Search Financial Transactions using a wildcard

You can now search financial transactions using a wildcard, or key-word, for the category.

Especially for those of you converting from a legacy system, you may find yourself with hundreds of financial categories. Worse, the naming convention may have differed from year to year, especially if the fiscal year was part of the category name. We’ve seen lists such as

  • 18-19 Senior Dues
  • 2018-19 Dues
  • 2018-2019 School tuition
  • Young couple dues, 2018-19

With that sort chaos in the naming convention, it’s time consuming to try pinpointing several related categories in a sorted list.

With today’s change, you can merely type a keyword or phrase into an area labeled Category wildcard.

Search Financial Transactions using a wildcard
Category wildcard

When accompanied by fiscal year, this gives you a powerful and quick way to focus on a set of transactions in related categories.

Feel free to enjoy this short (3m 26s) video, demonstrating this ability to search financial transactions using a wildcard in the category.

Statement Options

This enhancement includes a number of statement options. Note that you need not change anything, unless you wish to avail yourself of one or more of these options.

Current Options

Currently, the name and address of the synagogue, along with phone number and website URL, appear at the bottom of the statement. If you’d like to eliminate that, you can put the phrase {no_footer} within the field named Top text. Related to that, if you’d like to print such information near the top of the statement, you can type those details into Top text.

New formatting options

If you would prefer showing the family code itself, rather than just the name and address of the family, on the statement, you can include the phrase {family_code} within the body of the letter.

If you’d like to change the font size of the statement, you can now include something like {font_size 13} within the Additional info. The default is a font size of 12. You can make that smaller or larger, as you see fit.

New content option

Finally — when you select Financial -> Statements, you’ll see an additional checkbox, to suppress zero-balance items. By default, statements include items that were posted and paid in the current statement period. In other words, if someone contributes $18 to a designated fund during the month, that item shows on the statement. On the other hand, if you check the box suppress zero balance, the statement will show only those items with a non-zero balance.

These statement options are by no means an all-or-nothing set of changes. Choose whichever make the most sense for you. Or, try several combinations. The most compact statement would be to un-check include recent payments, and check suppress zero balance.

If you’d like to see a before-and-after video of these changes, feel free to watch this video.

Statement options
Option to suppress zero balance

Recurring Payments Waterfall

Now available — the ability to change the recurring payments waterfall.

What do we mean by the term “waterfall?” Like water descending from a high plateau, we’re referring to the order in which payments are applied against owed items. As a result of this change, you may now alter the course of the waterfall (to continue the nature analogy) by changing the order of the to-be-paid items, or even adding new items. In addition, you can now drag-and-drop those new items to any position within the waterfall. For example, if you want school payments to come before anything else, you would simply drag the school payment charge to the top of the list.

Does this sounds abstract? Hard to understand? This short (3 minutes, 25 seconds) video should make this change clear.

Changing recurring payments

Recurring payments waterfall
Recurring Payments

Financial Categories with the Portals

This enhancement talks about financial categories with the portals.

By way of background — ShalomCloud offers two payment portals: first, a public portal, where any person or organization can enter some basic information, then choose from a list of funds or categories. Another alternative is the member portal. For more information, feel free to browse these articles.

Today’s announcement, which applies to both portals, is that you can now specify exactly which financial categories should appear as choices within these portals. You may have old categories no longer used. Or you may have categories in use, but really meant only for the back-office.

In either case, you can mark any category as either Public, which means it’s on the portals, or Internal.

Here is a video showing this feature in action.

Financial categories with the portals.
Financial Category — public or internal

Running Statements

Running statements can tie up your screen for much more than a few seconds. In fact, if statements take more than two minutes, you’ll see a message about a Gateway timeout.

In order to avoid this, we are now processing statements as a background job. What does this mean to you? First of all, as you submit a statement run, you’ll get an immediate response, telling you that the statement run has begun. Later, typically two to five minutes, you’ll receive an email, from [email protected], informing you that the statements are ready. In that email will be a link, which you can use to download the statements.

For small synagogues, this may be a bit of an inconvenience — after all, it’s a two-step process to pull statements. However, you do gain the benefit of being able to use your browser while the statements are running. And, by running them in the background, you’ll not have to worry about the system timing out.

In weeks to come, we expect to be doing the same for some of the longer-running selections.

Statement run in action: Link to video

Long running jobs

Recurring Payments in the Member Portal

ShalomCloud now offers the ability to create recurring payments in the member portal.

By way of background — we have for some time offered the following capabilities, once a congregant logs in:

  • Maintain own family’s demographic information
  • See yahrzeits related to any member of the family
  • Add a member to the family
  • Pull a statement — amounts owed and paid — for any date range.
  • Make a payment, while designating exactly how those funds should be applied.
  • Member search, by any portion of the last name and/or first name.

To these functions, we now add the idea of creating, updating, and deleting recurring payments. For the sake of completeness, let us mention a couple of prerequisites:

  1. Your temple or synagogue must have an account with our gateway that offers both card and ACH. For more information on that topic, please send us a note at [email protected], and we’ll guide you through the setup process.
  2. There must be a charge, debit, or amount owed, to which the recurring payment would be applied.

The following video shows, not only the new recurring payments function, but actually everything that the member portal can do. Feel free share this post and video, especially if you have members who may want to have an online account.

Member portal end-to-end.

Recurring payment via member portal
Recurring payment via member portal

Option in the Periodic Statements

There’s a new option in the periodic statements. That is, if you use the financial capabilities of ShalomCloud, you’ll see two sections in the statements. The upper part shows owed items and anything paid against them; while below that is an area of recent payments.

If you choose, you can now exclude the lower portion. There’s a checkbox that is checked by default, to keep intact the prior default behavior. Now, though, if you would like to eliminate that lower section, just un-check that box.

Here’s a short video showing the statement, with and without the lower section.

Options in the Periodic Statements
Include Recent Payments

Aged Accounts Receivable Reports

ShalomCloud now has available four aged accounts receivable reports.

The four reports are:

  • By family, summarized.
  • By family, detail.
  • By category, summarized.
  • By category, detail.

If you’ve entered Due Date in the charge, that is the field that determines the age of the receivable item. Lacking due date, the system chooses effective date. Lacking effective date, it’ll fall back to the date the transaction was entered.

There is also a selection to include fiscal year in the categories. Here’s what that means. If you already include the year in your categories–that is, if you set up new sets of categories each each, then you won’t need to include fiscal year, because it’s already there.

On the other hand, knowing that ShalomCloud carries an explicit, separate field for fiscal year, you may adopt the practice of not setting up new categories each year. In that case, if you wish to separate the commitments by year, you would want to include fiscal years on the reports.

Here’s a six-minute video that runs through how to create these reports.

A/R Aged
Aged Accounts Receivable Reports

How to Reassign Payments

This is an instructional article on how to reassign payments.

To explain, let’s run through a typical example.

Let’s say you’ve created outstanding items for two categories — a pledge for $800 and religious school tuition for $400.

A check arrives for $50, and you’ve applied it to the pledge, leaving a pledge balance of $750.

The video steps through how to find the $50 payment, and how to reapply it to the school tuition. The result would be a pledge balance of $800 and school tuition balance of $350. View the video

Reassigning a payment
Reassigning a payment

Statements by Email

We now have the ability to send statements by email.

Button to send statements by email.

Taking our cue from banks and brokerages, we’ve opted not to send the actual statement by email. Instead, we send a rather long link that, when selected, takes the congregant directly into that family’s statement.

There are a few very simple setup steps:

  • Make an email template named send_statement_link.  This is an ordinary email template–so that you can insert pictures, and other customized language. The only requirement is that the template contain, in squiggly braces, the phrase {magic_link}.
  • When you go to produce the statements by email, you may choose to send the links to only certain roles, such as Parent or Adult. And, as with letter statements, you can select specific billing statuses, and/or certain family attributes.
  • Do know that the system will tell you any families for whom there are no email addresses. In that case, without leaving the screen, you can print statements for those families. Then, before the next statement period, perhaps you could work on retrieving email addresses for those families lacking one.

Here’s a video that takes you through the process.