EDI Transaction Files

Acctivate has previously supported the ANSI EDI X12 standard, XML and other various file formats.  These formats were difficult to troubleshoot and integrations with EDI service providers were complicated as each customer, trading partner and service provider had different requirements.  Acctivate now only supports a tab-delimited text file format for exchanging EDI transactions.

We partnered with TrueCommerce (now HighJump Software) in 2008 to develop a standard integration that could be scaled to hundreds and eventually thousands of companies using Acctivate and looking for a seamless EDI integration.  TrueCommerce recommended that we use their tab-delimited text file format for sending and receiving EDI transactions.  This universal, single file format has allowed Acctivate to successfully integrate with hundreds of unique trading partners.

As a bonus, we found that the tab-delimited text files were much more “human readable” when compared to ANSI X12.  Please read our View EDI Transaction Files article to learn how to locate and view Acctivate EDI transaction files.

Other popular EDI providers, such as SPS Commerce, B2B Gateway, and GCommerce have also added support for our tab-delimted format.  We have also worked with numerous lesser known EDI providers and VANs.  It is also possible to import and export our tab-delimited text files without an EDI service provider.  The other party would need to implement the Acctivate file specification explained below.

You can also watch our EDI Capabilities in Acctivate recorded webinar to learn more about working with EDI transactions in Acctivate.

File Contents

Each EDI file may contain multiple transactions for a single trading partner and transaction type.  For example, a single file may contain 100 customer purchase orders from Wal-Mart, but may not contain any orders from Target.  Acctivate will generate a separate file for each transaction type for a single partner, such as Advance Ship Notices (ASN’s) and Invoices for Wal-Mart.

Each EDI file will contain header and detail rows, separated by a Carriage Return Line Feed (CRLF) character.  For example, a simple three line invoice will contain one row for the invoice header (totals) followed by three lines for the items.  The first column of each row contains a Row Type indicator.  The row types vary per transaction.  Please read through each EDI transaction article below for specific details.

File Locations

The Mailbox metaphor is used within Acctivate to describe the locations of the EDI transactions files that are exchanged with the EDI Service Provider.  Acctivate requires both an Import and Export folder.

The mailbox folders should be located on your local area network.  We recommend that you consult with your EDI Service Provider to determine the best location and configuration for these mailbox folders.  Typically, these folders will exist on your server.

FTP (File Transfer Protocol) is now supported by Acctivate, as of version 10.3.  You will not need to transfer the transaction files from your EDI Service Provider to a local folder on your network. Acctivate will instead send and receive the files from your local folder to your FTP site.

Once processed, imported transactions files (e.g., Customer PO’s) are moved to a History sub-directory within the same Import Mailbox folder.  This folder name and location cannot be modified at this time.

File Naming

Acctivate is quite flexible in terms of file naming conventions.  Unique file names are strongly encouraged for imported files.  Acctivate will generate a unique file name for any exported files (e.g., Customer Invoices).

We recommend that transaction file names include all/some of the following information:

  • Transaction Type (e.g., PO)
  • Trading Partner (e.g., Wal-Mart)
  • Transaction Number (only for single-transaction files)
  • Date/Time created
Acctivate EDI transaction files are tab-delimited text files (see above).  Therefore, we recommend the TXT file extension.  Custom file extensions are supported, but must be consistent for a trading partner.  NOTE: the WRK extension is reserved for temporary files  being processed in a mailbox folder and cannot be used for transaction files.
Example File Name Notes
PurchaseOrder.txt Multiple orders, potentially from multiple trading partners in a single file.  Using a single (non-unique) file name is supported, but not recommended.  This approach could cause conflicts with multiple Acctivate EDI users, using a single mailbox folder.
PurchaseOrder_20121107111500.txt Unique file name to reduce conflicts from multiple users, but no identifiable information for the trading partner or transaction(s) contained within the file.
PurchaseOrder_KRG_12345.txt Unique file name per Trading Partner per Transaction (e.g., PO 12345 for Kroger).  This is a good approach to avoid duplicate transactions.
PurchaseOrder_12345.KRG Similar to above, but using a custom extension for the Trading Partner (KRG for Kroger).
Acctivate supports custom file names for exported files.  This includes the file name pattern and a custom extension.  For example, customer invoices are exported using the following default format: <PartnerID>810.<FileSerialNumber>.<TimeStamp>.txt
The File Serial Number option ensures that every file exported by Acctivate will have a unique file name.
Example File Name Notes
Invoice.txt Multiple invoices, potentially from multiple trading partners in a single file.  Using a single (non-unique) file name is supported, but not recommended.  This approach could cause conflicts with multiple Acctivate EDI users, using a single mailbox folder.
Invoice_20121107111500.txt Unique file name to reduce conflicts from multiple users, but no identifiable information for the trading partner or transaction(s) contained within the file.
Invoice_KRG_12345.txt Unique file name per Trading Partner per Transaction (e.g., Invoice 12345 for Kroger).  This is a good approach to avoid duplicate transactions.
PurchaseOrder_12345.KRG Similar to above, but using a custom extension for the Trading Partner (KRG for Kroger).
KRG810.00000056.20121107111500.txt DEFAULT FORMAT: Includes Trading Partner ID, Transaction Type (810), File Serial Number (00000056) and date/time stamp.
Posted in EDI - Last modified on August 23, 2017Eva Rhees
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