Work with General Journals

Most financial transactions are posted to the general ledger through documents such as purchase invoices and sales orders. However, you can also process business activities such as:

  • Purchasing
  • Payments
  • Using recurring journals to post accruals
  • Refunding employee expenses by posting journal lines in journals

Most journals are based on the general journal, and you can process all transactions on the General Journal page. Learn more at Post Transactions Directly to the General Ledger.

For example, you can use post employee expenses for reimbursement. Learn more at Record and Reimburse Employees' Expenses.

However, Business Central also offers journals that are optimised for specific types of transactions, such as the Payment Journal for registering payments. For more information, see Record Payments and Refunds in the Payment Journal.

You use general journals to post financial transactions to general ledger accounts and various other accounts. The other accounts include bank, customer, vendor, and employee accounts. Posting with a general journal creates entries on general ledger accounts even when, for example, you post a journal line to a customer account. The entry is posted to a general ledger receivables account through a posting group.

The information that you enter in a journal is temporary and can be changed while it is in the journal. When you post the journal, the information is transferred to entries on individual accounts, where it can't be changed. You can, however, unapply posted entries, and you can post reversing or correcting entries. For more information, see Reverse Journal Postings and Undo Receipts/Shipments.

Note

The general journal only shows a limited number of fields on the journal line by default. If you want to see additional fields, such as the Account Type field, choose the Show More Columns action. To hide the additional fields again, choose the Show Fewer Columns action. When you see fewer columns, then the same posting date is used for all lines. If you want to have multiple posting dates for the same journal entry, choose the Show More Columns action.

Use Journal Templates and Batches

There are several general journal templates. Each journal template is represented by a dedicated page with particular functions and the fields that are required to support those functions, such as the Payment Reconciliation Journal page to process bank payments and the Payment Journal page to pay your vendors or reimburse your employees. For more information, see Make Payments and Reconcile Customer Payments with the Cash Receipt Journal or from Customer Ledger Entries.

For each journal template, you can set up your own personal journal as a journal batch. For example, you can define your own journal batch for the payment journal that has your personal layout and settings. The following tip is an example of how to personalise a journal.

Tip

If you select the Suggest Balancing Amount checkbox on the line for your batch on the General Journal Batches page, then the Amount field on, for example, general journal lines for the same document number is automatically prefilled with the value that is required to balance the document. For more information, see Letting Business Central Suggest Values.

Tip

To add or remove fields in journals, use the Personalising banner. For more information, see Personalise Your Workspace.

Validating General Journal Batches

You can turn on a background check that will help prevent delays when posting. The check will notify you when a mistake in the financial journal you're working on will prevent you from posting the journal. On the General Journal Batch page, you can choose Background Error Check to have Business Central validate finance journals, such as general or payment journals, while you're working on them.

When you enable the validation, the Journal Check FactBox will show issues in the current line and the whole batch. Validation happens when you load a finance journal batch, and when you choose another journal line. The Issues total tile in the FactBox shows the total number of issues that Business Central found, and you can choose it to open an overview the issues.

You can use the Show Lines with Issues and Show All Lines actions to toggle between journal lines that do or don't have issues. The Journal Line Details FactBox provides quick overview and access to data from journal lines, such as the G/L account, customer, or vendor, and the posting setup for specific accounts.

Check data in documents and journals while you work

In 2022 release wave 1 we introduced a feature that will validate the data you enter in documents and journals while you're entering it. For example, turning on this feature can help avoid mistakes in data entry or not being able to post something due to an error.

Your administrator can enable the Feature: Check documents and journals while you work feature on the Feature Management page. Afterward, you will receive a notification when you open a page to start working on a document or journal. To start using the feature, choose the Enable this for me link in the notification.

If you enable the feature, the FactBox Pane will show either a Check Document or Check Journal FactBox, depending on the type of document you're working on. The FactBox lists the errors on the page so you can quickly resolve them.

If you decide you don't need the feature, there are two ways to turn it off:

  • For journals, turn off the Enable Data Check toggle on the General Journal Setup page.
  • For documents, clear the Show the Document Check FactBox check box on the My Notifications page.

Understanding Main Accounts and Balancing Accounts

If you have set up default balancing accounts for the journal batches on the General Journals page, the balancing account will be filled in automatically when you fill in the Account No. field. Otherwise, fill in both the Account No. field and the Bal. Account No. field manually. A positive amount in the Amount field is debited to the main account and credited to the balancing account. A negative amount is credited to the main account and debited to the balancing account.

Note

GST is calculated separately for the main account and the balancing account, so they can use different GST percentage rates.

Work with Recurring Journals

A recurring journal is a general journal with specific fields for managing transactions that you often post with few, if any, changes. For example, transactions for expenses such as rent, subscriptions, electricity, and heat. Using recurring journals lets you post fixed and variable amounts, and specify automatic reversal entries for the day after the posting date. Allocation keys let you divide the recurring entries among various accounts. For more information, see Allocating Recurring Journal Amounts to Several Accounts.

With a recurring journal, you create the entries that will be posted regularly only one time. For example, the accounts, dimensions, dimension values, and so on, stay in the journal after posting. If changes are needed, you can make them each time you post.

Recurring Method field

This field determines how to treat the amount on the journal line after posting. For example, if you'll use the same amount every time you post the line, you can let the amount remain. If you'll use the same accounts and text on the line, but the amount will vary every time you post, you can choose to delete the amount after posting.

To See
F Fixed The amount on the journal line will remain after posting.
V Variable The amount on the journal line will be deleted after posting.
B Balance The posted amount on the account on the line will be allocated among the accounts specified for the line in the Gen. Jnl. Allocation table. The balance on the account will be set to zero. Remember to fill in the Allocation % field on the Allocations page. For more information, see Allocating Recurring Journal Amounts to Several Accounts.
RF Reversing Fixed The amount on the journal line will remain after posting, and a balancing entry will be posted on the next day.
RV Reversing Variable The amount on the journal line will be deleted after posting, and a balancing entry will be posted on the next day.
RB Reversing Balance The posted amount on the account on the line will be allocated among the accounts specified for the line on the Allocations page. The balance on the account will be set to zero, and a balancing entry is posted on the next day.
BD Balance by Dimension The journal line allocates costs based on a G/L account's balance by dimension. You'll be prompted to set the dimension filters to be used to calculate the source G/L account's balance by dimension from which you want to allocate costs. As an alternative, choose the Set Dimension Filters action later.
RBD Reversing Balance by Dimension The journal line allocates costs based on a G/L account's reversing balance by dimension. You'll be prompted to set the dimension filters to be used to calculate the source G/L account's balance by dimension from which you want to allocate costs. You can also choose the Set Dimension Filters action later.

Note

The GST fields can be filled in on either the recurring journal line or on the allocation journal line but not on both. That is, they can be filled in on the Allocations page only if the corresponding lines in the recurring journal are not filled in.

Recurring Frequency field

This date formula field determines how often to post the entry on the journal line, and it must be filled in. Learn more at Use Date Formulas.

Examples

If the journal line must be posted every month, enter "1M". After every posting, the date in the Posting Date field will be updated to the same date in the next month.

If you want to post an entry on the last day of every month, you can do one of the following:

  • Post the first entry on the last day of a month by entering 1D+1M-1D (1 day + 1 month - 1 day). With this formula, the posting date is calculated correctly regardless of how many days there are in the month.

  • Post the first entry on any day of the month by entering 1M+CM. With this formula, the posting date will be after one full month + the remaining days of the current month.

Expiration Date field

This field determines the date on which the line will be posted for the last time. The line won't be posted after this date.

The advantage of using the Expiration Date field is that the line won't be deleted from the journal immediately. You can enter a later date so that you can use the line in the future.

If the field is blank, the line will be posted every time until it's deleted from the journal.

Allocating Recurring Journal Amounts to Several Accounts

On the Recurring General Journal page, you can choose the Allocations action to see or manage how amounts on the recurring journal line are allocated to several accounts and dimensions. Note that allocation acts as balancing account line for the recurring journal line.

Like a recurring journal, you enter an allocation one time and it stays in the allocation journal after posting. You don't need to enter amounts and allocations every time you post the recurring journal line.

If the recurring method in the recurring journal is set to Balance or Reversing Balance, dimension value codes in the recurring journal are disregarded when the account is set to zero. If you allocate a recurring line to dimension values on the Allocations page, only one reversing entry is created.

Note

If you allocate a recurring journal line that contains a dimension value code, don't enter the same code on the Allocations page. If you do, the dimension values will be incorrect.

To allocate recurring journal amounts based on dimensions, set the Recurring Method field to Balance by Dimension or Reversing Balance by Dimension instead. If the recurring method in the recurring journal is set to Balance by Dimension or Reversing Balance by Dimension, dimension value codes in the recurring journal are considered when the account is set to zero. If you allocate a recurring line to dimension values on the Allocations page, reversing entries are created that match the number of dimension value combinations that the balance is comprised of. If you allocate account balance through a recurring journal that contains a dimension value code, remember to use Balance by Dimension or Reversing Balance by Dimension to ensure that the dimension values are correctly balanced or reversed from the source account.

For example, your company has a couple of business units and a handful of departments that your controllers have set up as dimensions. To speed up the purchase invoice entry process, you decide to require the accounts payable clerks to enter only business unit dimensions. Since each business unit has specific allocation keys for the Department dimension, such as based on the number of employees, you can use the BD Balance by Dimension or RBD Reversing Balance by Dimension recurring methods to reallocate expenses for each business unit to the right departments based on the allocation keys.

Note

Dimensions that you set on allocation lines are not automatically calculated, and you must specify which dimension values must be set on the allocation accounts. In case you want to preserve the link between the source account dimension and the allocation account dimension, we recommend that you use the Cost Accounting capabilities instead.

Example: Allocating Rent Payments to Different Departments

You pay rent monthly, so you've entered the amount on the cash account on a recurring journal line. On the Allocations page, you can use the Department dimension to divide the expense among several departments. For example, according to the number of square feet that each department occupies. The calculation is based on the allocation percentage on each line. You can allocate in different ways:

  • Enter different accounts on different allocation lines to divide rental expense among several accounts.
  • Enter the same account but use different dimension value codes for the Department dimension on each line.

Reversing Journals to Correct Mistakes

When working with journals that have many lines and something goes wrong, it's important to have an easy way to correct mistakes. The Posted General Journal page offers a couple of actions that can help.

  • Copy Selected Lines to Journal - Copy only the lines that you select.
  • Copy G/L Register to Journal - Copy all lines that belong to the same G/L register.

These actions let you create a copy of a general journal line or a batch, and then specify:

  • The journal to copy the lines to
  • Whether with opposite signs (a reversing journal)
  • A different posting date or document number

To allow journals to be copied to posted general journals, on the General Journal Templates or General Journal Batch pages, choose the Copy to Posted Jnl. Lines checkbox. After you allow people to copy posted general journals, if needed you can turn off copying for specific batches.

Reversal Date Calculation

When using recurring general journals to post accruals at the end of a period, it's important to have full control over reversal entries. On the Recurring General Journals page, the Reversal Date Calculation field lets you control the date that reversal entries will be posted when reversal recurring methods are used.

Example

Accruals are typically posted with Fixed, Variable, or Balance recurring methods on the journal line. The posting date of the posted amount on the account on journal line is calculated using the recurring frequency. The posting date for the balancing entry is calculated using the Reversal Date Calculation field, as follows:

  • If the field is blank, the balancing entry will be posted the next day.
  • If the field contains a date formula (for example, 5D for five days), the balancing entry will be posted with a posting date calculated using the reversal date calculation.

Note

By default, the Reversal Date Calculation field is not available on the Recurring General Journals page. To use the field, you must add it by personalising the page. For more information, see Personalise Your Workspace.

Work with Standard Journals

When you've created journal lines that you know you're likely to create again later, you can save them as a standard journal before you post the journal. The same applies for item journals and general journals.

Note

The following procedure refers to the item journal, but the information also applies to the general journal.

To save a standard journal

  1. Choose the Lightbulb that opens the Tell Me feature. icon, enter Item Journals, and then choose the related link.

  2. Enter one or more journal lines.

  3. Select the journal lines that you want to reuse.

  4. Choose the Save as Standard Journal action.

  5. In the Save as Standard Item Journal request page, define a new or existing standard item journal that the lines should be saved in.

    If you've already created one or more standard item journals and you want to replace one of them with the new set of item journal lines, in the Code field, select the item journal.

  6. Choose OK to verify that you want to replace the content of the existing standard item journal.

  7. To save the values in the Unit Amount field of the standard item journal, choose the Save Unit Amount field.

  8. To save the values in the Quantity field, choose the Save Quantity field.

  9. Choose OK to save the standard item journal.

When you save the standard item journal, the Item Journal page displays so you can post it.

To reuse a standard journal

  1. Choose the Lightbulb that opens the Tell Me feature. icon, enter Item Journals, and then choose the related link.

  2. Choose the Get Standard Journals action.

    The Standard Item Journals page opens showing codes and descriptions for all existing standard item journals.

  3. To review a standard item journal before you select it for reuse, choose the Show Journal action.

    Changes you make in a standard item journal are implemented right away, and they'll be there next time you open or reuse the standard item journal. Be sure that the change is important enough to generally apply. Otherwise, make the specific change in the item journal after the standard item journal lines have been added. See step 4.

  4. On the Standard Item Journals page, select the standard item journal to reuse, and then choose OK.

    The item journal contains the lines you saved. If the item journal already has lines, the new lines appear after them.

    If you don't turn on the Save Unit Amount toggle, the Unit Amount field on lines added from the standard journal contain the value from the Unit Cost field on the item card.

    Note

    If you turned on the Save Unit Amount or Save Quantity toggles, make sure the new values are correct before you post the item journal.

    If the inserted item journal lines contain saved unit amounts that you don't want to post, you can quickly adjust it to the current value of the item as follows.

  5. Select the item journal lines you want to adjust, and then choose the Recalculate Unit Amount action. This action will update the Unit Amount field with the current unit cost of the item.

  6. Choose the Post action.

To renumber document numbers in journals

To avoid posting errors caused by the document number, you can use the Renumber Document Numbers action before you post a journal.

In all journals that are based on the general journal, the Document No. field is editable so that you can specify different document numbers for different journal lines or the same document number for related journal lines.

If the No. Series field on the journal batch is filled, then the posting function in general journals requires that the document number on individual or grouped journal lines be in sequential order. Just choose the Renumber Document Numbers action, and relevant Document No. fields are then updated. If related journal lines were grouped by document number before you used the function, they'll remain grouped, but may be assigned a different document number.

This function also works on filtered views.

Any renumbering of document numbers will respect related applications, such as a payment application made from the document on the journal line to a vendor account. Accordingly, the Applies-to ID and Applies-to Doc. No. fields will be updated on the ledger entries.

To renumber documents in journals

The following procedure is based on the General Journal page, but applies to all other journals that are based on the general journal, such as the Receipt Journal page.

  1. Choose the Lightbulb that opens the Tell Me feature. icon, enter General Journals, and then choose the related link.
  2. When you're ready to post the journal, choose the Renumber Document Numbers action.

Values in the Document No. field are changed, where required, so that the document number on individual or grouped journal lines are in sequential order. After documents are renumbered, you can post the journal.

See Also

Post Transactions Directly to the General Ledger
Reverse Journal Postings and Undo Receipts/Shipments
Allocate Costs and Income
Finance
Work with Business Central
Close Open Item Ledger Entries Resulting from Fixed Application in the Item Journal
Revalue Inventory in the Revaluation Journal
Count, Adjust, and Reclassify Inventory Using Journals
Reconcile Customer Payments with the Cash Receipt Journal or from Customer Ledger Entries
Reconcile Vendor Payments with the Payment Journal or from Vendor Ledger Entries
Work with Intercompany Documents and Journals

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