Disclaimer – this article does not constitute advice and readers use all or any part of it at their own risk. Please consult with your accountant before making any changes as the methods used below may not suit your jurisdiction.
I had used another commercial bookkeeping program for a year to keep my books ‘computerized’ and ‘in order’ and track my inventory, and had grown to absolutely loathe it. It didn’t help that the program vendor had sold it with bits missing (in my opinion) so that, when you came to realize that you needed them, they were a costly further addition. I didn’t trust the vendor, I didn’t trust the program, and bookkeeping had become a VERY negative experience.
Issues with previous bookkeeping package:
– very un-intuative (I had to write a ridiculously detailed step-by-step for staff)
– it took far too many clicks to achieve anything (=> errors)
– the programme didn’t leverage the beauty of computers (cleverly minimize data entry)
– we couldn’t change errors. We had to make some sort of further ‘reverse-entry’ = awful
– one sad user at a time. Normally tearing their hair out.
I went through an ‘inspection’ by our Tax Authority early on and, despite coming through it without any major issue, I was very unhappy with my bookkeeping program.
First I tested PhreeBooks (after looking at many other bookkeeping programs). Initially on the PhreeBooks.com DEMO and later on my own local PhreeBooks install. This went on for some months, utilizing the HowTo’s (thank you to all who write them). The more I played with PhreeBooks, the clearer it became to me and the more I liked it. I did install other programs along side it, but I found myself comparing them all to PhreeBooks and eventually coming back to PhreeBooks. PhreeBooks seemed very logical to me – I could follow what was happening and it made sense.
I took Dave’s advice, here:
Migrating from another Accounting Programme
and made my migration at my year-end.
My migration was largely ‘line in the sand’, but not completely and I didn’t follow Dave’s instructions exactly.
I wanted to make sure that Accounts Receivable (Debtors) and Accounts Payable (Creditors) amounts were largely correctly allocated (and aged) to the appropriate Customers and Vendors.
These were the main Financial Reports that I supplied to my accountant at year-end:
(1) Aged Payables (Aged Creditors)
(2) Aged Receivables (Aged Debtors)
(3) Trial Balance (a ‘snap-shot’ of all GL-account balances at year-end)
After applying his changes (his magic), he sent me back a ‘summary Trial Balance‘ (sTB) that looked quite different (it had different ‘analysis headings’ and, of course, different figures) – I assumed that it was correct. From this ‘summary Trial Balance’ he had prepared the statutory Balance Sheet and Income Statement (Profit and Loss Statement) and had submitted them for me.
Preparation is key to a smooth transition – allow plenty of time to prepare. You can’t start too early.
Over the month or so before migration, i carefully prepared and tested (imported, amended and re-imported) the following into my test install of PhreeBooks:
(1) Chart of Accounts.xml :
– this was the biggest and most intimidating job for me.
– I followed the HowTo and it worked beautifully
– I constructed my CoA.xml file contents in Geany (Text Editor)
– COMPANY > Module Administration > PhreeBooks Module > Chart of Accounts
– when importing your CoA.xml into PhreeBooks, after browsing to your ‘custom chart to import:‘ remember to check the ‘Replace current chart of accounts‘ checkbox.
– my CoA.xml, after correcting a couple of my typo’s, imported with ease.
– I have since added and amended GL-accounts and descriptions.
– The whole CoA thing was a bit of a surprise for me – I hadn’t expected it to work so well.
(2) Sales and Purchase taxes :
– These need to be given careful consideration and need to be set before entering Inventory.
– PhreeBooks has particular strength in this area IMHO, but you need to think through your set-up carefully before loading your TB.
(3) Vendors.csv :
– TOOLS > Import / Export > Contacts Module (green arrow RHS) > see below
– as in (2) I exported Module Contacts.csv to establish the required import .csv format.
– Vendors are ContactType = ‘v’
– the big issue that arose here was to get rid of ‘,‘ comma’s from each field – then all fine.
(4) Inventory.csv :
– This was another area that I spent a long time on – getting rid of / adding SKU’s
– I first entered some SKU’s with the required ‘Inventory Type‘
– TOOLS > Import / Export > Inventory Module (green arrow RHS) > see below
– I then exported the Inventory .csv – Export > Module Inventory
– Adjusted my inventory spreadsheet to the format and column headings that PhreeBooks required. Saved as a .csv file and imported – Import > Module Inventory
– I imported all SKU’s with nil quantity and nil value (I explain lower down)
– This went as expected – all fine.
– I actually added our few big customers by hand
– They could have been added using (3) and ContactType = ‘c’
I made sure that the Customers who owed us money and the Vendors to whom we owed money were included in the Vendors and Customers lists.
Entering the ‘Trial Balance’:
Let’s assume for the purposes of this description that my company’s Financial Year (that was entered on installation) is 1st January – 31st December and that the year just beginning is 2015. The date of migration might be 2nd January 2015 (for example).
I took a slightly unorthodox approach as I felt that it would give me the flexibility that I would require to add in Accounts Payable and Receivable accurately (Creditors / Debtors) and address any Inventory issues. Also, should there be any adjustments to the previous years figures required by our accountant, I could accommodate those changes with ease.
Inventory Problem: I had read in Dave’s instructions about his problems when exporting things from Sage to a spreadsheet, that they didn’t add up to the values in his Sage install. Of course, I wasn’t expecting the same thing to happen to me (lightening twice etc). Well my inventory, once exported to a spreadsheet and examined closely, had SKU’s missing and numbers not adding up (ughhh).
I corrected everything in the spreadsheet and added the missing SKU’s etc.
To enable me to enter my AR and AP with the correct aging and to allow for any adjustment necessary to inventory values, I started my bookkeeping period (set at the install stage of PhreeBooks – right at the beginning when you entered the database name and password etc) – a year early. In the example above – from the 1st January 2014.
The following is the procedure that I then followed:
- I entered my Inventory quantities and value (from the corrected spreadsheet) by using INVENTORY > Adjustments – GL-a/c ‘Cost of Sales: Stock Adjustments‘ (or similar in your CoA) – dated 30/12/2014 (50 or so SKU’s at a time)
- I entered the invoices making up my Accounts Receivable figure (the big, important ones)
- I entered the Invoices making up my Accounts Payable figure (the big, important ones)
- I changed the ‘Accounting Period’ to 12 GENERAL LEDGER > Administrative Tools
- I then printed off a Trial Balance. I worked out the ‘adjusted’ TB figures required for the ‘Beginning Balances’
- TOOLS > Export / Import > Enter Beginning Balances (top RHS in blue) > entered new Beginning Balance’s
- Once again, printed off TB from period 12 and compare with accountants sTB
- Once you have the correctly ‘adjusted’ opening ‘Beginning Balances‘ – they should match.
- Finally, make sure that your invoice numbers are sequential with your old system
- COMPANY > Module Administration > Tools > General Settings (remember to ‘Save Changes‘ – in the page, not just the diskette in top-LH corner)
You should be reasonably up-to-date and good to go.
Please post any comments, questions, or suggestions for improvement to the Forum.
Likewise, please let us know if you use this HowTo successfully, with a quick note to the Forum.