Another noobie question — control accounts

Assuming a project-based business, would one create a control account to track income and expense of each project? Or is there some other way?



No. First of all, control accounts are only for balance sheet accounts. Further, a control account, once used, will remain in your chart of accounts forever, while the project will soon end. Tracking codes are a better alternative.

Thanks, Tut,

Much appreciate your patience with my naive questions.

Is it better to ask these questions on this forum? Or is there a contact I can discuss them with directly?

My bookkeeping/accounting knowledge is very limited. But I’m trying to understand enough to determine if Manager is the right choice for my published author/small-press subscribers. So far, based on reading through guides and reviews, it looks ideal. But I need to understand how it can integrate with my site.

Thanks again,


The Guides and the forum are the sources of help. There is no contact or technical support department.

I don’t mean to be rude, but it will be difficult to evaluate a double-entry accounting application if you don’t understand accounting. You need to know what the tool is supposed to accomplish before you can evaluate how well it works. Advocating an accounting package to your clients without understanding it yourself seems questionable. Many users of Manager put their clients on the program, but those are accountants and bookkeepers who can answer questions, help with setup, etc. No two clients’ needs will be identical. Meanwhile, your clients are going to turn to you for support. Will you be able to provide it?

Hi Tut,

I take your question in the constructive spirit you intended. It’s an important question.

Here are the assumptions I’m workining under:

— My subscribers are predomently very small businesses— published authors, indie (self) publishers, small book publishers, and publishing professionals who provide services to authors and small-press publishers
— Many if not most are sole operators
— Those that aren’t will have their own bookkeepers and accountants
— My subscribers have similar and elementary bookkeeping/accounting needs:
— Tracking income and expenses including overhead and per project (book title) basis
— Providing suitable reports/data to tax preparers
— Managing book inventory
— Managing royalty accounts
— Managing book consignments with indie booksellers
— Tracking time-on-task for projects and clients
— Invoicing clients
— Tracking contractural project deadlines and payments
— In general, payrolls would be very small, maybe just the sole operator
— At present, I’m only concerned with a single currency in a single country.

My site provides many tools to help members to be more efficient with the administrivia and marketing aspects of their work so that they can devote more time to their writing and the quality of their published works.

With respect to accounting expertise and help to members, I’d recruit professional consultants. My site is a community of book builders and book lovers. Any accountant who wants to serve this niche market can join, participate, and and take advantage of a number of membership features to promote their services.

I understand that Manager is in many ways more sophisticated with many more features than most of my members need. The fact that it is modular and to some extent customizable has caught my eye.

So here are questions I have with respect to Manager:

— Can it be customized to meet the needs of my members?
— Can Manager developers help with this or can I find qualified consultants in the Manager community?
— If necessary, can I customize it myself?
— Can I do this within my budget?
— Can I integrate it relatively seamlessly with other tools provided by my site?
— Can I automate provision of Manager for each of my members, including initial setup with custom domain name, backup and recovery, data transfer or even system hand-off in event membership lapses?

Ideally, if the above is possible, I’d prefer managed hosting, but I could host member accounts if necessary. But I’d prefer some manner of collaborative and mutually advantageous partnership.


Yes. But you had a fairly long list of desires that suggests the setup by one of your users won’t be as simple as you think. Your list suggests you will need capital accounts, tracking codes, tax codes (which will only enable reports, not put data into the form required by tax authorities), inventory items, special accounts (for royalties), billable time, payslips, and much more. Don’t get me wrong. In the context of establishing a single business, these are not overly complex in Manager. But rolling out something suitable across the wide range of situations you described, for a range of organizational types, is not trivial. And it would vary by jurisdiction. You have, in fact, described an entire industry, which will inevitably encompass different needs for different business niches and types. Your members’ accounting needs are not as similar as you might think.

No and no. NGSoftware does not customize for individual users, instead focusing on providing broadly useful tools. Soliciting work among forum members violates the rules of the forum. See

That depends on your skill set. You cannot customize the program itself, as customization occurs at the business level. But you could create sample businesses for various organizational structures and business niches that others could import and rename.

I can’t answer that question.

Probably not.

Not if I understand what you are envisioning. You can create your members as users under your account or license (cloud or server), giving them appropriate permissions for their business only. But you can’t currently automate that process and let them do it.

A few other thoughts:

  • Manager will not help your members track project deadlines and payments. It isn’t project management software.
  • Recognize that Manager is advancing very rapidly, sometimes with multiple releases per day. Supporting the distribution is not simple.
  • You say you’d recruit professional consultants to support members. The focus for professionals knowledgable about Manager is this forum. Up to date documentation exists only on this website, and it changes frequently.
  • Your concept looks simple on the surface. But what you are really contemplating would isolate your members from control of their accounting systems, never a good idea in business. Optimal setup of Manager for a business requires careful consideration of the accounting workflow, understanding probable data input sources and required outputs. Accounting is not a one-size-fits-all situation. You would also be isolating your members from effective support. Since few of them are likely to be experienced in accounting themselves, that’s also not such a good idea.

Thanks, Tut, for your considered response.

So, recognizing that we can’t provide all things to all members, are you saying that there is no way that Manager or selected Manger modules can help my members with their business needs?

This suggests that there are some paths to explore:

That depends on your skill set. You cannot customize the program itself, as customization
occurs at the business level. But you could create sample businesses for various organizational > structures and business niches that others could import and rename.



The posts in this forum contain many examples of the way that forum members have configured the “Manager” database to suit the individual needs of their businesses. Reading through the forum can give you many insights into the capabilities of “Manager”.

Keep in mind that some of the older posts may be obsolete due to updates to the program and always thoroughly read the relative guides when contemplating a configuration idea. Also, trial different configurations using a test database.

Having a solid bookkeeping/accounting knowledge will definitely help to make the experience easier, but using the forum will also serve to strengthen your bookkeeping/accounting knowledge and expertise.

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No, @LRP. I am not suggesting that manager cannot help your members. I am only saying that it will be difficult to configure a baseline company or business in Manager that will serve all of your members needs. You also need to know that you cannot implement individual Manager modules as standalone tools. The program is always present in its entirety. Individual modules or tabs are enabled or disabled for a given business, but they are always present.

Thanks Tut and AJD,

The impression I have from everything I’ve read including the main website, the guides, the bits of the forum that I have scanned, and reviews is that Manager is a truly outstanding software offering.

I do understand that I can’t reasonably meet every business need of every member of our community, but it does sound well worth downloading, exploring and, if I see value and a way, seeking help in exploring how it might be configured to meet the needs of major segments of our membership.

Many thanks for your patience, time, and prompt responses to my questions,