Control of debtor accounts and service is critical to the profitability of any organisation. The ability to restrict the amount of indebtedness of a customer and to stop delivery of product in extreme case is essential to any system. The discounts and terms of payment of invoices and the ability to have different terms for different customers (and even invoices) are a flexibility that is necessary in to-days competitive environment. The ease of access to account information and all other related information held in different modules is a key aspect of dealing with customers enquiries accurately, efficiently and immediately thus saving time looking up information and returning calls.
The Debtor's Ledger is the facility to record the details of a customer. These include their address, account terms, amount owing and outstanding and historic postings. SERENADE provides the essential features and a lot more to allow excellent control over account and debtors. It has a customer contact facility to record all contact with the customer by any department (including by accounts) and a 'next contact' date. Customer accounts can be found quickly and having found the account access to all other information related to this customer is available by selecting the relevant option.
- Customers have a 6 character alphanumeric (unique) account code and an 8 character 'look-up' code. Full partial name searching is available to find a customer's account.
- A statement account may have an extensive number of 'invoice-to' and 'despatch to' accounts
- Invoices may be sent to the statementable and/or the 'invoice-to' account
- Accounts may be set as 'Hold', 'Cash Only', 'Note' or 'Bad Debt/Out for Collection'
- An account type may be 'Open Item' or 'Balance Forward' and may be changed at any time.
- Terms of trade may vary by account (and even for invoices on an account)
- Postings may be in foreign currency
- Partial cash payments may create a 'short payment' entry rather than leave a balance on an invoice
- The system will accept 'contra' values with the creditors ledger
- Statement discount/rebates are allowed as well as 'write on/off' values
- Postings may be made for future periods so that there is no need to stop invoicing at month end if the accounts have not been 'statemented' and 'rolled' yet.
- Cash for a future period may be matched with past periods and statements will still show the position as at the end of the month.
- Statements are free format (as far as possible)
- Substantial numbers of reports are available most with selection criteria
- Enquiry will show the account details, postings (open and historic) and allows entry to other modules to view/process such things as sales orders, WIP jobs, turnover by period total and by product purchased.
- Invoices and Credit Notes may be viewed and reprinted by selection from the postings list
- Account notes and a customer contact diary may be maintained and letters sent to the customer from Word or Wordpad are recorded as a single line in the account history and may be accessed/viewed from there
The Debtors module caters for four kinds of account:
- 'statementable' accounts
- 'invoice-to' accounts
- 'despatch-to' accounts
- 'notation' accounts.
A statementable account is the account that is ultimately responsible for payment for the customer's purchases. If the address to which the goods and/or the invoice are to be sent is not the address of the statementable account, a despatch-to and/or invoice-to account may be used as well and linked to the statementable account. A customer with several sites could have one statementable account but numerous despatch-to and/or invoice-to accounts.
A notation account receives a copy of each month's postings to any invoice-to accounts that are linked to it. It would typically be the head office of a group of companies, where each company has its own statementable account but the head office requires notification of its subsidiaries' postings.
All non-statementable accounts must be linked to the statementable accounts and specify where the invoices should be sent and to which account the postings for payment should be sent. Sales Analysis is available by 'invoice-to' account but not the 'despatch-to' account.
Account Detail Files
Every account has an associated address, but only statementable accounts need accounting details kept. The system therefore keeps account details in two separate files and has two files for postings:
- Site details (address, etc.) for all accounts
- Accounting details (discount, credit terms, etc), for statementable accounts only.
- Outstanding postings
- Posting and Matching History and diary reference entries
In a normal (small) environment most companies have the delivery, invoice and statement all to the same address so it is only necessary to have a single statementable account.
The diagram below shows how the four types of account might typically be linked in, say, a pair of companies reporting to a head office. You may still despatch to the statementable account
Account and Look-up Codes
Each address on file must have:
- A unique account code which may be any combination of alphabetic and numeric characters and some punctuation marks.
- An easily remembered look-up code, which does not have to be unique, to help with finding the account. Usually the start of the account name. This is used as the alphabetic code when producing reports in that sequence.
You can produce most reports in either of these sequences.
SERENADE'S Debtor's module has two principal ways for you to prevent collection problems escalating:
- You can set a credit limit for a particular customer. If the credit limit is not zero, SERENADE will display a warning whenever the credit limit is exceeded and the account (or a related 'invoice-to account) is accessed for posting or enquiry.
- You can mark an account as
- "See Note" (with a related note);
- "Cash Sales Only;"
- "On Hold;"
- or "Bad Debt/Out for Collection"
Open Item and Balance Forward Account types
There are two types of statementable accounts:
- Balance Forward (all postings on an account are replaced by a single "brought forward" balance per period at month's end). This does not preclude payments being matched against period balances.
- Open Item (at month's end, postings that have a balance are retained, and fully matched postings are deleted).
You may switch an account from one type to the other at any time. Changing to an 'Open Item' account will not restore the item lines that are presently part of a balance.
When cash is received from the customer it is entered in to the system.The payment type can be:
- Direct Credit
Cash and Cheques are posted to the banking supplement and when the listing is extracted to go to the bank the total is posted for banking reconciliation. EFTPOS and Direct credits go to the reconciliation, they do not affect the banking supplement.The option is then if the amount should be matched or not and if so how.SERENADE allows you to:
- Match the payment against the postings from the oldest balance forward without seeing the outstanding posting list
- View the list and still match from the oldest forward
- Select which postings to match it against
- Do no matching at all. This is useful if a partial (on account) payment has been received. You should consider amending the account to 'Open Item' (if it is currently Balance Forward) so that the payment does not get rolled in to one of the balances at period end
Additional processing may need to be performed.
- A 'short payment' entry may be required for the difference between the payment and the invoice (if it is less than expected). You can leave a balance on the invoice but this can lead to confusion after the month end has rolled as the invoice will appear to be only for the balance remaining.
- If a rebate was applicable to an invoice it may need to be allowed or disallowed depending on the date of the payment.
- An amount may be written off as standard account statement discount
- An amount may be written off or on as the payment does not quite match the invoice (cash rounding)
- A contra with the creditor ledger may need to be created if this has been done by the customer. At this point it is legal as the invoices have been generated previously with the relevant tax.
Aged Trial Balances
The normal way that a credit controller checks accounts is by using an Aged Trial Balance. Typically this shows the postings that are outstanding in columns (usually one column per period). This is fine if all account (and invoices) are due on (say) 20th of the Month. If they have different due dates then this report can only be regarded as a guide at best. SERENADE'S answer is that each invoice carries the date on which payment is due based on the terms of the account or as amended when the invoice was generated. These are used to produce a report by due date so that it is immediately obvious if an invoice is overdue.
The system allows extensive enquiry into all the details retained for the account in the debtors ledger and allows access in to any other module in which the account number is used. Having accessed/viewed the data in another module the system will (in some cases) allow you to amend the entries. An example is that having viewed the sales order items outstanding you may select an order and go to amend it . This option can be restricted!Access is allowed to:
- Sales Orders / Invoices
- Sales Analysis