FIRS User Guide - Alberta Innovation and Advanced Education

FIRS User Guide - Alberta Innovation and Advanced Education
July 2012
Financial Information Reporting
System (FIRS)User Guide
Post Secondary Planning & Investment Branch
This document is to be used in conjunction with the Financial Information Reporting System reporting
manual and the Common Terminology, Definitions, and Classifications manual. The Financial
Information Reporting System collects data about institutional financial information, such as revenue
and expenditure.
This user guide is intended to give you an understanding of how you can use the FIRS system to
prepare and submit information electronically, and view and print reports.
The FIRS system can be installed on a stand-alone PC or it can be installed on your Local Area Network
(LAN). You may have already installed the Launch facility. Refer to the Appendix for instructions on
downloading the KPIRS software, version 2012-13a from the File Transfer Protocol (FTP) site and how
to install the software.
In each of the following sections, we describe the general procedures you will use in the normal
processing of financial information as you prepare to send your regular submission to the Department.
Screen shots from the FIRS software are included to illustrate the procedures.
For a description of the data elements that make up the various components of FIRS, refer to the
Financial Information Reporting System reporting manual. For descriptive information of all systems,
refer to the Common Terminology, Definitions and Classifications manual. The reporting manuals are
available for download at the Alberta Enterprise and Advanced Education website:
http://www.advancededucation.gov.ab.ca/software.
If you have any questions regarding the use of the FIRS software, please contact the following:
Contact Person:
Email:
Phone No:
Gordon de Rouyan
[email protected]
(780) 945-0712
FIRS User Guide
Prepared for
Comprehensive Academic & Research Institutions
Specialized Arts & Culture Institutions
Baccalaureate and Applied Studies Institutions
Polytechnical Institutions
Comprehensive Community Institutions
Independent Academic Institutions
and
Alberta Enterprise and Advanced Education
Post-secondary and Community Education Division
FIRS User Guide
Contents
1.
Overview of the Organization of FIRS Software .................................................................... 1
2.
Launching FIRS .................................................................................................................... 3
3.
Financial Information Entry ................................................................................................. 4
4.
Financial Information Reports ............................................................................................. 6
5.
Setup Current Submission Year ............................................................................................ 7
6.
File Transfer Protocol (FTP) Browser .................................................................................... 7
7.
Provider Export ................................................................................................................... 8
8.
Provider Upload .................................................................................................................. 9
9.
Appendicies ........................................................................................................................ 9
Appendix A – Installation of the FIRS Program ............................................................... 9
Overview ........................................................................................................... 9
Downloading from the Alta Enterprise & Advanced Education FTP Server ... 10
Executing the Installation Files ....................................................................... 13
New Computers .............................................................................................. 15
Appendix B - Setting up FTP Explorer............................................................................16
List of Figures ..............................................................................................................17
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1. Overview of the Organization of FIRS Software
This is an overview of the procedures available as part of the Financial Information Reporting System
(FIRS) software. FIRS is accessible through the Launch bar, which is the common entry point for LERS,
FIRS, KPIRS, and PRS systems. Below are the FIRS menu items that are available in the FIRS Software and
the functions available under each. Certain main menu headings or drop-down options are only
available to institutions that require them.
Note:
Most of the menu items have one letter underlined. Typing this letter is a quick way to open
the screen for that item.
FIRS Menu Items
File
Close
Print Setup…
Exit
Edit (accessible only after any screen is opened)
Undo
(Ctrl + Z)
Redo
(Ctrl + R)
Cut
(Ctrl + X)
Copy
(Ctrl + C)
Paste
(Ctrl + V)
Select All
(Ctrl +A)
Entry
Revenues by Source and Type
Revenues by Fund
Expenses by Function & Object Category
Indirect Costs by Function & Object Category
Staffing Profile FTE
Tuition Fee Revenue & Expense Summary
Tuition & Related Fees per Student
Deferred Contributions (discontinued: 2009-2010)
Statement of Changes in Financial Position (discontinued: 2009-2010)
Statement of Financial Position at Year End (discontinued: 2009-2010)
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Navigation (Enabled when the Entry screens are being used)
First
Prior
Next
Last
Find
New
Delete
Reports
Business Plan
Setup
Current Submission Year
Utility
Provider Export
FTP Browser
Provider Upload
Window
Shows all the windows currently opened
Help
Contents
Search for Help on…
About FIRS
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2. Launching FIRS
To launch FIRS:
1. Click on the four red triangles Alberta Learning icon on your Windows desktop to execute the
Launch program. The Alberta Enterprise and Advanced Education systems launch bar appears as
shown below:
Figure 2 – 1: The Alberta Advanced Education Launch Bar
2. Click on the FIRS (Financial Information Reporting System) icon on the Launch bar. The Logon dialog
box appears as shown below.
Figure 2 – 2: FIRS Logon Screen
3. Enter the Password in the Password field. The password is available by contacting Gordon de
Rouyan at [email protected]
4. Click on the OK button. If your password is valid, you will be logged in to the FIRS system and the
menu bar appears.
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3. Financial Information Entry
Institutions will enter information through entry forms.
Select Revenue under Entry on the menu bar. The template will then appear and will be blank for the
current submission year unless the institution has already entered data into the system. Information for
previous years is read-only and those cells are shaded. Cells that need to be entered by the user appear
white as shown in Figure 3 - 1.
Figure 3 – 1: Revenue Entry Form Screen
Each template for Actual1, Actual2, and Budget related to the current submission year can be chosen at
the upper left drop down list box. Arrow keys ( ) on the keyboard can be used to navigate on the
form. Tab (move forward) and Shift + Tab key (move backward) can also be used for navigation, but they
can only be used to move across cells displayed on the screen. Hidden columns and rows can be seen by
clicking the
buttons on the scroll bars. Arrow keys can also go off the screen and make
the hidden columns and rows visible. By clicking the
buttons on the scroll bar, the top,
bottom, right end, or left end rows or columns on the form will be displayed on the screen.
Data can be entered into a cell by moving the cursor to the element for which you wish to enter data
(click on the element, or move the cursor using the arrow keys, and/or the navigation buttons). Single
and double mouse click on a cell will allow user to enter data with a fixed maximum length according to
the position the user clicked. Triple mouse click on a cell will highlight the entire cell and user can enter
a larger number. Tabbing into the cell will also select the entire contents regardless if it is new data or
old data.
If entering new data, key in the appropriate values. If editing values, you may need to highlight the
existing values before keying in the new information. Characters are not allowed to put into any cells on
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the forms. Any calculated elements on the record are refreshed and the new values are displayed as
related data changes.
It is advisable to include a note using the Notes function provided. This feature allows you to provide
additional information about your submission, which will assist Department staff with their analysis.
The Notes button will turn to red if there is information contained in the Notes for the template.
Information will be saved when the Save button on the form is pressed.
The Tuition Fee Revenue & Expense Summary template has a different formatting style as shown in
figure 3 - 2.
Figure 3 – 2: Tuition Fee Revenue & Expense Summary Screen
Three years of information is shown on the same form. Cells with information populated are grayed
out.
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4. Financial Information Reports
Reports are available for you to print the information you’ve entered at any stage of the data entry
process. All appropriate records will be displayed with or without values entered by the institution. All
of the data elements that you see on the screens are also presented on the reports, including calculated
values.
It is often useful to generate the reports prior to entering data. These reports can be used as templates for
collection of the information from others at your institution.
When all data has been entered and you are ready to submit the data, we encourage you to print all of
your reports and keep them where they can be referred to later.
To generate reports, select the Business Plan Report option from the Reports menu.
Figure 4 – 1: Business Plan Report Selection Screen
Use the appropriate selection buttons to select the desired reports. The
and deselect a single report. The
and
and
and
buttons will select
buttons will select and deselect all reports. The
buttons will allow you to preview and print the selected reports.
Reports can be re-generated at any time and may be printed or viewed.
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5. Setup Current Submission Year
To allow you to view the information your institution has entered in different years, select the Current
Submission Year option from the Setup menu.
Figure 5 – 1: Setup Current Submission Year Screen
Select a year in the drop down list box, and press OK button to set up the current submission year.
6. File Transfer Protocol (FTP) Browser
Figure 6 – 1: FTP Browser Screen
This form connects the application to the FTP server at Alberta Enterprise and Advanced Education.
Once the FIRS application has been installed on your computer, FTP downloads related to this
application can be done from this form.
Three different options are available from the dropdown list; Generic, Data from Advanced Education,
and Submission Folder. The Generic folder will contain the applications from Alberta Enterprise and
Advanced Education; Launch, KPIRS, LERS, and FIRS. The Data from Advanced Education folder will
contain Data installation files. FIRS will alert you to the presence of new versions of the data files upon
startup of the application. The Submission Folder will allow you to verify that you have made your
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submission to the FTP Server. File sizes that have 0 KB beside them usually mean that the file was
created but is not valid.
Select a Download Directory by pressing the Browse button. Double click the file to be downloaded; it
will turn red. Press the Download button.
To install the files, exit the application completely. Go to the Download Directory and proceed with the
installation routine. Installation instructions can be found in Appendix A.
This form is the easiest way to download and install newer versions of the software, data or updates.
7. Provider Export
To open the provider export form, go to the menu bar and choose Utility and then click on Provider
Export. The Provider Export screen will appear as shown below.
Figure 7 – 1: Provider Export Screen
By pressing the OK button, information entered in FIRS system for the current submission year will be
export to your local C drive and to the Department’s FTP site if the FTP Files check box is checked.
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8. Provider Upload
To open the provider upload form, go to the menu bar and choose Utility and then click on Provider
Upload. The Provider Import screen will appear as shown below.
Figure 8 – 1: Provider Upload Screen
This form allows the user to upload any type of file to the FTP server. For example, ZIP files of the data
directory can be sent for an analyst to review and identify and resolve issues. Pictures of error messages
and supporting excel files to name a few.
Browse to the file for upload. Click on the Upload button to send to the FTP server.
9. Appendicies
Appendix A – Installation of the FIRS Program
Overview
When installing the FIRS system for the first time, ask your institution’s IT department to contact FIRS
Support at [email protected] regarding the user access rights the users of FIRS need.
Installing the FIRS system requires that you first go to the AL Generic Transfer Protocol (FTP) site and
download the Launch and the FIRS Program software files. The FIRS data file is located on your
institution specific FTP site.
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The FIRS application consists of three required files. The files are:
__Launch_Prog_9999X.exe
Where 9999 is a numeric value representing a year.
Where X represents the version for that year.
__FIRS_Prog_99989999X.exe
Where 99989999 is a numeric value representing an
academic year.
Where X represents the version for that year.
__FIRS_Data_XX_99999999999999.exe Where XX represents the code specific to that institution.
Where 99999999999999 represent the date and time the
data file was created.
Downloading from the Alta Enterprise & Advanced Education FTP Server
There are three ways to download the software:
1. Internet Explorer, Safari, Google Chrome, …
2. FTP Browser within FIRS
3. FTP Explorer
Note:
It will be important to know the drive and directory where the downloaded files have been
saved to. FTP Browser within FIRS shows the directory at the bottom of the form.
If this is a first time download of the Alberta Enterprise and Advanced Education software (i.e. if you do
not have the Launch Program, the FIRS or KPIRS or LERS Program, and FIRS Data installed on your
computer or servers) use either an Internet Browser or FTP Explorer to download the files. Contact for
user ids and passwords to access the Generic and Institution specific location on the Alberta Enterprise
and Advanced Education FTP server.
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Internet Explorer, Safari, Google Chrome, …
These internet browsers allow a user to access an FTP Server by using a specific URL command. All
browsers use the same command though might be slightly different from browser to browser. The
following is a template for what one would look like:
Safari and Google Chrome
Internet Explorer
ftp://userid:[email protected]
ftp://userid:[email protected]/userid
Both of these commands will direct the browser to the same location on the FTP server. Clicking on a
link within the browser will either select a file to download or enter into a sub-directory displaying more
results. If the browser asks to Save or Download the file, always click on Download.
Once the file has been downloaded, it will be up to the user to find where the file has been downloaded.
Google Chrome shows the file at the bottom of the page which can be clicked on to begin the install.
Safari leaves a window showing a list of downloaded files open. Internet Explorer will prompt the user
for the location where the file is to be saved.
As you can see each browser is different and would require different instructions for each. Contact FIRS
Support at [email protected] if you would like to be guided through this process.
FTP Browser in FIRS
The process of downloading is described in detail in the section File Transfer Protocol (FTP) Browser.
If using the FTP Browser in FIRS, it would be obvious that LERS, FIRS, or KPIRS had already been
installed.
The FTP Browser within KPIRS could be used to download the FIRS application. But only the FTP
Browser within FIRS can get access to the FIRS Data file.
This is the easiest way to download files from the Alberta Enterprise and Advanced Education FTP
Server.
FTP Explorer
Steps 1 to 4 below explain how you can download the FIRS Program and the Launch program from the
AL Generic FTP site using FTP Explorer.
To download the FIRS Program and Launch Program:
1. Open FTP Explorer by double clicking on the FTP Explorer icon on your desktop or click on the Start
button on the windows task bar, move the mouse up to Programs. From the Programs submenu
click on FTP Explorer. If you do not have FTP Explorer installed you need to install FTP Explorer and
request user ids and passwords from Alberta Enterprise and Advanced Education.
2. Select the AL Generic on the Connect screen. Click on the Connect button. At this time you are in
the AL Generic site.
3. Click on the firs9gen folder. On the right hand side of the screen you will see a file named
__FIRS_Prog_20122013a.exe and __Launch_Prog_2011f.exe; or similar. Press the Ctrl key on the
keyboard and click on the file names one by one. Now the two files should be selected.
4. Go to the menu bar and click on File. From the drop down list click on Download To…
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The Download to dialog box appears. Locate the folder where you want to save the files and click
on the Save button. It will ask you to save again for the second file. Click on Save. If you do not
have an existing folder where you can download the files create a new folder and click on the Save
button twice for each file.
This process might take a few seconds. Once the files are downloaded successfully you will see a
transfer complete message for each file you downloaded at the bottom of the FTP Explorer window.
To download FIRS Data Install:
1. To open FTP Explorer double click on the FTP Explorer icon on your desktop or click on the Start
button on the Windows task bar, move the mouse up to Programs. From the Programs submenu
click on FTP Explorer.
2. Click on your institution name on the Connect screen and then click on the Connect button. At this
time you are at your institution site.
3. Locate the folder where the FIRS Data files are located. On the right hand side, you will see a file
named FIRS_data_GP_99999999999999.exe; or similar. The file is institution specific with different
numeric information at the end each time. Press the Ctrl key on the keyboard and click on the file
name. Now the file should be selected.
4. Go to the menu bar and click on File. From the drop down list click on Download To… and the
Download to dialog box appears. Locate the folder where the files are to be saved to and click on
the Save Button.
This process might take a few seconds. Once the file is downloaded successfully, a transfer complete
message will display at the bottom of your institution FTP Explorer window.
At this time, you are ready to install the three files that you downloaded.
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Executing the Installation Files
If this is not the first time to install, check the properties of the “Alberta Learning” icon on your desk top
as to where to install. For example, if it was initially installed on the “J” drive, then install it there.
e.g.
j:\aecd\dept\bin\launch.exe  install to j:\aecd\dept
The screen shot below shows the “Start in:” directory as “J:\AECD\DEPT\BIN”. The installation
directory for your specific computer will be “J:\AECD\DEPT” for ALL of the installs.
Warning: Do not install to the bin or dat folders. The install routines will add these directory names
after the installation directory you enter.
Figure A - 1: Alberta Learning Icon Properties
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The Install Process:
The following steps should be performed for each of the files that were downloaded. The order of the
installs is not important.
1. Open Windows Explorer and locate the folder where you saved the files from the FTP server. For
example C:\temp
2. Double click on the file to be installed. A Welcome screen will appear. You can follow the on screen
instruction or follow step 3 to 6 below.
3. Click Next twice.
4. Identify where the program was previously installed on your network. Select the drive and install
the program. (See the top of the section Executing the Installation Files.) The directory may already
be displayed correctly.
Figure A - 2: Installation Directory
5. Click on Next twice and click on Install to begin the installation process.
6. Click on Finish to exit the installation wizard.
7. Repeat the process for any additional files.
When the entire install process is complete, the following paths will be found on your X: drive, where X
refers to the drive you selected during the install.
X:\AECD\DEPT\BIN where the program files reside
X:\AECD\DEPT\DAT where the data files reside
Inside the BIN you will find the launch.ico file and inside the DAT folder you will find the database files.
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Windows NT:
If you are running Windows NT you will have to go to the folder containing the Launch.exe (
) program and create the shortcut yourself.
To create the shortcut on your desktop:
1. Locate the BIN folder and double click on it.
2. Right click on the launch.exe file and click on Send To
3. From the submenu click on Desktop (Create Shortcut)
4. If you prefer, rename the new shortcut icon that you just created, and delete any old Alberta
Enterprise and Advanced Education icons.
You should now have an updated red four triangular icon on your desktop entitled Alberta Learning.
New Computers
There are times when users get new computers but the Alberta Enterprise and Advanced Education
software has already been installed correctly on the server. This section will handle this issue.
In prior years, Alberta Enterprise and Advanced Education has supplied a file called
__VFP9_DLL_Install.exe on the FTP server. Supplying this file to the institutions is done differently now.
The __VFP9_DLL_Install.exe file is included with all of the _Prog_ install files. The
__VFP9_DLL_Install.exe file will automatically be saved to the X:\AECD\DEPT where X refers to the drive
you selected during the original install.
Maybe this is a new user to the Alberta Enterprise and Advanced Education software. In this case, it
would be necessary to ensure the user has full server access rights to the X:\AECD directory. Once the
user has access to the folder, the user or IT staff can execute the
X:\AECD\DEPT\__VFP9_DLL_Install.exe. Follow the instructions in the Executing the Installation Files
section.
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Appendix B - Setting up FTP Explorer
Once you have completed installing FTP Explorer on your computer, an icon should appear on your
computer desktop.
1. Double click on the FTP Explorer icon. An FTP Explorer Window appears as shown below.
Figure B - 1: The FTP Explorer Screen
2. Before you can transfer files to and from the FTP site, you need to fill in the Profile Name, the Host
Address, the Login and the Password assigned to your institution. The password is available by
contacting Gordon de Rouyan at [email protected] Also create a profile for AL Generic.
3. Click on the AL Generic and click on the Connect button. The AL Generic - FTP Explorer window
appears. At this point the AL Generic Setup is complete.
Note:
In the display screens above, the AL Generic site refers to the one location used by all
institutions to access the Alberta Enterprise and Advanced Education executable programs.
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List of Figures
Figure 2 – 1: The Alberta Advanced Education Launch Bar .......................................................................... 3
Figure 2 – 2: FIRS Logon Screen .................................................................................................................... 3
Figure 3 – 1: Revenue Entry Form Screen ..................................................................................................... 4
Figure 3 – 2: Tuition Fee Revenue & Expense Summary Screen .................................................................. 5
Figure 4 – 1: Business Plan Report Selection Screen .................................................................................... 6
Figure 5 – 1: Setup Current Submission Year Screen .................................................................................... 7
Figure 6 – 1: FTP Browser Screen.................................................................................................................. 7
Figure 7 – 1: Provider Export Screen............................................................................................................. 8
Figure 8 – 1: Provider Upload Screen ........................................................................................................... 9
Figure A - 1: Alberta Learning Icon Properties ............................................................................................ 13
Figure A - 2: Installation Directory .............................................................................................................. 14
Figure B - 1: The FTP Explorer Screen ......................................................................................................... 16
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