Configuring the EFT file for your bank can be a frustrating process, but it doesn’t have to be so. Below are some important things to keep in mind before setting up your EFT file.
What You Are Doing and Why
In order to prevent check fraud, ERP systems can create files that essentially act as a backup verification system for banks to verify the authenticity of checks before they are presented for payment. EFT files are specifically formatted to be fed into the bank’s computer systems. With EFT files banks can run the listed checks against open checks before they’re cashed.
There is no default EFT format and every bank is different. You will need to contact your bank to get the specific file requirements. Microsoft Dynamics GP has some default formats, but most likely you will need to modify these. To ensure everything is set up correctly, you can send your bank a copy of your test file before processing and sending the actual EFT file.
Structure of the EFT files
Understanding the different lines in the EFT file is essential for getting started with EFT. While every bank is different, there are a number of standard record lines:
File Header Record: This line indicates the main information such as the name of the bank, the company and the routing number. The only thing that changes in this line is the date information.
Company/Batch Header Record: This line indicates the batch rules and batch information.
Detail Record: This is the line that contains all of the check information.
Company/Batch Control: This line is used for totaling up the batch information.
Addenda: This line is to indicate addenda type (such as PPD) and other payment related information.
File Control: This line is for totaling up all information in all batches. The totals will be the same as the batch control line if there is only one batch.
Your bank might require additional lines, but the list above covers the basic EFT structure.
Using Constants in Microsoft Dynamics GP
Microsoft Dynamics GP makes it fairly easy to input data, but at times it can get confusing to figure out where the file data is feeding from. Thankfully, a lot of the information feeding the EFT file is static, allowing you to set it as a constant feeding directly into the EFT file format. By default, the information will feed from the checkbook record or elsewhere, but Dynamics GP allows you to change the static information to “Constant”. If the information is dynamic (such as the check information), it will need to be fed from the record itself.
Also, be aware of whether or not you intend to include more than one batch in the file. Many companies simply import all of the checks into one batch. This makes setup easier because you can simply put a constant (000001) in all of the batch number positions. The EFT configurator can sometimes have an issue calculating the batch count, so adding only one batch is preferable if possible.
Be Careful when Adding Records
Be aware that when you add spaces to a specific piece of information, you will move all of the spaces after it. Make sure that you plan out any changes that you make to space lengths or delete extra spaces. There is usually a fixed length set for each line so keep in mind that you must adhere to these limits. We’ll show you how to keep track of line spacing a little further down.
The Easy Way to Test Your Dynamics GP EFT File
Ideally, you will have access to a test environment and be able to post dummy transactions to see what the EFT file looks like when generated. Be aware that once a posted check is sent to the EFT file, it cannot be used for testing again.
To test the file you will need to create a check and a check batch for each file export. To create the check itself, go to Purchasing – Transactions – Transaction Entry.
Choose “Invoice” in the Document Type drop-down and fill out all of the information shown below. Make sure that the Vendor record you choose has the EFT information filled out. All information fields need to be filled in. When you tick off of the check amount, another window will pop up.
Choose the correct Checkbook ID for the bank and then press “OK” and “Post”.
Next, you will need to create the EFT batch. To get to the Edit Check Batch window, go to Purchasing – Transactions – Edit Check Batch. Type in a new name in the Batch ID field and then click on “Add Batch”.
Make sure that the batch is an EFT batch and then choose the Checkbook ID for your bank.
Back at the Edit Check Batch screen, choose the correct check for the batch.
Note that if you try to select a check the following message pops up. You will need to go into the Vendor record and update the region information.
In the vendor record, click on the “Remit To” button.
Click on “EFT Bank“.
Choose “United States” (assuming you’re in the US) in the Bank Country/Region field. Press “OK” and then save the vendor record. You can now process the batch as normal.
Once the check batch is processed, go to Purchasing – Transactions – Generate EFT File. Select the batch and click “Generate EFT File” to send it to the predetermined file location.
Measuring Distance in Notepad
When the EFT file is generated it will create a .txt file. If the file is not sent to Notepad automatically, copy and paste the information into a Notepad file. When configuring the EFT format, you will need to make changes to specific sections of the different records (like spaces 40-43) and you will need to verify the output for these specific spaces. If you use Word or another format, you will need to manually count out the positions of the spaces for each line to edit them.
To more easily find your mistakes, paste the below two lines of text above each output line so that you can verify that everything matches how they are listed in the specifications from your bank.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
After you add it to all of the lines in Notepad, the file should look like this:
The 1-10 on the second row indicates the tens digit and the top row signifies the ones digit. For example, the 8 on the bottom row below corresponds to space 75.
The “Import/Export” Button
After you are satisfied with what you have tested, click the “Import/Export” feature in the EFT File Format Maintenance window.
Please make sure that there is an export format location for the test company and an import format location for the production company. To edit these, click on the yellow folder and select a file location.
Export the file format and save it in a known location. Then log into the production company and import it using the same window, and you should be good to go.
Please contact FMT Consultants if you have questions or would like additional information.