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Nov 1990

Accountant's Trial Balance (Version 2.1).

by Wolfe, Larry J.

    Abstract- The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) has added a new financial statement add-on module to the Accountant's Trial Balance (ATB) 2.1 software package. The module can help accountants to summarize information and prepare trial balance worksheets and financial statements. The system can be used by accountants with a lack of computer experience. ATB requires an IBM-compatible computer and 640K bytes of memory. The cost of the add-on module is $236 for AICPA members and $295 for non-members.

The AICPA has recently issued a financial statement add-on module (F/S) to its popular Accountant's Trial Balance (ATB) package. The module was designed to operate in tandem with ATB as an easy to use program for accountants to summarize information, prepare trial balance workpapers, and convert those trial balances into complete financial statements. The two programs are not intended to replace "write-up" programs but to bring trial balance and financial statement preparation to the accountant's desk.

ATB and F/S were designed for use by accountants with little or no computer experience. The programs mimic the manual method of preparing workpapers, journals, trial balances, and financial statements. The design interface was developed to be "familiar" to accountants. Data entry screens look like columnar paper and you can scroll up and down the "sheet" much like you would when using columnar paper.

Account balances and financial statements are updated as transactions are entered, and look-up features allow you to see balances and details of accounts no matter where you are in the program. Accounts can be added "on-the-fly" while you are entering transactions or adjustments.

Various workpapers, reports, and financial statements can be queued for unattended printing. Flexible print options allow an array of formatting of workpapers and reports.

T Accounts are Generated

Virtually any raw data that has to be summarized or journalized can be entered into one of ATB's 64 user definable journals. At the end of each journal, a report formatted like a "T" account prints with summary totals of transactions entered.

Accounts can be grouped into lead schedules that show prior balances, opening balances, AJEs and RJEs, ending balances, and workpaper references. Up to 9,999 lead schedules are available to group accounts.

Sixteen complete sets of user defined grouping schedules in ATB are provided to allow the grouping of individual general ledger accounts into up to 9,999 group titles. Various formatting options and report headings (e.g., budget, prior year) are provided for analytical reports or grouping schedules for financial statement preparation.

A complete analytical procedures section in ATB computes 34 ratios and provides variance analyses between budgets and prior and current period account balances.

ATB provides a wide variety of reporting options. In addition to the financial statements listed earlier, the following standard features are provided:

* Six trial balance print options; * Source journals (e.g., cash receipts, cash disbursements); * General journal entries; * Adjusting journal entries; * Reclassifying journal entries; * Federal tax journal entries; * State tax journal entries; * Other basis of accounting journal entries; * Potential journal entries; * Lead schedules; * User definable schedules; * General ledger (detailed or summary); * Chart of accounts listing; * Analytical review ratios workpapers; and * Variance analysis.

F/S combines the best aspects of a word processor and a spreadsheet to create what is one of the most comprehensive yet easy to use financial statement generators on the market! Financial statements are created on the screen with the ability to instantly see how the printed statement will appear.

The F/S is intuitive, visually oriented and menu driven (with hot keys for experienced users). Beginners will be able to quickly produce complete financial statements precisely formatted to their specifications.

F/S can automatically prepare a financial statement from ATB'S user- definable schedules, lead schedules, or chart of accounts. These statements can then be completely customized. In addition, financial statements can be prepared from ASCII files produced from a word processing program. Or, if you prefer, a statement can be produced from scratch.

Every line on every statement may have a supporting schedule. For example, if one line on the income statement is "General and Administrative Expenses," a supporting schedule may be created that lists the detail for that line.

Cash Flows Statement

The statement of cash flows is simplified through the use of a straightforward worksheet that F/S automatically converts into a cash flow statement. Both direct and indirect statements may be prepared. Because F/S works with ATB, any changes in an ATB trial balance are immediately reflected in the financial statements.

The formatting capabilities of F/S are extensive and most likely include everything you need to print financial statements suitable for distribution to third parties. (Yes, even the underlines and double underlines are connected!)

A complete set of financial statements can easily be created for any ATB trial balance. F/S has the capability to produce all of the following:

* Cover Page; * Table of Contents; * Accountant's Report; * Balance Sheet; * Income Statement; * Statement of Cash Flows (direct and/or indirect); * Footnotes; * Supporting Schedules (unlimited); * Additional Statements (up to 16); * All output can be printed to either the printer, screen, or disk file. When disk file is selected, ATB and F/S write the output in a pure ASCII format that can be read by most word processors.

ATB was written in Clipper, a dBase III compiler and has file compatibility with dBase III formats. Because of this format compatibility, experienced dBase III users can manipulate the files.

As of this writing over 8,000 CPA firms are users of ATB, and the AICPA will continue to release enhancements based on what the user base requests. The AICPA has committed to produce an import (conversion) module that will convert other general ledger, client write-up, workpaper programs to an ATB format.

In addition, Direct Link Software (a company comprised of three of the developers of ATB) have announced that 1120 and 1120S modules will be available for ATB for the coming tax filing season. The combined price for both packages, including the laser printer software, will be $495.


ATB requires the following hardware and software: IBM PC (any model) or compatibles; minimum of 640K bytes memory; MS-DOS or PC-DOS version 3.1 or higher; hard disk drive; printer with at least 132 column capacity.

Support for the product is free for one year from the AICPA at the following address: Technical Information Division, AICPA, 1211 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10036-8775; 212/575-5412.


The cost of ATB and FS is as follows:





Larry J. Wolfe, CPA, has a broad auditing background that includes experience with an international CPA firm, a large local firm and a sole proprietorship in Ventura, California. He is the chairman of the AICPA's National Advanced Accounting and Auditing Technical Symposium. He is the past chairman of the AICPA's Private Companies Practice Section Technical issues Committee, and past president of the Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties chapter of the California Society of CPAs.

Larry J. Wolfe, CPA, Ventura, California

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