Advice needed from newcomer!
Hello There! I am completly new to this and also too writing in forums, so I apologise now if I waffle on, my spellings crap and if this is really really really basic stuff!! Before you read this, also you should understand that although i don't really know anything about the program and about programming databases I am exceedingly willing to learn, and pick up new things quite quickly ...
I came across File Maker Pro by accident at the weekend and downloaded the free trial, which inevitably lead to me to spending the entire weekend playing the program (and not doing any washing up) and thinking about the advantages it could bring to the company I work for. I had never used it before and have never designed or created a database before on a program, but it seems easy(ish) to use for a complete novice ... so far!
Originally i just wanted to use it to replace our current Excel Spreadsheet for our Media Library, which contains over 5,000 entries, which fortunatly i can import from Excel, and having played around with it I have devised a new system on FMPro (It has several faults at the moment, but i'm learning daily!) Having played for a few days and briefly shown it to one of my bosses they think it is a great idea, so basically I have until my trial runs out ... another 20 odd days ... to prove that this is going to be a fantastic & efficient way to run our media library. (I will post my problems with my current database shortly!)
Anyway, so whilst working on my library document my mind started wondering playing and with a few other ideas and I was wondering if anyone could shed some light on the things that I think are possibly possible and how easy they are for me to do!
So far the basic library system that I have built from scratch involves logging media in with various numbers, series names, clients etc, and then it will eventually, when I iron out the issues, have a history of who has logged the specific tape out for refrence, or whatever out in the past, where it went and for what reason, date it went, date it came back, etc I have created a Client Database aswell, where by I can just select certain people and it automatically fills in that they have it, although I created the client database and the media database seperatley and having few issues with them corresponding... but that is another issue!
What I want to do next ... or basically prove to my directors, is that we can use FileMaker Pro (if possible) for a simple way of invoicing. We have a selection of different products - each with their own variables. In brief we work in television, so I'd want our Rates/Invoicing section to simply be something like 1 x dvd done of 15 mins of this, from this format = xxx£££ and then issue an invoice or add more products and then send an invoice as a pdf via emai. A drop down menu would be ideal when selecting the length of the dvd or format for example, and it would automatically calculated depending on the variables selected, eg: if I selected say 30min dvd it would pop up with a different rate to the 15min dvd. I'd also like to know if it is possible for my database to change the rates by different clients, for example if i had a client called Mr X, his rates would be x amount for product a and x amount for product b but when i select client Mr P and he purchases the same products his rates would be xx for product a and xx for product be.
Is this possible?
My next thought moved onto petty cash, where I would simply create, in theory, a selection of different categories and fill in any additional info and then group various receipts/entries together over a period of time and then when this was paid have a selection automatically fill in the cheque number and email our accounts department as a pdf or excel document ... again is this possible?
I understand that i can have different accounts for different users - is it right that I can have on account/log in for someone who only needs access to the library department, and one who can log in and do invoices and library but cannot adjust anything, and then others who have full admin rights?
Also can File Maker Pro prompt people to send emails at certain times? For example if I inputed that Mr X took out a tape and I wanted to remind someone that Mr X had this tape on a particular date - is this possible - i am assuming that if this is possible I could incorporate it into the petty cash and invoicing ideas i have?
Finally and if you are still awake, what would be the best product for us to invest in and what add ons would I need? Bearing in mind if we went for this we would no doubt come up with other ideas we could use it for!?! And therefore I would like our options to be unlimited.
Actually that last point wasn't the final one ... this is ... Basically at the moment we use Excel to do a lot of the above mentioned things although we find it cumbersome at times, many of the people I work with are open to change but are very comfortable in our previous methods, they are tried and tested, and so hestient to change - so basically I need to make this as simple and idiot proof and non overcomplicated as i can, so where as before it would have taken 3 minutes to invoice or log media in - it now only takes 1minute - can I ?
I thank you so much for reading my essay and look forward to your responses.