Entering Opening Balances

Unless you are starting a new business and intend to use Standard Accounts to administer your accounts from the first day, you will need to enter some opening balances. If you are starting to use Standard Accounts at the beginning of the fiscal year, these opening balances will take the form of the closing balances for each Account for the end of the previous year. If you are starting to use Standard Accounts in the middle of the fiscal year, there will be two components to opening balance figures: the closing balances for each Account for the end of the previous year and Account balances for the current year to date.

To carry out this task, you should equip yourself with as much information as you can in the form of transaction data and reports produced by the old system, in order to make this task as easy as possible.

We recommend that you change during a current fiscal year. You should enter Account balances for the previous year and then enter individually all current year transactions registered so far. This will a) make you familiar with Standard Accounts, and b) automatically give you a check of the old transactions.

Before you can enter any opening balances, you should have specified the current and, if appropriate, previous fiscal years using the Fiscal Years setting and entered the Chart of Accounts and VAT Codes you wish to use. If you created your database using the 'Start with standard chart of accounts' option as described on the Starting any Standard product - New Installation page, it will contain the sample Chart of Accounts supplied with Standard Accounts. If this is not suitable, you can import your own chart from a text file or enter it manually.

Once you have entered your Fiscal Year, Chart of Accounts and VAT Codes, it's a good idea to enter all the opening balances at once. Ideally, this process should be completed before you start to enter new Transactions, but it is possible to change the opening balances at any time during the fiscal year.

When entering opening balances, the level of detail is up to you. Factors influencing this decision may be the number of Transactions, the time available to enter these Transactions, whether you can import them (otherwise, you will have to enter them manually) and the level of detail required in your reports. It might be that you enter or import all Transactions individually (in the form of Invoices, Receipts, Purchase Invoices, Payments and Nominal Ledger Transactions) or it might be that you enter a single opening balance for each Account. Full details covering the necessary data entry processes follow in the next sections.

Once you have entered your opening balances in their chosen form, print the reports you usually use and compare them with the reports from your old system. These reports should include the Trial Balance, Profit & Loss and Balance Sheet, and lists of Debtors and Creditors using the Sales Ledger and Purchase Ledger reports respectively.


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