We are going to introduce our own bookkeeping system which will integrate with our other operations. This is intended to be the simplest possible system one can imagine. It will have pages at the front to record cash transactions, with the left-hand page for income and the right-hand page for expenditure. The user will be encouraged to enter transactions in columns, which makes it easier to transfer it to our software. After we get the books, we will enter cash transactions in columnwise fashion. We enter all the numbers first, which will generate “datepoints” to make it easy to enter all the dates second. Then the narratives are entered third, but after a few narratives have been typed in longhand, the autocomplete system will kick in to help out. After a few more narratives, we can run a Narrative Prediction routine to guess the rest, and then we only need to overtype the guesses that are wrong, still with autocomplete to help out. This is almost as good as having an optical character recognition system which can read handwriting. Many clients won’t have more than just a few cash transactions.
The cash pages are held together by a comb binder. Reinforced means will be provided at the back of the book to attach treasury tags and add extra pages as required, and we will have extra pages for initial expenses, invoices issued, mileage claims, the Construction Industry Scheme and any other items. We can e-mail a PDF file to clients to allow them to print their own extra pages, or they can just use plain paper with similar headings.
Bank statements and credit card statements can also be added on at the back, so the user does not need to do any bookkeeping for bank transactions. We will aim to process these using OCR, but if this is not possible for some reason, then we will revert to the columnwise system described above. Actually, if there are only a few bank statements, such as on a VAT quarter, we might not bother with OCR because the columnwise system is so fast. There is a page in the book to transcribe cheque book stub information if the client wants to hold on to the cheque book.
Our current OCR system is numbers and dates only, and we use Narrative Prediction to help with entering narratives. This means that there is no harsh change when we cannot use OCR, and we can aim to do a standard job in a standard time.
There are separate books for companies and for unincorporated businesses. Everything is colour-coded and we use a variety of typefaces so it is easier to find one’s way around in the books. There are checklists for new companies and new businesses which we will help the client with when we first meet them. There are contact details to our specialist websites.