Any system, be it manual, semi-manual (e.g. using spreadsheets), or a computer program, can only reproduce accurate and complete data if the data input is accurate and complete. This is achieved using a Control Framework to ensure that all the data required to be input to the system is available when required, and is input completely and accurately. Put simply, what comes out of the system will only be as accurate as the input.
The Control Framework consists of a series of ordered Processes. Each process is specific to a part of the Trading Cycle – see The Business Cycles later in this section
Controls also exist within the program to ensure that data is processed correctly and completely and that once updated, records can only be amended by using processes designed for this purpose – see Editing Data Entry.
Within Prelude Desktop one of the most important of these controls is the use of Transaction Periods. The Ledgers operate in 12 monthly periods, period 1 representing the first month of your financial year and period 12 the last. You maintain control when closing off periods and carrying out reconciliations before you do so – this is the month/period end process – see Period End Processing. Once a transaction period is closed, no further changes can be made to transactional data updated in that period and hence the integrity of that data is maintained, and the ledger is considered to be Closed for that transaction period.
To operate this control we recommend that you process Period Ends for the Ledgers at the same time each month. One way of doing this is to agree and publish a month-end timetable with managers in your company at the beginning of each financial year. This will then let everyone know when the financial periods will end in that year, and will help you organise your time each month.
The Period Rule
In our Desktop accounting software, running Period End Processing in each of the ledgers moves that ledger onto the next transaction period. Different ledgers can therefore be in different periods. When you run End of Period on any ledger it closes that period and no further entries can be made to that ledger for that closed period. As the system is real-time – making entries in the sales or purchase ledgers always affects the nominal ledger for the same period – ensuring control over which periods each ledger can be in at any time.
This is governed by the Period Rule: this states that no ledger can be more than one period removed from any other ledger and the nominal ledger cannot go ahead of either the sales or the purchase ledgers. The system automatically controls this and should you try to run End of Period when not permitted you will be prevented from doing so and a message will be displayed to that effect.
Prelude products use clearly defined and intuitive Processes to update data and report information.
Sales – Generate sales invoices that are sent out to your customers, who then pay you. Sometimes, you will need to change the value and/or amount of a product or service supplied and to do this you will need to issue a credit note or a second Invoice. As part of the sales process you will need to maintain records of the products and services that you sell in order to control profits.
Purchases – In order to generate Income, each business needs to obtain goods and/or services from third parties outside the business. The suppliers will invoice your business for these and will expect payment in return.
Cash – You could also pay amounts directly from your cash book and make adjustments for items that are neither cash nor invoiced amounts, such as payroll costs, credit card payments, petty cash payments and so on. You may also receive bank interest, cash refunds etc. which have not been invoiced. You may also receive payment for your sales in the form of cash.
Desktop Accounting System Control and All Prelude Products Configuration – a series of utilities to allow you to create new companies and reorganise your data, and set and update the preferences to reflect changes in your business, as well as design your documents for printing on plain paper or to be emailed in all products.
Nominal – using a single Journal to make changes to any combination of sales, purchase and nominal ledger accounts.
Processes are broken down into an ordered sequence of Tasks. These are designed to ensure that data entry to the system is complete and correct and that the right people see the output at the right time. Whilst you don’t have to use our suggested tasks, they represent a tried, tested and efficient method of getting the best from your system. Tasks can also be classified as –
‘Input’ – entering new data or amending existing data.
‘Enquiry’ – viewing existing data.
‘Reporting‘ – running reports or lists to supply information to work on or distribute.
Each process comprises one or more of the following tasks, which are shown in the order in which they should be completed.
The Tasks are described in the help file under headings corresponding to the six steps below. You will see that not all processes require all 6 Tasks. Whenever appropriate the purpose of the task will also be given.
The Tasks are:
- Purpose … why do you do perform this task?
- Preparation – Collect together the source data (e.g. Cheque books, Invoices, letters etc) that you need. Sort paperwork into a logical order.
a. Find the correct Form or Menu option – Find the menu option by following the path given.
e.g – to access the nominal maintenance form the path is Ledgers > Nominal > Maintenance.
b. If creating a new record input the details and save.
c. If amending or updating or enquiring Find the Record that you want to update and/or enquire – see Tables, Records, Forms and Fields.
Open Pages as required and populate required Input Fields.
d. Either Click ‘OK’ or ‘Submit‘ to accept the data input and update records.
or Open the Edit menu to correct or amend your input.
e. If running reports complete any definition forms that appear and click OK or Run.
- Balancing/Reconciliation – How can I confirm that all the data has been processed accurately? Consider annotating source data to system-generated references.
- Reporting – Does the data look right? Who needs to see this?
- Filing – Is there a clear trail to the source data? How should this be filed for easy access by other users? What format should be used for reporting and filing? – much more should now be electronically stored.