Chronicle's Collections Manager lets you manage all aspects of the collections process. You can view receivables (filtered in many ways), see phone numbers, send emails, add notes and comments, add follow-up dates, drill into job and contact files, and more.
Getting to the Collections Manager
Go to Chronicle's Financial tab, and, in the tool bar at the top of the screen click Collections Manager. (Security for using the Collections Manager is the same for accessing the Financial tab.)
Main Collections Manager Screen
The top of the screen lets you filter what receivables you see. The next section (which can be hidden with Hide Customization Options) lets you customize what columns you see, what is highlighted, and other aspect of searching and display. The central portion of the screen lists all receivables that meet your conditions, giving you what you need to effectively manage your collections. The bottom of the screen shows key detail for the selected invoice. More detail about each follows.
Customizing the Collections Manager
Choosing which Columns You See: In the Columns to Show section at the top left, check or uncheck items to control what you see in the grid.
- Controlling Which Invoices are Highlighted: In the customization options at the top of the screen, you can check or uncheck boxes in the Highlight section to determine whether to highlight invoices with no notes, no recent notes, and/or invoices with follow-up dates on or before today.
- Changing the Highlight Colors: Double-click any color box in the color key below the grid to change that highlight color. Chronicle remembers any change that you make.
- Hiding the Customization Options: At the top right, click Hide Customization Options to remove the customization section so you have more space for the list. (Click this button again to bring the customization section back.)
Receivables to View
The top of the screen lets you limit the receivables by date range, department, collections action, employees or non-employees associated with the job (so you can find, for example, all open invoices with a particular adjuster associated with the job), or whether the invoice needs follow up. If you filter the receivables, the header of the collections list will show what filter(s) are applied.
- All: This shows all receivables, that is, all invoices where there is an unpaid balance.
- Follow-Up Needed: Chronicle shows you just the invoices that need follow-up. This always includes invoices where the follow-up date is on or before today. If Include jobs with no recent notes is also checked, this will also include invoices for jobs that have no recent collections note. (A journal is regarded as collections related if it is added from this screen or if it is added elsewhere in Chronicle and collections is selected for the department.) By default, we include invoices with no recent collections notes since one should be recording every contact in the journal; the lack of a note generally indicates that the invoice hasn't been followed up with. In evaluating whether a job has a recent enough note, we use the number of days entered in the customization options for Highlight: no note added for ___ days.
- 0-30 days, 31-60 days, etc: This filters out invoices based on the QuickBooks invoice date. This doesn't have anything to do with the date the job or department was completed; it only looks at the date of the invoice from QuickBooks. If you correct an invoice date in QuickBooks, your change will be reflected in this list after the next successful nightly link.
- Department: This drop down also includes viewing collections by division. Leave this set to All for all invoices, or select a department/division to limit to only the invoices for a particular department. Chronicle determines whether an invoice is linked to a department based on whether the class for the invoice in QuickBooks is linked to the department in Chronicle's setup. (A blank department here indicates that either there's no class in QB or invoiced is classed incorrectly, or the class isn't linked to a department.) It's useful to limit by department if the department manager is responsible for initial collections. It can also help you to evaluate whether any particular department's collections is taking longer than others.
- Current Action: In Chronicle's setup, you can define activities for collections just like you can for any other department. Typically you would define activities like: Send Letter 1, Send Letter 2, Send Letter 3, Small Claims, Collection Agency, Write Off Balance, and Customer Service Needed. Many invoices won't need any of these: you'll invoice the job, maybe make a reminder call, and the customer will pay. But for those invoices where you have to do more, you can identify one of these actions in the Current Actions column. If you are using these collections actions, the Current Action filter lets you filter out all of the invoices in any category. For example, you could filter out all of the invoices that were in small claims or all invoices that just need to be written off.
- Where ___ is associated: Use the Employee filter to show only invoices that have that employee associated with the job. This is useful if your production managers are involved in collections on their own jobs. If an employee isn't in this list, then that employee isn't associated with any jobs that have open invoices. The Non-employee filter is useful for finding all jobs that are associated with a particular adjuster. When you are following up with an adjuster about one invoice, you can in a single call follow up with all invoices for jobs that adjuster is associated with. This filter looks only at whether the person is associated with the job; it does not consider whether the person has been made responsible for the payment. This is to give you the most complete list of invoices that you might need to follow up on, even if responsibility hasn't been assigned on all of them yet.
You can use colors to easily see which receivable you need to work on today, or is over due for your attention, or had not had any recent attention. You can change the color of the highlighting by double clicking on the color key. Under the customize options, the manager allows you to use inform row color or alternating.
For each job you enter, you must pick a category, a source, and a location. These fields, and their sub-categories, can now be used to filer collections. For example, all receiveabels from one location can be viewed.
To search for a specific name, a specific invoice, job #, claim #, etc. just type. You can click in the Search For entry if you want, but you don't have to. As long as you aren't in some entry that accepts text (like the Comments column or the Note entry at the bottom right), typing will search for what you type.
What entries are searched depends on what is checked in the Search In section in the customization options. The column doesn't have to be visible to search values in that column. For example, if you type a value that matches part of a claim number, even if the Claim Number column is invisible, that invoice will still show up in the search results.
The search entry is combined with the other filters, so if you filter by department and then search, the search will only find matches in the department you picked. (If you've picked other filters and want to get back to the full list, click Clear All Filters at the top right.
To sort by any column, click the column header. To reverse sort, click the header again.
The grid can include the following columns. Except as noted, you can turn these columns on or off in the Columns to Show section in the customization section. Too many columns makes relevant information harder to find, and this can require scrolling to get to some columns, so we recommend hiding columns that you don't need.
Depending on what you choose for the Search In section of the customization options, searches can find matches in any of the first five columns. The search can find matches in these columns even if the columns are hidden.
- Job #: This shows Chronicle's job number. If this shows No Chronicle Job (in red), then the QuickBooks invoice has no corresponding job. Contact our support if you need help resolving this.
- Customer: This shows the customer's name. You can't hide this column.
- Site name: If you have entered the street name, or some other identifier, in the site name field on the general tab in the job file, you will be able to distinguish between jobs for the same customer.
- Job ID 2: This column is contains the job secondary ID. It could be named differently if your company assigned a different name to the secondary ID on the Job tab of Chronicle's main setup.
- Job ID 3: This column is contains the third job ID. It could be named differently if you company named it on the Job tab of Chronicle's main setup. (Not all companies use this third ID; hide it if you don't use it.)
- QuickBooks Ref #: This shows the ID that QuickBooks assigned to the invoice.
- Invoice Date: This show the date of the QuickBooks invoice.
- Department: What department on the job is the receiveable for.
- Department status: Is the department active, completed, cancelled, or pending.
- Department sold price: The sold price is used in many calculation in chronicle. Here you can compare it to the invoiced amount.
- Invoiced date: Each line represents only one invoice. This date is the date of that invoice.
- Days out: This shows the number of days since the invoice date.
- Amount billed: This shows the total amount billed. If a job has multiple invoices, this only shows the amount billed on this particular invoice, not the total from the job as a whole.
- Amount paid: This shows the total amount paid toward this invoice. You can't change this amount in amount in Chronicle; if you receive a payment, enter the payment in QuickBooks and apply it to the invoice. After the next QuickBooks bridge (this happens automatically every night), the payment entered in QuickBooks will be reflected. If you know you've entered a payment in QuickBooks and the payment isn't reflected here, make sure you applied the payment to the invoice. If the invoice is paid in full, it will simply be removed from this list.
- Amount due: This shows how much is still owed on this particular invoice. You can't hide this column.
- Total due on job: This adds up all invoices for a total due.
Follow-up date: This shows the date the next follow up is scheduled. The goal is to follow up as soon as possible based on your interaction with whoever is paying. If you call and an adjuster is out for the day, set the follow-up for tomorrow. If a customer says the check is in the mail, set a follow-up date for several days or a week out: give just enough time to see if it was received and processed, and then follow-up again.
You can set the Follow-up Date in three ways: right-click anywhere on the line and pick one of the follow up options, click in the Follow-up Date column in the grid and type or pick a date, or enter a date in the Next Follow Up entry at the bottom right and clicking Save these updates. This last option is most commonly used if you are also typing a note, which you can also do there.
- Once you set a follow-up date, you can find all invoices that need follow up with the Follow up needed filter at the top of the screen. You could also find invoices that need follow-up by clicking this column heading: this will put all invoices that need follow-up together. We also highlight invoices with invoices that have follow-up dates that are on or before today.
- If you set a follow-up date and the invoice is paid, Chronicle automatically removes the invoice from the list, so you only see those invoices that actually still need following up.
- Current action: In Chronicle's setup, you can define activities for collections just like you can for any other department. Typically you would define activities like: Send Letter 1, Send Letter 2, Send Letter 3, Small Claims, Collection Agency, Write Off Balance, Customer Service Needed. Many invoices won't need any of these: you'll invoice the job, maybe make a reminder call, and the customer will pay. But for those invoices where you have to do more, you can identify one of these actions in the Current Actions column. The Current Action filter at the top of the screen lets you filter out all of the invoices in any category. If you change the current action, a note that says that is automatically added to the journal. If you change the current action and there was already something there, the old current action will be added to the past actions in case you need to review what you've previously done. (You can see the past actions in the Past Actions column if you have it visible, or by clicking the Past Actions tab at the bottom of the screen.
- Past actions: If you use the Current Action column to track the current stage of your collections efforts, whenever you change the value in that column, the old action is automatically added to the past actions and will be shown in this column. For most users, this isn't information that's needed all that often, so we generally recommend hiding this column. You can also see past actions by clicking the Past Actions tab at the bottom of the screen.
- Last Collection Journal Date: This shows the date of the last collections journal if there is one. Chronicle knows if a journal or note is collections related if it's added from the collections manager or if, anywhere else in Chronicle, you add a journal and pick Collections for the department.
- # of Collection Journals: This shows the number of the collections journals. This helps you monitor which invoices have a lot of interaction and which have had very little. If there are few journals for invoices that are many days out, this could indicate either that the invoice has been neglected or that the collections person is failing to properly document collection efforts; neither is good.
- Comment: The Comment column gives you a place to enter a note that stays until you replace it with a new note. While what you type in the Comment entry goes into the journal, the comment is a bit different from the journal. When you enter a regular journal (by sending an email or by entering something in the Note to Add to this File entry), that adds documentation to the file. But as new notes get added, older notes end up further and further down the list. This is fine for job documentation, but it isn't so useful if there's something you need to see immediately before you follow up; you don't want to have to read 17 journal entries to see if there's an important note. This is where the Comment comes in handy: what you type in the Comment stays there even if other notes are added to the journal after it. (You can also add notes for the responsible people in the Payment Responsibility section. These notes also stay in view until you change them.)
- Customer email: You can see the email address of the customer and makes sending emails from this screen easy to do. A double click opens the job file so you open the journal screen to send an email.
- QuickBooks File Name: If you have multiple QuickBooks files, this shows which file the invoice came from. Most of the time this is irrelevant, so we recommend hiding this column, but it could occasionally be useful in troubleshooting a problem, so we have it as an option just in case.