Pendock Mallorn - Accounting for Practitioners
From the Feb. 2012 Review of Engagement & Trial Balance Systems.
Accounting for Practitioners (AFP) is the trial balance and financial statement generation product within the Pendock Mallorn software lineup. Based on Excel, AFP is simple in function and ease of use, yet provides an abundant set of tools and calculations. AFP easily generates grouping schedules to aid in tax return preparation as well as full financials, including notes, with little additional effort from practitioners. Although AFP is targeted to sole practitioners and small accounting firms, medium size firms may find the interface more intuitive than other available solutions, especially for smaller engagements.
Since AFP is based on Excel, the learning curve is relatively limited. Users navigate through the software by selecting the preformatted worksheet tabs or through a menu in the Add-Ins portion of Excel. The navigation menu is simple in design and auto populates based on the Excel worksheet tab currently in view. Further features and options are also available through this menu, most of them specific to tasks to perform on each respective tab. Once inside the software, users are visually clued as to which data is to be altered. Any text in blue will allow users to update or enter content as necessary, while purple text is content generated by the system. Upon creating a new client file, users should spend the majority of their time in the question and answer portion of the program. It is vital to spend time with this step as this ensures the client file will be setup correctly and specifically for that client’s needs. Once this setup is completed, very little action is needed from the user for all future years as this information will be carried forward.
Although AFP does not provide direct integration with any third-party tax or accounting software, users may still import data into the program. Most tax and accounting software will provide an export file that is accessible with Excel. Users may use these files to import trial balance data. Alternatively, users may manually enter the trial balance information. Once trial balance data is imported or manually entered, users simply map the fields as appropriate. Once the trial balance is mapped, users may assign financial statement and/or tax grouping codes. All grouping codes are fully customizable and may be specific to the accounting firm or to each client as necessary. Adjusting, tax, reclass and several other journal entry types may also be made as needed. Once all items are imported, grouped and adjusted as necessary, financial statements and accompanying notes are generated automatically. Any blank data lines are automatically excluded from printing, which further prevents the user from any unnecessary cleanup prior to financial statement generation.
In addition to financial statement generation, AFP provides basic depreciation schedules and term loan schedules. The depreciation schedule offering can handle any number of assets, limited only by the row space currently allowed in the respective versions of Excel. Term loans schedules show minor details of up to 26 different loans and will provide an amortization schedule with principal and interest breakout for up to 72 payments for each respective term loan.
All calculations within AFP are automatic with no user template or other complicated spreadsheet builds necessary. Many calculations are performed through macros, which may pose a security threat to larger firms. Most small firms however, should not feel endangered with the macro security level required to use the software. Since the product is Excel based, users may add additional worksheets and may link them as needed.
A variety of help and support options are available to users. Each data screen has help specific to that particular worksheet and may be found through the navigation menu. Unlimited toll-free support is also included with each license and other training options are available at little to no charge. Pendock Mallorn has recently streamlined the AFP product lineup pricing structure. There are now two versions of AFP that are available; AFP – Light and AFP - Premium. AFP – Light includes all features noted above and is priced at $599 with a $175 annual renewal for a five user license. AFP – Premium adds document scanning, consolidations, and trend analysis capabilities and is priced at $999 with a $375 annual renewal for a fifteen user license.