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LearnDoubleEntry.org official blog

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Stale firms to be deleted

With the new release (1.9) of DELT, which is now up and running on LearnDoubleEntry.org, there is an automatic process that cleans up stale firms.

Firms are declared "stale" when they are not used or seen (in the public view) for more than a year. After one month, they are actually deleted.

The only exception is for bloggers and teachers that want to keep their firms available forever (contact us in this case).

Exercise and Challenges

With the new release (1.9) of DELT, which is now up and running on LearnDoubleEntry.org, it is possible for teachers/instructors to prepare exercises for their students.

An exercise consists of an introductory text, followed by a series of transactions that the student must record using one or more double entries in the journal. An exercise also has a benchmark firm with the entries considered valid.


Teachers can challenge their students to go along all the transactions, record them in their journals and have them checked, one by one, against the benchmark.

Since every transaction has a certain number of points, during (or after) the challenge students can see their success rate.

Please note that in the journal each entry must be linked to the transaction from the exercise, in order to be correctly compared with the benchmark.



Teachers are offered a report for each session.

If you want to accept a challenge, you can try the one presented here (just follow this link after logging in). If you are a teacher and need information about how to setup an exercise, feel free to contact us.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Running on HTTPS

(updated on April 8th, 2016)

Thanks to the great team of TuxFamily.org, free hosting for free people, and taking advantage of Let's Encrypt technology, our site runs since today with full HTTPS support.

You can check the class-A HTTPS certificate at QualysSSLLabs site.

Simple, unencrypted HTTP is now disabled.

Simple, unencrypted HTTP is still available, because old browsers do not recognize the validity of certificates emitted by the "Let's Encrypt Authority X1".

Anyway, you are encouraged to use HTTPS connections whenever possible. Should you experience any problem, please let us know by leaving a comment below.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Instructions for instructors

If you are a teacher or an instructor, and you want your students to practice accounting, LearnDoubleEntry.org might be the right tool to use.

These are its advantages:

  • students can cooperate, sharing a firm to practice accounting on;
  • everything is online, so students can work both from home or from school;
  • students can login with their social accounts credentials; 
  • to discuss an exercise, one just needs to share the public address of the firm;
  • when an exercise is completed, the firm can be frozen, and a timestamp is applied (useful in case of assessments that have a specified due date);
  • the balance sheet, the income statement and the statement of changes in equity are automatically generated, so that one can see the effect of each transaction;
  • data can be easily exported to a spreadsheet, for further management;
  • data can be easily backed-up (a single file download) and reimported if needed;
  • it is easy to take a snapshot of the current trial balance;
  • each student can see what other firms have done, so it is easy to simulate a world of firms interacting with each other (we'll soon provide an interface to make it even easier).
  • journal entries are analyzed (transaction analysis);
  • there are some helpful things that students can use, like an online calculator and a debit/credit swapper;
  • entries can be easily excluded (for what-if scenarios);
  • you can have automatic closing entries;
  • the chart of accounts can be customized (it's possible to add, delete and edit accounts, to change their position in the chart, to set the ordinary outstanding balance for each account, etc.);
  • the style associated with each account can be customized, in order to get, for example, colored accounts;
  • you can use some smart comments;
  • once a firm is created, other firms can be forked from it, inheriting all its properties (chart of accounts, templates for journal entries, custom styles, etc.);
  • changes in the "parent" firm's chart of accounts can be easily transferred to its "children";
  • you can get a slideshow from a firm's journal; 

If you or one of your students prepare a chart of accounts that you want other students to use, you can either pass them the slug of the firm or ask us to make it public, so that everybody will find it listed.

If you need more information, we'll be glad to help. This is an open source and free resource, and lives thanks to the contributions of its users. Just email us to info@learndoubleentry.org or use the contact form.

P.S. In Merlot.org's peer review there are two concerns that are actually unfounded:

Existing accounts in the default chart of accounts can not be deleted. As a result instructors, particulary in the U.S. will need to create their own chart of accounts. The account number, not the title must be entered when creating a journal entry, otherwise error messages occur.

Existing accounts can of course be deleted. The only limit is that an account can not be deleted when either: a) it has some children or b) it is used in some journal entry. And there is a standard US-GAAP Chart of Accounts ready to be used.

When you add a journal entry, you can choose an account by entering its code, or typing part of its name, or choosing it through a tree-view window. If this doesn't work, it might depend on browser-related issues. In case, please contact us.

Anyway, we'll try and improve the interface to make this clearer and easier.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

What about colored accounts?

As an experimental feature, we added the possibility of having different styles associated with accounts in the journal of the public page and in the slideshow of a firm, here at LearnDoubleEntry.org.

Let's say you want to have all assets in blue, all liabilities in red, all revenues in green and all expenses in orange.

It's quite easy. By using the keyword @classes in the comments text box, you can specify a class for each account:


Well, actually you don't need to do that for each account. The classes you specify are automatically inherited by all the children accounts.

In the Chart of Accounts page, at the bottom, you'll find a link saying Toggle visibility of classes that helps you visualize how inheritance is applied.

For instance, you should see that all accounts children of Asset Accounts are automatically assigned the class assets:

An account can have more than a class, and inheritance is not affected. This might be useful because in a complex chart of accounts you could desire to have a distinction between fixed assets and current assets. Nothing prevents you to specify a class assets at the main level, and an additional class fixed at a lower level. The result will be that you'll have two classes for the children accounts, like fixed assets.

If you want to prevent inheritance, you can put an exclamation mark after the class name.

Once you have defined your classes, how can you get colors? In the page of the configuration of the firm, click on Show advanced options: you will be presented a text area named CSS.


Here, you can past the following text (provided as an example; you can of course adapt it to your own needs):

.assets
{
  color: blue;
}

.liabilities
{
  color: red;
}

.revenues
{
  color: green;
}

.expenses
{
  color: orange;
}

and click on Save. The result should be what you expect, a colored journal:


If you want to know more about CSS, start with reading the pages at W3School, and if you have ideas for improvements, please share them with us.

Slideshow from journal entries

Some teachers like to show the journal entries of a firm and explain them to their students. Others may ask the students to show their work, entry for entry. What about letting the application generate a slideshow from the firm's data?

It is now possible: we integrated remarkjs, a handy javascript code, into our application, and now you can show the entries, one by one, followed by the connected transaction analysis.





As an added feature, you can press "p" to toggle the so-called presenter mode, and "c" to clone your view in a different browser's window.

Let us know if you have ideas on how to improve this.

Five-star Peer Review on Merlot.org

Our website got recently a five-star peer review on Merlot.org, a program of the California State University System aimed to provide a Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching.



The review led to five stars on Content Quality, Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool and Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty.

There are some concerns, but they denote a lack of documentation on our side more than a deficiency in the application itself: in the next days we'll add some information in the handbook to fix this.

Many thanks to the reviewer!

Update: We wrote a new blog post, Instructions for Instructors, when we explain better what teachers can do and expect from the website.