You can either enter a trial balance and/or journals directly into Excel (manual entry), or you can import a trial balance automatically from the VT Transaction+ or VT Cash Book bookkeeping packages (linked entry). There are different templates for each type of method.
The manual entry method
In the manual entry method, there is a TB sheet in the template with current year and comparative columns where the numbers can be entered. This simple TB can also be turned into an extended trial balance by clicking on the Insert Trial Balance Adjustment Column button on the VT toolbar. A new row in the printable part of the accounts can be created, which in turn creates a new row in the trial balance by clicking on the Insert Financial Row button (NB: new trial balance accounts should therefore not be created directly to the TB sheet). Simple formulas link the printable part of the accounts to the trial balance.
In the templates supplied, there is usually a one to one correspondence between the lines in the printable parts of the accounts and the lines in the TB sheet.
There are also buttons at the right-hand end of the VT toolbar for the following:
•importing an opening trial balance from another accounts package via a CSV file
•entering an adjustment or journal into the extended trial balance using a journal dialog
•displaying and printing various reports derived from the extended trial balance
The dialogs and reports used for the above features are actually the same ones found in VT Transaction+. You can edit any journal or amount by clicking on it with the right mouse button in a report, just as you can in VT Transaction+.
Apart from these features being more convenient to use, it is now practical to have a far larger number of journals than was previously possible in a manual entry workbook. You can now do some quite serious bookkeeping in a manual entry workbook whereas before you would have to have used VT Transaction+. The total number of journals is limited by the number of columns available in an Excel spreadsheet (16,384 in Excel 2007 or later). However, the journal and report dialogs may load noticeably more slowly if you have more than say 500 hundred journals.
If you have done a lot of bookkeeping in a manual entry workbook and then realise you need to use the standalone version of VT Transaction+, there is an option on the VT Bookkeeping menu in Excel to convert the extended trial balance to a VT Transaction+ file.
For more information, see The manual entry trial balance.
The linked entry method
In the linked entry method, an opening trial balance and any number of day to day transactions, journals and adjustments are stored in a VT Transaction+ or VT Cash Book bookkeeping file. The name and location of the file are stored in the Excel workbook. A snapshot of the current closing trial balance is also stored in a hidden part of the workbook. The transactions may have been entered during the course of the year into the standalone versions of VT Transaction+ or VT Cash Book by yourself or a client, or entered using the buttons at the right-hand end of the VT toolbar. You can use a combination of the two processes if you like. The two processes have the same effect and the transactions are stored in the same place. It is just a matter of convenience.
You can display or print various reports produced by VT Transaction+ by using the buttons at the right-hand end of the VT toolbar. There is no need to leave Excel and open the file in VT Transaction+. You can edit any transaction or amount by clicking on it with the right mouse button in a report.
Each account in VT Transaction+ is assigned to a printable line (known as a heading) in the workbook in Excel. Several accounts can be assigned to one heading. Any type of linked entry template in Excel can be linked to any chart of accounts in VT Transaction+. A dialog called the Trial Balance Analyser determines which heading each account is included under.
For more information, see The linked entry trial balance.
Deciding which entry method to use
The manual entry method is simpler; the linked entry method has more features. You should therefore use a manual entry workbook unless:
•Your bookkeeping data is already in a VT Transaction+ or VT Cash Book file
•You want to record transactions on a day to day basis throughout the year
•You have more than say 500 hundred transactions
•You want to enter transaction types other than a journal
•You want to import journals other than the opening trial balance from another source
•You want several accounts to be included in a single line in the printable part of the accounts
•You want to use VT to reconcile bank accounts
•You want to use VT to prepare VAT returns
•You want to maintain sales and purchase ledgers
•You want to use VT to issue invoices