Two popular approaches to A/R open invoice file formats:
1) Master record with current balance and subordinate transaction records that total to the balance.
2) Record for each action to the open invoice file
Format one is easier for reporting. When printing an A/R aging report, the system scans each master record for non-zero balances and ages them. With a system utilizing format two, the programming behind the scenes is trickier as the system must total up all records of a common invoice number, determine which have a zero balance and use the date from the earliest non-payment transaction.
Each format has their own advantages and disadvantages for programmers but the end results are transparent to the user. Its main consequence is trying to read data from the outside looking into the system using various reporting and extract tools.
There is also the issue of purging paid up invoices after a certain amount of time has elapsed. Format one will require deleting records from two files while format two necessitates removing data from only one file.
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