John & Paula Oliver - Missionaries with New Tribes Mission
Serving at NTM International Headquarters in Sanford, Florida
Newsletter 31 - March 2002
We didn't realize that our process (in the NTM Finance office) of opening and receipting contributions was called "remittance processing." In 1993, when we started researching the receipting process, we did realize, though, that there was room for increased automation and efficiency. At that time, even though many financial partners sent in the same contribution each month, the donor number and various accounts and amounts had to be re-keyed each time a contribution was received.
As we thought through this process, we decided to start printing a barcode (containing the donor number and receipt number) on each receipt. Instead of having to re-key the various numbers, our finance office personnel could just scan in the barcode and the computer will automatically retrieve and duplicate the previous donation. Since some 65 % of donations received are exactly the same as the previous donation, this new process significantly improved throughput and efficiency.
More recently, I have been helping our finance office as they have been exploring additional ways to increase automation and efficiency. We visited other organizations and studied their processes. We learned that by having donations sent to a separate post office box, we could eliminate the time previously needed to separate donations from regular mail. We also learned that larger organizations typically use a transport scanner to scan in batches of receipts and checks.
Although a transport scanner (with its corresponding software) is a fairly expensive proposition, it had the potential to increase efficiency (thus reducing the number of personnel needed in the finance office), provide some cost savings (since it can encode the amount on the checks, thus eliminating a bank charge), and save space (since it can image the receipts).
A decision was thus made to evaluate and then eventually purchase a transport scanner. I worked with the transport software company, Diversified Financial Systems, to define an interface between their software and our receipting programs, which I modified to work with the transport. On February 12, the transport scanner arrived and was quickly put into service. With the transport and software in place, we should now be able to do some efficient and automated remittance processing.
With the recent addition of DID (Direct Inward Dial) capabilities at NTM headquarters, we now have new home and office phone numbers. We also now have our own fax number (free fromwww.efax.com) which will forward any faxes to our email address. (Our new phone numbers are listed at the bottom of this newsletter.)
Thanks for being part of our team through your prayers, encouragement, and support. Thanks too for your letters, cards, and emails.
We appreciate your prayers on our behalf. Let us know how we can be praying for you as well.
John, Paula, Nicholas, Joy, and Hannah Oliver J