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CONVERTING OLD SOAR DATA FILES SOAR users with version numbers less than 3.00 MUST convert their data files before using the new SOAR. This is done as follows: 1. BACKUP YOUR DATA FILES!! Copy your data to a floppy disk for future reference. Assuming you have a SOAR directory and a sub- directory for data, put a formatted disk in drive A and type: CD \SOAR <ENTER. COPY SOAR.SYS A: <ENTER> CD \DATA <ENTER> COPY *.CAT A: <ENTER> COPY CUSTOMER.MAS A: <ENTER> COPY SOAR.SUM A: <ENTER> COPY *.TRN A: <ENTER> COPY *.BSM A: <ENTER> 2. Delete your current program files (you DO have copies??) by: CD C:\SOAR <ENTER> ERASE *.EXE <ENTER> 3. Copy your new program files (Disks 1, 2 and 3) into the SOAR directory. COPY A:*.EXE . <ENTER> repeat for disks 2 and 3 4. Convert your old data files by: CNVSOAR <ENTER> Select the "ALL" option and the program will convert your system file, customer master file, transaction category file, summary category file and then ask if you want to convert transaction files. You can answer "Y" and convert the transaction files in your data directory. DO NOT convert the same file twice!! Be very careful! If you make a mistake, just copy the files from the floppy disk you used for backup and repeat step 4. Restoring is done by putting the backup disk in drive A and doing the following: CD C:\SOAR <ENTER> COPY A:SOAR.SYS . <ENTER> CD C:\SOAR\DATA <ENTER> COPY A:*.* . <ENTER> ERASE SOAR.SYS <ENTER> CD .. <ENTER> You can now go back to step four and convert again.
Disk No: 1185 Disk Title: Soar 3 of 3 (812,813 also) (Disk 3 of 3) PC-SIG Version: S2.5 Program Title: SOAR Author Version: 3.08 Author Registration: $49.00 Special Requirements: Two floppy drives. SOAR (Service-Oriented Accounts Receivables) helps you simplify customer billing, generate meaningful management reports, and quickly get a snapshot of your business income and its sources. The program is menu-driven and easy to operate. Some of SOAR's major features include: ~ Simplified billing for businesses that provide services as well as products; three billing formats are supported - two industry- standard general-purpose forms, as well as a ``generic'' form. ~ Charges based on fixed-item (inventory item), services, hourly rates, fixed-cost, or variable-cost. ~ Customers assigned a late-charge rate so you can give special treatment to good customers; automatic billing of customers with fixed-rate service or support contracts; customer inquiries are rapid and provide an instant history of the customer's activities. ~ Mailing lists are generated from the customer database and labels can be prepared for customers billed, all customers, active customers, inactive customers or customers with past-due balances. ~ A tax-exempt status for dealing with government agencies or wholesale transactions; taxable and non-taxable sales are automatically stored and reported. ~ 22 categories to summarize your business activity. ~ Powerful reporting of specific areas of income; data files can be merged to have your business reported in quarters or other increments. ~ Easy identification of items or services that are profitable for your business. ~ Reports sorted by up to five keys to give you the specific information you need for your business and directing your areas of effort. SOAR does not teach accounting rules and assumes a certain level of expertise in accepted accounting procedures and protocols. PC-SIG 1030D East Duane Avenue Sunnyvale Ca. 94086 (408) 730-9291 (c) Copyright 1989 PC-SIG, Inc.
╔═════════════════════════════════════════════════════════════════════════╗ ║ <<<< Disk #1185 SOAR Disk 2 of 3 >>>> ║ ╠═════════════════════════════════════════════════════════════════════════╣ ║ Type: MAKEDOC (press enter) ║ ╚═════════════════════════════════════════════════════════════════════════╝
SOAR REBILLING UTILITY SOAR gives you the option of printing a bill and/or sending the bill to a disk file. This utility, "REBILL.EXE", allows you to scan through the disk file and optionally reprint a bill and/or save it to another file. It is important to note that this utility will only work properly with SOAR Versions 3.00 or greater. In the Version 3.00 update a special character was embedded in the bill file to indicate the start of a bill. This is used in this program to identify one bill from another. REBILL must be loaded into your SOAR DATA directory (NOT the program directory) for use. Assuming you setup your directories as suggested in the manual, place the disk containing REBILL.EXE in Drive A and proceed as follows: CD \SOAR\DATA <ENTER> COPY A:REBILL.EXE . <ENTER> Whenever you wish to use the program, type: CD \SOAR\DATA <ENTER> REBILL <ENTER> The opening screen will ask for a filename. If you don't know the name, just depress the ENTER key and a listing of all bill files will be shown in a window. REBILL looks only for files with the extension ".BLL". For example, JAN-89.BLL. You need only enter the name without the extension. For instance, JAN-89 <ENTER>. If the file cannot be found, an error message will be displayed and you will again be prompted for a file name. If the file is found, REBILL will display the bill on the screen. You can work on the files with the following commands: Down Arrow : Scroll down the bill toward the end Up Arrow : Scroll up the bill toward the start ENTER : go on to the next bill PgDn : go on to the next bill P <ENTER> : print the bill shown on the screen S <ENTER> : save the bill shown to a disk file ESC : exit the program Once you have gone past a particular bill, you cannot backup. The only way to get to a bill you passed over is to run REBILL again. The SAVE option sends the selected bill to a disk file with the extension ".DBL". For example, bills selected from JAN-89.BLL would be saved in the file JAN-89.DBL in the same directory. The disk file is useful for extracting selected bills that must be edited. This is most valuable when you have billed a lot of customers and the .BLL file is too big for your word processor. Potential Problems: The display directory feature makes use of a shell that operates through COMMAND.COM. This file is always in the root directory of a bootable disk. If the directory feature doesn't work, make sure your PATH is properly defined in your AUTOEXEC.BAT file. For example, PATH C:\; ...... An alternative solution is to copy COMMAND.COM into your SOAR data directory. Try this if you have problems. If you edit the saved file with a wordprocessor, the funny little symbol at the end of each bill is a formfeed character. This will be found for all billing formats except "A". Format A does not use a formfeed. Most word processors recognize the formfeed character and will not cause problems. If you SAVE some bills, exit REBILL, and then go back and save some more you will find that there is a formfeed character missing between the last bill saved from the first session and the first bill saved from the subsequent session. Use your wordprocessor to insert a page break between these bills. If you have any problems, please call. Ed Croson 438 Ave De La Vereda Ojai, CA 93023 (805) 646-1335
SERVICE ORIENTED ACCOUNTS RECEIVABLES SOAR USERS GUIDE April 17, 1989 Version 3.06 E.B. Croson P.O. Box 1575 Ojai, CA 93023 (805) 646-1335 _________ | | _____|___ | (tm) ---| | |----------------- | ______|__ | Association of | | |__| Shareware |__| | Professionals ------| o |-------------------- | | | MEMBER |____|____| Copyright (C) 1989 by Eddie B. Croson. All Rights Reserved except those expressly granted to the user by this document. DISTRIBUTION NOTICE SOAR is distributed by way of the "User Supported Software" concept. If you use this program and find it of value you are encouraged to become a registered owner. You may become a reg- istered owner by filling out the registration form at the end of this document and mailing it with a check for $59.00 to: E.B. Croson or Business Automation Co. 438 Ave. De La Vereda P.O. Box 1575 Ojai, CA 93023 Ojai, CA 93023 (805) 646-7507 (805) 646-1335 When you become a registered owner you will receive the latest program diskettes, a complete Users Manual, telephone support, and notification of updates. The Users Manual is much more comphrensive than this guide and fully describes all of the capabilities of SOAR. The manual is over 100 pages long. You are encouraged to copy and distribute SOAR with the following restrictions: 1. SOAR must be distributed as a complete set. Do not alter or erase any program files from the distribution copies. 2. No Charge or Fee other than that necessary to cover the cost of diskettes shall be made for distributing SOAR. 3. Commercial sale of SOAR in any manner is pro- hibited without the written permission of the author, E.B. Croson. DISCLAIMER Although the author, Eddie B. Croson, has tried to make this program error free, there is still the possibility of errors. You are therefore using this program at your own risk. There is no warranty of merchantability or fitness. The author is not responsible for any losses incurred through the use of this program. TABLE OF CONTENTS SECTION 1 INTRODUCTION 1 SECTION 2 A BIT ABOUT SOAR 3 2.1 System File 3 2.2 Customer Records 3 2.3 Summary Categories: 3 2.4 Transaction Categories 4 2.5 Charge or Payment Transactions 5 2.6 Transaction Interactions 6 SECTION 3 CREATING CATEGORIES 8 3.1 Selecting Summary Categories 8 3.1.1 Income Categories 8 3.1.2 Charge Categories 8 3.2 Transaction Categories 9 3.2.1 General Purpose Categories 9 3.2.2 Specific Transaction Categories 10 3.2.3 Miscellaneous Transaction Categories 11 3.2.4 Partitioning Transaction Categories 11 SECTION 4 GETTING STARTED 13 4.1 Some Conventions 13 4.2 SOAR Distribution Diskettes 13 4.3 Making Copies of SOAR 13 4.4 Installing SOAR For Your System 14 4.4.1 SOAR IN A Hard Disk System 14 4.4.2 SOAR IN A 360K Floppy Disk System 15 4.4.3 SOAR In A 1.2M Floppy Disk System 15 4.5 Setting Up The SOAR System File 16 4.5.1 Starting SOAR 17 SECTION 5 BUILDING A CUSTOMER FILE 20 5.1 Saving Your Customer Data 20 SECTION 6 ENTERING SUMMARY CATEGORIES 22 SECTION 7 BUILDING A TRANSACTION CATEGORY FILE 23 7.1 Adding A Block of Categories 23 7.2 Adding A Single Category 24 SECTION 8 EXPLORING SOAR 25 8.1 Saving Your Work 25 8.2 Entering Transactions 26 8.3 Posting Transactions 28 8.4 Applying Automatic Charges 29 8.5 Applying Late Charges 29 8.6 Preparing Bills 30 8.7 End of Period Processing 31 8.8 More Exploring 31 SECTION 9 PHASING SOAR INTO YOUR BUSINESS 32 9.1 Completing Your Data Files 33 9.2 Running Parallel 33 SECTION 10 HOW OFTEN TO USE SOAR 34 10.1 Daily 34 10.2 Monthly 34 10.3 Yearly 35 10.4 Final Note 35 SOAR REGISTRATION FORM 36 _________ | | _____|___ | (tm) ---| | |----------------- | ______|__ | Association of | | |__| Shareware |__| | Professionals ------| o |-------------------- | | | MEMBER |____|____| The program author, Eddie B. Croson, is an active member of the Association of Shareware Professionals (ASP). ASP wants to make sure that the shareware principle works for you. If you are unable to resolve a Shareware related problem with an ASP member by contacting the member directly, ASP may be able to help. The ASP Ombudsman can help you resolve a dispute or problem with an ASP member, but does not provide technical support for members' products. Please write to the ASP Ombudsman at P.O. Box 5786, Bellevue, WA 98006 or send a Compuserve message via easyplex to ASP Ombudsman 70007,3536.
SOAR USERS GUIDE SECTION 1 INTRODUCTION SOAR (Service Oriented Accounts Receivables) has been designed to simplify customer billing, provide powerful and meaningful management reports, and allow one to rapidly obtain a "snap- shot" of their business income and its sources. Most importantly, SOAR is EASY TO USE! One need not be a computer scientist to use SOAR. SOAR is, to coin an overused phrase, "User Friendly". The key features of SOAR are: o Simplified billing for businesses that provide services as well as products. Charges can be fixed item (inventory item), services, hourly rates, fixed cost, or variable cost. o Each customer can be assigned a late charge rate so you can give special treatment to good customers. Any customer can be declared as tax exempt for dealing with government agencies or wholesale transactions. o Automatic billing of customers with fixed rate service or support contracts. o 23 summary categories available to summarize you business activity. o Powerful reporting to identify specific areas of income and easy identification of items or services that are profitable for your business. o Reports can be sorted or ordered with up to five (5) keys to give you the specific information you need for your business and directing your areas of effort. o Nine billing formats supported. Two industry standard general purpose forms as well as a "generic" form. o Mailing list generated from customer data base. Mailing labels can be prepared for customers billed, all customers, active customers, inactive customers, or customers with past due balances. o Mailing label file compatible with popular word processors such as PC Write for use in preparing form letters, etc. o Taxable sales and tax exempt sales automatically stored and reported. o Customer inquiries are rapid and provide an instant history of the customer's activity. Page 1 SOAR USERS GUIDE o Transactions are categorized to simplify billing and applying charges; i.e., a transaction category can be a fixed price inventory item, an hourly charge or a variable charge. o Number of customers and transaction categories or types limited only by available disk space. o Data files can be merged to allow your business to be reported in quarters or whatever increment you desire for tax purposes and/or management information. o Data files can be exported to popular data base systems such as dBASE III PLUS by Ashton-Tate and PC-FILE+ by ButtonWare. Data can also be exported to Lotus 1-2-3. This further enhances the reporting capabilities. o Billing footer and header messages can be customized for your business. Late payment messages can be customized. o The currency symbol can be changed for countries outside the U.S. The date format can be MM/DD/YY or DD/MM/YY. o SOAR will operate on any IBM PC, IBM XT, IBM AT or true compatible with 192K of memory and at least two floppy disk drives or one floppy disk and a hard disk. SOAR requires DOS versions 3.00 or greater. Reports and billing require an 80 column printer. Please note that SOAR is most efficient in a hard disk environment. IBM PC, IBM XT, and IBM AT are registered trademarks of the IBM Corporation. PC-Write is a trademark of Quicksoft. dBASE III PLUS is a trademark of Ashton-Tate. PC-FILE+ is a trademark of ButtonWare. 1-2-3 is a trademark of Lotus Development Corporation. Page 2 SOAR USERS GUIDE SECTION 2 A BIT ABOUT SOAR PLEASE READ THIS SECTION!! The value and utility of SOAR can only be realized if there is a complete understanding of the mechanics and features of the program. This section is most important since it describes and defines the methods used by SOAR in handling transactions. There are five key elements of SOAR. These are the system file, customer records, summary categories, transaction categories, and charge or payment transactions. Each of these elements will be defined and then their interaction described. 2.1 System File: The system file contains all the information about your company including the company name and address to be put on reports and bills. This file also contains information about which of three billing formats you want to use, the last statement number used and the sales tax percentage for use in computing sales tax. Lastly, the system file provides information to tell SOAR where the data files are located in the computer system. 2.2 Customer Records: Charges and payments can only be applied to customers that SOAR knows about. Therefore, the customers must be entered into the system before they can be billed. Each customer record contains the name and address of the customer, their present balance, past due balance, current charges, and information about their last payment. The customer record informs SOAR of the late charge percentage to be used in computing late charges on past due balances and indicates whether or not the customer is "tax exempt". 2.3 Summary Categories: A summary category is a means to allow you to identify specific areas of your business activity. For example, if your business involves retail sales, repair, service, and installation then you can setup summary categories for PAYMENTS, TAXABLE SALES, REPAIR, SERVICE and INSTALLATION. Each time a payment or charge transaction is posted by SOAR, the amount of the transaction is added to the accumulating total in the summary category. Thus, at any time you can tell how much REPAIR business you have done. Every transaction must report to a summary category and you must therefore give some thought as to how you want to summarize your business. SOAR allows up to 23 summary categories to be defined. Six of these are reserved for income and 16 are reserved for charges. Page 3 SOAR USERS GUIDE Six of the categories are pre-defined and cannot be changed. These are PAYMENTS, TAXABLE SALES, TAX EXEMPT SALES, SALES TAX, SERVICE CHARGES and APPLIED CREDITS. The summary categories that might be used by a computer consulting firm are shown below. INCOME CATEGORIES CHARGE CATEGORIES 1. PAYMENTS 22090.64 11. SOFTWARE SUPPORT 2810.00 2. CREDITS 0.00 12. REPAIR 150.00 3. DEPOSITS 0.00 13. CONSULTING 520.00 4. 0.00 14. TRAINING 80.00 5. 0.00 15. CUSTOM SOFTWARE 100.00 6. ADJUSTMENTS 2.70 16. INSTALLATION 240.00 17. SHIPPING/HANDLING 24.28 CHARGE CATEGORIES 18. 0.00 7. TAXABLE SALES 13697.35 19. 0.00 8. TAX EXEMPT SALES 65.00 20. MISCELLANEOUS 0.00 9. SERVICE 1785.96 21. SALES TAX 821.84 10. HARDWARE SUPPORT 1060.00 22. SERVICE CHARGES 3.30 23. APPLIED CREDITS 14.50 Note that categories 4, 5, 18 and 19 are not used. The amounts shown to the right of each category reflect the charges or incomes for that category. 2.4 Transaction Categories: A transaction category specifically defines a transaction and is the central feature of SOAR. A transaction category can be an inventory item you sell, an hourly charge for a service, a fixed charge for task, or a variable charge. Each transaction category is composed of the following: 1. Category Number: A number assigned by SOAR when the category is created and is used to reference the category for entering transactions or changing the category data. 2. Title: Wording that will be printed on the bill and describes the transaction. For example, "hrs Consulting", "widgets @ $4.00 each" and "bxs computer paper" are all valid titles. There are some special features of the title that are more fully described later in this document. 3. Charge Factor: A unit charge associated with the category. The actual charge applied to a customer is the charge factor of the transaction category times the amount/quantity entered with the transaction. Or, AMOUNT = CHARGE FACTOR X (AMOUNT/QUANTITY) For example, if you sell three widgets then the trans- action category defines the price per widget (Charge Factor) and the quantity sold is entered as part of the transaction. The total price is the quantity sold times the unit price. Page 4 SOAR USERS GUIDE If the transaction category defines an inventory item or fixed price charge, the charge factor is the price. If this represents a service based on an hourly charge, then the charge factor is the hourly rate. If this is a var- iable item, then a charge factor of 1.0 is entered. A charge factor of 0 can be entered to indicate a service or action for which no charge is to be applied. 4. Taxable: Informs SOAR whether or not to apply sales tax to the transaction. In California, for example, most retail sales have a sales tax applied. However, time- based services do not have a sales tax applied. The amount of tax is derived from the sales tax rate in the system file and the amount of the transaction. 5. Automatic Billing: Tells SOAR whether or not to auto- matically bill a customer each billing period. Suppose you provide a service to Ajax Company for a fixed fee of $150 per month. You would create a transaction category for that service and enter a Charge Factor of $150, indicate Automatic Billing, and specify Ajax Company to bill each billing period. 6. Bill To: When you specify Automatic Billing you must also specify the customer to bill. This is entered as the customer id or reference. The customer id will be discussed in more detail later. 7. Summary Category Number: Every transaction must report to a summary category. Using the Ajax Company example above, the Summary Category Number would be the one you set aside for SERVICE. If this were a taxable sale item, it would report to 7, TAXABLE SALES. Transaction Categories also contain fields that indicate the number of times used, the total quantity, and the total amount. As transactions are posted, the transaction category they ref- erence is updated. If a transaction category refers to an inventory item, you can tell at a glance the number of items sold. If it refers to an hourly charge, you can tell how many hours of this work have been done. The transaction category concept may at first appear cumbersome, but you will find it to be very easy to use and will provide you with meaningful data. 2.5 Charge or Payment Transactions: Once you have defined your customer base, created summary categories, and defined transaction categories then all pay- ments or charges are entered as transactions. Transactions are entered by specifying the customer, transaction date, trans- action category number, and quantity or amount. You may also Page 5 SOAR USERS GUIDE enter a comment that becomes a permanent part of the trans- action. An example of what appears on the screen during transaction entry is shown below. Customer Id: AJAX Record No: 21 1. Date (MM/DD/YY): 03/11/87 2. Transaction Category: 20 Description: Miscellaneous Taxable Sales 3. Amount or Quantity: 12.95 Taxable (Y or N): Y 4. Comment: 1 ea Widget Sales Tax: 0.78 Amount: 12.95 In the example, a transaction category (number 20) was defined to be 'Miscellaneous Taxable Sales" with a Charge Factor of 1. Therefore, the amount of the transaction was entered (12.95) and a comment was used to identify what the sale was. This makes use of what is called a "variable transaction category". Note that SOAR computed the sales tax since the transaction category was defined to be "Taxable". Also note that the lines with numbers preceeding them can be changed during entry. All other data are supplied by SOAR either from the transaction category record or by computation. You do not have to memorize all transaction categories since SOAR provides you with a windowed list that can be scrolled during transaction entry. 2.6 Transaction Interactions: As you enter transactions the following actions take place: 1. When you enter a customer id, SOAR quickly checks to see that there is such a customer on file. 2. When you specify the date, SOAR checks to see that it is a valid date. 3. When you specify the Transaction Category, SOAR checks to see that such a category exists and that you may manually use it; i.e., automatic billing transaction categories cannot be entered manually ... only SOAR can do this. SOAR then displays the Transaction Category Title and whether or not it is taxable. 4. When you specify the quantity or amount, SOAR computes the total amount and sales tax (if any). Note that the total amount is the quantity or amount you entered times the Charge Factor in the Transaction Category record. 5. The transaction record is added to the current transaction file. This file should contain only the current billing period transactions (charges and payments). Page 6 SOAR USERS GUIDE When you apply late charges the following actions occur: 1. Payments are automatically posted to ensure that the customer's payments are applied before late charges are computed. The customer records are scanned for past due amounts. A late charge corresponding to the past due amount times the late charge rate (in the customer record) is appended to the transaction file. If the late charge rate is zero, but there is still a past due amount, then an entry is still made to ensure that the customer is billed. When you post charges or payments the following actions occur: 1. The Transaction Category is updated to reflect this transaction in the times used, quantity, and total. 2. The Summary Category (specified as part of the Trans- action Category record) is updated to reflect the amount of the transaction. 3. The customer record is updated. If the transaction is a payment then it is applied against the Past Due Balance and the Present Balance and the payment history data is updated. If the transaction is a charge, then the Current Charges figure is updated. 4. The transaction record is marked to show that it has been posted. When you bill a customer the following actions occur: 1. The transaction file is sorted by customer and date. 2. The transaction record is marked to show that it has been billed and prevents multiple billing. 3. A bill for the specified customer(s) is prepared. This can be printed and/or filed on disk. 4. A billing summary and register are prepared as disk files that can be printed from the REPORTS MENU. When you perform End of Period Processing the following occurs: 1. Automatic Billing flags in the Transaction Category records are cleared. You can only automatically bill once each billing period. 2. Customer records are updated such that: if the Present Balance is positive (they owe you) Past Due Balance = Old Past Due + Old Present Balance Present Balance = Current Charges Current Charges = 0.00 if the Present Balance is negative (they have a credit) Past Due Balance = 0.00 Present Balance = Current Charges - Credits Current Charges = 0.00 Page 7 SOAR USERS GUIDE SECTION 3 CREATING CATEGORIES If you skipped Section 2 you really should go back and read it. We are about to setup SOAR so it will run on your computer. You need to understand the meaning and utility of Summary Categories and Transaction Categories since we are about to set them up for your business. 3.1 Selecting Summary Categories: Before actually running SOAR it is best to do some paperwork and select the Summary Categories you are going to use. You can always go back and change these at a later time, but it is best to try to select the ones you will need now. Summary Cat- agories are needed for INCOME and CHARGES. 3.1.1 Income Categories: SOAR provides up to six income categories that can be used to summarize the income portions of your business. Category 1 is predefined as PAYMENTS and is used whenever you receive a pay- ment from a customer. Some other income categories you might consider include: CREDITS ....... To summarize any credits given to customers for whatever reason. DEPOSITS ...... Summarizing deposits received for equipment, goods, or whatever. DISCOUNTS ..... Since discounts are considered as income, you might wish to create a category for this so you have an instant record of discounts given. Write your income categories down on a piece of paper and look over your list to see if there are any other categories you wish to add. Once you are satisfied with your list, proceed to the next section. 3.1.2 Charge Categories: SOAR provides up to 16 charge categories to be used to identify the source of your income. Four of these categories are pre- defined by SOAR as: 7 ... TAXABLE SALES 8 ... TAX EXEMPT SALES 21 ... SALES TAX 22 ... SERVICE CHARGES Page 8 SOAR USERS GUIDE Category 7 totals all sales requiring sales tax and can be used for filing your sales tax reports. Note that this category DOES NOT include the tax charged for a transaction; Category 21 summarizes all taxes charged. Thus, you instantly have the sales tax picture of your business readily at hand. Category 8 is used for customers that are exempt from sales tax. This might include government agencies or customers with resale permits that allow them to buy from you without paying sales tax. Category 22 reflects the service or late charges you apply against customers with past due amounts. SOAR treats a service charge as any other transaction but summarizes the total in this category. You may now select any of the categories between 9 and 20 to summarize your sources of income other than taxable sales. You should jot these down on a piece of paper and give them some serious thought. Some categories you might consider are: REPAIR ......... Summarize repair charges involving labor or fixed fees. SERVICE ........ If your business provides a service to your customers. SHIPPING ....... If your business requires you to ship items to customers at their expense. TRAINING ....... Does your business provide training services to customers? CONSULTING ..... If you do any kind of consulting, summarize it here. MISCELLANEOUS .. Always a good one because something is going to come up that you can't tie to an existing category. It is your business, so decide how you want it summarized so you can instantly see how much of your income is tied to cer- tain areas of effort. Review your choices and, when you are satisfied, proceed to the next section. 3.2 Transaction Categories: Transaction Categories, as described in Section 2, are a major feature of SOAR. Some general guidelines will be presented, but you must decide the categories that make sense for your business. 3.2.1 General Purpose Categories: There are many transactions that fall into a general category and need no further resolution. For example, PAYMENT RECEIVED is a general purpose category that can be used whenever a customer makes a payment. Another general purpose category is Page 9 SOAR USERS GUIDE MISCELLANEOUS TAXABLE SALES and is used for the sale of items for which a specific category has not been established. Ex- amples of general purpose categories used by the author are: Payment Received ... THANK YOU Credits Applied Deposit Received ... THANK YOU Credit Adjustment to Account ' Note Software Sales Hardware Sales -hrs Consulting @ $80/hr Miscellaneous Taxable Sales The list above is actually the title line that would be printed on a bill. The first character of a title can have a special meaning and will be discussed in a later section when we actually enter the Transaction Categories. However, it must be pointed out that you can create a category that can be used to include a special message or note to a customer. This category will not print the title line or the amount, but will only print what you enter in the comment field for a transaction. Thus far the Transaction Categories look very similar to the Summary Categories. This is because we are dealing with general purpose categories. Also remember that a transaction is entered via a transaction category and reports to a summary category. In many cases the totals accumulated for a transaction category will be the same as for a summary category; e.g., Payment Received ... THANK YOU should have the same cumulative total as Summary Category 1, PAYMENTS. 3.2.2 Specific Transaction Categories: Specific transaction categories include inventory items, fixed price services or tasks, and automatic billing items. Inven- tory items can be assigned a unique transaction category such that a transaction merely references the category and the quantity sold. Fixed price services or tasks includes those things you do for a fixed amount. For example, a maintenance firm might clean a swimming pool for a fixed cost. Therefore, a transaction category would be setup for Pool Cleaning and the cost entered as the Charge Factor. Automatic Billing is important to businesses that provide a service to a customer on a regular basis and receive a fixed amount for that service. This could include retainers, service contracts, day-care centers, building or yard maintenance, and so on. Each customer to be automatically billed would have a transaction category created with the amount entered as the Charge Factor. Page 10 SOAR USERS GUIDE Some examples of specific transaction categories are: DFS Shipping & Handling Smith's Monthly Pool Service -bx DF51-4 Multi Form _ea Printer Ribbons An automatic billing transaction category is shown as the second example. The monthly cost to service Smith's swimming pool is entered as the Charge Factor. The third example is for an inventory item sold in units of boxes. The leading hyphen informs SOAR to include the quantity as part of the transaction description. If two boxes were sold, the transaction record (and bill) would read: 2 bx DF51-4 Multi Form The final example uses an underbar as the lead-in character and informs SOAR to print the quantity as part of the description line and to print the unit cost (Charge Factor) on the comment line of the transaction record. If three ribbons were sold then the following would appear: 3 ea Printer Ribbons Per Unit Price is $7.95 3.2.3 Miscellaneous Transaction Categories: It was mentioned earlier that a personal note or message could be included as part of a customer's bill. The single quote mark as the lead-in for a Transaction Category title informs SOAR that a message is forthcoming and not to include the Title, Charge Factor, Date, or Quantity in the transaction record. The only thing included is the comment that is supplied when the transaction is entered. A Transaction Cat- agory of this sort would look like: 'Note for customer The last special lead-in character to be discussed is the asterisk. This tells SOAR to ignore the category since it is only being used as a filler. Thus, a Transaction Category file can be built-up with fillers and then changed when a new category is needed. For example, * Just a Filler Record 3.2.4 Partitioning Transaction Categories: The following suggestions are offered for setting up your Page 11 SOAR USERS GUIDE Transaction Category file. They are derived from the Author's experience and have worked quite well. 1. Assign the first 20 categories for general purpose and miscellaneous uses. These should be the most commonly used categories. During transaction entry SOAR displays on a split screen 20 Transaction Categories at a time. The first 20 represent the first screen displayed. You might use 1-9 for income purposes (e.g., Payment Received ... THANK YOU), number 10 for customer notes (e.g., 'Note), and 11-20 for general purpose uses such as -hrs Consulting @ $35/hr. Please note that each Transaction Category must report to a Summary Category. Therefore while compiling your list include the Summary Category and Charge Factor as part of the list. 2. You should now group all your automatic billing categories together and enter them following the ones described above. Leave some space (filler categories) for future growth. While building your list keep including the Summary Category and the Charge Factor. 3. Now organize all your fixed price inventory items. Try to make a logical sequence by keeping similar items in the same numerical area. For example, if you are selling three types of widgets, then put them in sequence in you list. If there is a chance of adding more widgets, allow space by using fillers. Page 12 SOAR USERS GUIDE SECTION 4 GETTING STARTED This section describes the things you must do to get SOAR setup in your computer. You should follow the procedures just as they are presented. 4.1 Some Conventions: Throughout the remainder of this document the following conventions will be used: <E> ......... depress the ENTER key on your keyboard ESC ......... depress the ESC key on your keyboard <filename> .. the name you have given to a file without the extension. For example, a transaction file might be given the name "JUL-87". In the computer directory this would be listed as "JUL-87.TRN". However, SOAR knows when it is looking for a transaction file and only requires the "JUL-87". 4.2 SOAR Distribution Diskettes: SOAR is distributed on two 360K 5.25 inch floppy disks. The following files are included on the disks: Disk Number 1: SOAR.EXE ........ The main SOAR program file and Main Menu. SOARUTL3.EXE ... SOAR utilities linked from the Main Menu. SOARTCM3.EXE .... Summary Category and Transaction Category maintenance programs linked from the Main Menu. Disk Number 2: SOARCUS3.EXE .... Customer Maintenance programs linked from the Main Menu SOARARM3.EXE .... Receivables Menu and Billing program. SOARTMU3.EXE .... Transaction Menu and transaction programs linked from the Receivables Menu. Disk Number 3: CNVSOAR.EXE ..... Converts data from older versions of SOAR SOAR-1.DOC ...... This document. SOAR-2.DOC ...... More of this document. SOAR-3.DOC ...... And more of this document. READ.ME ......... How to get going and final notes. MAKEDOC.BAT ..... A batch file to print this document. FILES ........... A list of the distribution files. 4.3 Making Copies of SOAR: It is recommended that you make working copies of the SOAR Page 13 SOAR USERS GUIDE distribution disks using the DOS DISKCOPY program. Store your original disks in a safe place and use the copies from now on. DISKCOPY can be used as follows: Type DISKCOPY A: A: <E> ... remember <E> is the ENTER key. Follow the instructions and make a copy of SOAR Distribution Disk number 1. Then repeat the procedure for Disks 2 and 3. 4.4 Installing SOAR For Your System: SOAR was designed to operate in a hard disk environment, but can be used in a floppy disk system. Because of the number and size of the files, three 360K diskettes are required to hold the programs. If you are using a high-density 1.2M floppy disk, all of the programs can easily fit on one disk. 4.4.1 SOAR In A Hard Disk System: The following procedures will allow you to establish a separate sub-directory for SOAR and its data. 1. Turn on your computer and go to the root directory. After the DOS prompt type: CD \ <E> 2. Type: MKDIR SOAR <E> CD \SOAR <E> MKDIR DATA <E> The above sequence created a sub-directory titled "SOAR" and a sub-directory within SOAR titled "DATA". 3. Place your SOAR Distribution Disk #1 in floppy disk drive A, close the door, and type: COPY A:*.EXE . <E> 4. Repeat the procedure for disks 2 and 3. Install the remaining distribution disks and type: COPY A:*.EXE . <E> All of the SOAR program files are now loaded into your SOAR sub-directory along with some utility programs. This completes the initial installation of SOAR and you are ready to setup your data files. Put your SOAR distribution disks in a safe place. You may skip the following sections about floppy disk based systems and go directly to Section 4.5. Page 14 SOAR USERS GUIDE 4.4.2 SOAR In A 360K Floppy Disk System: The performance of SOAR is greatly enhanced in a hard disk system. If you do not have a hard disk, you should give some serious consideration to buying one. However, since you want to operate this with floppy disks, the following allows you to do so. 1. Format three (3) floppy disks. You may want to put the operating system on the two to be used to hold the program files. The third floppy disk will be used to setup the data files. 2. Create the program disks by putting Distribution Disk #1 in drive B and a newly formatted disk in drive A. Close the disk doors and type: COPY B:SOAR*.EXE A: <E> 3. Remove the diskette from Drive A and label it as SOAR DISK #1. Include the names of the files on the label. 4. Load a blank formatted diskette into Drive A and put Distribution Disk #2 in Drive B. Type: COPY B:SOAR*.EXE A: <E> 5. Remove the diskette from Drive A and label it as SOAR DISK #2. Include the names of the files on the label. 6. Label the third disk as SOAR DATA DISK. Put your SOAR distribution disks in a safe place and proceed to Section 4.5. 4.4.3 SOAR In A 1.2M Floppy Disk System: A 1.2M floppy disk system will allow all the SOAR programs to fit on one disk and the other to be used for data. 1. Format two (2) diskettes. The one to be used as the program disk should contain the DOS operating system. 2. Place the SOAR Distribution Disk #1 in Drive B and a blank formatted disk in Drive A. Type: COPY B:*.EXE . <E> Page 15 SOAR USERS GUIDE 3. Repeat the procedure with Distribution Disks #2 and #3. For each of the remaining disks type: COPY B:*.EXE . <E> 4. Remove the disk from Drive A and label it as your SOAR PROGRAM DISK. 5. Label the remaining disk as SOAR DATA DISK. This completes the initial SOAR installation. Put the distribution disks in a safe place and proceed to the next section. 4.5 Setting Up The SOAR System File: SOAR needs to know how your system is configured and where to store and fetch data. The system file contains the information used throughout SOAR. Hard Disk Users: It is assumed that you are in the SOAR sub- directory. If you would like to be able to start SOAR from the root directory, type the following: CD \ <E> COPY CON SOAR.BAT <E> ECHO OFF <E> CD SOAR <E> SOAR <E> CD \ <E> F6 <E> Note that the last line, F6, means the function key on the left or top of your keyboard. Now you can enter SOAR after bootup from the root by typing: SOAR <E> Floppy Disk Users: It is assumed that your program disk is in Drive A and that Drive B will be used for data. If you are using 360K floppies, make sure that SOAR DISK #1 is in Drive A. If SOAR cannot find a program it is looking for, you will be prompted to load the disk containing the required file. If you load the wrong disk, SOAR will exit to the operating system; i.e., SOAR will try the new disk once and then quit. This is why you were asked to include the program names on the labels. Page 16 SOAR USERS GUIDE 4.5.1 Starting SOAR: OK, its been a long haul getting here but now you are ready to run the program and get the data files setup. Type: SOAR <E> Once the program loads you should see the following message: A system file has not been found. After depressing a key you will be transferred to the UTILITY MENU. Select option 1, System File Maintenance, to create a system file. Key to CONTINUE ... You are now stuck! You must create a system file to continue. Of course you could get out by turning off the power or re- booting the computer. Lets create a system file. Note that the Utility Menu has a value of "0" after "Option:" at the bottom of the menu. This is the default value and de- pressing the ENTER key will accept this value. The use of defaults is widespread in SOAR to minimize your typing. To get to the System File Maintenance program type: 1 <E> You should now see a display similar to the one shown below. SYSTEM FILE MAINTENANCE XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX X 1. Company Name: X X 2. Company Address 1: X X 3. Company Address 2: X X 4. Company City: X X 5. Company State: X X 6. Company ZIP: X X 7. Company Telephone: X X X X 8. Data Drive/Path Specification: X X 9. Mono or Color Display (M or C): X X 10. Preprinted Name on Statements (Y or N): X X 11. Statement Format (A,B, or C): X X 12. Last Statement Number: X X 13. Sales Tax (e.g., .06) X XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX Line to Change (0 when DONE): 0 Type 1 <E> and enter your business or company name as you would like it printed on bills and reports. You may use up to 25 characters and they may be upper or lower case. Note that you may edit your entry with the back-space key. Also note that the highlighted area indicates how many characters you may use. Page 17 SOAR USERS GUIDE Select 2 to enter your company address. If you need an additional line, go on to change Company Address 2. Continue entering your company information (1-7). You can enter up to 15 characters for your state (e.g., CA or CALIFORNIA) and you can use a 5-digit ZIP code with a 4 digit extension for line 6. Line 8 informs SOAR where your data files are to be located. This will depend on whether you are a hard disk or floppy disk user. Hard disk users: If you created the suggested sub- directories enter: C:\SOAR\DATA\ <E> Otherwise, enter the drive/path specification leading to your data file. SOAR assumes the program files are on the defalult drive in the current directory. Floppy disk users: Enter: B: <E> Your data files will reside on Drive B. For line 9 enter an M if you are using a monochrome display and a C if you are using an EGA compatible color display. Line 10 tells SOAR whether or not to print your company name and address at the top of the bills. If you do not as yet have preprinted forms then enter "N". Note, you may change this at any time should you wish to use preprinted billing forms. Line 11 allows you to select the billing format to be used in preparing your bills. SOAR supports seven formats; two standard forms, a "generic" form, and others. The forms are: A ... DF50 9.5 X 7 (8.5 X 7 detached). Available in 1 or carbonless 2 and 3 part sets. Your company name and address would be preprinted at the top. B ... DF51 9.5 X 11 (8.5 X 11 detached). Available in 1 or carbonless 2, 3 and 4 part sets. Your company name and address would be preprinted at the top. C ... Bill is printed on 9.5 X 11 standard white computer paper (8.5 X 11 detached). SOAR will print your company name and address at the top of the bill if you answered "N" to line 10. D - J ... Descriptions are in the Users Manual. The DF50 and DF51 forms and window envelopes may be ordered directly from: Business Automation Co. P.O. Box 1575 Ojai, CA 93023 (805) 646-1335 Page 18 SOAR USERS GUIDE Line 12 is for the LAST statement number you used on a bill. This must be a number (no letters) and is limited to 6 digits. You might use something like "870123" to indicate number 123 in the year 1987. Remember this wants the LAST statement number, not the one you wish to start with. If you want your first bill to be statement number 87000 then you must enter 86999. The final line, 13, sets your state and local sales tax. This must be entered as a decimal. For example, enter 6% as .06. SOAR only directly supports one sales tax; other methods are described in the manual for multiple sales taxes. The second System Maintanance screen is fully described in the SOAR USERS MANUAL. This completes the setup of the system file. Just press the ENTER key and you will save your system data and return to the Utility Menu. At the Utility Menu depress the ENTER key (or hit the ESC key) and you will go to the SOAR Main Menu. If you want to verify or change your system data you may do so by returning to the Utility Menu (6 at the Main Menu) and going to 1, System File Maintenance. The data you entered should be displayed. Floppy Disk Users: SOAR requires SOAR.SYS to be on the default drive when trying to run a program. Therefore, if you are using 360K floppy disks, you need to copy the system file to all program disks. You should currently have SOAR Disk #1 in Drive A. Put SOAR Disk #2 in Drive B and type: COPY A:SOAR.SYS B: Please note that the Last Statement Number in the system file will only be updated on Disk #2; the disk containing the billing program. Page 19 SOAR USERS GUIDE Page 20
SOAR USERS GUIDE SECTION 5 BUILDING A CUSTOMER FILE Now that you have setup your system file, SOAR knows where to store and fetch the data for the other required files. At this point it is best to add five or ten customers so you can get on with exploring the capabilities of SOAR. From the Main Menu select 3, Customer Maintenance. SOAR will load the customer maintenance program and display the Customer Maintenance Menu. You can see that you have five choices (not counting the EXIT choice) and these are fully described in the manual. At this time we want to add customers so select option number 1. Start entering your customers and filling in the data described in the SOAR USERS MANUAL. You will be prompted for every entry and given an opportunity of making changes before the data is saved. A few comments are in order concerning the various balances. SOAR uses the principal that anything billed today is due before the next billing period. If you bill on a monthly basis then you expect payment before you bill again. Therefore, Past Due Balance is that which has not been paid since the last billing period. Using SMITH for an example, assume that SMITH had $100 in charges in January and that you billed him on February 1st. When the End of Billing Period processing was run after your billing, his Current Charges were set to zero and his Present Balance was set to $100. SMITH did not make any payments in February. Now, after billing on March 1st and running End of Billing Period processing the $100 was trans- ferred to Past Due Balance. Now is as good a time as any to discuss how payments are handled. Whenever a payment transaction is entered and posted, the amount of the payment is first applied against the Past Due Balance. Any remainder is applied against the Present Balance. Should a customer make a payment greater than their balance, then their Present Balance would be a negative number to in- dicate that they have a credit. 5.1 Saving Your Customer Data: After completing the last entry you will see a prompt on the screen "S to SAVE, C to CHANGE, A to ABORT:". If the data is correct, enter S <E> and SOAR will save the data to the disk and prompt you for the next customer. If you wish to make changes the enter C <E> and you will be prompted for the line number you wish to change. After making all your changes, you would save the data by entering S <E>. You may abort the program by entering ESC or A <E>. All data previously saved is intact; you simply aborted from the current screen. Page 20 SOAR USERS GUIDE After entering 5 or 10 customers you might like to leave the data entry mode and try the View or Change options on the Customer Maintenance Menu. To exit, depress the ESC key. You will then see a message flashed to the screen: SORTING CUSTOMER.MAS SOAR keeps all customer records in ascending order by the customer id. This is done to speed up accessing any customer in the file. Once the sort is complete you will be returned to the Customer Maintenance Menu. Return to the Main Menu by either accepting the default option or depressing the ESC key. Page 21 SOAR USERS GUIDE SECTION 6 ENTERING SUMMARY CATEGORIES Now that you have the system file setup and your customers entered, it is time to enter your Summary Categories. (1) At the Main Menu select 2, Category Maintenance. (2) At the Charge Maintenance Menu select 1, Summary Category Maintenance. The screen will now display all the empty summary categories and their associated totals. Since this is a new file the only categories labeled are those created by SOAR; i.e., PAYMENTS, TAXABLE SALES, etc. Using the data you prepared after Sections 2 and 3, select the category you want to enter. Enter the title and, if you have it, the year to date totals for this category. Once you have entered all your summary categories, exit the program by accepting the default when prompted for a line to change. The exit path from Summary Category Maintenance is to the Charge Maintenance Menu. You will probably want to make some changes to your summary categories after you have run SOAR for a while. To do so, just follow the path from the Main Menu as described above. Page 22 SOAR USERS GUIDE SECTION 7 BUILDING A TRANSACTION CATEGORY FILE The final step in installing SOAR is creating the transaction categories you will use for entering payments and charges. If you skipped over Sections 2 and 3, please go back and read them so you have a good feel for the relationship between transactions and transaction categories. There are two ways in which a transaction category file can be created. These are (1) creating a "block" of dummy categories and then changing them as needed, or, (2) creating (adding) categories one at a time. Both methods will be described. 7.1 Adding A Block of Categories: A suggestion was made in Section 3 for you to partition your transaction categories such that your most commonly used categories were at the start of the list, your automatic billing categories next, and your "inventory" or fixed price items last. Using this strategy, you can create an initial block of categories with sufficient space to hold all your items. However, make sure you have allowed enough room for growth in the lower numbered categories. As an example, suppose you think that you will need no more than 30 categories for commonly used charges; i.e., hours consulting, fixed price jobs, payments, etc. To allow room for growth, reserve at least 50 or 60 categories for this purpose. If you have, for instance, 50 customers for which you perform a service and bill them automatically each month, then you should reserve at least 100 categories to allow for growth. Remember, each customer to be billed automatically requires a transaction category. The final partition will encompass the "things" that you sell such as supplies, plants, or whatever. These are the retail or inventory items that are sold on a regular basis and for which you wish some historical data as well as simplifying a transaction entry. Suppose you have 100 items that fall into this classification, then allow at least 200 categories in building the initial file. Note that new blocks can be added at any time as you add new items. Based on the example above, you would need: Commonly used categories ....... 60 Automatic billing categories ... 100 Inventory type categories ...... 200 ---- Total required ......... 360 Page 23 SOAR USERS GUIDE Since this is an estimate, you would probable establish an initial block of 400-500 transaction categories. This is done as follows: (1) At the Main Menu select 2, Category Maintenance (2) At the Charge Maintenance Menu select 2, Transaction Category Maintenance (3) At the Transaction Category Maintenance Menu select 4, Add/Create TC Block SOAR will display the following message: This program allows you to create a transaction category file if one does not exist or to add to an existing file. Do you want to continue (Y or N): The default response is "N", so enter Y <E>, and you will be asked how many categories you wish to create. The default is 100. Either accept the default (depress ENTER) or enter the number you require. SOAR will then create a transaction category file with the specified number of dummy categories and return you to the Transaction Category Maintenance Menu. SOAR creates dummy categories with the following fields already filled in: Title: * Charge Factor: 1.0 Taxable: Y Summary Category: 7 (TAXABLE SALES) Since these categories are not useable, you must now change them such that they can be used for entering transactions. The transaction categories can be changed via the Category Maintenance Menu. The SOAR USERS MANUAL contains detailed instructions. Enter a few more categories to have enough to experiment with. Don't worry about losing your work, you will save this initial work before experimenting with SOAR. Exit from the program when you are ready by depressing the ESC key. Remember, ESC will always get you out of a program and back to a previous menu. If you do not wish to add a single category you may skip the next section and go on to Chapter 8. 7.2 Adding A Single Category: If your business revolves around a very few types of trans- actions you can build your transaction category file one at a time. This method has the drawback of not allowing "gaps" in the number sequence for adding new categories. Therefore, you must be thorough when you prepare your list of categories. Page 24 SOAR USERS GUIDE SECTION 8 EXPLORING SOAR The most difficult part of any accounting program is setting up the data files. You should have entered enough data to allow you to begin experimenting. After experimenting you can go back and finish entering your customers and transaction categories. Before continuing it would be best to get a hard copy of what has been done thus far. Go to the Main Menu and select 4, Reports Menu. Make sure you have paper in the printer and properly aligned. From the Reports Menu select reports for a Customer Master List, Transaction Categories, and Summary Categories. Carefully look over the reports for errors. If an error is found, go to the appropriate menu and make corrections. 8.1 Saving Your Work: You have gone to a lot of work in getting this far and it would be a shame to mess it up with the exploring and experimenting to follow. You can protect your work by copying it onto a floppy disk and then restoring it when you are through exploring. The procedures are different for hard disk and floppy disk users. Exit SOAR by either <E> or ESC at the Main Menu. Hard Disk Users: (1) Go to the SOAR sub-directory by: CD \SOAR <E>. (2) Put a freshly formatted diskette in Drive A. (3) Type: COPY SOAR.SYS A: <E> (4) Type: CD \DATA <E> (5) Type: COPY CUSTOMER.MAS A: <E> (6) Type: COPY *.CAT A: <E> (7) Type: CD .. <E> Floppy Disk Users: (1) Put SOAR Disk #1 in Drive A. (2) Put a freshly formatted diskette in Drive B. (3) Type: COPY A:SOAR.SYS B: <E> (4) Put your Data disk in Drive A. (5) Type: COPY A:CUSTOMER.MAS B: <E> (6) Type: COPY A:*.CAT B: <E> (7) Put SOAR Disk #1 in Drive A. All the data files have been copied to the floppy disk. If you do a DIR A: <E> (DIR B: <E> for floppy users), you should see a list of the following files: Page 25 SOAR USERS GUIDE SOAR.SYS ......... Defines your system CUSTOMER.MAS ..... Your customer master file SUMMARY.CAT ...... Your Summary Categories TRANS.CAT ........ Your Transaction Categories Save this backup to restore the data files after exploring. Go back to SOAR by typing SOAR <E>. Floppy users should put their Data disk back into Drive B and SOAR Disk #2 in Drive A. 8.2 Entering Transactions: Now there is something to work with! SOAR uses the trans- actions you enter as the basis for crediting payments and applying charges. To get a feeling what SOAR does with the data you should do the following: Go to the Customer Maintenance Menu and: (1) Give one customer a present balance. (2) Give another customer a past due balance and make sure the customer has a service charge rate (e.g., .015) so you can see how service charges work. (3) Give another customer a past due balance and a service charge rate of 0. Go to the Transaction Menu by entering 1 <E> at the Receiv- ables Menu. To enter transactions, select 1 <E>. You will be asked for a transaction file name. Since this is your first entry, there are no transaction files. If you had files but couldn't remember their names, just depress ENTER and SOAR will display the names of all transaction files it knows about. Transaction files should reflect the billing period you are currently using. The author uses a scheme like "APR-87" as a transaction file for April, 1987. For our exploring enter the following: TEST <E>. Note: if there is already a file by that name SOAR will inform you and ask if you want to create a new one or append to the old one. In almost all cases you will want to APPEND to the existing file; i.e., during a billing period you will keep adding to an existing file. You were also asked if you wished a control report. This report will show all transactions entered and allow you a chance to review your transactions for correctness. It is good practice to always get the control reports. You are now presented with the transaction entry screen and are prompted for the Customer ID. Enter a customer that you have on file. If the customer is not on file you will receive an error message. Once you enter a Customer ID it will become the default value until a new customer is entered. Page 26 SOAR USERS GUIDE Next you are prompted for the transaction date. The default is today's date. You may either change it or accept the de- fault. If you change the date, then the new date will be the default until it is changed again. The next required entry is the Transaction Category. The bottom half of the screen displays the first 20 Transaction Categories. You can move about your entire Transaction Category file using the cursor keys on the right of your key- board. The keys work as follows: PgUp ..... Move up to the previous screen. PgDn ..... Move down to the next screen (next 20 categories will be displayed). Home ..... Go to the first screen. End ...... Go to the last screen (end of the transaction file). Up ....... Up Arrow. Move up one half of the way to the first screen; e.g., the Transaction Category numbers will be one half of those currently displayed. Dn ....... Down Arrow. Move one half of the way from the current screen to the end of the file. CTRL PgUp Move 100 categories toward the first screen. CTRL PgDn Move 100 categories toward the last screen. The last two commands are executed by holding down the CTRL key (on the left of the keyboard) and then depressing the PgUp or PgDn key on the right of the keyboard. Experiment with the keys and learn how to move about the file to see the trans- action categories. Select a category for this transaction and enter its number. For example if you are entering a payment and you have Transaction Category 1 as Payments Received, then enter 1 <E>. SOAR will fill in the screen with the information it extracted from the transaction category. Now you are prompted to enter the amount or quantity of the transaction. If this is a variable category (Payments, for example) enter the amount of the payment. If this is an hourly charge, enter the number of hours. If this is a fixed price, enter the quantity; e.g., 3 if you sold 3 widgets. SOAR will now display the complete transaction including total price (less taxes) and the taxes (if any). You are now given the opportunity of changing any of the fields you entered. If everything is correct, accept the default to SAVE the data. The last entry for a transaction is the comment field. You may use this to include a comment on the transaction to give more information to the customer. For example, this can be used to Page 27 SOAR USERS GUIDE identify what the 2 hours of consulting were for or what was purchased under a general Miscellaneous Taxable Sales category. If you do not wish to enter a comment, just press ENTER. For payments, the Comment field will be changed to a Check Number field. If you enter a number it will be included in the customer file and on the bill. If you wish not to include a check number, just depress ENTER. You may also include any comment here provided it does not start with a digit (number). SOAR scans the comment field (check number field) for payment transactions and converts leading numbers to the check number for the payment. This completes your first transaction entry. Easy wasn't it! You are now prompted for a new customer id. The default is the customer you just entered; this simplifies multiple entries for the same customer. Keep entering transactions until you have entered some for at least three or four customers. You may exit this screen by entering ESC. If you opted for a control report, you will be prompted to align the paper. Depress a key and your control report will be printed. Scan the report for errors. If there are errors you CANNOT correct them; this preserves all entries for audit purposes. However, you can DELETE the transaction if it has not been posted. The transaction number is shown on the control report and this is what you use to delete a transaction. You can do this through selection 4, Delete Transactions on the Trans- action Menu. Suppose you forgot to enter a transaction several days ago and you have since entered more transactions. No problem, just go to Transaction Entry and enter the transaction using the correct transaction date. SOAR will place all transactions in date order when bills are prepared. 8.3 Posting Transactions: Posting is the process in SOAR where payments and charges are used to update the customer files and the summary categories. Once posted, a transaction cannot be deleted. If an error was discovered AFTER posting, the only way to correct it is to generate an offsetting transaction; i.e., enter a payment or credit to cover the improper charge and vice versa. Some business post transactions at the end of a business day while others post after they are entered. SOAR gives you the option of doing it which ever way you wish. The author uses the second approach since customer files are therefore always up to date. To post transactions, select the desired posting Page 28 SOAR USERS GUIDE option from the Transaction Menu. For our experiment, enter 5, Post All Transactions. You will be prompted for the trans- action file name and the option for a control report. Enter the file name as TEST <E>. You may be interested to see what was done during posting. Go to the Customer Maintenance Menu and VIEW one of the customers for which you entered transactions. The customer file should have been updated with the new data. Charges will be applied to the Current Charges Field and payments will be shown in the payment history portion of the record. 8.4 Applying Automatic Charges: If you entered some transaction categories for automatic billing, you can have these added to the transaction file by selecting 2 at the Transaction Menu. You will be prompted again for a file name and given the option of a control report. Automatic charges are like other charge transactions except they can only be applied once a billing period. You will also be asked if you would like to include a comment with each transaction. For instance if SMITH is automatically billed for some service you might want to include a comment such as: Service for 3/87 to 4/87 The comment will be part of the transaction and included in the bill. As each automatic billing transaction is prepared you will be prompted with the customer id and a request for a comment. If you don't want to include a comment for a part- icular customer, just depress ENTER. 8.5 Applying Late Charges: You should always apply late charges even if you have not in- cluded a late charge percentage in the customer file. This ensures that ALL customers with outstanding balances will be billed. As you experiment with billing, note the difference in the bills for customers with a late charge percentage and those without. Before applying late charges you must be sure that all payment transactions have been entered. This ensures that customers receive credit for payments. SOAR will scan the transaction file before computing late charges to ensure that all payments have been posted. However, SOAR cannot post what has not been entered. The author uses the practice of entering transactions on a regular basis and applying late charges and again posting all transactions as the last action before preparing bills. Page 29 SOAR USERS GUIDE 8.6 Preparing Bills: The whole purpose of any business is to make money. This can't be done unless we provide bills to those for whom we do work, provide a service or sell goods. Thus, SOAR was primarily developed to simplify the process of billing and to allow more time to be spent on the actual business of earning more money. SOAR serves this purpose well. You are ready to bill when you have entered all transactions, posted payments (and charges), applied automatic billing and late charges, and posted all payments and charges. It may appear that there is a lot of posting going on, but it is one way to insure that things are properly entered and kept track of. You can post as many times as you wish; if something has been posted once, it will not be posted again. To prepare bills, goto to the Receivables Menu and select 2, Billing. As in any of the SOAR modules that deal with transaction files, you will be asked for a file name and the option of a control report. You may have wondered why SOAR keeps asking for a file name. SOAR was designed such that you can have multiple trans- action files effective at the same time. For example, you may have one file for out-of-state customers, another for this or another for that. Since SOAR does not know how you are going to run your business, you are asked for a file name. SOAR now sorts the transaction file by customer, date and transaction number. This means that all transactions will first be grouped by customer and then in date order for each customer. Transactions entered for the same customer on the same date will be grouped in the same sequence as they were entered. This was done to ensure, among other things, that comments and messages (' Note transaction categories) could be contiguous and not scrambled. You will now be asked a series of questions. Answer them all, and the billing will be completed. Details concerning these questions is fully described in the SOAR USERS MANUAL. After answering all these questions, SOAR will then process the transaction file and prepare the bills. During processing a billing register and summary file are created or appended that give you a report of the bills prepared and a summary of where the charges or payments were directed (summary categories). Using the experimental data you have been tinkering with, prepare some bills. This is what you have been striving for these last 30 pages or so. You should have found the billing to be easy and painless. It takes almost more time to fold, stuff, and stamp the bills than it does to prepare them! Page 30 SOAR USERS GUIDE 8.7 End of Period Processing: Once bills have been prepared it is necessary to inform SOAR that there are no more payments or charges forthcoming this billing period and to update the customer and automatic trans- action categories. End of Period adds the Present Balance to the Past Due, replaces the Present Balance with Current Charges and zeros the Current Charges. End of Period also clears the billed flag from the automatic billing transaction categories so they can be used during the next billing period. To perform End of Period, select 3 from the Receivables Menu. From the End of Period Menu, select 1, End of Billing Period. Thats all there is! 8.8 More Exploring: Thus far you have been exposed to all the menus of SOAR. It is not possible to discuss all the features in a USERS GUIDE. You are encouraged to become a registered user and to receive the manual describing SOAR in greater detail. Besides, it gives the author a warm feeling to be able to put money in the bank. So, experiment with SOAR and learn what it can do. When you feel comfortable, go to the next section and begin to use SOAR for your billing. Page 31 SOAR USERS GUIDE SECTION 9 PHASING SOAR INTO YOUR BUSINESS Hopefully you have explored SOAR sufficiently to feel comfor- table with it and to find it of use. Now you can get rid of the files created while exploring and restore your original files to put SOAR to work. The first thing we must do is purge the system of the data files created during the evaluation. Again, this is different for hard disk users than it is for floppy users. Hard Disk Users: (1) Exit SOAR from the Main Menu by <E> or ESC. (2) Type: CD \SOAR <E> (3) Type: ERASE SOAR.SYS <E> (4) Type: CD \DATA <E> (5) Type: ERASE CUSTOMER>MAS <E> (6) Type: ERASE *.CAT <E> (7) Type: ERASE TEST.* <E> (8) Load your copy of your original files into Drive A. (9) Type: COPY A:CUSTOMER.MAS . <E> (10) Type: COPY A:*.CAT . <E> (11) Type: CD .. <E> (12) Type: COPY A:SOAR.SYS . <E> Your original files are now restored and you are ready to pro- ceed to Section 9.1. Floppy Disk Users: (1) Exit SOAR from the Main Menu by <E> or ESC. (2) Type: ERASE B:*.CAT <E> (3) Type: ERASE B:CUSTOMER.MAS <E> (4) Type: ERASE B:TEST.* <E> (5) Type: ERASE A:SOAR.SYS <E> This assumes that SOAR Disk #2 is in Drive A. (6) Load you copy of your original files into Drive B. (7) Type: COPY B:SOAR.SYS A: <E> (8) Load your SOAR Disk #1 in Drive A. (9) Type: COPY B:SOAR.SYS A: <E> (10) Load your Data disk into Drive A. (11) Type: COPY B:CUSTOMER.MAS A: <E> (12) Type: COPY B:*.CAT A: <E> (13) Put your Data disk in Drive B and SOAR Disk #1 in Drive A and proceed to the next section. Page 32 SOAR USERS GUIDE 9.1 Completing Your Data Files: You are back to where you were when you started experimenting. You must now continue entering the rest of your customers and the transaction categories you will initially be using. You have experience at this so it shouldn't be a problem; just time consuming and frustrating (at times). You actually have two ways of completing your data files. These are (1) all at once in a binge of data entry, and (2) as you need them during transaction entry. Perhaps the best way is to compromise; i.e., enter those customers and categories you KNOW you will definitely need. Then, as new customers or categories come up, enter them before entering transactions. 9.2 Running Parallel: Once your data is setup, you should start using SOAR for entering transactions. However, since this is a new step for you, it is best to keep doing it the "old" way until you have gained experience and confidence. If you make errors, you can correct them through one of the SOAR menus. The key thing is to track SOAR with your manual method and see if it is any easier, saves you time, and gives you the management informa- tion you need to run your business. If it does these things then you certainly should be a registered user. A registration form is included at the end of this GUIDE just for this reason. Page 33 SOAR USERS GUIDE SECTION 10 HOW OFTEN TO USE SOAR There is no absolute guide as to how often you must do certain things. The guidelines following are based on the Author's ex- perience and are biased by the number of times he has been bitten by Murphy's Law. You must make your decision based on the volumn of your business and the number of transactions your process. If in doubt, do it often! 10.1 Daily: Enter transactions as they occur. Don't put it off; the surest way of forgetting to bill someone is to wait until tomorrow. Enter the transactions and review the reports to catch errors. Post as often as you think necessary. If you don't know, then post as soon as you finish reviewing and correcting trans- actions just entered. Backup your data files after entering transactions and posting. There is nothing more frustrating than to lose your data and trying to enter it again. You can backup your data files using the procedures defined earlier but including the command: COPY <filename>.* A: All data files reside on the same drive or in the same directory as your customer and category files. Floppy disk users should modify the command above for their system. Note that <filename> refers to the name given to a transaction file during data entry. 10.2 Monthly: End of month is traumatic for some people. For SOAR it is a breeze! Assuming you have been entering transactions on a regular basis, just do the following: (1) Apply Automatic Billing (2) Apply Late Charges (you did enter all payments?) (3) Post All Transactions (4) Backup you data files (5) Prepare bills (6) Perform End of Billing Period Processing (7) Generate the reports you need. Obviously you should be preparing reports as you go along, but it is important at the end of the month so you can gauge how well your business did this last month and make any necessary changes in your efforts. Page 34 SOAR USERS GUIDE 10.3 Yearly: End of year processing is a simple step that follows after end of month. To do this simply do your normal End of Billing Period Processing as described above and then do End of Year processing. These are done via the End of Period Menu. 10.4 Final Note: The most important thing to stress is maintaining good copies of your data. SOAR, and, for that matter any other program, is less likely to cause problems if you have backups of your data. When in doubt, back it up! So often we get lazy and put off the FEW minutes to make copies of our data and spend hours or days trying to recover from some act of nature. The easiest way to defeat Murphy is to have good copies of all your work. The author well remembers the work that went into writing a specialized interpreter in assembly language for testing electronics components. He failed to backup his data on the day there was a major disk crash and lost six months of work. Of course there were hard copies, but these had to be keyed in by hand and took weeks. Needless to say, there are lots of backups of SOAR in his office; the source code is over 150 pages long and he is very slow at the keyboard... Page 35 SOAR REGISTRATION FORM As a registered owner of SOAR you will receive the latest version of SOAR, a complete SOAR manual, and notification of updates. SOAR Registration at $59.00 ......... __________ Shipping/Handling $5.00 (U.S. and Canada) $10.50 (outside the U.S.) ... __________ California residents add $3.54 tax .. __________ -------------- Total Amount Enclosed ........... __________ Name: ___________________________________________ Company: ___________________________________________ Address: ___________________________________________ City: ___________________________ State: _______ ZIP: ____________ Telephone: (____) ___________ TYPE OF COMPUTER: ___________________________________ DO YOU HAVE A HARD DISK: _____________________________ Please send your check or money order to: E.B. Croson or Business Automation Co. 438 Ave De La Vereda P.O. Box 1575 Ojai, CA 93023 Ojai, CA 93023
SOAR UTILITIES DROPCUST: Drop (delete) a customer from the SOAR master customer file. This program allows you to delete a customer without regard to present balance, etc. Copy the program into your SOAR directory and type: DROPCUST <ENTER> Each customer will be displayed sequentially on the screen and you will be asked whether or not to delete the customer. Answer Y or N and include the ENTER key. You can have the program stop asking by entering an "x" or "X"; in this case the rest of the records will be copied as is to the new master list. You may abort the program at any time by depressing the ESC key. When you are done, the old customer file will have the name "CUSTOMER.OLD" and the new file "CUSTOMER.MAS". Be sure you have a backup of your data before running this program. UNPOST: Once a transaction has been posted, it may not be edited or deleted. UNPOST removes the posting flag from a transaction after it has been posted. Summary Categories, the customer record, and the transaction category data are restored to what they were before the transaction was posted. Note that if the transaction being unposted is a payment (summary category less than 7) then the program does not know which balance to adjust. The scheme used is to test the past due balance. If the past due balance is greater than zero then it is increased by the amount of the payment. Otherwise, the present balance is increased by the amount of the payment. If the payment was exactly equal to the past due balance, then you will have to change the figures manually via Customer Maintenance. Once a transaction has been unposted, it can be deleted and a new transaction entered with correct data. Load the program into your SOAR program directory and type: UNPOST <ENTER> You must know the transaction number to be unposted. This can be obtained through the Reports Menu (Transactions As Entered).
Volume in drive A has no label Directory of A:\ READ ME 1187 10-16-88 1:01p SOAR-3 DOC 39934 4-18-89 7:25p MAKEDOC BAT 75 5-23-87 11:39a CNVSOAR DOC 1646 11-12-88 10:25p CNVSOAR EXE 75237 1-19-89 8:10p DROPCUST EXE 63071 11-13-88 11:27a UNPOST EXE 78585 11-15-88 9:39p UTILITY DOC 1938 11-14-88 9:54a REBILL EXE 16160 3-24-89 5:40p REBILL DOC 3764 3-24-89 3:17a SOAR-1 DOC 8075 4-17-89 10:30p SOAR-2 DOC 49694 4-17-89 10:33p FILES 2014 4-17-89 10:41p UPDATE 308 8435 8-22-89 11:47p GO BAT 38 8-07-87 4:03p GO TXT 386 10-21-88 4:49p FILE1185 TXT 2100 12-05-89 11:37a 17 file(s) 352339 bytes 2048 bytes free