brown paper bag

Omatic Brown Bag Lunch Series – Streamlining Communications from The Financial Edge™ and The Education Edge™

As many of our blog followers know, we are fortunate to have a very knowledgeable and experienced staff at Omatic. Our Brown Bag Lunch Series is an employee initiative where we share our personal knowledge with other team members. We collectively submit topics and vote on the next one in our series. So far, it has proven to be immensely successful and a good time to laugh, learn and connect with fellow employees.

Our most recent Brown Bag Luncheon was about The Financial Edge and The Education Edge (FE/EE) including how Omatic products MailOmatic for Schools and MailOmatic for Accounting pull and use data from those systems. One of our new(ish) team members, Chuck Miranda, just happens to be a renowned product expert on both The Financial Edge and The Education Edge! He was the perfect candidate to begin our in-depth conversation about specific settings, complex client scenarios, and advanced use of FE/EE. We are lucky to have such a knowledgeable and equally hilarious guy on our team to make this otherwise challenging topic a really fun learning session!

Chuck started out with a basic breakdown of the FE/EE core modules and the optional modules. An interesting comparison he made when talking about Accounts Receivable being simplified to “money coming in” was that The Raiser’s Edge® (RE) was the equivalent of an Accounts Receivable system – a lot of light bulbs going off!

Chuck highlights that from a RE and FE/EE integration perspective, the only difference between posting from RE to GL – versus AR to GL – is that Journal entries are not automatically locked down, allowing for Accounting staff to review entries. We then jumped to the core of our topic: the parts that interact with MailOmatic for Schools (MOMS) and MailOmatic for Accounting (MOMA).

First, we talked about MailOmatic for Schools. MOMS integrates with Student Billing and Registrar’s Office modules in FE/EE to automatically email tuition statements, projected statements, receipts, report cards, infraction reports, and schedules to the appropriate recipients.

In MOMS, the automatic emailing of Statements, Projected Statements, Receipts and general emails all pull information from the core Student Billing system records. Registrar’s Office functionality in MOMS uses electronic versions of Report Cards, Infraction Reports, Schedules (for students), and Schedule Lists (for instructors and teachers). MailOmatic for Schools can also send general emails. 

The bulk of Omatic client questions come from Student Billing issues. Each organization can have FE/EE set-up completely differently from the next organization, so troubleshooting a billing issue for our clients can take many steps. Basically, it all boils down to the simple question of “who gets the bill?” The answer always lives on the Relationships, Payers, Statement and Activity tabs within FE/EE. The Activity tab displays the “Assigned to” column, which lists who is responsible for paying each charge. On the Relationships tab, the “Pays Bills” checkbox moves relationships to the Payers tab, where you can define the percentage of the bills they own. The “Receives Statements” checkbox simply moves that person to the Statements tab, where you can define your rules for who gets the bill for each student. Reviewing just those tabs will serve as an easy-to-understand approach when trying get to the core of a client issue.

We talked about the one-off complexities of non-friendly divorced families and partial payment by trust accounts, including simplistic approaches to address those scenarios.

Discussing the report parameters for MailOmatic for Schools led us into the Mail module. The Mail module contains all report parameters that MOMS uses except for Schedules and Schedule Lists (which are setup in the Reports section of the Registrar’s Office). MOMS follows all client settings and manipulation of these parameters can sometimes cause issues. The Blackbaud knowledge base (KBB.blackbaud.com) is always a great place to go if one of these settings in your database seems questionable.

With the separation clean, we move on to MailOmatic for Accounting. MOMA utilizes Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable and Payroll data. Simple explanation: AR = money coming in, AP = paying your bills, and Payroll = paying employees.
Accounts Receivable data is used when sending electronic statements, individual invoices, invoices by client, and receipts. Payroll uses electronic funds transfer (EFT) when sending electronic versions of paycheck stubs, so everyone was able to relate. Accounts Payable can electronically send 1099s, Purchase Orders, and EFT Payments to send electronic notifications of payments to vendors.

Chuck offered a simple explanation of the difference between a statement and an invoice – an invoice is an individual buying one thing (like one widget). A statement is multiple purchases (like ten widgets).

After the high-level review of FE/EE in relation to both MOMS and MOMA, we all had a much clearer view of the mysterious and complex FE/EE.

Chuck is an invaluable FE/EE resource as well as a great teacher, and we were lucky to have him lead our session. Breaking down financial systems to a group with a range of working knowledge is difficult but Chuck’s grace and humor made it a lot of fun. We plan to volunteer him for another session soon!

Luckily, Chuck is available for FE/EE consulting work if your organization finds that their accounting system is set-up in a less than ideal manner.

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