What's new in Filpac

Never-ending updates

We post updates to our website at the rate of about 30 a year.  Most upgrades are based on the experiences and suggestions of Filpac users.  (Go to Help:About.  If your system date is more than two weeks in the past, you're probably not using the "latest and greatest".) Here's a sampling:

2022

(Aug 31) Added Item codes to the system. Similar to Worker and Contact codes, except that Items let you keep track of quantities.

(Mar 26) Added Georgia to the list of state voter databases imported by our system. First procure the database from the Georgia Secretary of State and we'll do the rest!

(Feb 13) First Codes and Last Codes are now part of the search system. This comes in handy if you're looking for those who joined your donor list by contributing to a particular fund-raising event or email, or whose last donation (or list entry or contact) was tagged with a certain code.

(Jan 24) Search by the date and time any code is entered into the system. This comes in handy if you'd like to reprint the results of an import or data-entry session.

2021

(Nov 1) Rewind imports. Just finished and saved an import you wish you hadn't? No problem.  You can undo the import and start agin. Another example of how the Filpac system makes it easy to import from any other database so you can keep everything in one place.

(Oct 24) Enlarged pages and windows throughout the progam. This is another step in the overall system redesign scheduled to be completed in the spring.

(Oct 24) More enhancements to the importing module to better determine whether a "name" is a person or an organization.

(June 7) Easier switching between old and new versions. As in every system rewrite, unforseen problems sometimes appear at the worst possible moment. So we make it easy to temporarily revert to the older version without any loss of time and data while we address the problem.

(May 27) Improved the importing program to resolve potential dups if only a location code (i.e. company) and name is passed. This is important for users who collect donor data from member organizations.

(May 13) Updates to the reporting system for member organizations. Now everything can be broken out by membership or fund-raising goals.

2020

(Oct 15) Updated the membership report to show an automatic breakdown by member type on the last page.

(Aug 21) Changes to California F460 reporting.

(Aug 13) Introduction of the version rewritten in a more current Microsoft language.

(July 21) Enhanced donation display from membership-organization window.

(March 16) A milestone of sorts. System is now set up for treasurers who manage 100 or more political committees.

(Feb 19) Even more features to make it easier to balance FEC reports in advance of filing.

(Jan 30) New reporting features to make it easier to balance FEC reports in advance of filing.

2019

(Dec 2) Resolved the problems that might occur when an organization name is preceded with "The". In most cases a record is alphabetized by ignoring "The" but then sometimes a user will wish to print it alphabetically but with "The" before the name. This update makes that easier.

(Nov 30) Disbursements by Office. This better-enables a PAC to break down the checks written according to office, i.e., Congress and state legislative (R and D).

(July 9) Better date importing. If you've spent any time with importing from other databases, you've noticed that dates are stored in all kinds of formats. This upgrade recognizes more of those formats and makes them easier to resolve.

(June 13) More special-output reports. Just another way to easily format reporting output. Go to Reports->File Search and on the Output tab you'll see an option labeled "Special Output".

2018

(Oct 6) Changes to the user permissions management screen. Go to Setup:Permissions. Each login user can be assigned various levels of system access. For example, only selected users can make changes, while others can only view. Or have no access at all to certain sections.

(Aug 31) Anedot import changes. Filpac enables easy importing from several common sources such as this popular payment processor.

(Aug 3) Added social media account to master file entry screen.

(Jul 3) Enhanced precinct reporting.

(May 28) Enhanced absentee importing and reporting. In the closing days of a campaign our software makes it easier to manage, on a daily basis, the volume of absentee requests and returns.

(May 18) Deceased suppression throughout the system. If the person is marked as Deceased, that record will show up nowhere except on accounting reports.

(April 25) Removed all references to drive mappings to make the software work on different types of networks.

(March 22) Mailed flag is now a date instead of a checkmark. So you can search for everything mailed within a span of dates.

(March 10) Improved mapping file features. Easier output to popular mapping applications.

2017

Master file entry screen updated (Oct. 12) Primary and secondary addresses are now displayed in tabs. This change was made to make room for two email addresses on the main entry screen, where we display as much as possible to help speed data entry.

Faster searching in multiple committees (Oct 4) If yours is a multiple-committee Filpac database you'll notice that general searches will run faster. Speed-tuning a database is more of an art than a science so we rely on our users to tell us how we're doing.

2016

Earmarked donations in user import (Nov. 19) Committee treasurers know how storing and reporting earmarked donations can be a bit tricky, and bulk-importing them doesn't necessarily make it easy. We've removed the confusion by enabling the proper accounting when the donations are imported.

More improvements in duplicate processing (Aug. 26) We're always looking for ways to improve what is already the best duplicate-removal system in the business. Today we made several changes based on user experiences.

Seamless transaction fee accounting (Aug. 3) When website donations are imported, the system allows for recording the transaction fees on a batch, daily or item basis.

Another report to raise money and ease compliance headaches (July 5) Reports : Special Reports : Receipts by Year or Cycle. We've upgraded this report, which was used to summarize donor totals by year. Now it prints receipt totals in columns by one of following three parameters:

Calendar Year
Election
General Election Cycle

You can use it to quickly identify lapsed donors, or identify maxed-out donors (supplementing other reports in the system that do the same). Run it using the dates of your next disclosure report to identify recipts that might have beem mis-coded. Export it to a CSV format and manipulate it with Excel.

We'll even make a video for you (June 27) If there's a particular process in the Filpac system such as a special import or report, that requires better documentation (or if you've lost your notes on how to do it), let us know and we'll post either a video or enhanced instructions. Our mission here is to save you time.

Excel is for numbers. Not for lists. (June 20) If you're a Filpac user who's still using Excel to manage other lists, then you're not using the Filpac system to its fullest. Fact is that managing multiple lists is easier in Filpac. If your hangup is the importing process, call us. We've posted several how-to's and videos to help you through the process. We've even posted videos that help you through specific types of imports.

Make better use of location codes. (June 2) If your database is heavy with individuals who actually are members of organizations, there's a slew of new features to help manage those organizations. It starts in the master file edit area where you assign location codes. Go into Program Setup to change the term "location" to whatever suits your business, i.e. "member bank" or "chapter".

2015

Auto-assign greeting (Oct. 22) Let's say you've imported several hundred names and would like to generate emails or letters. If the names came without prefixes, and you'd rather not fill in all of them, how do you address someone as "Mr." where using the first name is a bit too informal? Let the Filpac system do it for you. Now you can auto-assign greeting based on the full name. Here's how it works:

Name Assigned Greeting
Mary Drysdale Ms. Drysdale based on gender
Clifford P Osteen, MD Dr. Osteen based on the suffix
Sandy Mercer Sandy because Sandy, like Chris, Pat and Robin, can be either male or female.
D L Sutton, Jr. Mr. Sutton because the suffix is male
The Honorable Chester W Simpson Mr. Simpson because "The Honorable Simpson" is goofy

Batch processing (Sept. 9) If you're processing receipts for one or several client-committees, now you can assign a Batch ID to groups of checks and run the appropriate reports.

Assign addresses based on the date (May 1) If you generate bulk mailings to a list heavy with retirees or the well-to-do, here's a feature that enables you to make sure that the mail is sent to the right address.

To activate this feature, the primary address must first be marked as a Home address. Then, when you enter Home in the secondary address section, the Seasonal Home dates will pop up in the lower-right section of the entry window. If the dates are entered as "Nov 1" to "Mar 31", any list or mail-merge generated from during the months of November through March will reflect the secondary address.

County grouping(April 10) Counties can be assigned to county groups. If you have a search that commonly calls for a multitude of counties, you can assign them to a group; and then just call the group rather than the individual group. If your state is arranged by districts comprised of counties, you can assign each county to the appropriate group, and then generate reports by district.

2014

Changed password logic(January 21) The system administrator can now assign access permissions to individual users and groups.

May 30 Go to go to Accounting->Reports->Snapshot. This report provides a "snapshot" of your finances as of a certain date. It shows the balance in your cash accounts, as well as any outstanding loans or obligations. In as little as two clicks. It can be run in summary or detail format, and exported to an Excel-readable file.

April 10 Info Print: When the user’s information is printed, it will show donations to all committees.
Donor History in merge file: When you generate a merge file and choose “Delimited” as the file type, you’ll see a checkbox that says “Append Donor History”. Check this box and then check the merge file that’s generated: At the end of each record will be the description, date and amount of each donation.

March 11 Organizations added to the auto-remove duplicates section.

Feb 13 New feature in Data File Fix that clears duplicate emails from master file records.

2013

Sept. 9 Go to Reports->File Search and then to the Output tab. Check Special Output and you'll see a pick-list of formats. The first sends the results of your search to an Excel file with columns for the latest and highest amounts, as well as all the list codes. We intend to fill this section with more formats in response to customer requests.

August 31 New push-button in the Master File edit section (second tab) that shows the date the record was first added to the system as well as the last update (according to the codes) and the date, time and user ID of the last edit.

August 24 Updated the default fields in the User Import section to go along with the output fields in Datacenter.

August 23 Added a new format to the walk-list printing. We call it "survey form".

August 19 Added some features to the Super Voters report. Updated the Ohio voter file import program.

August 11 Go to Data File Maintenance->Individuals (or All Records). You'll notice there's a button labeled "Search only Coded Records". When this button is pressed, the system will search only for those records that are, as the label suggests, coded in some way. So if your database includes a voter file, and you have several named "William Smith", you can use this feature to find the "William Smith" who's actually a member or donor.

July 28 The Advanced Search program has been rewritten and expanded. More efficient search logic makes for faster searches, particularly for users with large databases.

July 18 Two new reports in the special-reports section that enables the user to quickly view individual donors' contribution levels and totals over several years.

June 17 We're all about fast and accurate data entry. Some of our users requested a method of speedy data-entry that mimics the days of the character-based version, where everything could be entered without reaching for the mouse or the <tab> key. By checking the appropriate checkbox in Setup->Users, you now can!

May 30 Hover the mouse over the support-file buttons (receipts, disbursements, contacts, lists, workers and affiliates) and you can now see the most recent codes without having to click into the separate window.

May 22 The Virginia voter-file import utility now recognizes tab-delimited SBE files.

May 2 Enhanced group code count report.

March 1 Enhanced code management. Now you can change list codes to contact or worker codes, and vice versa.

Feb. 24 Added a feature to the update routine in which the system will look for "legacy" files and remove them. This un-clutters the Filpac program folder.

Jan. 27 Enhancements to the online backup in which the system automatically points to the appropriate folder based on the date.

Jan. 11 Group codes! Let's say you're running a golf outing and you want to sent a mailing not only to those who've attended before, but all those you've contacted about the golf outing and those who were on a golf-outing mailing list. So you have several golf outing codes (one for each year) a contact code or two and a list code. All related to the same event. It could make for a tedious search.

By attaching each code to a group code named GOLF, you'll pick up everyone in just one search!

Jan. 7 New Filpac Setup files. If yours is a stand-alone system, i.e. you're not using our server, download the new file set when you next update the Filpac program.

2012

Dec 31 Federal individual-contribution limit increased to $2600 for the cycle.

Dec. 19 The accounting closing date will now automatically reset to the ending date of the most recently-filed report. The change will occur when the FEC Upload program is run.

Dec 14 New Filpac Setup files. (All those DLLs and RDDs need to be changed because we've upgraded the software that we use to make Filpac.) If yours is a stand-alone system, i.e. you're not using our server, download the new file set when you next update the Filpac program.

Dec. 12 New merge feature enabling you to summarize the codes and amount when two duplicate merge records are combined.

Nov. 28 Import program now totals aggregate donations with the intent of applying the correct schedule or line number when a receipt is added to the system.

Sept. 30 Individual records can now be manually added to an existing merge file.

Sept. 1 Email fields validated during file save.

August 14 Alaska disclosure forms.

August 10 Added a report that checks for bad occupations and employers.

July 24 Duplicate email report. This will help you track down duplicates where the names or addresses don't seem similar.

July 9 A few tweaks to the program that enables the user to easily merge duplicate records into one.

July 3 Some field lengths in Filpac extended to accommodate maximum lengths in the FEC's reporting scheme.

July 2 The user import feature was changed to better-enable the system to determine if the incoming record is an individual or organization.

June 12 User-definable location for help file. This will work around the problem some users are having on networks where the Filpac help file can't be opened because of the organization's network-security concerns.

June 6 Enabled the use of secondary addresses for disclosure reports. If the appropriate box is checked in committee setup, the system will first look for a secondary address when listing the individual on a state or federal report.

May 24 Virginia voter file changes.

May 4 Filpac Version 5. This is bigger than it looks. In the past we've kept individuals, organizations (PACs) and vendors in separate files; now they've been combined. This will enable better performance and an easier upgrade path to the browser based software.

March 8 The Info Print report can now be date-selective.

March 6 New North Dakota zip code database with updated legislative districts.

Feb. 15 Records with dates prior to the accounting closing date are displayed differently in the receipt- and expenditure-entry windows.

Jan. 12 Added a checkbox to the "Remove Uncoded" utility so that uncoded voter-file records with cell phones and email addresses can be removed. Normally these would be saved.

Jan 11 Import utility now recognizes more import-file types.

2011

Dec. 31 Made it easier to search for "super-voters". Added Super-voters to the Count options.

Dec. 9 Hamilton County, Ohio voter file import utility.

Oct. 28 Users can now use the first name for the default greeting if the greeting is blank and there's something in the Prefix field. Previously if the greeting was blank for Mr. Jim Smith, it would default to "Mr. Smith". Now it can be set to default to "Jim".

Oct. 6 Enabled up to ten reimbursement codes in Committee Setup.

Oct. 3 Updated Virginia voter-file import features.

Oct. 1 The user-defined import process has been upgraded to include the election and polling-question fields.

Sept. 27 FEC Software version upgrade. If yours is a stand-alone system, i.e. you're not using our server, Download it to stay current.

August 28 Now you can search for PACs, people and vendors from one screen. Go to Data File Maintenance->All Main Files. This is helpful if you can't remember if, for example, you can't remember if you entered a record as a PAC or a Vendor, or if you entered a candidate as an individual or a political committee.

August 10 Advanced Search now looks for any parameter or word string in the master file.

July 17 Searching enabled for occupations and locations without a code.

July 12 (P)aypal and (O)nline are now options for receipt and disbursement forms.

July 5 Now you can add family members to merge file selections.

June 21 Changes to Transaction Summary that include beginning and ending balance, and transaction ID.

June 19 User-Specific, rather than access-level-specific, passwords throughout system.

April 20 The user-defined import process now saves unmatched records to a separate file.

April 4 Changed the look and feel of many of the F3 lookup screens, where the mouse wheel is now functional.

March 27 If you've logged into the software in the past couple of weeks you might have noticed that we've changed some of the entry grids. This is to pave the way for more ambitious data-entry screens still to come. (Hint: you'll never again think of using Excel for data entry.) When you're entering receipts or disbursements, you can use the scrollbar or stretch the window to move to the right and see more transaction detail.