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CCH Software User Documentation

Accounts Formatting

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When accounts are prepared without using an Accounts Formatter, it is usually by means of a spreadsheet such as MS Excel. The automatic Accounts Formatter takes this a step further and uses an ‘accounts page’ which is similar to an MS Excel spreadsheet but can pick up the account values directly from the nominal ledger.

The production of the accounts is achieved through the CCH Accounts Production Trust Accounts Formatter (CCH AP Formatter) and can be accessed through Trust Accounts menus. The Viztopia Formatter is no longer supported. 


Not all practices have access to the CCH AP Formatter. The options that a practice has access to can be seen in File > Info. Apart from the licence for the CCH AP Formatter itself, a licence is required to access different types of accounts pages. The available accounts pages are:

  • Trust formats. we supply templates for Accumulation and Maintenance trust accounts. Users can tailor these and then use the result as a basis for Life Interest trust accounts and Discretionary trust accounts.

  • Probate formats, i.e. Estate Accounts. we supply templates for an estate requiring up to 5 years to wind up. Again these master templates can be tailored to the house-style.

  • Charity formats. The pages comply with the SORP (statement of recommended practice) and cover incorporated and unincorporated charities.

  • Limited company formats. These pages provide full disclosure for small, medium and large companies including abbreviated accounts and FRSSE accounts.

  • Pension formats. The pages comply with the SORP and cover defined benefit, defined contribution and hybrid schemes. For simpler non-statutory accounts, e.g. SSASs, users may do better to tailor the trust pages.

Client Setup

When a Trust Accounts client is set up the Accounts Formatter will be specified as Accounts Prod. (CCH AP Formatter). The Viztopia formatter is no longer supported. The Format Types available are the ones the user has bought.

Statutory Database

This is a database of extra information about the client used for producing the accounts. The data fields available depend on the client’s Format Type.

Paragraphs of text can be entered, e.g. for the Accountant’s Report. There are also some general purpose fields available that the user can use for his own purposes. However Statutory Database is a fixed format database and users cannot add new fields to it.

In addition paragraphs of text can be defined as a master table centrally and then selected into clients as required. So if a client uses a standard Accountant’s Report then it can just be selected from the master list of paragraphs. If needed it can then be edited for that particular client.


When using the CCH Accounts Production formatter information about relationships between other contacts in the Central database and the client will be obtained from the relationships tab in the Central database. For instance, for a trust you can set up relationships for the trustees, beneficiaries and settlors.  

Accounts Pages

The financial data for the accounts comes from the trial balance. The non-financial data comes from the Statutory Database. The layout of the accounts is determined by Accounts Pages.

The accounts pages are similar to Excel spreadsheets. One accounts page is used for each page in the financial statements. Features such as changing font etc are performed by the use of styles within the worksheets so as to ensure consistency across the pages of the accounts. The accounts pages differ from Excel spreadsheets in that they can access the figures directly from the trial balance. For instance, the formula


gives the current year balance on account 0001 and =AP("b,0001") gives the balance from last year. There are also other commands which will provide a total for a range of accounts or list a range of accounts giving their description and balances and suppressing zero balances. In additional there are commands to access the data in Statutory Database. Standard Excel commands can also be used on the worksheets.

Master Pages

We supply master accounts pages for each of the Format Types shown above. Users may wish to make their own modifications to these templates to correspond to the practice’s house style. This is normal for the trust and probate accounts. Users can do this themselves or can buy consultancy to do this for them. However, the layout of the charity, limited company and pension accounts is determined by statute or SORP and are therefore more complex than trust and estate accounts. We do not recommend serious tailoring of these accounts beyond cosmetic changes such as using styles to amend the look and feel of the accounts.

Client pages

Although many sets of accounts can be produced using the master accounts pages, sometimes it is necessary to tailor the accounts for specific clients. To enable this, master pages can be edited within the CCH AP Formatter, and as soon as changes are saved the page becomes local. This means that the local page can be edited without affecting any other clients using the master page. 

Security permissions for the use of the CCH AP Formatter are set within Central and apply to the users connecting from Trust Accounts. The permissions can be very granular and should be considered when setting up the software. Refer to the Central documentation and e-learning for further information.

Other Facilities

The CCH AP Formatter contains facilities to:

  • Suppress zero rows or show rows only if they have a debit or credit balance

  • Calculate Page Numbers. This enables a table of contents can be produced. Pages that are not required for a particular client can be automatically suppressed from the table of contents.

  • Investment schedule pages are combined automatically into the set of accounts within CCH AP Formatter using the Investment Schedule layouts defined within Trust Accounts. This ensures that the page numbering for all pages in the accounts are consistent and cross referenced.

  • Note Numbers are automatically generated based on which notes are required. References from the accounts to the notes are renumbered automatically in the same way.

  • Output can be to the document management system (if available), to the printer or to Word (docx) or in PDF format (for Adobe Acrobat).

Upgrade from the Viztopia Formatter

Accounts pages written for the Viztopia Accounts Formatter can be upgraded to the CCH Accounts Production formatter and there is a conversion process available to transfer the Statutory Database and contact information into Central and CCH AP Formatter. We can also offer advice and assistance in converting from the Viztopia Formatter to the CCH AP Formatter.


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