There are many different methods and best practices to implement when it comes to Accounting in Applied Epic. In the first of our accounting series, we discussed Agency Bill and Premium Payables; in the second how to reconcile Direct Bill if your agency was on a Cash basis. In the last of this Accounting series, we will review various tips and tricks that may prove useful to furthering efficiency, ensuring accurate reporting, and getting full utilization out your investment into your Epic system.
Change your Default Month/Month End Processes
It’s important to close the month at the end of each accounting month, however, did you know that you don’t have to close on the last day of the month? If you move the default month to the new month, it will stop users from entering any further data in your closing accounting month. Procedures > Accounting > Month End then Actions > Change Default Month. Now you can continue to finish out the closing month without users entering new data. For extra security, you can also lock the month, however, you will have to unlock each time you need to enter something in the prior month. We recommend having a goal of completing your month end processes by the first few business days of the month. Don’t forget to Actions > Close Month, not Finalize!
Communicate within Epic
Many accounting departments rely on paper or email correspondence with servicing staff for things like agency bill invoices, check requests, policy information errors, etc. You can maintain better data and keep documents secured by utilizing activities in Epic to relay that information. There are a few options for utilizing activities for accounting. You can generate an activity from the Generate Invoices event and use that activity to attach invoices from the carrier or broker. Default that activity who/owner to the accounting staff so that they are not only notified that an invoice needs to be paid, but they can quickly access the invoice needed to send with the premium. You can even add multiple choices for different types of invoices. For example, $ABI – Agency Bill Invoice, $RET – Return Premium Invoice, $FIN – Financed Invoice. Another option would be to generate these activities manually. The servicing staff would enter the activity and attach all necessary documents for the accounting staff to access and process. Accounting can use these activities to follow up on payments from the client, carrier or finance company as well.
Go Paperless in Accounting
Another way to maintain accurate data and create efficiency in accounting is to attach ALL documents in Epic upon receipt. Attach items such as commission statements to the carrier/broker. You can even generate an activity when you attach those items so that you know there is a statement that needs to be entered or reconciled in General Ledger. Attach other documents such as vendor invoices, commission agreements, and any other items pertaining to accounting to the company or broker in Epic.
Be sure to label your documents with standard naming conventions. This will create efficiency when you are searching or researching documents. Using naming conventions throughout your accounting processes will increase that searchability and also provide some organization. For example, if you receive a direct bill commission via direct deposit, label the receipt “EFT Travelers May 2022 DB Comm”. Then when attaching the statement label it Travelers May 2022 DB Comm Stmt $1500.00. Lastly, in the Direct Bill Reconciliation, label the reconciliation Travelers May 2022 DB Comm. Notice how each description is very similar but has additional details based on where it is entered. Remember that some information is already generated in Epic, so you won’t need to type it in. An example would be the effective date of a deposit.
Get Better Data with Configure, Required/Desired Fields, and Utilities
There are many tools within Epic that can increase the accuracy and completion of data that can effect your accounting processes. Here are a few that can help:
– Require Pr/Br Commission
Configure > Policy > System Settings > Commissionable Producer/Broker Requirement. This function will ensure a Pr/Br is entered before a policy can be closed.
– Pr/Br Commission Agreements
Configure > Policy > System Settings > Pr/Br Commission Agreements. Here you have 2 options. If the producer/broker has multiple valid agreements you can choose to “Use the prior term’s commission agreement (if valid) upon renewal. This will stop Epic from choosing an agreement at renewal and is specifically beneficial when there is a split agreement between producers.
– Commission/Premium Calculations
Configure > Policy > Commission/Premium Calculations. Turn this function on to calculate any premium/commission at the line level and add it up to the policy level. This minimizes data entry if you have users enter estimated premium and commission only at the first line level of a policy. If you enter the agency commission percent and the estimated premium at the line level, this function will also calculate the estimated commission for you.
– Required/Desired Fields
If you’re having issues getting data entered into certain fields in Epic, right click on the field and select Desired or Required. Desired will highlight the field in yellow drawing the user’s attention to it. Required fields are highlighted in red and the user cannot exit that window before entering data into that field. Be careful when requiring, because the user may not always have the data available when completing certain processes.
– Pr/Br Reassignment Utility
If you have recently created or updated Pr/Br Commission agreements, you can use this utility to assign agreements that are new or updated as long as there is an existing Pr/Br listed on the policy. It is similar to a workload reassignment but with a few different options. This can also be used to cleanup old agreements or reassign books to a new producer or house producer code.
We hope that our Applied Epic accounting series has been helpful to you as you expand on using the accounting functionality in Epic. The KiteTech Agency Consulting Team is here to help if you have any questions about Applied Epic accounting or any of our other consulting services. We have a variety of engagements that are customized to meet your insurance agency’s unique needs. To learn more, please contact us to schedule a conversation.