A "Division" effectively works as a separate entity (linked to a contact record) in the Actionstep system. It creates a clear separation of records – although these can be viewed as a whole given the correct permission sets.
Divisions give the ability for a sub-set of users to use the same processes, branding, email account while running individual sets of accounts.
Some of the properties of a division include:
- Each action is tagged to a division.
- Permissions can be set using divisions as a restriction.
- A division will hold its own accounting transactions – requires separate entities.
- From the top level division this gives the ability to see everything happening in the system.
- Email is set at a global level – cannot have a different email address in each division.
- Shared Action types.
- Shared contacts lists – where elected.
- Division specific logo – for use in documents.
Divisions are not suitable in all environments. Please ensure that all options are considered prior to creating a divisional structure.
While many of the system settings are configured at both Global and Divisional level, some are not.
Accounting using divisions
If the Client is using Accounting, a divisional structure will result in separate accounting records. A firm where they may have multiple offices who each run their own set of accounts – no shared bank account or tax reporting - is an ideal candidate for using divisions; an example of this would be a Franchise situation.
At a divisional level the client will be able to specify the Chart of Accounts – keeping common records where applicable, removing accounts where required and renaming. While these still require a Master set of accounts, it is not difficult to amend them for each division. The system accounts are set at a Global Level – this does need to be taken into consideration when specifying the Chart of Accounts.
The system start dates and Accounting lockout dates can be set at in each division. However, the financial year-end is currently set as a global option only – so a client with multiple companies covering different financial years is not a candidate for using Divisions.
If a company has multiple offices where they run on the same bank account and tax reporting they are not able to use divisions. In this instance we recommend using each office as a participant in the Action Type; this will give the ability to pull financial reporting for each office via the "Income by Participant" report.
Where a company is considering using divisions for tracking the performance of a department – we recommend using each department as a participant in each Action Type; this will give the ability to pull financial reporting for each office via the "Income by Participant" report.
If your company has a common bank account and tax registration number then you should not use divisions. Instead use a Participant Type in your Actions to tag which team it belongs to. You can then run the special Income Statement by Participant to get results for each team.
While divisions may seem like the answer to the client with multiple entities, the email is set at a Global level. If the entities use differing domains, and the client wishes to fully utilize Actionstep email for all the entities this is not possible.
Scenarios and Examples
Bob owns a cleaning company "Cloud Clean", which he has recently franchised. While each of the franchisees are responsible for the day to day running of their own businesses, part of the contract is that Bob will specify the way his company is represented in the market. Bob would also like to monitor the performance and effectiveness of each of the franchises and allocate the sales inquiries to the correct franchise. Bob holds the domain for @cloudclean.com and all the franchises will use this.
This environment is a good reason to use Divisions.
Bob will be able to create the applicable Action Types, with documents, branding, knowledge base and wiki; thus being assured that Cloud Clean is represented the way Bob prescribes in the market place. Each of the franchises will be able to run their own business as an individual entity – without seeing records not belonging to their franchise. Sales Inquiries will come into the Root Division and Bob will allocate to the franchise on creation of the action. Bob is able to compile views and reports based on the actions of all Franchises. Each user will have an email address @cloudclean.com.
The Legal Company | Services Company
Common email domain
Steven is practise manager at a Law Firm "You Matter". While the Law firm has a number of lawyers, runs a trust account and does client billing; the non-lawyer employees are employed by a separate company "Legal Services Inc" which also runs the practise and bills the law firm for its services. These companies are separate entities as a clear division is required for compliance reasons. All employees of both companies use an email address of @you matter.com.
This environment is a good reason to use Divisions.
The staff in the services company will be able to see the matters in the legal company – thus giving the ability to create documents etc. The accounting will be separated into each company.
Email Domain not common
Jenny is practise manager at a Law Firm "Matter Magic". While the Law firm has a number of lawyers, runs a trust account and does client billing; the non-lawyer employees are employed by a separate company "Practice Perfect" which also runs the practise and bills the law firm for its services. These companies are separate entities as a clear division is required for compliance reasons. Matter Magic has the email domain of @mattermagic.com , Practice Perfect has @practiceperfect.com
This environment is an awkward match for Divisions.
A decision will need to be made about how to manage the global set up of the email. It may be that the benefits outweigh the email issue in this scenario.
The Branch | Department Environment (Cost Centres)
Mary is the owner of a web design company; the company has multiple offices but is one accounting entity – using Actionstep Accounting. Mary would like to use divisions so that she can use the divisional merge field on documents and to track the profitability of each of the branches.
This environment not good for Divisions
Where accounting is used and the company is common (using a shared bank account and tax reporting) Divisions cannot be used.
The same outcome can be found using Participant Types.
Mary will need to add the "Branch" as a participant type in each of her Action Types.
A General Action type will need to be included – for tracking expenses.
The Chart of Accounts should be set so that all Income, Cost and Expense accounts require an Action.
Sales and Cost of Sales would be related to their Action – as per the norm, the expenses would be coded to the Action tracking expenses.
Using the Income by Participant report – where the branch is the participant, would show the profitability of each Branch.
For Merge field use pt=Branch would give the options.
The Participant would also be able to be set as a field in the list view options – giving the ability to filter.
If Mary does not want employees of one branch seeing the work of other branches, she may need to add a participant type to each action for permission reasons.
This same scenario can be applied where a company runs multiple departments or cost centers.
Mike works for a large company where they have separate offices and wish to divide the Actions between them for permission, documents generation and reporting reasons. They are not using Actionstep Accounting.
This environment is good for Divisions.
We have many large corporate clients on Actionstep who are not using Accounting and are on a divisional structure for their databases.
Creating permissions for users who may be able to see actions in some divisions and not others is possible; however, it can be tricky to unwind if roles and |or structure change. If using this method, ensure adequate testing is done around each of the roles