A New Digital Format
On the Home Page you learned about the new report format.
The Changes in Workflow with this new format are even more astounding.
With older Digital Balance Sheets produced by database driven systems, when the Balance Sheet turned out to be Balanced on first try, the complexity of the system was not realized.
When the Balance Sheet was not in Balance, it was either difficult or impossible to step through the Balance Sheet one day at a time to find the day(s) where the Balance Sheet fell out of Balance.
If and when the user could step through the Balance Sheet one day at time to identify the date it fell out of Balance, after finding the date of relevance, if they didn't have access to the General Ledger records directly they had to scour multiple journals to attempt to find the source of the error.
This first level troubleshooting process took a high level of expertise and bookkeeping understanding to execute properly, and even then it was not easy. It also did not provide any way for a user to ensure digitally corrupt data was not introduced into the mix.
If/when errant issues were found, sometimes it took another few screen changes to correct them, after which point the Balance Sheet had to be run again to see if that corrected the errors.
The process was long and very confusing. It was impossible to keep any sense of flow intact with each attempt to correct a Balance Sheet.
We have changed all of that.
We changed infrastructure from relational Database system to a spreadsheet system. Data is only entered into Journals and all uses of it are just views of the original data. There is no read write processes where the system can burp or fart or introduced errors.
We created a new Balance Sheet template that removed the start date obfuscation and confusing aggregation of information . We also added notes next to each line item detailing the source of the calculation.
We created a system which is utterly simple to step through by date . This feature is inherent to spreadsheets in a way that is not necessarily comparable in database systems.
On the same screen as the Balance Sheet, we created a pop out report for the General Ledger with several simple reporting options. This allows for pinpoint identification of errors in the Journals via the General Ledger without ever leaving the Balance Sheet Screen.
On the General Ledger Pop out report, we provide links to each Journal Entry for quick access to errant entries with nothing more than the click of a link. NOTE: for these links to work scripting in the system has to be active. All of the math and accounting functionality is provided with spreadsheet formulas only, but these links require a scripting component.
Once a Journal Entry change is made. the back button in the browser can be used to return to the Balance Sheet and it will have already updated automatically, so no further mouse or hand gestures are required to review the results of any changes. The process enables a user to stay in the flow.
Because these are in Cloud Based Spreadsheets, a user with multiple monitors can in fact make changes in Journals in one screen and watch real time updates to the Balance Sheet in another without any screen flashes. The ability to learn cause and affect between Journal Entry errors and Balance Sheet errors is not a straight forward and visual learning process.
Seeing is Believing...
The Balance Sheet is Out of Balance
In this image we can see an Imbalance in the Balance Sheet(1) . If we click on the column expander (2) we will be shown a drill down report to the right...
The Balance Sheet is Out of Balance
The "drill down report" is revealed by expanding some columns to the right. In this image, this report is configured to show only General Ledger items for the report end date, thus our imbalance error will be shown on here in some form or another.
With a minor amount of Double Entry Accounting education most can trouble shoot the balance sheet in a matter or a minute or less. In this case, we can see that only one of the two records for "Slim's Restaurant" are showing in the General Ledger. This transpires when a transaction makes it into the Journal but is not categorized. If we click on the "view" link we are transported to the journal and the line item in the Journal for that transaction.
The Journal Correction is Discovered and Made
The uncategorized transaction is located via the view link in the popout report.
The transaction is categorized.
The Back button on the browser is selcted or the Balance Sheet tab is clicked on again, and the error has already cleared itself.