Abila MIP Fund Accounting Tips and Tricks: Using User-Defined Fields

MIP-Fund-Accounting-tips-and-tricksPeriodically, we offer our clients and blog readers tips and tricks to better utilize their Abila MIP Fund Accounting system (formerly Sage 100 Fund Accounting). We believe it’s important to know all of the in’s and out’s of your system so you can perform the key tasks in managing your organization’s accounting processes. This month we’d like to focus on creating user-defined fields within your nonprofit accounting software solution.

What are user-defined fields, and why are they important?
Let’s say you implemented your Abila MIP Fund Accounting solution three years ago. You most likely set up your chart of account structure, segments, and other important aspects of your fund accounting and reporting to meet specific needs you had at the time. While this structure may have worked for your organization three years ago, it may not work today. Fund accounting and reporting needs change all the time, and in order to effectively meet those needs, you need to make some changes within your system. If your organization has started new projects or is involved in new events that were never accounted for in the original set-up, using user-defined fields is necessary.

A user-defined field is essentially a custom field that you can add to your data entry screens and reports. These fields are defined and created by the user, and they can be set up without custom development, IT support, or intricate knowledge of the system’s underlying database structure.

When should I use user-defined fields?
You can use user-defined fields for any of your accounting needs, but they are particularly useful when it comes to charity events, special projects, or anything you want to track and report on separately. Say you’re holding a one-time charity event and need to track expenses and contributions separately from your everyday accounting transactions. A user-defined field could help you track everything you need for your charity event.

What is the benefit of using user-defined fields?
User-defined fields keep your chart of accounts clean. They can be set up so you can run comprehensive reports without having to add new account segments, account numbers, or anything else that may contribute to a messy chart of accounts. Users can also use “disposable” user-defined fields to keep your chart of accounts from growing too large or complex, and the data you enter into these fields can be carried through to your reports.

How do I create user-defined fields?
You can create user-defined fields within the Administrative Module of the software. Within this module, you can specify the field name, description, transaction type, and other important information that will help you segregate the data necessary to track your user-defined field. Setting these user-defined fields up as special events or one time occurrences come about will enhance your organization’s ability to gather and report on customized data.

For more information about creating user-defined fields (or for step-by-step training), contact our fund accounting experts today. If you’ve never set up user-defined fields before, it can be a little tricky. We’d be more than happy to guide you through the process and help you master your software solution.

For more tips and tricks regarding your Abila MIP Fund Accounting solution, stay tuned to our blog. We will be posting tips periodically to help you get the most value out of your fund accounting solution.

If you are in the market for fund accounting software and don’t know where to look, contact our office today at (503) 648-9051. We will uncover your organization’s biggest fund accounting needs and pair you with a solution that can meet them perfectly. Don’t hesitate – give us a call today!