Whenever we first use a computerized accounting system we experience a mixture of fear and excitement. But as we learn how the system operates and the best way to process the data we gradually gain in confidence. And then we start to want that little bit more information from the data we have entered.
Using Accounting Systems
There are various ways of extracting information from accounting systems:
1. Report writing within the accounting software.
This method usually generates reports quickly, although the formatting of the report can sometimes be very complicated. From experience of writing reports within accounting packages, we have found that functionality and format are limited.
2. Exporting the information either to a database.
This method is used when auto-updating links are not required. Most accounting packages will export a variety of data and information in a format that can be read by a spreadsheet such as Excel or a database such as Access. Once the data/information has been exported to the spreadsheet or database it can be sorted, reformatted and calculations applied in ways that the accounting package cannot.
3. Employing direct links either to a database or spreadsheet.
This method is used when updatable links are required. Most accounting packages have ODBC links which can be directly linked to either a spreadsheet or a database. Data can be manipulated in the same way as above, but can also be updated very easily without reformatting. An example of this would be a very detailed set of management accounts showing budget and actual figures, as well as the variance. Writing this type of report within an accounting package would take a very long time and is likely to be very complicated, whilst writing the report within a spreadsheet would give you improved presentation and functionality.