Autoreading standing orders and direct debits into PFM from online banking (without having asked parent to use special codes)
The latest version of PFM offers the facility to ready bank statements automatically and allocate the payments to the correct student, account and bank account. You need to have internet banking for this facility as we will be downloading statements from the internet.
Ideally this involves emailing or writing a letter to the parent and asking them to make payments through their internet banking system, and to enter a special code (unique to each pupil and trip) in the REFERENCE box . This special code identifies the pupil, trip etc.
However, we appreciate that many schools already have direct debits or standing orders set up with parents paying regularly, and rather than asking them to change something that is already set up we now have the facility to read existing transactions and for PFM to ‘learn’ who is who.
The first time you receive such a payment, you have to teach PFM who the payment is from and what it is for, but from them on it will be automatic.
Downloading bank statements from the internet
You might choose to do this every day, once a week or once a month. Each time, it will pick up the transactions that have been received in the date range selected.
As soon as a payment appears on your bank statement (which will generally be within 2 hours of the parent paying) you will be able to import the information automatically into PFM. Go to your online banking system and log in. Choose the option to EXPORT the data.
SELECT THE DATE RANGE required. In each case choose the EXCEL or CSV format for your download.
On Barclays this shows as EXPORT MY DATA
On Lloyds this shows as EXPORT DATA
On Santander this shows as DOWNLOAD TRANSACTIONS
Others will say something similar.
A spreadsheet will be downloaded - SAVE that spreadsheet into the UNPROCESSED BANK STATEMENTS folder, within the PFM folder.
Read the bank statement entries into PFM
Now, go into PFM- TRANSACTION ENTRY - RECEIPTS - DIRECT RECEIPTS. Click on READ BANK STATEMENT FILE. It will do so, and a message something like the following will appear -
This is telling us that one of the entries has been identified automatically- the parent has been given a unique code and has used it when making the payment. However the other 2 have no code and at the moment have been rejected until you identify who they are.
Click on YES to continue to see the list of imported payments.
Across the top there are TABS and the selected one is ALL showing all transactions that you have downloaded this time.
Click on the TAB marked REJECTED to see the 2 entries PFM did not recognise.
We can see that these are items that do show a name and that we probably can identify.
Click on the first one –
First of all choose the correct Short Code from the list showing at the bottom by clicking.
NEXT, we need to locate the student. Click on the SECON tick box down on the left and a list of students appear at the bottom of the screen. In the Search box type anything that will help identify the student .
A list of possibles appears – click the correct one to select at the bottom.
IF the short code selected is a GIFT AID or INDIVIDUAL GIFT AID account (as setup in Accounts maintenance) change the type from FREE STUDENT to TIED STUDENT in the bottom right.
If the short code has no link with GIFT AID, it remains as a FREE STUDENT.
Click on ACCEPT – message box will appear
Say YES so that all subsequent payments with this information showing on the bank statement , will automatically go the correct student/trip etc.
Repeat for all other rejected items.
Click on CLOSE and now all new entries are sat waiting to be banked. Click on BANK IT.
After the first month ALL standing orders and direct debits should be recognised automatically, unless there are new once started.
Reconciling internet payments
Reconciling should be quite straightforward as the items that appear on Bank Rec have already been confirmed as correct.
They each appear individually on your bank reconciliation showing payer name and the student name.
To tick all online banking imports up to a given date, click on the last one in the date range and press the F1 function key - all are ticked. (F5 unticks them all)