This topic covers the process of generating a batch of payments automatically. The payments will be primarily for landlords, suppliers and the fees and GST collected during the period. There is also an ability to pick up payments made manually, such as money being returned to a tenant, so those payments can be included as part of a a direct credit file transferred to the bank.
The primary advantage of generating payments is speed.
If you haven't done so you should read the Payments Overview topic where the different types of payments can be compared and the steps involved.
Very briefly, prior to generating payments a bank reconciliation should have been completed, the Held and Overdrawn reports run and any adjustments made, the landlord and supplier balances reports examined for any anomalies and corrections made if necessary. So far these would, or should, have been done even if paying "everybody" manually. Next the Generate Payments will be run which will pay "everybody" in a fraction of the time doing it manually would take.
The detailed processes are laid out in the End of Period - In Depth topic but for now the concentration is on generating the payments and the immediate steps which will normally follow up to the actual bank payment process which are:-
Generate the payments
Print the Cheque List and DC List
Checking and modifying payments
Confirming the payments
Creating the Direct Credit File
Location... Administration menu > Payments > Generate Payments.
This screen determines what payments are to be made by ticking the appropriate checkboxes, the date the system says the payments were made and the minimum payment that will be made. The screen fields are:-
This is the transaction date within the system and the date that will be printed on landlord and supplier statements.
If manual payments have been made and are included in the batch they retain the date of that transaction.
It will default to "today"and can be overridden up to the end of the period date where it will "stall" and can not be advanced until a new period is commenced.
Tick the boxes indicate the category of payments to be made. Most users save time and repetition by paying landlords, suppliers and your fees and GST in a single payment run although you can make multiple individual payment runs if you wish
Generate Fees and GST
When the generate process starts the standard Fees and GST Payments screen appears where you can modify the payment details if you wish. A Remittance advice is offered for printing which shows the breakdown of management fees, letting fees and the combine GST collected on both.
Pressing [Cancel] will stop the creation of a fees and GST payment in this batch.
A tick here will create a payment for landlords who have a positive balance, less any landlord Hold amount, which equals or exceeds the (landlord) Minimum Payment amount.
A blank entry generates payments for all eligible landlords.
Selecting an Interim List limits payments just those landlords on that list.
Where multiple interim payment lists, say weekly and fortnightly, are wanted to be paid at the same time they can be included in the same by running generate payments multiple times. After the first run, subsequent runs will issue a "batch exists" message and the answer should be "Yes".
A tick here will create a payment for suppliers who have a positive balance, less any supplier Hold amount, which equals or exceeds the (supplier) Minimum Payment amount.
Include Manual Payments
Tick this box to include any existing manual payments which meet the "rules" for inclusion in this batch. See here for selection rules.
Maximum Payment Batch Size
If your bank has a limit on the number of records allowed in an internet banking batch enter that number here.
The system will automatically create multiple batches containing records up to that limit. The last batch will have between one and the limit size records.
Each batch must be handled separately from this point. Each must have separate reports printed, be confirmed individually, and have separate DC files created each with a unique name.
Avoid paying small values by entering the minimum payment you wish to make. Any account balance less than this amount will be carried forward into the next period and show as a "B/Fwd Balance". A separate amount must be entered for landlords and suppliers.
Include Bond Disbursements
In New Zealand this will generally be left unchecked as the bond centre does not yet handle direct credit payments. See the Payments Overview topic for more information including when you might use it.
OK to Continue
When this button is pressed the system runs through the selected accounts and creates exactly the same payment record as if you had accessed every account manually and created a payment except the "rules" above will be applied and the records will be tied together with a common batch number. This number allows the records to be handled as a single entity for subsequent processing.
Running generate payments multiple times (for the same selection) will not create multiple payments because after the first run there will be no available balance in the account.
Running generate payments multiple times without Confirming previous batches will combine the runs into a single batch.
If you do receive the warning and are unsure what is in the existing batch cancel out and check its content by looking in the confirm grid or printing the Cheque and DC lists before proceeding. If necessary confirm the pre-existing batch first. It is quite legitimate to generate into an existing batch, just make sure it's what you want to do.
You may run generate payments as many times a month as you wish.
Cheque List and Direct Credit List
Location... Administration menu > Payments > Cheque or DC List.
The purpose of these two lists is two-fold. They provide a hard copy of the payments you are about to make for checking and if payments are changed or deleted they can be re-printed and show what was actually paid, at least as far as the system goes. Unfortunately people sometimes make mistakes between this point in the process and the actual payment made.
After generating the payments print the Administration > Payments > Cheque List and the Administration > Payments > Direct Credit List and check the payments are what you intend.
When cheques are required write them out in the order the appear on the Cheque List entering the cheque number on the list itself. This will be used later in the confirmation step.
The selection screen list box will display "(Unconfirmed)" after the date where the batch has yet to be confirmed.
Where "Unconfirmed" is not displayed it means no transactions of that type, cheque or DC, were created for that batch.
Where you have batch size limits check for multiple batches.
The Batch Number will show the batch number of the last payment run.
Previous batches may be reprinted.
Changing and Deleting Payments
If you find items which are incorrect and they may be deleted or changed right up until the payment is entered into the banking system. As an example to correct a payment to a landlord on the Cheque List which should be paid by DC:-
go to the landlord account > Payments
check or enter the payment type and bank account code account and any bank references
save the changes
go to the landlords > transactions
edit the payment just generated, it should be the last record
change the payment method from CHQ to DC and the account code and bank references should appear
save the changes.
Obviously an amount adjustment could have been made in the same way.
A deletion is only a matter of deleting the record in the transaction grid.
Important Both the Cheque List and DC list will need to be reprinted..
Confirming the Payments
Location... Administration menu > Payments > Confirm Payments.
This screen is used to assign cheque numbers when required and confirm the payments once the checking is complete. It is also the final opportunity to correct any problem prior to paying the money through the banking system.
Transactions can also be deleted using the Navigator Bar [Delete] button in which case the Cheque and DC lists will need re-printing.
When cheques are required make sure the grid line selected is on or above the first cheque payment then press [Enter Cheque Number] and enter the first cheque number from your Cheque List.
The system will work through the cheque transactions automatically assigning and incrementing the cheque numbers by one.
If a cheque was cancelled or a new book started select the relevant record, press [Enter Cheque Number] again and enter the new starting number and the following cheques will be re-sequenced from that point.
Once you are happy the details are right click the Confirm button and all the payment records will now be flagged as confirmed.
Caution. If you remove, delete or change payment records after confirming a batch and have created a direct credit file for your electronic banking you should recreate it before transferring it to your banking software.
Creating the Direct Credit File
Location... Administration menu > Payments > Create Direct Credit File.
The ability to transfer a file of direct credit payments to your bank depends upon the banking software you use and generally banks make a charge for the software which provides this service. However, it is undoubtedly the quickest method of paying your landlords and suppliers.
As usual, each bank has their own requirements as to the format of the file supplied and this job takes the payments in the batch and creates a file in the format required. There are some widely used "general" formats which might be available with your bank but if not we can provide a new format fairly quickly.
Not all fields on the Create Direct Credit File screen are required by some banks.
This list box displays the DC payment batch number containing the payments you wish to make and will default to the last payment batch confirmed. Note this number is different to the Bank's Batch Id below.
The two dates indicate the earliest and latest dated payment in the file.
These dates should be checked as a matter of course as funny dates may indicate a problem somewhere. The latest date during the month should be either "today" and no later than the end of period. Any date earlier than the Payment Date entered in Generate Payments indicates manual payments have been included in the batch or you may have merged multiple payment runs with different dates into one batch.
The direct credit file can be created again if you need to create a replacement direct credit file. Take care not to make a double payments by mistake.
There are multiple checks and messages to help avoid making errors. Please read them.
By default the ...\PropMan\Mts directory is where the DC file will be created. You can use a different location by using the Browse button or key in the full path to a different location. Know where you put it because you will need to direct the banking software to the file's location. Some banking software will remember its location others won't.
Delete Files 30 days old or more
Use this check box from time to time to delete direct credit files older than 30 days as a housekeeping measure. In my opinion there is no need to keep the files once they have been processed by the bank because the payout date is in the past and the file can not be re-used. If you want to be absolutely up to date with deletions use Windows Explorer.
File Name, File Format, Bank's Batch Id
Our recommendation for file naming is to use the reverse date system, see Downloading the Bank Transactions more on this method. This should result in the DC file just created being the last file (assuming name order) in the directory which makes picking up the wrong file less likely. When you label files "Nov Landlords" or even worse "Payments" or similar, there is a good chance of picking up the wrong file, perhaps simply because you were interrupted and had failed to create the file.
Even though each bank has its own requirements for the content to be placed in each of these three fields you should be able to name the file as suggested. As far as the other fields go the variations are wide and vary with which of the banking package is used, so you may need to talk to your bank's help desk to get it right. Teller's generally won't have a clue.
The data in these fields will be remembered from run to run and normally remain constant.
Electronic Banking File Formats
Although the banks have their own electronic banking software at least some of the file formats are used by several of them. At the time of writing the Aspect Property Manager currently outputs direct credit file formats listed below. If your bank's format is not present please contact us with your banks details and if possible a contact name and we will normally add it to those presently in the system at no charge to you unless it is has "really way out" requirements.
ASB Fastnet Business MT9
The date you want the funds transferred from your account to the payee. The date must not be before today's calendar date because most banks' electronic banking systems will not accept transactions with a date earlier than the day they are processing. If you followed my earlier reasoning this will be today or tomorrow not the Payment Date entered at the start of the Generate Payments process.
Just for fun. Pressing this button creates the direct credit file. Surprise! Surprise!
Fees and GST Payments