Re: What is it about charms that a good google form can't also take care of?
Posted by Response on 8/26/2021, 7:00 pm, in reply to "Re: What is it about charms that a good google form can't also take care of?"
I'm a real Google nerd. Most of what Charms does COULD be done in Google sheets. If you're the only one who will ever touch it, that's fine. Any time you let others use your sheets, they're going to overwrite things or otherwise break it. If you make a typo, add or remove columns, formulas that go across sheets are likely to break. When you start trying to cross-reference multiple payments, different amounts due for different kids/sections, it gets really tough.
So use a form and a spreadsheet. Enter the money by ID number not student name. Have it total the money using a macro or a sheet function. It's simple, takes about 10 mins to set up. All you need is basic proficiency with Google Sheets/Excel. (Or you can buy a $10 copy of Quickbooks from Office Depot and use that)
Charms has better tracking of changes. If you have multiple users, you can go back and see who recorded the payment, who deleted what, etc. The audit trail is hopefully not necessary, but if there's ever any question about potential financial shenanigans then The data is all there. This is somewhat possible in Google sheets, but really just as an undo function.
Office365 and Google Sheets BOTH track changes, who made them, and when. This is incorrect. Also, if it's an issue, then don't let your assistant enter money for your ensemble. Then all "shenanigans" are your own.
Charms already has everything cross-referenced. I can easily look up a student and see what they have checked out (instruments and uniforms), what they've paid or owe, who their contacts are. Using Google forms I could create that page, but would have to write a bunch of formulas crossing over different sheets.
It takes just as many clicks and tabs to do that now in new CHARMS as it does to make separate Google Sheets for each part of your issued equipment. It's literally no easier.
And CHARMS is guaranteed to be slower, or to log you out in the middle of something you're doing, whereas GSuite or O365 won't.
We track not only incoming payments, but also our campus and district bank accounts in Charms. I could do all of that in QuickBooks or Quicken, but that limits me to one computer at a time. With Charms I can log in anywhere, booster treasurer can see what she needs, we can set up several stations at once to take payments. Again, possible in Google sheets but not easy.
Again, use Office365 or Google Suite. You can create a "Finances" spreadsheet with different tabbed pages for each account you spend money out of. It takes just as long to set up your accounts in CHARMS as it does to create a google sheet, and you can COPY AND PASTE the row/column headers.
It's a really roundabout way, but charms does have a way to track partial payments. With my demographic, I have quite a few students who have to pay $10 a week toward their band fees. Tracking all of that through Google sheets would get very tedious. I wish that charms would have a way to just record the partial payment on one screen, rather than going through the whole miscellaneous ledger system, but it does work.
Answered up the page.
Charms lets me send an account statement quickly and easily. I wish there was an easy payment receipt I could email, but we send an updated statement with the payment listed and that satisfies parents. I could create a statement page in a Google sheet, but the email function isn't there. If I print a statement from Charms it's confusing as hell. I understand the debit and credit concept, so I see why a negative number means the parent owes money, but most parents see a negative balance and think we owe THEM money. I don't know why those two screens are different. Regardless, the info is all there.
So does Quickbooks. And if you want to get REALLY fancy you can use a mail merge function to total your students' account balances and create a form letter. Again, these are things you can learn how to do in moments. It's literally basic computer proficency - and you can create your own page that DOES NOT have the confusing crap CHARMS has with negatives.
Email is a big one. There are some kludgy solutions to send personalized email through a Google sheet, but it's overly complicated, and requires a Google account that can send mail (my district Google account can't, we use Outlook for email). I could copy/paste a list from a Google sheet into my Outlook, but that leads to problems. If I "to" or "cc" everyone, parents complain about privacy and/or the reply-alls get stupid. If I "bcc" everyone, it gets stuck in their spam. I know that charms emails sometimes go to spam also, but in my experience more emails actually get through with Charms. I could send through our gradebook, but it's a huge pain. It's also really simple to send email to a small group - all clarinets, all 1st period, only seniors, etc. I would rather Charms had a way to send through the district email servers instead of their own.
Do you not use Remind or some other group texting? Parents DO NOT READ EMAILS anymore. Whatever you need to say needs to be consolidated to a single snapchat style page, and then SEND it via your remind app. The reason email servers filter BCC is because 95% of it is SPAM. You can't fix that - so find a new paradigm.
Charms is far from perfect. We do a lot of things in Google sheets and forms because it's faster and easier. We still pay for Charms for now.
You're wasting money. Every single thing CHARMS does, GSuite or Office365 with cloud storage does the same, for free, and usually better. Just learn to use the programs.