Consolidating Financial Data from Multiple Companies
Some organizations use Business Central in multiple business units or legal entities. Others use Business Central in subsidiaries that must report into parent organizations. Business Central gives accountants tools that help them transfer general ledger entries from two or more companies (subsidiaries) into a consolidated company.
Each company involved in a consolidation is called a business unit. The company in which you combine the data is called the consolidated company.
You can transfer financial data from subsidiaries to the consolidated company, even if the subsidiaries use Business Central in different environments. To learn more about how to connect to other environments, go to Set Up Company Consolidation.
If the financial statements of a business unit use a different currency than the consolidated company, you must set up exchange rates for consolidation. To learn more about exchange rates for consolidations, go to Set Up Company Consolidation.
You can consolidate:
- Across companies that have different charts of accounts.
- Companies that use different fiscal years and different currencies.
- Either the full amount or a percentage of a company's financial information.
- Using different currency exchange rates in individual G/L accounts.
- Companies in other accounting and business management programs.
- Companies in different Business Central environments.
You set up the consolidated company in the same way that you set up other companies. The chart of accounts is independent of the chart of accounts in the business units. The chart of accounts in the business units can differ from one another. To learn more about setting up a consolidation, go to Set Up Company Consolidation.
Consolidating financial data can be especially relevant for intercompany processes. To learn more about intercompany features, go to Managing Intercompany Transactions.
Before you consolidate, it's a good idea to test your data before you transfer it to the consolidated company. Business Central looks for differences in the information in the business units and the consolidated company. For example, whether account numbers or dimension codes are different. Correct any errors you find before you run the report. You can test the database or, if you're importing data from an XML file, the file.
Test the data before you consolidate
Open the consolidated company.
Choose the icon, enter Business Units, and then choose the related link.
Test the file and database, as follows:
- To test a file, choose the Test File action, enter the name of the file to test, and then choose Print.
- To test the database, choose Test Database.
Run the consolidation
After you've tested the data, you can transfer it to the consolidated company. An assisted setup guide will help you through the process.
When you run the consolidation you can choose the companies to include. If your consolidated company doesn't have access to one or more subsidiaries, the guide will let you grant access to them.
- Sign in to the consolidated company.
- On the Business Units page, choose the Consolidate action.
- Fill in the required fields.
Use the Consolidated Trial Balance report
The Consolidated Trial Balance report can give you an overview of the overall financial health of your business. The report combines general ledger entries from each of your companies in a new company that you created for the consolidated data. The consolidated company is just a container for the consolidated data, and doesn't have any live business data. The companies that you include in the consolidated company become Business Units in the report. If you have four business units or fewer, you can also use the Consolidated Trial Balance (4) report.
The report shows a line for each account, and follows the structure of the chart of accounts. An account isn't shown if all the amounts on the line are 0. The report shows the following information for each account:
- The account number and the name of the account.
- The totals for the consolidated company and for each business unit. Totals can display either as a net change or the balance to date.
- The eliminations made in the consolidated company. Eliminations always show for a period corresponding to the consolidated company's fiscal year.
- The total for the consolidated company after the eliminations show either as a net change or the balance to date.
Eliminate repeated transactions
After you consolidate the companies, you must find and eliminate any transactions that are recorded more than once across companies. Processing consolidation eliminations is a manual process.
To eliminate repeated transactions:
- Find transactions that might need to be adjusted, and enter general journal lines to eliminate them.
- Run the G/L Consolidation Eliminations report to help you assess the effect of the general journal lines before posting.
- Post the adjusting transactions.
The G/L Consolidation Eliminations report displays a tentative trial balance where you can simulate the consequences of eliminating entries. The report compares the entries in the consolidated company with the eliminations entered in the general journal.
Before you can include a business unit in the report, you must set up the unit on the Business Units page. Make sure to turn on the Consolidate toggle.
A line is created for each account, following the structure of the chart of accounts. An account isn't shown if all amounts on the line are 0. The report shows the following information for each account:
- Account number.
- Account name.
- If you selected one or more business unit codes in the Business Unit Code field on the request page, a total shown for the consolidated company excludes the selected business units and eliminations. If you didn't fill in Business Unit Code field, the total for the consolidated company excludes eliminations.
- If you selected a business unit code in the Business Unit Code field on the request page, a total shows for the imported entries from the business unit. If you didn't fill in the Business Unit Code field, a total shows for the posted eliminations in the consolidated company.
- The total for the consolidated company with all the business units and all posted eliminations.
- The eliminations to make in the consolidated company. That is, the entries in the general journal that is selected on the request page.
- The posting text copied from the general journal.
- The consolidated company's total after the eliminations, if they're posted.
Export and import consolidated data between databases
If data for a business unit is in another database, you can do a manual file-based transfer or automate the process by using an API. To learn more about the API, go to Use our API to automatically share data across environments.
This section describes the manual, file-based process.
You export the data to a file before you include it in the consolidation. Export each company separately by using the Export Consolidation batch job.
Use the same process to export consolidated data that you must submit to Dynamics 365 Finance. For example, if the business unit is a subsidiary and the parent company uses Dynamics 365 Finance.
After you run the batch job, all entries in general ledger accounts are processed. For every combination of selected dimensions and date, the contents of the entries' Amount fields are totaled and exported. The next combination of the selected dimensions and date with the same account number is processed. Then the combinations in the next account number are processed, and so on.
The exported entries contain the following fields: Account No., Posting Date, and Amount. If dimensions information was also exported, dimension codes and dimension values are also included.
- For each exported line, if the total of the Amount fields is a debit, the account number that is set up in the business unit's Consol. Debit Acc. field is exported to the line. If the total is a credit, the corresponding number in the Consol. Credit Acc. field is exported to the line.
- The date used for each exported line is either the period's ending date or, if the transfer occurs each day, the exact date of the calculation.
- The dimension value exported for the entry will be the consolidated company dimension value that is specified in the Consolidation Code field for that dimension value. If a consolidated company dimension value hasn't been entered in the Consolidated Code field for the dimension value, the dimension value itself will be exported to the line.
- The XML files also contain the currency exchange rates in the consolidation period. These rates are included in a separate section at the beginning of the file.
Use our API to automatically share data across environments
Business Central provides an API that let's you automate the process of sharing financial data from business units to the consolidated company. The API is free to use and easy to set up. It even let's you share data across Business Central environments. For example, you might need to share across environments when business units are not in the same Azure geographies. To learn more about using the API to automate the consolidation process, go to Set Up Company Consolidation.