In this article we will explain the general Ledger journal processing flow from entering journals to running the final financial reports. Understand the generic general ledger process flow as it happens in automated ERP systems. The accounting cycle explains the flow of converting raw accounting data to financial information whereas general ledger process flow explains how journals flow in the system.
GL process flow is a five step process from recording the transactions in the system to finally running the reports containing financial data out of the system. The input for GL Process Flow is the raw accounting data and the output is the accounting reports that can be used to provide various levels of financial information. The steps in general ledger process flow are:
- Step1. Create Journal or Import Journal from Sub‐Ledger
- Step2: Review Journals
- Step3: Approve Journals
- Step4: Journals Posting
- Step5: Run Financial Reports
Step1. Create Journal or Import Journal from Sub‐Ledger:
Accounting Journals can be created directly in the General Ledger. They can also be created in subsidiary ledgers and can then be imported to General Ledger. In the previous lesson we saw some examples of commonly used subsidiary ledgers. Companies extensively use modules like accounts receivable, accounts payable, inventory, assets, projects and cash management subsidiary ledgers. Data created in these sub-systems need to be imported to general ledger for further processing, The accounting lines from sub-ledgers can be imported in summarized form or detailed form.
General Ledger also allows users to directly add transactions in the GL. In that case you need to follow the accounting principles and the steps explained in accounting process. At this stage the journals are entered in the system and available for further processing, but they have not impacted the general ledger account balances yet.
Step2: Review Journals:
Once the Journal is available in the General Ledger System you can query the journals that have been created. While reviewing the journal, you can make edits/corrections if required.
You might need to make some adjustments to the journals coming from other sources if you want to change the accounts or amounts that are coming from the sub-systems. Review functionality gives the capability to query the journals based on different parameters and also make edits if required.
Step3: Approve Journals:
Accounting prudence requires that all financial transactions should be reviewed by someone other than the person creating the transaction. Approval ensures validity and correctness of the transaction. Segregation of Duties concept requires that the responsibility for related operations should be divided among two or more persons. This decreases the possibility of errors and fraud.
In this step the system will validate the journal batch, determine if approval is required, and submit the batch to approvers (if required), then notifies appropriate individuals of the approval results. Email notifications can be sent to the approvers using the system and they can review and approve the journals. This step is generally optional and many organizations skip this step by putting additional controls in the process. If this feature is enables then the journal cannot be posted unless it has been approved.
Step4: Journals Posting:
An important feature of the general ledger is the "Balance" column, which keeps a running balance for each of the account pertaining to which transactions are happening. The transactional data captured through journals in the previous steps is transferred periodically to the columns in the general ledger. Journals posting is a process of updating the database with the amounts.
The volume of transactions carried out by a business will indicate how often to post. A busier company may post daily, while other companies may post weekly or monthly. Periodic postings is required to ensure balances for accounts are current, so the business has the up-to-date financial information it needs to make quick decisions. All transactions must be posted to the ledger at the end of an accounting period. Once the Journals are posted users can query for updated account balances using the account inquiry functions.
Journals Balances Updated: Posting process updates the journal balances. You can inquiry the account balances in General Ledger for all posted transactions.
Step5: Run Financial Reports:
One way to determine financial progress of any organization is to look at the profit gained by a business. Once you have the account balances and transactional data available in the system they need to be formatted to meaningful information that can help users understand the financial history as well as equip them to take informed decisions. To enable this business users need many types of financial reports.
The next step in the general ledger process is to generate these useful reports and the most common reports run from General Ledger are Transactions Register and Trial Balance Report. ERPs come with a large number of seeded reports as well as with tools to define user specified reports.
Given above is the generic general ledger process. Some systems may have slight variations to the above process, but the underlying concepts remain more or less same!
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