Society Manager and AISA can both be configured to use many different sets of data. This is particularly useful for association management companies where multiple independent sets of data are used. Selecting a new data set is as simple as selecting the log in function from the main menu, and clicking the change directory button.
Society Manager and AISA provide you with the ability to maintain one master list of all the individuals and organizations with which you do business. The master list is roughly equivalent to the white pages of a telephone directory. Customers, suppliers, prospects, members, authors, speakers, absolutely every person or organization you deal with will exist in the master list. If you are accustomed to earlier accounting systems where you have a customer file and a separate vendor file, this approach won't seem correct. Believe us, when you're managing your day-to-day business, this approach is exactly what you need! As just one example, issuing a refund to a customer is a snap because there is no need to create a separate entry in a vendor file; the customer already has an accounts payable ledger. In fact, when issuing a credit note to a customer, the system can create the accounts payable transaction to create the refund cheque automatically. There are many more advantages to this approach above and beyond this single example.
When you select an individual or organization from the master list table, all the functions related to that individual are immediately available. You can revise the name and address information, sell something to that person from inventory, add a payment for a previously recorded transaction, register that person to an event, create a letter and much more.
Fields in the basic master list record are pre-defined and include surname and given name, salutation, genitive suffix, other (informal) name, residence address (two lines), residence city, residence province, country and postal code, residence phone number, organization (two lines), title, organization address (two lines), organization city, province, country and postal code, organization phone number, extension and fax number. In fact, there are five different sets of address fields, and ten telephone number fields available for each record in the database. Postal code formats are selectable on an address by address basis, with Canadian postal code, U.S. extended zip code and free-form formats supported. Telephone number formats are also selectable for North American or free-form formats.
The system has a default master list detail screen that displays the master list fields in a pre-defined format, but you can substitute a data entry screen of your own design to be used instead of the default. In fact, you can create thousands of different data entry screens for different purposes and use any of them at any time. Each data entry screen can have different pieces of information that you define and you can have any combination of master list name and address fields and your own fields appearing on the same screen.
While each individual or organization should appear only once in the master list, records can be linked to share business addresses and an unlimited number of pointer attributes can be created to establish other relationships between master list records of both types.
Society Manager and AISA both have a number of facilities built in to manage information on people and organizations. These include the ability to define an unlimited number of attributes (or properties, if you prefer), any number of which can be applied to any master list record. An attribute is simply an identifiable characteristic of some or all of the records in the master list. For example, you may wish to record the date of birth of individuals in the master list. Therefore, you would create a date of birth attribute, and apply it to all the relevant master list records. Since organizations generally dont have a birth date, you wouldnt create the attribute in their attributes table. Other organizations might want to record the date joined, the membership classification, and many other details about the community that makes up the master list.
You may create as many attributes as necessary to identify all the possible characteristics of the members of the master list that apply to your organization. Once an individual or organization has been added to the master list, that record may be tagged with as many (or as few) attributes as is appropriate. Any entry in the master list can have as many attribute tags as you require, but no member of the master list need be tagged with all attributes.
For each attribute tag, you can supply an information value. The information value you supply is unique to the attribute tag for that master list record to allow for the recording of information for that individual alone.
When you define an attribute, you also define the type of information the information field contains. Information fields can be defined to be numbers, dates, character values, textual information or pointers to other master list records. If the information field is defined as a character value, it may further be defined as a code which is a lookup into a table of codes unique to that attribute.
For example, if you create a members attribute as described above, you can define the information field as a date value, perhaps the date that the individual or organization joined your association. With this information recorded, it then becomes possible to query the database for those individuals or organizations who have been members of your organization for more than five years, less than one, or between eighteen and thirty months.
Alternatively, your organization might maintain several classes of membership, and you may want to define the information field data type for the members attribute as a character value. The character value that is inserted is then used to identify which class of membership this individual or organization holds. In this case, you would probably indicate to the system that the members attribute has a table of values which describe the type of membership. In this case, the operator may retrieve a table of all legal values for this attribute. The system will not allow an operator to create a membership attribute tag without selecting a valid membership type, and will also automatically track the counts of each type of member.
You can also tag the same individual with the same attribute more than once. This could be used if you wanted to track products manufactured by a company and create a directory with this information. You would create an attribute with a table type information field and define all possible products in the table, then apply the attribute to individual manufacturers: once for each product each manufacturer produces. In some cases, you could have several dozen of these attribute tags for one manufacturer. You can list all of this information under the manufacturer in a user-defined report, and query the database for manufacturers who produce any item or combination of items in the table.
For more complex data management issues than attributes can handle, Society Manager and AISA allow you to build your own tables of information. This facility can be used to manage complex databases of information with many levels of hierarchy between tables if necessary. Each table can have a virtually unlimited number of lines, and each line can have up to ninety-nine different fields. Each field has one of five different data types: character, date, numeric, master list pointer and free-form text. Character, date and numeric fields can be used to arrange the table contents in your own sequence. Each table can have up to three different sequences specified, and selecting between sequences is as simple as clicking a button.
There are six types of tables available:
Master list tables are tables which are owned by master list records. When you create a master list table, each individual or organization gets its own virtual copy of the table. The structure of the table is the same for each, but the information in each copy of the table is unique to the selected master list record. Pointer fields within the table structure can be used to define relationships between the selected master list record, the table contents and other master list records.
Global tables are independent of any master list record, and exist outside of the master list. Pointer fields in the table structure can be used to identify a relationship to any master list record on file.
Child tables are tables which can be attached to either a global table or a master list table. When a child table is attached to either type of table, a separate virtual table is created for each line in the parent table. You can have an unlimited number of lines in each child table. Child tables can also be nested. That is, one child table can be the parent of another child table.
Global calendar and master list calendar tables are special cases of the global and master list tables described above. A calendar table is a table of dates with a child table for each date. The system comes with a global calendar table called "CAL -- Appointments Calendar" and a child table called "APPT -- Appointments Detail" already defined. The interface to a calendar table emulates the calendar you have on your wall. It presents a month of dates on the display, with the appointments detail table for the currently selected date shown beside it. The currently selected date is always displayed in the caption of the dialog box. You can move to a different date within the month by clicking the appropriate date in the calendar, and you can move to a different month by clicking on the next and previous buttons. As you move, the appointments table changes to display the table for the currently selected date. Since calendar tables are available as master list table types, if you wish you can maintain a separate appointment calendar/scheduler for each member of the master list! Also, since the detail section of the calendar is a user-defined table, you can define your own calendar structure.
To facilitate the entry of several individuals who belong to a single organization, the concept of linked records is used. Any number of individual records may be created and then linked to an organization record. When a link is established, the individual's record is updated with the organization name and business address information from the organization record. While the link is in effect the organization name and business address information in the individual record is not updatable. However, when the organization record address information is changed, the organization name and business address information is updated in all linked individual records. Links may be added or deleted from within the organization record or the individual record. When a link to an organization is deleted, the organization address in the individual record becomes updatable. Essentially, the system supports the concept of one entity, one record, and obviates the need for multiple records (and therefore multiple updates) for any entity.
A sophisticated search algorithm provides the ability to specify any combination of attributes, master list field contents, accounting transactions, event registrations, sales orders or user-defined table contents to generate lists from Society Manager and AISA. The output format includes user-defined databases, mailing labels, interactive canvass output, WordPerfect or Microsoft Word merge files and over 1.8 million different user-definable reports.
The list generated may be sequenced by any combination of master list fields and attribute information fields. Reports may send their output to any defined printer, a disk file, any other computer on the Internet or to an individual as a fax or e-mail, depending on the report definition, and may execute unlimited numbers of calculations, lookups within subsidiary tables or other operations to generate their output. Report definitions may call other report definitions much like programs call subroutines to allow you complete control over your data.
Accounts receivable transactions may also be generated for each individual or organization satisfying the query criteria. You may also tag the selected master list records with a new attribute or update the information contents of an existing attribute. When creating a new attribute in this fashion, you can even assign a random number to the attribute information field. This facility allows you to perform random sampling of the database, if you wish.
Society Manager and AISA maintain a separate to-do list for each user defined in the system. The to-do list is implemented as a table of items. You can assign items to other users' to-do lists from within your own, and if your access level permits it, view others' to-do lists. Each to-do list entry has the following fields: date assigned, date required, date completed, the identification code of the user assigning the task, the identification code of the user to perform the task, a brief (forty character) description, a free-form text field that can be up to sixty-four thousand characters in length for more complex descriptions and a master list pointer field to optionally identify a master list record associated with this task.
Each entry has an optional alarm flag. When the alarm flag is checked for an item, the fields for alarm date, alarm time, alarm function and the repeat frequency selector become active. You indicate the date and time that the alarm should go off and optionally type in the name of a function to execute when the date and time specified have been reached. You can also optionally specify that this item repeats on a selectable frequency.
You can print both completed and outstanding items on any to-do list at the touch of a key.
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