Wednesday, January 30, 2013

PCLaw Errors – Why They Happen

I have written many times about PCLaw errors, including the types of errors, how to locate them, and how to correct them. I have not really discussed how the errors occurred in the first place. This may give the wrong impression about PCLaw, which in my humble opinion is the best legal accounting program available.

On my December 18, 2011 posting, I provided a list of the 7 most common PCLaw errors:

User Errors
  1. Simple posting error
  2. Trust errors (multiple matters/trust accounts)
  3. Accounts Receivable errors (method/multiple invoices/matters)
PCLaw Errors
  1. Posting error (PCLaw generated)
  2. Partial posting error
  3. Read/write error
  4. Hidden error
The 3 User Errors are simply a matter of proper training in how to use the software properly. If you follow PCLaw methods in the user manual, you should not have any errors. LexisNexis University also offers online teaching covering a wide variety of topics; some free and some that cost. In-person training is also available at a cost, providing hands-on experience in a classroom setting (Toronto & Vancouver). I offer virtual one-on-one training for new users, which will help you learn the basics for daily use, and I am always available to answer questions.

In my experience, the 4 PCLaw Errors listed above can occur for 1 of 3 reasons:
  1. Electrical fluctuations
  2. Network/server fluctuations
  3. Bank reconciliation window
Why They Happen:
  1. Electrical fluctuations - While our power grid appears stable, imperceptible variations in voltage and power surges do occur regularly. If one hits at the same time you click OK, one of the PCLaw errors above can occur.
  2. Network/server fluctuations - Errors are virtually non-existent when PCLaw is running on one computer. While that may not be practical, it is important to realize that these errors are network errors, not PCLaw errors. Essentially, the same as the issue of power surges and voltage fluctuations, only just localized to your internal network.
  3. Bank reconciliation window - The bank reconciliation window has an option “Auto save every ‘5’ minutes”. When you are doing your bank reconciliation, you may be adding entries as you progress, while leaving the reconciliation window open. If you click OK at the same time the Auto Save function runs, there is a high probability that an error will occur. If you are correcting an entry and Auto Save runs, you often get an error message “Unable to link to previous entry”. When you return to the reconciliation window, you will see 2 entries instead of 1.
As you can see, PCLaw is not actually causing most of the errors. And, with regards to the bank reconciliation errors, you can avoid them by simply closing the reconciliation window.

As always, I invite your comments and suggestions for future post topics. Next Posting – Adjusting A Period HST Report In PCLaw.