Comparative balance sheet with starting balances

I have spent quite a while fiddling with starting date and starting balances and I have noticed unexpected behaviors when it comes to reports.

I have entered all opening balances as on 31/12/2019 for a client (incl. sales and purchase invoices) according to the guides.

Now when it comes to reporting, there are two possibilities each with it’s own shortcoming.

  • Scenario A – Start Date set to 1/1/2020
    Balance sheet set to 31/12/2019 shows nothing.
    Balance sheet set to 1/1/2020 mixes opening balances with transactions on 1/1/2020
    Either way, we cannot obtain the starting balances as comparative figures.

  • Scenario B – Start Date set to 31/12/2019
    Balance sheet set to 31/12/2019 shows opening balances excluding all invoices dated 31/12/2019, which is not correct.

In both scenarios, obtaining a comparative balance sheet is not possible.

Edit: As @AJD has suggested the method in scenario B is the right one but all invoices on the starting date disappear.

@lubos, can we please have the invoices enter as on the Start Date appear in reports?

As it should. If you are not using Manager on 31-12-2019, you should have no balances on a balance sheet for that date. No other aspect of Manager allows you to recall transactions, balances, or status of anything from before you began using the program either.

Again, as it should. Manager treats all reports as end-of-day.

This is not true. If your start date is 31-12-2019 and you have invoices dated 31-12-2019, a balance sheet dated 31-12-2019 includes any starting balances for various accounts plus balances for Accounts receivable and Accounts payable that include the invoices dated 31-12-2019.

In either case, the Starting Balances report—which is different from a Balance Sheet report dated as at the start date—correctly reports starting balances at the beginning of the start date. If no other changes are made besides the start date, Manager will treat invoices on 31-12-2019 as pre-start-date invoices and use them to set starting balances for Accounts receivable and Accounts payable.

@Ealfardan, you have been expressing your dissatisfaction with Manager’s starting balance scheme for several months. You preferred the previous one, likening it to more of a spreadsheet. If I remember correctly, you also once expressed a wish to be able to enter a single journal entry whenever you set up a new business. While those are valid opinions, nothing in Manager’s current scheme produces incorrect results. You can certainly obtain a report that will match favorably with the closing balance sheet of a prior accounting system. You just need a Starting Balances report instead of a Balance Sheet.

Dear @tut, I already gave up on having the old setup back as you have told me earlier. I will suck it up and move on doing things the hard way as you suggested.

That aside, my complaint here isn’t about the process, it is about the results. Can you please take this file and try to obtain a comparative balance sheet for 2020 and 2019 that matches the starting balance report. If you succeed in doing that, I will acknowledge that my question is dumb. However, in case you couldn’t obtain that report, could you please acknowledge the problem.

Op Balance Test for Tut (2021-01-04).manager (960 KB)
Note: I have removed all personal identification from the file for security purposes.

To have a report which compares the prior year to the current year, you would have to enter the transactions (or a summary of) from the prior year.

To start a business into Manager which is already running you need to enter starting balances covering ALL years prior to entering data into Manger (which if you want a comparative report would have to be for the year prior to the last.

It is for that reason I imported some old records but many may find the effort greater than the benefit.

I noticed this not long after the most recent changes were made to the starting balance functionality and I agree with your comments and the confusion and frustration it creates.

There are 2 workaround options to overcome the issue:

  1. If start date is set on the first date of the current year ensure all current year transactions are recorded with a date later than the first date of the year.

  2. If start date is set to last day of previous year enter all previous year transactions with a date at least one day earlier to the start date.

The second option is probably the best as this will enable comparison reports which include the previous year and most likely have fewer transactions that need date modification.

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I don’t understand this comment as only one starting balance for each account can be entered.

The only explanation I can come up with is that starting balances are entered for, say, the year 5 years prior to moving to Manager and journals are completed for the movement in accounts each year for the 4 intervening years. Is this what you mean?

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Starting balances do not just cover the immediately prior financial period so can not be reported as such.

If you want comparator columns for prior financial periods you have to

  • enter a starting balance and start date prior to the comparator periods you want reported.
  • Transactions for (or a journal entry summarizing the transactions) for prior financial periods you want to show as comparators.

@Ealfardan, your difficulty comes from trying to generate matching balance sheets for the end of two different dates when there have been intervening transactions. Leave out the invoices on the start date that you mentioned and you will have what you want. This is basically what @AJD suggests.

Or you can do what I suggested and the developer intended. Consider the Starting Balances report to be equivalent to a balance sheet at the beginning of the start date.

What @AJD suggested is a workaround that I am going to implement.

But is that really a solution? Software not giving expected results unless you change facts?

Could you please explain why eliminating a full day off the calendar was intended of the developer?

I would really like to hear what @lubos thinks of this.

Why would anybody ever want to manually combine align the two reports?

I tried that for a couple of businesses and have done it but it’s not worth it for me mainly because it’s not a 1 to 1 relationship between the two recordsets.

I never suggested altering facts. I suggested being flexible enough to accept a different form of report with the information you need.

@Ealfardan your start date should be on 01/01/2020. That’s the fact.

The issue here is that when you create a balance sheet as at 31/12/2019, you expect to see starting balances entered as at 01/01/2020. After all closing balances as at 31/12/2019 are the same as starting balances as at 01/01/2020.

So Manager does have the information, it’s just that balance sheet does not leverage it and I agree with you that it should.

There is no way you can fix this at your end, I need to make balance sheet a bit smarter thus moving this to ideas.

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I apologise for not reading your title properly. My replies above are for profit and loss reports not balance sheet reports.

Good to see you have a suitable resolution.

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No worries mate.

This idea has been implemented as a side-effect of removing start date from Manager.