Visual Accounts 2000 Tutorial 2
Time: about 15 minutes.

Hi {FIRSTNAME} and welcome to the 2nd in our series of tutorials. Each one is written from 'real life' experience and is designed to help you to unlock the all the power of Visual Accounts 2000.

In this one we're going to take a more advanced look at Filters so, settle back and let's get to work!

Q. Who hasn’t paid their bill?
A. Just Use a Filter to list them!

Last time we looked at Default Filters, or some of them. This time I thought we would look a little more deeply into filtering and how to get useful information in a couple of mouse clicks.

Today we are going to create the following filters:

  • Debtors
  • Creditors
  • Bank Statements (or Account Statements)

Once you’ve created these filters you will be able to create virtually any filter you may ever need, because, as you’ll see, filtering 'on the fly' is really very simple.

OK, down to business.

Start Visual Accounts and open SHIELDS3.VAD which you downloaded last time.

Make sure you’ve selected “All Off” then click on “Filter” on the Menu Bar then on “By all Criteria…” (I won’t mention this again as we should be able to open the Filters Window by now, I’ll just say “Open the Main Filters Window”). Oh, and it’s always a good idea to set the Filter Combo Box to “All Off” prior to creating a new filter, that way you’re starting with a ‘clean sheet’.

Debtors Filter

If you issue Invoices, this (in my opinion) is the most important - knowing who hasn’t paid.

In VA2000, Debtors are Unpaid Invoices.

1. Go to the “Show Types” panel and remove the ticks from all the Check Boxes EXCEPT “UNPAID Invoices - INV”
2. Come down to “Filter Name” and in the Edit Box enter “Debtors” (without the inverted commas)
3. Press the “Save” Button
4. Finally click on the “Filter” button

There should be 4 entries in the Display Grid – 3 for Mr Zimmerman and 1 for the Boyd’s.

Now, with just 2 mouse clicks, you can see immediately everyone who owes you money.

Total Boxes

This might be a good time to mention the Total Boxes at the bottom of the Display Grid. Sometimes they’re there and sometimes they aren’t, sometimes there are two and sometimes there’s only one – why?

These Total Boxes are only displayed if the information in the Display Grid can be totalled without ambiguity. For example, if you are displaying Payments (PAY), Invoices (INV) and Paid Invoices then there will be two entries in the Display Grid for each invoice, the one you entered plus the one VA2000 entered (marked VS) when the Invoice was paid. Adding all the items in the relevant column of the Display Grid together will give an incorrect total – therefore VA2000 won’t show a total.

The rule is, if both an Unpaid AND a Paid Invoice and/or Bill could be displayed in the Display Grid the relevant total isn’t displayed.

Creditors Filter

OK, sometimes we need to know who we haven’t paid, depressing but true. So let’s create a Filter to display all the unpaid Bills. Any ideas how we would do this?

1. Open the Main Filters Window
2. Go to the “Show Types” panel and remove the ticks from all the Check Boxes EXCEPT “UNPAID Bills - BIL”
3. Come down to “Filter Name” and in the Edit Box enter “Creditors” (without the inverted commas)
4. Press the “Save” Button
5. Click on the “Filter” button

There should be 2 entries for York Fittings in the Display Grid.

Now, with just 2 mouse clicks, you can see who you owe money to.

Now that was easy wasn’t it? That’s what Visual Accounts is all about; it’s powerful, easy to use Accounting Software. No ifs or buts – it just is.

Right, Bank and Account Statements

We recommend that you create an Account for each Bank Account and Credit Card Account you use for the business plus a Petty Cash Account.

There is also nothing to stop you creating an Account for each of your main Credit Customers and Credit Suppliers. Though don’t go creating Accounts for everyone willy-nilly as that can become a little confusing. Just create accounts for your Banks Accounts and major Credit business and only then if you issue or receive a large number of Invoices. We’re not going into creating Accounts right now, for more information on creating accounts please see the Help File.

Sometimes it’s useful to see all the transactions from one account rather like a Bank Statement. So we’ll create a Filter to show all the money we’ve received and all the money we’ve paid out of the Barclays Current A/C. Note we’re only going to show money we’ve actually received and paid out, not unpaid invoices and bills.

Enough chat, let’s create the Filter…

1. Open the Main Filters Window

2. In the “Show Bank Code” panel (centre row, 2 in from the left) click on “CURRNT – Barclays Current A/C”
3. Click on the “On” Radio Button just below it. You must remember to click on the “On” Radio Button (if there is one) in the relevant panel otherwise VA2000 will ignore that entry
4. Now go to the “Show Types” Panel and make sure that “Payment – PAY” and “Receipts – RCP” are ticked (the top two) and the other four are not ticked
5. Come down to “Filter Name” and in the Edit Box enter “Barclays Current” (without the inverted commas)
6. Press the “Save” Button
7. Now click on the “Filter” button and the Bank Statement is displayed.

Need to see a statement of account at any time – two mouse clicks will tell you!

OK now it’s your turn. Create a Bank Statement for the Petty Cash Account.
Hint: use the “Barclays Current” Filter as a template and alter the account name in “Show Bank Codes”.

Temporary Filters

Right, we’re viewing our bank statement and we want just the details for March, but, and here’s the rub, we don’t want to save this as a separate Filter, we just want to quickly view the information. Any ideas on how we can do this?

1. In the Filter Combo Box make sure “Barclays Current” is selected
2. In the Display Grid, double click on the heading marked “Date” (right at the very top left of the Display Grid). A small Window is displayed named Filter

3. In the “From” Edit Box enter 01/03/2003
4. In the “To” Edit Box enter 31/03/2003
5. Click on the “On” Radio Button
6. Finally click on the “Filter” button.

So there’s another real nugget of information.

If you double click on the heading of a column in the Display Grid you can quickly make a Temporary Filter based on that column (note temporary – it isn’t saved). That makes finding a particular transaction or set of transactions unbelievably quick and easy, and so that you know you’re using a Temporary Filter the word “(CUSTOMISED)” is displayed in the Filters Combo Box.

Finally, for Filters, to delete a filter just open the Main Filters Window, click on the name of the filter, click on the “Delete” button and select “Yes” in the Confirmation Dialog Box.

Oh, nearly forgot, always remember to save your VAD file after creating your Filters otherwise they won’t be remembered between sessions.

Customers & Suppliers – “Business Partners”

In Visual Accounts we make no distinction between Customers and Suppliers, they are all Business Partners.

Why do we do this?

If you’re running a small business, quite often your Customers are also your Suppliers so why enter their details twice? We don’t think you should have to, so in VA2000, you don’t (unless, of course, you want to). I know what you’re thinking, how do we find them in the Customer List if everyone is displayed? I mean, don’t you use 000001, 000002 etc for Customer and Supplier codes?

If you only have a small number of Customers and Suppliers using that system isn’t a problem, but what about us at Visual Accounts? We have only a small number of Suppliers but thousands of Customers (some of whom have the same name) so what do we do?

The JQL System

We use a very simple system based upon the Customer’s or Supplier’s name. We take all the vowels out of the Surname (or Company Name) then tack on the initials at the end up to a maximum of 6 characters. For example, my name is John Q. Lavelle so I am LVLLJQ. Easy isn’t it.

Anyone spotted a potential problem with this system? What if your name is William Shakespeare?

OK, that would be SHKSPR, because we can only have a maximum of 6 characters. Right what if there are two customers called William Shakespeare?

That would be SHKSP2 for the second one and we would change the code for the first one to SHKSP1.

** VA2000 allows you to change a customer’s code at anytime and will update all the transactions for that customer with the new code **

What about short names with few consonants like J.A. Lee?

If you wanted to pad it out you could use LEEJA, but we don’t. We just use the Name without the vowels and the initials (even if they are vowels) LJA. When the Customer Combo Box is “dropped down” you can enter L in the Edit Box and the list will show all the customers (or suppliers) whose Surname starts with L. Entering LJ will narrow the search down even more.

Oh, if you don’t like this system and you would prefer to have different codes denoting customers and suppliers there’s nothing to stop you. For example the Customers could begin with a C and the Suppliers with an S. using my name again, John Q. Lavelle, my customer account code could be CLVLLJ and my supplier account code could be SLVLLJ. Or you could even have C00001, S00002 etc. though, unless you thrive on stress and making life difficult for yourself, I personally, wouldn’t recommend it.

Visual Accounts doesn’t tie you to any one system. You decide which system is the best for your business.

The secret is to have a robust system in place before you start and provided you stick to that system then it doesn’t matter how many customers or suppliers you have, so long as you can find them quickly and easily.

And Finally

That’s about it for this session. Before we finish though, I would like you to create some filters, any filters it doesn’t matter which. It’s just so you can see the effects each of the filter switches have on the Display Grid. Remember, if you mess up the SHIELDS3.VAD file it doesn’t matter, just download it again from

and you’re off and running straight away.

So go on – play!

Whoever told you “doing your accounts” was difficult obviously hadn’t used Visual Accounts had they?

That's it for today, see you tomorrow where the subject will be using Categories and some other nuggets, tips and tricks that don't quite fit into any particular niche. Watch out for it in your mail box!


Don't wait any longer. Register your copy of Visual Accounts now, and use your precious time on your business and not on "doing the accounts".