Aplos Fund Accounting Review

The last couple months have been focused on building tools to make the Aplos Fund Accounting software do a couple basic things that it is simply not designed to do.

It’s funny, three simple expectations that have been around since the inception of computerized accounting are glossed over in the design of the Aplos system. It’s not that these three things are “broken” or “not implemented well”. They are not even conceptually part of the Aplos world. Really, it’s a basic attitude thing.

Aplos is a much better solution for our growing administrative function than what we had before so there is no serious talk of going back. Aplos is good stuff, but as an older engineer, I’m rather surprised by how many of the hard-won lessons of the past have simply been ignored by the young ones building the Aplos system. Also, I’m surprised that such a progressive shop can actually believe they have accounting figured out for the entire world for all time. That a bit scary as I write that down…

  1. Getting your accounting data out of the system. Aplos is like the famous Signetics 25120 WOM  (Write-Only-Memory) and it’s technical predecessor, the Umac 606 Phantasatron. While these two humorously fictional devices are truly classic engineering insider jokes the humor is lost in this case. No matter what the marketing folks, tech support team, or the developers themselves say it just isn’t possible to get all the data back. If your accounting system workflow is exactly the same as the way the Aplos designers imagine in their perfect world for everyone in the entire universe it might be possible to get your data out of the system, but I’m not sure because we’re not even close to that work flow conceptualization. In any case, it’s not the raw data. This is most true of the non-accounting data.
  2. The only report output from the Aplos system is what the designers a priory provided. There is no report building capability. In a way it’s related to the first issue. Reports that have been around since the beginning of time are not available, just the new ones the clever Aplos developers have come up with that are not very helpful to our clients.
  3. I know from working with the Aplos APIs that full date and time is recorded behind the scenes but in the Aplos world everything happens in one time zone – the time zone of the data-entering computer. We’re a world-spanning organization and when a person enters data on the other side of the International Date Line it’s tomorrow’s entry even if we are working simultaneously. I almost laughed when a senior Aplos staff explained we were not technically collaborating in real time; my partner was working in my future.

Welcome to the 80’s!

Time to build our own software to get our data back.

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