All-In-One Field Service Management Software by Aptora

Accounting & Banking

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Unapply a Credit to an Invoice

How to Unapply a Credit to an Invoice

If you applied a credit to an invoice and then realized that was the incorrect application, this will tell you how to reverse that.  

Customer:Job History

In order to do this, you will first need to navigate to the customer history for that customer. You can do this by finding them in the Customer:Job list located at ‘Customers’ > ‘Customer:Job List’. Once you are here, you can right-click on the customer and click ‘History’. 



Once you are in the history for that customer you should be able to go to the sales tab to see all of the sales, credits, or invoices from the current customer. You will want to right-click on the credit that has been applied incorrectly and click adjust. 


How to adjust the credit

Once you click adjust you will see all of the applications of this credit. You can find the incorrect application and select it to be deleted. 

Once you delete this application you will see that the balance has returned to the credit to be used. 


You will want to use this adjust screen anytime a payment has been applied incorrectly. By using this screen you will unlink the credit to the invoice and should be able to apply the entire amount to another invoice of your choosing.  

Aptora Automated Recurring Billing

Aptora Automated Recurring Billing

Aptora’s payment gateway,, is capable of automatically charging your customers for you. When utilizing it, you must also let Total Office Manager know that these payments are going into your bank account so that your books are correct within Total Office Manager. You can do this utilizing memorized transactions within Total Office Manager. This is useful for alarm companies that charge monthly, but it’s also useful for other industries such as HVAC, Lawn Care, Pest Control, and more that charge monthly for their service agreement contracts.

I started with an estimate. I created an alarm monthly line item and it is set for $50/month. I plan on turning this estimate into a sale, so I set the estimate status to awarded, to flag it as such.

I used the prior estimate to generate a  “sale”, not an invoice, by right-clicking the estimate, and choosing “sale”. It then pulled the line item from the estimate and put it into the above sale form. A sale means we will receive the money right away without having to log in to the Total Office Manager system to then choose “receive payment” or “batch e-pay” as you do with an invoice or a memorized invoice. Invoices are typically used when you plan on receiving the money at a later date. Like a net 30-day invoice pay me within 30 days. To be clear, since I plan on having charge the customer for me, without me having to do anything, I want these to be “sales” not “invoices”.

Above, when generating the memorized sale, I set the reminder to “automatically enter”. It’s important to do this step. I checked the top as completed because I wanted to show you, that it populates a date completed record. This is useful for situations, where a customer might pay early for some reason, so even if they were supposed to pay on 5/1/23, but paid today on 4/20/23, I would see it as such, especially useful if your policy is that they pay for the first month upfront or maybe even pay for the last month upfront as well.

This is the memorized transaction master list. It can be used to show the alarm monthly’s for every customer I have in the database. There could be hundreds if not thousands of records here I can view showing me all the customers we charge on a periodic basis. When I double-click the record, it opens the memorized transaction again so that I can always edit it in the future if need be.

On the first of the month, or whenever I am able, I can go into Total Office Manager, and click the add deposits button, and I will receive an alert, saying I have undeposited funds to verify as accurate. It suggests clicking the payments tab, so I do that and show it in the next screenshot.

On any date after May 1st, this is going to show up as an undeposited fund. It’s money we have already received in our bank account, I want to let Total Office Manager know,
that it’s correct. When I do the check box, I’m letting it know its correct.

The above is an example of what you might see on the web portal and how you verify the money was paid per customer. They can also email you an Excel report on a scheduled basis for you to look over too. You also get a second excel report showing you any credit cards that were declined. You would want this open on your second monitor and you would verify that there is indeed a 5/1/2023 for Jonathan’s Coffee Shop.

(to better view this image, right-click it, and click open in a new window) Keep in mind, the history is all still there for the estimate I generated earlier, so for instance, when in the customer’s history screen, I can see in their estimate tab, that the estimate there was set as rewarded. If I were to view their sales tab, I would see the sale I just created too.

(to better view this image, right-click it, and click open in a new window)  When 5/1/2023 occurs, notice how the $50 sale is there in the customer history screen. Another $50 sale should show up every month without you having to do anything else within Total Office Manager.

(to better view this image, right-click it, and click open in a new window) Also, please keep in mind that you can now view the history of the item, to see every sale, estimate, etc. that has occurred for this item. You can filter by quarter, last year, this year, etc. as well to view how successful you are selling this item this year vs last year. Are we growing this side of the business or are we shrinking?

Automated Recurring Billing – Automated Recurring Billing, Part 1 – Automated Recurring Billing, Part 2

Flexible Automatic Payment Options

– Jonathan Fayard

Chart of Accounts Numbering Convention

How to Number Your Chart of Accounts

A standard chart of accounts (or COA) is organized according to a numerical system. The Chart of Accounts numbering convention states that each major category will begin with a certain number, and then the sub-categories within that major category will all begin with the same number.

If assets are classified by numbers starting with the digit 1, then cash accounts might be labeled 101, accounts receivable might be labeled 105, inventory might be labeled 112, and so on. Whereas, if liabilities accounts are classified by numbers starting with the digit 2, then accounts payable might be labeled 201, short-term debt might be labeled 202, and so on.

Chart of Accounts – Numbering Convention Example

Starting # Account Type* Comments
1000 Bank
1100 Accounts Receivable
1200 Other Current Asset This would contain your Inventory account
1300 Fixed Asset
1400 Other Asset
2000 Accounts Payable
2100 Credit Card
2200 Other Current Liability
2300 Long Term Liability
2500 Equity
4000 Income
5000 Cost of Goods Sold
6000 Expense AKA: Overhead. Contains fixed and variable.
9000 Other Income
9500 Other Expense


  • These are the fifteen different account types found in Total Office Manager. Within each type, you would enter your own specific account. An example would be “Rent” or “Utilities”.
Chart of Account Types
Chart of Account Types
  • When entering your accounts, please be sure to separate each account by at least ten numbers (such as 1010, 1020, 1030, etc).

Related Content

Chart of Accounts – Overview

Preferences – Chart of Accounts


Set up a Loan or Line of Credit


A small business may choose to use a line of credit to cover short term cash shortages. Lines of credit can take many forms. Generally, a company makes a request to borrow money against its line of credit via fax or email. The money is then electronically deposited into the company’s bank account. The business may pay interest only or a combination of interest and principle monthly. These payments are typically made electronically by the bank per the company’s request, and no checks are sent or received. When this happens, a company will need to set up a loan or a line of credit within Total Office Manager.

To set up a line of credit to show interest expenses and principle payments, follow the steps below that best suit your needs:

Note: The accounts used here are for illustrative purposes only. Please consult your accounting professional for the exact accounts to use.

Form Access

  • From the main menu, click Banking | Chart of Accounts List.  Right-click anywhere in the list and select New Account from the fly-out menu.

New Chart of Account
New Chart of Account

Field & Button Definitions

Create a long-term liability account to track what you owe:

Chart of Account – Long Term Liability
  • Type – Choose Long Term Liability as the account type.
  • Number – This number can be auto-generated by Total Office Manager, or you can choose to input your own reference number for this account.
  • Name – Enter an appropriate name (“Line of Credit” for example) for this account to track the liability.
  • Subaccount of – This is not a subaccount, so leave this field blank.
  • Note – Enter any appropriate notes regarding the chart of account.
  • Description – Enter any description you feel necessary to describe this account and its purpose.
  • Inactive – This checkbox should remain unmarked as long as this account is active.

Once all fields have been filled out, click the Next button to set up the next account.

Create an account to track interest payments (expenses):

Chart of Account - Expense
Chart of Account – Expense
  • Type – Select Expense from the drop-down menu.
  • Number – This number can be auto-generated by Total Office Manager, or you can choose to input your own reference number for this account.
  • Name – Enter an appropriate name (“Line of Credit – Interest” for example) for this account.
  • Subaccount of – This is not a subaccount, so leave this field blank.
  • Bank Acct. No. – Enter the number of the bank account, if applicable.
  • Opening Balance – Leave this field blank.
  • As of – Leave this field blank.
  • This Account is Used for Inventory Purposes Only – Leave this checkbox unmarked.
  • Description – Enter any description you feel necessary to describe this account and its purpose.
  • Inactive – This checkbox should remain unmarked as long as this account is active.

Once all fields have been filled out, click the OK button to close the window.

Depositing money from your line of credit:

To deposit the money that has been borrowed against your line of credit into the company’s bank account, follow these instructions:

  • From the main menu, select Banking | Make Deposits, or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + D to open the Add Deposit form.


Make Deposit File Path
Make Deposit File Path


Add Deposit
Add Deposit
  • Deposit to – Select the bank account into which your bank will transfer the money.
  • Date – Enter the date of the actual transfer.
  • Entry # – Enter some type of code in this field that relates to the transaction. One recommended option is to enter the letters “ACH” followed by a transaction number. This can be the current date, your loan request number, a number assigned by the bank, or an internal number.
  • Memo – Enter notes in this field explaining the source of the loan and any other pertinent information necessary.
  • Received From – Select your Bank from the drop-down menu. Your bank should already be set up as a vendor. If your bank is not set up as a vendor, use the <Add New> option, to create an account for your bank.
  • From Account – Select your new account “Line of Credit”.
  • Memo – Enter any notes you feel are necessary in this area.
  • Check # – If the funds were received in the form of a check, enter the number of the check in this field. Otherwise, you can leave blank or enter another number/code for internal purposes.
  • Pmt Meth. – Select the appropriate payment method type from the drop-down menu. If the transaction is paperless, it is recommended to use “ACH”. These letters indicate that this was an electronic transaction.
  • Amount – Enter the amount of the loan in this field.
  • Dept. – Enter the department that will receive the funds, if applicable. Otherwise, leave blank.

Double check your work, and then click OK.

Once these steps have been completed, the money borrowed from the line of credit will appear in the company’s bank account, and the transaction will be set up as a Long Term Liability.

Make an interest or loan payment:

When scheduling the repayment of a Line of Credit against which your company has borrowed, it must first be determined whether the payments will be interest payments or payments against the principle (the money borrowed). Typically, banks will automatically withdraw money from a company’s bank account each month to cover interest charges. This section explains how to record that event:

  • From the main menu, select Banking | Write Checks or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl +W to access the Write Checks form.
Write Checks File Path
Write Checks File Path


Write Check Form
Write Check Form
  • Bank – Select the account from which the payment will come.
  • Pay to the order of – Select the institution that holds the company’s Line of Credit and to which the payment will be sent.
  • No. – Enter an internal code for the ACH transaction. One recommended option is to enter the letters “ACH” followed by a transaction number. This can be the current date, your loan request number, a number assigned by the bank, or an internal number.
  • Date – Enter the date of the actual transfer.
  • Memo – Enter a memo explaining the payment, etc.

On the Expenses tab:

Write Check - Expense Tab
Write Check – Expense Tab
  • Account – Select “Line of Credit – Interest” account. When making a payment against the principle (the loan amount), select the Line of Credit account.
  • Amount – Enter the amount of the interest paid. The interest amount will be shown on the company’s bank statement or recorded as a transaction on the bank’s website. When making a payment against the principle (the loan amount), enter the principle payment amount.

Double check your work, and then click Save & Close.

The above actions (less the last two steps) will increase the interest expenses on the company’s Income Statement. If the payment was for the principle, the Line of Credit amount (on the Balance Sheet) will be lowered.


  • Smart Account Filtering is a safety feature in Total Office Manager. When Smart Account Filtering is enabled, only proper account types appear as options, which eliminates the mistake of selecting improper account types for a given transaction. This preference may need to be disabled (turned off) in order to see the “Line of Credit” account in the Make Deposit form and the Write Check form. This option is found on the Chart of Accounts tab of the Preferences form (Edit | Preferences).
  • If, after receiving the company’s bank statement, it is found that the interest paid differs from the interest due, the check can always be edited to reflect the correct amount. Adjustments can also be made as Journal Entries, but Adjusting Journal Entries are typically not recommended

Related Content

Chart of Accounts – Overview

Manual Deposits List

Department Overhead Allocation

Overhead Allocation Methods Explained

Advanced accounting people want truly departmentalized income statements that break-out overhead by department using some type of calculation method. All overhead is driven (or created) by sales activity, labor expenses, or MESO expenses (material, equipment, sub-contractor, and other direct expenses).

While overhead can be arbitrarily allocated to each department as a percentage of the total (e.g.: 25% of rent goes to the service department), a far more accurate method is allocated overhead based on sales, labor or MESO. This is commonly referred to as Activity Based Overhead Allocation.

Using Overhead Allocation

The more employees you have the larger your facilities need to be. The more field labor you have the more gasoline you will need. The more your sales are, the higher your credit card processing fees.


Credit card fees (charged to the company) are driven by sales activity. The higher the company’s sales, the higher there credit card fees. This should be calculated based on a percentage of sales.

Gasoline is driven by direct labor expenses. The more you pay for direct (field) labor, the more you will pay for Gasoline. This should be calculated by a percentage of Direct Labor.

If you know Total Sales, Department Sales, Total Gasoline Expenses, you can calculate how much of the gasoline should be applied to each department. Consider this example:

Overhead Allocation Setup

  • Go to Edit | Preferences | Chart of Accounts | Company Preferences – Check “Use Department Overhead Allocation”
  • Go to Company | User List/Security – Edit any user and check to View the preference for “Income Statement – Overhead Allocated” under the Reports section.
  • Go to Banking | Chart of Account List – Edit each Expense and Other Expense type account. Select the “Overhead Allocation Method” that you want to use. (See explanation below of each method).
  • When ready to view the report go to Reports | Financials | Income Statement – Overhead Allocated. This report has the ability to view up to four different date ranges at a time as well as view all Departments or only one selected department.

Note: Once you have turned the feature on it will assign all Expense Accounts to the “Direct Labor (% of total direct labor) Allocation Method automatically. Be sure to check each Expense account to be sure it is set to the correct Allocation Method that you want to use.

Department Overhead Allocation Selection List

A new selection will be added to the COA form after you have turned on the Preference. It will be called Department Overhead Allocation. Only Expenses and Other Expenses types will include this new control.

There will be four selection options:

Income (% of sales)

Not recommended. When this option is selected on an Expense or Other Expense account it calculates the percentage (%) of sales for the department. It will then take the Total Expense amount times (x) that percent to give you the amount of the Expense on the report for that department.

Direct Labor (% of total direct labor)

When this option is selected on an Expense or Other Expense account it is calculated by taking the Total dollar amount to all Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) accounts with a Job Costing Type = “Payroll and Labor Only” to all Departments. It then finds the Total dollar amount to all Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) accounts with a Job Costing Type = “Payroll and Labor Only” to that particular department. By dividing these amounts it determines the percentage of Labor for the Department. It will take the Total amount of the expense times (x) that percent to get the dollar amount for that department.

MESO (% of non-labor direct expenses)

When this option is selected on an Expense or Other Expense account it is calculated by taking the Total dollar amount to all Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) accounts with a Job Costing Type = “Parts and Material, Serialized Inventory or Sub Contractor” to all Departments. It then finds the Total dollar amount to all Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) accounts with a Job Costing Type = “Parts and Material, Serialized Inventory or Sub Contractor” to that particular department. By dividing these amounts it determines the percentage of Labor for the Department. It will take the Total amount of the expense times (x) that percent to get the dollar amount for that department.


When set to Manual, the Overhead Allocated income statements will look at the transaction, row by row. It will not allocate the expenses using any of the other three allocation methods (income, labor, or MESO).

Consider a check for $5000.00. Each row in the Expenses tab points to a chart of account called Rent. That account’s Overhead Allocation Method has been set to Manual. There are five rows with five different departments selected for each row. We will look at each row, get the department name, and allocate the Amount of that row to that department. This method does not include children of that COA, unless those accounts are also set to Manual.

Overhead Allocation Tips

  • Default Selection: The default selection will be “Direct Labor (% of Total Direct Labor)”. This is automatically assigned when you turn the preference on.
  • If you add up all of  you departmentalized income statements, they will likely not match the totals found in other company wide income statements.
  • Note: If a Department Overhead Allocation selection has not been made on a chart of account, these expenses will not appear on the Income Statement – Overhead Allocated or Income Statement – Dept. Wide.

Overhead Allocation FAQ

Q: Which income statements offer the Overhead Allocation option?

A: There are two reports: 1. Income Statement – Overhead Allocated. 2. Income Statement – Dept. Wide.

Related Topics

Divisions and Departments

Interdepartmental Billing (invoicing your other departments)

How to Set Up and Use Interdepartmental Billing or Invoicing

Inter-Departmental Invoicing is a way to credit your service department for fixing mistakes made by the installation department (or to “invoice” any department from another, for that matter).

A common cause of very serious resentment in a company is when service technicians spend time fixing up work performed by the installation department.  This might include warranty work or call-backs resulting from improper or incomplete equipment installation work.  Often the boss criticizes the service department for not being profitable and the service tech’s respond by thinking “if we weren’t so busy fixing up all of these junkie installations, we’d be more profitable”.  This creates dangerous resentment that can poison your field personnel.  Of course, the service techs have a point.  This is because, the “warranty work” or “call-backs” are not invoice-able and their work dilutes the service department’s gross profit.

Total Office Manager’s “Preferred Way” to handle this situation is to have the service department create an invoice and send it to the installation department.  Thus, the service department receives payment for their work – just like running any other service call – and the installation department gets the bill (as it should be).


3 Steps to Inter-Departmental Invoicing:

When the Service Department runs a call on a system which was installed by the Installation Department, track the activity using inter-departmental invoicing:

  1. Invoice the Installation Department:  Have the service technicians fill out an invoice and price it out normally.  We recommend using “Service Agreement” pricing – usually 20% off normal retail price.  The invoice is made out to the company’s installation department (Example: EnviroTech Installation Department).  The invoice is turned into the office.  A customer called “EnviroTech” is created in Total Office Manager and the invoice is entered into Total Office Manager normally.  When the invoice is entered, the “Service” department is selected and the invoice is saved normally.  Don’t forget the department selection.
  2. Issue a Credit to the Installation Department:  The next step is to create a Credit.  The “Installation” department is selected.  Don’t forget to select the department.
  3. Pay the Service Department:  The final step is to pay the service department’s invoice using the installation department’s Credit. The service department gets the income and the installation department gets the expense – as it should be. The correct form is located by clicking Customers | Receive Payments. You need to apply the credit to the invoice.

Now the departmentalized income statement accurately reflects the cost associated with the “sloppy installations” and the profitability of the service department does not suffer. Total company sales and profit is not affected so there is no impact on sales tax, income tax, company revenue, or company profitability.

Interdepartmental Billing Tips

  • Never add sales tax to either the Invoice or the Credit.
  • When creating the Invoice, pick the department to be PAID for the service call.
  • When creating the Credit, pick the department PAYING for the service call.
  • There are no income or sales tax ramifications when using this method.  Money just moves between your departments.

Memorized Transactions (understanding and using)

How to Memorize Transactions (automatic creation)

This topic will cover setting up, editing, and deleting memorized transactions. A Memorized Transaction is a transaction that has been saved but not posted (recorded).  A memorized transactions is useful for transactions that occur on a regular basis. Examples might include a rent check, a monthly invoice for service agreements, adjusting journal entries, bills, or many other transaction types.

Using Memorized Transactions

The Add Memorized Transactions form is used to create memorized transactions.

You may create memorized transactions for sales, invoices, estimates, credits, vendor credits, checks, bills, item receipts, credit card charges, purchase orders, appointments, work orders, even journal entries.

When a memorized transactions is created, Total Office Manager will go ahead and create that transaction on the schedule you have selected.

Form Access

Memorized Transactions List

  • From the main menu, click Company | Memorized Transaction List

How to Create a New Memorized Transaction

Memorized Transactions is accessible by right clicking on most lists.

You may also open the record and click the Menu button.

Field Definitions

  • Name – Enter a name that best describes the memorized transaction.
  • Reminder | Automatically Enter – Total Office Manager will automatically create the record on the date you select. This happens when you log into Total Office Manager each day. You will be asked before the transaction is created.
  • Reminder | Remind Me – The memorized transaction will appear in the Reminders Pending area of both the Information Center and the Status Bar.
  • Reminder | No Reminder – Total Office Manager will not remind you of the memorized transaction. The memorized transaction will not appear in the Information Center. You will need to create the memorized transaction yourself.
  • Start Date – The first date of the memorized transaction. A memorized transaction will be created for this date.
  • Frequency – Select the correct time frame for the memorized transaction.  Example: Daily would be one memorized transaction for each day.  Quarterly would create one memorized transaction for each quarter (three months).
  • End Date – The last date of the memorized transaction.  The memorized transaction is created starting with the start date and ending with the end date.
  • Day Type | Calendar Day – A memorized transaction will be created for every day of the week, Monday through Sunday.
  • Day Type | Next Business Day – A memorized transaction will be created for each business day of the week, Monday through Friday.
  • Description – Enter a description of the memorized transaction. Unlike the Name field, you have much more room to fully describe the purpose of the memorized transaction.
  • Remind Who – Select from the list of your employees in Total Office Manager.  Each of those you select will be reminded (if reminder options are selected).


Memorizing a Transaction

  1. Open the list that contains the transaction you wish to memorize (IE: sales or checks).
  2. Right click on the record and click Memorize. If “Memorize” is not in the list, it is likely not an option.
  3. Using the Field Definitions above, complete the memorized transaction form.
  4. Click the Create Reminders button. This action creates the actual memorized transaction. You should see the list at the bottom of the form populate.
  5. When finished, please click the OK button.

Editing or Deleting a Memorized Transaction

Follow these instructions to delete or edit a memorized transaction.

  1. Click Tools | Memorized Transaction List.
  2. Right click on the memorized transaction you wish to work with.
  3. Select Delete to delete the memorized transaction. Select Edit to make changes to an existing memorized transaction.

Note: This process does NOT change or delete a memorized transaction that has been generated. To do this, you must locate the actual transaction (like a check or invoice) and work with it.

Viewing a Memorized Transaction

Follow these instructions to view the actual transaction that was memorized.

  1. Click Tools | Memorized Transaction List.
  2. Right click on the MT you wish to work with.
  3. Select View Transaction.

Generate a Memorized Transaction

Follow these instructions to generate a transaction that was memorized. This process creates a new posted transaction in Total Office Manager using MT as the source.

  1. Click Tools | Memorized Transaction List.
  2. Right click on the MT you wish to work with.
  3. Select Generate Transaction. Total Office Manager will create the transaction.

Note: You may make all of the usual changes to the transaction once it has been created.

Changing the Item Prices or Sales Tax Amounts on Memorized Transactions

If you have setup or used memorized transactions and you change the price on an item or the rate of the sales tax used in that memorized transaction, the changes will not be reflected automatically in any memorized transaction that uses that item or sales tax.

To update affected memorized transactions, please follow these steps:

  1. If you have not done so, create the new invoice item and or sales tax item.
  2. Delete the item(s) and taxes with the old price. (delete anything that was changed)
  3. Add the items back to the memorized transaction and save.

Memorized Transaction Tips

  • Don’t confuse a memorized transaction with an actual transaction. A MT is a transaction that has not yet been generated (posted or saved). An example might be a check made out to pay rent. It is used as a “template” for the actual check that gets written each month. A transaction would be the actual check for January, February, March, etc.
  • You can’t memorize any transaction that includes a serialized inventory item (that you sell). That’s because serial numbers were intended to be unique and not reused.
  • Transactions that are created from a MT are no different than a transaction you create manually. You can go back and edit, delete, or change them in any way you would be able to with a manually created transaction.
  • To create an “On Time” kind of reminder, set the start date and the end date to the day you want the reminder set for and set the Frequency to Daily. You still need to create Reminders.
  • New Reminders versus New Reminder Items. New Reminder adds a completely new reminder. New Reminder Item adds additional dates or persons to an existing reminder.

Related Content

Bill List
Check List
Customer Equipment List
Invoice/Sale/Credit/Estimate List
Item – Item Receipt List

How to Install and Use Contractor Compass Dashboards

Contractor Compass Introduction

Contractor Compass is a set of dashboards designed to offer business owners unparalleled insight into their business. These super dashboards are powered by EGIA Contractor University. By that, we mean they closely follow the recommendations and best practices taught by the teaching faculty at EGIA. That faculty includes Aptora’s president, James R. Leichter.

Please see our KB article titled Preparing Total Office Manager for Contractor Compass™.

System Compatibility

Currently, Contractor Compass is compatible as Windows Application only. At this time, it is not compatible with Apple (iOS) platform. Aptora recommends utilizing a work around by remoting into a computer that is running a Windows operating system or running a dual operating system on your Apple machine.

Minimum Microsoft Excel Versions Required

You must be using Excel 365 or Excel 2021 (32-bit or 64-bit). We use the FILTER function in many of our workbooks. The FILTER function is only available in Excel for Microsoft 365 and Excel 2021. In Excel 2019, Excel 2016 and earlier versions, it is not supported.

How the System Works

The system mainly consists of a desktop app and Microsoft Excel files. The Excel file is used to display your dashboard information. We have built two dashboards and there will be more to come. These will be offered for a nominal fee.

The Excel files are macro enabled and use the “.xlsm” file extension. They contain VBA source code that is used to securely connect to your Total Office Manager database. Once connected, the Excel file runs database queries called Views and Stored Procedures. These queries consume large amounts of information and place the data in a set of workbooks. This data is further processed using the power of Excel and fed into worksheets that are designed for presentation.

Why We Use Microsoft Excel

100% customization. Power software users demand extreme flexibility. They are always telling us they would like to see something different, and few people ever ask for the same thing. We built this system in MS Excel so that users could create nearly anything they wanted. MS Excel is the most popular spreadsheet software in the world. It is easy to learn and there is a lot of support for it.

Microsoft Excel along with Total Office Manager’s Microsoft SQL Server database, offer you complete and total access to your data and give you an almost unlimited opportunity to create any report imaginable.


You will need to have Contractor Compass® and Microsoft Excel® version 2019 or 365 installed and fully updated. You will need to have an active support plan for Total Office Manager. You do not need to have Total Office Manager installed on the same computer. You ill need your original Total Office Manager serial number to install Contractor Compass. That can be found on your original invoice and the About box in Total Office Manager.

Security and Permissions

You must have a user name and password. You will use the same one that you use for Total Office Manager. You will need to have permission to launch the Contractor Compass.

In Total Office Manager, go to User List/Security form > double click on a user name > click Next > navigate to the Reports section. You should see an option called Company Dashboard. Click the box to select it. This gives the user permission to use the Contractor Compass Launcher app and therefor open any dashboard.

Installing the Dashboard Software

The following applies to both on-premises and hosted (cloud) users.

When you invest in this dashboard software system, you will immediately receive an email with a download link. The download is a zip file. That link will be live for thirty days, so you have plenty of time to download it.

Unzip the file called, to a location of your choice and run the ContractorCompass.msi to install the software. The install is easy. You will basically need to click a few Next buttons and you should be finished. Please keep all the default settings, unless you have a good reason to change them.

Launching the Software

Double click on the Contractor Compass icon or search for the application using the Windows Search feature. If you do not see the icon, you can double click on the program file located at: “C:\Program Files (x86)\Aptora\Contractor Compass\ContractorCompassDashboardLauncher.exe”

Required Settings

The first time you run the app, you will be taken to the Settings page and asked to configure the program.

  1. If Aptora hosts your software, please check the Is Hosted box. Otherwise, leave this unchecked.
    • Only if Hosted: From the Host Name list, select a Host Name. You should only see one choice.
    • Only if Hosted: Enter an Instance Name. The support department can provide you with this information.
    • Only if Hosted: Enter a Port Number. The support department can provide you with this information.
  2. Enter a Serial Number. This is the same serial number that you use for Total Office Manager. You can get this by opening the About box in Total Office Manager. Is is also on your Total Office Manager invoice.
  3. Select a Server. This is the same server you would have selected using your Total Office Manager software program. See Configuration Tips below, for more information.
  4. Select the Database (aka: Company File) you wish to connect to. If hosted, you will need to enter the name of the database you wish to connect to. Example: ABC Service Company
  5. The Company Dashboard Path and Custom Dashboard Path should default to the correct locations. You should not have to change these settings.
  6. Click the Submit button.

Configuration Tips

  • If you need to know more about your server and database, open Total Office Manager, click File > Company File Information > click the File Properties tab.
  • For all on premise installations, please enter your Total Office Manager found under Help | About.

Software File Locations

This information is FYI for technical users. Most users will not need to know this.

  1. The software program files are installed here by default: C:\Program Files (x86)\Aptora\Contractor Compass
  2. The data files are installed here by default: C:\ProgramData\Aptora\CCompass
  3. The Excel dashboard files are located here by default: C:\ProgramData\Aptora\CCompass\Dashboards
  4. Your custom Excel dashboard files should be placed here: C:\ProgramData\Aptora\CCompass\CustomDb

Launching the Dashboards

  1. Click the View Dashboards button to see a list of available dashboards.
  2. Double-click the dashboard of your choice. Excel will open and the data will start loading into the Workbook.

Important Notes

  • There may be a delay between your click and a progress bar opening, indicating that Excel is loading data. This delay can take several minutes, depending on how much data Excel is trying to load. If you accidently open two or more Excel files, you can just close them.
  • You see a warning from Microsoft Windows or Excel that you are opening a potentially unsafe file. Please click Ok or Continue. We have no way of preventing this warning. See Tips below, for more information.
  • Microsoft Outlook Conflict: It may not be possible to open MS Outlook when you are loading a dashboard. We are looking into this issue.

Understanding the Dashboard Information

We have added a large number of comments in the Excel files. Hover over the arrow as shown to see them. Check for a Tips or Preferences tab for other helpful information.

Fixing Wrong or Incomplete Information

Many users will notice problems related to inaccurate, incomplete, or missing data. It is essential that you are using Total Office Manager to its fullest extent otherwise you will not be able to get the most out of this system.

Unclassified Information

Unclassified means that no Department was selected on the Customer:Job. Unclassified is used in other places too, to indicate that some information was not selected.

Please read the following KB article and follow the steps very carefully. Preparing Total Office Manager for Contractor Compass™. Please see Related Topics below.

Customizing Your Dashboards

Start with a copy of an existing dashboard. Build your own files and place them in the custom file location. Your custom Excel dashboard files should be located here: C:\ProgramData\Aptora\CCompass\CustomDb

You must be comfortable with Microsoft Excel to make modifications or to build your own dashboards. You may also need to be familiar with VBA (Visual Basic for Applications). This is a type of source code and it is used extensively in our system. We have added robust comments in the source code to help developers.

Limited Support

Aptora Support agents will not be able to help you modify, alter, create, or fix custom dashboards or Excel files. They will not be able to help you understand or interpret the data presented in a dashboard. They cannot offer advice on what the various values should be other than direct you to existing documentation.

Aptora can refer you to trainers and or business consultants that you could hire to assist you.

Updating Contractor Compass

Click the Information icon or click the About button. You will be able to quickly see if there is an update available by looking for the Update Available label. Click the Check for Update to download and install it.

Caution: The update will overwrite the Excel files located in the Dashboards folder. If you modify a dashboard, you should make copies and use the copy for your own custom dashboard.


  1. The Excel files must be launched (opened) from the Contractor Compass Launcher to load Total Office Manager data. The Contractor Compass Launcher uses a secure user name and password that it passes to the database before it can make a connection. You can open the Excel dash board files with Excel, but it will not load any information.
  2. When you close Excel, you will be asked if you wish to save any changes, even when you did not really make any. The changes were related to the data being loaded. Saving allows you to open the Excel file directly from Excel and view the data that has been saved. If you made changes to formatting, you may wish to save those but be sure to make copies and use the copy for your own custom dashboard.
  3. You see a warning from Microsoft Windows or Excel that you are opening a potentially unsafe file. This is because we are running macros and VBA code. Please see the KB article called Change Macro Security Settings in Excel.
  4. If you see a red bar at the top of the Excel file, your computer security settings may be blocking the the file from running macros.  This is a default setting when a file is downloaded from the internet.  To unblock, you will need to edit the file properties and Unblock it.  For more information on unblocking an Excel file, please review the article Macros from the internet will be blocked by default in Office.

Related Content

Preparing Total Office Manager for Contractor Compass™


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