Authored by: Keith Beck (Symitar Business Analyst) and Robin Hess (Lead Symitar/Data Analyst)
Q4 is here, and it is already a busy time for credit unions. For those using Symitar platform, end of year brings a host of additional time sensitive challenges. We have broken down three key things Symitar users should do before the end of the year and included a checklist of action items for each.
We hope this makes a stressful time of year just a little bit easier!
1. Install Symitar Releases
One of the most important focuses for a credit union at year-end is Symitar releases. Symitar normally offers two releases each year, and they happen toward the end of the year. The Symitar 2022.00 major release generally becomes available in September. Symitar 2022.01, which is considered a minor release, will be generally available around the end of November or early December. It needs to be installed before December 31, 2022, so that members’ tax reporting is completed correctly and on time to the IRS.
Before installing the 2022.01 release, complete the following steps:
- Install the 2022.00 release
- Make sure your AIX version is up to date
- Make sure you have enough disk space
- Check the Bug Report
- Share the Release Notes and important bugs with the business units
- Notify Jack Henry of your tentative release date and schedule system admin support
- Download the 2022.01 release in a test SYM
- Make sure all the PowerOns, SymForms, PowerForms, and PowerFrames work as expected
- Complete all the business unit checklists provided by Symitar
- Notify staff of upcoming changes
- Push the updated Quest client to all workstations
This short window of time is hard for any credit union to accommodate, even when fully staffed. It sometimes requires one or more employees to dedicate more than an entire working day solely to completing the required steps.
Some credit unions even try to squeeze both the major and minor releases into one large update. On the surface, it might look like it minimizes downtime, but this is not best practice. Combining the releases can obfuscate the source of bugs, lengthen the time to resolve them, and confuse the users testing and validating the releases. Spacing the major and minor release, even by a week, ensures a cleaner update.
2. Validate Year-End Tax Reporting
The second most important focus for a credit union at year-end is tax reporting. Each year, there are changes to tax forms and jobs. Keeping up with these changes and maintaining an accurate database of information is important. Reviewing the updates and verifying the current batch jobs must be done in a timely manner to leave enough time to make needed adjustments to member information. Being able to accurately report to the IRS and provide members with the correct information the first time should be a priority. Having to go back and make corrections can not only be a manual process, but also can cause issues for the members that may damage their relationship with your credit union.
To prevent a flood of manual tax corrections, take the following steps:
- Install the 2022.01 Release before December 31
- Run 8966 FATCA XML
- Run reports for required minimum distribution
- Review/verify credit union reporting information on each individual tax reporting job including
- Credit Union name
- Phone Number
- Create or modify tax jobs
- Run a simulated year end process and check reports
- Verify each tax job output for expected results
- Review exceptions if applicable and make needed changes in live database
- Rerun year end process after any changes were made
- Print or upload sample file to vendor for form printing review
3. Review Data Purge Schedule
The third important item for a credit union at year–end is to review, verify and analyze the data that is stored on the server to optimize storage. This analysis is critical, as maintaining and archiving member data will not only free up space but increase the efficiency of the server. Each year, it is necessary to review all purge jobs to make sure you remain compliant with regulatory changes. Having a streamlined process to purge or retain data on the core is key; otherwise, it can be very time–consuming.
To keep your server lean, take the following steps:
- Review purge policies with business groups
- Make sure you have enough disk space
- Run a purge in a test SYM to see how long the process takes
- Have business groups review the test purge
- Consider running a purge ATM DIALOG nightly
- Review your EDIT, DATA, Help and Letter Files.
- Run the purge weeks before end of year in the live system
We know that completing these tasks during an already busy time can be a stressful challenge. If your credit union could use additional support, you can hand off the year-end Symitar checklists to the Trellance Talent Services team with complete confidence. We are knowledgeable and experienced in Symitar and will complete all action items in accordance with best practices.
Please fill out the form below and one of our experts will reach out to you with more information.