With the introduction of Universal Journal, SAP has attempted to combine the previous two separate segments – Controlling (CO) and Financial Accounting. Simply put, the UJ of SAP is all about connecting external and internal accounting and offering an extensive yet general overview of both. And this has been beneficial for one enormous reason.
Formerly, internal and external accounting were contemplated as “independent” from each other from a procedural business perspective. And for that reason, both had different database tables. This is the way financial accounting and controlling has been handled at SAP for decades.
However, SAP Universal Journal has changed the framework entirely.
Thanks to its instigation, all relevant transactions and data can now be found on a single table – table ACDOCA. They are also made available from there to the following components –
- General Ledger or Financial Accounting.
- Asset Accounting.
- Material Ledger, and
In short, the SAP Universal Journal serves as a “primary source of truth.” It was brought on by SAP’s exclusive HANA technology.
The Use of SAP Universal Journal
The Universal Journal, in essence, is a book of original entries on corporate transactions in Controlling (CO) and Financial Accounting (FI).
It comprises the journal entries brought about by these types of transactions and, therefore, represents a primary source of information on SAP S/4HANA. The integrity and authenticity of the financial data are guaranteed by the design and architecture of the Journal.
And it does so by eliminating reconciliation efforts between CO and FI. In the meantime, the system also ensures that everyone can access the most recent data anytime, anywhere.
The line items are jotted down only once in SAP Universal Journal. It, in turn, helps decrease the overall memory footprint and optimize the entire system throughout rates.
On the other hand, the totals are usually calculated on-the-fly when required, further lowering the memory footprint while improving the analytical performance.
It can also boost the efficacy of the period-closing processes. But there are some other aspects that can act as determinants in this aspect as well.
The Features of SAP Universal Journal
SAP Universal Journal, like any other of SAP’s creations, comes with many distinctive features. The following are a few of the significant ones among them.
1: Indelibly Reconciled Financials.
The Universal Journal works as the base of an integrated accounting infrastructure. Within the same, both management accounting data and financial accounting are recorded and managed in a single chart of accounts. Since all the transactional information is based on similar line items, management, and financial accounting don’t require any reconciliation.
Permanent reconciliation is accomplished by bringing the following components together –
- Asset accounting (FI-AA).
- General Ledger Accounting (FI-GL).
- Controlling (CO).
- Material Ledger (CO-PC-ACT), and
- Profitability Analysis (CO-PA).
Note: The Universal Journal is incorporated only with account-based profitability evaluation. It’s NOT integrated with something like a costing-based profitability assessment. However, if it is needed, the latter can be run within the system in parallel.
Each and every business transaction, both internal and external, are recorded on GL accounts. So, drilling down to similar line items from various reports and key figures can surely be done even if you’re not using the mapping rules.
The chart of accounts will only feature the income statement and balance sheet accounts. It’ll also include the accounts created or managed for secondary costs.
However, the ledger entity will provide multi-GAAP reporting capabilities. Hence, with it, you will be allowed to perform reporting based on a wide array of accounting rules and principles, including – IFRS, US GAAP, etc.
2: Improved Reporting.
The Universal Journal can also optimize the financial evaluation and reporting procedure since it doesn’t require any time-consuming reconciliation activities.
The improved reporting features may include the following –
A: Real-Time Profitability Analysis.
In this case, the market segments are added within journal entries as “additional attributes.” It will allow you to continually assess profitability rather than waiting for settlement runs during a period close. For instance, the corresponding market component can be derived instantly if you have posted salary costs at a cost center. And it’ll be available for evaluation as well.
The profitability attributes are offered for each income statement item you’ve provided. This will ensure that the profitability information is reconciled alongside the income statement. On the other hand, the market segments are filled through the derivation of profitability attributes. It can be enriched and improved through different processes, like allocations or settlements.
B: Flexible Evaluation of Financial Statements.
With the Universal Journal, you’ll be able to break down any item available on your balance sheet. It’ll also be possible for you to conduct a market segment evaluation for all the things available within your income statement. If you miss any data entry while recording a transaction report, the Journal will retrieve and record the data automatically. This, in turn, will enable you to analyze each piece of information in accordance with multiple characteristics.
C: Meeting Your Transactional Reporting Requirements.
Incorporating financial reporting and management together increases the chance of meeting the financial regulations associated with your business sector. For example, it can aid you with the inclusion of different operating segments in your statutory reports. This way, it’ll be easier for you to find whatever information you need in a single place.
D: Ease of Comparing Costs.
The expenses in your income statement and a CO report available in the Universal Journal are based on the same underlying data. Hence, if required, they can be compared and evaluated in a direct manner. There’s no need to map your GL accounts to the cost elements. And you will not have to adapt your GL to the latest CO version to compare the costs. Additionally, the assessment can be done with just a single click. So, it’ll be simple, easy, and quick.
E: Merging OLTP and OLAP.
While working on SAP HANA, you don’t have to replicate information to an OLAP structure, as the solution provides multidimensional access to various line items with a single click. But, if you need the data from the OLAP system, it will still be extracted from a single data source in lieu of different segments available in multiple components.
3: Enormous Extensibility.
The custom fields available within the SAP S/4HANA UJ feature a diverse assortment of extensibility options. And all of them are used to maximize the benefits of the solution for the organization. The extensibility alternatives include –
- The Logic option and the Custom Field, available on SAP Fiori, enable the local and internal extensions of the journal entries by using the Journal Entry item.
- The ‘classic’ Coding Block extensions, which use the OXK3 transactions and CI-COBL structure, can extend more than one process in the ACDOCA table. When you create custom fields by utilizing this specific method, you can employ them for various SAP Fiori applications posting journal entries.
- CO-PA custom attributes and characteristics tend to employ the KEA5 transaction. With it, you can expand the CO-PA operating concern by using the custom features or characteristics you’ve created in the KEA5 transaction. The same fields will be generated in the journal entries of the ACDOCA table.
Owing to the excellent expandability of the Universal Journal, you won’t be restricted or limited to the traditional financial closing procedures anymore. The alternatives that you can use are –
- Soft Close: It eliminates all the period-end tasks and derives profitability characteristics instantly and automatically from line posts. It’ll also enable you to close books continually, if required. It’s pretty easy to use and can be operated by the relevant users only.
- Fast Close: It eliminates the ongoing reconciliation tasks and enables you to run more than one timeframe within the same period. Besides, it also supports real-time execution of the financial decisions associated with your corporate transactions.
- Predicted Close: It expands your overall accounting reach and allows you to use all of the projected actuals you currently have. Nevertheless, the sole purpose of this procedure is to provide a forecast for a period-end close.
Universal Journal – The Architectural Impact
The architecture of the Universal Journal plays an important role in keeping each piece of data in a proper place and helping you find them easily. Let’s take a closer look.
Note: The New SAP GL Accounting is the newest journal entry as of now. It consists of a header record (also known as Table BKPF) and Table ACDOCA (the line items record).
The Exception to Line Item Records and the Header
With SAP Finance, the header record tends to get posted in the BKPF table whenever you create and post a journal entry. On the other hand, the history of the line item is kept in ACDOCA.
There are certain times when only the line items get posted in table ACDOCA without any kind of related document header report. It may include transactions related to –
- Corrections in migration, and
- Carrying forward a transaction.
Features of ACDOCA
Some of the common yet important additional features of table ACDOCA may include the following –
- Due to the specific 999-document line item posting restriction, table BSEG gets aggregated sometimes. However, the same limitation does not exist in the current form of ACDOCA.
- Fast dimensional reporting is possible in table ACDOCA without making any replication of the available to SAP BW (SAP Business Warehouse).
- Table ACDOCA is capable of storing almost every CO internal posting. However, due to its limitations, BSEG can’t keep this information in its database.
- Furthermore, ACDOCA can also store all the carry-forward transaction postings as well as correction line items acquired from migration. Again, table BSEG is unable to do so.
Universal Journal – What’s Available In It?
Thanks to the introduction of the SAP New GL, SAP has made some technical changes within its Universal Journal. Here’s what you must know about them.
- The old data or information stored in tables FAGLFLEXT and FAGLFLEXA is now kept in table ACDOCA.
- The table also keeps a record of the new joint venture accounting and General Ledger public sector industry tables.
- A proper compatibility view is offered for the new GL industry as well as the user-specific GL tables.
- Consumer-specific new GL fields ZZ (CUST)A and ZZ (cust) are kept in table ACDOCA.
- The old data available in table FAGLFLEXT is now kept in table FAGLFLEXT_BCK.
- You can access old data available in different tables is still possible through the –
For example, you can use “V_FAGLFFLEXA_ORI” to find out and access whatever you stored in the FAGLFLEXA table.
- Consumers and users can also access the old data and information in customer-defined new GL tables. These are created to be viewed from the DDIC (Data Dictionary).
SAP Universal Journal – In A Nutshell
The newly formed and updated Universal Journal of SAP has the incredible capability of keeping nearly each and every data in a primary location. Hence, it becomes easier for the developers or the users to find whatever they’re looking for whenever they want. So, it can also make the year-end procedure much quicker and smoother than before due to no longer needing to reconcile data from different sources.
Besides, it already features the core functionalities of S/4HANA. And SAP is continuing to add features and functionalities. However, if you want to utilize it properly, you’ll need to have a thorough knowledge of SAP Universal Journal. Or collaborating with a person who has worked in this field before can also be beneficial for you. Otherwise, you won’t be able to make the most of arguably SAP’s best offering in the recent decade.