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Reports, Accounts, Trial Balance, Balance Sheet & Profit Or Loss

To run these reports, starting from the “Accounts Menu”…

  • Click the “Reports” button
  • Click the “Trial Balance” button (or other, as applicable)
  • Select the financial year
  • Select whether you want the whole year or just a month
  • o If you’ve chosen a month you can then select to display just that month, or up to that month

  • Click the “OK” button
  • Trial Balance

    This report originated at a time when accounts were hand-written in a number of different books and ledgers that, via the double-entry book keeping system, were supposed to balance. The “Trial Balance” was developed to check this. It took all the totals (i.e. all the nominal, bank and control accounts) and checked that the debits matched the credits. Because of human error they quite often did not. Your computer system is much less likely to suffer from imbalance, though there is still a chance it could occur, for example, from bad storage media or electrical power breaks and surges. However the main use of the “Trial Balance” on computer systems is that it provides an overview of all your accounts at a given point in time. You can immediately see all your current bank balances, what you’re owed (i.e. Debtors Control), what you owe (i.e. Creditors Control), your VAT liability, your fee work turnover for the year, your advertising spend for the year, and so on. This report can be edited in the user-defined report writer, shown below (see “Reports, Accounts, User-defined”), to have different headings, etc, but typically should include…

  • all your sales nominal accounts
  • all your purchase nominal accounts
  • all your bank accounts
  • all your control accounts
  • exclude nominals with zero totals
  • hide nominal codes
  • include opening balances (else your bank accounts will not show their current totals)
  • Warning!

    If your Trial Balance has been correctly set to include opening balances, then you must remember to run a period end (see “Accounts, Period End”) after each financial year end, until when your purchase and sales nominal accounts will include accumulated values from the previous year/s. There is no harm in this, because the point of the Trial Balance is just to show that your accounts balance, which they will still do regardless of whether you’ve run a Period End, and regardless of whether they include figures from the previous year/s. If you really do want to check your sales and purchase nominal accounts for any given period then the proper report, which if correctly set-up will not include opening balances, is the Profit & Loss, described below.

    Profit & Loss

    This report shows your profit or loss on trading activity for the period in question. It is sometimes called “Profit & Loss” and sometimes “Profit or Loss”, but they are the same thing. This report can be edited in the “User-defined” report writer, like the Trial Balance described above, to have different headings but typically should include…

  • all your sales nominal accounts
  • all your purchase nominal accounts
  • no bank accounts
  • no control accounts except any commission in suspense and transferable commission
  • exclude nominals with zero totals
  • hide nominal codes
  • not include opening balances (else your control accounts will include preceding periods – see “Warning!” above)
  • Balance Sheet

    This report shows what you’re worth overall at a given point in time, regardless of whether you’re trading profitably. For example, you could have started with £10m in the bank and then lost £4m in the first year from poor trading. Whereas the Profit & Loss report would show a disastrous £4m loss on trading, the Balance Sheet would show a healthy £6m still in the bank. This report can be edited in the “User-defined” report writer, like the Trial Balance described above, to have different headings but typically should include…

  • no sales nominal accounts
  • no purchase nominal accounts
  • all bank accounts
  • all control accounts except any commission in suspense and transferable commission
  • exclude nominals with zero totals
  • hide nominal codes
  • include opening balances