In a Senta Job, each task can have a start and due date.  The task won't appear on a task list until the start date has arrived. When the due date passes, the task appears as overdue.  


Simple enough... but how do you set up the date offsets? 


Basic date offsets

It's quite easy: you can use a simple shorthand to define them, for example: 


    +1d = 1 day after the job starts

    +2w = 2 weeks after the job starts

    +3m = 3 months after the job starts


but, cunningly: 


    -1w = 1 week before the job starts!  


Senta will keep an eye on jobs that are going to start in the future and it knows to schedule tasks beforehand.  To learn more, check out our guide to job dates.  


Business day offsets


Business day calculations mean you can skip weekends and bank holidays (currently UK bank holidays only) when entering date offsets.


    +3b = 3 business days after the job starts

    - 4b = 4 business days before the job starts

    +1b = find the next business day


You can also put +0b or -0b on the end of a date offset to easily make sure it's a working day: 


    +0b means "the next business day"

    -0b means "the previous business day".  


For example, +30d+0b would mean thirty days after the job date, but if it were a weekend, then actually make it the following Monday.  
Likewise, +30d-0b would mean thirty days after the job date, but if it were a weekend, then actually make it the previous Friday.




Compound date offsets

You can string these together: 


    +2w+3d = 2 weeks and 3 days after the job starts

    -3m+1d = 3 months, less one day, before the job starts

    +3m+2w+1d = 3 months, 2 weeks and one day after the job starts


Fixed date offsets

For more complex scenarios, fixed date offsets are useful.  Some date offsets are variable, for example "3 months after the job starts".  But some are fixed, such as "the end of the last year" or "the end of the next tax year".  You can define these with special codes: 


    n = the end of the week (Friday)

    e = the end of the month

    z = the end of the year


So how do you use these?  Much like the other codes: 


    +1n = the end (Friday) of the current week

    +2n = the end (Friday) of the next week

    +1e = the end of the current month

    +2e = the end of next month

    +1z = the end of the current year

    +2z = the end of the next year


You can also work backwards to previous periods too: 


    +0e = the end of the previous month

    +0z = the end of the previous year


One important thing to note.  If the job start date is the last day of the month, then +1e won't do anything: it will leave you at the end of the current month.  This is to ensure that the offsets work in a consistent way for any date.  Likewise, if the date is 31/12, then +1z will leave you on 31/12 i.e. it will take you to the end of the current year. 


With the fixed date offsets, you have tremendous flexibility to schedule task and set their due dates. 


Combining date offsets


You can use a combination of the date offsets listed above to make Senta find specific dates in the calendar.


For example:


    +0e+2d+3n-1d = the third Thursday of the month

    Breaking this down:

    +0e = the last day of the month

    +2d = goes forward two days, so this is now the second day of the next month

    +3n = goes forward 3 Fridays

    -1d = goes back one day, to the third Thursday of the month


    -5d-3m+1z+3m+5d = the end of the UK tax year, 5th April (for any given date)


    +1e-6d+1n = the last Friday of the month

    +1e-5d+1n-1d = the last Thursday of the month

    +1e-0b-1n+10d = the last Monday of the month

    +0e+5d+3n-4d = the third Monday of the month


Functions


Functions can be used in date offsets to help with choosing dates in more complex ways, e.g. the earliest of two dates.


A number of functions are available in Senta, for example EARLIEST and LATEST.


For more information we have a separate guide to functions here: guide to functions.



Date fields


You can store dates in date type fields on your client records, and on forms that you complete for clients.


Open Settings > Forms to view the available forms or create a new one.


When adding a field to a form, choose 'Date' for the type.



Using dates from fields stored on the client page


You can also pull dates stored in any client fields in Senta to use in the date offset for tasks.


For example:


    client.dateofincorporation+1m

    client.businessstartdate-1w


If you want a task's start/due date to be the same as a field date, you will need to add "+0d" to the end of the field reference in the date offset.


    client.dateofincorporation+0d