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Dec 1992

Accounting with Newviews. (Newviews computer software) (Software Review) (The CPA & The Computer) (Evaluation)

by Cerullo, Virginia

    Abstract- The accounting software 'Newviews' enables users to develop their own financial statements, subsidiary ledgers and other documents. Once a transaction is entered, the changes on financial statements and subsidiary ledgers is readily viewed. The four main documents in 'Newviews' are the home document which is a listing of the various documents that can be created, the report document which allows the definition and development of entries, the account document for the development and detailing of the transactions in each account, and distribution document that provides multiple distributions to ledger accounts. The accounting software does not need sorting runs for transaction batching, posting runs nor closing entries. It can provide information on an as-needed basis and can be employed in any industry. 'Newviews' is available from Q.W. Page Associates Inc in Toronto, Canada.

Processing accounting transactions into financial statements and other reports is relatively straightforward, as shown in Exhibit 1, which depicts the Newviews accounting cycle. As in a manual system, operations begin with a set of blank forms. As shown in Exhibit 1, installing an "empty" set of books and developing or formatting an "empty" set of financial statements are the first steps in the accounting cycle. The remaining steps are analyzing business transactions, recording business transactions, and recording adjusting entries. Closing entries are not needed.

Smaller users can use Newviews as a general ledger system. With this mode of operation, all business transactions are entered into the general journal or special journals. As transactions are entered, they are edited, and all special journals, the general journal, the general ledger account files, the subsidiary ledger account files, and the financial statement files are concurrently updated.

One program manages all the accounting functions, including the general ledger, the accounts receivable and accounts payable subsidiary ledgers, all journals, and all financial statements.

Newviews is very flexible. A user can design financial statements, subsidiary ledgers, reports, accounts, etc., to fit any unique or unusual need. Governmental agencies, manufacturing concerns, and retailers can all use Newviews.

Using Newviews

Although Newviews is a fully integrated package which combines features of word processors, spreadsheets, and databases, it is easy to use. A pull down menu allows commands to be issued quickly and efficiently. In addition, the help function facilitates learning and using the package.

There are four primary documents in Newviews:

1. The home document is the starting point for listing the financial statements and other documents that the user intends to develop from the software.

2. The report document is used to define and develop the contents of a particular report or statement identified in the home document. The financial statement contents are listed with the various accounts that comprise the line items of a financial statement.

3. The account document is used to develop and detail what transactional information will flow through each account.

4. The distribution document is used to develop multiple distributions to ledger accounts from transactions.

Formatting Statements and Subsidiary Ledgers

The software package utilizes formatted financial statements and subsidiary ledgers to identify and then recognize accounts used in processing accounting transactions. The first step in formatting the necessary financial statements and subsidiary ledgers is to identify each one on the home document.

A name--a unique designation consisting of ten characters or less--is assigned to the statement being designed. An "IS" might be used to uniquely identify the user's income statement or a "BS" to identify the balance sheet, etc. Once all the financial statements and subsidiary ledgers have been identified on the home document, they can be formatted.

Working with the report document, the time period for the financial statement or subsidiary ledger must be specified. The income statement would include the beginning and ending dates for the current accounting period. The income statement can contain up to 30 characters to present headings, account titles, etc., for the financial statement. There are three amount columns that can be used to tailor the financial statements or subsidiary ledgers for each user's individual business.

Each account that appears on the statement or subsidiary ledger is identified using a unique, ten digit number or name.

Newviews generates totals, such as total assets, total expenses, net income from operations, etc., that are necessary for the preparation of the financial statements and the subsidiary ledgers. Since each expense account has been described as having a normal debit balance, the accounts are added together to arrive at an amount for total expense on the income statement.

Recording Accounting Transactions

Once the user has formatted the basic financial statements and necessary subsidiary ledgers, various special journals can be created to record accounting transactions or the transactions may be entered into the general journal.

Also, a user using Newviews has the option of entering accounting transactions directly into the general ledger or subsidiary ledger accounts. If this approach is used, the transaction is entered at the account level of Newviews as a debit or credit and the offsetting debit or credit is entered by using the unique identification developed when the financial statements and subsidiary ledgers were formatted.

Regardless of the approach, the user takes in recording accounting transactions, the immediate affect of entering a transaction is reflected throughout the accounting system. Control Features of Newviews.

On-line, real-time (OLRT) processing presents a number of potential control problems. Batch control totals are not available as a control device. In addition, in many OLRT systems, the audit trail is lost or, at best, difficult to follow.

The package allows transactions to be directly modified or deleted and a complete audit trail of such changes is automatically kept in a file. The contents of this file can be reviewed at any point in the accounting cycle. Other control features include many programmed edit checks, automatic crash recovery of a set of books, three levels of passwords, and the use of edit dates.

The Good and Bad News of Newviews

Newviews requires no sorting runs to batch transactions, no posting runs, and no closing entries. Perhaps the biggest advantage offered is the rapid availability of information. Because accounts are updated after each transaction is entered, up-to-date reports and financial statements may be generated on an as-needed basis. Finally, Newviews is not an industry specific accounting package. Financial statements and other required reports may be uniquely tailored for any firm, in any industry.

Allowing for the potential control problems associated with OLRT processing, Newviews presents accounting practitioners with an opportunity to offer their users accounting software that provides up- to-date accounting information. As transactions are processed with Newviews, the effect is immediately reflected through the entire accounting system.

Newviews is sold by Q. W. Page Associates, Inc., 1 St. Clair Avenue West 8th Floor, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4V 2Z5.

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