Home Accountant, as the name suggests, is designed to provide simple account maintenance facilities for the small business or home user. Transactions are recorded on accounts comprising of two ledgers, one for receipts and one for expenses. Each entry on one ledger has to have a corresponding entry on the other (i.e. double entry book keeping). The ledgers contain 24 columns, some with pre-defined headings such as "Balance", "VAT" etc and the remainder can be specified to individual requirements.
The program works to a monthly accounting period and statements of each ledger are produced the first time you use the system in the new month. Apart from setting-up, loading, saving and entering transactions, there is a facility to accommodate regular payments, such as standing orders, which are automatically applied to the account on the required date. Statements may be printed at any time or viewed on the screen and there is an interesting option which performs a "trial balance" on the account. This allows the calculation of a predicted balance on a forward date which will include all regular payments up to that date.
Home Accountant, in common with all software, has both good and bad points. The menu structure is well designed and easy to follow with good use made of the function keys to select options. Unfortunately there are quite a few problems. It took me rather longer than the one hour familiarisation time claimed in the documentation to get to grips with the program. I also found the documentation sadly lacking in places.
Nowhere, for example, does it mention that when entering "today's date" it should be within one month of the last entry date (found by trial and error). Another problem appears when trying to view the ledgers on the screen: these are formatted in 80 columns for a printer but this is also how they are presented on the 40-column screen which makes them completely unreadable. The printed statement takes up six pages of paper, three for each ledger, even if you only have one entry; the documentation helpfully suggests that you cut them up and stick them together!
When learning to use the Home Accountant a written tutorial would have helped enormously, particularly for those of us who are not expert accountants. This program could appeal to those needing to keep limited records of personal accounts but for me, as a confirmed spreadsheet user, it is too restrictive and I would much rather have the flexibility to design accounts completely to my own specifications.