Article written By Bill Dadmun, Records and Receipts Manager; State of Virginia
How many of you use the aggregate function when reporting? Does it make your life easier? Listen to this scenario and tell me if it sounds familiar.
You get a call from someone that is due $49.95 from a credit balance. You know based on the time frame that this account has already been reported to the state, so you refer them to the proper state, even providing them with the searchable website and how to submit a claim form. You have done all of the right things only to get another call within the hour. This time, the customer is mad, because the state says they cannot locate any property in their name, in particular not from your company. “What is the problem with them!?!” You think to yourself.
You pick up the phone and call the state and find that because you have included the remittance and report data in the aggregate, it has not been listed in their database in such a way for their claims representatives to be able to locate it. Not only that, but they say the only way they can pay the rightful owner is to first receive a letter from you stating details about the property and indicating which aggregate it was reported in. Great, now you have to dig out that information all over again. What a pain.
In the past, when a majority of the data reported by you and then entered into unclaimed property databases had to be handled by both of you in a manual data entry function, aggregating property not only made sense, it was absolutely necessary! But today is different. Most data today is handled within electronic files, where the data was already entered a long time ago. You don't have to retype anything. The reporting software used today is happy to import data from your files to create the NAUPA format text files that the states require. The states are now very happy to have detail data, and you don't have to do any more work than you did before! Just specify that the file to be created should supply detail information for all property owners.
Now, I am not saying you cannot aggregate. If there are good reasons to do so, based on your company's circumstances, then by all means do so. The law allows you to do so in most states. But consider whether this is in your best interest long term. The best possible scenario for you is to report it and forget it, right? By reporting detail all the time, you are going a long way towards reaching that goal.