As my consulting practice grows, I am starting to look at one of my lines of business as if it were a separate business unit. It still comes under the same legal entity, but I want to be able to look at the fiscal performance of the unit separately from other parts of my business, evaluating the unit’s profit and losses as if it were its own entity. Someday, I might choose to spin it off as a separate legal entity.
To help with this, and also to help businesses that like to evaluate the performance of some of its components separately, it would be very nice if Manager would allow a business to set up business units (sometimes referred to as P&L’s) underneath it. All transactions could be associated with a particular business unit – or none at all. The user could invoke Manager in Business Unit Mode, where all ledgers, reports, and summaries would reflect only those transactions associated with a particular business unit, or the user could invoke Manager in Business (or Corporate) Mode, where all transactions from all business units within the business would be reflected and reported en masse along with any transactions that are not allocated to a business unit. (An enhancement would also allow select reports in Business/Corporate Mode to be broken down by Business Unit, just as the Annual Report of a corporation often breaks its Income Statement down by business unit.) To keep things simple, any new transactions entered while in Business Unit Mode would automatically be assigned to that business unit; when in Business (Corporate) Mode, new transaction forms would have a drop-down menu for selecting among the existing business units, or perhaps all such transactions would be unassigned to any business unit.
The difference between this and the existing Tracking Codes is that the latter are only implemented on a select few reports, and they get broken out into columns instead into their very own reports. You can’t filter the Summary screen for one particular Tracking Code, for example. With my proposal, what you would essentially get is the optional capability to invoke a mini-Manager that “sees” only each part of the business, treating it as if it were its own business, while still being able to treat the overall business as one. (Essentially, Business Unit Mode would globally apply a filter limiting its scope to a single business unit, while Business (Corporate) Mode would release the filter.) In multi-user mode, users could be limited to a particular business unit.
There could be a “Spin Off Business Unit” feature that would allow a business unit to be split off into its own, separate business in Manager, creating its own separate
.manager data file and removing its transactions from the parent business’s data file. Conversely, there could be an “Acquire Business” feature that would allow a separate Manager data file to be subsumed into another Manager Business as its own business unit – although this latter feature would be challenging to implement because of the potential for different account structures between the two Manager files.
(As a nice side effect, the “Spin Off Business Unit” feature could be used to clone a business’s structure in Manager for a new business, which is often requested on this forum: The user would simply create a new business unit under an existing business, and then use “Spin Off Business Unit” feature before adding any transactions for that new business unit. The result would be a new, empty Manager data file that has the same account structure, templates, and settings as the original business.)