Frequently Asked Questions
1) How many years of accounting data can I retain?
Using the features built into your Libra system you can retain any number of years of data. It is recommended that you use the Database Management Utility to copy a database before running your year-end closings. You can use this to create a database 208 for the year-ending 2008 for example. At the very least you should do this for General Ledger, Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable. Digital data from these modules may be required to meet new Federal, Provincial and State Audit Requirements and Data Retention is a legal requirement in many Canadian and U.S. Jurisdictions. Data should be retained for at least 7 fiscal years. Prior year data is retained automatically for Payroll but the procedure is manual for other modules.
2) Must I perform a Period-End Closing every month?
In older version of Libra, users were forced to close a month and finalize reporting before proceeding into the next month. However, since version 4.0 of the product, this is no longer necessary. In fact, if data capacity exists, data may be retained for at least a fiscal year at a time and only Year-End closings need to be run. Greater data volumes in these cases will slow some reports slightly, however this is usually offset by the advantages of detailed yearly reports. When year-end closings are performed take note of the data retention abilities of the products and the legal requirements of your federal and local governments.
3) Could you clarify the requirements of Year-End processing?
One of Libra's strengths tends to be it's Multi-Period and Multi-Year capabilities. As explained above it is no longer necessary in Receivables and Payables to hard close a month before processing the next month. Likewise, processing into the next year can be accomplished by posting to the period no + 20. Keep in mind that next year periods refer to your next fiscal year and are not necessarily geared to the calendar year. For example a company whose first fiscal period is March would process periods 3 -> 12, then 1&2 and would use next year periods starting in March which would become period 3+20 = 23. The next year periods would be used until the Year-end Closing was performed at which time period numbers would revert to normal.
Once the G/L is closed, the A/R and A/P subledgers as well as Inventory Control versions 5.0 and above must be closed. This is a firm requirement. Subsequent processing would occur to normal period nos. The exceptions to this are Payroll, which must still be closed at the calendar year-end to maintain Year-To-Date data integrity for tax reporting purposes.
4) How can I get reports in exactly the format I require?
Libra supplies a large number of standard reports with all their systems. However in some cases a hybrid report combining the features of two or more existing reports may be the best solution.
To accomplish this Libra provides two options. Most Libra applications offer an integrated Report Writer as a low-cost, easy to use option. Also available is the R&R Report Writer which will work with most Libra applications. This Generic Report Writer is better suited to the accomplished technical user and takes more time to set up, in return for greater flexibility.
5) How can I extract data from Libra into Excel or other Programs?
Several Libra Modules such as General Ledger have built in Data Export Routines. Several additional exports are available in the optional Visual Accounting Features module. In additional to these built in features you may print any report to a Spool File. This file contains an Ascii image of the report and that can be imported into Excel via the Import Wizard. The optional integrated Report Writers if available can make this job much easier by formatting data into nice regular columns which is ideal for Excel Imports.
6) What security controls are available under Libra?
Libra has 3 distinct security levels available. For users on a Network, security is used to restrict users to specific programs and or databases and is usually set up by the network administrator. Libra program directories (eg. GLA) require Read Only rights. Libra databases (eg. GLD001) require Full Access. Keep in mind that some users may not run an application but may need to update the files for another database (most commonly General Ledger).
Libra Environment security is used primarily by Dos standalone users to restrict access to General Ledger or Payroll most frequently. Libra Database security allows you to establish users and user groups with varying rights to run specific programs or access specific companies within an application and within a specific database.
7) How do I reverse a posted invoice?
Generally posting an adjusting invoice, referencing the original invoice or voucher number, with identical line items, except with negative dollar amounts is the recommended approach. Newer releases have this option automated within Data Entry to simplify the process.
8) What is the maximum number of customers/items I may have?
Generally the number is almost unlimited (ie 67,000,000) however extremely large files will take longer to process and hence optimized hardware configurations (ie fast computers, servers & networks are recommended in large installations with large files.
9) What happens to my files if the power goes out?
Under Dos on a standalone generally all data which has just been entered to a file may be lost in the case of a power-outage. Under Novell, if the File Server is kept up by a UPS (Backup Battery) then a deliberate downing of the Server in this situation will prevent most data loss, however procedural failures may require that some files be restored to correct database integrity. If in doubt, run Libra's File Integrity check on all databases.
10) What can I Do and Not Do in Multi-User access?
Running Libra on networks like Novell enables Libra's multiuser capabilities provided that the Sharing Mode is turned on in the Utilities Menu. Generally, concurrent Data Entry, File Maintenance, Posting and Reporting are permitted in multi-user mode. Procedures that will function for only 1 user and require all files to be reserved include:
a) Backing Up Or Restoring the Database
b) Sorting The Primary Index Files
c) Running Period-End Or Year-End Closings
These procedures are best run when the databases are not required by other users.
11) Why don't my order entry lookups by customer show me all of my orders?
Auxiliary lookups by name, purchase order no, etc require that their index files be resorted to reflect new additions to the file. This can be done weekly or daily if required from the Utilities Menu. If you upgrade to version 6.5 or convert to the optional Btrieve File Manager this will eliminate the need to sort index files. It can also reduce your overall file sizes.
12) What can I do to keep my programs current?
Visual Accounting and the Libra Corporation offer low-cost programs which provide unlimited telephone support and free upgrades to the applications as they become available.
Customers may inquire from their sales rep as to the monthly terms to enter this program.
This section will be updated and expanded as time permits.
Also see our Monthly Newsletters for more information on common issues and problems.