End of Period - In Depth
The End of Period (EoP) processing is primarily a housekeeping function which "draws a line across the books". Assuming you have reconciled and backed up the system it becomes a point to which you can return later if necessary. Typically the end of a period will coincide with the end of the calendar month, which would also be the same time you make payments to your landlords, suppliers, yourself and perhaps tenants. The discussion which follows concentrates on those processes which will be carried out by most organisations at this time.
Note that the EoP processing is seldom done on the actual "last day of the month". In fact that is most unusual, as you don't get the last day's bank transactions until at least the next day. Thus, in this system we are actually talking about the processing performed after the transactions for the last day of the period have been entered into the system.
Throughout the period, rents have been received, invoices entered and their value deducted from the landlords' accounts, payments may have been made to suppliers and landlords. In well run offices reconciliations and other checking will have been performed throughout the period as well, which means no mad scramble to fix problems at the last gasp.
At this point you will normally want to finalise the end of month activities including paying both landlords and suppliers, printing the landlord statements and transferring the management fees, letting fees and GST out of the Trust Account into the Trading Account.
The discussion that follows makes these assumptions :-
You are using the Aspect Property Manager in the way it was designed and not just as an electronic copy of a manual system.
Suppliers invoices are, in the main, NOT being paid as they arrive but are accumulated and paid by a single payment at the end of the month.
That a period equates to a calendar month and you are performing your end of month activities after the last transactions for the period have been entered. This may be one or several days into the new calendar month.
No transactions for the new period have been entered.
The following steps are laid out as a general sequence to follow at the end of the month after all receipts and invoices for the open period have been entered. A number of the "printed" reports may be viewed on the screen rather than a hard copy made, at least in the first instance.
1. Check that all receipts and invoices have been entered then reconcile the system and do not proceed until the system does reconcile. If you do you may pay out more than you should and you may have to make it up out of your fees.
2. If applicable run the Admin Menu > Generate Standing Charges program.
3. Display the Administration > Control Reconciliation screen or print the Administration > Reports > Control Report and check the totals for reasonableness too. There should be no red calculated bank figures on the display or asterisk on the Bank figure on the report. If there are it means the system is out of balance internally. Refer to Administration > Control Reconciliation for more information.
4. Print the Landlords > Reports > Landlord Held or Overdrawn report and check for any hold amounts which should be taken off or added. Any supplier hold amount is printed on the Suppliers > Reports > Supplier Balances report.
5. Print the Landlords > Reports > Landlord Balances and Suppliers > Reports > Supplier Balances reports and check the totals for correctness. I'm not saying check the addition, but you should have some rough idea what your landlord "usually" gets paid. If something is wrong or you are uncertain about any account check it out and fix it now.
6. Back up the database unless there have been no, (or insignificant), changes since the last back-up OR you intend only to back up at Step 18. This is to give you a recovery point if things go "pear-shaped" during the next few steps, some of which are hard or time-consuming to undo. It may be quicker to recover to this point, fix what was wrong and repeat these next steps.
7. Run Administration > Payments > Generate Payments. Select the type of payment run by checking the appropriate boxes. I recommend that you set the Payment Date to the date you are "paying up to", which would typically be last day of the period, rather than "today's date. The reasoning being that just as you enter a receipt with the date on the bank statement or the date of an invoice,not the date you are entering the transaction. Payments then have a date "within" the current period. This does not cause a problem when creating the Direct Credit file because you must enter the date you want the transaction to take place in the banking system when creating the file.
You may make a single Generate Payment run paying your Fees and GST, landlords and suppliers all in the same run or make a series of runs.
Where making your payments using an "internet banking" facility, as opposed to an electronic banking package, you may need to limit the number of transactions in the batch by entering the Maximum Payment Batch Size. The system will automatically create a series of batches containing DC payments up to that limit. All cheque payments are part of the first batch. Each batch requires its own DC List to be printed. Each batch requires confirming separately. Each batch will need to be imported into the "internet banking" program separately too.
8. Print the Administration > Payments > Reports > Cheque List and Administration > Reports > Direct Credit List and check the payments are what is intended. If there are payments listed which:-
have been included because you ticked "Include Manual Payments", review step 10.
should not be paid at all, delete them from both the batch and the system by either deleting them in the appropriate transaction grid or go to the Administration > Payments > Confirm Payments grid, select the record and click the [Delete] button in the Navigator Bar.
have the wrong amount, (even after step 5 !!!), go to the appropriate transaction grid and edit the record.
have the wrong payment method, cheque instead of DC or v.v., go to the appropriate transaction grid and edit the record.
have been missed from the payment lists, (even after step 5 !!!), go to the appropriate transaction grid and add the payment. Then you must run Administration > Payments > Generate Payments again with the "Include Manual Payments" ticked. This may pick up other manual payments which you don't want so review step 10.
9. If you make any alterations reprint the Cheque or Direct Credits list(s) and check the results. When you are satisfied that the payments are as you want them. If all is OK skip to step 11.
10. When you run Administration > Payments > Generate Payments you also have the opportunity to check the Include Manual Payments box. If you do so any, manual DC payments made which were not confirmed at the time and any cheque payments with a blank cheque number will be drawn into the batch being generated.
11. Write out the cheques being paid in the sequence shown in the Cheque List writing each cheque number on the list in the blank first column provided.
12. When the cheques have been written go to the Administration > Payments > Confirm Payments grid and click the "Enter Cheque Number" button and enter the starting cheque number. This will be applied to the first cheque payment then incremented by 1 for each cheque payment.
If you have a missing cheque number, or start a new cheque book, select the pertinent payment record in the grid and click the "Enter Cheque Number" button again and enter the new number, click [OK] and all following cheques will be re-sequenced from that point.
13. Once you are happy with the details click the Confirm button. This confirms the DC payment records so the electronic banking direct credit can be created and the same DC payments will now be drawn into a single figure in the bank reconciliation for presentation. The system default is to show a single figure for all the payment records in the DC batch but they can be shown individually by unchecking Setup menu > Preferences > Receipts and Banking > Show DCs as a Batch
14. Run Administration menu > Payments > Create Direct Credit File if you are using a banking package which allows importing of direct credit files. These packages generally have a monthly charge associated with them as opposed to the basic internet banking package which generally only allow exporting of the bank transactions. Importing a direct credit file of the payments you are making is extremely time efficient.
15. The landlord and supplier statements should be "printed" before running the End of Period process itself, particularly if you make use of individual landlord statement messages, as they get discarded by the End of Period program. If use is made of the statement run message, which appears on every landlord statement, it is entered as one step of the statement run. Similarly common attachments are added to the email statements produced as another step. See Emailing Statements for more details.
It should not be necessary to examine each statement in detail if you have carried out the earlier steps but there may be one or two accounts that you have had problems with during the month that deserve closer attention.
16. Print any reports you require as hard copy. Note that all reports except the Bonds and the Tenant Held report can be reprinted should the need arise. It is suggested that you only print those reports you deem as "essential to be hard copy format".
17. Your auditor or accountant will want some specific reports and I would expect them to always want the Bank menu > Cashbook and Admin menu > Reports > Audit Return. The former shows all the receipts and payments for the period and the latter lists the unpresented items along with the control account balances. Others they may like include the Landlord Balances and Supplier Balances, the Landlord Held and Overdrawn, the Tenant Held and the Bonds Held reports. Auditors often require transaction details on a selection of landlord, tenant and supplier accounts and the respective ledger reports can provide those details. If the entire ledger is requested consider emailing the ledger in pdf format using [Email Report] on the print preview screen.
18. Back up the database. This may be in addition to the back-up taken in Step 4. Some people like to keep this back-up "forever". If you do this you must also keep the programs that go with this database otherwise later program changes may make it unreadable. Make use of the Archive process which solves this problem.
19. Run the Administration menu > End of Period task to close the period off and start a new one.
20. You may like to create another backup at this point too since it is the start of the new period as it would save running end of period again if you wish to start the period again.