Typical Modules and Features in Accounting Software Programs

Accounting software records and processes accounting transactions using modules that include accounts payable, accounts receivable, and payroll. Together, these modules function as an accounting information system. Below is a list of some of the typical accounting modules that are available in accounting software packages. You can use this list to see if a module might be useful for your business and then search for accounting software that has that module.

General Ledger Module

Accountant at a computer.
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General Ledger is the central repository of the accounting records and data.

  • The general ledger is the central point for accounting information, receiving entries from other modules, such as accounts payable, accounts receivable and payroll modules.
  • The general ledger is the basis for creating key financial documents, including trial balance, balance sheet, and profit and loss statement.
  • The general ledger is used to record financial transactions not recorded in other modules.
  • The general ledger creates a trail of information used for audit purposes.

Chart of Accounts Module

A chart of accounts is a list of the accounts used by a business in the accounting process.

  • The chart of accounts uses a series of codes to identify assets, income, expenses, and equity being tracked by the accounting system.
  • The chart of accounts determines the level of detail of the information tracked and the reports generated by the accounting system. The balance sheet accounts are typically listed first followed by the income statement accounts. 
  • The chart of accounts can use sub-coding at the department, location, project, funding source, division, work order or activity level to gather more detailed information if required.

Trial Balance Module

The trial balance is a listing of all accounts in the company’s chart of accounts that list the balances in each of these accounts at a particular point in time.

  • The trial balance will have the balance for each account in the chart of accounts.
  • The trial balance is useful because it shows the balances of each account before and after any adjustments. However, no one outside the organization sees the trial balance.
  • The trial balance is used to create all other financial statements, including the balance sheet, income statement and cash flow statement.

Balance Sheet Module

A balance sheet is often described as a "snapshot of a company's financial condition.”

  • The balance sheet lists the company’s assets, liabilities, and equity.
  • The balance sheet also shows how the company's assets are financed including through the use of cash, equity, or debt.
  • The balance sheet is used to create reports on cash flow, budgets and conduct other financial analysis of the business’s financial condition.

Accounts Receivable Module

Accounts receivable are the money owed by customers to the business.

  • The accounts receivable module handles the invoicing of customers and processing of customer payments.
  • The accounts receivable module is often used to create bills or invoices to send to customers.
  • The accounts receivable module often has the ability to recognize deposits to bank accounts so that deposit information can be upload and applied to customer accounts automatically.
  • The master files contain customer information, including name, address, and phone number.
  • The accounts receivable aging report will show all money due to the business by ​the customer and will be able to show how long the customer’s balance has been outstanding.

Accounts Payable Module

Accounts payable are the money owed by a business to its vendors.

  • The Accounts Payable module tracks money due to vendors, discounts, and payment terms for all invoices.
  • This module has the ability to print computer-generated checks to vendors.
  • The accounts payable master files contain vendor information, including name, address and phone number.

Point of Sale Module

The point of sale is the place where a sales transaction takes place, which can be at a retail store, online, or in any other venue.

  • Most POS software has the ability to transfer to your accounting software and some of them, in real-time. 
  • By having an integrated POS module, you avoid typing POS transactions by hand into the accounting software thus reducing errors.
  • The POS module helps retailers break down accounts receivables and general ledger entries all the way to the original point of sale, including to the customer and the product purchased.