Transact (Dialog) Review | Sinclair User - Everygamegoing

Sinclair User

By Ely-Dialog
Sinclair QL

Published in Sinclair User #47


Transact, a book keeping system for small businesses, is not designed as a complete accounting system like Integrated Accounts as there is no sales ledger or purchase ledger. It is designed to control a company's day books and nominal ledger.

As with all book keeping systems, transactions are assigned to various types and names of accounts. The 100 accounts available are divided into ten sections of ten accounts. The ten accounts in the first section are pre-assigned as control accounts. The remaining 90 can be named by the user. Obviously, professional advice on the grouping and naming of accounts should be sought beforehand.

Naming and subsequently amending the account headings - except for the control accounts which cannot be changed - is done easily via the Account File Handling option of the main menu. Account headings, balances and a trial balance can be displayed or printer. Balances in accounts can also be transferred to the profit and loss account. This will produce a sort of balance sheet when completed.

Data for the transactions is entered as one of five types - cash, bank, sales, purchase or journal. The date, name of debtor or creditor and a reference, described as transaction folio, are entered together with the total amount, which is automatically assigned to one of the control accounts. The total is then broken down into different account headings, the account number being entered before the amount.

The list of account headings can be displayed instantly on-screen. That saves having to stop every time to look up the account number from a printed list in the way that many packages seem to expect. As an aid to getting the double entry right, the sum of the separate amounts must equal the total before you are allowed to enter another transaction. A reducing balance, showing how much of the total is still outstanding, would be a helpful addition.

A wide range of reports can be displayed or printed. The utility option allows the parameters to be set for your printer and, should you forget, you are then given the opportunity to set it when you try to print your first report. The transactions can be reported on individually, as a summarised list including the breakdown between accounts, a list by amount and control account, or those in a given account.

The amounts, details and account posted to are also available. However, once the balances are updated - which should happen at the end of each session - the individual transaction details are lost. In addition, all accounts and balances can be listed on the screen.

Transact has many features to commend it. It is relatively easy to use, the screen layouts are clear and easy to read and, in general, the error-trapping is good. Although not a problem in itself, the program is written in SuperBasic which means that loading seems to take forever, and it does crash if CTRL and SPACE are pressed together.

However, I found the biggest problem was the manual. Apart from being written originally for another version - an amendment slip is added for the QL version - I found it difficult to read and follow.