Linking Agora Transactions Into PFM
Payments received from parents via Agora can be easily imported into PFM without the need for manual re-entry. There are a couple of bits of setup that need to be done, and after that it should be simplicity itself on a day to day basis.
1. Creating/amending services in Agora
For PFM to recognise payments from parents, the service set up in Agora must correspond with the PFM account.
Create a short code (if it does not already exist) in PFM then log into Agora and create / edit the same Product. When setting up the item in Agora, make sure that the Product has a matching Full Name in PFM.
So if it is say for an After school club, if PFM you may have a short code called ASC and a Full Name of After School Club. In Agora the product should be called After School Club so that the two match.
(in truth PFM only looks at the Agora product up to the first full stop, so the account on PFM called "After School Club" will get the monies for Agora "Products" of "After School Club. Term 3", "After School Club. Term 2", "After School Club. anything else you can think of" etc
If you have products on Agora that you don’t want to be imported into PFM don't have a matching Full Name. PFM will ask you the first time you try to import payments of this type, but you will just press 'Ignore Forever' and that's what it will do.
2. Downloading the list of payments received from Agora
You will be receiving payments from parents for trips etc., on an ongoing basis. Depending on the quantity, and how frequently you wish to update PFM with this information, you will need to download the report showing the payments received. If you want PFM to be up to date, then this will need to be done pretty regularly.
To download the report, go into Agora and select 'Payments Received'
DATE RANGE – this needs to overlap the previous report run. PFM needs to find at least one item it has already processed, to know where to start the new download from. It will not duplicate any entries. If there is no overlap, PFM will warn you, and you may have missing transactions. Enter your FROM and TO dates and click on FILTER.
Once the date range is selected, click on the SAVE option. Choose to SAVE the spreadsheet created, and save it to the PFM folder – into the subfolder called UNPROCESSED INTERNET PAYMENTS.
3. Import the payments into PFM
Go into PFM – to Trans Entry – Receipts – Internet Receipts. Click on the button bottom left to READ INTERNET RECEIPTS FILE
PFM may find information in the file that it does not understand. If there is an account that has been entered in Agora and is different to the PFM Full Name you will see a screen telling you the account is not recognised. You will be able to select the correct account or choose to IGNORE FOREVER if this is not an account for PFM.
PFM may find a pupil who is not on PFM – maybe a new starter, or pupil from another school. Again, you will be able to manually pick the student this money should be allocated to.
You can also choose to CANCEL the import, for example if you need to create a new short code for a new trip, or add a new student to the system.
Once complete, the grid onscreen will be populated with all the online payments received - You can now BANK IT as required.
4. Where do I BANK IT to?
We recommend that you set up a dummy bank account called AGO - AGORA HOLDING and bank all the individual payments received from parents into this account. You can do this in SETUP – ADD BANK ACCOUNT.
Every day you receive payments from parents for trips etc. However, you do not get the money straight into your school bank account.
You will receive BACS Transfers from Sims ONLY as each online payment clears. This figure will NOT be the same as the parent paid – it will have had fees deducted.
The BACS payment will not necessarily be on the same day as the parent originally paid, or even the next day - it will depend on clearing time. The amount they pay you will NOT be the amount the parent paid, but will have the Transaction charge deducted.
Sims provide a report called the BACS Transfers (Detailed Report) by Transaction File and it tells you what they have paid you for, what fees have been deducted and the net figure to appear in your bank account.
This all makes it pretty confusing to try and reconcile!
On the bank statement you will have the original payment amounts from the parents - you will need to enter the fees deducted to get to a net figure that agrees with your bank statement!
SO – we suggest banking all your parent payments into the AGO – Agora dummy account, then entering the fees also to this dummy account, and whats left should be what Sims pay to you by BACS!
4. Enter Agoras fees
Use the BACS Transfers (Detailed Report) by Transaction File to see how much your fees are. In our case this is £1.05.
Create a new short code called AGORA FEES.
Enter the fees deducted through Trans Entry – Direct Postings – Payments . Select the Agora Fees short code – select the AGO bank account- enter the amount and date and some notes. SAVE.
5. Enter a Bank transfer when Agora pays you by BACS.
When you receive your BACS from Sims, record this on PFM using Transaction entry – Transfers – Bank Transfers. FROM – Agora holding , TO – School Fund bank account. Enter date and amount.
6. Reconciliation –the final stage!
The last step is to reconcile the Agora transactions. The holding bank account will have all the individual payments from parent going in, the BACS payment out and the fees.
Use your BACS Transfers (Detailed Report) by Transaction File. Go to Trans Entry – BANK STATEMENT –choose AGO in the top left hand corner. TICK all the items from parents – tick the FEES that go with these payments – TICK the transfer that you have made for the BACS payment. They should ALL EQUAL ZERO.
Once you have agreed with the report, click on COMMIT CHANGES.