Carl Systems



Carl Accounting, The Service Industry to the Accountancy Profession, commenced business selling a technique of recording and accounting, the C.A.R.L. (Code Analysis Recording by Letters) System to businesses via their professional accountants in 1970. It could not be marketed direct to businesses at that time because CARL’s developer, Douglas Thompson, was a Chartered Accountant, in public practice and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales (ICAEW) strictly forbade its members to advertise direct. However, the ICAEW did grant permission for Douglas to introduce the CARL System to other practitioners, who seeing the mutual advantages it would bring to their clients and themselves, sold the CARL System and related stationery to their clients.

It was successfully applied and expanded so rapidly, that the printers of the stationery, Kalamazoo, then an international business systems company, sought to buy the copyrights and became a partner of Carl Accounting in 1976. In 1980, Lloyds Bank, intent upon extending its services to small business customers saw the CARL System as a great opportunity and after two years research into the market place and verifying CARL’s acceptability to the Inland Revenue it selected the CARL System for the provision of an accountancy and taxation service to its small business customers and this forced the ICAEW to withdraw its advertising restrictions and allow Chartered Accountants to advertise their services. Further inquiry by the ICAEW into “The Service Industry to the Profession”, lead to them setting up Faculties to achieve the same ends and Douglas accordingly withdrew the reference, “The Service Industry to the Profession”, as it had served its purpose.

In 1984, despite a unanimous decision at its AGM to incorporate the Carl Accounting System into its Memorandum and Articles of Association, Lloyds Bank decided, because of opposition from the accountancy profession to discontinue its provision of accountancy services and requested Douglas Thompson to assist them with its dissolution. In 1984, Lloyd, Thompson and Carl, Chartered Accountants, was set-up to takeover Lloyd’s Bank small business accounting services nationwide; proving decisively, after decades of successful operation, you do not need an accountant on your doorstep to obtain a first-class service. To obtain some idea of the services small firms were obtaining from their accountants operating the CARL System a documentary film was made by freelance film-makers who did much work for the BBC. Also, simultaneous with Lloyds Bank’s decision to discontinue its accounting services, Kalamazoo decided to dissolve the partnership because of its own internal financial problems unrelated to the partnership. On dissolution of the partnership, Douglas applied to become a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and after submission of ten years of successful marketing achievements and interview before a Marketing Institute panel, headed by the President of the CIM, Douglas was admitted to membership, the first Chartered Accountant to be admitted via the senior entry qualifying route.

The CARL System was designed to be computer compatible from the outset and Douglas went on IBM computer courses held in Birmingham, when IBM were looking for potential computer programmer material. He learned the overall principles of programming and its was at this time he started to learn how to write spreadsheet programmes and a little later how to write programmes in C and C++. He also recognised the ability and potential for Databases to cross reference with each other to perform complex exercises like Double Entry Book-keeping and Accounts without the intervention of an accountant such as himself.

Numerous press articles spread over time about the CARL System, resulted in an invitation from the Certified Public Practising Accountants of America to lecture in New York, which he duly accepted. He arranged with his staff in England for them to work overnight and process documents that would be coded in the States and faxed over for processing, on the computer programme he had written. The produced accounts would then be faxed back for checking by the USA candidates who had coded them. Douglas explained this to the fifty or so candidates who had turned up to listen to him and they co-operated very willingly to carry out their part of entering figures and randomly coding amounts. The outcome was a huge success with all the candidates wanting to know if it was going to be franchised in the USA and if so, they wanted a slice of any franchising arrangements.

On return form the USA, Douglas Thompson, read about Artificial Intelligence (AI) and recognised how the CARL System enabled AI to be incorporated into the writing of an accounting programme and he wrote a lengthy detailed paper about it and submitted it to the British Computer Society, of which he had already become a member after examination of his previous programming skills. He was invited to attend before a panel of four assessors at Staffordshire University for assessment of his submission. After five hours interactive lecturing on the subject, he asked why it had taken so long, since they had already read the paper. He was told “because we have been learning from you”.

In July 2006 after seeing how accurately thousands of small firms from all walks of life had been consistently accurate with coding their business transactions using the CARL Coding structure, a spreadsheet version of the CARL System was developed.   Then reaslising that I.T was moving to the internet a relationship was sought with a suitable software development company to implement the system for the web.  A local company Key Page Media Ltd in Shrewsbury began working on the project. 

Five years later after a lot of development and new research the web version of the CARL system is now functioning. The philosphy of the project is very much around getting business owners to understand and embrace the importance of keeping accurate and up to date records but we also believe that the accounting platform forms the heart of the wider picture.  By integrating the CARL system into the business and building state of the art web sites and e-commerce systems around it, the business owner can get truely up to date measurements of where their business stands.  In order to offer the range of services that small businesses need we created a new business called Carl Systems Ltd. 

Our belief is that you cannot look at a business from one viewpoint.  We help businesses look it at business from all aspects but with finally a way to know where you stand right away.

Call Carl Systems today and we can help you understand how to put our powerful products to work for you.