First things first: Populi is not a full accounting solution! It cannot replace Quickbooks, Great Plains, or any comparable system that can track Accounts Payable or do Asset Depreciation. Therefore, you should establish a workflow for reconciling Populi with your main accounting solution.
When reconciling Populi with your main accounting system, we recommend that you keep all student detail in Populi while only importing the aggregated financial information into your main accounting system. For instance, you may have invoiced 100 students in Populi, but instead of importing 100 transactions into your main accounting system, you should only import one journal entry in which you credit your tuition income account and debit your accounts receivable account.
Without further ado, here's the reconciliation process:
Step one: Choose your reconciling time period
It works best to reconcile Populi to your main accounting system weekly or monthly. The more transactions you process, the more frequently you'll want to reconcile. You may want to reconcile every Monday through Friday period in order to stay current, but also reconcile through the last day of the month in order to match up with your monthly financial reporting. You could even start out by reconciling daily, until you trust the consistency.
Step two: Export the GL Summary for that period
- Go to Financial > Accounting > General Ledger
- Click Summary
- Enter your time period and click Apply
- Click Export
Upon exporting you will download a .xls file that contains your data. Column A contains account numbers and columns D and E contain debits and credits, respectively. Some accounting systems may allow you to upload this data, although you would want to delete the first 8 rows of summary data. If you cannot upload it, then you should be able to hand enter it as one balancing journal entry. If your account numbers in Populi do not match your account numbers in your main accounting system, you can edit the account numbers by going to Financial > Accounting > Chart of Accounts and clicking an account number.
A few tips
- Don't double-enter every transaction from Populi into your main accounting system. The detail is there in Populi if you ever need it. If you are double entering all student transactions in your main system, you are just creating needless work for yourself.
- Since Populi only tracks student billing, and not your school's accounts payable (i.e., payroll) the debit balance in your bank accounts will just climb and climb. If only it were so! You can deal with this in one of two ways:
- Ignore it. If you are reconciling your bank statements to your main accounting system, then you know the balance from there.
- Post manual journal entries in Populi in order to credit those inflated bank asset accounts back to reality.
- Contrary to bank accounts in the last tip, your Accounts Receivable balance, as viewed in Financial > Accounting > Chart of Accounts, should actually match the Accounts Receivable balance in your main accounting system IF the only debits and credits to that account are coming from Populi. If you have A/R from another source, you could create a different account number from that and track it separately in your main accounting system.
- Once a period has been reconciled, do not make changes in that period, such as recording a historic payment, journal entry, or voiding a transaction from that period. If you do any of those things, make sure to make the same adjustment in your main accounting system and check your account balances.
- Once a period has been reconciled, you will want to lock it in order to prevent any changes to your precious, reconciled balance. To lock a financial period, go to Financial > Settings and enter a date in the Financial Lock Period Date setting (then, of course, scroll to the top and click Save Settings).
- When you do this, all financial transactions up to and including the Lock Date will be frozen—you won't be able to change them, void them, etc.; you can only Reverse them.
- You can unlock a financial period by deleting the Lock Date (don't forget to click Save Settings!).
- To lock a later period, just enter a new date in the setting.