Accounting Basics

The General Ledger system is the backbone for all the accounting applications in the system.  General Ledger data is updated or used by the accounting systems and by other systems (Warehouse Management, Invoicing, etc).  Because of this, the general ledger is normally set up before other accounting systems.

General Ledger data is stored in 3 files in the system.

•      Account Description File  The Account Description or “Accdes” file contains your chart of accounts information.  The records in the file include a numeric account number a numeric subaccount number, an account description, and account type and sort information that is used for reporting purposes.  Each account description record also includes an autopost field which is used to identify specific accounts that the system needs to post to automatically during transaction processing.  Each Account Description record should have a unique account and subaccount number.  If an account will not have subaccounts, it will be assigned a subaccount number of 0.  If an account will have subaccounts, the account should have a subaccount 0 record and additional subaccounts.  Subaccounts allow you to roll up the activity for specific accounts or show details when you are generating financial statements.  Account Description records can be created manually (using the Account Setup program in the General Ledger System), or they can be converted from your existing system.

Example: Account with Subaccounts




Insurance Expense



Insurance – Liability



Insurance – Auto






•      Account Period File  The Account Period or Accper file contains the records that are used to accumulate accounting activity and to report on account balances.  As journal entry activity is processed on the system One Accper record is created for each combination of Division/Department/Account/Sub/Year/Period that you wish to be able to post activity to.  You can restrict which accounts can be posted to in each department by creating accpers for each account only in the departments that they should be posted.   Account Period records are created by the system using standard utilities, once your Account Description records have been entered.

•      Journal Entry File  The Journal Entry file contains records for each journal entry line that is posted to the system (automatically or manually using the Journal Entry program).  Journal Entry data is complicated due to the fact that many systems create journal entry transactions and that these transactions have different sources and types, and will reference other data in the system.  Journal entry data is normally not converted from prior systems.  Instead a journal entry is made (using the journal entry program), to move the beginning balance sheet and income statement balances into the accounting period prior to system startup.

Accounts Payable

Accounts Payable Data is stored in two files in the system. 

•      Register File The Register or AP Register file stores one record for each vendor invoice entered into the system.  The register records store the vendor, the invoice number and date, the invoice amount, terms and discount information.  AP Register records also store other information (like the ck number and date used to pay off the invoice, and the autopost of the AP Control account in the GL that the invoice belongs to).  Each register record also contains a converted balance field which is used to define the open balance on the invoice at the time it was moved into the system (this information is used for auditing the invoice activity on partially paid, converted invoices). You can convert open accounts payable invoices by entering them into the system (using a dedicated beginning balance loader program), or by importing the open invoices from your old system.

•      Journal Entry File        The Journal Entry file contains the distribution details (journal entry lines) associated with each ap invoice record.  Normally a converted open ap invoice will not have any related journal entry lines.  Invoices entered and or paid on the system will have journal entry lines which record the activity for the invoice.  If you are converting open invoices from another system, you will not need to create any je detail for the converted invoices.

Accounts Receivable

Accounts Receivable Data is stored in the Invoice Header or Invoices file.  Accounts receivable line item data (items, quantities, pricing details for each invoice), is stored in the Invoice Line item or Transact file.

•      Invoices  The invoices file contains one record for each customer invoice.  The invoices record contains the company name, the invoice terms, due date, original and current balance, and other information. 


Accounting Startup Checklist