Please note, trust accounting is a paid add-on. If you’ve got that add-on, keep reading! If not, and you’re interested in getting it added to your Rex account, you can contact us here.
Ever wished trust accounting could be simpler? Don’t answer that – it’s rhetorical. Of course you have.
Trust accounting is finicky by nature. There’s a lot of i’s to dot and t’s to cross to protect yourself from troubles at audit time and (more importantly) the dreaded F word – fraud. But what happens when you’ve got 50 trust payments to make, your coffee machine is on the fritz, and the close of business banking deadline is looming? That’s a lot of room for human error.
Well, this functionality makes paying money out of trust a breeze. You just need to pop the bank details in to Rex when you create a payment, download a file containing those details, and upload it to your internet banking portal. It’s that easy.
It’s a complex issue, but we’ve made it as simple as humanly possible. Here’s what you need to know.
5 new privileges
When it comes to trust money, security is the single most important thing. So, we’ve created a new privilege for each part of the new trust bank uploads process so you can assign specific tasks to certain users.
- Read bank details
- Create & Update Bank Details
- Trash Bank Details
- Add unverified bank details to trust transactions
- Mark trust transaction for bank uploads
That means you could have one user inputting the recipient’s bank details, and another user verifying those details. The reasoning behind this is simple: if no single user can see and do everything, the chance of anything untoward happening is significantly lessened.
Of course, the account owner and any super admin users will get all of the new privileges. All other users will need to be granted additional privileges.
Setting up (or editing) a trust account in Rex
There are three new fields you need to be aware of.
The first is your Direct User Entry ID – a 6 digit number your agency might’ve been given by the bank. You’re probably already using this with your payroll software. Some banks provide them, some don’t. Play it safe and check with your bank to save yourself running into problems later.
The second is max transactions per upload. This is the maximum number of transactions that will appear on each Bank Upload file. Some banks have a limit, some don’t. If you don’t know whether yours does, just leave this blank. Worst case scenario: you try to upload 800 transactions without realising your bank has a limit of 500. You’ll get a notification telling you the upload has failed, and then you can try uploading the transactions in two parts or more.
The third is the include self balancing transaction in upload box. Essentially, this is something the banks use to make sure the credits and debits in the Bank Uploads file are even. Again, whether you need to tick this box or not is down to your bank. If you choose not to tick it but your bank requires it, you’ll get an error message come upload time. You can then navigate back to this section of Rex and tick the box.
Adding Bank Details
You’ll notice we’ve added a new tab in the contact record: Bank Details. You won’t need to add this for every contact – only those who receive trust money, like photographers, drone operators, florists, and of course yourself (so long as you’ve been authorised to do so!).
If you’ve been keeping those details in your email inbox, or worse – on spare bits of paper floating around the office in miscellaneous manilla folders, this is going to make life a whole lot easier.
You can have as many bank accounts attached to a contact record as you like, but only one will be the default account.
Only users with the Create & Update Bank Details privilege under Contacts, or the Admin Trust – reconciliation and banking privilege set, will be able to make changes to existing bank account details or add new ones.
Now we’ve covered that, let’s talk about the star of the show: the Bank Uploads feature.
How to use the Bank Uploads feature
We’ve always found a good scenario helps set the scene, and trust accounting is a pretty dry subject, so please indulge us.
Let’s pretend it’s your average Thursday. Your seller has given the Vendor Paid Advertising proposal you put together a big thumbs up, so now you’ve got to get money out of trust and into the videographer’s bank account. Let’s call them Vic’s Video.
1. Tell Rex what you’re doing
The first thing you’ll do is go to the listing record the service relates to, switch to finance mode by clicking $, and then the Trust Accounting tab – as you normally would when updating your trust account ledger.
Click Add Payment, and the Create Trust Payment dialog pops up. Type the appropriate details into each field, and tick the box include this transaction as part of bank upload.
The bank accounts relating to the Vic’s Video contact record will appear to the right. For the most part, when you use this feature you’ll probably just choose the bank account you want to deposit trust money into, and click Save.
However, in this particular scenario, let’s assume Vic has asked you to deposit money in to a new account for some reason or other. A user with the Add unverified bank details to trust transactions privilege can add that new bank account at this stage by clicking Add account.
Want to save that new bank account to Vic’s Video contact record, and save yourself popping in all the same details next time? That’s easy – just tick Add this account to contact record. However, you will need both update rights on this specific contact, as well as the Create & Update Bank Details privilege to do so. It’s all pretty logical once you wrap your head around it.
We’ve also given you the ability to edit the bank details for a Trust Payment after you’ve popped it on the ledger – you’ll just need the Mark trust transaction for bank uploads privilege. But, if you want to edit the amount (or anything else), you’ll still need to reverse the payment and start over.
What you’re doing here is telling Rex that you’re paying money out of trust into Vic’s Video’s account. Now, you’ve got to tell the bank.
2. Create the Bank Upload
Go to Admin, Trust and then Trust Accounts. You’ll notice a new section under Record Reconciliations called Bank Uploads.
What you’ll see here is a list of all the trust transactions you’ve already uploaded – so it will be blank at first. To action the new payment to Vic’s Video, you’ll need to click 1 transaction/s available for processing. Click to create new bank upload.
Clicking that notification takes you to the Select Transactions for Upload screen, where you’ll see a list of all transactions which are to be paid out of trust using the Bank Uploads functionality.
Because you’re transferring money to Vic’s new bank account, those details are yet to be verified. A user with the Add unverified bank details to trust transactions privilege will need to verify the details by clicking the dropdown arrow next to Custom bank account added, and then Verify custom account.
Then, it’s as simple as ticking the transactions you want to upload, and clicking create upload.
3. Tell the recipient of the trust funds
You’ll be taken to the Bank Upload Summary screen, which shows you a list of all the contacts that will receive trust money from you.
On this screen, you’ll see Download Bank Upload. Clicking this will get you the file the bank needs to make the trust payments – essentially, what this feature release is all about.
We’ll soon be releasing an update to this feature release that gives you two other options from this screen: Download Remittance and Email Remittance.
Pretty self explanatory, really – but for crystal clear clarity, let’s walk through those options.
Download Remittance will get you a PDF remittance.
Email Remittance lets you email the recipients of the trust funds to let them know they’ve been paid. The workflow is super straightforward – just pop in the correct contact details and click Send. The remittance will be sent with your agency’s default message, which you can edit in Admin, Advanced Settings and then the Remittance tab (or, you can edit the message for this remittance run only straight from the workflow).
We’ll publish a short feature release when this update goes live. If you’ve got the Trust Accounts add-on in Rex, we’ll shoot you an email too – so keep your eyes peeled.
3. Tell the bank what to do
Once you’ve downloaded the Bank Upload, simply log in to your online banking and upload the file as you would with payroll.
All transactions will preload – you won’t have to fiddle around with account numbers and BSB’s or any of that. All you have to do is click Confirm (or Yes, or whatever your bank uses in the affirmative). All of the money goes everywhere it should. Simples.
If any of the details don’t match up, your bank will tell you that there’s an error and (hopefully) point you in the right direction.
If there’s a problem with the downloaded file, get in touch with our Support team. We should be able to help resolve the issue.
4. Update Rex
Go back to the Trust Accounts page in Rex, and under Bank Uploads you’ll notice the most recent transaction’s Upload Status is Pending Upload. Change this to Uploaded by clicking Mark as uploaded to bank.
This step is completely optional – it doesn’t change anything… yet. In future, the Upload Status will probably be used as part of the reconciliation workflow. So, like brushing your teeth, we highly recommend doing it to avoid getting holes.
Don’t worry – you don’t have to use this feature. If you’ve got your own way of processing trust payments that doesn’t make you want to pull your hair out, we won’t be offended if you ignore this feature release.
Rex didn’t need this functionality originally. We worked intimately with small offices, who had a small number of transactions. But since then, we’ve bean-sprouted up to new heights, and our users in bigger offices have been asking for this for some time.
We’ve thoroughly tested this functionality, so please try it out and let us know what you think. Bank uploads can be a little complicated so, if you run into difficulties when uploading your transaction file and you’re with one of the major banks, we’d love to work with you.