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AvaTax for Communications Combine Utility user manual

Overview

This utility was designed as a cross-platform tool to perform three main purposes:

  1. Merge compliance-related data from multiple files of the same type into a single file.
  2. Sort and summarize compliance-related data from either a single file or multiple files of the same type into a single file.
  3. Aggregate compliance-related data from multiple files into a single, summarized file.

The tool will only aggregate like formatted files with the correct extension. You cannot mix different formats of the same file type for processing purposes.

Installation

Using a Single Install for All Processing

You may elect to use a single install of CombineUtility.exe for all your processing if you are comfortable using the command line option to specify the working directory. By setting the working directory, the utility produces changes to that directory, and processes all files as if it were executed from that directory.

  1. Rename the file you are processing to have the correct extension. For example, to process an .ssf file named MyCompany_TaxLog_Jun2017, rename it to MyCompany_TaxLog_Jun2017.ssf.
  2. Copy CombineUtility.exe to the working directory where the file is located.

Use either of the methods below to set up processing.

Method 1: Issue a Command in Windows 10

  1. Open a PowerShell or simple DOS command window in the working directory (SHIFT+Right-click).

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  2. Issue the following command at the prompt:
    .\CombineUtility.exe -[command option]
    

    Note: You must include a dot and a backslash (.\) at the beginning of the command so that the current directory is being searched for the file.

    See section 4. Command Line Options for a list of available options.

    For example, a command that includes an option would look like this, where the option -trim 4 is included:

    .\CombineUtility.exe -trim 4
    

Method 2: Create a Shortcut That Includes Options

If you use Windows, you can set up a shortcut that includes the appropriate command line options.

  1. Create a shortcut to the utility by Right-clicking on CombineUtility.exe in the working directory and selecting Create Shortcut.

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  2. Right click on the CombineUtility.exe shortcut and select Properties.
  3. Select the Shortcut tab and enter the desired command option and the end of the name in the Target field. See section 4. Command Line Options for a list of available options.
  4. Specify the Start in: directory to be the working directory.

    This CombineUtility.exe shortcut utility can be rolled over each month until further instructions are provided.

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  5. Click Apply and OK.
  6. To execute the utility, double-click the CombineUtility.exe shortcut.

Using a New Install for Each Set of Data to Process

If you prefer to not use the command line option, the next best solution is to copy CombineUtility.exe to the directory containing the files to be processed, and run it from there.

Supported Formats

Extension

Generated by

Description

ssf

Utilities (from log)

Primary compliance file. Not all formats are currently supported.

nba

Utilities (from log)

Non-billable taxes.

nca

Utilities (from log)

Non-compliance taxes

tsr

AFC Engine

Trans-Serv Report (or Taxing Authority Report)

rtr

AFC Engine

Reconcile (Reverse) Transaction Report

Command Line Options

Usage

CombineUtility [-trim cols][-dir directory][-input filename][-trace]

Arguments

Argument

Description

-trim cols

Trims number of columns from end of each row in ssf/nba/nca. Does not apply to tsr/rtr.

-dir directory

Uses specified directory as working directory

-input filename

Restrict processing to files matching filename

-trace

Outputs metrics on each file processed to console

Examples

Example 1: To use the default functionality, no command line arguments are needed:

> CombineUtility 

Example 2: To process files in the specified working directory:

> CombineUtility -dir E:\Logs\CombineUtility\Working 

Example 3: To trim 4 columns from end of each row for ssf/nba/nca processing

> CombineUtility -trim 4

Example 4: To process only files that match a specific filename pattern

> CombineUtility –input MyTestFile.ssf    #Process only MyTestFile.ssf 
> CombineUtility –input MyTest*.*         #Process all ssf/nba/nca/tsr/rtr matching MyTest*.* 

Example 5: To To trim 4 columns from end of each row for ssf/nba/nca processing using a Windows 10 PowerShell or DOS

.\CombineUtility.exe -trim 4 

Output Files (in Working Directory)

There are two output file naming conventions.

If –input option is not used the following will be the ouput (as applicable)

  • TSR output file will be output.tsr
  • RTR output file will be output.rtr
  • SSF/NBA/NCA output file will be output.ssf

If –input option is used, the leading portion of the filename without asterisk will be prepended. For example, with CombineUtility –input MyTest*.* the output files would be (as applicable)

  • TSR output file will be MyTest_output.tsr
  • RTR output file will be MyTest_output.rtr
  • SSF/NBA/NCA output file will be MyTest_output.ssf

The output files from previous runs will be ignored if it matches the current processing output name.

The command CombineUtility –input MyTest*.* would for example ignore MyTest_output.ssf for compliance file processing.

The command CombineUtility would for example ignore output.ssf for compliance file processing.

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