Define and configure account structures and advanced rules

Account structures consist of main accounts, and can include financial dimensions. The account structures are used to define the valid combinations which, together with the main accounts, comprise a chart of accounts.

The account structures allow you to define the sequence for the entry on a journal of the main account and financial dimensions. It also allows you as few or as many financial dimensions for range of accounts as you deem necessary.

Configure account structures

A structure must always have at least a main account segment, optionally you can add more financial dimensions, which are referred to as segments on the Configure account structures page.

General ledger > Chart of accounts > Structures > Account structures

Account structure

It is not required that the main account is the first segment in the account structure. However, it is required to be a segment in the account structure.

Account structures use the main account and financial dimensions to create a set of rules that determine the order and values used when entering the account number. You can set up as many account structures as you need for your business. The account structures are assigned to a company’s ledger setup, so they can be shared.

Multiple account structures allow a company to track information for specific accounts while not affecting other accounts.

For example, balance sheet accounts may not require as many financial dimensions as profit and loss type accounts. For balance sheet accounts, you might only be interested in Department. For profit and loss accounts, you might also want to track Cost Center, Purpose, and Region.

Advanced rules

Advanced rules link a financial dimension or multiple financial dimensions to an account number or range of account numbers so additional information can be gathered for reporting and analysis beyond what you’ve set up in related account structures.

While account structures and constraints allow you to build simple to complex trees of valid combinations, sometimes there are accounts within that structure that need to be tracked against other financial dimensions.

For example, let’s say that you have an account structure set up for profit and loss accounts that are only to be tracked along with departments. However, there are a couple of profit and loss accounts that also need to be tracked along with cost centers. Rather than adding the cost center dimension to the entire account structure, you can create an advanced rule to make sure that only the few accounts that need to be tracked against cost centers are set up to do so.

Rules should not be used to replace the use of constraints in the account structure for additional dimensions that are always required regardless of the main account. Rules should also not be used to replicate account dimension combinations that already exist in the account structure or other rules. Any duplication will automatically join and use the most restrictive constraint. The location of the duplicated account dimension combination will only appear in the first occurrence.

When creating an account structure, the maximum number of segments is 11. If you need more segments than this, thoroughly evaluate your setup and requirements, as it will impact the user experience. Consider if a segment could be derived in a reporting scenario using a hierarchy instead of during data entry, or by using a user-defined field.

General ledger > Chart of accounts > Structures > Configure account structures

Advanced rule structures

For example, if you want to report on location, but you can figure out the location by department or cost center, you would not need location as a financial dimension. If after evaluation you determine more than 11 segments are needed, you can add additional segments using advanced rules.

Advance rule structures provide the financial dimension combinations that are valid for the advanced rule.

For example, you want to track the travel expense account by the airlines. You could set up "Travel Expense" as the main account and create another financial dimension called "Airlines" and set criteria for that financial dimension such as "Airline 1", "Airline 2", and "Airline 3". Now, you can easily track travel expense by each airline defined.

To add or edit advanced rules for an account structure, the account structure must be in a draft status. If the account structure is active, and you select to create a new advanced rule or edit an existing advanced rule, you will receive a message and can change the status of the account structure from active.

As mentioned earlier, account structures require the main account. The main account does not need to be the first segment in the structure, but it does identify what account structure is being used during the account number entry. Because of this, a main account value can only exist in one structure assigned to the ledger so that they do not overlap.

After the account structure is identified, the allowed values list is filtered to guide the user through picking only valid dimension values, decreasing the possibility of an incorrect journal entry.

Watch this video to learn how to create an advanced rule structure.

If you plan to budget against a financial dimension, it must be part of an account structure. Budgeting does not use advanced rules.

When setting up your account structures there are some best practices you can follow. However, this is only guidance so a holistic discussion about your business, growth plan, and maintenance plan should be considered as part of that discussion.

  • Make main account first or as close to the front of the account structure as possible, so users get the best guided experience they can during account entry.
  • Reuse account structures as much as possible to reduce maintenance across your legal entities.
  • For variations across legal entities, consider using advanced rules so that account structures can be reused.
  • When defining allowed values, use ranges and wildcards as much as possible. This not only allows you to grow and change without maintenance, but the system also performs more ideally with this configuration.
  • Do not just put an asterisk for every segment in the account structure and then solely rely on the advanced rules. This can be difficult to manage and often leads to user error during maintenance that can make the system unable to post.

Activate an account structure

When you are satisfied with your new setup or a change to an account structure, you must activate it. If an account structure is assigned to a ledger, this activation can be a long running process, as all unposted transactions in the system must be synced to the new structure. Posted transactions are not impacted with account structure changes.

General ledger > Chart of accounts > Structures > Configure account structures

Activate account structure