CRM Software for Economic Development Organizations
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How does the sandwich rule work with respect to tracking business starts?

What exactly is the sandwich rule? In this FAQ we will explain the way that EDMIS counts your business start, and we will explain how Neoserra helps to ensure that you create a healthy sandwich:

Completing the sandwich

The sandwich rule says that in order to get credit for a client starting their business, you must have counseled the client before they started their business and there must be a session uploaded to EDMIS after they started their business. In other words, the sessions must "sandwich" the established date of their company:

This is the rule that SBA employs within their EDMIS system to track business starts, however, the second session does not have to be a traditional follow-up session, it could also be an update session. Update sessions are automatically generated by Neoserra for significant changes to the client record such as:

  • Business Start
  • Change in full or part-time employees
  • Change in sales/profits

These update sessions will only be created for EDMIS-accepted client records and only if no follow-up counseling session was already created for the client, on the date of data entry. Update sessions always have zero minutes of contact/prep/travel time, and their intent is merely to update EDMIS with the latest change to the client record. Update sessions will be shown in the data stream but cannot be edited:

Deleting the update sessions from the data stream will also delete them from the EDMIS export process. Doing so would put the sandwich at risk. Update sessions are new to the Neoserra system, as of October 1, 2018.

As noted above, an update session is automatically created when you edit the client record and make a change to business status, employees and/or sales and profits. If you create a milestone for one of these events, rather than editing the client record, then the milestone record will only be generated if the user doesn't create a counseling session along with the milestone record.

At the bottom of the milestone screen is an option to create a counseling session along with the milestone:

The check box will default to "Yes" if the Neoserra administrator has configured the "Reportable contact minutes to add for impact milestones (0 for none)" option under the Administration|Configuration|United State SBA/DLA menu option to a value other than zero:

Still, the user could uncheck this checkbox and then no true follow-up counseling session will be created. Instead, Neoserra will again auto-generate an update session. This is done automatically for the following impact milestones:

  • Bought Business
  • Started Business
  • Change in Full/Part-Time Staff
  • Change in Sales/Profits

If the system administrator has not configured the "Reportable contact minutes to add for impact milestones (0 for none)" field, then Neoserra will always create an update session when one of these milestones is created and no other counseling session exists on the

Business start lock

In a further effort to provide reconciliation with the SBA EDMIS business start count, Neoserra will disallow edits to the business start date if that business start date has already been uploaded and accepted into the EDMIS system.

It has come to OutreachSystems' attention, that counselors would occasionally change the business status of a client after the client record had already been accepted into the EDMIS system. In other words, if a client is uploaded and accepted into the EDMIS system as being "in-business", then the counselor cannot change the business status to pre-venture months, or even years, later. A client cannot go into business multiple times. This was never allowed in EDMIS, and effective April 2018, this is also no longer allowed in Neoserra:

A lock icon will appear next to the "Date Company Established" field, which will show the warning message when you hover over it. Neoserra database administrators will need to be careful because they can overwrite the lock if they edit the record in administrator-mode.

How will you know if a client has already been accepted into the EDMIS system? In addition to the above warning message, you can also take a look at the audit pane as discussed in this FAQ.

Similarly, if you try to create a new "Started Business" milestone for a client that is already in-business, then you can only set that "Started Business" milestone date equal to the "Date Company Established" field on the client record. You cannot create a new "Started Business" milestone with a new date:

Again, this is only true for EDMIS accepted client records.

If an entrepreneur starts a second business, then a second client record will need to be created in Neoserra for this second business. You cannot restart an already existing business.

Note: This really emphasizes the need for accurate data entry when you initially work with the client.

Tracking jobs with each business start

Unrelated to the tracking of business starts, but very much related to the topic of business starts, is the fact that every new business start also means that at least one job was created. The entrepreneur starting the business should be counted as either a full-time or part-time job supported for the business. The new business may have more than one employee, but as a minimum one employee will need to be recorded in Neoserra. If you attempt to save the client record with a start-up or in-business status, then you will also be required to complete the employee fields as indicated by this error message:

Similarly, when you create a "Started Business" milestone, you will also be prompted to add either a "Change in Full-Time Staff" milestone or a "Change in Part-Time Staff" milestone.

And the reverse is also true. If you add jobs to a pre-venture client record, you will be asked to change either the status of the business, or delete the employees from the client record.

Capital funding time

Neoserra will add .01 minutes of online counseling time to each capital funding record uploaded to EDMIS. This change has been implemented effective April, 2018. No counseling session will actually be created in Neoserra, instead this time component is added during the EDMIS export process and ensures that the capital funding record is recorded in the EDMIS system.



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