v3.88: Bank Statements, People Search and REST API

Translations: Deutsch (Deutschland)

Many of you enjoy their well deserved holidays and probably lay with cocktails 🍹 and sunglasses 😎 at the beach. At ChurchTools we also enjoy the summer, but that does not mean, that we stop. Version 3.88 brings the long-awaited import of bank statements, and we have also worked on the speed of the people search.

Import Bank Statements

Cashiers work conscientiously and steadily in the background in our congregations and churches. This work is important, but can also cost a lot of time. Especially when one’s own bank accounts record many transactions, manual typing is very tedious.

With ChurchTools version v3.88 we bring the new import for bank statements. This allows you to upload account statements in MT940 format directly into ChurchTools and enter the transactions as new bookings. The MT940 format is a standard that many banks offer for download.

Under the new bank statement tab, bank statements can now be uploaded for all cash accounts. Using a rule-based learning system, ChurchTools can make better suggestions on how best to post this account transaction with each new MT940 file.

So that ChurchTools can quickly assign new MT940 files to the correct account, the respective IBAN is stored in the master data for the account. Here you could also correct it or enter it manually.

When uploading a new file, ChurchTools asks for some information. For example, one can change the name so that these movements can be assigned more quickly later. But the account must also be selected (for later imports, the correct account is preselected on the basis of the IBAN) and the document number can also be specified using placeholders.

A list of all imported movements is now available. A colour system makes it easy to see which movements have already been booked (green), which have been ignored (red) or are still pending (yellow). If all the necessary fields for a valid booking are filled in, you can add this movement to the booking journal as a booking, e.g. via the blue button with the tick.

The white upper area shows the information of the account transaction. The lower grey area shows the resulting entry. Each piece of information can of course be changed/corrected before posting.

Some information is suggested by ChurchTools. These are shown in purple. An estimate of how “correct” the information is is shown by a percentage when you move the mouse over this field. ChurchTools learns with every booking and every import. For example, donations should be recognised better over time and ChurchTools can also suggest donors more reliably.

However, the system can be expanded at any time using your own rules. For example, keywords can be recognised in the purpose of use and automatically assigned to cost centres or contra accounts. An example of use would be camps, for which project numbers should be specified in the purpose of use.

Search and find people faster

People are, after all, a central part of a ChurchTools installation. Whether it is a large or small congregation, finding the right person is important and finding them quickly is desirable. Therefore, we have taken another look at the topic of people search and have been able to speed it up. Especially for installations with many people (1000 people and more) this should be noticeable.

ChurchTools REST API

A few times we have already mentioned the REST API here on the blog. This is a programming interface that allows other programs to communicate with ChurchTools. For people who are good at programming, this offers endless possibilities. In our knowledge base we have already written a lot of information about the API and how to use it.

With version 3.88 we have improved many noticeable things in the API and the API documentation and in the admin settings you can find a separate section under integrations that promotes the API and shows the link to the documentation.

If we got your attention, and you would like to exchange experiences or ideas, we recommend our forum. In the category ChurchTools Interfaces you can exchange ideas with like-minded people.

Further changes

If this is not enough for you, you will find all changes of this and earlier versions in our Changelog.

We hope you like the new version as much as we do. As always, you may leave praise and criticism in our forum.