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Connections with financial institutions

Introduction

A link with a financial institution allows you to send information regarding your debtor portfolio and/or stock portfolio to the financial institution. This information is used by the financial institution to calculate your availability.

Two things are decisive for the link:

  1. How will the data be retrieved from your accounting software? This is called the extraction method.
  2. How will the data be sent to Descartes? This is called the communication method.

Extraction method

All information that needs to be sent in resides in the database of your accounting software. In many cases, the link can be based on retrieving the required information directly from the database (via ODBC). If this is not possible, the link can be based on export files.

Database links are preferred, because generally they are less error-prone and quicker.

Database link

If the database supports the ODBC standard (such as Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, Visual Foxpro and Progress, among others), the required information can be retrieved from the databases using ODBC queries. These queries are already available for many accounting software packages. If they are not, the queries will have to be written.

Under no circumstances whatsoever will the link write information to the database. Nonetheless, Descartes will always try to use a database user with read-only access or a read-only ODBC connection (if the ODBC driver supports this).

Database links are supported only if the Porthus Communicator Client is used as the communication method.

Export files

Export files are created by the accounting software, usually in XML or a structured ASCII file such as CSV. Please note that XML files are preferred.

Unstructured text files, commonly referred to as "print files", can sometimes be used for automatic processing as well.

Excel sheets can be used under certain, very strict conditions, but only if no other viable alternative exists.

It is not possible to base a link on PDF files.

XML

In case of XML export files, please note the following:

  • There is no preferred schema, we will support almost any schema you choose (but feel free to base your export on this sample if you like)
  • If the Porthus Communicator Client is used as the communication method, then all common encodings are supported
  • If a different communication method is used, then the preferred encoding is iso-8859-1

Structured text, separated

In case of character-separated export files, please note the following:

  • The separator character can be anything you like (usually it will be a comma, semi-colon, tab, or pipe symbol)
  • The use of column headers is discouraged
  • Text values need to be enclosed by double quotes (any double quote in the value itself must be escaped by an extra double quote)
    • "Descartes BV","Uraniumweg 44","3812 RK","Amersfoort"
    • "Book store ""The Happy Reader"" since 1912","Address","ZIP code","City"
  • Numeric values must not be enclosed by double quotes
  • Lines must be separated by a combination of carriage return (ASCII 13) and line feed (ASCII 10). Text values may never contain a carriage return and/or line feed.
  • For a debtor portfolio link, the information is usually exported to two separate files, one with the outstanding items and one with the debtors. If you would like to export to one file (i.e. with multiple record types), you will need to include a field that contains the record type.

Structured text, positional

Positional text files do not use a separator character, each field has a pre-defined length and trailing spaces are used to pad values to the required length. Lines must be separated by a combination of carriage return (ASCII 13) and line feed (ASCII 10). Text values may never contain a carriage return and/or line feed. For a debtor portfolio link, the information is usually exported to two separate files, one with the outstanding items and one with the debtors. If you would like to export to one file (i.e. with multiple record types), you will need to include a field that contains the record type.

Print files

A print file is an ASCII file that is usually meant to be printed in a fixed width font, creating a human-readable printout. Print files are not meant for automatic processing. Print files are commonly used in AS/400 systems.

Automatically parsing a print file is extremely error-prone, which is why we will choose print files only as a last resort.

Communication method

The communication method determines how the information is transmitted from you to Descartes. The most commonly used option is the Porthus Communicator Client

Porthus Communicator Client

The Porthus Communicator Client is an application that allows the user to retrieve data from the accounting software (by querying a database or by picking up export files) and send that data to Descartes for routing to the financial institution:

Diagram of a Porthus Communicator Client configured for an export link

Diagram of a Porthus Communicator Client configured for a database link

The Porthus Communicator Client offers the ability to exclude debtors and/or invoices from your data submissions. Furthermore, the Porthus Communicator Client allows the user to consult the validation reports.

The Porthus Communicator Client is bsed on Microsoft .NET Framework version 3.5 and uses Windows Communication Foundation to communicate with the central platform via HTTPS. It is possible to install a Porthus Communicator Client on multiple computers. Installation on a Citrix server or Terminal Server is supported. Installation on Windows XP is no longer supported.

During the installation of the Porthus Communicator Client, an installation code must be entered. This code is valid only once and is used to register the Porthus Communicator Client with the central platform. The configuration of the Porthus Communicator Client resides on the central platform, so there is no need to include the computer in a backup cycle just for the sake of the Porthus Communicator Client. Should the computer crash, another Porthus Communicator Client can be installed on a different computer and it will behave exactly the same.

The Porthus Communicator Client can be started in silent mode, and it will retrieve and send the data without requiring any user interaction.

More information about the Porthus Communicator Client can be found in the Porthus Communicator Client manual which is available on the download page.

FTP / AS2 / HTTP(S) POST

If, for any reason, the Porthus Communicator Client cannot be used to retrieve and send the data, it is possible to submit the data via FTP, AS2 or HTTP(S) POST. Please contact the Descartes helpdesk for more information.

Even if you do not use the Porthus Communicator Client as the communication method, you could still choose to install it for the sole purpose of consulting the validation reports.

Required information

For submitting your debtor portfolio, please refer to the 'Debtors' and 'Outstanding items' sections.
For submitting your stock portfolio, please refer to the 'Stock' section.

Usually not all fields are available, and it might be possible to populate missing fields with a default value if necessary. We prefer to receive all fields that are available in your accounting software, and not just those that have been marked as required below.

Debtors

Only debtors that actually have one or more outstanding items need to be included in the export or query result. Any debtor that does not have one or more outstanding items will not be forwarded to the financial institution.

  • Debtor number (required)
  • Name (required)
  • Street address (required)
  • ZIP code of street address (required, unless ZIP codes are not used in the country where the debtor resides)
  • City of street address (required)
  • Country (required)
  • Phone number (required)
  • Language (required)
  • Credit limit (required)
  • Postal address (optional)
  • ZIP code of postal address (optional)
  • City of postal address (optional)
  • Fax number (optional)
  • Email address (optional)
  • Bank account number (optional)
  • Default currency (optional)
  • VAT number (optional)
  • Chamber of Commerce number (optional)
  • Payment term in days (optional)
  • Contact person (optional)

Outstanding items

Outstanding items are all debtor-related items that have not been fully settled. This includes outstanding sales invoices, but also outstanding credit notes and unsettled payments.

  • Debtor number (required)
  • Invoice number (required)
  • Invoice date (required)
  • Due date or payment term in days (required, unless a fixed payment term in days is used for all invoices)
  • Currency (required, unless only one currency is used)
  • Original amount in invoice currency, including VAT if applicable (required)
  • Outstanding amount in invoice currency (required)
  • Outstanding amount in Euro (optional)
  • VAT amount (optional)

Stock

  • Article code (required)
  • Description (required)
  • Amount in stock (required)
  • Value (required)

General information

Validation reports

After each data submission a validation report is created that you can retrieve using the Porthus Communicator Client. It lists any errors and/or warnings with regard to the information you sent in. This allows you to correct any errors in your accounting software and resubmit the corrected data. The report also displays the total outstanding amount of the data submission.

Frequency of submitting data to DLL

You decide how often you send in data. Most customers send in once a day or once a week. You can send in multiple times a day, only the last data submission will actually be read in by DLL.

All submissions received and processed on business days before 18:00 CE(S)T will be read in by DLL. Submissions received and processed between 18:00 CE(S)T and 19:30 CE(S)T will usually also be read in. Submissions received after 19:30 CE(S)T will be read in by DLL the next work day.

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