Tuesday 8 October 2013

Bank Recon 4.2.770.2619 is available

We've listened to your feedback and made changes to the new Helper Process and Manual Recon Screen. We've also made sure that the standard reports will reflect all transactional data correctly. Thank you to everyone who tried out the screen and provided suggestions. We are certainly not done, there is more we will continue to add and improve but this release will allow you to take your Bank Details reconciliations even further. Please keep on sending your comments and suggestions to me.

Bank Recon 4.2.770.2619 is available for download from the Twenty57 website. Please note the following if you have installed and are using version  4.2.715.2505.

  • You will need to re-index your database (Setup>Index Management and click the Run button)
  • We have changed the way the linking works so if you have existing linked Parent and Bank Details Transactions PLEASE contact me so I can help you make sure all transaction links are correct and will be reported on accurately
If this is the first version with the new Manual Recon screen you are installing you will need to index your database. Set up the index path on the Site Configuration Page (Setup>Site Configuration>General) and the Run the Index process from Setup>Index Management.

Other features and fixes
  • A web service method has been added to import the Bank Details file supported by Bank Recon. The method name is BankDetailsSingleFileImport and the parameters are Username, Password, DomainId and FileContent. It works in a similar way to the Bank Statement web service method already included in Bank Recon
  • Suggest Error: Cannot access a closed screen has been fixed
  • Better error message when the Network User specified is not valid and you try to import Bank Statements
We have redesigned the helper process to make it easier for you to still use the linked parent records on the Old style manual recon screen.

Changes to the Helper Process
  • Linked Bank Transactions will be available on the old screen but not the new screen. If any of the linked details are reconciled it will be greyed out (you won't be able to match it). Once all the helper details are reconciled it will disappear off the old screen
  • Better Linking between Bank Details and Parent Bank Transactions. The link is saved to a ReconHelperLink table. The Parent Bank Transaction is not reconciled
  • You can still manually reconcile the parent transaction like you always have. Once the parent bank transaction is reconciled, the helper data will be removed from the new screen
  • There is no helper data available on the old screen
  • Write your advanced Recon Rules using the views specified in the Rule Design pop-up. These have been written to ensure you get the right transactions for all type of rules. And remember that you can use the Easy rules to do most types of rules these days, including rules with Grouping and complex Regex expressions
Reporting Changes 
  • 11 of the Standard Reports have been updated. We identified the ones that seem to be used most often. If you use a report shipped with Bank Recon and we haven't updated it, let me know and we will do so
  • All our updated Reports are appended with (Standard) in the name to clearly identify them so they won't overwrite the current standard reports, in case you have tweaked them but not changed the name
  • They are automatically inserted into Bank Recon when you install the build. This will be the practise going forward when we update a report so make sure that your custom reports DO NOT have the same name as the Standard Reports
  • Where applicable the Reports have been updated to show the split between Bank Transactions and the Bank Details
  • Linked Parent Bank Details transactions are NEVER included in the Reports and Views. We will always report on the details where a link exists even if you reconcile the parent record
  • Reports have also been upgraded to Report Viewer 2012. You do not need SQL 2012 installed to use the Report Viewer. You will need to download and install the Redistributable to view the reports
    • Microsoft Report Viewer 2012 runtime is required (http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=35747)
    • Update your web.config file to reference Report Viewer 11 instead of 9.
      • In the HttpHandlers section replace the existing Report Viewer attribute with this one:
        • <add path="Reserved.ReportViewerWebControl.axd" verb="*" type="Microsoft.Reporting.WebForms.HttpHandler, Microsoft.ReportViewer.WebForms, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=89845dcd8080cc91" validate="false"/>
    • Include the following attribute in the system.web section of your web.config file to ensure that Reports export correctly
      • <trust legacyCasModel="true" level="Full"/>
  • Reports can be designed in Visual Studio 2010, 2012 or using the stand-alone report builder 3 tool. Existing 2005 reports and report projects can be upgraded to a later version 
  • Remove your already loaded standard reports. The old ones will no longer work correctly. Report Viewer 2012 is not backwards compatible with 2005 rdl's. It is compatible with 2008, 2010 and 2012 rdl's
  • We have included the following Standard Views to Help you with your Custom Reporting. Update all your existing Custom Reports to use these views as well as to Report Viewer 2012. Please use these views for all future Reports. If you need help with converting your reports please let me know and we will assist you
    • Reporting_CashbookTransactionViewStandard
    • Reporting_BankAndBankDetailsTransactionViewStandard
    • Reporting_BankTransactionViewStandard
    • Reporting_BankDetailsViewStandard

A big thank you to Jai for all the time and effort he has invested in the development of Bank Recon.

Wednesday 8 May 2013

The wait is over: Bank Recon 4.2.715.2505 is available

I am very excited to present the first release of the redesigned Manual Recon screen and Helper Data process. BankRecon 4.2.715.2505 is available for download from the Twenty57 website.

It has been a long time in the making but it is worth it. Please download and install it and give me your feedback on the process and the screen. There are still some improvements we have in mind, and I want to implement your suggestions as well. A big thank you to all the contributors, developers and designers who were part of this journey.

There are 2 features in this build not to do with Helper Data and the Manual Recon Screen:
  • The GL account number is now shown along side the GL Account Name on the Balancing Entry and Cashbook Allocation screens
  • Bug Fix - Bank Statements were being created in future periods if they existed for the account

New Manual Recon Screen and Helper Data Process Overview

There are 2 videos included in this post to help you get started, one on using the new screen and the other on setting up your Bank Details Import Definitions and Auto Reconciliation Rules to match the Helper Data.

  • The Parent Bank Detail record (contra from the file submitted to the bank) is automatically linked to a Bank Transaction where the transactions are in the same account, have the same amount and are within 5 days of each other. We only make the link if we can find a unique match and users can break links made in error. There is no way to stop the linking from happening
  • Once the link has been made the helper details will appear on the New Manual Recon screen where the users can include them in Manual Matches. The linked Bank Transaction is no longer available to use in recons. You can also set up Auto Recon rules to match these transactions off automatically. The benefit of this new process is that you can do 1-1 matches of the bank details information, rather than the cumbersome many-1 matches required up to now
  • We are making use of Lucene Search (similar to Google) instead of filters on the New Manual Recon screen so once this version is installed you will need to index your existing transactions. Depending on the size of your Database this could take anything from a few minutes to a few hours. I recommend running the index process overnight to minimise the impact on users. You can still use Bank Recon while the indexing is running, you just won't be able to Search on the New Manual Recon Screen
  • New transactions are automatically indexed when imported and the index is updated whenever a match is made or broken

Setting up the Indexing

  1. Run the msi
  2. Open Bank Recon and navigate to Setup>Site Configuration>General Settings (You need to be a Site Admin to see this menu item)
  3. There is a new Setting Index Path. Specify the folder you want to save the index files to. Ensure the Bank Recon Network User and Service Account User have access to this folder

  4. Navigate to Setup>Index Management and click Run

  5. Bank Recon will index all existing transactions. You can monitor the process through the Dashboard, viewing the Process Log (Admin>Process Log) and by checking the count of transactions in the IndexUpdateQueue Table. Once complete the count will be zero
  6. You can use this same process if you ever need to re-index your database. Every time the index process is run, the existing indexes are deleted and the entire database is re-indexed

Change to the Bank Details Import Definition

  • There is a new required field, Account Number. If you have existing definitions please add the account number to them so we can link the helper bank details to the parent bank transactions in the correct accounts. It uses the Cashbook Transaction Account map to map to the correct account

Setting up Recon Rules

  • There is an Inactive Easy rule set up on all Domains to help you get started. It gives an example of matching the Bank Details to the Cashbook Transactions using Group By
  • You should be able to make use of the Easy Rule Interface for most of your rules but you can still use the Advanced interface if you want to. There are three views provided to use in the rules. You will find details of them in the help links on the Add/Edit Advanced Rule screen
  • If the data hasn't been linked, it can still be matched using the old style helper rules

The New Manual Recon Screen

  • Users are navigated to this screen by clicking on the Unreconciled Counts for any account on the Dashboard, or by navigating to Reconciliation>New Manual Reconciliation Screen
  • The Old style screen is still part of this build. We will remove it in a future release once we are sure that we have ironed out all the issues in the new screen
  • Column Headings are pulled from the Cashbook Transaction Aliases on the Account Setup page
  • Linked Bank Transactions will not be available in either screen
  • Linked Bank Details are only available in the New screen
  • This screen is one long list of all transactions; Bank, Cashbook and Bank Details all mixed in with each other
  • View more transactions by scrolling down the page or find particular transactions by using the Search box at the top right
  • You can Group By, Include Matched Items and Search across accounts
  • You can still Load and Save profiles and create Balancing entries when you match transactions
  • You can order your transactions by clicking on the column heading

Future enhancements

  • The user can manually make links between Helper Details and Bank Transactions that we have missed
  • Provide a way to enrich the linking experience through the use of keywords

Wednesday 27 February 2013

Solving that thorny Helper Data issue

One of the biggest pains our clients face is reconciling the bulk payments or collections on their Bank Statement to the appropriate expected transactions. There are often upwards of 15 000 cashbook transactions which need to be reconciled to a single bank transaction. A laborious and very difficult task to do manually!

Bank Recon has allowed you to import 'Helper Data' for a while now. This is the breakdown of the Bank Statement entry into the details and is usually generated by your payment system or supplied by the bank. However you can only make use of it in rather complicated Recon rules. And if the Recon rules can't make the match (can't find a unique match, can't uniquely identify the cashbook transactions to use, can't find enough of the Cashbook Transactions) the user is left to do the matching manually with no access to this very valuable Helper Data.

So we decided to see what we could do to fix this. And the result is almost ready for release. We automatically link the Helper Data to the correct Bank Transaction and then 'replace' the one Bank line with its details. These details can then be used in Easy Recon rules (and simpler advanced rules) to make many 1-1 matches rather than one big 1-many match. And the User also has access to these details from the Manual Recon screen.

What this change also led to is a whole new Manual Recon screen. The 'old' screen is, well, very old. There is a lot of hard coded information in it which makes it difficult to change. So we decided to build a new one that would allow us to include the Helper Data, and also make some changes to the filters and layout that we have been wanting to do for a while but haven't been able to get right in the current screen.

Both Cashbook and Bank are included in one endless list of transactions rather than separate grids and it makes use of Search rather than filters. Group by,  Search across accounts and Profiles are all still there, plus we've added the ability to include matched items in your search.

We are busy with the final tweaks and some usability testing and then it will be released to the world for implementation and feedback. We won't be embarking on any major new developments in Bank Recon over the next few months in order to get your feedback and rapidly include it. I know this will be a big change for many users and may take some getting used to but it will be a beneficial change in the long run.

To wet your appetite here is a sneak preview of what the new screen will look like. Enjoy!