A-Systems Visual Bookkeeper
From the March 2013 Review of On-Premise Small Business Accounting systems.
A-Systems Visual Bookkeeper is a Windows-based general accounting application which has its roots in A-Systems JobView solution for the construction industry. The product has been on the market since 1978, and the company has released two significant updates to the product since our review in July 2012. The product has enough sophistication to support a company as large as a 700 employee company with $400 million in sales, and is flexible enough for a company as small as $100,000 in revenue. The Company also offers an enhanced version of the application called Insight Accounting which has a number of additional features designed for larger organizations.
Visual Bookkeeper is available in two editions: a single user edition called “Small Business Advantage,” and a multi-user Preferred Edition. The company noted that some SBA users have added the multi-user function, and that some users host the application on servers and access the application remotely, although the majority run the application on their internal network.
Basic System Functions: 4 Stars
A-Systems Visual Bookkeeper is a traditional batch-oriented Windows-based accounting system with very granular control of the details of a business. It is a debit and credit oriented system with traditional accounting periods which is best suited for experienced bookkeepers and internal accountants, or for public accounting professionals. The application has some complexity associated with its flexibility, but the navigation icons on the left side of the screen as well as the drop down menus and toolbar at the top of the screen make the application relatively easy to navigate.
The product has a relatively simple setup wizard with a single included chart of accounts, although users can also import settings from another company or manually adjust the chart of accounts to meet the needs of specialized industries.
Visual Bookkeeper is available for Windows only. Mac users can only access the application through a remote desktop connection to a Windows server or workstation. The company does not have an app for access to data stored in the software at this time.
Core Accounting Capabilities: 4 Stars
Visual Bookkeeper has traditional features for general ledger, accounts receivable, and accounts payable. The product helps users manage cash flow by tracking the due dates of invoices and bills, and cash requirements forecasting for dates up to 120 days in the future is included in the application. Users must manually post invoices to accounts receivable and bills to accounts payable to update the general ledger balances. The product provides two-step import of transactions from financial institutions using common formats like Microsoft Money and Quickbooks, but does not have direct online integration with banks.
Downloaded bank transactions are matched and items are marked as reconciled. Any unmatched bank transactions are imported directly into a batch in the G/L for review and editing before posting. Bank reconciliation process and other screens have the comfortable feel of most traditional accounting software. Batches of transactions from merchant services can be imported into the application and posted to the general ledger using a menu option.
The application supports multiple sales tax rates, and can assign sales tax based on zip codes. The product supports both multi-jurisdiction U.S. sales tax calculations as well as Canadian-style GST calculations. Users can then run the Sales Tax Report by State for a selected date range as a source for the manually-prepared sales tax return.
E-mail can be used directly for all reports for sending to clients or other users. The application will store a user’s e-mail address, the servers needed to send mail, and a message signature block.