Wow, this should be quite long, but I will try to explain myself as clearly as possible.
First, I would like to situate myself as it relates to NewViews.
I studied accounting at university, but that was before the widely usage of computers. We did use a software storing the data on “tapes” with sequential access.
Before using NewViews I think I had only been exposed to 4 accounting softwares: DacEasy Accounting, Accpacc, a custom software written for a company I worked for (I think it was written in basic), and a fourth one which was fairly impressive, but I cannot remember the name. This was before 1988.
Then I was hired as a controller for a company using NewViews. That was in 1988. I had no one to teach me how to use the software and it was not easy at first I remember, even if I was already used to programming. I had 2 clerks using it, but their understanding of the software was too limited to explain to me anything. I eventually “got it”; I started creating procedures to simplify the book keeping process. I even became an official NewViews consultant. I left the company after 2 years.
From that first experience I do remember the accounting firm doing the financials and the tax returns was not happy with the software. The person before me had decided to use it and they did not like it. I told them, I understood their concerns, but I was perfectly happy to use it and I knew how to produce the information they needed.
At the next company I worked, they were also using NewViews and they had about 20 different set of books, not all created equal. But no one there understood how the software worked. I helped them improve the books and wrote many procedures to help them. I am still helping them from time to time.
And, since I did consulting work I have worked with many places using NewViews, seen many ways of using it and many users. There was that clerk who thought that when a journal was becoming too big, it was better to create a new account/journal, export all the data from the prior journal, import it into the new journal and then delete the transactions in the old journal. Another clerk, somewhere else, did not understand she could enter a different date for an invoice and its payment. She always entered the invoices to pay when she would write the cheques (by hand) and entered the same date for both transactions. I tried explaining to her how it could be, but she was too scared to make a mess. Finally her boss told me to let her continue with her own way. So, you see how users can be.
As you can see, NewViews has been with me for a long time now. And my impression has always been that it was a great product, for its flexibility, as long as you understand what you are doing; but at the same time that flexibility was its Achilles’ heel. I have seen very strange books. I must admit I have sometimes myself created odd structures. But for the ordinary user, this is not a very good thing, being able to make a mess easily. So, I just mean here that you, the developer must always remember who the user is, or can be.
NewViews is an “odd accounting software”?
It has always been, because of its non standard and its limited structure approach. One client I had, called me to meet with their new financial officer. I was supposed to convince him that Newviews was a great accounting program. He was not receptive at all. And I could see he only accepted to meet with me because of the clerk. The clerk wanted to keep NewViews, but he did not want to. And when someone who has seen only standard accounting softwares asks: where is the trial balance?, where is the general ledger, or where is the chart of account? As we know this does not come always easy to show or create if the books were created in a very special manner. In fact I have rarely created books for my clients. Most of them were already using NewViews and even if what they had was somewhat unorthodox, I had to cope with it.
One user I still help tried nv2 for a while. But I can tell you that person had a hard time trying the switch to nv2. She already has a hard time understanding nv1, even after years and years. She is not stupid, she just does not have an affinity with computers and programs, as 90% of users. The financial officer and the accountant (who uses nv1 and nv2) recommended that she should stop using nv2 and wait until the program would be easier to use – they said, not me: “this program seems to be in beta stage, it was not yet ready for release”.
This is something I have observed over the years, as I do help people with software and I also create database applications. It does not matter if it is a word processor, a spread sheet program, or a database program. Users, in general, DO NOT attempt to use features they have never used, they do not explore the software and they are happy to do things the same way over and over. I ask users of my database applications to tell me what they find awkward, what they would like to have changed to improve their work and they never ask me anything. It is me, when watching them or even doing data entry myself, who sees where improvements can me made.
So if the users of nv2 are just a small group of “knowledgeable users”, then it is ok to play. And it is true, as far as I know, that nv2 is not yet available to the public, but mainly to nv1 users. On my side I can follow, even if I am sometimes frustrated with the process.
How do you know NewViews is used by small companies without IT departments?
I do not know who uses NewViews, but since I have always dealt with small companies, I know that “many” small companies use NewViews, and small companies do not have an IT department. In fact the company that decided to stop using nv2 is actually sharing the office with a public company offering computer consulting work and has hundreds of computer programmers or alike; but they call me for NewViews because no one knows what that program is, and they do not want to make a mistake. I am also aware (because I was told) of Banks and Mutual Funds companies using it, but not for accounting purpose, but more as a tracking financial tool. But you know better than me who uses your software.
Some features we are getting used to disappear
In my case the fact that I could have the following structure was great:
Top Summary report – with summary accounts
– report 1 – with summary accounts
– detail 1 of report 1 – with posting accounts
– detail 2 of report 1 – with posting accounts
– report 2 – with posting accounts
With 2.09 The top summary report and report 1 cannot have accounts
This is why this thread started.
Hoping this explain my previous comments.