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FMS6 - Interfacing Options

Introduction

This document offers an overview of the interfaces which are available for FMS 6.  Some of the interfaces are programmatic and others are file based.  The document seeks only to suggest the possible rather than offer details of how any individual interface is called and is therefore aimed at organisations who are considering interfacing with FMS rather than solution architects.

FMS licences allow schools to have more than one database, often there may be one for public funds and one for ‘non-public’ funds.  Partners should ensure that they understand the needs of their customers with regard to multiple database support although in many cases partner links may be to a single FMS database.

FMS 6 is an ‘on premise’ product and does generally not offer ‘Web based’ or ‘RESTful’ interfaces and typically requires ‘Microsoft .Net’ application to be installed locally with access to one or more FMS database as appropriate. eProcurement is the exception to this and has an overview below.

Many of the available interfaces are licenced and will not operate unless a licence is purchased and applied by the school / their support unit.  Training data if often licenced to enable a particular school type to be represented.  This may mean that partners need to purchase more than one sample data set and partners should always check licence requirements with Capita to avoid surprises.  The cost of licences are not included within this document because the school typically buys the licence from Capita.

We envisage that partners would consider this document against their business opportunity and then initiate a discussion with us by emailing Partner.Management@capita.co.uk

Interfaces between FMS6 and SIMS

FMS – SIMS Interface (Command Pulsar)

How it works

FMS has a settings dialog that has a path for ‘Star 7’.  This is populated with the location of the SIMS .Net folder. FMS will then run the application CommandPulsar.exe when it wants to get SIMS data.

It will pass in credentials (from Summer 13) and had 4 modes:

  1. Versioning – values held within SIMS increment to verify that SIMS has not been restored.
  2. Room Data – Rooms held in SIMS are required for Equipment Register. Rooms cannot be defined in FMS
  3. Staff and Payroll – Service Terms, National Insurance Tables and Contractual data required to generate Salary Projections.
  4. Aggregated Student Data – The number of pupil “On-Roll” at a given date for each year group for budgeting purposes.

Command Pulsar releases the data to ‘STDOUT’

Documentation

XSD’s can be provided for the above and are available from the SIMS Third Party Team.

Who calls it?

FMS call Command Pulsar which pulls the data from SIMS into FMS

Known Users

The information has been provided to another MIS provider.

2.2 SIMS7 Fees Journal Interfaces

SIMS .Net has implemented a plugin concept to allow Fees to:

  1. Receive the Chart of Accounts from a finance system i.e. FMS
  2. Receive the Fiscal Calendar from a finance system i.e. FMS
  3. Post Fees journals (as per the SIMS Fees Module) to FMS General Ledger journals. There are 2 implementations of this
  1. FMS DLL link
  2. File based link

Whilst the interface to SIMS is generic and correct, the FMS end of the interface is hard coded and as such is unsuitable for use for a generic fees billing system.  It expects journals to be of a particular form particular to the SIMS Fees Module.  The interface is not suitable for use for the generic posting of journals to FMS General Ledger. The journals have been designed and consist of two separate types:-

    1. Journals recording the generation of Income – CR Income DR Control Account
    2. Journals recording the receipt of payments – CR Control Account DR Bank Account

Interfaces between FMS6 and External Systems

eProcurement – trading electronically

BASDA 3.09 / eGovt 3.09 ‘OPEN’ – Electron Trading Interfaces.

These implement the above standards for:

  • Importing Content Orders (Shopping Baskets) from either a supplier portal or individual website.
  • Dispatching FMS Purchase Orders to suppliers.
  • Importing Supplier Invoices that have a supporting Purchase Order.
  • Importing Supplier Credit Notes that have a supporting Invoice.

Whilst the XML contracts are defined by the 3.09 standards, we require that the provider implements the web services developed jointly  for the DfE Open project in England (now closed), and eTrading for Schools in Wales and Basware (formally  Procserve).  Please note that none of the elements of this are ‘Capita’ standards but these are the recommended protocols for electronic trading with FMS.

Known Users

There are in the region of ten providers who have implemented this including eTrading for Schools.

Email PDF Orders – Summer 2013 onwards

FMS provides functionality that enables Purchase Orders to be generated and automatically attached to an email that is dispatched to suppliers.  Suppliers will need to input the order in to their own system.

Known Users

A number of Local Authorities including Cambridgeshire, Devon and West Berkshire schools

XML Purchase Orders exchanged by email

XML Content Orders received by email

Prior to the DfE OPEN project, we developed functionality whereby XML orders using the UKGov 3.09 schema (same as the OPEN schema) were created on a supplier’s website and sent as an attachment to an email. Once received by the school, our solution interfaces with Outlook receive the Content Order automatically and create it as an unauthorised Purchase Order. Not many schools successfully used this solution as at the time very few schools had an Outlook client as their email system. Alternatively, Content Orders could be saved into a defined folder and manually imported into FMS.

Information regarding this functionality is located in the FMS handbook eproc.pdf which is provided within a copy of FMS.

Known Users

We are aware of two providers using this mechanism, of which at least one is now offering the electronic eProcurement solution.

XML Content Orders dispatched by email

Prior to the DfE OPEN project, we developed functionality whereby XML orders using the UKGov 3.09 schema (same as the OPEN schema) were sent as an attachment to an email. Our solution interfaces with Outlook to send and receive the orders automatically but not many schools successfully used this solution as at the time very few schools had an Outlook client as their email system. Alternatively, orders can be saved into a defined folder and manually attached to an email and sent to the supplier.

Information regarding this functionality is located in the FMS handbook eproc.pdf

Known Users

We are aware of two providers using this mechanism, of which at least one is now offering the electronic eProcurement solution.

Interfaces with Local Authority Corporate Systems

Ability to transfer Accounts Payable Transactions – “Central Authorisation”

FMS provides the ability for school that do not have their own bank account and hence cannot pay suppliers, to record the suppliers Invoices and Credit Notes and create a unique file name, whereby the transactions can be transmitted to the Local Authority. The Local Authority writes a utility that takes the transactions from this file and loads the transactions directly into their creditor payment system for processing.

Information regarding this functionality is located in the CPANDI.pdf, Chapter 2. The file is consistently generated in every copy of FMS.

Known Users

A significant number of Local Authorities where schools do not have their own bank accounts

Import of Automatic Reconciliation Definitions File

To enable a FMS Local Support Unit to define the Automatic Reconciliation Definition file in a FMS database. Once the definitions have been completed, a file can be generated, dispatched and imported to other copies of FMS who intend to use the same definition file.

Information regarding this functionality is located in the CPANDI.pdf, Chapter 3

Known Users

A significant number of Local Authorities where schools do not have their own bank accounts. This functionality is also used where schools have their own bank accounts, and an arrangement is upon how the Local Authority recovers the centrally borne costs i.e. payment of staff, from the schools.

Ability to receive and reconcile processed transactions – “Automatic Reconciliation”

FMS allows a single autorec file definition (Text file) to be defined. Once defined, it can be dispatched and imported to other copies of FMS who wish to use the same file definition. FMS is capable of importing transactions that have been processed by another accounting system but the transactions need to be recorded within FMS. The types of transactions that can be recorded in this manner are:-

  • Salary Payments for Members of Staff
  • Invoices / Credit Notes paid to Suppliers by the Local Authority
  • Income received by the Local Authority on behalf of a supplier without a bank account
  • Other centrally processed transactions

Information regarding this functionality is located in the CPANDI.pdf, Chapter 3

Known Users

A significant number of Local Authorities where schools do not have their own bank accounts. This functionality can also be used where schools do have their own bank accounts and an arrangement is upon how the Local Authority recovers the cost from the school of the centrally borne costs i.e. payment of staff.

  • Local Authorities offering payroll files to Academies
  • Local Authorities who have processed transactions for their Maintained schools.
  • Capita HR & Payroll

Payroll Interfaces

Payroll Interface for HR & Payroll

This interface for payroll creates an export from FMS which includes:

The set of pay related links from staff to cost centre / ledger code to allow automatic reconciliation from an external payroll system in to FMS using the automatic reconciliation processes.

Known users

Capita internal customer

 

External Payroll Interfaces

Pegasus Opera and IRIS EARNIE Payroll interface is only an import in to FMS.  These are text file which are configured within the respective products

Known Users

  • EARNIE
  • Pegasus

Multi-Year Budget Planning

Capita has produced a set of budget planning interfaces which will allow:

  • Chart of Accounts
  • Fiscal Calendar

To be exported from FMS

  • A budget for selective financial years to be imported back in to FMS from Multi-Year Budgeting application

There are two key variants of this

  • An API version (Available  to partners with associated usage costs, plus FMS licence)
  • An XML file based version (No usage costs but logically you need a copy of FMS to test it)

Known Users

This has been discussed with a number of partner of which one is known to use this interface.

 

BACS File – APACS Standard 18 and variations

FMS generates electronic payments to suppliers via a BACS file for importing directly into bank software or via a recognised BACS bureau. The BACS file that is generated is based upon the APACS standard 18, which is recognised by a number of High Street banks. Configuration within FMS enables the school to adapt the standard file structure to suit their specific bank requirements. Other file formats are available within FMS to meet specific bank requirements who do not recognise the APACS standard 18 format.

Users

High Street Banks – a full list here is available from the Service Desk.

 

VAT Reports

 

VAT Reports for Maintained Schools

FMS generates VAT reports that are recognised and adopted by Local Authorities within the UK for maintained schools to provide the data to their Local Authority, who provide the values to HMRC. These reports have over 20 years collected  millions of pounds of  transactions which can be printed together with the "VAT Long Summary Report" which is generated in the "LRM4 Format Export" - screen shot below:-

 

FMD Options
FMS VAT Report

 

VAT 126 Report - Academies

The VAT126 is a specific VAT report for Academies. The report is generated enabling the Academy to provide the values directly to HMRC.

2.7 Consistent Financial Return (CFR) – English Statutory Return for Maintained Schools

 

3.7.1 Consistent Financial Return (CFR) – Statutory Return

The CFR is an annual report that provides the Income, Expenditure, Capital Income and Capital Expenditure together with previous financial year’s brought forward balances for a Maintained schools for a financial year. The report is provided as a structured XML file specified annually by the DfE.

Known User

Department for Education only

Consistent Financial Report (CFR) - Import and Export of Ledger Code Mappings

To enable a SIMS Local Support Unit to undertake the mapping of ledger codes to CFR Headings in a FMS database. Once the mappings have been completed, a file can be generated, dispatched and imported to other copies of FMS using the same ledger codes and hence when imported the same ledger codes mappings to CFR Headings are mapped in a consistent manner.

Known User

Local Authorities

Consistent Financial Reporting (CFR) Income / Expenditure Report

This is a report using t the standard CFR Income and Expenditure Headings together with additional financial data which provide a whole school view of a school on a period basis to their Local Authority for monitoring purposes.

Known User

Local Authorities

FMS Cross School Reporting APIs

Capita has produced a set of ‘Cross School Reporting Interfaces’ as follows:

  • var csrExporter = new CsrExporter(     _serverName, _databaseName, _userName, _password, connectionTimeout);
  • csrExporter.ExportFiscalYear() as XmlDocument;
  • csrExporter.ExportGlAccount("<Year Description>") as XmlDocument;
  • csrExporter.ExportSummaryCashflow() as XmlDocument;
  • csrExporter.ExportVatSubmittal(_startDate, _endDate) as XmlDocument;

These are open to partners, however schools would require appropriate licencing.  Partners would need a copy of FMS to build their interface. Please contact partner.management@capita.co.uk if you require costs.

Known Users

One partner is known to use this interface.

Interface with Electronic Payment System

FMS has the ability to receive transactions when a buyer has entered their payment details to establish the debt owed to the school. Subsequently, when the Electronic Payment System has verified the card details and processed the payment, FMS has the ability to record the payment of the owed monies, the charge for the service and the bank deposit

These do what they suggest, however they are only supported for journals which record an external payment such as one from an ePayment system to the school’s account.

FmsGeneralLedgerProcessor _FMSGLProcessor = new FmsGeneralLedgerProcessor(_server, _database, _username, _password);
IXPathNavigable _getBanksResult = _FMSGLProcessor.GetBanks(_systemIdentifier, out _isSuccess) as XmlDocument;IXPathNavigable 
_journalResult = _FMSGLProcessor.PostJournals(_xmlJournal);
IXPathNavigable _auditResult = _FMSGLProcessor.PostAuditMessage(_auditMessage);

Documentation

Detailed documentation is available upon request to FMS Partners.

Costs

These are open to partners, however schools would require appropriate licencing.  Partners would need a copy of FMS to build their interface. Please contact partner.management@capita.co.uk if you require costs.

Known Users

At least one partner is known to have investigated these interfaces.

Interfaces used with FMS6

Supporting Documents for Accounts Payable Invoices / Credit Notes

The images that that can be attached to an Accounts Payable Supplier Invoice are Adobe PDF Documents, or images in either bitmap (BMP) or JPEG (JPG) formats. If a bitmap is specified it will be converted to JPEG before being stored to minimise the disk space used.

This functionality allows scanning devices to import documents for use in FMS. This is a simple interface where the file name format links to an invoice in FMS. The file name format is configurable within FMS. Documents are stored in a shared folder on the network file system.

Direction

FMS imports the documents

FMS Supplier Catalogues

FMS supports the import of a supplier catalogues.  This is a chargeable service provided by Capita SIMS, whereby the supplier provides their current catalogue with specific data fields which is used to engineer an encrypted file that can be imported into FMS. 

Known Users

A number of partners / non partners have electronic catalogues.  Many of these partners also offer the electronic eProcurement solution.

EDI Order format – NOT supported

FMS has a setting for "E" EDI upon a Supplier definition, which we believe has not been used for 20+ years and is legacy from our previous non windows accounting solution. Information regarding this functionality is located in the ACCPAY.pdf, page 21

Known Users

One partner did use this method but have now implemented eProcurement functionality.

Export of Suppliers between copies of FMS – chargeable service

To enable a SIMS Local Support Unit to export a list of existing suppliers from a populated FMS database to populate another FMS database where NO suppliers have been defined.

Export of Debtors between copies of FMS – chargeable service

To enable a SIMS Local Support Unit to export a list of existing debtors from a populated FMS database to populate another FMS database where NO debtors have been defined.

FMS6 Internal Interfaces

Financial Reporting Suite (FRS) Interfaces

The Financial Reporting Suite (FRS) extracts held within FMS reporting, allowing the user to add comments that are stored into FMS.

FRS is a Capita product that uses the interfaces to exchange data with FMS.

Known Users

None outside of Capita

User Defined Reports between copies of FMS6

FMS provides the ability for a User Defined Report to be created in one copy of FMS (donor), exported and imported into another copy of FMS6 (recipient). During the creation of the User Defined Report, the creator can decide whether upon import, the report can be:-

  • Imported but not edited in any form
  • Imported and can be edited
  • Imported and can be copie

Note –

  • The functionality is best suited for reports where the ledger codes are consistent between the donor and recipient
  • Both copies of FMS6 MUST be at the same version of FMS6

Known Users

Local None outside of Capita

 

Equipment Register – Importing Items of Equipment

Equipment Register has the ability to import a specifically structured and sorted .csv or .txt file, of Items of Equipment.

Information regarding this functionality is located in the ERW_MA.pdf, Chapter 5 which is provided in an installation of FMS.

 

FMS Report Export to MS Excel

By default, all reports can be saved to Excel 4 but this can generate a message along the lines “This report may contained missing data”. As a result, the FMS6 team have begun a project to re-engineer the most frequently used reports.

If this is all that is needed by a partner, then this may obviate the need for a partnership and potentially avoids partner costs.  There is however no obligation on Capita to convert any report at particular time; this work is prioritised via product management based on customer feedback.

Contracted  Services

Contract Interfaces

We have developed a mechanism to allow additional partner interfaces to be added more easily. 

Partner interfaces will be named to the specific customer who would have the right to initiate correction or change.  Capita would always recommend that Partners should commission their own interfaces to avoid any conflict caused by the commissioning Partner changing their interface.

Contract interfaces are charged at standard consultancy rates www.capita-sims.co.uk/partners refers.

Conclusion

Partnes would be advised to engage in a discussion with Capita prior to commissioning any product / development work that integrates with FMS.  An initial telephone discussions would be offered without charge to assist with planning.

The available interfaces are those shown above and may be subject to appropriate licences being purchased by/for the customer.

Direct SQL access is not supported and may invalidate security models, support contracts and / or warranties.

We are happy to quote for bespoke APIs and ask that partners factor in our lead times and release schedules.

Our services are detailed at www.capita-sims.co.uk/partners along with current pricing for software, support et al.

 

SIMS FMS RESOURCES

Related resources for SIMS FMS