Collect! Credit and Collection Software™

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How To Group Debtors And Accounts

In collections, it is a common inventory management strategy to utilize account grouping to centralize multiple debts pertaining

to single debtors. A debtor for grouping consideration may be a single individual, family members, spouse accounts, corporate accounts with the same owner, etc. Grouping optimizes a collector's efficiency because they have access to a consolidated Group Tab which provides summary details and grand totals for all accounts in the Group. Additionally, they are easily able to toggle between individual accounts within the Group for exact details on a per debt basis.

In Collect!, accounts are Grouped by automated processes according to preset criteria and preferences in your Account Matching Setup window and/or by manually joining a select number of accounts.

Ensure you have filled out your global preferences and criteria in "System\Preferences\Plans and Reference Tables\ Account Matching Setup" before attempting to launch an automated grouping process. This Setup will contain all the behaviors and field comparisons you wish to base your grouping strength on. Collect! ships with some of the most common settings preset for you, however, these should be reviewed by each site before going live to ensure any specific and/or unique requirements are being addressed in the settings.

The automated processes compare new accounts entering your database and compares them to pre-existing inventory as a function of the "Check" preferences when individual accounts are being manually data entered and to the field combinations selected in the "Advanced Match Conditions" when it is a volume of accounts being processed in batch.

Useful Note If you change your Account Matching settings at any time, these will be go forward changes and will not retroactively

affect Member Setups within existing debtors already in groups. If you make a change that needs to be retroactively updated to existing Group Members, please contact Technical Services for a consult on how to best achieve your result with the least amount of manual manipulation. A small, custom utility Write backs will likely be all that you require.

There are several reasons for grouping debtors:

* You may realize that several of your accounts are related and you may wish to view them together.

* You might have one outstanding debt, such as a funeral home bill, with several debtors who could be responsible to settle the account.

* You may have several debtors who belong to the same Client, or share some other type of information that you want to keep together.

* You may have a group of debtors setup already and you may get a new debtor that you want to add to the group.

In any of these cases, and others, Collect! allows you to link these accounts together.

There are three ways by which accounts can become successfully matched to existing inventory:

Account Matching During Data Entry

For this capability to function, you must have checked one or more of the switches under the category "Check" in preferences already entered into your "System\Preferences\Plans and Reference Tables\ Account Matching Setup" window.

Warning Note WARNING: The Check feature of account matching looks for any 'near' matches to provide a wide margin of possibilities. You may wish to streamline your entry and allow only reliable matches under Batch Processing, leaving the "Check and prompt on near matches" area of Setup blank. This will prevent your employees from being inundated with irrelevant data and mitigate grouping errors as the system in batch mode will ONLY consider the conditional criteria in your Setup being exact matches, not near matches.

If you are using Check settings, then when an Operator is manually data entering accounts, they will be presented with a popup list of " Matching Accounts" as they press Tab or Enter to navigate to the next field. The Operator will be presented with a single line of fields from one or more existing accounts to compare and decision if the new account seems to be the same debtor.

Selecting Group Accounts Together

If it is decided that the new account is the same debtor as another existing account, then clicking Select will add this new debtor to the existing one or more accounts for the same person.

Debtor Group Button Highlighted

If it is decided it is not the same debtor, click the Cancel button instead on the Matching Accounts popup and continue to data enter into the next field as normal.

Useful Note Every field you turn ON under the "Check" category of Setup increases the time it takes to manually enter the data on a new account because for every field you enter, it will run a comparison on the database and create the popup of near matches. Sites with large databases may prefer to do all grouping via batch and none by this method.

See "Account Matching During Data Entry" for details and screen shots of this first method.

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Account Matching Using Batch Processing

For this capability to function, you must have selected one or more fields under the category "Advanced Match Conditions" in settings already entered into your "System\Preferences\Plans and Reference Tables\ Account Matching Setup" window.

The automated matching process can take a tagged list of accounts and with both time efficiency and accuracy, decision which accounts if any should be grouped with other debtor accounts already in the system. Whether your entry is 25 manual accounts or thousands of Imported new accounts, gathering them into a tagged list, then clicking "Tools\ Batch Processing" and you will see the following:

Selecting Batch Processing

Click the radio button beside "Group accounts together".

Selecting Group Accounts Together

You will see the following popup:

Selecting Tag Individual Records

Click the Next>> button as your tagged list will already be acknowledged by the system.

You have been advanced to a popup displaying all your existing Account Matching criteria. This is a fail-safe to ensure that before running the process against the entire database, that the criteria to be used has been verified. Each site can have their own individual settings. The following popup is the shipping default settings and are represented here as SAMPLE ONLY:

Criteria for Matching Tagged Accounts

If you do need to modify anything, you do so by selecting the field and choosing the hyphen "-" to remove a field from the list.

When you have completed verifying your Match Condition settings, click the Next>> button.

Run Account Matching Batch

Now click the Start button. The process will run and you will receive a popup concluding that it was completed successfully and

how may records it surveyed for matching conditions:

Account Matching Batch Results

Click the OK button to acknowledge and return to the Batch Processing menu. Click the Close button in the lower right of the screen to exit Batch Processing.

If you view one of your newly grouped accounts, you will notice that the "Group" fields immediately to the right of the File Number are now populated with numbers for for the Group # (system generated) and Group Member # (this accounts sequence number of all the accounts linked in the Group). You will also notice that the Group indicator has turned yellow, as have the < and > toggle keys to either side of the Group button. Additionally, you will see the Group Tab in the lower portion of the screen has also changed to a yellow color, indicating that there is now information in that sub-file.

Debtor Group Button Highlighted

Click the Group Tab to view the list of Group Members.

Matching Accounts/Group Members

If you have data entered several batches throughout the day, either manually or via import, you can do a single batch grouping by gathering all the accounts listed on today's date from a Browse Active Debtor list. Click the Find button, then enter the From/To date range (can be same day in both) in the field called "#Listed", then click the Search button in the lower right corner of the window. This will create a tagged list for you. You would then close the Browse Debtor list you were working with and go into the Tools\Batch Processing menu to proceed with the Grouping accounts together.

If you input new accounts via an electronic Import of data, then you already have the convenience of a Tagged List ready for Batch Processes such as Contact Plans, Group accounts together, and Assign accounts to operators, without having to take the step of Browsing Active Debtors, then creating the Tagged List with Find/ Search criteria.

It is per site preference whether you wish to run Batch Processes on your new accounts as they are input as a complete client's listing for the day OR whether you wish to do all your new account entry for all clients for the day followed by a single pass through batch processes using "Browse\Active Debtors", then click the Find tile at the top of the screen, using the Edit Search Criteria From/To #Listed date to tag a composite list of all new accounts.

Useful Note If you will be utilizing account matching and you are a new Collect! user, you may wish to run your entire debtor list

as a group process if your installer hasn't already done that for you during conversion.

To do this, start from a Browse Debtor list - use All if you want to include Closed Mode in the grouping for historical purposes or use an Active Debtor list only for this bulk initial group. Press the keyboard keys Ctrl+A together OR click Edit, then Select All from the menu drop-down. This will highlight and Tag all the debtors in the list. Follow the steps above to run the grouping process against the whole of your database.

See "Account Matching Using Batch Processing" for details and screen shots of this second method.

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Account Matching By Manual Grouping

This type of grouping is done while on the Debtor screen. Click the button labeled Group to start a process of prompts and lists for you to step through to create a new group or add the Debtor account you are on to an existing group.

When you use this method, the new debtor's Group Member information is set to the values existing in the Account Matching Setup window.

First, let's find the first Debtor that you would like to put in your group.

1. Pull down the Browse menu and choose Find By Name. You will be presented with a form where you can type in a name for Collect! to find in your list of Debtors.

Useful Note Type in a name just as it appears in the Debtor form, that is, Last Name, comma, First Name. It is not necessary to capitalize the letters. You can also look for near matches. Please read the instructions in the Find By box or look up Find By in the Help index.

2. When you have entered a name for Collect! to find, select OK. The Debtor form for that name will open on your screen, if Collect! finds it.

3. Let's assume the system has found the name and proceed. Now that you are looking at the Debtor form, notice the 'GROUP' button near the top of the form, in the center. It has an arrow on either side of it.

Useful Note If the Debtor you chose is already in a group, this button will be yellow and the arrows will be yellow. You can press the Group button to see all members in the group or press the arrows to see the Debtor form for each member at a time.

4. Press the Group button. If the Debtor is not already in a group, you will be prompted to form a new group.

Prompt To Select Debtors To Group

5. Read the instructions carefully and select OK. The list of all debtors will open and your first choice is already highlighted in yellow. This means it is selected.

6. Now use the arrow keys to find other records you want to group. When you find one and it is highlighted, (it is black) press the spacebar and it turns yellow. Now it is selected too.

7. Carry on until you have selected all your debtors for the group this way. After they are selected, they show blue when you move off that line in the list.

Selected Debtors for New Group

Useful Note Look in the last column of the list of debtors. Notice that this particular list has a number 5 there for some records. This means they are in a group. This column shows a number when a debtor is in a group. Collect! gives each new group a a different number. When you are finished with this exercise, your group will have a number too.

8. Now that all of your debtors are selected, Press F8.

If none of the debtors that you selected are currently in a group, Collect! prompts you to create a new group.

Prompt to Form a New Group

If you have Account Matching enabled, Collect! may ask you if you want to copy information, depending on your Account Matching Setup.

Prompt to Copy Information in New Members

If some of the debtors that you selected are currently in a group, Collect! prompts you to join them to an existing group.

Prompt to Join To an Existing Group

9. Select OK to proceed with grouping the accounts.

10. You are returned to the Debtor form and now the Group button is highlighted and the arrows on either side of it are too.

Debtor with Group Information

Also, there is a Group Number in the Group box (in the case above, it is ' 7') and the current Debtor has a Group Member Number (in the case above, it is '1'). You can select the arrows to see the other accounts in this group. Notice that each of them has the same Group Number but a different Group Member Number.

11. Click on the Group tab. This shows all of the members in the group in the Matching Accounts list. Group financial totals are also displayed. Press F1 to see help on this form.

From the Matching Accounts form you can edit the group or its individual members, or run a contact plan across the group.

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Adding Members To A Group

If you choose to group a Debtor who already belongs to a group, the Group button will be highlighted in yellow when you first view the Debtor's record. If you press the Group button, as you have just done, you will see the Matching Accounts form.

Press Edit Group and follow the instructions displayed on the screen. The steps outlined above should be followed for selecting additional debtors for your group.

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Account Matching

When you enter a new Debtor, Collect! can automatically find matching accounts based on criteria you choose. The Group Member Setup button that you see in the Matching Accounts form is a way of fine tuning your Account Matching routines.

Useful Note However, Account Matching MUST be set up by administrative staff prior to grouping debtors or editing matching criteria in the Matching Accounts form. Setup is performed through the Account Matching Setup accessed from the Options pull down menu, Preferences. Choose Plans and Reference Tables.

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