Top positive review
102 people found this helpful
Excellent book-keeping software for the non-accountant!
on 31 March 2006
I recently became the treasurer of a large scuba-diving club, and inherited "the spreadsheet from Hell". It required each transaction to be entered on different sheets a minimum of twice, and some 3 times - time consuming and very easy to make mistakes (but not easy to see when and where mistakes had been made). Plus the spreadsheet wasn't robust, and the formulae kept disappearing. So, I started looking for some proprietary software.
The PA software looked reasonable, so I asked a few questions via their website - I got an extremely helpful reply about 2 hours later - and this was on a Saturday! So, I paid the extremely modest £19 for the download version, pretty much immediately.
Basically the software has 2 main screens, which look a bit like a simple spreadsheet. It's obvious that the designers haven't spent much time making it look pretty, so it has a somewhat basic look. But, don't be fooled ...
The first screen is a summary of all the accounts you wish to set up. These are "real accounts" like your bank account and petty cash, but also "virtual accounts" to cover cost categories such as (in my case) fixed assets, boat maintenance costs, boat income, clubhouse bills, membership fees, pool hire, pool income etc etc. These categories can be grouped as you wish (eg into categories such as boat transactions, or money-in/money-out). You can also group them to give a profit-and-loss summary and also balance sheet.
The other screen is the one where you actually record your transactions. Each transaction is entered only once, using drop down menus to select from the accounts you've set up. A transaction for me might be from Bank to Boat Maintenance. The accounts screen would then show that money had gone from the bank account to Boat Maintenance, so I can keep track of how much the boat is costing us to run. There's also a tool to make it easy for you to reconcile (check) your transactions against your bank account, to make sure you (or the bank) haven't made any mistakes.
As soon as you've entered some transactions, they will be reflected on the accounts screen. If you double-click on a value on the accounts screen (eg bank balance), then the transactions associated with that account will appear in a new screen. The whole thing is extremely simple and transparent.
It took me a little while to set it up correctly, but that's because I have little or no experience of book-keeping. If you know what you're doing, then it should be trivial to get it running straight away. If you don't know what you're doing, then you should be able to get started easily enough, but will need to put a little more time in to get your accounts structured correctly.
PA does also have free after sales service, via e-mail. Plus their website has a free forum for people to ask questions, which seems useful and well maintained. For a fee, they also provide a telephone service, but I wouldn't have thought many people would need it.
For the treasurer of a club/society I recommend this software very highly indeed.