The concept of the PACE system is to provide the business owner with real-time financial information. With PACE the owner has the means to analyse sales data by: year, month, week, day or individual invoices. In addition, all expenses, assets (and amortization), prepaid expense amounts, accrued liabilities, long-term and short-term liabilities can be tracked on a monthly basis to provide a true monthly income and expense statement as well as a balance sheet.
The model for developing the program was based on a shop owner working the front counter. This is evidenced by the ease of creating and updating work orders, and the revenue information available from the work order screen's menu. This is the nicest part of the program so obviously a lot of research and development was done to make it just right.
Presuming most shop owners are not familiar with bookkeeping, a feature was added that allowed the user to 'force' an account to reconcile by supplying various "Credit Adjustment" and "Debit Adjustment" accounts. Professional accountants call this "plugging" and is akin to sweeping dirt under the carpet. This works great for the busy owner on the front counter trying to get through the day, but it is a source of frustration for the accountant who has to deal with it later.
The single biggest problem the program has encountered is the reluctance of professional accountants and bookkeepers to accept it. This reluctance is due to three aspects:
i. The use of "Debit" and "Credit" terminology. From a layman's point of view, a "credit" is something that is good. For example, on a bank statement the bank "credits" your account when you deposit money, therefore to "credit" a payables account must mean you owe a supplier less money. This is the opposite in the accounting world and it disturbs those that 'know' accounting.
ii. The PACE chart of accounts is specific to the automotive industry. Accountants do not necessarily understand their client's industry, they rely on standard accounts to be able to determine what the figures mean, and the PACE chart of accounts is anything but standard. For example, I had one accountant that thought "cores" was a part of a car and made an inappropriate (and significant) adjustment to the year end statements.
iii. Displaying account transactions and balances using signed (+ -) figures instead of placing them in the appropriate debit / credit column. Again, to make the figures easier to understand for the layman, positive means the account has a higher balance, negative means less. This approach works well for the layman but alienates those that learned the traditional method of accounting.
The following figures compare two methods of displaying a payment to a supplier