Display Children in the Directory

This article announces a change in how to display children in the directory.

First, some background — please read this previous article on a few changes that preceded this one.

Now, for this change. Until now, if you wanted to list children in the directory, you would select their roles, along with adults and parents. With that choice, children would appear if they had a cell phone or email. If they had neither, their names would not appear. Moreover, if you wanted to show children’s names, but omit the cell and email, you would have to individually check that option per child.

It’s simpler now. Basically, you can follow two rules. Rule one — the Role within family determines whose names appear with their personal contact information. Rule two — by adding the phrase {children} to the letter template for the Directory, you’ll display children in the directory. First names only, as a list.

Here’s a short (3m, 36s) video showing this change in action.

How to add a list of children within the directory.

Notification Flags

Now available — email notification flags, to control who receives any of various notifcations.

Until this change, the system used three rules to determine who received email notifications:

  1. Anyone with read or write permission for financial activity would receive an email whenever a payment occurred.
  2. Anyone with read or write permission for schools would receive an email whenever a school registration occurred.
  3. Anyone with read or write permission on families would receive a notification whenever any other type of form arrived.

With this change, you can designate which of these notifications go to each user. You’ll see a yes/no choice, when you edit the profile for any user.

Be it noted that, initially, we’ve set the flags such that there is no change in who receives what. Thus, we recommend that you have a look at your profiles, and turn off the flags for those who are receiving extraneous email notifications.

Feel free to look over this short (2m, 50s) video showing how to edit these three new flags.

Allocate Recurring Payments

We now offer the ability to allocate recurring payments. That is, within a single payment, to specify exactly what to apply to any and all outstanding items. Thus, you can now pay against categories such as pledges, school tuition, and a security fee, concurrently.

A little background: When we first rolled out recurring payments, the only method available was “waterfall.” Meaning the entire payment would go against whatever item was at the top of the list of owed items. After the top item went to a zero balance, the recurring payment would proceed to the second item, etc.

With this ability to allocate recurring payments, you can declare exactly how much to go against each outstanding item. You can concurrently pay pledges, school tuition, security fees, and the like.

You can change an existing waterfall to an allocation if you’d like. In doing so, you needn’t re-enter any the payment information; but rather just change from waterfall to allocation, as illustrated in this video.

allocation recurring payments
Recurring Payment Allocations

Payment Tear-off

Monthly statements now have an option to include a payment tear-off at the bottom of the statement.

We at ShalomCloud have done much to enable electronic statements and electronic payments.

However, inevitably, a segment of your congregation prefers to deal with paper statements and paper payments. Accordingly, you now have the option of including a stub at the bottom of your statements.

The left side of the tear-off shows the amounts owed for the household. Items such as pledges, school tuition, security fees, Bar/Bat Mitzvah fees. Then, the right side has the family name and address, along with a place to record payment information. That payment information could be a check number and amount, or card information.

Payment Tear-off
Payment Tear-off

Feel free to peruse this video demonstration of this feature.

Five Enhancements

We have five enhancements to show and explain. In no particular order, they are as follows.

On the member query, you can now enter part (or all) of a family code as your search criteria. This might be especially useful if you’re intending to send an email via ShalomCloud to members of a specific family, who may have different last names.

Also on the member query, specifically the part of the screen used to send emails. Until now, the email addresses were placed into a text box. If you wanted to avoid sending content to one or several of the selected members, you had to find the respective email addresses and delete them from the screen. Now, you can use the check-boxes on the right of the screen to effect that selection.

Turning our attention to Yahrzeits — in the case where

  • the person passed away on February 29 (of a leap year, of course), and
  • there are observers by Gregorian date, and
  • the current year is not a leap year

the system works correctly if you pull a list for February 1 through February 28.

The “all-children report” now includes a record count.

For those who use our QuickBooks Desktop integration — you can now query financial transactions by the batch code. Furthermore, the batch code appears on the CSV exports. The batch code does not have to be complete. For example, you could query on something like 2020-12-20, and that will pick up all all batches from that day, such as 2020-12-20-1-CHK, 2020-12-20-2-CRD, etc.

If you’d like to see any or all of these changes in action, have a look at this presentation.

Automated Emails to Contributors

ShalomCloud now creates automated emails to contributors. Well, not only contributors, but also people paying any kind of commitment. And, also, payments made from the ShalomCloud shopping cart.

Some background: originally, ShalomCloud was strictly a back-office utility. Appropriately, it tracked membership, Yahrzeits, and commitments and payments. Primarily, office personnel recorded those payments, most of which arrived via paper check. Also, ShalomCloud offered, and continues to offer, a way to produce acknowledgement letters.

However, as people have become more and more accustomed to making online payments, ShalomCloud has expanded beyond a back-office program. Accordingly, we offer three different windows for payments. There is a pure payment portal (login not required), a logged-in member portal, and a shopping cart. Again, to keep pace with what perhaps has become an expectation in this digital society, we now generate immediate acknowledgements via email, for each of those three windows into ShalomCloud.

Payment Acknowledgement
Payment Acknowledgement

Here is a somewhat verbose video, that, in the end, shows the automated emails to contributors.

One thing more, not shown in the video. You can designate the sender of those emails. By default, the sender will be [email protected] However, after logging into the system, if you go to Home -> Declare synagogue options, you’ll see a place to declare the “Default email from.” We will need to verify that sender email address, just be aware.

Tax Statements by Email

You can now send links to your memberships’ tax statements by email.

For some time, ShalomCloud could send tax statements by printed letter. As with the periodic statements, you can now send links by email to your members. By accessing the link, each member can see, print, or download the tax statement.

There are two “must-have” items for this process. One — the actual tax letter. Two, an email template entitled, specifically, “send_tax_statement_link.” If you already have a “send_statement_link”, you can copy that one, and change it for tax purposes.

Here is a video showing the tax email process in action:

Tax statements by email

Tax Letters by Email
Tax Letters by Email

Recurring Payments

There’s a new feature available in regard to recurring payments.

Previously, there were only two time periods for recurring payments–weekly or monthly. Now, though, you can specify the number of weeks or months between payments.

For example, if you specify a month-type payment, but with an interval of 3, that charge will happen every 3 months.

If you’re unfamiliar with the whole idea of recurring payments, as implemented within ShalomCloud, you’ll likely find this video helpful.

List of payment plans
Payment Plans

QuickBooks Desktop Integration

ShalomCloud now offers QuickBooks Desktop integration.

For some time, we have supported near-real-time integration with QuickBooks Online.  By that, we mean that, within minutes of posting financial activity in ShalomCloud, that activity appears in QuickBooks Online.  This is a cloud-to-cloud integration, and one that seems to follow Intuit’s implied direction.  (For a comparison between QB Online and QB Desktop, please see this chart.)

However, in talking to customers and prospective customers, we have learned that QuickBooks desktop maintains its popularity.  Therefore, we developed the Desktop integration.

Basically, there are three steps involved.category mapping

Step 1–export your chart of accounts from QB Desktop, and import that chart into ShalomCloud.

Step 2–map your ShalomCloud categories  into the QuickBooks chart.  Then, after going about your normal financial posting,

Step 3–create the extract to QuickBooks Desktop.

 

 

The explanation above appears daunting–but it’s actually a simple process, as illustrated in this video, which walks through all the steps.  In reality, it may take some careful thought to get the mapping just right.  After that, though, the normal, day-to-day process just involves one link–to export financial activity from ShalomCloud–followed by importing that file into QB Desktop.

 

 

Eight Tools to Edit PDF Files

Have you the need to edit PDF files?  The wonderful Zapier organization has published an article describing eight different ways to approach the task.

To save the reader some time, I’ve summarized some salient facts below.

Product Web Windows Mac iOS Android Entry price
Preview x free
Xodo x x x x free
Sejda x x x free
CloudConvert x free
PDF Expert x x 9.99 iOS; 59.99 Mac
PDFElement x x x x free iOS, Android; 39.95 desktop
Foxit x x x x x 7.99/month
Adobe Acrobat x x 14.99/month