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

Finer adjustments on letter templates

If you’d like to specify custom margins on your hard-copy letter templates, that is now available.  The adjustment goes down to 1/72nd of an inch–in other words, to declare a two-inch left margin, you’d put 144  (2 x 72) as the left margin; to specify a one-inch right margin, enter 72, etc.

custom_margins

Some other minor additional capabilities:

  • Bold, italic, and bold+italic characters in any of the available fonts.
  • Ability to suppress ShalomCloud-generated headers.
  • Ability to suppress ShalomCloud-generated footers.
  • Ability to print current date in various representations, such as June 30, 2018 and 6/20/18.

Handy keyboard shortcuts

Here is a small collection of keyboard commands that potentially could save the reader time, compared to constantly alternating between the mouse and the keyboard.  I can’t guarantee that these will work on all operating systems, all browsers, but it’ll take about two seconds to find out in each case:

  1.  Instead of pointing and  clicking to your browser’s address bar, just use <Ctrl>L       .
  2. Instead of scrolling to the bottom of a long document, whether Word or Google Docs,  use <Ctrl><End>     .
  3. Conversely, if you’re at the bottom of a long document and you want to go back to the beginning, instead of grabbing the scroll bar and dragging up, use <Ctrl><Home>.
  4. To go back one screen in your browser, Instead of grabbing the mouse and aiming at the small back arrow, use <Alt><left arrow>.
  5. If you’re fond of tabs in your browser, instead of clicking to go from tab to tab, use <Ctrl><Page up> or <Ctrl><Page down>  .

If this list looks daunting, I’d suggest picking any one of these shortcuts, and trying it for a week.  It’ll quickly become a habit, and you’ll find yourself incrementally more productive.

 

A handy productivity tip

This article has nothing to do with ShalomCloud, but rather is a general technology-related tip that may help the reader in ordinary daily activities, both professional and personal.

Have you heard of IFTTT (If This, Then That)?  IFTTT offers a way to integrate disparate applications.  A couple of examples:

Continue reading “A handy productivity tip”