by November 1, 2000 0 comments

Reality 2000 aims to provide a comprehensive business
solution for a wide range of business types. The documentation bills the
software as a mini-ERP solution. Though the software fails the most basic of ERP
criteria (being MRPII compliant) also it does have some good things to offer. It’s
available on the October PCQ CD.

Setup

Setting up the software is straightforward. The first step is
to create the company. Apart from the normal information you can specify if the
company is excisable, stock valuation method and whether the company is hidden
(hidden companies are accessible only if a key disk is present). The next step
is a little unorthodox–the creation of an address book. The package uses a
centralized address book to maintain addresses of all types of entities such as
customers, banks, etc. Addresses can be broken up into categories. The package
ships with the default categories; employee, supplier and traders. You are at
liberty to create your own categories. Envelope printing and mailing list
facilities are available.

Reality 2000  

Integrated business software.
Features: Full featured product covering financial accounting, inventory, product costing and contact management. 
Pros: Covers most of the functional area for small and medium setups.
Cons: Missing key features like nested chart of accounts, cost centers, batch numbers and the like; interface needs some improvement. 
Source: Spice Software
216 B, Naraina Industrial Estate, Phase I, 
New Delhi 28. 
Tel: 11-5794389 
e-mail: spicesoft@vsnl.com  Website:
www.spicesoftware.com  

The Account Groups Setup feature is disappointing. One is
restricted to a two level deep chart of accounts for groups. This is in stark
comparison to packages like Tally or E-X which allow virtually unlimited nesting
of account groups. Ledger account setup proceeds by first selecting a group and
then creating a ledger head under the group. The address book feature is
directly linked to the ledger head screens when appropriate.

Item Setup allows you to differentiate between Sale &
Purchase Items (with different rates for sale and purchase) and categorize items
as Raw Material, Finished Product and Capital Goods. Units are defined just by
keying them in. Each item consists of a name and a type. You can go to the
address book directly to input supplier details. Excise tariff heads can be
associated with each item. Inventory is inherently single locational and you
cannot define multiple locations (you’ll probably have to treat each location
as a company). There is no support for hierarchical product coding or product
families. Nobody seems to have checked spelling or grammar in the error
messages, feeding in an invalid tariff number throws up the message “Tariff
Heading Number dose not defined”.

A bill of materials feature is available under the title
“Product Costing System”. You start out by defining a product
category. Each product category can have multiple types and each type consists
of a bill of materials. Value addition over raw material cost can be specified
for costing purposes. Products can be valued in all the standard ways. Products
can be nested, that’s one product can contain other products.

Sales tax form definition is done by simply typing in the
name of the form. Rates of tax are setup through something called “Bill
Sundry”. This allows you to define any kind of charge to be levied on item
amounts. You can select to calculate this charge on either basic amount or total
amount. There is no feature for tagging charges to items automatically. While
you can do this on an individual basis when creating the invoice it would be
much easier if one could simply tag the charge to the item. Another minor
problem arises in the fact that Reality 2000 only supports ad valoreum charges
and not unit based charges (For example, a duty charged per kilogram).

Narrations can be predefined. Report setup allows the user to
define printer setup, margins, etc, on a report by report level. The Voucher
setup allows the creation of user defined voucher types (based on the predefined
voucher types) with custom prefixes and suffixes. Correspondence formats for
payment/ ST Form reminders and quotations can be customized. Finally an opening
balance feature is available for initializing stocks with parties.

All in all setup information is decent. The biggest drawbacks
are limited depth in chart of accounts, lack of cost center support and limited
options in item grouping.

Transactions and reporting

The main transaction types are vouchers, challans and ST
forms. All the standard voucher types such as cash, bank, journal, sales,
purchase and return vouchers are supported. A product voucher feature uses the
product costing system to record production details. Challans are defined for
both inwards and outwards movement of goods. Multiple standard types of challan
are predefined and support either self or customer ownership of goods. ST Form
transactions allow both issue and receipt of forms.

Reporting includes all the standard books and reports for
financial accounting, sales tax and inventory. An inventory flow report allows
the user to track flow of goods both item and party wise. Most reports allow you
to drill down to voucher level from the report. Print preview and export to
Excel features are standard.

The Correspondence feature allows the user to not only
generate payment/ ST form reminders and quotations but also general
correspondence. The general correspondence feature can use Notepad, Word or
PaintShop for text or graphics work. The package automatically links the
correspondence with the address book and maintains a keyword based index of
correspondence.

Interface, documentation
and help

Reality 2000 has an unconventional menu structure. On the
stop of the screen you have the normal pull down menu and toolbar. Buttons set
in the center of the main screen replicate the items of the current pull down
menu. While these buttons do speed up operation their aesthetic appeal is a
matter of personal preference.

The single manual accompanying the package is devoid of
screen shots and not very easy to read. Online help through the F1 key is
available throughout the package. The formatting and content of the help screens
can do with improvement as the language is not very clear. The general interface
also needs some improvement. For example, the tab order settings in many dialog
boxes are not properly set and using the tab key makes the cursor appear at
unexpected places.

Summing up

Reality2000 is a middle of the road package. It does not have
the sophistication of a package like Tally and lacks features such as cost
centers or batch numbers that are taken for granted at the upper end of the
market. At the same time it offers more than your average, run of the mill FA
solution. Users would be best of by carefullly evaluating their needs against
the features offered by the package.

Gautama Ahuja

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