February 2014 / PhreeBooksR36RC3snapshot
Author – Charles

Other than being used to highlight Vendor Invoices that haven’t been received, the USER MODIFIED ‘Toggle Status’ highlighting setting can be used to signify something (you define) in your Sales and Purchase process.

CUSTOMERS > Sales Quotes Manager – ‘Toggle Status‘:
A line entry in the ‘Manager’ display can be highlighted in light blue (Toggled On/Off) by the PhreeBooks User by clicking an icon on the far right of the line entry.

CUSTOMERS > Sales Order Manager – ‘Toggle Status‘:
A line entry in the ‘Manager’ display can be highlighted in light blue (Toggled On/Off) by the PhreeBooks User by clicking an icon on the far right of the line entry.

PB User – “Waiting on Parts, Not Started, Waiting on Customer”
PB User – “We use the system of toggle status to show which SO’s have not been filled yet”

CUSTOMERS > Sales/Invoices Manager:
No highlighting used (I think !).

VENDORS > Request for Quotes Manager – ‘Toggle Status‘:
A line entry in the ‘Manager’ display can be highlighted in light blue (Toggled On/Off) by the PhreeBooks User by clicking an icon on the far right of the line entry.

VENDORS > Purchase Order Manager – ‘Toggle Status‘:
A line entry in the ‘Manager’ display can be highlighted in light blue (Toggled On/Off) by the PhreeBooks User by clicking an icon on the far right of the line entry.

DP – “I use it (Toggle Status) after I receive a confirmation on a Purchase Order from my vendors verifying the delivery date and pricing.”

VENDORS > Purchase/Receive Inventory ManagerLight Blue Highlighting:
This oustanding Vendor Invoice entry is STILL ‘Waiting for invoice‘ (number). PhreeBooks will not let this outstanding Vendor Invoice be paid in BANKING > Vendor Payments until an invoice number is entered.

VENDORS > Vendor Credit Memo ManagerLight Blue Highlighting:
This outstanding Vendor Credit Memo entry is STILL ‘Waiting for invoice‘ (number). PhreeBooks will not let this outstanding Vendor Credit Memo be repaid in BANKING > Vendor Refunds until an invoice number is entered.

All Inactive entries, when displayed, are displayed Highlighted in Light Pink:
CUSTOMERS > Customer Manager
VENDORS > Vendor Manager
INVENTORY > Inventory Manager

Post any comments to the Forum.

movingJanuary 2015 / PhreeBooksR37RC1

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.

(5)  Customers.csv
– 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.

creditcards… from a Forum post in 2008  

Accounting for and paying your Credit Card bill is dealt with in Vendors and Entering Expenses.

If you ever buy stock or services using a Credit Card AND you want to track these purchases with a Vendor account (as opposed to a CC Vendor Expense Account), then the following post by Dave is the way to set it up.

How to Handle Credit Cards in PhreeBooks

by Dave Premo

Here’s how I account for credit cards.

1. Create a GL ‘analysis’ account (called Credit Card Payable) of type Accounts Payable (in the CoA).
COMPANY > Module Administration > PhreeBooks Module > Chart of Accounts
…   click on white ‘blank page’ icon – top LHS

2. You have two basic possibilities when credit cards are used.

(a) You buy inventory that is of type stock, master stock, or assembly (bascially items that are tracked in an inventory type account (for cost of goods sold purposes). For this type of transaction, receive the items as usual through the Vendors -> Purchase/Receive screen, enter the invoice number and save.

Since it was charged to a credit card, you want to post the payment to the newly created ‘Credit Card Payable‘ account through the Banking -> Vendor Payments screen. On this screen select the Credit Card Payable account as the Cash Account. This will post the payment to a payables account (and show up on the balance sheet as money owed) and close the purchase.

(b) You purchase an item or service that is not tracked in an inventory account:

If the purchase is through a regular Vendor that is in PhreeBooks and you want visibility as to the history with that vendor, treat the purchase as option (a) above. This will post the purchase to the correct accounts and pay the bill leaving the purchase price as a payable.

If the purchase is infrequent or you don’t care about tracking the Vendor transactions  (say office supplies), you can record the purchase when entering the bill from the credit card company (credit card as a Vendor Expense Account) and charge it to the correct GL account (step 3).

3. When the statement is received from the credit card company, charges are entered through Vendors -> Purchase/Receive payable to the credit card company. Each line item from the credit card (they can also be combined for simplicity by gl accounts, purchase types, vendors, etc.) represent the charges on the statement.

For option (a) type purchases, the charge needs to offset the Credit Card Payable account from step (a) – they were received in an inventory account, charged to a payable account and that payable account will be relieved from a cash account when the credit card bill is entered in VENDORS > Purchace/Receive **. Whereas option (b) charges can be charged directly to the expense account they apply to (like office supplies, auto expense, shipping supplies, etc.). The purchase can be saved and when the bill is due can be paid through Banking -> Vendor Payments like other bills received from you vendors.

This method allows for tracking of inventory items for cost purposes yet flexibility for one-time purchases without creating vendor accounts for everyone you buy from. This will also track how much you pay your credit card companies. If you pay interest on the credit card balance, enter the interest as a line item on the credit card statement (charged to a ‘interest paid’ expense account) and it will add up with the rest of the charges.

Bank loans are handled differently. You need to check with your accountant as how to enter them but they are usually accounted for as a General Journal entry each month with separate accounts for interest and principle.


**  In this step in the CC Purchase/Receive, you need to make sure that for all type-(a) transactions, instead of selecting a normal expense-tracking type Gl account (like office supplies, auto expense, shipping supplies, etc.) or inventory, you need to select the new Credit Card Payable GL account (and ‘none’ for Tax Rate). This will cancel out the ‘payment’ in step (a) and cleverly allow the payment of the CC in full, as per normal (BANKING > Vendor Payments). Also, no SKU entry for these type-(a) transactions in the CC Purchase/Receive.

Please post any comments or alternative suggestions to the Forum.

contacts11-Dec-2013  / PhreeBooksR36RC3
Author – Charles

PhreeBooks: Importing ‘contacts.csv’ – Guidelines

Take care to make sure that your ‘contacts.csv’ file is prepared correctly:

1. remove any spaces in field name at top of columns e.g. ContactType, ShortName, Inactive, FirstName …
2. no null column headings – all columns to have a PB ‘field name’ (from an exported PB contacts file – test data)
3. only import columns that are required or have specific information. Delete columns containing no information.
4. fill required fields. e.g.

ContactType: c for Customers, v for vendors, i for CRM Contacts
ShortName: this is a required field. You can use zip codes, telephone numbers or random values
Inactive: set to 0
StoreID: set to 0
PrimaryName_1: this is a required field, I would use FirstName LastName. Can also be the company name, main billing name, etc.
AddressType_1: needs to be the ContactType and the letter m, i.e. cm for customer, main address

5. Remove any columns AddressType_2 and AddressType_3 as these are only used if more than one address is imported
6. Remove any CreationDate and LastUpdate columns
7. Remove any fields: RecordID, RecordID_x (address book record ID 1-5), ReferenceID_x (address_book link to contact table, 1-5). These are automatically generated by the system and should not be included.
8. Remove any rows without entries i.e. no nice-looking gap row beneath the column headings and before the data.
9.   CountryCode_1 – the 3-letter ISO Country Code is type char e.g. USA, GBR, CAN, ROI, LUX
10. RecordID – start at 2 and go up from there. Row 1 is reserved for column headers.

TOOLS > Import / Export > Contacts Module (green arrow on RHS) > Tables available to Import > select ‘csv’, browse to your newly created contacts.csv and ‘import contacts’.


 BEWARE – the ‘TSV’ problem & EOLs:

Quote Wikipedia:
… many so-called “CSV” files in fact use the tab character instead of comma (such files can be more precisely referred to as “TSV” for tab separated values)

Wikipedia talks about the lack of an agreed standard for .csv

PhreeBooks importer requires comma-delimited text file (.csv). The problem is that a tab-separated (as opposed to comma-separated) file ALSO has a .csv file type.

As to the TSV issue, if you use LibreOffice to edit a customer database, by default it opens the file with LibreOffice Calc instead of LibreOffice Write, and when you save the edited file, although you are saving it as .csv, it saves it with tabs instead of commas. Calc makes it easy to see if data is “misaligned”, and to correct it, but once that is done, you need to save it, close it, and open it with Writer so you can replace all the tabs. The final issue is to make sure that all the records end with ^M. If you are working in Linux/UNIX or Mac, you have to find a way to do that. For Linux users it’s easy:
“cat -v fname”.

NOTE: Dave has confirmed to me that EOL’s (line ends) are irrelevant to the PhreeBooks import script as the PHP script strips them away before import.