Accounting Software

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I try not to recommend accounting software to clients, as most of my clients either have their own software already purchased (or obtained) .. or I will be entering the raw data myself. The reasons are:

* If they have the software, there’s no real reason to spend more money on new software – especially if the bookkeeper is familiar with the software – generally, they all do the same thing
* If I will be entering the raw data myself .. what difference is it to my clients what I use? Right .. there is no difference

If there is a melding of the two – for instance, I start entering the raw data myself, then slowly switch over to the client’s software or their bookkeeper, I will usually prepare their software to at least have some reasonable comparisons (like year end) and offer to export the monthly comparisons and let them set it up if they want to (because time – is money). In my opinion, if you change software and want to know what you did last year -look at last year’s reports .. why spend all the time getting it on your comparisons if it makes your current information and preparation untimely now. Besides, after a year on the new system – you will have comparisons.

Anyway …

On January 25, 2006 I placed the “1-800-HART POLL” in my sidebar asking readers “What Accounting Software Do You Use? (feel free to add your Specific Version that you use)” .. to date I have only received 19 responses, of which – I know – one of them is mine .. the MICROWARE option.

Yes, I prefer to use the an old program by Microware called Client Strategist (v8) .. the program has two separate modules that can be integrated .. Controller Receivables (v8) and Controller Payables (v8). It’s like a DOS program, that is Y2K compatible – of course, that never mattered to me .. because Windows is just a DOS program i.m.h.o.

Just like many other DOS programs .. you run this program. The data is live as soon as you enter the data. There is no heavy installation of the program or worries about posting procedures. By the way, if you ever crash your computer during a posting process .. that’s the worst time to do that – because chances are your data is probably scrambled.

I can’t really recommend this program to other people or clients – because it doesn’t exist anymore. There used to be this Canadian payroll software company, out of British Columbia, called HELP PAYROLL. I can’t recall if Microware started that company or bought them out – but, I believe they owned it regardless. Now .. this is from memory, and I have no intention on doing research to verify my facts .. (disclaimer!) .. but back in 1995-1998 era there weren’t too many “good” accounting software out there. Accpac was popular and I used it alot – the DOS version .. but, quite frankly when they switched to the Windows version .. it turned me off of it for good.

Microware had a great accounting software for the G/L. It is based on the simple notion that there are 3 types of entries:

* Current Entries – these are live transactions as you make them, change them, modify text, account, etc anytime
* Temporary Entries – these are future transactions .. you can make them in any order and retrieve what you want into the current entries by cut-off date at any time. While you can see all the accounts in an account view, they do not become part of the general ledger until transfered into current
* Kept Entries – when you do a period update, all current entries are moved into historical mode and cannot be edited – although, that’s not really true because you can edit historical transactions

Well .. a medium custom and accounting software company out of Ontario liked that program so much .. they bought the company and took it over. The word was that they were going to integrate the concepts of the General Ledger accounting software into their own Windows-based software design, eventually. Despite how great the HELP payroll program was and simple to use and I’m sure had a big following at the time .. the software company already had a payroll software module, and felt that the need to change was very minimal – so they basically scrapped the software.

If anybody wants to add to the above details what happened to clarify – or, if you were a user of Microware or Help Payroll software .. – please mention so in the comments! I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts about them!

By the way – the company that bought them out? IOA Software (Integrated Office Accounting). You can do a search for their website, because I do not want to promote it. I did try their windows version software the following year after they apparently integrated Microware into their “integrated” software and my thoughts – then – was .. “Are you kidding? What a waste of a program”. So – I removed all bookmarks to IOA and just use the software that I use. Who know how they evolved over the last 10 years, but their website is still online – so, they must be doing something right (or better).

When I first started this article, I mentioned that I don’t recommend software anymore .. this is the reason why. Despite my preference of software to use, or software that may have been inherited, or acquired by the client .. it really doesn’t matter what software you are using – it’s how you use is that counts.

In the past, when I have trained a new client or set up an in-house accounting system .. I concentrate on the “system” in place, or build one up .. to make sure that the flow of information from the daily business activities ultimately gets recorded, in the simplest or fastest way possible. I work with the individuals and the system – not just the software, although in most cases I end up doing just that anyway.

Years and Years and Years ago (when the dinosaurs roamed the Earth- just kidding) .. there was also another series of software that I was very happy with and used all the time .. it was called .. “MyData” software. This particular software was a database. I would use it to store my CD collection, and other useless household information .. and when I shared this program with clients and friends, we would expand its use to many wonderful things .. even detailed salesmen and product commissions, and specialized for trucking industry. That company came up with another winning product .. called “MyInvoices”. It was great and very similar to “MyData”. You create a template and store data. The data doesn’t necessarily integrate with anything, but you can massage the data and details to whatever you want.

I have not a clue how these two products evolved, but MySoftware is now part of the Avanquest Software company (a big company!) and they have many many more products.

One day .. in my slow season .. I plan to purchase their Bookkeeper 2006 software and give it a good review in here. For $29.95 USD – I don’t think you can go wrong .. given my experience with other “MySoftware” products (but not the bookkeeping software)


(Note: The above is through my clickbank affiliate account. If you purchase this using the above link – I will receive a small commission. Hopefully, if you appreciate my ‘heads up’ for this software, you won’t mind doing it that way .. to tip me! If you are unsure though, you can just go directly to the site itself and check them out Avanquest Software and do a little research) I don’t mind ..

And, if you are looking for ways to show your appreciation, there’s always HART’s Coffee Club!

Really .. the bottom line is .. for $29.95 USD .. and I drink more coffee in one month at Tim Hortons for that price – it’s pretty reasonable. Can you really go wrong? Maybe. Probably not. It depends how you use the software!

Don’t forget to answer the 1-800-HART Poll in our Sidebar!

I’d like to leave the poll up until the fall of 2006 and see what people are using out there. You may add your own software up there, if it’s not listed already.


Helen Warn says:

Gee! Were you part of Singer Lazer Grant? I remember you guys!

So Client Strategist, Controller Receivables, and Controller Payables still live on! Who would have guessed? Although my company books are still done using Client Strategist — still the fastest data entry around 🙂



Yup 🙂 GL8 *still* my software of choice! I use Client Strategist all the time .. and I moved away from Caseware back to Excel – downgraded to Excel v7 actually (it displays numbers best i.m.o.) You should see some of the financial statement designs I use with Client Strategist .. I only have 1 client that still uses AR and AP modules. I use something else for my own needs.

It must really be a small world if you remember SLG .. Have we ever met?

KW says:

I have been using the multi-user version of this Client Strategist GL (CS-GL) from Microware since early 1990s. CS-GL was an “upgrade” from a previous DOS accounting software (“Predecessor”) that I first bought in late 1980s. The developer/vendor of the Predecessor had an interesting history (Helen Warn is probably better informed about this if she is the same person who was associated with Microware – provided that I am not incorrect here, a Disclaimer).

Anyway, both the CS-GL & Predecessor are reasonably effective for write-up & easy to learn/use. They get the intended write-up jobs done fast & well (i.e. fast data entry for sure). The basic reporting functions are quite adequate. Most accounting folks can probably learn to use their basic functions sufficiently well within the first working day. I intend to keep using CS-GL til I retire !!

I was a little disappointed that the CS-GL did not get upgrade(s) to improve some of its reporting options & formats. Notwithstanding its shortcomings, CS-GL has been a reasonably good write-up tool that has serve my office well over the years.

I doubt if this software is still available for sale (I may be wrong here !)

HART says:

haha … 2010 and I’m still using GL8 for all my write-ups! I must admit, I don’t have need for the controller receivables or payables though … but I too will be using GL8 until I retire as well 😀

I’m not too sure about the CS-GL part, but I think we have the same software – don’t we? Mine is version 8.00 (Multi-User) as well … it was the last version updated for Y2K at the time. The actual GL.EXE file in the folder is dated 2/13/1997 …. I’ve been using Client Strategist (Microware) since version 5 … and have many cool F/S templates created too 🙂 If that interests you, give me a shout.

Heather Moseley says:

Hey sounds great that it is still out there and strong. I was one of the last person supporting MicroWare on Salt Spring for HELP Software… Had a blast working with so many users. Yes very quick to add data and great reporting can come from it. I helped a few users move to other programs and get their data moved just because of they wanted a windows platform and keep their Chart of Accounts and reports…

Helen was one of the original programmers so hats off to you dear girl… Working with you was great… Missin the old Support gang with TerBer, Da, Lee and Honda…

by the way HELP bought Microware then were both sold to MTW in 1999 who owned IOA. IOA is still out there and has several hunderd users but no longer owned by MTW… so it just keeps on going round.

HART says:

Thanks for clearing that up about HELP timeline. Honestly, I never liked IOA but, haven’t been interested enough to see what they have been doing lately… I still use GL8 everyday 😀

Karen says:

I loved, loved, loved Client Strategist and Help Payroll when I used to use it. A couple of years ago when I needed accounting software, I was not able to find it. So I went with Quickbooks. BIG mistake. I just upgraded to 2015. They told me the payroll was included, but it isn’t. Now they are trying to extort another $300 from me just so I can get into the payroll and produce my T4’s.

I still use Client Strategist everyday for my accounting software! For T4’s .. i just do them annually and no payroll clients, and use version … cheap. For the few clients looking for alternative Payroll – i suggest to them WAVE accounting Payroll. Also cheap and accounting part in the cloud is free.

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