Accounting Consultants for ACCOUNTS

Hello again ACCOUNTS advisors.

As you may have experienced, sometimes users of ACCOUNTS have accounting or bookkeeping questions that are not about how to use the program, but rather about how best to set up an appropriate chart of accounts for their organization, or what transactions to do. Our staff may not be willing or able to answer such questions, because we are not accountants.

In such cases, we advise users to consult their organization’s accountant or a skilled bookkeeper.

For organizations with no access to such a person, however, we have started a Consultants page on our website, with one initial listing, at http://www.software4nonprofits.com/accounts/consultants.htm.

If you are an accountant or skilled bookkeeper, with a good understanding of the ACCOUNTS program and its fund accounting concepts, and wish to be added to that list, please contact us directly by email (not by commenting on this post), at info@software4nonprofits.com.

Thank you.

Online Banking Transactions – Samples Needed

Sorry to write again so soon, but I just realized I need more samples – particularly from American banks. If any of you could go to your online banking, and request a download to QuickBooks (if that’s an option), save the file, and email it to us, that would be great. If your bank doesn’t support downloads to QuickBooks, but does to Quicken, that would be fine too. And if doesn’t support either, please at least tell us what downloads it does support.

The downloaded files are actually plain text files, so if you want to first open them up in an editor (like Notepad) and make sure there’s nothing confidential you want to change, that would be fine.

In particular if you do a credit card statement download, your card # is in the file, in a section that may look like this:

<CCACCTFROM><ACCTID>4500xxxxxxxxxxxx<ACCTTYPE>CREDITLINE</CCACCTFROM>

For bank accounts, your account number may be in it, in the format:

<BANKACCTFROM>
<BANKID>xxxxxxxxx
<ACCTID>xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

I changed confidential parts in the samples above to x’s. Stuff might be on separate lines, as in the 2nd example, or all on one line, as in the first example.

From Canadian banks, I already samples from have one credit union, a few online-only banks, and out of the big 5, I have TD, CIBC, RBC and BMO. If someone has Scotiabank, I would appreciate a sample. No further samples from the others are needed.

I don’t have any US bank samples yet, so anything you have would be great – please tell us what bank it is from when you send it.

Thanks so much in advance.

Importing and Matching Online Banking Transactions

Hi ACCOUNTS advisors and beta testers. We are starting to think about the possibility of adding importing of transactions downloaded from your online banking into ACCOUNTS. That would include matching to manually-entered transactions where possible (which is very complicated to figure out how to do properly) and adding new transactions. There would presumably have to be some options for manual matching as well. Though we will want to keep this as simple as possible …

Our question for you at this point, is, does your online banking that you use support downloading for Quicken, QuickBooks, or both? There may be other download format options, but I’d only want to know about them if your system didn’t support either Quicken or QuickBooks.

There may be another blog with more questions about this later. At this point our thinking about it is very preliminary, and there is no schedule for when the feature might be completed.

Thank you.

Opinions on New Software4Nonprofits Home Page

First of all, my apologies to any of you who get both of our blogs (for DONATION and ACCOUNTS) – you will be getting this post a 2nd time.

We have updated the home page www.software4nonprofits.com to include new sections with an overview of the pricing for each version for each of our two programs, and an overview of the differences between each version.

We’re interested in your thoughts on the changes, and our specific wording.

It was tricky to do this, because we don’t want to say too much (people won’t read it) but also don’t want to say too little so that it will be misleading. Each new section has links at the bottom for further details.

Thank you in advance for any reactions, which you can send as comments to the blog, or just by direct email replies.

Bug in Hidden Accounts appearing in Drop-Down Lists

Hello ACCOUNTS blog readers.

I think I have discovered a bug, but I want to run it by you all before I change it. It has to do with the fact that it appears that hidden accounts are appearing on drop-down lists of accounts you can use in transactions, when they shouldn’t.

The one time that I believe hidden accounts should appear in drop-downs, is if you are editing an existing transaction, that already used that hidden account. Otherwise you wouldn’t be able to see that already-used account.

The time that it seems the program is displaying them anyways, when it shouldn’t, is when it’s a new transaction being edited (one you haven’t saved yet), but the main account you are working on (say, a bank account you are in the register window for) has ever in the past had some transaction that included that hidden account.

I can’t really see why I originally decided to program it that way, and now it appears to me that it is just annoying – you will always see hidden accounts in the drop-down account lists of a register window that ever had a transaction using that account.

The whole point, in my mind, of hidden accounts, is “this is an account I used to use, but don’t any more”. So I don’t want to see it, merely because I used it in the past in this same register!

The same probably applies to entering transactions in other windows like Write Cheques etc. – the wrong behaviour would apply if any past transaction on the bank account you were writing cheques for ever used that hidden account.

Does this make sense to you, that I should remove that behaviour, so the only time a hidden account is shown is when you are editing an existing transaction that already used it? Of course, if you need to use it again in a new transaction, for some reason, you can always go to the Chart of Accounts window, edit the account, and un-hide it.

As always, you can reply by adding a Comment on this blog post, or by direct email. Thank you.

By the way, out of interest, the way I ran into this bug was that I was doing what programmers call “eating your own dog food”, namely actually using the program in production for a real organization (a non-profit I’m involved with as Treasurer). I had some accounts that were used early last year, but that we stopped using, but they kept coming up when entering new transactions and it was annoying!

Important ACCOUNTS Testing Needed

Hello ACCOUNTS beta testers.

The program that we create ACCOUNTS with, PowerBuilder, has a significant new release, and we have created a new version of ACCOUNTS with it. Although you should see almost no changes in ACCOUNTS due to this, for us it’s a big deal, and as such, we have jumped the version number of ACCOUNTS up to 2.00.

Although we have done significant testing ourselves on this new version, the only way to be sure it will work well for everyone is to have many users test it. So PLEASE if at all possible, try it out, by downloading and installing it from the page:

http://www.software4nonprofits.com/accounts/pretest.htm

Unlike most beta test updates that we put on this page, this one needs to be done with a full installation program, which means you need to know whether you are running the Standalone, Network Server or Network Client version, and download and install that version from this page. If you aren’t sure which version you are running on this computer, use the Help -> About ACCOUNTS menu option in your current installation of ACCOUNTS to find out.

If you encounter any issues that you think may be new problems, please inform us of them as soon as possible, and we will fix them as quickly as possible. If something is a real problem for you and we do not think we will be able to fix it quickly, you can always revert to the existing version 1.42, built with the older version of PowerBuilder, by downloading and installing from the normal DOWNLOAD page:

http://www.software4nonprofits.com/accounts/download.htm

As always, you can send us your experiences by replying to this blog post online, or by directly emailing us. In this unusual case, it would be good to hear from you even if you try this and don’t observe any problems, just so we can have some notion of how many of you have tried it.

If you are also using our DONATION program for tracking donors and donations and issuing charitable receipts, there was already a similar beta test release of the new version of it a few days ago. Only one tiny bug was found so far, which has been fixed.

Many thanks.

Custom Reports Ready for Testing

Hello ACCOUNTS beta testers. We have finally finished the Custom Reports feature, that I wrote to you earlier about (at https://software4nonprofitsbooks.wordpress.com/2017/03/06/accounts-custom-reporting/).

This is a pretty major feature, and the programming was pretty complex, so we would really appreciate it if as many of you as possible could give it a try and let us know what you think – especially if you run into any problems with it, incorrect results etc.!

As mentioned in that previous post, with Custom Reports you can specify a report of up to 4 columns, each of which is Income and Expenses, Budget, or a Difference between two previous columns. Each column has its own date range, either specified explicitly by you, or with a named range like “Last Month”, “Year to Date” etc., that will be recalculated every time you use the report (if you Memorize it).

You also get to specify the heading for each column in the report, the report’s title, whether it is for all funds combined or split out by fund, and the level of accounts to include (top-level etc.).

You get the beta test (pre-test) version 1.42 Beta1, that includes Custom Reports (on the Reports menu of course) from www.software4nonprofits.com/accounts/pretest.htm.

Be sure to click the Help button on the new Custom Reports window to learn all about it – though if you want to try without that, to see how self-explanatory it seems, that would be fine too!

Please reply with any testing results either with a regular Comment on this blog, or by direct email. Thank you!

Fund Income Statements by Months/Quarters

Hello ACCOUNTS beta testers and advisors.

First, can I ask again for any feedback on my recent previous post, https://software4nonprofitsbooks.wordpress.com/2017/03/06/accounts-custom-reporting/, about the design of the new Custom Reporting feature for ACCOUNTS? We’d really like to be sure we’re on the right track, and haven’t missed anything crucial, before completing the first version of that feature.

This post though is about some new reports and features of existing reports, that you can try out in version 1.41 Beta1, available from the page www.software4nonprofits.com/accounts/pretest.htm.

The new reports are Reports ⇒ Fund ⇒ Income Statement by Months and Income Statement by Quarters, that are like the same-named Reports ⇒ Summary reports, except split out by fund, with a summary section showing the change in fund balances for the entire reporting period. This is something some users had been asking for.

The improvement is that Reports ⇒ Summary ⇒ Income Statement by Months and Income Statement by Quarters both now also prompt for an “Include” setting to determine the levels of accounts and sub-accounts to be included in the report, like many other reports do, but those ones didn’t.

If you could give that a try and let us know what you think, especially including any problems you observe with those reports, it would be much appreciated. As always, you can reply with a comment on the blog, or by replying directly by email.

ACCOUNTS Custom Reporting

While we aren’t anywhere near done, we are working towards a Custom Reports option for ACCOUNTS. A draft of the window for specifying them, with a sample filled-in, looks like:

Draft ACCOUNTS Custom Reports window

As you can see, it can have from one to four columns of data in the report. Each report can be a Budget for a given date range, Income and Expenses for a given date range, or a Difference between the two previous columns. Differences must be between two Budget columns, two Income and Expenses columns, or one of each.

The report can be for all funds combined (like the existing reports under Reports -> Summary) or split out by fund (like the existing reports under Reports -> Fund).

As with many existing reports, you can set them to include All Levels of Account, Only Top-Level and Subaccounts, or Only Top-Level Accounts.

You also give it a Report Title.

The Date Ranges can be any of the following:

Last Month
Current Month to Date
Last Quarter
Current Quarter to Date
Year to Date
Year to Last Month End
Year to Last Quarter End
Last Year
Last Year to Date
Last Year to Last Month End
Last Year to Last Quarter End
Custom Date Range

The actual dates included in all of those are calculated for you, except for Custom Date Range, where you type in the dates.

If you Memorize and then replay such a report, the date ranges are re-calculated based on the current date, again except for Custom Date Range which uses the actual memorized dates. (There will be an option to redisplay the memorized Custom Report in the window above, so you can change such dates.)

There are going to be various rules about what ranges of dates are allowed for different columns, including:

  • Budget columns must have their range of dates within one fiscal year.
  • When you are showing a Difference between a Budget column and an Income and Expenses column, either the two columns must be for the exact same date range, or if the Income and Expenses is for less than a year, the Budget can be for the whole year.
  • As in the current Budget reports, partial-year budgets are calculated as appropriate fractions of the entire year’s budget.

We would appreciate any thoughts and feedback you might have about this. Is there anything we have missed that your organization might realistically want, and that isn’t already in one of the built-in reports?

As always, you can reply directly by email, or by adding a Comment on this blog post. Thank you.

ACCOUNTS Recurring Transactions Testing

Hello ACCOUNTS beta testers. We have a significant new feature available in the beta test version at http://www.software4nonprofits.com/accounts/pretest.htm, and it would be great if you could test it!

The feature is recurring transactions, which some users have been asking for, for quite a while. As you will recall, we did a survey about it a while ago, and the results were that every option we asked about for how recurring transactions could be set up was needed by at least some users. As a result, there are a lot of options, and a lot of complexity to the programming to make them all work properly!

You can very safely test recurring transactions by memorizing some transactions (if you don’t already have them memorized), and making them recurring in the new Maintenance -> Recurring Transactions menu option’s window. If you set them up for immediate recurrence, when you exit ACCOUNTS and start it up again, any that are due to recur will be shown to you, and automatically inserted (or prompted for, if you chose that option). If you were doing that just for testing, just go into the register window for the account the transactions were inserted into, and delete them! And you can go back to the Recurring Transactions window to remove the recurrence if you set it up only for testing.

As always, we would greatly appreciate any feedback you have on the new features, including comments on the Help text associated with them. And as usual with significant new features, there will be a bonus of an extra 3 month’s support and upgrades renewal for the first user to find each real bug in our programming! (Of course, Kwame and I have tested things extensively, so we are hoping there are no remaining bugs!)

You can give feedback by commenting on this blog post, or just by emailing us directly. MANY THANKS!