts, or posting Discounts or Credit Memos to accounts. It is a good idea if the Operator responsible for this function is experienced, because if an invoice is paid off incorrectly, it can't be put back on the system. The receipt will have to be reversed and a new transaction posted to the account all of which will be reflected in the transaction history.
Process Bank Deposits
Once the Operator is ready to create a deposit, the system provides a report of all receipts posted to the system. This report should be checked against all items being held for deposit and any errors or omissions corrected. There is a special screen which allows the operator to make adjustments to posted receipts, including the amount. Once the operator has "balanced" the posted receipts to the total of checks, cash and credit card receipts, the deposit process can run. The system will give a grand total for the Operator use to verify everything processed, and will send the deposit slips to the spooler for printing on perforated paper similar to check stock. The top portion of the deposit slip is designed to be an item count or listing to accompany the deposit slip. At this point, endorse all the checks, then the deposit can be forwarded to the bank. When the bank receipts are received back, they can be verified against the bank account entry and any adjustments taken care of immediately, avoiding the back up at month-end. The new enhancements eliminate a lot of hand-writing of deposit slips with tedious listing of items, along with the transposition errors causing so much balancing trouble at month-end. In addition, the need for much of the paper associated with deposit records has been eliminated, reducing filing requirements.
Generate Invoices and Statements
The Operator can generate a printed invoice at the time a charge or credit is added to the system. This is helpful if you wish to speed up your collection process by billing a client immediately. The invoice decision is made prior to entering the program, found under POST CHARGES, CREDITS in the A/R menu. If the Operator decides to create an invoice report, it will be sent to the spooler for later printing. The actual invoice document is limited in information, not a complete statement of activity. It contains only the information on a specific charge. If three different charges are added to an account during a session, three invoice documents will be generated. The spooler hold file can contain multiple invoices--one hold file will contain all the invoices created while the Operator is in session with the program. Printing invoices is also an option when the Operator creates monthly invoices during the end-of-month processing. The Accounts Receivable Statement is designed to provide the client with a much broader picture of account activity. It reflects all account activity, including posted charges (or credits), recurring charges, receipts, adjustments, NSFs, reversals, and corrections. Statements CAN BE generated more than one time during the month; however, to support operating procedures generating one statement per month at month end, they have been designed to reflect all transactions posted since the previous "End of Month" update. Please Note: Since activity reflected on statements runs from the previous end-of-month update to the actual date the statement was run, if statements are run mid-month, activity from statement date to end-of-month update will not reflect on the next statement!!! Recent enhancements allow invoices and statements to be customized for each client and your own corporation. Now, you may select a "letterhead" classification and a different format will be used for printing. If statements are run as a batch, the system will advise you of the number of letterhead for each client, so you will know how many of each to include in your printer paper tray.