Data plays a very important role in your nonprofit organization. Not only is it used to report on the health and financial status of your organization, but it also plays a key role in discovering your future goals and needs. Data helps organizations tell their story, set strategies, make decisions and provide factual evidence of a program’s success. Nonprofit organizations use the data they gather to create crucial reports for board members and donors to review the organization’s financial status. Even with all of these important uses, many organizations fail to pay attention to their data until a problem is detected or their data is compromised.
Data corruption and inconsistencies are, unfortunately, a common occurrence and risk within any software system. There are, however, a number of steps your organization can take to ensure your data is protected and accurate.
With Sage 100 Fund Accounting, nonprofits can run regular data integrity checks. While these checks will not be able to catch all problems or abnormalities in the database, they can alert users to the fact that data has gotten out of sync before too much time passes. These alerts save nonprofit organizations massive amounts of time and effort they would otherwise spend trying to track down data abnormalities. The data integrity checks also serve to help nonprofits diagnose and troubleshoot certain reporting problems that seem to have no plausible explanation.
Users can access the Data Integrity Checks (DIC’s) by launching the Sage 100 Fund Accounting Administration module and going to Organization > Data Integrity Checks. (In order to run the DIC’s all users must be logged out of the system.)
For the most part, data integrity checks check the integrity and relationship among various tables and transactions in the database. When information is written to the database it is often spread among several tables. Data integrity checks make sure that the individual transactions contain all the information they need in all the tables and that all information is summed up together. If a transaction doesn’t properly write or your database has some type of corruption, these data integrity checks will detect the inconsistency of the records and report on it. In fact, as soon as an inconsistency is discovered, the Sage 100 Fund Accounting solution will issue an alert so it can be corrected as soon as possible.
Data Integrity Checks are broken into several groups and given different numbers. When running DIC’s, it is best to run all of them at once. This will only take you about 30 seconds to 10’s of minutes on average to run all of them. When the checks are done, the DIC’s will display a report about what passed and what failed. This report gives nonprofits an idea of the health and accuracy of their data, as well as highlights the areas that need to be fixed.
Failure of data integrity checks doesn’t automatically mean things are horribly wrong. It depends on which checks have failed. Consider the following:
- Some DIC failures (AP17/AR26) are usually because the user has mis-posted a document in a closed year and is easily fixed through data entry.
- DIC failures 12/13 have to do with the use of Interfund Transfer GL codes and the way they close (or don’t) into fund balance and may not be a problem at all.
- Many of the other failures can be fixed with a simple script available on the knowledgebase that will re-index tables.
In some cases, failures will be beyond what the user can correct and you will have to contact customer support.
Data integrity checks should be run frequently to assure the overall health and effectiveness of your database. While there is no set schedule, running Data Integrity Checks on a weekly basis is a good guideline. Doing so will help you catch a problem before it become too serious and compromises your reports.