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Using Account Matching

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 behaviours 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.

tip.gif 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 Writebacks will likely be all that you require.

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.gif 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.

tip.gif 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 screenshots 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 subfile.

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.

tip.gif 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 screenshots of this second method.

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Account Matching By Manual Grouping

There may be occasions when either bad data quality prevented a group to link automatically or special conditions exist where you need to be able to group hand-chosen accounts. Special conditions being where the Account Matching Conditions would NOT find any matches at all because the responsible parties on the debts are not the same person/company. Examples are relatives who also have accounts in your office, spouses, company owner apart from a commercial debt, different company names but all owned by the same person etc.

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.

See How To Group Debtors for details and screenshots of this third method.

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See Also

- Matching Accounts
- Account Matching Setup
- How To Group Debtors
- How To Ungroup Debtors
- Ungroup All Debtors In Your Database
- Group Member Setup

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