The ACH (Automated Clearing House) process has been around for a number of years. It is an electronic network for financial transactions in the United States, generally used for direct deposit or direct debit from checking and savings accounts.
The ACH process is available in BS&A’s Accounts Payable and Payroll applications to direct deposit funds into customer or employee accounts. In our Tax, Utility Billing, and Miscellaneous Receivables applications, the ACH process is set up to directly debit from a customer’s bank account to pay tax bills, utility bills, or miscellaneous invoices on a specified date.
Rules and regulations that govern the ACH network are established by NACHA (the National Automated Clearing House Association) and the Federal Reserve. In 2012, it is estimated that 21 billion ACH transactions, totaling $36.9 trillion in credit card payments, were handled by various networks. BS&A follows these rules and regulations in all of the aforementioned applications, with regards to setup and function.
Performing ACH functions reduces paper processing and mailing fees, as well as moves money quickly from one account to another, providing a convenient method of electronic funds transfer.
Whether you are depositing funds or deducting funds from a customer account, it is recommended that you document authorization specifying what will be deposited/deducted, and when the transaction will take place. In the Tax application, with regards to payment of property taxes, it is recommended that you renew the authorization each year. This is done to ensure that the tax bill is being paid by the correct taxpayer from year to year.
Customers’ account information is entered in a secure area of the BS&A applications, only viewable by an administrative user. When exporting data to other users/vendors, the ACH account information for individuals is not included, in an effort to further security.
ACH setup in the BS&A .NET applications is simple, and includes the customer account information and the municipality bank information. A pre-note is then processed to verify that all account numbers and information is correct. When processing an ACH export transaction for payments within the various applications, a payment is applied to the account at the time of the export. The file that is created is then uploaded to the municipality’s bank, and the transactions are processed from the various customer bank accounts.
To set up ACH within any of the BS&A applications, please contact customer support by clicking on the Help menu and selecting “Contact Customer Support,” or by calling us at (855) 272-7638.