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Lauren Tripp

Tips and Tricks for Accounting in Applied Epic

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. 

Lauren Roberts

Lauren Roberts

Director of Agency Consulting
Kite Technology Group

Developing Standardized Agency Workflows

If you are among the many agencies utilizing the Applied Epic platform, do you know there are a myriad of configurations and uses that you can set to make it work uniquely to your agency’s needs? Even if you are implementing the workflows set by Applied Epic or have developed your own, there will come a time when you need to step back and make sure that those workflows are still working and proving beneficial to your agency. Updating and standardizing your workflows is an important part of running your agency efficiently while also ensuring that information is entered into your database accurately. If you are trying to determine if your workflows are already standardized, or if it is time to update them, it is helpful to evaluate your agency using questions such as:

  1. Are your employees efficient?
  2. Are you getting accurate reports from Epic?
  3. Can you or anyone else follow behind them and understand their work?

If you answered no to any of these questions, then it is time to seriously consider standardizing your agency workflows and doing so will come with many benefits: First of all, standardized workflows can create efficiency when you streamline functions in Configure. An excellent example of this would be having only one activity open per workflow. Second, standardization allows each person in your agency to follow behind someone and understand where they are at in a workflow. Finally, you can prevent harmful E&O exposures by ensuring the workflow requires steps to be followed, such as attaching documents or updating the application properly. Many agencies find that inaccurate reporting is often directly related to the agency workflows. For example, if you are reporting on Estimated Premium and Commission, that needs to be instructed in the workflow. Otherwise, employees may be skipping that field if it is not required in Epic.

When you are ready to develop your workflows, it is important to choose the right team to get the job done. Your team needs to be efficient and open-minded, and you may want a representative from each department for times where you may need more than one activity code per event. Include member(s) of management who will determine what reports are required, and someone who has hands-on working knowledge of Applied Epic, such as an account manager.

Once you have your team in place, you can apply some best practices to the development of your workflows. Remember, adapting what you “used to do” will not allow you to take full advantage of Epic efficiencies.

A great starting point would be in Configure. To automate a workflow, you need to understand Epic Configuration of Events, Activities, and Tasks. You will also need to re-evaluate the Configure setup periodically, especially when there are major Epic updates. Start with Events and identify which ones are associated to activities and how those activities are being generated and used. Determine whether you need an activity to generate for documentation, follow up, or reporting purposes only. Keep in mind that you can set activities to generate in the background or even be kept hidden when you need them only for reporting purposes. Configure your activities with field defaults, follow updates, tasks, and further actions for additional automation.

Next, determine how you will structure your workflow manual. It is best that you categorize your workflows by department and/or process. For example, you may have separate workflows for Personal Lines Renewals – Downloaded and Personal Lines Renewals – Not Downloaded. It is possible that some workflows can be used by multiple departments as well, so be sure to involve representatives from each department, so you do not make changes that negatively impact the other departments.

Finally, remember it is essential to audit your data and employees once you have trained and implemented the standardized workflows. Without auditing, you will be unable to determine whether the workflows that you worked so hard to create are even being followed or understood. Be sure to check out Kite Technology’s webinars for more information on Auditing and Reporting for System Integrity.

Standardizing workflows is a beneficial tool to ensure your agency is getting the best use out of Applied Epic and that information is inputting accurately. It creates efficiency with configured streamlined functions, prevents potential E&O exposures, and allows for employees to easily pick up and work on an account, no matter if it is theirs or another colleagues. If you would like more information about developing your agency’s workflows, email us at consult@kitetechgroup.com or visit us online at https://www.kitetechgroup.com/insurance-consulting.

adam atwell

Adam Atwell

Cloud solutions architect

Adam is passionate about consulting with organizations across the country to help them develop and execute a cloud adoption strategy that meets their business needs and future objectives. Adam oversees and manages our company strategy for Microsoft 365 adoption and is responsible for future growth and development inside Microsoft 365 and other cloud technologies.