A question we often get is, “How do I run my end of month?” Because of the array of businesses that use SimplicityCollect, and the various laws from different states, counties, and even countries that can affect what you need, we’ve made our software very flexible. There is no one “right way” we can definitively outline to run your end of month records, but we will provide some of the most common methods and tools used for the process.
NOTE: All information in this article is strictly for example purposes only. Please make sure to check your local laws and company requirements before choosing a method below, or creating your own unique method for end of month reporting.
The Report Method
A large portion of our customers use The Report Method. This is helpful for:
- Generating end of month documents at any time (even at the beginning or mid-month)
- Does not deal with or worry about the Accounting tab on accounts
- Some reports (like Client Reports) can be automated to send to your company or your clients
- Can be exported to Word, Excel, or PDF for printing
- If exported to Excel, you can use additional Excel functions and formulas
***IMPORTANT*** This method by itself leaves the check-writing or transfer of money from Agency to Client in the hands of the business. It does not automate or generate any checks or money transfers for you.
This method strictly uses the reports currently in SimplicityCollect (or your own custom ones made with the Report Builder). You can generate these reports at any time, and they generate the data based on filters you set. Many reports run based on a date range, so you can back-date reports or even view reports for the future.
Although we recommend running some reports yourself so you can get an idea of what we have available (or check our Knowledgebase for detailed information on each), some of our most popular reports for this method include:
The Financial Report
Located in Reports > Financial Reports, this report has a few different variations you can set using the Report Name drop-down list:
- Transaction Reports include both payments and costs.
- Payment Reports show payments ONLY.
- Payments w/ Client Disb. Show payments ONLY, with Client distribution.
- Transactions – Simple includes both payments and costs, in a simplified format.
- Payments – Simple shows payments ONLY, in a simplified format. ***MOST POPULAR***
You can filter this report by client and by date. This report will also calculate the total money that’s been set to allocate to the Agency vs. the Client (and other 3rd parties) on the last page.
NOTE: If you have Direct to Client payments that are posted to accounts, you may want to run the report twice–once with the Payment Type set to Payment, and one set to Client Payment. This way you can tell the difference between who owes who what money.
The Client Statement Report
Located in Reports > Quick Reports > Client Statement, this report is similar to the Financial Reports, but can be customized to include/exclude specific columns. It will also (based on the columns you select) automatically take into consideration the difference between Payment type transactions and Client Payment type transactions. That way the final Due to Client column will deduct what they owe to your agency, based on payments made directly to the client.
You can filter the report by client and by date. The last page will total all the values together for you automatically.
The Check Printing Method
This method utilizes features in SimplicityCollect to automatically calculate checks to send out to clients during the end of month process. Some benefits include:
- You will be able to utilize the Accounting tab on accounts
- Checks can be printed immediately, or queued to be generated when you’re ready
- Accounting auto-actions can be set to trigger whenever payments are applied to the Financials tab (must be enabled)
- Reports can still be generated separately if you need details to email to clients
- Reports (like Client Reports) can be automated to send to your company or your clients
The easiest way to start this process is as soon as you sign up for SimplicityCollect. If you already have accounts or have already taken payments in the system, you’ll find it easiest to start this method at the beginning of a new reporting period.
We’ll cover the steps one by one here from start to finish:
Setting up Accounting Auto-Actions
We almost always recommend using the automated accounting functionality, which helps speed up the process and prevent human error. In very rare circumstances have we ever seen a company opt out of automation. After reviewing how it works, you’ll be able to make the best decision whether it is right for your business or not.
Located in Settings > Financial Settings > Accounting Auto-Actions, this screen prompts you to choose what checks should be automatically queued when payments come in. They are based on the allocations/disbursements you have already set up for your clients under Settings > Clients, or on the accounts themselves.
The most common setup we see is:
1) Check queued for Client:
2) (Optional) Check queued for Agency. This is used if you want the Trust Account Balance on the Accounting tab to be zeroed out:
3) (Optional) Checked queued for Attorney (or other 3rd party), repeat steps above.
Descriptions and References can be set to whatever you’d like.
NOTE: Reference Type will only appear if you change the Check Action to Queue Check.
Once you’ve set one of the above options, you click Add Payment Action. You will see a popup that says:
This will be perfect for step #1 above, and indicates Simplicity will write the check to the Client tied to that account (and all payments associated with it). It will use that client’s address information located in Settings > Clients.
You can change the drop-down to Misc. instead, which indicates when a payment is made to queue a check for a different address. This will be perfect for step #2 above, if you need checks queued to your Agency:
With at least these two set, you’ll be off to a great start. Keep in mind these auto-actions are going to be triggered for ALL accounts in your SimplicityCollect system, for ALL payments. There is no way to restrict these auto-actions to only certain accounts.
Posting a Payment and How it Affects Accounting
At this point we’re ready to try posting a payment. You can navigate to any account’s Financials tab, and put in payment information:
After typing in the information, click the Insert Transaction button. The payment should post and show in the area below. NOTE: Other boxes may pop up depending on what you have enabled. Go through each one accordingly before getting to this step.
At the top of the account, click on the Accounting tab.
This is where we see how the payment affects the Trust Account:
Whether you’ve turned on Accounting Auto-Actions or not, you will always see a copy of the Payment shown here (highlighted in yellow). This shows that you received incoming money, and now have that given amount in your Trust Account.
With Accounting Auto-Actions turned on (and with the settings we outlined above) you will see two other line items. Both are queued checks. One is for the $50.00 that was disbursed to the Client and one is for the $50.00 that was disbursed to the Agency. Because both are being queued to print, the Trust Account Balance (top right-hand corner) is back to $0.00.
Printing All Queued Checks to Date
Once you have checks being queued to print, there will come a day you are ready to print them all. Check printing requires you to purchase MultiPart Check Printing Paper. This is paper that has three sections: 1) the first is the check itself, 2) the second is a copy for the recipient (often the client) and 3) the third is a copy for the sender (often the agency).
You can run a test for these checks by going to Settings > Financial Settings > Check Printing Offset.
Once your check paper is tested and ready:
1. Navigate to Tools > Check Printing.
2. Choose whether you want to Group checks by check Payee. When unchecked, every separate check that was ever queued for that entity (client, agency, etc.) will be printed. A benefit to this is that every check is unique, and has the account number, client claim number, or court number (whatever you chose as reference fields) populating on the checks. However, for large batches this may be inefficient. Checking the box tells Simplicity that you’d like to group all checks for that payee together. No reference numbers will be populated, and this will consolidate the total due into one lump sum check.
3. Fill in the box for Starting with check number: ___. This number found on the check paper you have purchased. You will want to load the paper into the printer in order, with the smallest check number first. The system will populate that check number on each of the account’s Accounting tab checks, indicating it was a) printed and b) what check number it was in case you need to refer back to it.
4. Clicking View will show you a list of all the checks queued to be printed. This will change depending on if you have Group checks by check Payee checked or unchecked.
5. When you are ready, click the Print button. You will receive a warning alerting you that this will finalize the printing process, and set the check numbers (chosen in step #3). After accepting, the checks will open in a pop-up window.
6. Each check is on a separate page. We recommend clicking the Export button and saving the file to a PDF format, both to print from and as a backup in case you run into printing issues.
What Checks Printed?
If you need to report to someone concerning the checks that you printed, and/or on the Trust Accounts of the accounts you’ve worked out of, you can run the Reports > Quick Reports > Trust Balance Detail Report. It will mirror what the Accounting tab looks like on accounts that you filter for, within a certain date range or for certain clients.
You can also try one of these reports to indicate what money should be coming over all together, or to see details about what’s happening with the accounts in question:
- Reports > Financial Reports
- Reports > Client Reports
- Reports > Quick Reports > Client Statement
The QuickBooks Method
At this time we have a light integration with QuickBooks (desktop edition only). You can view our full setup walkthrough here.
Using QuickBooks with SimplicityCollect **ONLY** captures payment-type transactions (does not count costs, fees, or client payment-type transactions). It also transfers over the amount collected and the date, but very limited additional information regarding the client details, allocation/disbursement settings, etc.
Although it currently has limitations in terms of automation, we have spoken with companies that export reports from SimplicityCollect (such as the Reports > Financial Reports) on a daily basis and are able to import the files into QuickBooks directly. Using this method, you will be able to capture the exact details you want in QuickBooks.