CNFS Offering: Understanding and Working with Quick-Entry Batches

When using the quick-entry posting process, you must use batches to enter contributions into your system. A batch is a group of contributions. Entering contributions in batches (groups) helps speed up data entry especially when you have a lot of contributions to get into your system. The batch-entry process also provides critical internal controls that can help safeguard your contributions and reduce the risk of fraud. This topic provides information you should be aware of when working with batches.


What is Batch Processing?

Why Use Batches?

Obtaining Access Permissions

Preparing Contributions for Batch Entry

Autosave Feature

Batch Safeguards

Invalid Data Check

Missing Data Check

Incorrect Data Check

Balanced Batch Check

Closed Batch

What Is Batch Processing?

Batch processing is a method of entering contributions into your system in groups rather than one at a time. It may help you to think of a batch as consisting of all of the contributions that make up a single bank deposit. For example, a batch might include all of the offerings received on a given Sunday or all of the contributions made to a specific fund during a specific time period.

Why Use Batches?

Following are some main advantages to using batch data entry:

       Speeds up your workflow

Because you enter contributions in groups instead of one at a time, batch entry can ease data entry especially if—to maximize efficiency—you take time to organize your contributions beforehand (for example, grouping them by fund, by payment type, and so forth). For a suggested organizing tip, go to Preparing_Contributions_for_Quick-Entry_Posting.

       Helps your data remain error free

Batch entry data relies on data validation, a process that works continuously in the background to verify the correctness of data input. If the system finds data entry errors, it flags them for you and will not let you commit a batch until those errors are fixed. Similarly, the system examines the information in the batch to ensure it is balanced before allowing you to commit the batch. For details on validating a batch, go to Batch_Validation.

       Promotes good accounting practices

Batch data entry provides internal checks and controls that help minimize the risk of fraud and loss. One effective fraud prevention control is the Close Batch feature. As a security measure, a good accounting practice is to close batches in a timely manner. After a batch is closed, its data is secure because the system locks the batch and prevents anyone from making further changes to the contributions in it.

Obtaining Access Permissions

To access the Posting features, you must have Add/Edit permissions in the Offering module. Contact your administrator for assistance with obtaining the required permission.

Preparing Contributions for Batch Entry

For maximum speed and efficiency, it is a good idea to organize your contributions before entering them into the system. Here is an example of a process you can use to prepare contributions for posting in a quick-entry batch:

  1. Sort contributions by organization, by date, and then by fund. Separate into stacks.

You can include multiple posting dates in a single batch. When you do data entry, you can quickly change the posting date on the batch entry form for an individual entry as needed.

  1. Within each fund in a stack, create a group of contributions separated by payment type. For example, keep all of the cash contributions together. Then, do the same for your credit card contributions, and so forth.
  2. For each stack, add up the contributions and record the cash total. Write this amount on a slip of paper and place it on top of the stack. This is the amount you will specify as the total cash amount for the batch.
  3. Create a batch for each stack of contributions, making sure the amount you specify in the Cash Total field equals the amount you calculated for the total cash amount in Step 3. For instructions on creating a batch, go to How to Create a Quick-Entry Batch.

You are now ready to enter contributions into the quick-entry batches you created. For instructions, go to How to Enter Contributions into a Quick Entry Batch.

Autosave Feature

The system automatically saves your work after you enter a line item into the batch entry form. You can always see when the system last saved your work by looking at the timestamp in the top-right corner of the form.

Batch Safeguards

Batch safeguards are in place to help ensure that your contribution data is error free and that all contributions are entered and accounted for. Various validation checks take place throughout the data entry process. Following are examples of the types of checks the system makes to help keep your data consistent and accurate.

Invalid Data Check

When you enter data into a field, the system checks to see whether your input violates a validation rule. If it does, the system does not accept the input. For example, the Env # and Amount fields accept numeric values only. If you type a non-numeric value in either field, the system does not accept it.

Missing Data Check

The system does not let you commit a batch if it is missing data. This message is displayed to alert you to the error and inform you that it must be corrected before you can commit the batch:

 You have errors you must correct before you can Commit.

Incorrect Data Check

During data entry, the system works in the background to validate input to ensure that it is correct. The system counts simple errors and flags them for you. For example, if you enter the wrong envelope number, the system increments the amount in the Invalid field, located at the top of the batch entry form:

In the Status column, the system also displays an and highlights the entry in red text to alert you to the problem:

 

To fix this type of error, type the correct value into the field. Then, press the Tab or Enter key to submit the change.

 

If the system accepts the change, it displays a green checkmark  in the Status column and the name of the giver in green text. For example:

 

Balanced Batch Check

It is important to understand that the contributions you enter into a batch are not actual contribution records saved in your ConnectNow database. They are saved in the database only after you commit the batch. However, before you can commit a batch, the system requires the batch to be balanced.

What Is a Balanced Batch?

A balanced batch is one for which the Cash Total amount (specified for the batch when it was created) equals the amount in the Balance field for the batch. To prevent an out-of-balance situation, the system continuously performs a series of validation checks on the batch to determine whether or not the amounts in the two fields match. If the two fields match, the batch is balanced. If they do not, the batch fails validation, and the system does not let you commit the batch (post it) until you correct the error or errors causing the out-of-balance situation.

How Do You Know a Batch Is Balanced?

You know that a batch is in balance if the amount showing in the Balance field at the top of the batch entry form is equal to $0.00, as shown in this illustration:

If the batch is in balance, the system displays this message at the bottom of the data entry form to let you know that you can proceed to commit the batch:

You must have the appropriate permissions tied to your login credentials to commit the batch.

You have completed the batch. Click here to Commit.

Click the link to proceed to begin the commit process.

The following illustration shows you an example of an out of balance batch. Note that the amount showing in the Balance field is not $0.00:

At the bottom of the batch entry form, the system displays this message to let you know that you must balance the batch before committing it:

 You can Commit when your batch is balanced.

In this situation, you must correct the problem to balance the batch. For tips on reconciling an out-of-balance batch, go to How to Correct an Out-of-Balance Quick-Entry Batch.

Closed Batch

As a security measure, after you close a batch, the system locks it and prevents anyone from making additional changes to its details or any of the contributions within it.

Closed batches are listed on the Batch Management page. On that page, you can only view details for contributions in the closed batch.

 

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