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Application Design help

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    Application Design help

    I have an application for a process serving company. After the user posts records that have been completed, they can print invoices by printing an invoice for the currently displayed record (which prints a pre-defined report) or they can print an invoice by query in the event they may have several records for the same bill-to. This application has been sufficient for the past several years.

    My problem is that the database currently isn�t set up to track the invoices. It prints two copies of the invoice, one to mail out and the other to file for tracking. After the user prints all of the invoices manually I have a button on the form that appends all of the completed records to a history database and removes them from the current database.

    Now the customer wants to have Alpha 5 track the invoices. I�m not exactly sure where to start to accomplish this. My initial thought is to create a new table with all of the invoice information and have it appended to after the user prints the invoice. Does this sound reasonable or does someone have a better direction to consider?

    Thanks alot�

    RE: Application Design help


    I'm not A5 expert enough to advise the pros & cons of posting to another table or simply leaving it in the same table. But, my preference would be to leave it in the same table since A5 is essentially only limited by the size of the hard drive. I've seen others talk about tables containing thousands of records and searches are pretty fast as noted by the search time on this msge board with almost 24,000 records. It would be easier and the less structure, the less that can go wrong.

    If I'm too far off on this, someone will correct me, I'm sure.

    TYVM :) kenn

    Knowing what you can achieve will not become reality until you imagine and explore.


      RE: Application Design help

      Hi Tim:

      I guess the first question is about your history database. Can you use that?

      I have a module repair database. After the items are shipped out, the information from the packing slip is appended over to a current action invoice table. From there the child invoice information is appended over to a AR invoice file. The current action invoice data is zapped at the end of each business day. The AR invoice database is then reconstructed in two different sets for history purposes.

      The first set has all the information about the orginal invoice. This way if the customer calls about a question, we can track by RMA number, Invoice Number, or Customer Name.

      The second set is constructed based on the customer ID. In this manner we can look up the customer and see a complete list of every type of work we have done with them, and the total $ amount they spend with us.

      I don't know if this helps but it sounds like you have the start of what you need. Your history table seems like a good start. Just look at that and see if it has all the needed information.

      Then add a field or two to track payments. Amount paid, balance due, etc.

      Good luck:

      Dan Blank builds Databases
      Skype: danblank


        RE: Application Design help

        Hey Dan,

        Happy 4th

        Would you please clue me in on the advantage of setting up a system as you have done. I most certainly need to be enlightened.


        TYVM :) kenn

        Knowing what you can achieve will not become reality until you imagine and explore.


          RE: Application Design help

          Tim, permit me to muse...

          Sounds as though your client delivers a service, then sends an invoice for payment, then receives a payment, then considers the transaction closed. They're probably looking for a way to re-bill accounts that have already been sent an invoice, right? Or maybe they want to print a report once a month to show the open accounts, subtotalled by customer? Or maybe they want to stop delivering service for a customer if their receivable balance is getting too large?

          A table used to record the details of each outgoing invoice could be used to show which customers were billed and for what... but would not help them track payments or do the re-bills.

          If they want to track payments as well as invoices, you might consider another table say a 'payment transaction table'. As payments are received they could be recorded here, and simultaneously posted to the invoice record and also to a running balance field in the customer record. In such a system, when new invoices are generated the running balance field in the customer record would have to be increased by a posting operation, too. So the running balance goes up when new invoices are sent, and goes down when the customer makes payments.

          Company wide list of open account balances could then be pulled straight from the customer record table. In fact, the sales folks could see the current running balance amount on screen as they take new orders... if the balance is too high, maybe they stop working until a payment is sent in...

          To me the key to a successful response to your client's inquiry is to find out all you can about what they mean when they tell you they want to 'track our invoices' better.

          Good luck.

          -- tom


            RE: Application Design help

            This is exactly what they want but I haven't found an easy way to do it (yet). As someone earlier suggested, I've considered adding invoice information to the history database that already gets updated after each invoice is printed. I just haven't figured out how to do it yet.

            Currently, after they have posted a record as being completed, it is set up to print an invoice for that record (by printing a predefined report). This report has an invoice field that autoincrements. Is it possible to have this invoice number, the invoice date, invoice total etc to append to the history table as well? Could I also then allow posting of paid invoices to this same history table?

            Decisions, decisions.

            Thanks for all the suggestions


              RE: Application Design help

              FWIW; I do a similar thing tracking my optometric practice. Each sale is a transaction (parent) and each charge and payment, the children. A transaction can have a charge, a payment, or both. If a payment is made against a previous charge, it is a separate transaction but applied to the previous charge. A little X-basic applies the payement to the specific charge and to the customer balance.

              Doing it this way allows a report of today's transactions will list all sales and all payments for the current day. A statement can list all open charges and all payments applied to each charge. A ledger can be developed to list all charges and payments on a particular account. I use the auto-increment field rule to number the transactions and use this number to link to the children.

              The disadvantage is that I keep all records in the active file so searching slows as you add transactions. I'm working on a new app to move fully paid transactions to archive tables at the end of each year, keeping only the open ones in the active tables. I don't have a tremendous number of records yet, so the performance hit hasn't gotten serious.