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Account Number


Evaluating accounting systems by reviewing the account number

By J. Carlton Collins, CPA

 

Examine the Account Number Structure 

This article is part of a series entitled “Evaluating Accounting Software” in which J. Carlton Collins explains his quick and dirty 20-minute guide to evaluating an accounting software package. The article series starts here:

An important feature that you should always evaluate early on is the size and segmentation of the product's account number structure. Often you can eliminate many inadequate products by first checking this feature. If that structure is inadequate—no matter how superior the product in every other way—the software should be rejected. It's important to understand what's behind that statement.

Many companies need an account number which offers four segments or more. For example,  larger companies often have territories, subsidiaries, divisions, and departments that must be identified and rolled up in the accounting system via four, five or six segments in the account number. Many large not-for-profits need at least four segments in their account number structures—for the account, sub-account, department, and program. Many government agencies need at least four segments in their account number structures to identify the account, sub-account, department and fund. To help you understand why this is important, consider the following example:

Let us assume that a high school purchase some English books. In this case, the four-segment account number debited is as follows:

6050
(Expense)
(Book Expense)
SMITH
(Sub-account)
(Mrs. Smith's Class)
ENG
(Department)
(English Department)
FED
(Funds Used)
(Federal Funds)

Using this account numbering scheme, the high school can later produce P&L for the entire school, individual departments, and even for each class. The high school can also produce a report that accounts for all expenditures of federal funds. 

A summary of the account number structure for selected accounting software products is listed below:

Entry Level Products
ACCPAC Discovery Series 12 characters, 2 segments
ACCPAC Simply Accounting 4 characters, 1 segment
APPGEN 10 characters, 10 segments
BusinessVision 32 5 characters, 1 segment
BusinessWorks Gold 6 characters, 2 segments
M.Y.O.B. Premier 4 characters, 4 segments
Oracle Small Business Manager 27 characters, 1 segment
One Write Plus 6 characters, 2 segments
Peachtree 2000 11 characters, 4 segments
Peachtree for Windows  15 characters, 15 segments
Peachtree Complete Accounting 15 characters, 15 segments
QuickBooks  13 characters, 1 segment
QuickBooks Premier 13 characters, 1 segment (Alpha)
7 Characters, 1 segment (numeric)
Mid Market Products
ACCPAC Advantage 45 characters, 10 segments
BusinessVision 32 5 characters, 1 segment
Cougar Mountain 30 characters, 6 segments
CYMA 24 characters, 10 segments
Great Plains  66 characters, 10 segments
Macola Progression 15 Characters, 3 segments
Macola ES 15 Characters, 3 segments
MAS 90 & MAS 200 9 characters, 3 segments
Navision 20 characters, 10 segments 
(May be modified to an unlimited number)
Platinum for Windows  32 characters, 30 segments
ACCPAC Pro Series  24 characters, 6 segments
Solomon 30 characters, 9 segments
SYSPRO 15 characters, 15 segments
Traverse 30 characters, 7 segments
Visual AccountMate  30 characters, 9 segments
Beginning Enterprise Products
ACCPAC Executive Series 81 characters, 9 segments
Axapta Unlimited, Freely Modifiable
MAS 500 100 characters, 15 segments
Deltek 15 characters, 15 segments
Great Plains 66 characters, 10 segments
E by Epicor 32 characters, 4 segments
Lawson Enterprise 53 characters, 15 segments
Macola Progression 15 Characters, 3 segments
Macola ES 15 Characters, 3 segments
ACCPAC Executive Series  78 characters, 9 segments
Solomon 30 characters, 9 segments
SYSPRO 15 characters, 15 segments
Enterprise Products  
Axapta Unlimited, Freely Modifiable
Great Plains 66 characters, 10 segments
PeopleSoft II
(JD Edwards One World)
26 characters, 26 segments
Oracle E-Business Suite 2000 characters, 30 segments
PeopleSoft Unlimited characters, unlimited segments
SAP R/3 Unlimited characters, unlimited segments
ACCPAC Executive Series 78 characters, 9 segments
Solomon   30 characters, 9 segments

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Account Number