NJFMPUG February Meeting: Shedding Light on the Accounting Black Hole

The New Jersey FileMaker Pro User Group’s February 29, 2012 meeting was held at Essex Computers in Paramus. Tony Cellini, 2010 Mad Dog Award winner with 35 years of experience in manufacturing, distribution, accounting and financial reporting, shared his expertise – and enthusiasm – for building accounting solutions.

Tony demonstrated a project he has developed for a client in the oncology equipment industry that includes extensive front-end customization as well as integration with New Millenium’s Genesis Accounting package. While Genesis is locked, it does provide extensive automation (such as batch check writing) and reporting, and access to its table occurrences. Although Tony develops systems that can play well with off-the-shelf products such as QuickBooks, MultiLedger, and MYOB, he prefers avoiding these “black holes” and keeping data where it is more easily available and manipulatable: in FileMaker.

Demystifying accounting essentials, Tony reviewed the five key components of a financial system: accounts receivable (AR, revenue, making money), accounts payable (AP, expenditures, spending money), payroll (a special instance of accounts payable), production (making products), and asset management (inventory). Payroll is a highly specialized area, and often warrants the use of dedicated services, logged via journal entries to AP.

Tony stressed the fundamentals of parent-child relationships to preserve the distinction of header and line item tables for both AR and AP, a concept most database managers are already familiar with. But, he warned, many developers make the mistake of pushing product data to the financial side; instead, keep data such as “quantity ordered” stored in the inventory side of your system. He also reinforced for all that FileMaker provides the perfect platform for tailoring a system to a particular company’s work flow. By focusing on the basic ins-and-outs of money flow, developers needn’t be fearful of accounting processes, but should consider the business opportunities they offer.

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