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Preparing accounts working papers electronically using excel?

I am trying to establish an optimum system for the actual working papers in the accounts preparation.

I have a DMS where documents get scanned in and when the accounts come back signed these get scanned in to.

However what about the actual working papers in preparing the accounts. Do other users find that simply using excel works for them or do they still use a paper file with lead schedules etc and then scan this in at the end??

Thanks for any help


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04th Dec 2012 17:56


Don't need paper.

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04th Dec 2012 18:08


As with Peter, Excel is also helpful in emailing clients queries.

Can you not PDF & email accounts to some clients, just asking them to scan back signed pages?  With sole traders we just get them to OK the email by reply, no need for paper and with Ltd Companies we prepare a resolution for the directors to agree everything, including CT return,  letter of rep, main/abb accounts and they just sign and scan that back to us, no need to see signed accounts.

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05th Dec 2012 08:01

Paper files with working papers ...

I remember those but then I did start working in 1985 and we had to share one computer for 20 clerks. Come on, I'm hardly cutting edge here but the technology to do away with paper has been with us for some time now.

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14th Dec 2012 15:25

ban all paper it only leads to unhappiness

excel , sort and subtotals give you most of the answers - or you can pivot which reminds me its the semi final of Strictly tommorrow, Louis to win outside bet Kimberly



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14th Dec 2012 17:10

@ Steve

You had COMPUTERS in 1985!!   Wow, lucky you.  we were still using paper and pens until 1990, and even then a couple of the partners could not cope with having accounts produced on a computer (even though they of course went nowhere near the machines).

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By Flash Gordon
14th Dec 2012 18:34


Paperless all the way.

And Kimberley to win, Louis second.(My name's Flash and I'm a strictlyholic. I've not had a viewing fix since Sunday but I know I'll get the urge tomorrow. And then I'll be dancing round the kitchen with the cat again. Sigh...)

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By Locutus
14th Dec 2012 19:01

The evolution of working papers for me

In the early 1990s I would hand write working papers.

By the late 1990s I found it easier to write them on Excel and Word and then print them off for the file.

By the early to mid 2000s I realised there was no real point in printing anything off and reprinting when changes needed to be made - so I stopped bothering.  If I need a permanent snap shot of anything then I just .pdf it.

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By DMGbus
14th Dec 2012 20:17

Accounts integrated to tax calculations

A set of accounts drawn up in Excel can be linked to tax computations and tax liability calculations.

Any change to the accounts then instantly updates the tax computations and liability computations without the need (as with most accounts / tax software) to export or manually repeat figures in tax software after getting figures produced in accounts sofware (in Sage it is a THREE step process... Sage Accs Production, then Sage Business Tax, then Sage Personal Tax - what a load of time-consuming garbage!).

With cash accounting being introduced for the 2013/14 tax year it should be possible, from one set of Excel-based working papers (including ETB), to produce two sets of accounts (cash or accruals basis) and liability computations to give a choice as to which gives the best (lowest) tax liability.   Not sure that any commercial accounts production / tax software is or will be able to do any of the above.

The above principles come before looking to go paperless, which clearly is advantageous.





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By Old Greying Accountant
14th Dec 2012 23:01

You can also ...

... take SAGE journals to clients as a CSV file on a memory stick (or you can e-mail it) to import, so they get done exactly as you require and not the client's version of your instructions!

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15th Dec 2012 16:41

@ Taxhound ....

Computer not Computer(s)!! It was kept in a separate room and we used to have to mannually code our working papers (still paper ETBS) and then enter the data line by line. It was simply an accounts production tool. This was pretty much unchanged when I left to work in industry in 1990 and found to my amazement that I had two computers on my desk and they were all for me!!

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