Friday Feature - 1-2-3 SACS Validation

Sometimes features in Escape Online are so long-established, you forget how amazing they are. I have been with Escape for over 18 years and I learned on DAY 1 that we support SACS validation with an easy import of the State files. What an amazing feature! And, it only takes three steps to complete.


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A quick reminder. The California Department of Education defines the validation tables for Standardized Account Code Structure (SACS) and Escape Online uses those tables to validate account numbers. For example, when a user creates an account, the software checks the tables to ensure that the component combination is valid.

  1. Download the files from the State onto your network.

  2. Go to the Finance-Processes-SACS Validation Import activity.

  3. Click Go to import the files and load them into the software so that you have all of the funds, functions, goals, resources, objects and valid combinations that the State has defined!

That’s it. Seriously. You’re done.

Now, that’s unforgettable!

Friday Feature - Reviewing Benefits in Budget Line Items

Every spring, districts have to submit their original budgets. Every fall, districts have to submit their interim budgets. With fall just around the corner, it is time to start reviewing budget line items. As you well know, the majority of your budget is salary and benefits, so Escape Online gives you two ways to review those benefits.

There are two ways to review benefits:

  • From the salary account. The Benefits tab of the budget salary account shows the benefit accounts and amounts for that salary account. The list will show a line for each employee for each benefit type. For example, if you had three employees budgeted to a salary account, the list would show multiple lines for each employee (e.g., STRS, SUI, dental, medical, etc.).

  • From the benefit account. If you go to the actual benefit account, you can see all of the items from the salary accounts for that single benefit account. You can also add and edit manual benefit entries, including the budget amount, projection amounts, description and comment. However, you cannot edit system-generated entries created by loading salaries through the Budget Management activity.

Check it out! First, let’s look at the salary budget item and the Benefits tab for that budget item. Then, let’s look at the information from the benefit budget item.

 This is the Budget Entry Salary Account.

This is the Budget Entry Salary Account.

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On the Benefits tab of the salary account, we can see all of the employees’ benefits for that salary account. Notice that Robert McCauley has numerous benefits, two in particular for account 01-0000-0-0000-8100-3402-410-000-000.

 This is the Benefits account (01-0000-0-0000-8100-3402-410-000-000). We can see all of the employees with this benefit. Again, we see the two line items for Robert McCauley.

This is the Benefits account (01-0000-0-0000-8100-3402-410-000-000). We can see all of the employees with this benefit. Again, we see the two line items for Robert McCauley.

This two-way mirror into the benefits for employees provides greater transparency into your budget!

Friday Feature - Event Notifications with Workflow

Four years ago, I wrote a Friday Feature about using workflow to notify users about "events" that occurred to a requisition. Well, so much has happened since then, I thought I would bring you up to date with all of the new events you now have at your notification-fingertips! (We also added journal entries to the document type, but more about that another week.) Check it out.

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Look at all of those "other events!" Amazing! What this means is that you can send a notification to Department Managers when an original PO is emailed. Or, you can send a notification to a Category Manager when a requisition is submitted with insufficient funds for their program. Or, you can send an email to the IT Department if a requisition is created but the matching fixed asset is not. Or, you can send an email to the originator of the requisition that line items have been received. The list is endless!

This really brings the customization of your business processes into the review and approval of the requisition process. Fantastic!

Friday Feature - Vendor ACH Bank Accounts

More and more customers are setting up Escape Online to email ACHs to vendors. This feature is a great time saver and a more secure payment method than mailing checks. Win, win! Recently, I have been working on the training guide for AP Certification and I learned about a very cool feature concerning banking information for ACH setup for vendors. Check it out!

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See how the Bank ID and Account Number have a warning symbol (yellow exclamation point)? That tells you that those fields are also defined in the vendor address.

Now, why would someone have different bank information in the address? Well, we have several customers that create "master" vendor records, like City of Roseville, and then use the address records as "children," like Sheriff Office, Electrical Supplier, etc.

The warning symbols are a great way to ensure that, at a glance, you understand the setup of ACH bank information. Amazing!

Friday Feature - Adjusting Taxes on Payments

I attended the AP webinar a few weeks ago and I learned something new! It was all about taxes. Now, I have been very interested in taxes lately, what with the new tax schedules for this year and the upcoming changes, so my ears perked up!

As with so many features in Escape Online, taxes are set up using cascading logic. The default tax rates are defined in the Finance-Setup-General-Fiscal activity. This sets the rates for the organization.

 The tax rates defined in the Fiscal record are the default.

The tax rates defined in the Fiscal record are the default.

These fields are summed. In other words, the tax rate is the sum of the state sales tax rate, the county tax rate and the local tax rate. For example, the State of California has a tax rate of 7.5%, so you would enter 7.5 in the State Tax Rate field. But, if your county has a tax rate of 9.25%, you would enter 1.75 in the County Tax Rate field, giving you a sum of 9.25 (7.5 + 1.75). 

This rate would be used for all payments. But, if you have a location that has a different tax rate, you can set that in the Location tab of the System-Setup-Organization activity.

 The tax rate in the Location tab of the Organization record sets the tax rate for requisitions and payments for that site (based on delivery).

The tax rate in the Location tab of the Organization record sets the tax rate for requisitions and payments for that site (based on delivery).

The Override Tax Rate literally overrides all of the fields entered in the Fiscal activity for the location. Specifically, Escape Online defaults the fiscal tax rate for every payment UNLESS the payment has a site delivery that matches a location where an override has been specified. In that case, it defaults the location tax rate. Check it out.

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Of course, as with most cascading logic, you can change the rate at the source, in the payment, using the Tax Rate Owed, Tax Rate Collected, Unpaid Tax Amount fields and Unpaid Tax Calculated Override.

Now, that's some interesting information about taxes!