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The Archive process is fully integrated within the Aspect Property Manager and consists of two programs on separate menus to avoid accidents.  The Create Archive process is on the Admin > Utilities sub-menu while the View Archives is located on the File menu.

Location... Admin menu > Utilities > Create Archive
Location... File menu > View Archives

Overview
Over time any database will contain many records which are no longer relevant, at least on a day to day basis.  In the Aspect Property Manager database this will consist of landlords whose properties are no longer managed or were one time casual lets, the properties owned by these landlords and of course the tenants in those properties; there will be properties which have been on-sold and are no longer managed and of course the tenants who rented those properties.  There will also be Suppliers which are no longer used.  Associated with each of these landlords, properties, tenants and suppliers are the transaction records covering the financial activity as well as other records, photos, notes and so on.

Removing these irrelevant records has a number of benefits:-
  • Clutter is removed from screens and reports
  • The reduced database size means backups are smaller and faster
  • Because there are fewer records for the computer to work with there will be an increase in the overall speed of the Aspect Property Manager but whether you will notice it will be arguable in many situations.

    However, if these records are no longer in your database how do you refer to old data when there may be a dispute about something which happened in those removed records?  One way is to print and store reports which are seldom if ever used, occupy space and are difficult to access.

    The Aspect Property Manager has a different approach.  The old records are kept in a time-frozen copy of the database that is accessed using the Aspect Property Manager program version the archive was created with.  This database is known as an archive, which may be viewed but not changed and reports produced from it.

    Once the database has been archived old records can be deleted from the "live" system subject to the rules associated with deleting records by using the companion Purge program and the bulk delete programs both of which are found on the Admin menu > Utilities sub-menu.

    In the last few months of the tax year, or at the very least before running the Archive and Purge programs, you should do the housekeeping required to clear landlord, tenant and supplier accounts which have balances you will never collect or pay out for whatever reason.  


    Creating an archive
    The Admin menu > Utilities > Create Archive function is used to create an archive database and opens with a screen allowing the ending period of the archive to be selected.  By default the ending period offered will be the last period of the last tax year.  This period was chosen as it is assumed most users will purge records to the end of a tax year, however, you may select any period you wish.

    There is no need to perform the Archive immediately after rolling into the new tax year.  You may wait for a quiet time.

    Notes
  • The location of the archive is imposed and can not be changed.  The "PropMan Archive" directory is created at the same level as the \PropMan directory.
  • The archive name is imposed and can not be changed and uses the reverse dates of the starting and ending period of the archive, e.g.  2004-04-01 to 2011-03-31.
  • The archive process always archives from the oldest period in the database to a period selected by the user which will default to the end of March last., being the end of the tax year in New Zealand.
  • Records after the end of the selected period will not be in the archived database.
  • Records in the live database after the end of the selected archive period can not be purged.
  • Once [OK to Continue] is pressed the archive will be created with the information panel showing the steps being processed.
  • If the same archive ending date is chosen as an "existing archive" warning will be issued as the existing archive will be overwritten, just like any other program will do.  So if the warning messages occur be sure that what you are doing is correct.

    The Purge process is basically unchanged except in one respect, that is, you can no longer purge beyond the last period archived.



    Examples of the Archive and Purge Dates Relationship
  • All these examples assume the period start and end dates are the start and end dates of the calendar month.
  • Remember any period may contain transactions with dates outside the period start and end dates.
  • Transactions will be archived or purged on the basis of the period in which the transaction was made which may not be the date of the transaction.
  • An indicative Purge To date is given using a two (tax) year retention policy.

    The first example covers what I believe is the most common situation where the Archive is performed in April and the policy is to retain only the last two tax years' records and purging all transaction records prior to that date.

    If the current period end date is 30 April 2010 (Period 88) and an archive is attempted the "Archive up to end date" offered will be 31 March 2010 (Period 87).
    Accepting this date will archive the database up to and including the March 2010 (Period 87) transactions but not those for April 2010 (Period 88).  When the Purge is run the Purge To "date" chosen will be 31 March 2008 (Period 64) retaining the last two tax years' records plus the current year's in the live database. 

    If the current period end date is 31 August 2010 (Period 92) and an archive is attempted the "Archive up to end date" offered will be 31 March 2010 (Period 87).
    If this date is accepted:- 
    the archive will only contain transaction records up to and including those in Period 87 and you could purge transaction records up to and including Period 87 but are more likely to purge to 31 March 2008 (Period 63).

    If the current period end date is 31 January 2010 (Period 85) and an archive is attempted the "Archive up to end date" offered will be 31 March 2009 (Period 75).
    If this date is accepted:- 
    the archive will contain transaction records up to and including those in Period 75 and you could purge transaction records up to and including Period 75 but are more likely to purge to 31 March 2007 (Period 51).

    If the current period end date is 31 May 2010 (Period 89) and an archive is attempted the "Archive up to end date" offered will be 31 March 2010 (Period 87).
    This date can not be changed to the current period (Period 89), but if the "Archive up to end date" is changed to 30 April 2010 (Period 88):- 
    the archive will contain transaction records up to and including those in Period 88 and you could purge transaction records up to and including Period 88.

    This last example shows the effect of performing the archive and choosing a calendar year as the archive end date.  

    If the current period end date is 31 January 2010 (Period 85) and an archive is attempted the "Archive up to end date" offered will be 31 March 2009 (Period 75).
    If this date is changed to the end of the last calendar year, 31 December 2009 (Period 84),
    the archive will contain transaction records up to and including those in Period 84 and you could purge transaction records up to and including Period 84 but are more likely to purge to 31 December 2007 (Period 60).

    The examples show the date you could purge to, however, it is unlikely that will be the date chosen as it would delete very recent transactions.  It is much more likely the "purge to" date chosen will be the end of a tax year a year or two before according to your own retention policy.



    Viewing an archive
    The File menu > View Archives function allows any Aspect Property Manager user to view archives from any computer in a network.

    Reports may be produced but no entry may be added or changed.

    When you have finished working with the archive close the archive and you will be returned to the Aspect Property Manager or the last Windows program being used.

    Particularly with long term tenants it may be necessary to access more than one archive to view all the transactions from the start of tenancy and the new archiving system allows you to open multiple archives at the same time.  

    As successive archives will usually contain overlapping periods take care when printing the reports to choose each report start and ending periods so no overlaps occur.

    Tip  Within an archive use the Admin menu > Control Reconciliation screen to check the period / dates in the archive.


    Cautions
  • The archived databases are not backed up by the inbuilt Backup and Restore function.  You must back them up manually, preferably to CD/DVD.
  • If you overwrite an existing archive, despite the warnings, and you do not have the archives backed up, there is quite likely no recovery.


    Related Topics
    Purge
    Housekeeping
    Adding, Changing and Deleting Records
    Clearing a Tenant Account
    Clearing a Landlord Account
    Clearing a Supplier Account