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User's Guide - System Administration

This user's guide is for System Administrators. It introduces you to the areas in Collect! where you can define default operation parameters, setups, create new users, codes of all types, design new reports/letters and gain access to system level tasks.

The System Administration menu is accessed by clicking the System drop-down from your Top Menu or clicking the System Administration button on the Main Menu.

System Administration menu

System administration comprises a number of areas.

Setup and Configuration
Use this option to access setup areas for all the feature configuration sub- menus.

Database Maintenance
Use this option to access system maintenance functions.

System setups are necessary before you begin using your system for the first time. By completing the requisite fill-in screens and decisioning how you want your essential default settings to be configured, you will start with a clean installation that operates exclusively on your company's preferences. Not reviewing these options now can result in features seeming not to function to your satisfaction when in fact, they are performing as per the shipping default settings.

This manual is for executive management who wish to be aware of the functionalities and setting options which exist as well as the personnel who will be responsible in the organization for maintaining all feature settings, user logins/securities, and running all maintenance functions.

Setup And Configuration

The System Setup menu shows options for all the setup areas in the system.

System Setup menu

Plans and Reference Tables
Use this option to set up contact plans, transaction types, payment posting automation defaults, commission rate tables, payment plan defaults, debtor status codes, WIP list default settings and account matching criteria.

Plans, Tables and Defaults menu

Contact Plans are your automations, i.e. workflows, letter series, inventory management, account closure routines or any other defined events you have set up to be enacted on individual or groups of accounts.

Transaction Types is the list of codes that defines the payment types you will use when posting financial transactions. It is important to note that the system ships with a default payment breakdown hierarchy of Fees, Interest, Principal, Legal, Misc then Other. If you will use commission rate tiers and order of operations matters in how payment funds are disbursed amongst the figure types which comprise your balance, then you will want to ensure that your 100 series transaction types, excluding 194, 195, 196 and 197 are adjusted accordingly from the shipping defaults. Codes 194/195 pertain to new Judgment entries and codes 196/197 pertain to new principal and interest assigned.

The Transaction Type List

warning.gif WARNING: Unless there is a specific reason to do so, codes 194 through to 197 inclusive should not be modified from the shipping default settings. These transaction codes are not meant to reflect revenue nor are they intended to appear on client transaction detail reporting.

See the Help pages for more detailed information.

The Payment Posting Options menu is where you define any global automations that are to be invoked on Promise or Payment Plan accounts. It is also where you decision whether you wish Auto-manage of Promises to take place. If this is checked ON, then data entry of any transaction will automatically advance promise dates in your Promise Contacts by the schedule defined for that contact. You may also select contact plans to run, for instance, when an account is paid in full, or a promised payment is missed. Automatically close accounts, and set other related options.

warning.gif WARNING: Data Entry personnel need to be aware in an auto-managed promise site that if they delete a transaction and re-enter it, they are advancing a collector's promise date. They need to enter the Contact Tab and reset the promise date back 1 cycle if they inadvertently jumped the collector's promise date too far due to user error.

Commission Rate Tables is where you set up any special rate tiers or contingency types for your clients such as rates by Age of the account in your agency, rates by Listed Amount, rates by total amount Paid, etc. It is important to set up special rate plans before entering the client that will need to use said special rate in their Advanced Settings screen. See Help topics on Commission Rate Plans for more detailed information.

Payment Plan Setup is where you setup the transaction code and contact plan defaults that your site will use when collectors invoke a Payment Plan from a debtor screen. See the Help pages on Payment Plans for more in-depth discussion.

Status Codes is the setup and storage of all Status codes that your system shipped with. If there are any that are unique to your site, you may enter them here. Shipping default codes may be used, changed or deleted as per your sites needs.

Debtor Status Codes

Contact Plans are the workflow automations you can set up to assist your workplans and inventory management. The shipping defaults are there for your reference and to serve as examples of how to make these processes work. You may add, modify, delete these codes as per your site's preferences.

Contact plans are the vectors you use to insert your dunning letter series, insert telephone events so that the account will appear in your collector's WIP list with a scheduled work date, set up Reviews, initiate status changes, automate notes and other activities which need to be scheduled for specific future dates.

The Contact Plan form

This is a short code for your reference.

This is a brief description of the plan.

Prompt for Start Date
When setting up a contact plan, you may set this option to prompt for a date.

Delete all Pending Contacts
You may set this switch to delete any pending contacts. This commonly used when it is an automated account closure contact plan.

Prompt Before Deleting
This option will prompt if it is about to delete any pending contacts.

This is a list of events scheduled for this plan. Press F3, Ctrl+N or click New to enter a new event to the workflow.

The Event screen/strong>

This is the type of event - Letter, Phone, Review or other activity such as modify Status.

Once you select the event type, there will be some which require you to make another selection of the choices pertaining to that type.

Example: if you select Letter, you must click the drop-down arrow at the end of the Description field to select the specific letter from the print menu that you want the contact plan to send. If you select Phone as the event type, you must click the drop-down arrow at the end of the Description field to select which of the phones the contact is aimed at such as Home, or Work. As this is a user define pick list, you may add to the choices. Some event types allow a free-form entry in the Description field, such as Review, Note and Promise.

You may enter a Delay period between the time and day when you assign a contact schedule and when the given event is to occur.

For more in-depth Contact Plan details, see the Help pages.

WIP Options are the series of defaults you can set as a global company standard or for individual collector IDs. These settings will determine what degree of freedom (or not) or collectors have while working their Work In Progress lists. See the Help pages or press F1 on an individual switch setting to access more information.

Account Matching Setup are the defaults you will set for your account grouping. These may be updated and modified as needed. Additionally, if you have a client who has segregation security requirements, it is also possible to adjust settings for individual new business batches so that the grouping criteria is correct for that batch, but which is completely different than the norm applied to other clients. See Help topics on Account Matching for more details.

Company Details
Use this option to enter your company information and default global settings. The company name/address/phone fields are required in order for basic reports/letters and statements/ invoices to output correctly.

Company Details

Reports and Printing
Use this option to enter global printing settings, modify existing reports/letters or to create new templates.

Report and Printer Setup

Security and Aliases
This option navigates you to operator setup, access rights settings, user level setups and password defaults.

Security and Aliases menu

Database Preferences
This option lets you set global defaults for several system and network settings.

Database Preferences

Credit Bureau Reporting
This option lets you enter details necessary for reporting to credit bureaus.

Credit Bureau Setup

Auto Dialer Setup
This option should not be confused with contact dialer functionality. This feature is a dial-from- clipboard function which can be configured with your phone system to allow staff to point/click an icon on debtor or client screens and have their phones automatically dial the number as it appears in the field. This saves time and the potential for human error in manual mis-dials.

Auto Dialer Preferences

Options, Sounds and Colors
This option allows you to set a variety of software switches that affect individual site preferences and pertain to defaults affecting global operating of the software.

Screen and Messages

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Database Maintenance

The Database Maintenance menu displays options for all maintenance functions. For in-depth explanations and details, see the Help pages for Maintenance topics.

Database Maintenance menu

Opens the Database Maintenance Options window and offers you the choices of what steps may be run.

This option creates a copy of your core database files which are saved in a compressed format in your Snapshot folder. It is possible to unzip and restore a system from a snapshot. It is not a replacement for a full system backup as the Snapshot folder exists on the same disk as your program files. It is intended to provide data rollback capability in the event of any issue which compromises the working database, inclusive of end-user error.

Rebuild Lists
This option rebuilds internal meta data tables. Import definitions, printable information and access rights lists are rebuilt.

UID Check
This option checks the integrity of your database.

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Tools Menu

The Tools menu may most often be accessed by office administrators and system administrators. Depending on the size of the agency, one department may be responsible for both sets of job tasks and thus, the Tools menu was created to contain the items a blended department may require for their day-to-day operations.

This option navigates you to the Recalculate Totals menu where you may choose to update debtors, clients, and daysheets.

Recalculate Totals

Calculate Interest and Fees
This function scans through all debtors and processes those with interest switched on. Interest is calculated for all debtors with an interest rate and an interest calculation Start Date defined.

The default is leaving this unchecked as the next option, Recalculate All Debtor Totals has replaced it.

Recalculate All Debtor Totals
This function will recalculate all debtor balances for accounts with an Active mode. Closed accounts are not recalculated.

Recalculate Client Totals
This function will recalculate accounting totals for all clients.

Recalculate Daysheet Totals This function will recalculate all daysheet totals or a selected date range of daysheets. Recalculating daysheets updates the totals calculated for each date. The system maximum for daysheet recalculation is 2 years.

Debtors are automatically sorted in the master lists, but not in the client lists. The Tools menu, Sort Accounts option enables you to sort the accounts in your database by name or client account number. If you have a client who has a preference for one sort over an other, you can invoke the sort on that client alone by entering the individual client's Debtors Tab and proceeding with the Tools sort command.

Sort Accounts

The Sort Accounts command lets you choose between sorting only new debtors or all debtors in the system. New debtors may be sorted as they are entered daily. This will keep every client's debtor list in the order that they prefer to see on reports or statements/invoices.

All sorts all accounts in the database.

New sorts only accounts listed today.

You are given the option of sorting by name or account number.

Sort by Name or Account Number

Account sorts by the debtor's client account number.

Name sorts by the debtor's Name.

This is an add-on module which requires separate licensing. See Help pages for in-depth reference and usage instruction.

The Tools, Utilities sub-menu will be a resource for needed tools from time to time, but does not contain anything necessary for initial setup. See Help pages on Utilities for more in-depth information.

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System Menu

The System menu is access to many of the same features as discussed above from the System Administration menu button. Discussed in this section will be those options not offered from the Systems Administration button, that are necessary to review for initial configuration settings.

Click to view details.
System Menu

Change Password
This option displays the Change Your Password popup window where the operator who is signed in may enter a new password to use the next time they login.

Company Details
This options was discussed previously and is required entry material for reports/letters as well as statements/invoices and checks to output correctly.

This option will pass you to side of sub-menus where you may enter user, user level and access rights/permissions setups.

See How To Setup Operators in the Help pages for in-depth discussion.

Layout and Languages
This option will pass you to side of sub-menus that access permissions you wish operator levels to have in specific fields and screens throughout the system.

The more direct method to altering user level permissions for fields and screens is to right-click your mouse on the area of interest that you wish to modify user permissions on. This will open the Access Rights screen specifically for that area and eliminate the need to scroll through a long list of field and form level entries. Excepting where permissions are being increased or decreased within a full menu of items, most needs will be met by the right-click method. If you do not achieve the desired result, it is possible that multiple fields require modification to achieve the singular result. Consult the Help pages or contact Tech Support for advice.

Financial Settings
This option was discussed previously and takes you to setup areas for Transaction Types, Payment Posting, Commission Rate Plans, Payment Plans and Credit Bureau setups.

Contact Management Settings
This option was discussed previously and takes you to setup areas for Status Codes, Contact Plans, Work In Progress, Account Matching and Auto Dialer setups.

Network and Environment
This option takes you to Network, Archiving and Database Change Logging configuration, Web Host Security settings and Messaging.

The side sub-menus have uses for systems administrators. If you are getting messages that there are users being refused logins because there are not enough licenses but you know you have enough licenses to cover all your users, you can verify whether some users may have multiple sessions open by clicking Active Users. This will display a window showing all current sessions open insofar as the RDS Server is concerned. If you see multiple sessions for any users, you can ask them to logout of the extra sessions they have open to free up user login license space. You also have the ability to prevent users from having multiple logins at the Operator setup level. See Operator topics in the Help pages for details.

This option will primarily be used when you need to view the Application Log or the Credit Bureau Log. These are not necessary for the initial setup of your system. See the Help pages on the log topics for more details for later usage in areas of tracking and troubleshooting.

Software License
This option displays the details of your licensing agreement.

Send Database via FTP
This option enables you to send database files to Collect! for technical support.

This option opens the System Setup sub-menu, all options of which were discussed previously.

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System Security

Collect! has multi-tiered security features which allow you to control both the access and degree of access your users will be granted within the system.

The permissions hierarchy is determined by;

1. Operator Type

2. Operator Security Switches

3. User Level

4. Access Rights on Menus, Forms and individual Fields.

The software ships with a series of pre-set logins which are configured with default settings as examples of what each general type permits. These logins match general duties such as junior or senior collector, data entry, office manager, etc. You may modify permissions on the default Levels to meet your individual site needs OR, as we recommend, make copies of the defaults and THEN modify. This latter allows you to retain a working exemplar of the default settings in case needed at a later date.

To access user setup menus, select System from the top menu bar and then select Rights from the drop-down choices.

Click to view details.
The System Menu - Rights

This option lets you create and edit logins. It is where you select your user Type which predicates menu access, enter user ID/name and other internal contact details, assign special security controls such as account or portfolio restriction, password controls, team membership, session permissions and and experience level.

User Levels
This option ascribes a set of user permissions which dictates what menu combinations a user will be granted access to. Each User Level contains pre-configured settings that are by design intended to allow general permissions relative to job duties. You are able to expand or tighten the permission degrees to suit your individual site preferences. Permissions on menus, forms and fields are in the 4 categories of Full, No Delete, Read Only or No Access.

Access Rights
This option lists all forms and menus in the system. It shows which user levels are allowed to access them and what the current degree of access is; Full, No Delete, Read Only or No Access.

Password Settings
This setup screen allows you to stipulate Password standards for number of characters, numeric/special character requirements, lock-out after "X" failed attempts and renewal frequencies. If your site does not require tight security to meet internal or client directives, these settings do not need to be defined.

The links below provide detailed instruction on setting up Operators, User Levels and customizing Access Rights.

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Account Matching And Grouping

Accounts can be grouped together automatically and manually, and can optionally share information so that when you make a change in one account the change also appears in other accounts in the group. It is recommended to review the shipping defaults and make any changes that are necessary to accommodate your individual site's needs.

The Matching Account setup screen is located on the menu path "System\Preferences\ Plans and Reference Tables\ Account Matching Setup".

Click to view details.
Matching Accounts

When you are on any member of a group, you have instant access to other members of the group, plus a summary of all accounts in the group.

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Account Matching Setup

Click to view  <a href=Account Matching Setup" />
Account Matching Setup

Turn on this switchTo enable this function
Enable account matching This is a master control to turn on and off the automatic account matching functions when entering new debtors.
Prompt before copying Adds an extra prompt before cascading changes across to other group members after you've made changes to a debtor within a group.
Check and prompt on close matches When you enter data into a checked field, Collect! searches the database for a matching record or a close match. You can choose from the matching list to group the new and old records together.
Copy when creating new debtors When you group debtors, you can control which fields are copied from the existing debtor to the new debtor. Check the fields that you want copied. This setting requires consideration and caution. Once enabled, it will overwrite data fields on other accounts potentially preventing more current information from being introduced since existing data may be invalid and new, incoming data may be more current.
Cascade data to other group members When you make a change to selected information on a debtor that is a member of a group, you can have the system automatically update other members of the group. Check the fields that you want to be automatically updated.

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Beyond The Basics

More in-depth and advanced topics are listed below:

Report Writer Our built-in Report Writer offers flexible output, including graphics.
Archiving Old accounts may be moved easily to the archive database to free up space and improve performance.
Messaging Instant operator messaging may be used to alert your operators to special conditions.
Web Host This access portal can be used by your clients for on-demand review of accounts they have listed with your company. It provides a secure portal that ensures portfolio segregation on a client by client basis. It is also possible to configure logins for your staff to work from home needing only an internet connection in order to utilize this portal.
Credit Bureau Reporting This is an add-on module which allows your company to report collection items to Trans Union, Equifax and Experian.
Automatic Scheduler This is an add-on module which enables you to pre-schedule a variety of tasks to take place unattended, freeing up your staff to take on other tasks. Tasks which may be configured to run on prescribed days and times include reports, imports, recalculating totals, archiving, database snapshots, maintenance, letter batch printing and more.
TCN Service You can schedule call campaigns and process results using Collect!'s batch processing. All you need is an account set up with TCN and the add-on import module.
Billing Tree This add-on module is an integrated interface to the payment processing provider Billing Tree which allows you to process Credit Card and ACH payments electronically.

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Designing Letters And Reports

You can design your own reports and letters to print from Collect! in addition to modifying external reports that ship with the software or which have been downloaded from the Member Center.

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To Edit Reports And Letters

1. Click the Print drop-down menu from the top of your screen.

2. Select Customize Printing, then Edit Report Templates.

3. Select the report or letter which you wish to edit and click on it to open it, OR click New to open a fresh report template to be designed. Your F3 key can be used as a quick key to create a new template.

Selecting A Report

Reports can print any database information co-mingled with static text and graphics. You can also choose font types and size to output in your created documents.

tip.gif For best results, consult the Help documentation for detailed assistance with Report Writer Topics.

To add a field code, date, page break or formatting code, place your cursor where you want the item to display or occur and press F2. Key in the parameter you wish to place or select a printable field code from the list pop-up you receive after pressing F2.

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Flexible Queries

If you need to create an ad hoc report and wish to manipulate the data yourself in a spreadsheet environment, you can Browse any of the record types stored, use the Find feature to include or exclude records based specific criteria then Quick Print to results out to spreadsheet. For example, Collect! will display all debtors with a given status or all contacts on a certain date or, it will list all clients with less than 10 accounts, and whose listings total less that $10,000. Once you have entered your selection criteria and reduced the list, you can print reports on just the selected records.

Here is an example:

Edit Search Criteria Query Screen

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Adding Or Changing Pick Lists

Pick lists give you a list of choices to pick from when you enter data into a field. When you pick an item in the list, it is entered into the system as if you had typed it. You can assign pick lists to virtually any field on any main screen.

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To Add Or Change A Pick List

1. Click the field you want to edit.

2. Choose Field Properties in the System, Layout and Languages menu.

3. Double-click the Pick List File field in the displayed form and follow the instructions displayed on your screen.

Click to view details.
Editing A Pick List

tip.gif To get even more flexibility from your pick lists, add a blank item that you can type information into. In the list add the item " " at the bottom of the list. There must be a space between the quotation marks.

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Changing Field Labels

If you wish to rename a field on a debtor or client screen to reflect what is most meaningful for your site, this may be accomplished by renaming it with an Alias field label. For example, if you want to rename the debtor screen User 1 field to be OrigCred to stand for Original Creditor, the steps are as follows:

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To Change Field Labels

1. Mouse into the field you want to edit and right click.

2. You will get a pop-up window with one option being Properties. Click Properties to open the Access Rights pop-up.

3. In the upper right corner beneath the actual field name, is a field called Alias. Input the new field label you want to have displayed on screen in the Alias field, then click the OK button to save your change.

Click to view details.
Changing A Field Label

tip.gif A relabeled field retains its original field name and printable field code when being called upon in the body of a report or letter. For example, if you wish to have the User 1 field from the debtor screen be expressed in a letter after you renamed it to be OrigCred, you would still use the code @de.u1 to get output in your letter.

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See Also

- Setup Topics

- System Administration Topics
- Database Topics
- Database Maintenance Topics
- Networking Topics
- Management Topics
- Operators
- Access Rights Topics

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