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The IT Zone guide to accounts production software

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14th Apr 2005
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Contents

Introduction
Selection checklist

Key issues

Integration v Best of Breed
Report templates and database products
International Financial Reporting Standards
Customer support

Suppliers

IT Zone Survey 2004 results
Big firm specialists
Integrated mid-market tools
New Wave integrationists
Small firm specialists

Related articles

Is Excel the right tool for accounts production?

 Introduction

Accounts production software is hardly the most glamorous tool within an accountancy practice, but it lies at the heart of what the firm does. The concept is simple - you enter the data you need to produce a trial balance, and then make the end result look nice.

As Mark Palmer, product manager for Sage's Accountants Division puts it: "Accounts production applications are all doing same thing: writing data from A to B."

The software needs to get the job done fast, accurately and easily. What else is there to worry about?

For starters, the output - a set of accounts - is often the main product the client sees. Every firm has its own approach and house style. Some larger firms may want complete central control with full audit trails, while sole practitioners may prioritise speed and flexibility.

Although accounts production software is a very mature market, dominated by two main players (Sage and IRIS), the diversity of user needs is reflected in the variety of products available on the market.

Around 12% of AccountingWEB members have created their own systems with Excel, and in several cases the developers have offered their programs for sale. There are niches occupied by upmarket suppliers such as MYOB's Viztopia and CCH PROcap, as well as specialists such as CaseWare and VT.

Based on AccountingWEB user comments, IT Zone survey results and the vendors' own comments and descriptions, this article provides an introductory guide to currently available products. Thanks are due to Nigel Harris of Burton-Sweet and Alastair Harris (no relation) for their helpful comments. Responsibility for the published article remains with the editor, so please comment below or email the editor with your comments or additions.

The guide will highlight several technical and technology issues that will affect the industry in the next few years, and software integration comes near the top of the list.

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ACCOUNTS PRODUCTION: SELECTION CHECKLIST

As a mature market, competiton among suppliers of accounts production is intense. If one developer introduces an innovative feature, most of the other suppliers will very quickly follow suit. Many prospective buyers organise against-the-clock run-offs between applications, with suppliers claiming to complete a typical set of accounts in 10-30mins. Apart from raw speed, here are other key factors to consider:

  • Data entry - Can you import data from accounting packages, particularly Sage Line 50 and Quick Books? Any others? If so, can you import all transaction data or just a trial balance?
  • Ease of use - Ask the people who will be using the system to test each program. If confronted with a carrier bag of invoices and receipts, how quickly could they prepare a simple set of accounts?
  • Integration with tax and practice software - Are links restricted to the developer's own products?
  • Templates and report formats - Assume most programs can do sole traders, partnerships and small companies under FRSSE. What else can they handle - consolidated group accounts, charities, farmers or any other specialist trades?
  • Presentation - How easy is it for a firm (or individual user) to apply a house style?
  • How easy is it to add your own notes or alter boilerplate text?
  • With more firms providing added value services, accounts packages and management reports with graphics are increasingly in demand. Can the accounts production package do this, or do you have to export to Excel?
  • Internal controls - does the application check the logic and flag up mistakes or risky entries within the accounts? Regimes such as Practice Assurance and even Sarbanes-Oxley (where applicable) demand audit trails and documented internal controls.
  • Supplier credibility and technology platform - does the product design fit with your firm's technology strategy?
  • Training and support - How good is the supplier at getting back to you with answers? Ask developers for reference sites so you can seek advice from other users.

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Key issue: Integration v Best of Breed

Since 2002, IT Zone survey results indicate that accountants are turning to suppliers of accounts production tools that link electronically to other practice applications. Suite suppliers controlled 37% of this marketplace in 2002, but by 2004 more than half the respondents (53%) used an accounts production tool from a full-service practice software developer. Digita's plan to add a practice management application to its portfolio will accelerate this process in 2005.

Simon Crompton, general manager of MYOB's accountants division, argues there is more to accounts production than features and capabilities - and many of his rival suppliers agree. "There are two types of people in the market for software: those who are buying product, and those people who are buying automation. It's a really big distinction and it does not depend on the size of the practice," said Crompton.

IRIS Software's Martin Leuw confirms that many customers in the practice software market are breaking away from traditional practices and setting up on their own. By choosing a "push-button" accounts production package that links to their other systems and clients' bookkeeping applications, technology can take the place of administrative staff, he says.

Sage's Palmer adds, "There's more demand from practices not just for a compliance tool, but one that can help you use data for increasingly diverse puporses - where you can provide more services to clients with more outputs, for example graphical or comparative reports and management accounts."

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Key issue: Report templates and databases

A shorthand test for seeing if the product is right for you is to check what kind of readymade templates are available in the report menu - for example options for charities, farms, limited liability partnerships and other quirky requirements. But a big template menu is not the be-all and end-all of accounts production. Many small practitioners may never need to cater for such minority interest clients and will be perfectly happy with small limited company, sole trader and partnership accounts.

IRIS says it is wrong to think purely in terms of templates, since its accounts production application does not have a traditional template menu. Instead, it extracts the relevant figures from the database depending on how you set the client up in the first place. This makes it faster and easier to take account of organisational changes & alter the final accounts layout.

AccountingWEB member Alastair Harris argues in favour of the database approach, as it keeps the financial data separate from the actual documents. Non-database templates often include formulae that can be overwritten so there is a danger the final accounts will start to develop unnoticed reporting errors.

The expansion of quality assurance and corporate governance regimes also favour database-driven tools, as they can track adjustments made to journals and retain comprehensive audit trails. If the accounts are prepared for a company that opts or is required to undergo an audit, it is essential to be able to document when and how adjustments are made to the underlying accounting ledgers.

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Key issue: International Financial Reporting Standards

Remember the introduction of self-assessment for tax and the chaos it caused among software providers? Accounts production is about to experience the equivalent with the migration to international accounting standards. If you are involved with a listed company, accounts for the period beginning on/after 1 January 2005 will have to be prepared in accordance with the current International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and their predecessor International Accounting Standards (IAS).

Already, these companies should be reconciling their main financial statements to international GAAP to provide comparative figures at the point of transition to IFRS/IAS - and no doubt the preparers will want their accounts production tools to help with this task.

The UK Accounting Standards Board has gone on record that it is working to converge all of its standards with IFRS, which means there will be a steady stream of revisions to UK GAAP over the next few years. This will mean in the short term that developers have to cater for two different approaches, both of which are still rapidly evolving.

"From our perspective, international standards represent a massive investment," said Andrew Sinclair-Day, the business development manager responsible for accounts production at Sage. "We have been working with Solomon Hare's Paul Gee to train our R&D teams to interpret standards at the highest level for the past two years.This is the biggest issue we've had in the industry since I've been involved with it."

While Sage takes the issue seriously (which gives it a chance to flag up its big R&D budget), try asking prospective suppliers about their preparations. Several report little demand for IFRS-compliant preparation tools and point out that users won't really need them until after then end of financial years on 31 December 2005. Pay careful attention to such responses, as it suggests that the prospective developer has not anticipated the disruption and extra workload that convergence with IFRS is likely to cause.

Simon Warren, director of CaseWare UK distributor Credence Software, warned users to pay attention to the emergence of International Auditing Standards and ethics guidelines, which will require additional disclosures in the accounts and more technical work for developers. "A lot of firms using in-house systems will have to review what they do internally - we've already seen demand."

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Key issue: Customer support

As it becomes more difficult to choose between the features and functions of different applications, the suppliers' technical back-up and customer service becomes an important differentiator. Find out whether developers charge extra for support, and investigate their processes for issuing product updates and responding to technical queries. If an accounts preparation program breaks down late on a Thursday, you may well need the answer immediately to finalise the accounts for an important client to see their bank the following morning, says Alastair Harris.

Members of the best of breed school have long argued that jack-of-all trades products suffer in terms of both functionality and support in comparison to specialist programs. But IT Zone survey results for product and support quality since 2002 have undermined that argument. IRIS has maintained consistently high scores in both categories, and has been rewarded by steady gains among survey respondents. For both the quality of its accounts production module and its customer support in 2004, IRIS achieved 4.5 out of 5. CCH's PROcap, another integrated product, does not have as many users as IRIS, but was not far behind for product quality (4.1) and support (4.4). Digita Accounts Pro, a relative newcomer to the accounts production market, performed well with a product score of 4.3 and was closely followed by the top best of breed specialist, VT Final Accounts with 4.2.

The quality of the products and support provided by Sage's Accounts Division has been the source of much controversy and debate since 2002. There were signs in the 2004 IT Zone survey that Sage Accounts Production was being used at sites where its bigger sibling might have been more appropriate. Low satisfaction scores from larger users contributed to a satisfaction rating of 3.1 for SAP.

Sage's Brendan Flattery told AccountingWEB that at the beginning of 2005, Sage established a single contact point for its Accountants Division customers in Manchester, backed with a 10-strong field support team. Since then, Flattery said Sage its customer recommendation rating rocket, adding: "Service is not an issue I come across now."

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Accounts production - 2004 IT Zone survey results

For a fuller debate about the role of spreadsheets, see Is Excel the right tool for accounts production?

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ACCOUNTS PRODUCTION SOFTWARE SUPPLIERS

As is usual for this IT Zone guide, this supplier descriptions are listed in rough order of the markets they serve, starting with products aimed at big firms and continuing down to tools and utilities for smaller practitioners at the bottom of the list. The compartmentalisation is for convenience only - even if you are a small firm, all of the top-tier suppliers will be keen to talk to you.

BIG FIRM SPECIALISTS

MYOB Viztopia Accounts Production (VAP)

Developed as a 32-bit Windows product in the mid-1990s, Viztopia continued to prosper within the Solution 6 stable, which was then acquired by MYOB in 2004. VAP is claimed by its owner to be used within 1,000 practices, including 27 of the top 50 firms. This big-firm profile was confirmed by the IT Zone software in 2004, which found that more than half of its users worked at firms turning over more than £500,000 a year. Yet there was also a relatively happy band of users at firms just under that threshold. MYOB's Accountants Division emphasises the product's ease of use and breadth as key features. It supports a variety of data input methods including direct imports from accounts transaction data and Excel trial balances, plus speedy input forms for manual data entry. The Viztopia Report Writer presents a spreadsheet-like grid that includes a quick export routine to produce graphs in Excel. The product is controlled from a Statutory Database with on screen tabs and a tree-like navigation structure that shows the user which sections need to be completed. It can also drill down to the underlying figures when final accounts documents are previewed on screen. VAP integrates with MYOB's Singleview tool, which stores PDF copies of all statutory accounts, plus a dashboard of five-year summaries, relevant ratios and WIP charts, in the client's online folder. A direct link to MYOB's bookkeeping applications will be included in the product's spring 2005 update.

Price: On application

IT Zone Survey 2004 ratings: Product satisfaction 3.4; Support 3.3

CaseWare

CaseWare is a specialist developer of accounts production software for the international market and at the time of writing was the only developer that said it could deliver templates for preparing IFRS accounts. CaseWare Working Papers was noted by users to be strong on complex requirements such as consolidations and cash flow statements and has specialist templates available for charities, offshore, pension funds and farms. The company is also appealing to corporate users with tools for producing group and management accounts, with the ability to support graphical "what if" scenario analyses. CaseWare's IFRS templates may be of interest to listed companies who can use them to process data for their accountants and auditors. Like its rivals at the top end of the market, CaseWare allows users to make adjustments to the final accounts documents or to drill down to underlying analysis schedules and transactions. In collaboration with Mercia, CaseWare has created an automated paperless audit process. This "paperless engagement" is based around a document manager module that links spreadsheets, Word documents and scanned audit evidence to the client record. Anyone reviewing the financial statements for specific audit risks can quickly look at the work paper reports and associated documents, or drill-down to the underlying accounts data from the face of the accounts.

Price: On application

IT Zone Survey 2004 ratings: Product satisfaction 3.6; Support 3.9

Sage Accounts Production Advanced

Originally developed by Bristol-based Hartley Computers, Sage Accounts Production Advanced (as it's now called) has thrived since joining the Sage stable in 2002. While caught between MYOB VAP at the high end and IRIS below, SAPA has retained a strong overall showing among IT Zone Survey respondents and had the largest numbers of users within firms turning over £1m-£10m in 2004. Accessed from the Sage Control Centre launch pad, the application delivers what most big firms want from their preparation software - built-in checks that data has been entered correctly, audit trails and central control over the layout and issuing of final accounts documents. It carries out a basic risk analysis on the accounts to identify matters that need to be checked in the draft accounts (for example an overdrawn director's account). SAPA uses Microsoft-style Wizards to control tasks such as data imports and report configuration. Full transactional data or trial balances can be imported direct from all Sage accounting products (Line 50 is supported back to version 7), plus a variety of third party applications. Similar options, ranging from Excel to third party tax programs and bookkeeping packages including QuickBooks, are supported in the export menu. The program creates a separate posting document that can deal with incomplete records or journal adjustments remotely and be imported back in and maintains an audit trail report to log changes. Sage is preparing for the migration to IFRS by developing a new chart of accounts structure that will make it easier to accommodate changes and has been equally concerned to build the technical accounting details and interpretations into SAPA.

Price: On application from 0845 111 11 11

IT Zone Survey 2004 ratings: Product satisfaction 3.4; Support 2.5

Xcede Professional Accounting (XPA)

Marketed by practice management specialist Advanced Professional Solutions, XPA is a souped-up report writer that can handle a variety of accounts formats within Microsoft Excel. The program comes with a set of statutory masters along with program add-ins that help the user to import data from both general ledger programs and the APS Advance practice management database. XPA displays an editable structure of the chart of accounts (including notes), which the user can review and change accounts using the familiar spreadsheet interface. In addition to statutory accounts, XPA can handle periodic management reporting, budgeting and cash flow forecasting, asset maintenance, and business analysis/benchmarking. Excel's graphical capabilities make it easy to generate charts to accompany accounts data.

Price: On Application

IT Zone Survey 2004 ratings: Insufficient data

INTEGRATED MID-MARKET TOOLS

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CCH PROcap

PROcap started life within Surrey accountancy firm Meeson Makinson and was acquired by CCH in November 2002. Being part of a major international supplier with other tax and practice applications has rasied the software's profile and expanded opportunities for automation. The PROcap accounts production program integrates with CCH PROaudit for the planning and completion of the audit process and can link directly to CCH Taxpoint and other tax applications. The system can cope with standard company, partnership, sole trader and management accounts as well as charities, pension funds, trust and farm accounts - or the user's own formats. Automated consolidations and group accounts and management accounts, budgets and formats are also support. Accounts generated by the system can be reviewed on screen with drill down and capabilities for the items which make up the selected account. The drill-down and edit feature extends to client database items, formats and even the chart of accounts, according to CCH's Paul Brace.

Price: On Application

IT Zone Survey 2004 ratings: Product satisfaction 4.1; Support 4.4

IRIS

The accounts production module is based on the same database that underpins all the IRIS practice applications. Job profiles are set up using a visual process tree that can include checkpoints, authorisations and other workflow features. Rather than relying on template reports, the options selected at the set up stage tell the program which accounts structures and disclosures to output when creating the final accounts pack which can include the directors' and audit reports as well as P&L account, balance sheet, and automatically generated notes. The database approach allows for program controls and alerts, for example if you try to prepare a set of £5.6m accounts without provision for audit and technical updates are imported to the program from regular CDs issued by the developer. Data maps are provided for 6-7 leading accounting apps within system, but otherwise IRIS is more concerned about integration within its product family than importing from other products; Excel is recommended to format transactional data for import/export from unsupported third party programs.

Price: On Application

IT Zone Survey 2004 ratings: Product satisfaction 4.5; Support 4.5

Keytime Final Accounts

Keytime has made an impact in the practice market by offering a collection of practice tools including this easy to use, no-frills final accounts production package. The program comes with a very reasonable price - and can be bought as part of a £900 bundle that includes personal, business and corporation tax programs and a P11D calculator. In contrast to many rivals, Keytime charges a single licence fee based on an unlimited number of clients. The final accounts proram has import links to Keytime's own Pastel Accounts and Sage Line 50. For other applications, you can create your own account mapping table or ask the developer to help link to other ledger programs. Text data can be viewed and amended in on-screen forms, while the numerical data can be edited in the trial balance or final accounts layout, but there is no capability to drill-down from the reports to view the underlying figures. Preparing the final accounts documents is carried out within the program's own Excel-style report generator. Like several of the more recent entrants to the market (see below), Keytime does not have such a broad menu of accounts formats. Currently sole traders, partnerships and limited companies (including FRSSE compliant accounts) are supported; further templates are in development, according to Keytime.

Price: £265+VAT (Support £105 extra) standalone, or as part of £900 practice bundle

IT Zone Survey 2004 ratings: Insufficient data

Additional material: AccountingWEB Review by Nigel Harris

Sage Accounts Production (SAP)

Like its larger sibling, Sage Accounts Production integrates with Sage's tax and practice products through the Control Centre module and boasts direct data links to Line 50 to produce a trial balance at the push of a button. Imports and exports to other third party products require CSV imports. The program includes a ready-made nominal code map for Line 50, with near infinite possibilities for the user to configure their own data maps. SAP borrows heavily from the Line 50 look and feel and while it is in use across a wide spectrum of accountancy firms, it has yet to achieve the market dominance of its bookkeeping sibling. Designed for smaller accountancy firms, SAP boasts an extremely flexible reporting interface and has been tailored to make incomplete records jobs as quick and easy as possible. Like several other products, SAP features an "Excel-like" grid for setting out and editing the final accounts. Notes to the accounts are held in a separate database that can be edited and amended with the user's own boilerplate text. In response to user requests, Sage also created an on-screen bank reconciliaton routine. While Sage acknowledges that "one size does not fit all" when it comes to accounts production, the junior edition will soon share the same unified chart of accounts structure with SAPA. This could become a positive for Sage, which would be able to offer an upgrade path for firms who outgrow SAP.

Price: On Application

IT Zone Survey 2004 ratings: Product satisfaction 3.1; Support 2.8

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NEW WAVE INTEGRATIONISTS

Digita Accounts Pro

When it launched Accounts Pro, Digita went out of its way to boast that it was one of the UK's first applications to exploit the Microsoft'.NET architecture. In practice, the software uses XML data tags to direct data internally and other programs, which does offer advantages. For example, an XML mapping table makes data imports fast and easy and the program boasts capabilities found in more expensive packages, along with innovations such as a Posting Pause option and an Audit Lock when the file is passed on to a colleague. To cement the Microsoft likeness, Accounts Pro is configured with using a step-by-step Wizard to define the desired reports, charts of accounts and sheet configurations. New data is entered via one of 11 posting sheet templates, from a simple debit and credit journal to a customisable option. The Excel-like grids offer good flexibility, for example to create a 12 row sheet to carry out bank payments analysis without having to generate intermediate working papers. Sheets can be taken away and reimported to update the final accounts and the underlying figures can be accessed and edited from the accounts preview screen. As a relative newcomer, Accounts Pro handles limited companies, partnerships and sole traders, but is still catching up with more mature products as far as more esoteric types of account are concerned. Nevertheless, the program has been hailed by users on AccountingWEB for its ease of use and reviewer Nigel Harris noted that Digita had carefully researched the market and listened to potential users. "By this time next year I expect to see Accounts Pro taking over some major accounts from Sage, IRIS and the other current market leaders," he concluded.

Price from £109

IT Zone Survey 2004 ratings: Product satisfaction 4.3; Support 4.5

Additional material: AccountsPro v3.0 Review (Jun 05)

AccountsPro v1.1 Review (Dec 03)

PTP Accounts

Like Digita, PTP Software is a highly respected developer of tax products that decided the time was ripe to move into accounts production to exploit the opportunities for data sharing and integration. PTP Accounts features same look and feel as PTP's tax applications and includes seamless links to the Tax Return and Partnership Return. The program takes a simple-is-best approach, with journal posting carried out on a single data entry screen. The final accounts can be previewed on screen with drill down and editing supported to adjust the postings that comprise the reported figures. A PDF output option is included so the accountant can email accounts to their clients. It its launch, PTP Accounts catered for sole traders and partnerships with company accounts due for release in the summer of 2005.

Price: from £199 for 25 accounts version up to £1,150 for multi-use/network edition

IT Zone Survey 2004 ratings: Insufficient data

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SMALL FIRM SPECIALISTS

VT Final Acconts

In spite of some heavyweight competition, VT Accounts is the most popular accounts production tool among IT Zone's sole practitioner members. Developed by practitioner Philip Hodgson, VT Accounts is an Excel-based tool that operates in conjunction with the VT Transaction bookkeeping program. Using the Copy Special Trial Balance command in VT Transaction generates the data ready formatted for VT Accounts. The output options include an automatic cash flow statement option, abbreviated accounts and the choice of an audit or accountant's report. But options for LLPs or consolidated group accounts are currently not available. AccountingWEB user Aidan Smyth calls VT Accounts "very good software" and explained that rather than using account codes, it uses plain descriptions. Smyth also liked the ability to create a new account code on the fly while posting transactions and the ability to amend any aspect of a transaction after it is posted "without leaving a messy audit trail of posting corrections". Smyth's comments are backed by ICAEW and AccountingWEB user surveys, which show consistently high user satisfaction scores.

Price: £199 (unlimited users & includes VT Transaction)

IT Zone Survey 2004 ratings: Product satisfaction 4.2; Support 3.8

Compac

A product that goes back before the days of the PC, the Compac accounts production was developed by Colin Harding and works well with the Drummohr tax program. The Compac interface combines elements of a database, spreadsheet and word processor within one editing system and can ouput accounts to a word processor for editing, storage, and spell-checking. It can handle sole traders, partnerships, and limited companies and will output abbreviated and FRSSE accounts, a cash flow statement, along with audit exemption notes, lead schedules, ratios, and engagement letters. Management accounts can also be produced for year-to-date and specified periods.

Price: Estimated to be £1,000pa with unlimited users/support

IT Zone Survey 2004 ratings: Product satisfaction 4.1; Support 4.0

Eureka! Software

As a companion to its time & fees programs, Eureka! also produces an accounts production package that can tackles unusual formats such as pensions schemes, charities, LLPs, farmers and doctors as well as the usual limited company, sole trader and partnership accounts. Neil Douglas has often remarked on the developer's behalf on AccountingWEB, "We do not put limits on support or the number of clients you can produce."

Price: On Application

IT Zone Survey 2004 ratings: Product satisfaction 2.6; Support 3.3

Intiga Final Accounts

Initially designed and developed by practitioner Howard Myers for his own firm's use, Intiga generates HTML format files from which high financial reports are produced. The HTML structure makes it easy to publish the statements online or email to clients, and they can also be imported to a word processor for editing. can then be readily displayed, printed, attached to e-mails, published to an intranet or even placed on the Web. Since its launch, Intiga has been updated to produce cash-flow statements, dormant accounts, large company and charity accounts. A 21-day free trial version is available from the Intiga website. Price: £150 with free maintenance for first year, £150pa thereafter)

IT Zone Survey 2004 ratings: Insufficient data

Paula

Developed by AccountingWEB member Nigel Evelegh, Paula avoids Excel and instead grafts spreadsheet-like calculation facilities on to Microsoft Word to produce draft accounts. Designed as a Word template, Paula includes additional functions that allow it to bring in balances from any ledger. The accounting data can be adjusted and interrogated, with options to output working papers and comparatives as well as the completed accounts. Evelegh says Paula has been successfully used to product consolidated charity accounts, including trading subsidiaries.

Price: £850 per licence (unlimited clients) plus 20% annual maintenance fee

IT Zone Survey 2004 ratings: Insufficient data

Pinacle

Pinacle can produce accounts for sole traders, partnerships and limited companies, with links to personal, partnership and company taxation, P11Ds, time recording, fees ledger, client management, bureau payroll and book-keeping from a single integrated database. Client accounts can be stored for up to 10 years, with full audit trails. Optional extensions are available for trusts, doctors and investment syndicates and Pinacle can generate analytical reviews and charts for any year or to illustrate historical trends. If you are a fan of open source software, Pinacle can run under Linux as well as any version of Windows, on the same network, if needed.

Price: from £250 for bundled practice application?

IT Zone Survey 2004 ratings: Insufficient data

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Replies (1)

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By ljp
29th Aug 2008 15:44

A further major product not yet in the AP Guide
Relate Software's Relate Accounts Production (RAP) has not yet been included in this Guide, because it was written 3 years ago. I am informed that it will be updated soon, probably in 2009. In the meantime readers will be interested to know some facts about this product.

RAP has been in full use now for over 2 years, has fully matured and has a good user base. Both large and small firms have been used as mentors to help define and verify that the product is more than fit for purpose. The software was specified and designed by the same team that produced the highly successful Apex Accounts Production (now Sage Accounts Production). The compliance is centrally controlled, so that users benefit from each other’s feedback. Support is fully focussed with a highly experienced back-up team. The application uses the DRIVE database, so that the product is fully integrated into the practice management of the firm (although it can also operate in stand-alone mode). The product links other products (Tax, Company Secretary, Bookkeeping etc.)

The accounts styles (alignment, font, case) can be set to match house styles. Accounts are produced in RTF (rich text format). There is also an export to Word® option.

A full set of working papers enables audit and non-audit work to be evidenced. These working papers can be linked to documents (generated or scanned) in the Windows filing system, thus enabling a paperless approach to accounts production, scheduling and auditing.

RAP uses the same database of Client information as DRIVE. If a Client is added or edited in Relate Accounts Production, it is will show in DRIVE and vice versa. There is no need for any transfer of data between the applications - true integration. It is useful, but it is not essential, to have DRIVE as the central application, because it gives overall control of the status of each Client and you can scan in documents and access and process accounting information.

Other features include:

View and drill-down of previous year’s entries
Comprehensive sets of templates
Structured workflow control
Check-Out from network
Consolidations
Integrated Fixed Asset and Loan Registers
Client Analysis benchmarking
Drill-down facility from preview screens
Conversion from competing products
Graphical views
Integration with 3rd party tax software products
Integrated bookkeeping

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