Monday, May 4, 2009

EZ13 spreadsheet output

With the review of the leases discussion paper complete (see previous blog entries for a chapter by chapter review), I thought I'd take some time to review some aspects of EZ13, our lease accounting software that provides complete compliance with FAS 13 for lessee leases (and FAS 13 compliance for most lessor leases as well, in the separate lessor edition).

Based on questions we've gotten from customers, it seems there's some confusion about the ways to get output, particularly spreadsheet output. EZ13 offers two different ways to get spreadsheet output, each having a different purpose.

1) Most people wanting spreadsheet output will want a format where each lease is on a single line, with the accounts and values for that lease each in a separate column. For this type of output, you should choose output to "Spreadsheet" in the report setup page:

As soon as you click on the Spreadsheet button, EZ13 will open a dialog box for the name of the spreadsheet. Most people will create an Excel spreadsheet (.xls format). However, this requires that you have a valid installation of Excel on your computer. If you do not, you can create spreadsheet output in XML format, which can be read by Excel, OpenOffice Calc, and various other spreadsheet applications. To select XML output, go to the File menu, choose System Options, and check the box labeled "XML spreadsheet output." (XML output is also a bit faster to create, and less subject to memory limitations with very large reports.)

Once you click on Generate Report, EZ13 will build the spreadsheet. The output for an Income Statement/Balance Sheet Detail report looks something like this:

Each row shows a different lease. There is a column for the lease number, description, begin date, end date, gross asset beginning value, and so on. The last row is a totals line, which is the summation of all the columns that have value information (as opposed to descriptive information).

2) The other way to get spreadsheet output is using the Export feature of the text output. Text output is designed to be easily readable, putting all the information for a lease together on several lines so that you don't have to constantly scroll back and forth across the line. However, that makes it much less practical to manipulate (sort, select, sum, etc.) in Excel. One advantage of this method of getting spreadsheet output, however, is that the report writer can create an Excel spreadsheet without you having Excel installed on your computer. Also, this is the only way to get a spreadsheet of the listing report, which lists all the input data for a lease.

If you create a text output version of this same report, then export it to Excel, it will look something like this:

This is basically a repeat of what you see on the screen for a text report. Note that sometimes the columns won't line up correctly; the report writer is trying its best to guess what should be aligned, but it doesn't always make the right decisions, and unfortunately there's no way for us to tweak the results. In most cases, an export to PDF, HTML, or a Word .doc document is going to give better looking results. But if you really prefer to get information in Excel format, it's here.

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