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;
- [update, February 5th, 2017] it is possible to prepare exercises/challenges for students.
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 firstname.lastname@example.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.
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.