Discussion on Receipts and Payments Tab and Bank Tab

Interesting reading and I agree electronic data exchange is much more efficient so should be encouraged where available.

So how would you recommend manager was changed to achieve this? I suppose the bank import button could be moved to the top of the receipt payment screen with new receipt new payment

The design standard is that buttons at the top of tab listings generate individual transaction forms (like receipts and payslips) or subsidiary ledgers (like bank accounts and customers) matching the tab’s functional purpose. Buttons at the bottom launch processes (like imports, batch operations, exports, and conversions).

Inexpert users find the simplest operations at the top, in the most obvious place. This way, the program avoids confusing the novice with unnecessary complexity. (Despite what you say, @dalacor, importing a bank statement involves quite a bit more than entering a receipt, even if it gains efficiency with higher volumes.) More advanced users find their shortcuts at the bottom. Importantly, none of the buttons at the bottom are essential functions, only conveniences. Every tab can be successfully and fully used without touching any of the buttons at the bottom. This is good interface design. Manager wasn’t always so consistent in this respect, but has progressed steadily in that direction over time.

That might hold for weekly or monthly transaction capturing but not for daily entries(I think). I am not sure the bank(at least in my country) can give you daily updates/statements on the activities in your account. At least not until the whole idea of Digital Banking is well fully implemented Also, my bank sends me bank statements in PDF format, which will make it more cumbersome to convert and export for the supported file type in Manager.

Unfortunately pdf or Portable Document Format is designed for printing and will also great for producing human readable display in screens is not at all easy to use for machine reading / data interchange. Which is why it is not listed in Import bank statements guide.

Bank import or bank feeds can be done as often as you want to update your Manager records.

Understood, my explanation was that my bankers ONLY give statements in that format and I will have to convert to a format for data exchange on Manager - which is cumbersome so not attractive to me.

How can it be done? unless your bank supports you with such DAILY Feeds or updates on your account. Here in my country that is a challenge, so another reason why bank import will not be as attractive to me as it should. I get my statements at the end of every month and then I do the reconciliation.

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We agree if a bank does not provide transactions in a format suitable for electronic data interchange then you have no alternative but to do it all manually and doing it manually monthly is reasonable if that works for you.

For users with banks which do provide bank transactions in a format suitable for electronic data interchange (this does not include pdf), then the bank import can be done efficiently as frequently as the user wants to update their records in Manger. As it is so efficient it can be done daily or even more often than that. Very frequent update as often use with bank feeds, and Mangers bank import facility approaches that functionality.
See

@Daniel_Arthur Sorry if I implied there was anything wrong with how your are currently using the only bank information your bank provides.

@dalacor I can see how for financial reporting purposes bank imports are faster and have less human mistakes, however, allow me to differ on the usefulness of manual receipts and payments which I argue are still the preferred method
to go because of the following:

  1. Legally you are required to give your customer an acknowledgement of his legal tender. The bank might process it tomorrow but you still have to give the customer something before he leaves. Sure you can email him a receipt next day, but that is not possible in many business setups especially if the payment was in cash or for example paid from an account not owned by the customet.

  2. Receipts are a tax source document for cash sales. You must issue something to the customer and the receipt is much easier to use in cash business situations.

  3. The bank statement do not contain all relevant information required for payments and receipts, there might be quantities, narrations, explanations or attachments. If you are processing them somehow outside of manager, then I fail to see the time saving here. However if you delay such processing then sure you may have saved yourself sometime but some manual information might be lost.

  4. Some transactions are batch processed by banks, there is no way to get their breakdowns unless you either: keep your own records or pay the bank extra money.

  5. Banks make mistakes, you might receive 1000 and the bank says 900. If the bank records are you main source of entry then you have no way to dispute their claim.

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@Daniel_Arthur As I mentioned in my first post. I am aware that not every country has bank imports as well setup as what I have in the UK. My suggestion is more based on what is the optimal for the majority. Naturally there will always be exceptions to this.

The key point I wish to highlight is that bank imports save so much time that I think that Manager should be encouraging people to use Bank Imports as the default option if possible. This is not to say that I think everyone should abandon manual processing.

@Ealfardan I accept that in the case of Cash Transactions, there may be an argument in favour of Manual processing. As I said to Daniel, my suggestion is what is the optimal approach for most businesses. I suspect that most businesses like mine would be cashless and have a bank that can support bank imports.

With regards to

  1. I can’t comment on that as it’s not an issue for my business. There might be some way around this via a Manager design.

  2. Noted. Like I said Cash transactions may have to be done manually. I am referring to the vast majority of businesses that deal in online banking transactions only.

  3. I am not sure what you expect the bank to show other than date, amount, payee and description. Details of the transaction should be in the sales invoice.

  4. Batch processing is something that you have to take up with your bank as that is a bank specific issue. Not an issue with mine.

  5. I am not sure how you arrive at this conclusion. The client should be able to verify what they paid you and their bank would confirm. Whether I import the bank statement or manually process the receipt will have no effect on whether the bank makes a mistake or not. I will be able to pick it up very easily as I will have a balance in accounts payable or receivable that won’t match up if the bank got something wrong.

Apart from the fact that @Brucanna will have a fit if I suggest tweaking the bank tabs again - as Manager has flip flopped on bank tabs before, it’s a complicated answer.

My prime point still stands - Bank Imports Button is not ideally located.It’s hidden on the second level in the bank tab and it’s a small button at the bottom of payment and receipts and looks more like an advanced function (based on the buttons next to it) rather than a standard feature that should be used as the preferred option of processing bank transactions.

The multi part answer to this question is:

Should bank imports replace payments and receipts buttons on the payments and receipts tab

Should Bank Imports button simply sit adjacent to the payment and receipt buttons on this tab

Should Bank Imports Button be visible when you click on Bank Tab instead of having to click on cleared Balances.

Last, but not least, my view of the Bank Tab is that the Bank Tab has never made any sense to me. The Bank Tab is the only tab where there is nothing you can do on the first page when you click on the bank Tab (once you have added the bank account that is). Every other tab, there is a primary button(s) that you can click on to create a transaction. So for the vast majority of users who don’t realise that there is a Bank Import Button hidden on the Cleared Balances in Bank Tab, we just never used the Bank Tab. It just sat there taking up space once I created the Bank Account. To me the Bank Tab just takes up space.

I believe that the Payments and Receipts Tab is the correct place to put the Bank Import Button because it is the logical place as the Bank Import is doing the exact same thing as Payments and Receipts. It is just doing it more efficiently and in a different way, but the end result is the same.

But I personally believe that the Bank Tab, Reconciliation Tab and the Payments and Receipts Tab should be merged into one tab where when you click on the tab (let’s call it Bank) you see the balances of each bank account and the reconciliation status of each bank account. You could have at the top a New Bank Button, Reconcile Bank Account Button, Payments and Receipts buttons and last but not least the Bank Imports Button.

You could click on the green/red reconcile flag of a bank account to view what you currently see in the Reconciliations Tab. I have never seen the point of a tab for Reconciliations because you only need to drill down if you can’t get the bank to reconcile. Likewise for the bank tab - I never use it because all I can do in it is add a new bank account.

I don’t expect my suggestion to be heard, but if I was designing the product, I would merge Reconciliations, Bank and Payments/Receipts Tab into one tab with the above buttons as neither the bank tab nor the Reconciliations tab is being fully utilised. When I reconcile my bank accounts for example, all I am doing is adding a new entry and it shows green. I couldn’t care less about looking at the previous transactions unless I have a problem reconciling my bank account.

To be honest, I am now using bank imports so for me the problem is solved, I just thought it would be nice if Manager could help other users that are doing things manually because they think bank imports is complicated or an advanced feature. I just think Manager should encourage users to go digital - taking into consideration issues such as @Daniel_Arthur and @Ealfardan have raised.

@Tut - When I use the term Bad Accounting Practices, I am not implying that manually processing a transaction is wrong as incorrect. It is inefficient and is actually an old fashioned way of doing things. Yes it meets accounting standards, it works etc, but it is a time consuming way to process transactions and I can speak from personal experience not fool proof. I have no issue reconciling my bank accounts now compared to when I was doing it manually.

I disagree - there are impediments to using Bank Imports - its not a primary button like Payments and Receipts when it should be. It is doing exactly the same thing as Payments and Receipts - just in a different way. If you feel that Manger should not encourage one behaviour over another, you have unintentionally made my point! Manager in it’s default gui design is encouraging users to use payments and receipts because this is what you see when click on the payments and receipts tab. I am not sure if you realise it, but you have just made one of my points!

With regards to the cleared and actual balance, I - like most users - don’t care what the difference between cleared and actual balances is in terms of knowing where to find Bank imports button. There is no connection to the bank imports and cleared/actual balances for the vast majority of users who don’t know Manager half as well as you do. Your argument is irrelevant. My point still stands - Bank Imports button in Bank Tab is not intuitive for most users as we don’t know it’s there!

Whether Bank Import is a process and payments and receipts are transactions is splitting hairs and once again is not germane to the point of discussion. Bank Import performs exactly the same end result function as payments and receipts and should be treated accordingly especially as it results in improved efficiency in managing your accounts and I personally can testify that my accounts are far more accurate as a result and bank reconciliations is a two minute job now compared to having to spend half an hour trying to find out why bank balance does not reconcile.

Batch operations, exports and conversions on the other hand are more advanced special use features.

I would disagree. I consider Bank Imports to be an essential function, not a convenience. It should be the preferred way to manage your accounts in an accounting program not a tweak etc.

I will be the first admit that even for my use Bank Imports is not perfect - I myself do occasionally have to tweak a couple of bank transactions, but it is still much faster and much more accurate.

I am not really expecting anything to be done and to be honest, because I am now using bank imports, my problem for me is solved. I just think it’s a pity that many users using Manager are doing the bank transactions manually because Manager is by design implying that the correct way to process bank transactions is to use the payments and receipts buttons because the bank import button is not logically placed. It is a shame and is also just another irritation of the current design of the bank, reconciliation and payment and receipts tabs as I personally think that you could take the best of all three tabs and combine them into one tab - but again I doubt that will happen. For me the bank tab is useless.

Anyway I have made the suggestion.

I agree, maybe I could use more of it myself. The thing is, I don’t want this option available for everyone to use. I can think of only thing that will work for all of us which is: Make import of bank statement the basis for bank reconciliation (I think this should have it’s own thread).

If you don’t want everyone to have this option, then don’t give your users access to the bank accounts. If they don’t have access, then they can’t do bank imports!

The whole point of this article is that bank imports forms the basis of bank reconciliation! By importing the bank statements into payments and receipts tab and attaching the bank statement to the monthly bank reconciliation in the reconciliation tab, everything is linked and reconciled automatically.

I create a monthly reconciliation transaction in Manager for each bank and attach my pdf bank statement to that transaction.

Sorry, but that is not true. Bank reconciliations can be performed in exactly the same fashion with manually entered transactions.

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Let me correct that for you!

The whole point of this article is that bank imports forms the basis of bank reconciliation because it makes is so easy and seamless to do compared to manual processing of transactions.

Still not true. Imports and reconciliations are independent operations. Either can be used without the other. Reconciliations happen in exactly the same way if you have imported transactions as they do if you have entered them manually. Imports are only a substitute method for creating receipts and payments.

The one functional aspect of imports you have ignored is that, if you import all your transactions, you have absolutely no need for reconciliations. All bank transactions will, by definition, be cleared. Cleared balance will always equal actual balance, with no pending transactions. And there will be no differences between the statement and the resulting transactions. That may be why you think bank reconciliations have become so straightforward since you switched to importing statements. The fact is, though, you have no way of detecting bank errors except manual comparison of third-party documentation (if you have it) to the bank statement (which has become your Manager record).

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It is true you don’t need third party documentation to enter transaction data into manager.

It is not true their is no way of auditing third party data against that which is in Manager. The reverse is in fact the case. With the data entry time saved, the user is free to do:

  • Bank reconciliations are still useful to check for errors in user data entry

  • Manager Invoices can be entered and the associated cost tracking used or via Improvement to payment and receipt forms

  • External invoices can be attached to Manager transactions and the content manually checked at that time.

  • COA can be constructed to enable simple cross checking with recurrent income/expense streams in an analogous manner to bank reconciliations.

Maybe I was not clear, @Patch. I did not say there was no way of auditing third party data. Read again what you quoted: I said there was no way of checking for bank errors except by using third-party documentation. I was emphasizing that when you exclusively import transactions, your records in Manager of your cleared bank balance will always match your bank statement. In those circumstances, a bank reconciliation becomes superfluous, because you are checking a source against itself. If you want to verify things, you must look to other sources.

I use bank import and bank reconciliation. The reason is imported bank transactions often need information added to them to support accurate financial records. Such as different tax codes on different parts of a transaction, or allocation of a single bank transaction over several accounts/ line items.

All of these are subject to human errors

And so, @Patch, you are not exclusively importing transactions. Once you start editing the transactions created by an import, you are essentially back to manual entries as far as reconciliations are concerned. Under those circumstances, I agree a reconciliation could be valuable. But that wasn’t the point I was originally making. I was responding to @dalacor’s enthusiasm over reconciliations being so easy since he started using imports. He wrote:

Therefore, his reconciliations will inevitably be easy. From a functional standpoint, he is wasting his time with them, because he is avoiding the reconciliation process entirely. He is just creating a record that tells him that what he imported matches what he imported. It cannot be otherwise with his current workflow.

I decided not to continue to respond to this topic because we had wandered so far from the original point of the post and the discussion was going nowhere.

The point of this discussion is about whether the Bank Import Button should be at the top of the Payments and Receipts Tab or whether it should be on the first page of the Bank Tab - or even indeed whether the Bank Tab, Reconciliations Tab and the Payments and Receipts Tab should be merged into one Tab.

However, I will respond again just to clarify some confusion that @Tut seems to have as @Patch appears to better understand what I mean about Bank Reconciliation as I am using the term in a far broader concept than the technical definition.

@Tut you are quite correct when you state that by importing Bank Statements that there is no need for either the Bank Reconciliations Tab nor is one actually doing any Reconciliation as you can’t reconcile something with itself.

But that is not really what people mean when they talk about Reconciliation even if that is technically accurate.

In Manager (in my user case scenario), I am creating Purchase Invoices and Sales Invoices - let’s think of that as the Left Hand Side of the Transaction. Yes - I know it’s not the LHS, but I am using the term loosely to make a point. On the left hand side I have my invoices (sales and purchases). Now on the right hand side of the equation or transaction I have the payment and receipt transactions. So for every invoice (sales or purchase), I have a respective receipt or payment.

In the past, I would create a purchase invoice and a sales invoice, and create the corresponding payment transaction immediately and when I got the cheque or received an email bacs receipt notification, I would then create the Receipt transaction.

So you would think everything would balance out having an invoice on the LHS of the equation and a payment/receipt on the RHS of the equation correct? Again I stress that I am using the term LHS and RHS loosely to make a point, not to be technically accurate as I know that LHS and RHS does not technically apply.

The first problem that I encountered with this is pending and actual dates when transaction was processed especially when I had multiple transactions on the same day - never in the same order on my bank statement as what I had in Manager. This issue alone sometimes made it very hard to reconcile the bank account as I could not find the missing transaction(s).

The second problem that I encountered was missing transactions such as Bank Charges (for which I do not create a Purchase Invoice). So I had to scour the bank statements to find missing transactions like this.

The third problem that I frequently encountered was when I made a payment/receipt at the end of the month, but it only came off in the next bank statement eg I made the payment/receipt on say the 28th but it came off on the 1st so went onto the next statement.

The fourth problem that I had is that I seem to recall having duplicate payments on more than one occasion most likely for things like Bank Charges or anything else that did not have a corresponding invoice.

The fifth problem was that I did not always create the relevant purchase invoice at the time, so was not aware that I was missing a payment to a supplier.

The six problem is that it is very easy to accidentally scroll down to another supplier/customer when you want to scroll down the page, but forget that your cursor is in the customer/supplier field. I have more than once ended up paying the wrong supplier or receiving from the wrong client because of this scrolling problem or because I selected a client/supplier with very similar names.

Because I do a lot of work other than accounting, it was quite possible for several weeks to go by before I “reconciled” Manager with my bank account and it always used to take at least half an hour to an hour, as I had to then add missing transactions such as Bank Charges (as these types of transactions have no purchase invoice) as well as update pending/cleared dates.

So if you factor in the time I spent manually creating payment and receipt transactions as well as the fact that I was never able to instantly reconcile the balances in Manager with my bank account - I consider manually processing payments and receipts a very time consuming way to do my accounting (to manually populate the payments and receipts transactions) and to reconcile Manager with my bank account.

So what I am doing now, is that I create the Purchase and Sales Invoices (my left hand side of the equation) and on the RHS of the equation - I am simply importing the Bank Statements. Because of Bank Rules, this means that all the correct accounts get entered into, so if I do miss a purchase invoice, it’s very easy to see in accounts payable that I have spent money that I have not created an invoice for (and to which supplier). It also fixes all six of my problems that I used to have in the past.

So my accounts in Manager now reconcile with my bank account in minutes! But I am not talking only about the fact that my bank balance and payments and receipts transactions reconcile with my bank statement - I am also talking about the fact that the LHS of the equation (my purchase and sales invoices) have the corresponding RHS transactions (the payment and receipts) - including those pesky bank charges and other little transactions which have no purchase invoice or sales invoice get interest etc.

You cannot reconcile something with itself. So technically you are correct - I can’t reconcile my bank account using bank imports. But this is not really what people mean about Reconciliation.

So for me, bank reconciliation is not just about getting amounts to balance - it is more about ensuring accuracy in the program overall but especially in the payments and receipts Tab which was always a problem before I used bank imports for the six reasons listed above. By using Bank Imports my entire accounts are more accurate, and far less time is spent doing my accounts.

My original point stands - Manager should have Bank Imports at the top of payments and receipts tab to encourage users to use this instead of the payments/receipts buttons. The default locations of the Bank Imports Tab is not desirable.

One more point. Again you are technically correct. I don’t need a Reconciliations Tab because I am using Bank Imports. I use the Reconciliations Tab to create the Reconciliation Transaction and I then attach my bank statement pdf for that period to that transaction. Unless you can think of a better place to attach the bank statement. The idea behind it is that I now have a copy of every single Bank Statement in Manager should the taxman ever want to look at my bank statements. It is also stored in a very easy chronological arrangement as well. This is why I use the Bank Reconciliation Tab. To attach my bank statement for that month for legal purposes and to ensure a full audit flow.

I use my purchase invoices to attach the suppliers invoice - Manager really helps me to ensure that I have a copy of every single suppliers invoice as result. Attachments has been a really brilliant feature of Manager.

I would suggest that we now focus on the original question - should bank import button be at the top of Payments and Receipts Tab next to the payments and receipts buttons or should it replace those buttons or should the bank import button be on the first page of the Bank Tab? This is the OP question!