Empowering Excel for Trial Balance

From the August 2008 Review of Engagement and Trial Balance Systems

[SIDEBAR ARTICLE] Pendock Mallorn’s Accounting for Practitioners (AFP) is geared toward small and mid-sized professional accounting practices, with three versions of the program that provide trial balance and working papers compilation and management through integration with Microsoft Excel. Since it is based on the spreadsheet software, most users find it very easy to learn and use, with functions intuitive to even those with only basic spreadsheet experience. The program also includes full reporting options, bank reconciliation features, amortization schedules and depreciation calculations.

Using the traditional Excel interface, AFP data entry is simple, with client setup requiring only basic information and engagement type, after which the program automatically creates engagement letters, an accountant report and representation letters based on pre-drafted templates that can be easily customized to include letterheads and other information. The system also automatically prepares comparative lead sheets and grouping schedules, with the ability to add analysis and commentary. Financial statements are also prepared by the program automatically, with multiple formatting options and the ability to suppress zero-balance accounts in current and prior years.

When working on trial balances, users can view financial statements, client information, prior years and tax screens. Bank reconciliation functions allow unlimited accounts and help identify errors with out-of-balance indicators for each journal. An Accounts Analysis feature also provides additional oversight, enabling analysis for full or partial periods.

The program allows import of trial balance, GL, journal entries, or listings from spreadsheets or text files. Or data can be manually entered into the system’s trial balance module, with support for any number of accounts. The program allows journal entry types for adjusting, potential, reclassifying, recurring, reversing, interim and tax, with one-sided or balanced entries. Workbooks and other data can also be imported, and AFP can export to most professional tax systems, with built-in support for forms 1120, 1120S, 1065 and 1040 Schedule C.

For amortization and depreciation, AFP offers long-term schedules for up to 26 loans, with five years’ historical ratio analysis. The program includes user-level security functions and enables locking of files, and maintains an audit trail that tracks all activity within engagements.

AFP is available in Light ($499), Standard ($899) and Gold ($1,299) versions, with the Gold version providing additional document management functions, PDF output capabilities, support for consolidations, trend analysis and operating budgets. Live and web-based technical support is included in pricing.