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Greentree – Positive result in UK lab test

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Greentree is experiencing significant growth in the UK market. This is strongly supported by a review and lab test of Greentree's Financial Suite that has garnered much praise from the UK reviewer David Carter.

Greentree International  has been a major vendor for over 30 years in its home territory. The original package provided 28 modules covering order processing, accounting, stock, bill of materials, payroll, and multi currency. It was a multi-platform package and could work with Novell, NT, Unix, SCO or AIX.

In 1997, Greentree International decided to develop a completely new version that would be compliant with the tear 2000 and also Windows-based. The first release took place in 1998 with basic ledgers. Today there are about 58 modules. The software is, according to Greentree International, is naturally multi-currency since it is standard practice in the Asian Pacific region to operate in US dollars.

Thus, although this review is concerned with the financial aspect, Greentree International provides not just specialist financial software, but a full range of business software for both back and front offices.

Greentree International specifically targets its software at English-speaking users across the world. Its lists out representatives in Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, North America, UK and Ireland. Greentree International does not sell its software directly but through a network of resellers. In the UK, Greentree International’s reseller is Prerogative which is based in Leicester. Prerogative offers full support for Greentree implementation and applications including project management.

Since taking on Greentree International in 2002, Prerogative has installed about 100 systems across the UK. It aims at users who are purchasing their second or third accounting system with a view of acquiring something special from a quality package rather than to just play safe with a well-known brand. 

Installations vary from those with standard financial modules to a number of rapid-entry sales ordering systems. Among current users are Castle Howard Stately Home, Super Aguri Racing team, Bidwells Property Consultants, Strutt and Parker.

Greentree runs under Windows and uses the Jade development database.  A typical Greentree installation would be a network of 4 to 20 concurrent users.  At the other end of the scale the largest installation could support up to 200 workstations.

LAB TEST – DETAILED FINDINGS 1.1.1. System design: Open period accounting:
• Can define any number of periods – type in user defined end dates.
• Can open past periods and enter auditor adjustments. Recalculates balances.
• Runs in multiple periods (eg SL in new month, PL and GL stay in previous).
• Can attach a label to describe a period; eg period 12 = March_07. 
• Can operate multiple calendars: eg agricultural rent dates for quarterly rent invoices.

1.1.2. System design: Transaction types:
• Unique reference number for each transaction. Date stamped with time and operator.
• Sequential series of numbers for each transaction type.
• Separate series for invoices and credit notes.
• Can attach an identifying prefix or suffix to each number, e.g. PIN2000111 or 2000111PIN.
• Can define transaction types for individual staff members, and attach their own business rules. For example, Jane handles invoices from third party suppliers.

1.1.3. General ledger codes:
• Both options available – single multi-segment GL code or separate floating codes
• Maximum 32 possible dimensions within one multi-segment code.
• Can use validation matrices to create new codes; do not have to set up each individually.

A GL code can be attached to a “tree” – i.e. associated in a fixed relationship with other analysis codes. Entering a value at the lowest “posting” level automatically updates the value of codes at the upper levels (roll-up). For example, in the financial reporting tree, the Software Income GL account may be attached underneath to the Income group code in the P&L. Greentree displays the tree in a Windows Explorer-like format.

In Greentree any analysis code may be attached to a tree and the values automatically rolled up to group level. Multiple tree 'dependencies' can be created to analyse the same data in multiple ways. This is the foundation of sophisticated management reporting, and is normally only found in specialist and expensive financial packages.

1.2.1. Purchase invoice entry: Header:
• Invoices can be entered manually, or auto-generated from purchase orders.
• Invoices can be held in a register awaiting authorisation.
• Good search facilities in code lookups, eg apply “Contains” to name, postcode or any field.
• Three dates. Document Date entered by operator; posting and due dates auto-generated.
• Period number calculated automatically from posting date.
• Supplier Reference can be made mandatory; warning if a duplicate reference is entered.
• Invoice header has narrative field. Defaults to company name, but can overwrite.
• Can attach a scanned image of the invoice – prints a bar code label which you can stick on the invoice before scanning.
• Can put invoices on Hold in the register and assign a reason code. Invoices on Hold are visible on the supplier ledger.

Minor queries
• No facility to enter a down payment at time of invoice entry.
• Transaction number not displayed to write on invoice as cross-reference.

For invoice approval and authorisation, Greentree offers a process flow setup screen where you can define what invoices go to whom, how many levels of authorisation are required and so on. It is WYSIWYG, and it can be set up most management accountants who possess above average accounting skills.

1.2.2. Purchase invoice entry: Detail:
• Offers individual data entry screen for different type of transaction line, eg one for a GL line, one for stock, non-stock, job costing, fixed asset and text only.
• Each data entry form contains only the fields relating to this transaction type.
• Can have a mix of different transaction line types within the one invoice.
• Each line is entered via a form which displays field labels; or you can enter directly into the grid.
• Can analyse costs to multiple companies within the one invoice.
• Can analyse stock costs to the product record.
• Can analyse VAT at line by line level.
• Detail lines once entered are displayed on a grid at the base of the screen.
• User can add/remove columns to be displayed in the grid.
• User can change name of column heading (eg “Line number” to “Ln”).
• User can rearrange columns.

Within User Preferences, can map the Function keys to perform particular tasks, eg F2 key = Add new line, F4 = Search etc. (like WordPerfect). Makes for very fast mouse less data entry with minimum keystrokes. Speeds up high volume transaction entry. On line help (via F1 key) is field sensitive. And you can add your own notes to guide the operator through more complex entries. Good. To summarise, data entry is slick and sophisticated. Different transaction types minimise the number of fields you have to fill in. The F keys allow fast data entry, with a very flexible grid display to confirm the analysis before you commit. 
2.1. Review & GL update:
• Can update via either method – batch or on-line.
• No need for detailed pre-posting review facilities as errors can be corrected after posting.

2.2. Error correction:
• System allows the user to correct faulty transactions. [Needs to have the necessary permissions and exercise caution, eg changing the amount of an allocated invoice, changing an invoice already submitted to customer etc.]
• If a faulty cost center is detected in GL enquiry, can correct it there and then.
Credit notes and auto-reverse:
• Can create a credit note by auto-reversing an incorrect invoice.
• Credit note is given today’s period and document date, but no due date.
• Credit note is automatically allocated against original invoice.
• Can also create a new invoice from the original invoice, then correct it.

Nominal journals:
• When entering a journal, system can auto-create a balancing transaction line.
• When entering a journal, system can auto-create a balancing journal total.
• Good lookup facilities to find GL codes etc.
• Can copy contents of the narrative field from one journal line to another.
• Journals can capture VAT and the VAT goes into the VAT return.
• No facility to auto-reverse journal if debits and credits are the wrong way round.
• Standing transaction journals for recurring items such as direct debits, wages etc; frequency and amounts can be varied; and accruals can be auto-reversed out after month-end.
• Can use re-allocation journal to automatically apportion amounts over multiple cost centres.

• Can post to more than one company within the same journal. [Note: You can also do this directly in Purchase invoice entry.]
• Companies can have different year ends.
• If the additional Quad Accounting module is installed, it is possible to get a global view of one supplier over several companies.
4.1. GL account enquiry
• Displays period totals.
• Can also list transactions, either one line per transaction (invoice reference), or by showing each item line within the transaction. 
• The GL enquiry screen is not limited to one GL account at a time. This means it is effectively a window into the entire GL transaction database. 
• Good facilities to add/remove/rearrange columns displayed in the grid.

Sophisticated searches and filters can be applied - for example- to display transactions in descending date order to see latest first; to apply filters to find all the records with costs which apply to salesman Steve Simpson; or to quickly export the records into Excel for further analysis.
The overall standard of the Greentree software is regarded to be high, but certain features call for particular praise. Examples are: the use of coding hierarchies (“trees”) for reporting; different screen layouts for entering different types of transaction line; the ability to post to several companies within the one transaction; and the GL Enquiry screen being effectively a window onto the entire GL database. Greentree offers a full range of modules in addition to the accounting ledgers covered in this review. Although Greentree is little known in this country, it has an established track record as a premier supplier in Australia/NZ.

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