Up to now I’ve mostly been posting on general report writing and management issues, but I’m now going to begin posting at least one report writing tip each week.

For this first quick tip, we’ll start with something that happens far too often in ERP: Accounts that should be controlled by a sub-ledger are instead posted directly to ?fix something? at month?s end. The quick fixes are soon forgotten and then everybody is wondering why the report won’t reconcile.

An example: An invoice gets created in your billing system, it credits revenue (let’s say account 40000) and debits accounts receivable (account 11000). You should NEVER adjust these accounts directly in the General Ledger. If you find a mistake and want to fix it on your financial statement, you should set up separate accounts (40001- revenue GL adjustments) and use those. This way you can track what gets controlled by the sub-ledger and what gets entered in the general ledger. You should also make sure to reverse those postings the next month and make the fix in the subsystem.

Most large systems offer ways that you can lock these accounts down ? so for example, account 40000 above should only be used by the billing system and not directly by the ledger.

Seems obvious and hardly technical, but I can’t tell you over the years how many hours I’ve burned because of this simple lack of control.


Adam Jacobson

Adam is founder and president of Red Three Consulting. He has over 20 years of experience in ERP consulting and BI consulting. Adam has particular expertise in complex accounting and other multi-company and international reporting challenges. Prior to founding Red Three, Adam was a partner in United Systems Consultants where he ran its 30-person Lawson software practice. Outside of work, he serves as board member and treasurer of the Riverdale Y. When not working, he spends his time answering his son’s political questions and cycling, swimming and reading.


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