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Clarity allows users to create bank files that can then be uploaded to the customer's banking institution through the bank';s secure website.

This file takes information that is set up in the Clarity system and creates a file that is encoded according to the NACHA (National Automated Clearing House Association), file specification. This is also often referred to as ACH file format.

Discussing and properly setting up this file format can be difficult depending who you speak to at your financial institution. For setting up employee level records for direct deposit, please see here .

This article deals in greater depth with the ACH file specification.

An ACH file is created in a very specific format that is often referred to as a 'flat file' or a 'fixed length' file. In this type of file, each value in the file appears in a specific position, such as position 65-73.

An ACH file is made up of a number of records starting with a one line header record followed by a one line Company Batch Header Record, then detail records (for each employee) followed by Entry Detail and Batch Control Records.

The file layout is represented this way:

Header Record
Company Batch Header
Batch Control Record

A challenge is presented when it comes time to set up Clarity as the language used to describe the values being inserted into the file can vary from person to person and institution to institution. This article will outline as clearly as possible which values to put where in the Bank File Creation Screen in Clarity.

A document describing the file specification from the source, NACHA, can be found here as of 2 January, 2015. An internet search for NACHA file specification can find similar results.

Clarity FieldField PositionNACHA NameNotes
Originator nameFile Header Record 64-86Immediate Origin Name 
Originator number (Routing number)Company Batch Header 80-87Originating DFI IDAlso appears in Detail and Batch Control Record
Originator number (Routing number)Detail Record 80-87TracenumberIt's only part of the trace number
Originator number (Routing number)Batch Control Record 80-87Originating DFI IDAlso appears in Detail and Batch Control Record
Immediate originFile Header Record 14-23Immediate origin 
Destination nameFile Header Record 41-63Immediate destination nameOften: FEDERAL RESERVE BANK
Immediate destination numberFile Header Record 4-13Immediate destination 
File creation IDFile Header Record 34File ID ModifierUsually A but can be 0-9 or A-Z
Entry descriptionCompany Batch Header 54-63Entry Description 
Identification code designatorCompany Batch Header 41Company ID (1)See below
Company IdentificationCompany Batch Header 42-50Company ID (2-10)See below
Service class codeCompany Batch Header 2-4Service Class Code220 is for deposits to employees, use 200 if reversals are included
Service class codeBatch Control Record 2-4Service Class Code220 is for deposits to employees, use 200 if reversals are included

The Identification code designator and Company identification are put together in the file and are used by your bank to identify your company as a customer. if 'EIN' is chosen for identification, Clarity will use your company's Federal Employer Identification Number from Configuration > Company > Company Edit > US Taxation'. If you change the Company Identification to 'User Assigned', you can enter the nine digits that follow the 'Identification code designator'. These two fields together: Identification code designator + Company Identification are put into positions 41-50 in the File Header Record.

Additional information:

Bank file nameThis is the name of the file that you will save and then later upload to the bank's secure website. This file is saved locally on your computer or server until you transmit it to the bank.
Debit Record/Add a debit record to balance the fileSome banks will ask for additional trailer or footer record information including your bank account number and the routing number. Use this check box for this purpose
Add $$ recordYour bank may ask you to send them a header line before all the other lines in the ACH file that starts with '$$'. Enter the exact line they ask you to send here after checking the tick box (this is usually user/password information for the bank).
Include... transactions/prenotesIf you would prefer to send prenote records, you can do so using the buttons here. Typically, banks will instead request a sample file with amounts for some accounts. Prenoting is not often used any longer.
Create bank file forYou can create payroll for multiple payroll groups in Clarity and if you do not post each of them, they can be combined into one bank file here to avoid sending multiple files to the bank, especially useful when the bank charges per file sent.
Effective dateGoes into the Company Batch Header positions 70-75
File creation dateGoes into the Company Batch Header positions 64-69

It is recommended that a test or sample file be arranged well in advance of any actual live pay date to ensure timely payment for your employees.