Custom Reports

So here’s the latest info I’m hunting…why can’t I use the Custom Fields tool on a Custom Report? The Custom Report only allows for (in my opinion) very limited customization in the data/columns displayed. I can’t use Custom Fields to add a field to Custom Reports like I can elsewhere (Sales Invoice, Customer, etc.) and I can’t even create a text field/label to be visible when I print the report.

I am trying to create a way to inform a customer about how much credit they have with us. Special Accounts and Credit Notes don’t have a print option, so I decided to try to use the Custom Report for this need. The thing is, not all my customers (like myself) are familiar with accounting practices and they may not realize that a negative account balance is actually the credit amount they are owed. I want some way to explain that on the report or a way to print their Special Account to show the credit. Any suggestions?

All custom fields are shown under Custom Reports.

However, those really aren’t “Custom Fields”, as such. They are there for the user to add additional data columns on the report. That is not what I am trying to do. I am looking for a way to add a text field or label to the report. That means it is a customization more in line with the “Custom Fields” option in the Settings. Unfortunately, Custom Fields does not have access to Custom Reports.

Right now, my only option is to utilize the Name field as a notation, which isn’t really ideal or appropriate, considering how large the font is and that it is top center of the report. My need is more like what a footnote would handle…

Even the “Description” field would be handy if it actually appeared on the report, but it doesn’t. I assume it is there for the User only. I really don’t understand the need for those types of fields anyway. I mean, as the User/Creator of the business’s account, I already know what my various fields are there for. Then again, I am running a sole proprietorship and realize that there are plenty of Manager users out there who have multiple people accessing their business account. That set up would benefit from a notation by the IT person involved with administering the accounting…

Custom reports include data from general ledger transactions. So you cannot add custom fields to the report itself. This is consistent with all other reports in Manager. You cannot add custom fields to any report.

Create a PDF and use a PDF editor to add an annotation.

I am not sure what you are saying. Any transaction or report that can be viewed can be printed.

As I said above, add an annotation to a PDF.

The Description field is so users know what the report shows without having to open it.

Where is the option to print? I don’t want to print a screenshot…

This is the exact info I want to share with the customer. It shows all their credits and their current account balance. I especially like how it is in big, bold numbers in the Amount box at the top. The custom report is cool, because I can show all transactions for credit and debit which informs the customer about where their monies have gone and been credited. I am just missing an easy way to educate my customer about how to read the report information accurately. I don’t want a lot of followup questions about why a customer has a negative balance, where is their credit, etc. Nevermind that they are actually one and the same thing!

Keep in mind our previous discussion about how I am offering in-house credits for a pre-paid account. Your help was utilized (thanks Tut!)and I set up the Special Account for a customer. Now I want the transparency to allow me to inform the customer of their balance. I foresee using this credit option a lot…

I may use the pdf route, however, time is money and that is just another 5 minutes of using a separate program to accomplish the desired outcome. The Custom Report is still easiest. I’ll probably just continue using the Title as the way to inform the customer…

That is not a report. Your screen shot shows a drill-down listing for the Special Accounts tab. And it shows that you are using special accounts incorrectly. You are apparently attempting to classify a customer as a special account, which you cannot do. (You can, however, create a special account for a customer, such as when you record money held in trust or advance deposits for a customer.)

What you should be doing if you want customers to be in their own control accounts rather than the default Accounts receivable is create a custom control account and assign the customer to that. See Then, you will be able to get exactly what you want with a Customer Statement (Transactions) report.

This is what the Customer Statement (Transactions) does.

I think you need to understand the accounting before you get bogged down in reports. The special account for your internal pre-payments will be a source of money for paying off customer sales invoices.

Well Tut, now you have me confused…

Days ago I asked about taking in funds from a customer in exchange for in-house credit. I was referred to the guide on Special Accounts as a means of tracking a credit held in trust for a customer. What is the difference between classifying a customer as a special account (you said that’s wrong), and creating a special account for a customer which is how you record money held in trust. I’ve created a customer and then I created a special account for that customer. I then create a receipt to reflect payment by the customer to my business checking account and, in exchange, credit their special account to reflect the credit. Should their be only one special account to hold all of my customer’s prepayments? If so, then how do I track how many credits I owe each customer? I thought each one should get their own special account. That’s how I read the guide:

The property manager creates a new special account for each property she manages. These all show under the Special Accounts tab:

Going by the example, I have created multiple customers instead of properties. Each shows up as a separate special account under Special Accounts.

Am I reading the guide on special accounts wrong? And do I really need to create their own control accounts (for each ??)? The guide says that is a higher level option. I don’t believe anything about what I am trying to do should require a higher level function. I can’t help but think that I should be able to accomplish what I need by using the standard Manager control accounts. I mean…I DID create a Control Account, under special accounts, called credits to link all these customer special accounts to as subledgers (I believe that’s the correct terminology).

I am REALLY trying to stick to KISS…I have a customer, they want to pre-pay me for future services. What is the simplest way for a layman like me to accept payment, record the credit, and process the credit payment at a future time?

I have experimented with Manager…and I thought I had finally got a handle on things by using the special account and then, on an invoice, listing current charges as non-inventory items for services rendered, and then listing a line item of the credits as a negative value coming from the special account. That successfully paid the invoice from credit and, at the same time, deducted those credits from that customer’s special account and it appeared in the Summary correctly as moving from a Liability to an Income. I will never have accounts receivable. Customers will remit payment with their order or have a prepaid account already funded to pay for current charges. I just need this as simple as possible to track debits and (literally) credits.

That is a a questionable decision

Have you considered creating customers in Manager and invoice for services you are contracted to supply. Use a due date for the invoice after the service has been supplied.

When receiving a deposit, apply it to the invoice, with the balance due at a later milestone.
If you use cash based accounting this may achieve what you want.

Alternatively invoice the customer for the deposit when due. Then invoice the customer for the difference (total with a negative line item for the deposit) when that is due.

@InfoHunter, let me try to explain again. I’ve already linked you to the relevant Guides, except for one that became relevant only after your most recent post. (You have dribbled out your needs only a little at a time.)

In Manager, customers are actually subsidiary ledgers (or subaccounts, if you will) under the control account Accounts receivable. So they have balances. Transactions in those subsidiary ledgers can be reported with Customer Statements. If necessary and desirable, you can modify the control account under which a customer is accounted for to a custom control account.

The easiest way to track advances deposits by customers is simply to credit them to Accounts receivable and the customer’s subaccount. That is explained by this Guide: This Guide is now linked because of your recent statement that you were looking for the simplest approach. The disadvantage of this simple approach is that credit balances in the subaccount will automatically be applied to unpaid sales invoices in the order of oldest due date first. If there is a lot of activity for a customer, you can lose visibility.

Special accounts come into play when you want more visibility. But special accounts are not, as you seem to think, the same as control accounts. Instead, they are a way to consolidate your balance sheet. They are custom subsidiary ledgers; accordingly, they are assigned to a control account of their own. They can sometimes be parallel to or mirror customers’ subsidiary ledgers, but do not replace them. The example in the Guide you referenced shows how individual real property trust accounts can be lumped together for balance sheet purposes while still tracking monies related to individual properties.

I recommended special accounts when the only thing you had indicated you were interested in was some kind of internal prepaid fake money. When special accounts are used in this way, they can be thought of as a liability, money you hold on behalf of a customer and ultimately owe to that customer. Thus, they can be used as a source of funds for settling obligations from sales invoices. The example in the Guide about gift cards is similar to what you want to do. But you do not use a special account in place of a customer’s subsidiary ledger. Nor do you use it in place of a control account, whether the default Accounts receivable or a custom control account.

Based on what you have shared so far, you have no need for a custom report. Nor do I see any need for custom control accounts. You really don’t need special accounts. You just need to record deposits/advances by your customers to their regular subsidiary ledgers in Accounts receivable. I suggest you try several experimental transactions that way in a test business. Look at the reports you can generate and decide if they fit your needs.

If you decide you need more control, only then set up special accounts. The thing about going that direction is that you will gain no additional built-in reports associated with the special accounts. You will just have more concrete visibility into the liability you are carrying on your balance sheet by virtue of holding all these deposits from your customers. (That, by the way, is something you may have difficulty convincing your customers to do—pay you money against the possibility of future work.)

Understand in using special accounts that they are designed to benefit you, not the customer. They are meant to give you more visibility into what is on your balance sheet, not generate additional reports for the customer. You won’t need to, because the Customer Statement will tell the customer what they need to know. And it is not your job to educate your customers about what a statement is for. You are not (presumably) running an accounting education consultancy.

Many users become enamored of arcane features in Manager. Most can actually get by with very simple, built-in and default capabilities. Talk with an accountant and determine the minimum setup you need for your business operations. Implement only that.

I apologize that my naivete seems to have frustrated you Tut. Thank you for the new guide reference. And FYI, I do not believe I have been “dribbling out” my needs. It is TRUE that, all along I have expressed my lack of experience with accounting methods and that I was simply trying to create customer credit similar to a gift card. This new information and your opinions will be taken as gospel and I will follow your advice:

“Based on what you have shared so far, you have no need for a custom report. Nor do I see any need for custom control accounts. You really don’t need special accounts. You just need to record deposits/advances by your customers to their regular subsidiary ledgers in Accounts receivable . I suggest you try several experimental transactions that way in a test business. Look at the reports you can generate and decide if they fit your needs.”

And I will read


Control accounts are a way to classify groups of subledgers under a specific account of the chart of accounts. Subledgers can be customers, suppliers etc etc and also special accounts

Special accounts are subledgers used to subdivide an account in the case no one of the existing tab (clients, suppliers and so on) fits your need.

Clients, suppliers, invoices, special accounts, inventory items, kits etc etc can be expanded by the use of custom fields.

Data can be queried with standard reports or, if none fits your needs, custom reports (which is a SQL lookalike visual reporting tool). If even custom reports don’t fits your need then you can use transformation reports which are a more flexible reporting tool in liquid language.