Having recently added the equalization methodology to our fund accounting and investor allocation module, I have gone through much thinking and doodling around the best way to explain, document and present both the concepts and the specifics of this feature.
When speaking with accountants, or programmers who build accounting systems, long pages of verbiage, formulas, and Excel-proofs seem to do the trick. Much has been written about the equalization approach to investor accounting in offshore hedge funds, in this manner: Deloitte and Custom House have each written an excellent paper on it.
But to the more conceptual thinkers - the portfolio managers, analysts, implementation architects, documenters and others who need a visceral understanding of the problem if not an entirely mathematical one - the heartache and the glassy eyes kick in way before the formulas sink in. And so our product team built a visualization to illustrate the equalization adjustment problem and solution. While it is not nearly as detailed as the above cited papers, it worked quite well to convey the general context of the problem.
Once we explain the legend, this illustration has served as a good tool for explaining the rational and the general concepts of a fairly archaic and complex accounting methodology to our target audience. We are happy to have this as a tool in our tool-chest, knowing that when asked for it, we also have the detailed Excel proofs to back it up!
And for those who may be in search of a partnership and shareholder accounting solution for both US and European based hedge funds or fund of funds, supporting all currencies and a myriad of fee structures, built by a team who spends a lot of time thinking about conceptual visualization, please do check out our product!