SECTION 0 - GETTING STARTED
Now that you have received your copy of HiFinance, what do you do? How do you operate this accounting system? How do you load the programs? How do you set the operation of the system to suit your company? This section discuses these topics and helps with the smooth installation of HiFinance.
It is beyond the scope of this manual to introduce a novice user to the basic operations of a computer or accountancy. It is assumed that your dealer has already shown you how to operate your computer, how to get around the keyboard and the basic fundamentals of MS-DOS and Windows. If not, you will have to read your MS-DOS or Windows manual. Also, there are several excellent texts and programs that teach a novice user basic computer literacy.
In writing this section it has been assumed that your company name has been installed into your copy of the programs. If this has not been done, please contact your dealer. We also assume that there is enough room on your hard disk to accommodate the programs. If your hard disk is not DRIVE C:, then replace C: with the appropriate letter. On most networked systems, HiFinance is installed in DRIVE H:. This can either be a named drive or a defined path. It is usually more convenient to name the drive H: using one of the tools available within Windows. In this manual, we will assume DRIVE H:.
HiFinance is not “shrink-wrap” software. The programs are normally installed by Horizon Information Systems, or one of their agents. There is normally no installation disk. There are, however, some parameters that can be adjusted in the operating system. These are operating system dependant. Differences between various version of Windows demand certain settings need to be made in some that are automatic in others.
First Step: READ THIS SECTION RIGHT THROUGH !!!
INSTALLING ON MS-WINDOWS
One machine in your network will be the HiFinance Server. Normally all paths lead to a drive H: on this machine. It is possible to make every machine see the main directory of the server as H:, even the server itself. This will make installation much simpler. Drive H: may, though, be a shared directory on the server, as long as is accessible to all users.
All system and language programs are setup in a directory called BASE. This is normally a sub-directory off the main drive or H:. Similarly, all HiFinance programs and scripts are in a directory called HF5PROG. All data files are in HF5DATA. Each company is setup in a sub-directory within HF5DATA. The naming convention for company directories is often COMP1 for the first company, etc. or an abbreviation of the actual company name, eg HIS for Horizon Information Systems. Each user, is creates a sub-directory under the company sub-directory. Their temporary and control files are placed there. Eg. Arthur working in Horizon Information Systems would have a working directory H:\HF5DATA\HIS\ARTHUR .
When the loading process is complete you will have to check that certain parameters are correctly set on your computer. Although the old versions of Windows are not often found, to run, HiFinance on MS-DOS or MS-WINDOWS 3.X or WINDOWS95, you must have enough buffer and file space. Make sure that your CONFIG.SYS contains the lines:
If you are using Windows XP, or above, you may, or may not, have to set these parameters. Windows 2003 server and above usually requires the parameters to be set. However, with these versions of Windows, the parameters must be set in a special file: C:\WINDOWS\system32\CONFIG.NT. Here you have to add the following lines, to the bottom of the file:
The only really important line is the last one, and sometimes these lines already exist. It is a matter of checking the exact version, and release date, of your copy of Windows.
In older versions of Windows, if your computer has several parameters set by other programs, eg. CD-ROM drivers, you might find that HiFinance will start with one or more messages stating that you are out of string space. This is rare, unless you have many other background processes that you have installed, but if this happens, add the following line into the CONFIG.SYS (or CONFIG.NT – see above):
SHELL=C:\COMMAND.COM C:\ /E:1024 /P
Please remember that if you change the CONFIG.SYS file, you will need to reboot your computer to affect the changes.
Note that this is rare in later versions of Windows as the “string space” is allocated dynamically.
If the number of FILES allocated is not set to at least 40, the results will be unpredictable. See also the comments in SECTION 000 regarding the number of file buffers.
NOTE: If you are running on Windows 98, XP or WIN10 or above, most of the configuration is dynamically handled by the operating system, so the CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT normally do not need modification.
The GO.BAT program starts HiFinance. As part of the initialisation, the program path set to include the program directories (i.e. \HF5PROG and \COBOL\EXEDLL or \BASE etc.). If you are using HiFinance in a purely DOS mode, move these to your AUTOEXEC.BAT, otherwise restarting GO.BAT repeatedly will cause your computer to run out of string space. If you are starting HiFinance from a shortcut, this is not an issue.
The standard GO.BAT is setup to run from DRIVE H:. This is consistent when running multi-terminal installations. To make HiFinance run on multi-terminals, you must define the server (the computer with the programs and data) as a drive. You should also define the server back to itself, as DRIVE H: if you wish to use it as a terminal. The procedure for doing this is different for different versions of Windows. Please refer to your dealer for instructions.
From a DOS window:
Open a DOS window. In Win98 or lower, use START/PROGRAMS/MS-DOS. In WIN-ME or WIN-2000 and above, use START/PROGRAMS/ACCESSORIES/MS-DOS or START/PROGRAMS/ACCESSORIES/COMMAND. You can also use START/RUN/COMMAND but this can bring in one of several shells. The previous options always bring in the correct one.
To start HiFinance, firstly make sure that you are in the correct directory. The installation routine will have left you in the HF5PROG directory, which is the correct starting directory for a single-user installation. If you have had to re-boot your system, or are for any other reason not in the correct directory, type the following instruction from the DOS prompt.
CD \HF5PROG <Enter>
This will cause MS-DOS to change to the correct directory.
GO STARTHF5 COMP1 USER01 <Enter>
This will initiate the OPTIONS MENU, which is described below.
It is possible to automate the function just described, by adding the two lines to the end of your AUTOEXEC.BAT file.
For installations on Windows 95 or above, HiFinance is normally setup and started via icons on the desktop. Typically, the shortcut should contain the command \HF5PROG\GO.BAT STARTHF5 COMP1 USER01, where COMP1 is replaced by your actual installation’s directory and USER01 is a unique name for each user.
To start HiFinance, click on the Desktop Icon.
The first thing that your computer will display is the USER-CODE entry routine. This function enables HiFinance to identify you and initiate your screen, printer and path attributes. The USER-CODE is a string of up to 10 characters. It is usually your name, or the name of your department. If you have just received your copy of HiFinance, the only user code available will be SUPERVISOR. This must be entered in upper-case characters unless your site has been installed with special option that ignores case in passwords. This is option must be specified when HiFinance is initiated and cannot be changed without reference to Horizon Information Systems.
Type the word SUPERVISOR in the space provided and press <Enter>.
If you misspell the USER-CODE HiFinance will display an error at the bottom of the screen. In this case, press <ESC> and re-enter your code.
Having entered a valid USER-CODE, you will be asked for a PASSWORD. This is a string of up to 8 characters. It is specific for your USER-CODE. The USER-CODE and PASSWORD are a pair and must be both entered before HiFinance will allow you access to any functions.
THE SUPERVISOR’S PASSWORD
The SUPERVISOR’s password is normally kept secret and is only known by a limited number of key personnel. To install HiFinance you will need to know it. This information is available from your dealer.
The SUPERVISOR’s password is a very important piece of information. It is recommended that you change the SUPERVISOR's password to a new one that only your key personnel know, but don't loose it. Changing passwords is described in SECTION 7.1.4 of this manual.
The SUPERVISOR is the master user. This USER-CODE allows access to all facilities within HiFinance. For security reasons, it is normal to create a USER-CODE for each person who has permission to use the system. Each user has a separate PASSWORD. Each user can change their PASSWORD and should do so on a regular basis. The SUPERVISOR may change any PASSWORD as well as assigning and disabling USER-CODES. If a user forgets their PASSWORD, the SUPERVISOR can assign a new one for them. If you forget the SUPERVISOR's PASSWORD, you will need to contact your dealer for instructions. There is no simple way to assign a new PASSWORD to the SUPERVISOR unless you know the current one. Make sure that you keep the SUPERVISOR’s PASSWORD in a safe place.
ENTERING THE DATE
Having successfully entered a PASSWORD, the screen will clear and display a date. This will normally be today's date, but if your computer is not set correctly, or you wish to change the date. Enter the new date or, simply type over the day portion of the date. In either case, press <F10> to continue. (Entering the date is further described in SECTION 7.4.) The date may be entered in a number if formats and can be made to display in a number of formats. For further details see the GENERAL POINTS ON DATE ENTRY further down in this section.
The date normally defaults to the computer’s date and in most installations, it is not specifically asked for at startup. This can be changed by the SYSTEM DEFAULTS, as described below.
THE MAIN MENU
HiFinance will now display the MAIN MENU as follows:
There is normally a logo in the centre of the screen. This is either the default logo or a customised one created for your company.
The MAIN MENU is the top of what can be imagined as an inverted tree. It leads to other menus, eg. DEBTORS, CREDITORS, etc. These are fully described in their respective sections. For installation purposes, we will mainly be looking at the UTILITIES MENU. The options are printed on the bottom of the screen, eg. DEBTORS, for Debtors, CREDITORS, for Creditors, GEN.LEDGER, for General Ledger, etc. To move around the menu structure in HiFinance, it is only necessary to press the number next to the option you wish to activate. To move to a specific branch of the menu you can press the corresponding function key, eg. to move directly to the Debtor branch, you can press <F1>. This is further described later in this section. For the present we will not refer to function keys on the MAIN MENU.
THE UTILITIES MENU
Press the number 7 or <F7>. (No <Enter> is needed.)
(If you are reading this manual without using your screen at this point please turn to SECTION 7 of this manual. The current section refers to various sections from 7 onwards and it is worth skimming through them before proceeding.)
The screen will change to display the UTILITIES MENU. This will be displayed in the middle of the top of your screen. In fact, HiFinance always shows you what is happening by displaying the program or menu option on the top of the screen.
ENTERING YOUR COMPANY’S DETAILS
From the UTILITIES MENU press the number 1.
The screen will now display the SYSTEM MENU. It is here that you will set-up certain options that will make HiFinance work smoothly in your company.
You should now be in the COMPANY DETAILS option. This is where you enter the address of your company’s as you would like it to appear on receipts, statements, etc. There is also space for an overall comment. This is for your statements. Whatever you enter in this space will be displayed on the bottom of each invoice. It may read “Payment required within 7 Days” or anything else you desire. The width of each field is defined by the square brackets. To move to the next field, press <Enter>, <CsrDn> or <Tab>. To return to a previous field press <BackTab> or <CsrUp>. If you press <ESC> at any time, the SYSTEM MENU will reappear but no update will have occurred. If you have a mouse attached to your terminal, and HiFinance recognises it, a rectangular block will appear showing the current mouse position. To move the cursor using the mouse, move the mouse pointer to the desired point and press the left button once. Note that it is only possible to move the cursor to valid input fields. If you press the mouse button when the pointer is not on a valid input field, the computer will beep and the cursor will not move.
To finish off this screen press <F10> or press <Enter> past the last input field. At the bottom of the screen, you will be asked:
OK TO UPDATE? (Y+/N-)
This prompt may be answered will a Y or y or + if you are happy with the information that you have just entered or a N or n or -, if you are not. The COMPANY DETAILS function is further explained in SECTION 7.1.1.
After exiting from the COMPANY DETAILS function (using <ESC>), HiFinance will return you to the SYSTEM MENU.
SETTING THE SYSTEM DEFAULTS
From the SYSTEM MENU Press 2
The appropriate program will load into the computer's memory and a number of questions will appear. A full explanation of each question is given in SECTION 7.1.2. Please take the time to look through that section before proceeding. If you have any problems with these options, leave them and try to put through a few transactions. Then, if there is something that you do not like, or do not need, return to this function to rectify the situation. If you still have problems, contact your dealer.
The SET SYSTEM DEFAULTS screen will not end at the bottom of the page. It will, in fact, go to a second page when you press <Enter> on the last question. There are several pages of questions and it is possible to move through the pages by either using the <PageUp>, <PageDn> keys or by pressing the corresponding function key. The program will not however let you leave a screen unless you have answered each field with a valid response. After you have completed the last page, <F10> is available for you to instruct the computer to save your changes. After pressing <F10>, HiFinance will respond with the question
OK TO UPDATE?
To actually force HiFinance to update its files, you must answer this question. If you press <ESC> at any time, HiFinance will return you to the SYSTEM MENU without updating its control files.
Return now to the SYSTEM MENU by pressing <ESC> or completing the questions and pressing <F10> to update.
If you wish to establish new USER-CODES (other than SUPERVISOR, which you are currently logged-in as) press 4. For full details regarding this function, refer to SECTION 7.1.4. When you have finished entering USER-CODES, press <ESC> to return to the SYSTEM MENU.
SETTING-UP YOUR PRINTERS
You should now be back in the SYSTEM MENU.
This will change the screen to display the CONFIGURE PRINTERS MENU. This function is discussed fully in SECTIONS 7.1.5. You will only need to enter this option if you have an unusual printer type. Most printers commonly available in Australia are pre-defined in the system.
From the SYSTEM MENU press 3 and then 1.
This function allows you to assign your local printers. The function is fully described in SECTION 22.214.171.124. If you have multiple printers attached to your system, you might wish to assign different functions to different printers, eg. Cheques might be printed on a different printer to the reports printer. This function allows you to do this. If you only have one printer, you will probably not need to adjust anything here.
CHANGING COLOURS & GRAPHICS
HiFinance comes with a default colours scheme. If you wish to change the colours HiFinance uses on your screen, you can enter the COLOURS & GRAPHICS option by pressing 2 from the USER DEFAULTS MENU. This is fully described in SECTION 126.96.36.199.
Unless directed by your dealer, do not attempt to enter or change any information in the CHANGE PATHS function.
When you start HiFinance for the first time, you will be asked for the directories used by your installation. If you rearrange your disk, you might need to change some of the directory pointers here. Otherwise, leave this screen alone as a setting the parameters incorrectly will stop HiFinance from functioning.
As you have not yet started to print, the last function, PRINT MANAGER, is not relevant at this point. This function is, however, fully described in SECTION 7.1.8.
By now you should have set-up the address of your practice; the screens, printers and any passwords. Before commencing work on HiFinance it is still necessary to set-up the Debtor, Creditor and Inventory Groups, etc.
If you are still in the SYSTEM MENU, press <ESC> to go back to the UTILITIES MENU and press 2 for TABLES.
CREATING LOOK-UP TABLES
From the UTILITIES MENU we will create the DEBTOR GROUPS, CREDITOR GROUPS, INVENTORY GROUPS, etc.
Press 2. (Tables)
The screen will now ask which table you wish to update. By pressing a number from 1 to 8, you can enter the maintenance options for any of the tables. A full explanation of this area can be found in SECTION 7.2. onwards. You might decide to leave this section for later but it should be noted that it is imperative that you follow these sections at some stage as it is not possible to add a Debtor until there is at least one Debtor Groups. Similarly for Creditors, etc.
If you press <ESC> in the UTILITIES MENU, HiFinance will return you to the MAIN MENU.
SETTING-UP YOUR BANK ACCOUNTS
From the TABLES MENU, press 6. You should now be in DEPOSIT SLIP DETAILS. You only need to update the fields here it you intend to print Bank Deposit Slips. This is fully discussed in SECTION 7.2.6.
Because you have probably spent the best part of an hour entering information, you should NOW protect yourself by performing a BACK-UP of your data files. Your dealer should already have explained the importance of the BACK-UP but as it is so essential we will reiterate: -
BACK-UP IS A SECURITY PROCEDURE THAT COPIES THE INFORMATION ON YOUR SYSTEM TO ANOTHER SET OF DISKS OR TAPES. HAVING A CURRENT BACK-UP OF YOUR INFORMATION ENSURES THAT NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS TO YOUR SYSTEM YOUR VALUABLE DATA WILL NEVER BE TOTALLY LOST. WE CANNOT STRESS TOO STRONGLY THE IMPORTANCE OF MAINTAINING FREQUENT BACK-UPS OF YOUR SYSTEM.
The procedure for this depends on the kind, and configuration, of computer you have. If you do not already know how to make a BACK-UP, it is extremely important that you ring your dealer, NOW and find out.
To use the BACK-UP facilities supplied with HiFinance you simply need to exit from HiFinance by pressing <F10>. This will return you to the OPTIONS MENU. From here, choose the option BACK-UP TO FLOPPY DISK (3). This will give you a permanent BACK-UP of the data you have entered to date. If you are using some other backup facility, eg tape, now is a good time to try it out.
HiFinance is now set for use. If you have managed to get this far, you should have a fair feel for the way HiFinance functions. From here on, it is simply a matter of adding DEBTORS, INVENTORY, CREDITORS and/or GENERAL LEDGER ACCOUNTS as needed. The method for doing this is described in SECTIONS 1, 2, 3 and 6 of this manual, respectively.
Remember: DEBTOR TRANSACTIONS cannot proceed before you add some DEBTORS and some DEBTOR GROUPS, etc. Similarly, CREDITOR PURCHASING cannot proceed before you enter some CREDITORS. Read the sections relating to these functions and you can start processing.
GENERAL COMMENTS ON HIFINANCE SCREEN FORMATS
All screens in HiFinance have a banner on the top line that consists of your practice name; followed by the process or menu option effective; your currently logged-in user-code in brackets and finally the current date. HiFinance uses lines 3 to 23. These lines are enclosed in a box or frame, which might also have a sub-function embedded in the top line. This framed portion of the screen is your data-entry area. Here, information is displayed and you may add or modify information where appropriate. The last line on the screen is reserved for the display of function keys, error messages and update/cancel questions. When available the mouse prompt will appear as a reverse coloured block. (The mouse is normally not functional in Windows unless you run the program in full screen or use the “exclusive” mode.) The mouse may be used to move the cursor to an input field during update programs and may be used to scroll the screen in display and enquiry programs. Whenever the function keys are displayed, <sF12> is available for the display of help. This help is a single screen describing the current function and the options available. <sF12> is activated by pressing the <F12> key while pressing the <Shift> key.
The primary menu requires you to press a number from 1 to 7, or the corresponding function key, to start a branch, eg <F1> enters the DEBTOR branch. From here you can refine your choice. The available sub-branches are displayed on line 3. Choose a function by pressing a number. The options are normally ENQRY for enquiries, MAINT for maintenance, TRANS for transaction entry, RPRTS for reports, UTILS for utilities. Some branches have different options, eg the Utilities branch. Unless, there is only one option, pressing a number here will open a pull-down menu box. There are never more than 9 options on any menu box so that single key entry is possible. Wherever possible, if a single character answer is required, the computer will respond as soon as the answer is entered (with no <Enter> required). You can also move up and down a box by using the cursor keys. Moving left and right is also possible. By the use of cursors and numbers, you can quickly move to the function you require. This function will immediately initiate a program that will have its own screen structure. When this program finishes, you will be retuned to the same position on the menu you just left from. To restart a program you thus just have to press <Enter>.
Normally, every screen has the facility to enter help, mail the phone directory and calculator functions. Help is available via <sF12> as described above. Mail, Phone and Calculator are available through <sF9> and <sF9> and <sF11>, respectively. In the MAIN MENU, Mail and Phone are available via <F8> and <F9>, only. Accessing Calculator by this method brings up a temporary version that does not store the result. Some programs offer <F9> where appropriate to allow you to bring up Calculator in a format that stores the result in the current input field when you escape. When this option is available, <F9> is labelled CALC. (One point that should be mentioned here is that on Windows Keyboards, Windows sends a <sF8> when you press the Windows Key. There appears to be no way of stopping this behaviour. It is normally not an issue.)
In most programs it is possible to press <sF1> though <sF7> to shell directly to the MAIN MENU. This will place you in the menu branch 1 to 7 respectively. <sF10> will place you at the top of the MAIN MENU. You can the start a different program leaving the old one on hold. When you leave the second program, the first will re-appear exactly where it was when you left. While the second program is running, a reminder appears at the bottom of the screen. This will take the form of X Task(s) pending. You can stack programs in this way as far as memory allows, however 3 is about the practical limit.
When you have mail sent to you, the words Message Pending will appear at the bottom of the screen. To read your mail, press <sF8> as described above.
<ESC> is used extensively throughout HiFinance. In general, <ESC> will return you to the last place you were, before you entered the current screen or function. <ESC> can be either an abort instruction (in operations such as reports) or an exit instruction, eg. in menus, but it should always lead you to a logical point. If the screen you are looking at is the first one in the program, <ESC> will of course cancel the program and return you to the MAIN MENU.
In general, within programs, pressing <F10> will cause the current screen to be accepted and processed. Where a single line of input is required, or at the bottom of a group of input fields, usually <Enter> will also be accepted as the update key. <F10> is hence becomes a quick way to exit from a complicated screen if there are no more lines you wish to enter. <F10> and <Enter> are also equivalent in search screens. Both will accept the current line and insert it into the main program. For further information regarding search screens, see SECTION 1.1.
The menu programs allow a special short-cut method of jumping from one major branch of the MAIN MENU to another. Function keys are displayed at the bottom of the screen. Each major branch, ie each option on the MAIN MENU is represented by a function from <F1> onwards, eg. <F1> for DEBTORS, <F2> for CREDITORS, etc. If you press a valid function key, the MAIN MENU will immediately skip to the top of the branch you have chosen. An example of this facility is when you have just returned to the menu program from entering a receipt and wish to go to the GENERAL LEDGER MENU. You could press <ESC> three times and then 6 or you can more simply press <F6> once to achieve the same result. New users, not familiar with the layout of the MAIN MENU will prefer to use the longer method, however, experienced users can save many keystrokes by using the short-cut method.
The data-entry frame, mentioned above, is broken near its lower-right-hand-corner. Usually, Ovr is displayed. This denotes that the screen is accepting data in the over-write mode. Any character typed will over-write the current character displayed above the cursor. If you press the <Insert> key, data-entry will change to insert mode. Now the letters Ins will be displayed, and any character entered will be inserted at the current cursor position. When the current field is expecting numbers only and is greater than one character long, the prompt may disappear altogether, as it is usually inappropriate. Note that the delete key functions differently depending on whether you are in insert or over-write mode. Entering a character at the beginning of a field normally clears the field to either blank for alphanumeric fields or zero for numeric fields. If this is not what you want, move around the field with the cursor keys first. This will automatically put you into an edit mode.
<ESC> is not available in the top level of the MAIN MENU, where only <F10> will allow you to exit from HiFinance completely. The reason for this is simple: since most keyboards have an automatic repeat function unbuilt, if <ESC> worked all the time, you could find yourself outside of HiFinance very quickly by holding your finger on the <ESC> button for a second to long.
<ESC> is also not available when a YES/NO answer is required as in OK TO UPDATE? (Y+/N-). In this case, <ESC> or <Enter> will just take the default answer, if one is displayed.
Every time HiFinance asks for a YES/NO answer, it will display the prompt (Y+/N-). This is to remind you that Y, y, and + are equivalent answers. Similarly, N, n, and - are also equivalent. Usually the + and - are on the extreme right of the keyboard making them easier to get to than Y and N when you are using the numeric keypad. Normally, only a single character is required to indicate YES or NO. However, there are exceptions. If your answer will result in a major update to the system, or the removal of a file, eg. End-of-Year processing, then you are asked to enter YES or yes, in full. In this case, the only other possible response is NO.
If you are using a colour monitor with HiFinance, you will notice that the banners are yellow on blue; boxes and frames are yellow; all fields that are displayed by HiFinance as headings are shown in green and fields that you enter are normally in blue. Instructions from HiFinance are in white; warnings displayed in yellow and errors are displayed in red. These colours may be changed if desired, see SECTION 188.8.131.52.
FUNCTIONS AND TERMS USED WITHIN HIFINANCE.
Within HiFinance, accounting periods are defined in the calendar (see SECTION 7.1.6). These are normally defined by months and in accordance with standard Australian accounting practices, period 1 is July. However, you can override this by manually entering the end of period dates. There are 27 periods. 12 for last-year, 12 for this-year and 3 for next-year.
In all cases:
PTD refers to Period-to-Date. This corresponds to the current accounting period, which is usually one month.
YTD refers to Year-to-Date. This corresponds to the current accounting year that is usually the year starting from June 1.
LY refers to Last-Year. This refers to what would have been Year-to-date last year (see above). Last year periods are always closed, that is, they cannot be posted to.
NY refers to Next-Year. This refers to what will be this year after you have run an END-OF-YEAR. Next year periods are always open. They are provide as a buffer for you to continue processing without forcing an END-OF-YEAR before all Creditor and General Ledger processing is complete.
<CR> and <Enter> refers to Carriage Return or Enter. These terms are interchangeable.
<F1> to <F10> refer to function keys 1 to 10
<sF1> to <sF12> refer to the function keys 1 to 10 while the shift key is pressed. <sF12> is normally used for the on-screen help function.
<ESC> refers to the Escape Key
<PageUp> refers to the Page-up key
<PageDn> refers to the Page-down key
<Ins> means insert mode
<Ovr> means over-type mode
<Home> refers to the Home key
<End> refers to the End key
<CsrUp> refers to the Cursor Up key, usually marked by an arrow pointing up.
<CsrDn> refers to the Cursor Down key, usually marked by an arrow pointing down.
<CsrLeft> refers to the Cursor Left key, usually marked by an arrow pointing left.
<CsrRight> refers to the Cursor Right key, usually marked by an arrow pointing right.
<Tab> refers to the Tab Key. It acts similar to <CsrDn>.
<BackTab> refers to the Back-Tab Key. It acts similar to <CsrUp>.
ASCII is an acronym, which stands for American Standard Code for Information Interchange. This is a standard way of encoding characters when sending files between programs. Virtually all computer programs accept this encoding. Although it is referred to as ASCII, most files are actually exported in a simplified CSV format. (This is also an acronym which stands for Comma Separated Values.) When exporting from or importing files to HiFinance (except for special exceptions) HiFinance assumes that the fields will be separated by a single comma and will not contain any imbedded commas. Thus, numeric fields should not be presented to HiFinance as, 123,456.78. They should always be in the format 123456.78. If you do not remove the commas from numeric fields, programs like Excel will surround the field with quotation symbols and this will not be interpreted correctly. Also, HiFinance will see 123,456,78 as two fields, namely 123 and 456.78. Quotes should be avoided in general (even in alphanumeric fields) because, although HiFinance will store them correctly, many other programs will not parse the output. If you are exporting from Excel, make sure that all numeric fields are comma free and save the file as CSV format. HiFinance will accept negative fields with the sign either leading or trailing. It will not interpret brackets or DB/CR formats, so these should be avoided.
ENQUIRY SCREEN FORMATS
All Enquiries Screens have a similar format. They all use function key extensively.
<F1> or <CsrLeft> moves to the previous record.
<F2> or <CsrRight> moves to the next record.
<F3> prints the master-file information.
<PageDn> is available to move to the next page of information if there is one. If there is only one page of information for this record type, it is usually assigned to the same function as <F1>.
<PageUp> is available to move to the previous page of information if there is one. If there is only one page of information for this record type, it is usually assigned to the same function as <F2>.
<F7> is used to display the transaction details, if there are any.
<F10> is used to update the transaction or master-file details.
<ESC> exits the routine.
DISPLAYING AND PRINTING TRANSACTIONS
Transaction details are associated with several master-files within HiFinance, eg. Debtors, Creditors, General Ledger, etc. When transactions are displayed, a highlight bar appears to show define the current transaction. You can move around the list by either using the cursor controls or by using the mouse. Note that the mouse is only available in DOS based systems where a mouse driver has been installed. In Win9x you might also have to install DOS drivers, but often Windows will do this for you. The screen generally appears as follows:
The above screen is from the General Ledger transaction enquiries. Other enquiry screens are similar. One line is always highlighted with a horizontal bar. This line is displayed in full in the bottom block of information. The area at the right of the screen is normally reserved for any notes you may have attached to the transaction. You may move around the transaction file by clicking with your mouse or you can use the <CsrUp>, <CsrDn>, <PageUp>, <PageDn>, <Home> and <End> keys. There are also several function keys available. Some are sub-system specific and are discussed in the relevant sections. Others are general and are discussed here.
<F1> This option is available in some screens (eg Creditor Enquires). Where available, the function allows you to mask the screen output in defined ways. Usually, it is the THEIR REF field. You can enter a value and HiFinance will redisplay the screen, this time only showing transactions that contain your chosen value. HiFinance checks to make sure that there will be at least one line displayed. If not, it will show an error. To return to the full list, there will be an option (often <F2>) the allows you to clear the mask.
<F3> prints the transaction file. You are usually also asked for a date range to print.
<F8> Allows you to find all the other transactions that have the same transaction audit number. Each time a transaction is initiated, HiFinance will associate a unique transaction number to all the transactions created. <F8> will initiate a program that finds all these transactions (irrespective of which transaction file they are in) and creates a report. In this way, if you have a transaction on the screen, you can find out what else happened at the same time.
<F9> initiates a search. The form of the search depends on the type of file you are displaying.
<Home> moves to the start of the file.
<PageUp> If you are currently highlighting the last transaction on the screen, <PageUp> moves you to the top of the screen. Otherwise, HiFinance will attempt to read one page back through the transaction file. If this is not possible (because you are already displaying the first transaction, there will be a beep. Otherwise, the screen will redisplay, leaving the highlight bar in the same position.
<CsrUp> moves the highlight bar back one transaction.
<CsrDn> moves the highlight bar forward one transaction.
<PageDn> If you are currently highlighting the first transaction on the screen, <PageDn> moves you to the bottom of the screen. Otherwise, HiFinance will attempt to read one page forward through the transaction file. If this is not possible (because you are already displaying the last transaction, there will be a beep. Otherwise, the screen will redisplay, leaving the highlight bar in the same position.
<End> moves the display to the last transaction for the current master-file record.
<ESC> exits the function.
SEARCHING FOR MASTER-FILE RECORDS
HiFinance has many master-files. These files contain the basic information for each file and certain running totals, which may be displayed, or printed, on demand. Master-files include the Debtors, Creditor, Inventory and General Ledger.
Each master-file record is accessed by a unique key. If you know the key, HiFinance will display the record immediately. If you do not know the exact key, HiFinance will usually offer you the ability to search for the record you need. Use <F9> to initiate a search. When searching for a master-file record, the function keys behave similarly to when looking for transactions (see above). The main difference is that to accept a code, you must either press <F10>, <CR> or double-click the mouse.
Every Master-File (Debtors, Creditors, Inventory and General Ledger) has its own ENQUIRY function and MAINTENANCE MENU. The MAINTENANCE MENU always consists of the following:
ADD This is used to add new records, eg. new Debtors.
MODIFY This is used to modify information on existing master-file records, eg. change the name of a customer. These screens do not allow you to change financial data. Financial data is backed up by transactions, which can only be entered via DATA ENTRY menu’s.
DELETE This allows you to delete a record. Eg. you might wish to delete a Debtor who no longer purchases from you. HiFinance will normally refuse to delete a file that has non-zero balances or has transactions.
Each master-file also has a TRANSACTION MENU. Eg. In the case of Creditors, this looks like:
These refer to programs that enter transactions into the system. At the same time as a transaction is entered, the corresponding master-file is updated. In some cases, several master-files are updated.
Each master-file also has a REPORT MENU (sometimes two). From this menu you will be able to initiate reports that collate information and print the results to the printer.
EDITING ALPHA-NUMERIC INFORMATION
When you enter information into HiFinance, the information might be strictly numeric, as in a dollar value, or it can be alphanumeric, as in a name or address. Numeric fields will only accept digits from 0 to 9, the decimal point, and the plus and minus sign. Alphanumeric fields can also accept all letters of the alphabet (in both upper and lower case) spaces and most special characters such as asterisks and brackets. These are stored, as entered.
Several Control keys are available when entering information into alphanumeric fields. These are often a combination of the <Ctrl> key plus a letter. Eg <Ctrl>I is entered by holding down the key marked <Ctrl> and pressing the letter I. In this case, it does not matter if the letter I is entered in upper or lower case.
The main editing functions available are:
Some of the following functions are also applicable to numeric fields.
<Ctrl>A restores the current field to what it was as you entered it. Eg. if a Client's name was Bloggs and you accidentally changed it to Floggs, pressing <Ctrl>A will restore the original name. This works only until you leave the current entry field.
<Ctrl>B This is the same as <CsrUp> or <BackTab>. It returns you to the previous valid entry field.
<Ctrl>F changes the case of the character under the cursor. This means that if the character at the cursor is A and you press <Ctrl>F, the letter will change to a and the cursor will move on one position. Note that this only works with alphabetic characters.
<Ctrl>I This is the same as <CsrDn>, <CR> or <Tab>. It moves you on to the next valid entry field.
<Ctrl>K This is a special KILL command. If you press this key and answer Y or y, HiFinance will terminate. This is a dangerous key to use, as it may not let the programs update the files correctly. Although it is not a recommended function, it is included here for completeness.
<Ctrl>M This is the same as <CsrDn>, <CR> or <Tab>. It moves you on to the next valid entry field.
<Ctrl>O inserts one space, at the current cursor position. The cursor does not move, however all text to the right of the cursor moves one position to the right. This function only works in alphanumeric fields.
<Ctrl>R undeletes one character from the delete buffer, at the current cursor position. The cursor does not move, however all text to the right of the cursor moves one position to the right. This function only works in alphanumeric fields. This function is useful if you have deleted characters from one place and wish to the insert them back into another place. The programs will even allow you to delete and insert from different fields. Once you accept a screen, the delete buffer is cleared and the function does not work.
<Ctrl>X clears the whole line.
<Ctrl>Z clears the line to the right of the cursor and the character the cursor is currently on.
<Ins> toggles the screen between Insert and Over-type mode. In Insert mode, any character you type will insert itself at the current cursor position, moving the other characters one position to the right to make room. Pressing the <Rubout> key will delete one character to the left of the cursor, moving the cursor itself one character to the left, dragging all characters to the right of the cursor with it. Over-type mode, any character you type will replace the character at the current position. Pressing the <Rubout> key (not <CsrRight>) will move the cursor to the right without deleting any characters.
<Del> Deletes the character at the current cursor position and moves all characters to the right of the cursor one position to the left.
<End> positions the cursor at the end of the current field. Pressing <End> a second time moves the cursor to the end of last valid field.
<Home> positions the cursor at the beginning of the first valid field.
MODIFYING HIFINANCE’S ENTRY POINT
HiFinance starts with a batch file called GO.BAT. If this is modified or by-passed, the package may not function correctly at certain times. Normally, a menu system is also supplied with HiFinance. This is the one described at the beginning of this section as the OPTIONS MENU. The OPTIONS MENU is initialised with the instruction HIFMENU followed by <Return>. If you intend to implement a different menu system, be sure to initialise HiFinance through GO.BAT.
Several icons are also supplied with HiFinance in the HF5PROG directory. These all end in .ico and can be used to link the Windows desktop to either the menu programs or GO.BAT.
GENERAL POINTS ON PRINTING
All reports in HiFinance generate to a disk file first. Some reports eg cheques, then print straight away. Usually though, HiFinance will offer you the choice of displaying, printing or saving the report. These functions are programmed into <F1>, <F3> and <F4>, respectively.
Displaying to the screen is often the preferred method of viewing a report. There is no waste of paper and it is fast. The only limitation is the maximum number of characters that can be displayed on a screen. HiFinance displays the first 78 characters of each line and as many lines as will fit after displaying the heading lines. To display the rest of the line, press <CsrRight> and <CsrLeft> to go back. To move through the lines of a report, press <CsrDn> or <PageDn> and <CsrUp> or <PageUp> to return. The page numbers displayed are the screen page numbers and do not correspond to those that would be printed if the report were to be sent to a printer. To exit this function, press <ESC>. It is possible to direct the display to a HTML viewer such as Internet Explorer. To do this, follow the instructions in Section 184.108.40.206.
Printing is the favoured method for long reports that have to be studied, stored or analysed. The actual printer used to print the report depends on the way you have setup the pointers in the ASSIGN LOCAL PRINTERS function (see Section 220.127.116.11). When you press <F4>, the report prints immediately. It is important, therefore to make sure that your printer is switched on and is “on-line”. If not, HiFinance will display the message:
Printer not available - Cancel, Retry or Ignore ?
If you get such a message, correct the fault on the printer and press R. Printing should then start and the message will usually be cleared from the screen. If you press I the program will continue, ignoring the fact that the printer is not attached. In this case, no report will be printed but the program will function correctly in all other ways. Unless absolutely necessary, do not press C as this will cancel the program and drop you back to DOS after printing an error message to the screen.
In a LAN environment printing can be direct, if each terminal station has a local printer, but is normally spooled to a common printer. This means that no printing will occur until the report is complete and then only if another operator is not using the printer. This should be set-up and explained by your dealer.
In Windows 95 or above, printing across the network is achieved by directing the print to the spool file of the computer actually attached to the printer, eg \\mary\epson. This method avoids the long delay MS-Windows imposes while waiting for time-out. The only disadvantage of this method is that HiFinance cannot control the “printer not available” messages. If the printer is not available because you have either miss-entered the path or the target computer is not on, HiFinance will simply close down and return you to the Desk Top. Because printing is not a critical function, you will simply have to restart HiFinance, correct the fault and reprint. For Windows version 2000 and above, the direct method is not available. You must use the NET USE command. For details refer to your dealer. Also, with this method, you should set the LPTTIMEOUT parameter to stop the long delays.
In a UNIX environment printing is always spooled to hard-disk before being printed. If your printer is not ready, UNIX will wait and print later. If you press <ESC> when a report has started, it will still be printed up to the point where it was aborted. If you wish to stop a large report from printing after it has been sent to the spooler, you will need to use the cancel command from root, scosh, sysadmsh or scoadmin. Using cancel is only recommended for the experienced UNIX user. Do not try to cancel the report by turning the printer on and off repeatedly. With parallel printers this may result in UNIX detecting an error and internally disabling the printer port from all further spooling. It is then necessary to use the enable function. Again this requires an experienced UNIX user.
Saving a report to a file is sometimes used when you wish to bank-up a series of long reports at EOM, etc. You must choose a unique name to save the report under. You can then later retrieve the file and print it using the PRINT MANAGER function. (See Section 7.1.8.)
The print functions discussed above can be mixed and matched. You can display a report to the screen (to check that it is what you want) and then print it, etc.
Since April 2013, HiFinance has changed the method of entering and displaying dates. Because of the year2000 bug, it was necessary to enter dates with the full 4-digit year. A decade later, this is not required. So, the date entry routines have been changed to allow for faster date entries. Dates are always entered in a 10 character wide field. This allowed for entry of dates in the format of DD/MM/CCYY. Where DD represents the day; MM represents the month; CC represents the century and YY represents the year. In this format the 30th of June 2013 would be entered as 30/07/2013, although the slashes were displayed but not entered. The change now allows you to put virtually any sensible date format into the 10 character field and HiFinance will interpret it as a date. Although, by default, the date is displayed and printed in the standard DD/MM/CCYY format, it can be displayed in one of various formats. These can be chosen in SYSTEM DEFAULTS, see SECTION 7.2.1.
HiFinance will attempt to recognise a date. If you enter something not recognised, an error will be displayed. The date is interpreted in the following way:
a) The field is case insensitive, so it will accept upper or lower case letters, or a mixture. Virtually any character that is not a letter or a number can be used as a separator. Some formats do not need separators. Leading spaces are ignored. Today’s date is the date, as displayed at the top-right-hand corner of the screen.
b) If the field is left entirely blank or contains the character 0 only, it is recognised as a date of zero. Depending on your choice of display format, it might be displayed as 00/00/0000 or just a blank. This is necessary for reports that require the date range to include a null date.
c) If the field solely contains the word TODAY, YESTERDAY or TOMORROW, HiFinance will interpret that as today’s date, one day before or one day after, respectively.
d) If the field contains the word NEXTWEEK, HiFinance will add seven days to today’s date. Also, putting in an arbitrary number of spaces will work the same way, eg NEXT WEEK, but not NEXT-WEEK, NE XTWEEK or NWEEK, etc. Similarly, NEXTMONTH, NEXTYEAR, LASTWEEK, LASTMONTH and LASTYEAR, will translate to their respective dates.
e) If the field contains the first 3 letters of a day (eg MON or SUNDAY, etc) by itself, or preceded by, a +, HiFinance will find the next occurrence of that day, not including today. A day preceded by by a – will look backwards to find the previous day. This function is useful for forward dating deliveries, etc. For instance, you might wish to invoice for next Wednesday. In this case, enter WED or +WED or WEDNESDAY. Note that this option must start from the first character in the date field and must not contain imbedded spaces. Eg. + MON will not work. Note also that + MO will be interpreted and +MONTH.
f) If the field contains < as the first character (and nothing else) HiFinance will return the date 01/01/0001. Similarly, for >, HiFinance will return 31/12/9999. These dates are usually the default responses for upper and lower date limits in reports. Thus, this is a quick way of restoring the limit, if you have accidentally overwritten the entry field.
g) If the field contains a + or – as the first character, or +D or –D as the first 2 characters, the subsequent portion of the field will be interpreted as a number. HiFinance will then take today’s date and either add or subtract that number of days and return the date to you. The number may be up to 99999, but very large numbers can give un-expected results. If you start the date field with a + or -, HiFinance will attempt to interpret the rest of the field as a number. If it cannot work it out, it will be interpreted as zero and TODAY will be returned.
h) If the field contains +W or –W as the first 2 characters, the subsequent portion of the field will be interpreted as a number. HiFinance will then take today’s date and either add or subtract that number of weeks and return the date to you. The number may be up to 99999, but very large numbers can give un-expected results.
i) If the field contains +M or –M as the first 2 characters, the subsequent portion of the field will be interpreted as a number. HiFinance will then take today’s date and either add or subtract that number of months and return the date to you. The number may be up to 99999, but very large numbers can give un-expected results.
j) If the field contains +Y or –Y as the first 2 characters, the subsequent portion of the field will be interpreted as a number. HiFinance will then take today’s date and either add or subtract that number of years and return the date to you. The number may be up to 99999, but very large numbers can give un-expected results.
k) If the field contains a one or two digit number, other than zero, and nothing else, this will be interpreted as a day number. HiFinance will return today’s month and year, with that day number. Eg if today’s date is 10/12/2013 and you enter 4, HiFinance will return 4/12/2013. Obviously, the number must be a valid day for the month.
l) If the field contains exactly 4 consecutive digits, and nothing else but spaces, this will be interpret that as the day and month. The year will be taken from today’s date. The month should be between 1 and 12 and the day should be a valid day for that month. An invalid month will be returned as XXX.
m) If the field contains exactly 6 or 8 characters, it will be interpreted as DDMMYY or DDMMCCYY, respectively. It should be a valid date combination, or the date will be rejected.
n) If the field contains 3 sets of numbers, separated by separator (see above), it will be interpreted as DD MM YY or DD MM YYYY. It is thus important to enter either 1, 2 or 4 digits for the year. Eg. 10-10-10 will be interpreted as the 10th of November 2010. So will 10 10 10; 10/10/10; 10/10 2010. 10?10?10 and 10/10/2010. Do not attempt to enter letters when using this option as they will be interpreted as a month and will return un-expected results or an error.
o) If the field is in the format of a day number month name and, optionally, a year, this will be interpreted, as above. In this case, separators are optional. Thus, 1Jan10 will be interpreted as the 1st of January 2010, so will 1JA10 and 01 ja 10. HiFinance will accept any string of letters that start with the first few characters:
JA for January
FE for February
MAR for March
AP for April
MAY for May
JUN for June
JUL for July
AU for August
SE for September
OC for October
NO for November
DE for December
Note that none of the abbreviations may be less than 2 characters and, in some cases, 3 characters must be entered to avoid ambiguity. If you enter more than the minimum abbreviation, as defined above, it must be a subset of the month’s name. Eg you may enter SE or SEPT or SEPTEMBER for September, although the last one is so long that you will be unable to enter a year.