How to Export a Trial Balance to an External Reporting Software

Article Objective:  To assist users with using the External Reporting feature to efficiently export a trial balance to an external reporting software such as Xero Practice Ledger.

Context: Often, a firm wishes to maintain a reporting file (e.g., Xero Practice Ledger) separate from the client's accounting file (e.g. Xero Business Edition). This reporting file is used to general the financial statements for the financial period. In this way, a firm can maintain their reporting template in their own reporting file, instead of using their client's accounting file. 

Our new Export to External Reporting feature will facilitate this, so that you can import the data from the client's accounting software, process the year-end work in Active Workpapers, and then export the finalised trial balance to Xero Practice Ledger to generate the financial statements.

This data flow can be visualised as follows:

Note: If the client account file is also used for generating financial statements, you can process a balancing journal in Active Workpapers as per this guide: How to perform journals in Workpapers.

Exporting a Trial Balance to an External Reporting Software

Initial Setup 

Before exporting a trial balance to external reporting software, the firm administrator needs to go through a couple of once-off steps before firm users can use this feature.

Firstly, navigate to Workpapers Admin > Firm Details > Options. There, you will see a checkbox option titled Allow Export Sources for Binders. Ticking this option will turn on the External Reporting feature.

Next, the firm administrator needs to define the standard chart of accounts for the firm. You can find this in Workpapers Admin > Standard Chart. By default, a list of master accounts has been defined as follows:

 Firm administrators can add additional Standard Headers with the following attributes:

  • Account number
  • Account name
  • Define whether it is a Lead Schedule
  • Default Mapping Code (Mandatory)
  • Default Swinging Account
  • Mandatory or Optional

Note: If you are using Active Ledger, the Active Ledger chart of accounts will take precedence, and there is no need to configure it in Active Workpapers.

Next, navigate to Admin Centre > Account Mapping > External Reporting Systems to add the various systems mapping codes to your firm.

In each client binder, after the balances have been imported from the client accounting software, you can automatically match the accounts from the client against an Account Type or a Standard Header by clicking on Apply Matching Rules in the Accounts screen.

Using the External Reporting feature

You can now navigate to the new External Reporting screen to export the trial balance into external reporting software.

Click on the Select an Export Source dropdown and click on Add New Export Source.

Select all the applicable options in the pop-up window, then click Add Export Source.

Note: Currently, the API-based automated Export is limited to Xero. If you would like to export to systems other than Xero, please use the csv option.

Once the Export Source has been added, the system will import the accounts list from the export source file and compare that against the accounts in Active Workpapers. The system will alert you to any account mapping that requires review and resolution.

When you're satisfied with the mapping, click on Start Automated Export.

You can now review the Export Journal and add a journal memo before clicking on Export Journal, which will export this journal to the nominated Xero file. 

You can then review the exported journal in the nominated Xero file.

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