Your Authorize.net transactions now confirmed in MuseMinder

We are pleased to announce a significant improvement in MuseMinder’s service as regards Automated Recurring Billing (ARB) through Authorize.net. About a month ago Authorize.net announced that it had provided a way for programs like ours to poll automated transactions to check their status. Seeing how very good this news was for you and for us, we acted.

As of the wee hours of January 1, 2018, MuseMinder will automatically poll the transactions of each ARB subscription, and if a scheduled transaction is successful it will record the receipt with the specific transaction ID and mark all associated ARs as paid. You might recall that in the past receipts were created and ARs marked paid, but that was done automatically on the due date – we had no way of knowing if the transactions actually succeeded. We now have a way to ensure that only paid transactions are marked as paid.

Henceforth, should we come upon one or more failed transactions, an email will be sent to the main studio email with a list of the ARs in question. Each unpaid entry in the list will show the due date, the account principal’s name, the AR reference and amount, and the Authorize.net subscription ID. This will allow you to go to the subscription on Authorize.net and investigate why the transaction failed (e.g. expired card, closed account). Then you can return to MuseMinder and suspend the subscription – always do that through MuseMinder, not Authorize.net – and then you can take the next steps.

The ARs associated with failed transaction will still show as payable in our system, but you must suspend the subscription to settle them in another way.

The system will poll every day for unsettled transactions that would be due during the previous 7 days. It will settle transactions as it finds them. If it finds a transaction that occurs but fails, it will send an email to the studio’s main address.

Also, on the 15th of very month it will send you an email of older unsettled transactions (more than 7 days old).

Please be aware that you will not receive notification of successful transactions, only of ones that dropped through the cracks.

Lastly, please remember that any of these unsettled ARB transactions will show up on a Delinquent Accounts Detail report, and on the Unpaid ARs report, so there are many ways to monitor your collections.

Posted in Accounting | Comments Off

Two ways to view statement transactions

We are pleased to announce that we now offer two ways to look at invoices, and a choice of either for your clients to see.

The first style of invoice is what we have had all along. In one column it lists each invoice item (AR) as a charge, or debit, and in the other it lists each credit item (discounts, assigned credits, client receipts). The tricky bit about this display is that it might not be clear which ARs were settled by which credits.

The alternative style lists each AR and along with it lists any and all payments against it. Each payment line item displays the date of the payment, and the full amount of the credit (receipt, assigned credit) that was used to pay against it. This second style is helpful if you or your clients pay ahead, or if they pay large sums to go toward a bunch of ARs across several months.

On any account view you will now see two invoice links, one for each style.

We have also created a studio preference for you to specify if you’d like your clients to have their statements presented in the standard format, or this AR/Payment format. The beginning and ending balances are the same for each, rest assured.

Navigate to an account and view their statements in one, and then the other format. Navigate to the manage/studio set-up/preferences page to click the checkmark that indicates that you wish your clients to see the alternative style. Remember to save the preference by hitting the green button on the view.

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Enhancements to events feature

We are pleased to announce an overhaul of the events management component of MuseMinder. Recently we announced the addition of features that allow you to assign roles and put roles together into casts. This is different – this is an enhancement to the event-creation, scheduling, and enrollment portions.

You do of course have to create an event before you start putting things on the calendar. The event-creation process is a simpler wizard that you step through, with fee-related views showing up if you charge fees, and not appearing if you don’t.

Possibly more thrilling, henceforth you can schedule event items directly from a separate events calendar. This calendar is different from the studio calendar in that you can click on it to bring up a view that creates schedule items. Our community had suggested “make it more like Google calendar” so that that’s what we did.

Last, the event-enrollment segment is also now a wizard, with less ‘stuff’ on each view. You can call students to scheduled events (auditions, rehearsals, performances, etc.) by class, by previous event enrollment, by role, by cast, or by individual. Many options.

All scheduled event items will appear on the personalized online calendars, and smartphone calendars as well, for all students enrolled in them. All changes are also propagated to these calendars.

I will need to record new videos for music school recitals, dance studio shows, and choral concerts. The existing ones on the first tab of the event-creation wizard will be replaced, eventually. For now you are welcome to try it on your own. Oh, and we did update the User’s Guide so you can have a look at that section (Productions and Events).

This is all in time for the preparations for Spring productions, recitals, and concerts. Please let us know if we can help you with that process.

Posted in Events | Comments Off

In-house credit card charging

MuseMinder announces yet another extension to credit card processing. You might recall that during the summer we implemented in-house credit card processing, which allows you to submit a payment to a client’s credit card from your MuseMinder system if that client has registered a card in their online profile, or if they are on site and they hand you the card so that you may copy its number and record it in a payment profile. As initially designed, the system allowed you to settle the current month’s invoice, which would be any past due amount added to any AR due during the current calendar month.

Just as a reminder, you can pay online in this way by hitting a button from the client’s statement view (accessed on the account view), and also by seeing all clients in a list as displayed on the CC Debit link under the “invoicing” menu item.

As of now you have another option. You are no longer required to settle the entire amount of the invoice. As an alternative you may settle one or more ARs that you select on the Pay Selected ARs view, and run a credit card charge for the sum of those selected ARs. The view is the same one that you are familiar with on the accounts view. You make the selections as you always have. When it comes to choosing a payment method, you have cash, check, credit card, and online credit card. “Online credit card” is what you choose if you are to run the credit card from within MuseMinder. “Credit Card” is what you use if you have swiped or inserted the card using a separate machine, and you are simply recording the transaction in MuseMinder.

If you hit “Online Credit Card” as a payment method and then hit the “submit” button, you will be forwarded to the credit card input view, which allows you to type in the card info (if the client is right there and provides you with it) OR you can select from a profile that the client has set up previously.

If you think about it, this could mean that you could use MuseMinder directly for your credit card transactions, and NOT use a terminal provided you by your bank. You would just have to have the client’s permission to charge their card, because you would be able to use that privilege at any time.

Last reminder. If you do not see “CC debit” as an option under the “invoicing” menu item, this means that we have not enabled it here at MMHQ. We need to hear from you directly so that we can ensure that all your other settings are in place. If they are, we flip a switch here and you are good to go.

Posted in Administration, Fees | Comments Off

Introducing the Admin Portal

MuseMinder has a new customizable view for administrators. This is the Admin Portal, which can be reached under the Navigation menu item.

The Admin Portal presents a few quick-reference bits of info:

  • Student birthdays for a selected month
  • Staff birthdays (depends of course on whether you have input birthdays for staff. Input all their birthdays in the year 1999 – they’ll love you for it! The display only shows month and day anyway, not year of birth.)
  • Classes starting this week
  • Scheduled staff absences for the week (these must be recorded on the staff view to be visible here)

In addition, there are two lists, one for reports and one for attendance. The attendance list is simply a quick way for you to take roll, if that’s what you do. Actually I am going to ask whether any of you studio managers actually take roll, and if not I may remove this link.

The second link may be more useful for you. This is a Favorite Reports list. We have had Report Favorites for years, but many people miss it because they don’t notice the link under the Reports menu item that leads to the view to set them up. In case you don’t know about it, you can identify your frequently-used reports and have them in a separate list so that you don’t have to go fish them out of the long reports tree.

You have two ways to identify your favorite reports, and two ways to view them. There is a link under the ‘reports’ menu item, and now there is a link on this new Admin Portal that gets you to the same place. Once you have identified your favorites, they will appear on the Admin Portal AND they will appear if you hit that very discreet (read: essentially invisible) yellow star on the upper right of every view. Ever noticed that star? Well now you know.

Remember, report favorites is completely customized for you. Every staffer selects his/her own favorites. Also, the reports listed for any particular staffer to choose will be different depending upon that staffer’s access privilege.

Here is a list of two new reports we have added:

Enrollment headcounts by site —- As of a date you choose, this report shows the total number of enrolled students in private instruction, and in group instruction, segmented by site.
Make-up lessons scheduled —- If you select a date, the system will present a list of make-up lessons scheduled for the week starting on the Sunday before that selected date.

Both these new reports are listed under Reports/Courses. If you like them enough, you can put them on your favorites list.

Posted in Administration | Comments Off

MuseMinder introduces production casting

At MuseMinder we are proud to introduce a new module of particular interest for dance studios and theater producers: Casting.

You have for years been able to create programs that list class or choir names along with pieces presented – this is appropriate for music conservatories that produce recitals, or choirs that produce choral concerts. The casting feature accommodates productions that have named roles, and, if applicable, multiple casts.

When you create a new event, you will now be asked to input a date range for the span of the event during the given operating year. So if you will be rehearsing for a performance starting in October, and the performance will be in late September, you would input that date span to encompass all the scheduled events (auditions, fittings, rehearsals, promotional gigs, and the performance itself). Also, when you create an event you will be asked whether you will charge participation fees (a feature we have always had) AND/OR casting fees, which are new.

If you plan to present a performance with named roles, you will set up your event and hit the Casting tab. There you will see buttons that allow you to do the following things:

  • Identify the pieces that will comprise the performance (The Nutcracker will have one piece, a mixed-rep performance may have five)
  • Identify the roles in each piece (Clara, Fritz, Sailor #1)
  • Set up casting fees, if appropriate (remember these are different from what we are now calling Participation Fees. See below.)
  • Levy charges to those students to whom you will charge casting fees – this is role-assignment and fee assignment all in one operation.
  • Name the one or more performers who will be cast in roles but not charged casting fees.

Here is an explanation of event-related fees:

Participation fees (a.k.a. call fees) are levied when a student is called to a scheduled event. There are two types of Participation Fees. First is the Required Fee, which is charged once to EVERYONE who is called to ANY scheduled item. Examples of this are at $25 costume cleaning fee that every student pays, or a $100 minimum ticket sales fee. There is only one Required Fee per production. It is assigned when a student is enrolled in the first scheduled event and does not reoccur. It is not required that an event have a Required Fee.

The other type of Participation Fee is the optional, event-item fee. You assign these to an event, and they show up in a select list when you enroll someone in a scheduled event. You can have more than one event item fee, but you select only one per scheduled event enrollment. An example here is a tour where you schedule “Payment #1 due” on October 1st, “Payment #2 due” on November 1st, and “Payment #3 due” on December 1st. Each payment amount is set up as an event item fee, and as you sign up students for the tour you ‘enroll’ them in each of these payment-due event items, and assign the appropriate fee. There are videos that explain this. The trick is to look for the particular way that you will charge for your event, because these fees accommodate many different ways to do things. Of course we will help you figure it out, just write to us.

Beside Participation fees, there are Casting Fees. You use casting fees if you charge your students depending upon the number of roles they are assigned in your production. These frequently are based on a sliding scale, where one role is a certain amount, two roles is that amount times 2, but slightly discounted. Three roles is further discounted, and so on.

During the casting process, you will ‘enroll’ a student in a multi-role casting fee set-up, and the system will charge them the appropriate amount. Casting fees are set up like course fees, so they can be one-time charges, or they can be set up according to a billing schedule (monthly, quarterly, etc.). People use this if a student is cast in roles that require additional rehearsal time, so they are charged a monthly fee for the period prior to the performance (this keys in to the begin/end dates I mentioned earlier).

We have created a video that walks you through casting, and the use of casting fees. We will continue to bulk up our video library for performances and events, so that all of our studios event situations might be covered.

Posted in Events | Comments Off

Announcing multi-unit enrollment/billing

We have made still another option for you from MuseMinder’s list of billing options. In this new case, you can bill by the hour or by the session when your clients enroll in multiple classes at once.

Here’s the scenario. You offer group classes at $40/month for one-hour classes. If someone enrolls in 2 classes, they’ll pay $78/month (i.e., they get a $2 discount). If they enroll in other combinations, you’ve got a fee level for those as well. You associate these fee levels with ‘dummy’ courses, also known as Multi-Unit courses. These will be called

  • 1.5 hrs/week
  • 2 hrs/week
  • 2.5/week

and so forth.

You enroll the student in the dummy class to assign the correct fee, and then during the same enrollment process you choose the actual classes they’ll take from your list of scheduled instruction. The student is enrolled in each of these as well, at $0 fee.

The system has all kinds of ways to help you edit and adjust existing multi-unit enrollments. We’ve made a video to explain how it works. You can find the video under MuseMinder’s ‘help’ menu, in the video table of contents.

Posted in Courses, Enrollment, Fees | Comments Off

MuseMinder introduces course series

You may have noticed an additional box on the courses view that says “Course series.” This is a new feature of MuseMinder at the request of one of our dance studios. This studio has a certification program that is split into levels. Students who enroll in a particular level are required to attended a specified collection of classes during the week. Some of the classes are open to students outside the program as well.

Course series is our new feature that accommodates this set-up. In this situation, each level is its own course series. Course series are special types of base courses. You name them and you associate fees with them. They represent instruction that recurs year over year. Every year you create a single course instance for each course series. Then you associate the required classes with that instance.

You enroll students in the course series instance. This assesses the fee. When the enrollment happens, the student is automatically enrolled in all the required classes at $0 fee.

Here is an example:

The curriculum is Karate Certification. It has 4 levels.

You set up 4 course series.

  • Karate Certification Level 1 – $200/month or $1,000/semester
  • Karate Certification Level 2 – $250/month or /semester
  • Karate Certification Level 3 – $300/month or /semester
  • Karate Certification Level 4 – $350/month or /semester

Each operating year, you schedule a series class (course instance) for each level. So the first would be

KC Level 1 2017-2018, scheduled for the academic year

You identify the required classes for the series, for the year:

Sample required classes KC Level 1 2017-2018:

  • Karate 1 (Monday)
  • Karate 1 (Wednesday)
  • History of Karate (Saturday)
  • Drumming (Saturday)

You set up all these classes as you would normally, and you associate them with the series instance. These classes are offered to Certification students as well as the public, so they need to be stand-alone classes. Each of these classes has a Certification fee level of $0, and an open class fee level of $40/month.

You enroll Certification students ONCE in KC Level 1, charging the correct fee for the series. When you do this the student is automatically enrolled in all the required classes at $0 fee. The student’s enrollment history shows their participation in the certification program, year after year.

The users guide has more detail, and as the coming days go by it will have more illustration and possibly a video.

Posted in Courses, Enrollment, Fees | Comments Off

Email component implemented

We have heard back from the MuseMinder community, and it is clear that this change in e-mail routing is a welcome one. Now that the changes are in place, your action will be required for the program to continue to run as it is designed.

To review, we are switching the way e-mails are delivered. E-mails will now be routed through your studio’s e-mail system, rather than through ours. You will need to record your e-mail information in the MuseMinder system for this to work. You will find a form on the manager/set-up/preferences view, and there you will input your e-mail log-in details. Once you do this, any messages sent through MuseMinder will actually come from your studio, and have your logo on it.

If you do not do this right away, you can still work in the system but no emails will go out. And, since e-mail notifications are part of a whole lot of processes, you will see reminders all over the program in many many views that you open, nudging you to set up your e-mail configuration.

You will need some information on hand to fill out the form. You can find most of this information if you open up your current e-mail software (e.g. Outlook, AppleMail, Thunderbird) and look at your Settings view:

Host: this is often something like mail.yourdomain.com. The domain is whatever comes after the @ sign in your e-mail address. Our host is mail.museminder.com and our domain is museminder.com. For those of you who are not using a studio domain, the host name may be mail.gmail.com or mail.yahoo.com – you’ll need to look it up (but if that gives you hives, send me a message and I will help you!).
From address: this is your studio’s e-mail address.
User name: this is usually your studio’s e-mail address as well. It is what you would type in if you were logging into your e-mail over then Internet, rather than from a mail program like Outlook or Thunderbird.
Password: again, this is the password you would use if you were getting your e-mail over the Internet.

There is a Port Number also, but we ask that you leave that as it is. The default is usually the right one.

The form features a test element, so that you can type in your own email address and send yourself a test message. That will let you know right away if your configuration is correct. If your test message doesn’t come through, or if it bounces, we would first ask you to ask one of your local tech helpers, as they can investigate the configuration on site. If this fails, you can write to us and we’ll see what we can do but really and truly, getting local help is the best way to go because a local person can get into your machine and look things up.

FYI, in MuseMinder, your email password is encrypted (as are all log-in passwords).

Posted in E-mail | Comments Off

MuseMinder announces customized email

In response to suggestions from our clients, we at MuseMinder are considering a change to the way e-mails are sent through our system. We propose that e-mails be routed through your own studio’s e-mail service, rather than ours.

Here are the advantages of this switch:

  • Your e-mails will have a stronger brand presence as they will be from your domain rather than MuseMinder’s
  • ‘Reply’ messages will come to your in-box, making it easier for your clients to respond
  • Bounced message notices will come to your in-box, making it easier for you to maintain clean mailing lists
  • Messages are more likely to be received as they will come directly from your system, because of the arcane rules that dictate how spam is avoided

Stay tuned for more news of this enhancement.

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