Evaluating accounting systems
by reviewing drill down
By J. Carlton Collins, CPA
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:
Drill Down and Drill Around
The best accounting software products in the land offer strong drill down
and drill around capabilities. This helps you answer questions about your data. To give you an example, this article demonstrates
how a user of Navision can drill just about anywhere in this product. The audit trail guides the user from the underlying
source transaction all the way to the financial statement, and back down again to the source transaction.
The screen below is the customer set up screen. Here we see information for
customer Klubben, and in particular we see that this customer has an outstanding balance of $16,686.20. To drill into this
balance, the user need only click on the down arrow located next to the balance amount.
This action causes the customer ledger entries screen to pop up which contains
a list of all invoices and credit memos that make up the balance due.
The user selects the invoice for $114,728.39 and clicks the navigate key.
This process displays a map that shows where this transaction has been posted throughout the system. For example, we see that
this transaction resulted in one entry in the posted sales invoice journal, two entries in the general ledger, and so on.
The user selects the item ledger and drills to the details. We see that this
transaction resulted in 2 entries to the item ledger. Clicking the up arrow next to item number 7668 drills upwards to a listing
of all inventory items.
Here we see that item 7668 is an Olympic Conference System which presently
sells for $8,343.10.
More information is just a click away. The user can view a picture of the
item as shown below.
Another button provides access to the item statistics which show data for
purchases and sales statistics for this month, this year, last year, and life to date.
Other buttons display quantity discount breaks and much more.
The next time you evaluate an accounting software system, put it to the test.
See if you can drill from the customer set up screen to that customers invoices to the items included on those customer invoices
and then to pictures and statistics related to those items. Navision provides a very strong audit trail – few products
can measure up to this standard. However, now you have a better basis for judging other products.