21st Century Accounting Tutorials - General Ledger

Financial Report Templates and Financial Reports, an Overview

A company's chart of accounts represents the foundation of the business. Financial reports let you check the soundness of the foundation. Understanding the ideas behind 21st Century Accounting financial reports will help you design effective reports.

Keep in mind that 21st Century Accounting provides a number of automatic financial reports, including income statements, balance sheets, trial balance reports, and cash flow statements. The system may already provide all the financial reports you need. You don't necessarily have to customize or design your own reports. Many users find that the reports provided by the system are perfectly adequate for their financial reporting requirements.

Rows and Columns

You use two functions in 21st Century Accounting to design financials: General Ledger/Configure/Financial Report Templates and General Ledger/Configure/Financial Reports.

  • The templates control the rows on financial reports — the accounts and headings that print on the reports. For example, in General Ledger/Configure/Financial Report Templates, you choose whether to print all income accounts, selected income accounts, only non-zero accounts, individual accounts summed under a text heading, and so forth).

  • The reports control the columns on financial reports — the type and time frame of the data that prints on the reports. For example, in General Ledger/Configure/Financial Reports, you add columns and choose whether the columns print actual activity, budgeted amounts, period ending balances, year-to-date totals, ratios, and so forth.

21st Century Accounting financial reports are based on the financial report templates. When you customize a template, the report(s) that are based on the template will reflect your template customizations. The report will print data using the accounts and captions in the template. When you create or modify a financial report, you explicitly designate the template to base it on.

Include G/L Accounts by Category or Explicitly

Say for special financial reporting required by a business, you want to add accounts, remove accounts, and move accounts from one category to another. The 21st Century Accounting template's flexibility lets you create special reports for special purposes. The Financial Report Template design window provides an option to include G/L accounts by category or explicitly. This option has the following effect:

  • By category. Include all the general ledger accounts within the categories that are included on the template. Use "By category" if you want the G/L accounts to be tied to and automatically printed in account ID order following their categories. If you check "By category," you cannot add or remove individual accounts to or from the template. (You can only add or remove entire categories. For example, you can remove empty categories or categories that contain inactive accounts.)

  • Explicitly. Include only the accounts that remain after additions and deletions within the categories. You must check the "Explicitly" option to customize templates in the following ways:

Summarize a few accounts into a single detail line — for example, summarize all payroll expense accounts into a single "Payroll expense" line

Order the accounts in some order other than account ID (within a single caption)

Omit some accounts without omitting an entire category

Split the accounts for a single category into more than one caption

Move accounts into categories different from their categories in the Chart of Account.

Sometimes you may want to provide very specific information that can be produced quickly and easily by severing the tie between accounts and their categories. The "Explicitly" option lets you isolate performance in an area that might not be obvious or even show up on a normal financial report — say, in response to a request from the bank or to meet an internal management need.

Create a copy of any financial report template that you want to base "explicit" financial reports on. Once you save a template that uses the "Explicitly" option, it is not advisable to change the option back to "By category." (If you change back to "By category," the template drops all its accounts, since they lost their categories when you changed to "Explicitly.")


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