Q.While running my quarterly billing from PortfolioCenter, I found a problem I can’t solve.  The paper invoice created from PortfolioCenter shows the correct total fee for the household group and the proper breakdown of which accounts the fees are to be taken from.

The problem is the invoice does not match the amounts in the CSV file that I export from PortfolioCenter to upload to Schwab.  Do you have any idea what could be going wrong? Why don’t the numbers match?

A.Interesting question! Since the calculations on the actual invoice are correct, we can assume the problem does not stem from the billing specifications.  How then does the CSV file contain different information?

First, what is the CSV file? The Management Fee Export is a tool in the Schwab Interface that creates a comma-separated file which can be uploaded to the Schwab Advisor Center to deduct your management fees.

This tool pulls data from the Billing History — which may not be up to date.

The information contained in the Billing History can be changed three ways:

  • Generating billing statements themselves.
  • Pressing Update Bill History on the Billing tab.
  • Manually editing the bill history directly.

Step 1 Update the billing history.   This should resolve the problem in most cases.

Assume you have updated the Billing History and the CSV file still fails to match the printed invoice. Now what?

Step 2 Check for accounts included in more than 1 bill.

Here’s how it can happen: Assume Mr. and Mrs. Happyclient love your services so much they convince their grown children to sign up, too.  In a fit of generosity, the parents agree to pay your management fees for their adult children, and you agree to aggregate all their family accounts onto one bill.  However, you send a separate report to each household group.

To accomplish this, you create a group for Mr, and Mrs, Happyclient, a group for each of the three children and their spouses, plus a 5th group that contains ALL the accounts in clan.  This last group is the one you want to assign the bill to.  But if you set defaults to automatically assign standard billing to each new group you create, a bill is inadvertently assigned to each of the 5 groups.

The result is that that some accounts are billed twice:  once when the fee is calculated for the entire clan and again when the fee is calculated for the individual family.  While the numbers on each paper bill are correct, whichever bill processed last determines the numbers in the Billing History and the CSV file — which may not be the numbers you intended and will not match one of the paper bills.

Solution: Remove the duplicate bills.

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