How to set up Category Connectors
Category Connectors is the mechanism by which you link categories between funds, enabling you to view a breakdown of income and expenditure by category across all funds. Commonly, charities and churches may choose to use Category Connectors to group together several categories for presentational purposes in their published end-of-year account. For example, you may have many categories sub-dividing administrative expenditure, but for public communication, you may choose to group these as 'Administration'.
For most organisations, setting up Category Connectors is quick and easy. We'd recommend that you only set up category connectors once you have set up all your income and expenditure categories.
Within the Category Connector Settings screen (within Settings), you will see a 'Quick Setup' button at the top of the screen.
Note: this option only shows up if you haven't set up any category connectors.
Click the 'Quick Steup'this to create your Category Connector structure based on the Income & Expenditure Category structure of one of your funds AND to automatically connect all existing categories to a category connector (where the category and category connectors names are the same, which they usually are).
This feature will enable you to set up and link your category connectors in a single click, and you will then be able to make any further changes manually.
Alternatively, you can manually set up your category connector structure from scratch and then link each category to a category connector of your choice.
If you wish your category connector structure to be similar, but not entirely the same as your regular category structure, then use the 'Quick Setup' which still allows you to customise afterwards.
Caution: You should only choose to manually configure IF you are sure you wish to set up your category connector from scratch (typically only where you wish for your category connector structure to be completely different to your regular category structure).
STEP 1: Category Connector Setup
Go to the Category Connector Settings screen (within Settings) to set up your category connectors (just like you will have done with your categories).
Indeed, you may wish to set up your category connectors in a similar or even identical fashion to the category structure for your General Fund (but you don't have). You can set up your category connectors however you wish, but we'd recommend that your decision is based upon how you wish to report on income and expenditure across all your funds. For example, you may wish to consider how you normally format the Income or Expenditure notes within your end-of-year accounts. Typically organisations report at a similar level of detail (and grouping) as they have for their categories, or they mimic their category connector structure to the category group level (with multiple categories connected to each category connector).
The names of category connectors don't have to be the same as the names of your categories (although, most organisations do name category connectors in a consistent way to either their categories or category groups).
Note: For consistency, category connectors follow the same level/hierarchy structure of categories - with each connector being sorted into a Connector Group. These connector groups dictate how the connectors are displayed in the relevant reports.
The diagram below shows how a 'Donations' category connector could be used to 'link together' 3 different income categories which receive donations, from 3 different funds, into one reported total. We are connecting these categories together for the purpose of producing a simplified aggregate total.
STEP 2: Linking Categories to Category Connectors
Once you've set up your category connectors, you can then link your categories to them by going to the Category Settings Screen, then selecting the view by 'Category Connector' tab at the top of the screen. Please note this view will hide categories already connected to a Category connector by default and you can toggle this view by deselecting the tick box at the top of the screen.
If you are in the process of setting up ExpensePlus, then the most efficient way to set up categories and category connectors is to set up just one fund and set up all of the categories for this fund. Then, once you have linked all of these categories to category connectors, when you come to add further funds, you will have the option to 'duplicate categories from an existing fund' (and all of the categories and category connector links for this fund will be created for you).
Viewing the Income & Expenditure (by Category Connector) Report
Once all of your categories have been linked to a category connector you'll be able to begin using the Income & Expenditure Summary (by Category Connector) Report. This report has multiple views and you can switch between them using the tabs at the top of the report.
The totals displayed within this report (inc. budget amounts, projection amounts, variances) are calculated from the totals for the income and expenditure categories that are linked to each category connector.
If the report isn't showing any category connectors - either you haven't completed the setup above, OR you are viewing a different financial year in this report to the year you set up e.g. if you only set up category connectors in your 2021 financial year, this report will not display data if you are trying to view your 2020 financial year.
Note: once set up, category connectors (like categories) automatically get duplicated into the next financial year.
If the report is showing category connectors, but all of the rows are zero - then either no transactions have been reconciled yet in the financial year you are viewing, or you have chosen the manual setup option, and you haven't completed Step 2 for all funds for the year you are viewing. If this is the case, you will see a warning box at the top of this report, with a link to the category settings screen where you can link categories to a category connector where this hasn't yet been done.
Note: there is a 'fund' dropdown at the top of the category settings screen to switch between funds in order to check that all categories are linked to a category connector.