Top 5 things you need to know about Journals Best Practice
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Journals webinar introduction
OK, thank you for attending today’s Journals webinar everybody. I’m just going go through a few housekeeping rules to start off with. All attendees will be on mute and will remain so for the whole webinar. Please use the question box if you’ve got any questions related to the topic. All the questions will be answered after the demo. If we do run out of time, or if your question does require a longer answer, then they’ll be answered offline directly after the demo. Use the chat box for any questions related to the webinars, such as if you can’t hear the audio, or if the presenter is going too fast. Please note that the link to the webinar recording will be sent out afterwards to all of the attendees.
OK, so, this is the monthly webinar on key areas of NAV and Business Central. You can sign up for as many as you like on the website, and I’ll show you the list of upcoming webinars at the end of the session. We do also send out regular e-mails so you can register for the next one.
My name is Karen, and I’ll be facilitating the demo today. I’m an Account Manager here at TVision and have worked here for about three years. And my background is 19 years of software account management experience working for ERP companies. Ian’s going to be doing the demo today, and he is a support consultant here at TVision. And he’s been working here for nearly four years and has been using NAV since 2000.
OK, so this webinar is about journals, and it’s something that everybody uses across the system. By keeping financial books on the system, you can have an accurate representation of the finances of the company. But sometimes, you do have to use a journal to reflect the real numbers. Now whilst many companies use the General Journal for all entries, there are specific journals for other departments, which can work better for you. So in this webinar, we’re going to show you some efficient and smarter ways of using journals.
Agenda for Journals webinar
So, just going through what we’re going to show you. First of all is using the right journal for the job. Now, there are journals available for all functional areas of the system. The general journal can be used for most requirements. However, there are specific journals available for other departments, such as the cash receipts journal, and the payment journal. These journals have a specialist tool to help with the relevant task.
You can use journal batches to split up work. And you can have multiple batches for each type of journal. By using a batch, you can organize your work more efficiently by creating batches. So you can have several colleagues working on them without interfering with each other’s work. Using the preview post function. In order to post a journal it has to have a zero balance otherwise you’re going to get an error when you’re trying to post it. So it’s worth checking the Journal’s beforehand. All versions of Business Central have a test report. And if you’re on the newer versions, you can also use the preview posting tool, which will show you exactly what it’s going to look like. And will also check for any errors.
Using current same journals. It’s important when you’re posting a journal to know that you can capture transaction in a foreign currency. But it does have to balance in pound sterling. So if you are swapping currency, you might end up with an exchange gain or loss that needs to be recorded correctly.
And then finally, using standard journal templates. If you’re posting the same type of journal every week or month, you can create and save a template. So, you don’t have to keep re-entering the same information every time. So, for example, at the end of the month, if you pay the same salaries, you might want to create a template for this to save time and avoid mistakes.
OK, so just before we get on to the demo, I’d like to just understand how many types of journals you think are actually in the system, so I’m going to launch a poll. If you wouldn’t mind just putting in your answers, and then I’ll read out what the results were afterwards.
So, I’m just launching it now. I’ll give you a minute or so to see what you put in. OK, just give you a few more seconds. OK, that’s interesting. 44% of you think there’s 6 to 10, then 22% think there’s 0 to 5, and 22% think there’s more than 30.
Well, actually, the answer is more than 30. It depends on your version, but you can have up to 35 journals. So, what I’m going to do now, I’m going to hand over to Ian who’s going to go through these areas on the software with you.
OK, Karen, hopefully you can see my screen. Yes. Lovely, alright. That question that Karen said, how many journals do you think that, oh, that was just for a little bit of fun.
And just to demonstrate that there are more than 30 journals. So I’m on the latest version of Business Central SaaS. And if I just come up here and I search for Journal. You can see there are 42 results that the system can show me from various types of journals which exist on the system. Some of those are templates, so won’t count them, 35 different journals. And why are there so many different types of journals?
It’s for a couple of reasons, some of those journals, special tools, or just help you, when you’re doing a payment, a special tool in there to help you figure out what payments to make. And it also helps to segregate your work… So you know, somebody’s doing a sales journal, somebody’s doing a purchase journal, seems to be a general journal, someone else’s way of doing inventory journals, whatever it might be, you’re all working in different areas on the system. You’re not interfering with each other’s work, which just makes life a lot easier and less complicated.
So, the first point that Karen wanted me to mention, was using the right tool for the job. Or using the right journal for the job. So there’s all these journals on the system. I’m going to start off, let’s just have a look at a general journal.
I’m going to do something unusual. I’ll do it through the menus instead of searching for it. So, in my general journals and we’ll just open one of them up. So this is a general journal and oh, this looks ugly. OK, so if you are used to working in NAV, Journal’s didn’t look like this. In Business Central it looks a little bit different, it gives you this simplified version of the job. If you see this, just come up to Page > Show more columns, and you will get a view that that’s more like the journals that I’m used to and I prefer working with.
So, when in a general journal I can do pretty much everything from a general journal that I need to do in finance. I can post to vendors. I can post to my debtors. I can post to banks. I can post to my general ledger accounts. It’s kind of a jack of all trades type of tool. There are some tools up on the menu bar, but there’s nothing really exciting up there.
I did mention a few moments ago about a payments journal. So let’s go take a look at a payment Journal. Remember, you don’t have to type everything, just part of the word usually gets there. So, on a payment journal, up here you get this Prepare button, which has a tool for suggesting vendor payments.
You probably use this tool, it goes and looks at all your vendors, what’s the due dates for any invoices that you have raised against them. And it will suggest a list of payments the system thinks you should be making. Once you’ve got that list, you can tweak it, add lines, delete lines, etc. But it’s just a tool that makes life easier because it has to do with payments. There’s a special tool for working with the bank and exporting your BACs file or transmitting to the bank if you have a bank integration service. So it’s got some specialist tools that help you with payments.
The same thing, if you go to any of the other journals, if you go to a job journal, there are some tools on there that relate specifically to working with jobs. If you go and use a fixed assets general ledger, there are tools on there that help you working with fixed assets. So always try and use the journal that’s best for what you’re doing. For one thing, it frees up the general journals. So you’re not trying to do everything in one place. And the other one you sometimes get these fancy tools that just help you, and it makes your life a little bit easier.
So try and find the journal that’s right for what you’re trying to do. We’re talking about finance. I could talk about inventory if you’re trying to move stock from one location to another location, You can do that with a Physical Inventory Journal. You can also do it with an inventory, reclassification journal, two different tools.
You probably should use the physical inventory Journal when you’re doing stock counts. If you’re trying to move some stock or change the cost of some stock, for instance, perhaps the revaluation journal might be a better option for you. So just have a look around and try and find the right journal for what you’re doing.
The other thing was using batches, and again, batches are to try to help you simplify your work. So I’m back here, I’m looking at the general journals on my system and I have four batches as a default batch. Ian, Ian2 and Ian monthly. So you can set these up. I’ve got my Ian batches. Perhaps I might want to create a Karen Batch and Tracy Batch and Julie Batch. Then all the people who work on the system, they have their own place to work.
What’s happening in one journal is not interfering with what’s happening in the others. So I can work, Karen can work, Tracy can work, Julie can work – all at the same time. We’re not impeding each other’s work.
You might want to take a different approach. And instead of having people’s names, say what the journals are for. So it’s my monthly accrual journal batch, my monthly salary journal batch, my weekly expenses, my year end batch general journal.
Again, people can work on independent tasks without interfering with each other. Both ways, quite acceptable. And don’t be scared to create extra batches here. If you’ve got too many, you can delete one of these batches. It’s not interfering with any information on your system.
So you can create as many of these batches as you want. And the other thing that you can do with batches, you can change some default options folder. So that default journal imbalances to a GL Account, the same as all my other ones here. It doesn’t have a number series. My Ian journals – I’m using a specific number series that’s unique to me.
The monthly one is using a general number series, and again, I could say some of them are allowed to have that differences. Some of them suggest balancing amounts, etc. You can set up each batch to work in a slightly different way.
If you do payment journals, for instance, you might have different bank accounts listed down here, and each journal is for a different bank account.
Again, for payments and stuff, do you want to allow payment differences, things like that, you can set up on the journals. So set up the batches, it just makes your life a little bit easier. You can find things and you’re not interfering with your colleagues.
Now, having a look at these two journals that I’ve got here, two different batches. And this is just an aside note. There are two different ways of capturing journals within Business Central and NAV.
So you can see on this one, I’ve got my four lines for people’s salaries, and then I’ve got a balancing line so it’s four positive numbers then a negative number. This journal adds up to a total of zero, so I should be allowed to post this journal.
Sometimes you come to a journal, it says zero. You try to and post it and it says you can’t post it, because it’s out of balance. If you get something like that, you need to come and check. Do you have different document numbers here? If you’ve got different document numbers, each document number must add up to zero. It must balance. And if you have a difference date down the side, each date must add up to zero. It must balance by date, by document number, and in total.
And as we’re gonna point out just now, that total has to balance in pound sterling in your local currency. It might balance in US Dollars or Euros, but that might just be a little bit off when it’s converted to local currency. We’ll come back to that problem. So this is one way of doing my journal. Everything is on a separate line.
If I go and choose that other batch, there’s the other way of doing journals, this one’s kind of more unique to NAV and Business Central. There’s only four lines and each line has a balancing account. It’s the same account numbers. The exact same amount of money is going to be posted to each GL Account in the previous journal, and in this one. The only difference is, in the previous journal, there was one line for the -4400. In this journal, it’s going to post four separate lines, which add up to -4400. Both ways work. Choose the one that works for you, and use it. Sometimes, you might be forced to use the multiline approach if you have more than two accounts on your journal.
If you’re at all unsure what your journal is going to do, then use the preview posting functionality. So, if you’re on older versions of NAV, I’m talking about version five or maybe 2009, where’s the buttons up here? I think it might be under actions… You have a test report, you can always run your test report, and that will tell you which general ledger accounts are going to be impacted by how much. It’s a kind of a Summary report.
If you’re on the newer versions of NAV or definitely if you’re on Business Central, then the Preview Posting button has become available. And what that’s going to do, if you click that button, it is going to attempt to post your journal. And it’s going to tell you, if I close this journal, this is exactly what’s going to happen. There will be eight lines in the general ledger posted, four lines in ledger entries. And you can drill into them and you can see exactly what is going to be posted into which accounts.
You can double check your work, make sure you’re happy. And if you are, then you can post. If you’ve made a mistake, you can come back and fix it and say, whoops, it should have been negative numbers this side and positive that side. You can fix it before posting. So that preview posting is a really powerful tool, is available on all of your journals. I would encourage you to make use of it if you’re all in doubt about anything you’re posting.
Next thing I wanted to talk about was working with foreign currencies. So you might be in a journal and you’re dealing in foreign currencies. Pretty much every journal allows you to work in any currents. Now I would recommend before using currencies in general, to make sure that your currencies are set up nicely.
So if we just have a quick look at currencies. And on this system, yes, they are, I have Euros. If I have a look at euros, I’ve got all my defaults on how this currency works. But there are these two fields here which are not always filled in. These all, if I convert this current currency into Pounds Sterling and there isn’t the different rounding off difference which GL accounts to the debit or credit Roundings go to. If you’ve got this set up, it makes your life later on, just a little bit easier. You don’t have to set them up, but I would just recommend that you do.
So, you could then come back to your general Journal. Let’s say you’re in your default journal. You are putting in a journal for a possibly a vendor in a foreign currency or something and you’re posting in euros, euros, Euros. In Euros, everything balances.
Down at the bottom it says This journal is out of balance by two pence and it’s usually 1 or 2 pennies when you’ve got these rounding errors. You won’t be able to post your journal. You’re going to have to put in a line to say what am I going to do with that 1 or 2 pence rounding error. You can type it by hand. But if you did that currency, set it up that I was speaking about just now you can come along and say, Inserts for me automatically that currency rounding off every line. It will add a line to your journal, which just handles that gracefully for you, and saves you having to try and remember which GL account do I post rounding errors to. Let the system do it for you automatically, or set it up like that, so that someone else in the system, they don’t have to try to figure it out. They can use the default that you set up for them already.
And then, the next thing I want to speak to you about is standard journals, or templates. So, it may well be that at the end of every month, as Karen mentioned to you, you pay everybody salaries from the system. Perhaps you have to pay to an agency and they pay the salaries, however it works. But every month, you’re capturing the same journal again and again and again. Every time you capture it, there’s a chance you’re going to make a mistake. So, why not save that as a standard type journal, so that you don’t have to type it again and again and again?
So, what you can do, you can type out a journal for all your salaries. Let’s imagine you’ve typed 10 lines in here. When you finished, you come up, and I think it’s under Actions, I can never remember. And you can say, Save this as a standard journal. It will ask you to give your journal a name, and it will save it for you. I’ve already saved one. So I’m just going to go get my standard journal, which I just called, Test, and it’s been inserted. So, this was a salary journal that I saved. You can see it’s the one that you saw on the other screen. All the information’s there, I just need to come and change the posting date. I can post this journal, as long as it’s for the same amount. I might have to come and change some of the numbers if it’s for a different amount. And I can save as many of these journals as I want to. So, I can have one for my salary. I can have one for my rental expenses, and my council tax, etc..
If I’ve got accruals that I’m doing every month, I can set up my accruals, I can save these extended journals, then next time I can come I can load the standard journal. It just saves me a whole bunch of typing. This is a very simplistic way of doing things. If I was doing an accrual this way, I would need to manually go in reverse that accrual on the first of next month. So that is another way of doing this, which is slightly smarter. And that is a, it’s actually called a recurring journal. And if we go search for recurring journals on the system, ooh I hope my spelling is correct there. It looks like it is, um, you can see this, plenty of recurring journals, recurring job journals, item journals, general journals, etc.
We’re just going to work or the general Journal again. And, oops, I’ve got some information in here already. So I’ve chosen my Ian batch of recurring journals. And I’ve set up these. So, for each line of a recurring journal, you can say, what type of recurring method do you want to use? Fixed, variable or balance.
Fixed is if you want this exact same amount every month. Variable, if you want it to come through with all of this information, but leave the amount blank for you to type in. Balance of the top of my head, I can’t tell you what that world is full, but it also gives you the option for an automatic reversing journal. So, if you post with an RF or an RV for instance, if you posted on the 31st of January, the system will automatically reverse that journal on the first of February. So, it is perfect for recording your accruals.
Um, there are some, Yup, I’ve only got the one batch. There are some other options you can put in here. So, on this document number, I can rent 1, 2 for into the reasons for that, the rent, one line of £10,000. I’ve allocated this to some of the GL accounts, whereas the second one rent 2, I’ve split over two lines, the plus 5000 minus 5000 dollars, debit and credit. This line, I’ve done it on one line and how did I allocate this £10,000?
I can click on that and it’s it’s all going to the same GL account. But it’s going to two different Department codes. So 80% of the rent the Admin Department, 20% the sales department are paying. Whereas with the rent here for the factory, there is, oh, I can’t see the dimension column, but that department code there would be production, I will choose for this one.
So there are different ways that you can do this. This document number here, you can make it a little bit dynamic. You can put in a variable % 15 2% 3% etc. So something like the %4 that would append the name of the month that you are posting any service a rent on September. And then next month, rent one October, etc.
So you have these recurring journals, which you can come to every month, and you can use them. Or you can use within a general journal. You can save the journal as a standard template type journal, which you can manually use.
So the five things that I’ve spoken about…. Using the right tool for the job and using the right Journal, please try and choose one that’s got everything you need. Use those batches to simplify your life separate tests, separate other people’s work from each other. So it just makes life easier. If you’re ever in doubt, use that preview course button. It is fantastic. If you’re working with currencies and you do get the error that it doesn’t balance it’s because it has to balance in pound sterling. You need to put in that extra line to say where did the rounding errors go. And if you set up your currency’s system can do that for you automatically. Then if you do have journals that you repeat again and again, you can either save the journal as a standard template and then load that and use it, or you can set up recurring journals. The choice is yours.
Karen, that’s all I had, were there any questions? OK, so, if anybody has any questions about what’s been shown, or if you have any questions about journals in general, feel free to submit them now using the question box. We’ll just wait a couple of minutes for that. One has come Ian, are you able to edit journals in Excel?
Oh, I should have shown you that, I’m so sorry. Yeah. So, depending on which version of NAV or Business Central you’re on if you’re on business central pretty much anywhere within the system where you get a tabular layout of things. So inside a journal is one such thing, you know, it looks like an Excel spreadsheet.
You usually get an Edit it in Excel, button, so in Business Central, you get edit in Excel, that will enable you to open an Excel spreadsheet. You’ll be able to change that Excel Spreadsheet add lines, delete lines, change lines. You click a little button that says, send that back to NAV, back to Business Central and you will find it here waiting for you in Business Central. If you’re on older versions of NAV we do have an import journal tool, which allows you to create your journals in Excel and then import them into NAV. That’s a little add on that we’ve written quite a few of our clients have. And if that’s something that interests you. I suggest you just drop Karen, a line and she’ll tell you all about that.
Anything else? Just one more: Is it possible to set approvals on journals? Oh, yes. So, anybody who’s on there, if you know that on purchase orders and things like that, you can set up an approval process. In Business Central that is now being extended to journals, and that’s to all types of journals. So I’m just looking at general journals here. It also applies to payment journals, cash receipt, journals, fixed asset depreciation, journals, etcetera. There is, oh, and I can never remember where it is. Usually, I’m back. Request approval, yeah. So, you can set up an approval for each different type of journal, and you can enforce that it is approved by a manager before anyone is allowed to post the job. So, yeh it is possible to set that up. Yes.
And thanks, Karen. I think that’s it for now. Of course, if anybody does have any questions, we’ll share the e-mail address at the end, and you can submit them there. OK, I’m just going to change back to myself now, just to finish off.
OK, so, hopefully, you can see my screen again now. Yes. Great. OK, so, I’d just like to leave you with the key takeaways, which we hope will assist you. So first of all remember to use that right Journal for the job as we said. They do all have specialists tools to help you with whatever task you are performing.
It is best to be as descriptive as possible on journals. So, people understand the reason for the amendment or deletion as well. So just make sure that if you can put as much information as to the reasons why you’ve made that difference, then that would be very helpful.
Before you post a journal, do make sure that it does have a zero balance. Use your test report.
And if you’re on the newer versions of the software, you can see exactly what it will look like before posting by using that preview Posting Tool to avoid any errors.
NAV and Business Central do have all the tools to recall the journals in the foreign currency correctly, and obviously, you can also make record those differences in gains and loss as well. And if you are posting the same thing every week or every month tried to create some templates, it will save you time.
OK, so, as I said at the beginning, we do have a monthly webinar series that just this one has formed part of, and we will be sending out e-mails to register for the next one, and we’ll also put a reminder in our newsletter, as well. So, thank you very much for attending. I am going to close the webinar now. A survey will appear, so if you do want to put some information into that with some feedback, that’d be great. Thank you very much.