Check/Cheque numbers, reference numbers, and today's Manager

I see there are many threads about checks and reference numbers, but none precisely answers my question. The vast majority of my bank transactions are NOT cheques - perhaps one a month. I’d very much like to use the reference number field for all of my *non-*check transactions, for ease of reference. However, the moment I put the occasional check in there, the auto-numbering (reasonably) keys off of it. What’s the right workflow here? I can think of a few things.

(1) Don’t ever put a cheque number in the reference field; put it on the line item description or some other place (I’ve seen references to ‘custom fields’ but haven’t gone that deep yet.)

(2) Ensure that the first reference number I use for my non-cheque transactions is higher than my highest cheque number. So I should be able to have “202101” (say) as my first reference number, and “Check 123” as my check number, and the next automatic number will be 202102. This is how I am leaning.

Are there other workflows people are using that they’d be willing to explain?

Those are basically your options. In fact, you could use both. And custom fields are not “deep.” They are easy and useful and require no programming skill.

Custom field for a check number seems like the thing I want for my situation, to reserve the reference number for my own use.

I do wish I could use automatic reference numbers AND alpha/symbols, though, without stepping on each other (e.g., if my first reference number was “2021 Payment Ocelot Nightmare 01-89”, the next should be “2021 Payment Ocelot Nightmare 01-90”). (For a less silly example, imagine wanting all transfers to be named “T#####”) Although to be fair at that point they’re no longer “numbers”.

I am 99.999% sure this is true, but I’m gonna ask anyway because asking dumb questions is my forte: automatic reference numbering is one and done, correct? If I check the “automatic” box, Manager finds the highest reference number AT THAT TIME, and assigns it to this transaction, and then it never changes (unless I manually replace it, edit it, or…click the box a second time, I guess?) And dates are never considered - it’s entirely possible to automatically reference things in the ‘wrong order’ if you were to go back and click the button on things in the past.

Correct on both counts?

Checking the automatic reference button is just another way of typing the next number at that time.

Btw To renumber use batch update

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I do not know how @lubos coded the auto-number attributes and in what programming language. In Microsoft Dynamics 365 version 9 you can use the AutoNumberFormat property where you can set both string (text) using RANDSTRING and auto-number using SEQNUM to generate automatic reference numbers that include both text and autonumbering. It may be that the programming language he uses also has more advanced attributes that would allow this. Another option is to allow for a prefix & auto number combination. This would keep the current implementation as is but add a prefix field that will show in view, reports, etc through concatenation. As @Patch observed the current implementation is just a system-generated sequence number that is automatically incremented for each new record. The only option to make this field configurable for more complex purposes would be to make it an external ID (i.e. it would be turned into an indexed field and therefore used in queries for filtering of records). It is in essence quite a complicated issue because a simple auto number implementation can not distinguish a manually entered reference and thus would continue to count from that. It can also not verify uniqueness. I do not know how but one option could be that if one manually enters the ref number then one must add some text in front of it so it turns into a string. When opting for an auto number it should skip all string references and only look into numbers. The problem here is that the data entry field for auto number will require it to be a number field and not a string. Maybe someone has an elegant example or some code that could be considered to improve the current implementation.

Yes. The way you put it, it seems like it’s a bad thing and you might have a point but I don’t know whether this is something that should changed especially since there’s an idea to lock the reference field, in that case that wouldn’t be a problem, but that’s up for discussion.

This has many separate but interrelated issues:

  1. Manager completely ignores text strings in references. Sure you can manually write “ABC-001-D” but the next number is going to be “2”. To my understanding, Manager used to have alpha numeric references but it was simplified to make life easier on most users. However, you can achieve add a fixed text prefix/suffix using custom themes and you can also make it dynamic by introducing custom fields. You can also make it searchable by showing the custom field as column.

  2. Manager doesn’t automatically enforce multiple sequences for a single field. Maybe @lubos can achieve this, but the real question is should he? To me at least, it seems like the referencing should correspond closely to the data structure that you have. In other software, you are allowed to create multiple receipt voucher types, but in manager, there’s only one object called receipts.
    But what if you have another data structure outside of Manager? In that case I suggest copying of whatever external reference into a custom field and you don’t need manager to enforce anything here.

  3. As @eko touched on, several other software allow custom sequences, however, I cannot compare Dynamics 365 with Manager since Dynamic costs US$100+ per user per module and thus allows more customization as well as access to custom functions. However, it wouldn’t hurt to have some movement towards that like say auto-numbering for custom fields or ability to have liquid code custom fields so you can concatenate two fields without having to create a custom theme for it.

But Idk what you guys think of that?

No, that was never really true. You have always been able to enter anything you want in a reference field. But since automatic sequences were added (to address legal requirements in many jurisdictions), they have always been strictly numerical.

A really long time ago, before themes were introduced, and even earlier before view templates were used, there was the concept of the sales invoice template, which only affected that transaction type. On it, you could enter a prefix that displayed before the reference number. But that prefix was not part of the reference, it was equivalent to hard-coded text in a custom theme.

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