Financial Manager has the ability to analyze business information from a variety of sources. To facilitate this analysis, it constructs a database of useful accounting and contact information from existing files on your system, including financial records from third-party programs, business contacts in your Outlook Contacts folder, and other sources. This database is built by the New Database Wizard, a utility that is shared with the Microsoft Customer Management program discussed in the next chapter. The New Database Wizard creates a robust database in Access format that is optimized for use with the Financial Manager reporting and charting tools. In this section, you'll learn how to create a Financial Manager database that contains information from a number of common business data sources. In the next section, you'll use this database to build cash flow reports and charts.
Table 33-1 lists a few of the popular accounting software formats that the New Database Wizard supports. Before you build a financial database, take some time to verify the content and location of your accounting files and contact folders. If you find that your files are in a different format than those listed in the table, or if they aren't listed at all, click the Visit Office Update button on the Financial Manager worksheet to connect to the Microsoft Office home page and check for new filters that will allow you to import your files using the New Database Wizard. The list of supported programs and versions is updated constantly.
Table 33-1. Accounting Software Formats Supported by Financial Manager's New Database Wizard.
|ACCPAC Plus Accounting for DOS||6.1a||Computer Associates International, Inc.|
|BusinessWorks for Windows||9.0||State of the Art, Inc.|
|DacEasy Accounting for DOS||5.0||DacEasy, Inc.|
|Great Plains Accounting for DOS||8.0, 8.1, 8.2||Great Plains Software, Inc.|
|MAS 90 Evolution/2 for DOS||1.51||State of the Art, Inc.|
|One-Write Plus Accounting||4.03||Automatic Data Processing, Inc.|
|Peachtree Complete Accounting for DOS||8.0||Peachtree Software, Inc.|
|Peachtree for Windows||3.0, 3.5, 4.0, 5.0||Peachtree Software, Inc.|
|Platinum Series for DOS and Windows||4.1, 4.4||Platinum Technology, Inc.|
|QuickBooks for Windows||3.1, 4.0, Pro 4.0, 5.0||Intuit Inc.|
|Simply Accounting for Windows||3.0, 4.0, 5.0||Computer Associates International, Inc.|
Follow these steps to create a new Financial Manager database:
The best files to import contain financial records, cash flow information, general ledger entries, and so forth. If you don't have accounting data files to analyze, you can still create a database with Outlook contact information, but you won't be able to use all of Financial Manager's reporting features.
The following illustration shows a sample data file in the Intuit QuickBooks version 4.0 accounting program.
Financial Manager starts the New Database Wizard, and the introductory dialog box looks like this:
By using a username and password to secure your financial data, you can protect your financial records from wandering eyes.
Financial Manager accepts your entry and begins a search for accounting data files on your system. (If Financial Manager doesn't find any files on your hard disk, click the Browse button and locate them yourself.)
The wizard gives you the opportunity to import customer contact information from Microsoft Outlook, as shown in the following dialog box:
The New Database Wizard asks you if you want to make your Outlook contact information public (available to anyone for editing) or private (viewed by all, but edited only by you).
The wizard displays a list of activities you can track in Financial Manager and Outlook, such as sending letters and receiving mail.
Your screen will look like this:
After a few moments, you'll see a message announcing that the process is finished. Financial Manager has created a new Access database on disk to hold your business information, and you can now use the Financial Manager tools to analyze it.