High end accounting software revisited

A few weeks ago, I compared high end software to the software available for the smaller business. https://ion.icaew.com/itcounts/b/weblog/posts/modern-accounts-software-you-don-t-know-how-lucky-you-are

It is now 3 months on and time for another visit to see how the client is getting on with his high-end software implementation, prepare a VAT return and accounts for a six-month period.

We started with a review of the aged purchase ledger balances; this indicated a few “issues”. All opening balances had been imported from the old accounting system. However, when the new purchase ordering system started, some of the suppliers were not found and were created again. There was XYZ from the old system and XYZ Ltd was created. It was thought by the staff that the import had not worked so some of the pre-migration purchase invoices were entered again. Fortunately, we had caught this at an early stage, but a few credit notes were required to remove the invoices entered in error which were still showing as outstanding.

A bigger issue came to light though – more by luck than judgment it has to be said. The VAT report indicated a repayment of around £30k, although there is usually a payment; £30k was paid in the same period last year. We therefore exported the VAT report to Excel, sorted by VAT amount and largest to smallest, and highlighted duplicate values. This brought to light the fact that several purchase invoices had been posted to the wrong supplier, so a credit had been entered and the invoice entered again on the right supplier. However, the credit note had been entered without the VAT, so the VAT input was being claimed twice. This was duly corrected, but then a search of the gross amounts indicated further duplicate errors, where the gross total was the same, but the VAT amounts were a few pounds different when they had been entered again. Over a day to sort through these!

The wages journals for 3 months needed to be entered. We had manually entered the August journal, which, with departments, salaries, bonuses, etc. ran to over 60 lines. The journal was exported, and this was used as a template to prepare the next 3 months, and saved as csv files. In the old accounting software this was simply imported. Could we do so in the new software? We could not find a way, so we resorted to the helpline of the firm that implemented it. No, it was not possible to import, but we could copy and paste the lines……

We wanted to look at some nominal ledger accounts – e.g. fixed asset additions. This had several lines of data and several columns – date, invoice no, amount, VAT, nominal account code and name (why? I knew that already as it displayed at the top of the page!), user, description, and a few others.

What was the problem? We have no idea who the purchase was from – the supplier name was not shown!  We tried the configurator to see if the column showing the supplier could be added. This was not however an option in the default program settings.

 The description field was also auto-completed on entry and the auto-complete was the purchase type and invoice number again – picking up the information from those two fields. The only way of identifying the supplier was to click on the line on screen and it then displayed at the foot of the page. This then had to be hand written on the printed report or typed into a version in Excel. Not a huge problem with a few lines, but when the report runs to several pages, this is a real issue. And to add insult to injury, the report did not have any total either! it

Oh…and the trial balance did not balance – by some £10m! This turned out to be due to a subtotal on the trial balance.

The software, installation and training cost the business well into 6 figures, and management accounts that used to take a day have taken a week so far, with the end product still some way off!

Not impressed so far!