NUFinancials: Creating Balance Sheet Journals Training Guide
This article explains the purpose of and how to create balance sheet journals.
Create Balance Sheet Journals
Upon completing this guide, you should be able to:
- Start a Balance Sheet Journal from the NUPortal
- Complete a Balance Sheet Journal as follows:
- Check the journal date
- Specify the purpose and reason
- Enter journal lines
- Attach supporting documentation
- Validate the journal
- Submit the journal to workflow
- Searching for Actuals Journals
- Troubleshooting for Actuals Journals
- Access the NUPortal at northwestern.edu. Click Financials > Accounting.
- Alternate navigation: NUFinancials > Navigator > NU Actuals Journal > Add/Update Actuals Journal > Add a New Value.
- Individuals with Balance Sheet Journal access and approval from Accounting Services via the Central Office Security Access Form.
- Find journal processing guidelines and the monthly closing calendar on the Financial Operations website.
- Receive updates from the Financial Operations Find instructions for joining listservs on the Northwestern IT website.
NUFinancials > Navigator > NU Actuals Journals > Add a New Value
Select Balance Sheet Journal.
1. Click Create Journal.
Result: the journal appears in a new window.
1. Enter the Journal Date.
The Journal Date determines the accounting period in which the journal will post. The default is today’s date and the current period.
You may backdate the journal only if the prior period is still open. This may be the case during the first few days of each month. For example, in early September, you may change the Journal Date to August 31. Do so only if the journal truly belongs in the prior month’s financial activity.
You may future-date the journal to fall within an accounting period that is not yet open and extend the time to gather approvals. If you do, the journal will not post until the period opens.
Note that the only Journal Purpose is “Balance sheet journal.”
The Balance Sheet journal is flexible. It can accomplish many common accounting tasks. It can be used to:
- Transfer from holding accounts
- Correct cash balances
- Defer expenses and revenue
- Accrue expenses and revenue
- Manage inventory and assets
- Explain the reason for the journal in the Reason/Description field.
- Click Next.
- Below the Journal information are Journal Rules that provide guidance for completing the journal.
- At least one line of the journal must have a “Balance sheet account code,” that is, an Asset (1xxxx) or Liability (2xxxx) account.
- Workflows include approval levels for projects and departments, as applicable, and a final level for Accounting Services.
- Balance sheet journals containing grant chart strings are also routed to Accounting Services for Research and Sponsored Projects (ASRSP).
- Debits and credits on the journal must balance.
- Rules 4 and 5 make it possible for non-accountants to use the journal successfully.
- Use Rule 4 to increase accounts.
- Use Rule 5 to decrease accounts.
- Appropriate attachments are required for approval.
In this particular example, the journal is used for accrual accounting. With a payroll deduction pending, this journal recognizes revenue and notes the amount of the pending payroll deduction in Accounts Receivable.
- Line 1 records the effect on Accounts Receivable (11356).
- Line 2 records the effect on Revenue (40698) of a designated self-supporting project that runs the (Note: the receivable will be matched at a later date with an incoming payment, the payroll deduction from MyHR.)
- Click Insert (+) to add a blank (Repeat to add as many blank lines as you need.)
- To work with balance sheet accounts, enter the Fund, Account, andamount.
- In this example, you are following Rule 4 “To increase Assets, enter a positive amount (debit).”
- NUFinancials allows only valid values in each ChartField.
- There is no budget chart string validation performed on balance sheet journal lines.
- To work with financial entities (Departments and Projects), enter the full chart string and amount.
- In this example, you are following Rule 4 “To increase Revenue, enter a negative amount (credit).”
- NUFinancials allows only valid values in each ChartField.
- Journal lines with Department or Department and Project ChartFields are subject to chart string combination rules during validation.
Best practice: Attach scanned electronic supporting documents, as required by Approvers, for the transaction. NUFinancials does not require the attachment. You may save, validate, and submit the journal to workflow without an attachment.
- Click Attach. Result: The File Attachment dialog appears.
- Click Browse. Result: A browser appears that enables you to locate the scanned file on your computer.
- Browse to and select the scanned file.
- Click Open > Result: The document is attached and the file name appears (as shown above).
- You may click View to see the document in a new window and verify.
- Click Save & Submit to validate journal.
- A 10-digit Journal ID is assigned to the transaction after the journal is saved.
- NUFinancials confirms that any Department or Project chart strings on the journal have a budget. If so, Budget Status is valid. If not, Budget Status is Error.
- NUFinancials evaluates the journal and chart strings. If the journal is valid and chart strings properly combined, Journals Status is Valid. If not, Journal Status is Error.
- Refer to Troubleshooting for Actuals Journals for help with Error statuses.
Start on the NUPortal by selecting the journal type – Balance Sheet Journal or navigate in NUFinancials in the Navigator > NU Actuals Journals > Add/Update Journals.
Step 1: Confirm or change the Journal Date.
Step 2: Confirm the purpose and enter a description.
Step 3: Explain the Reason
Step 4: Enter the journal lines.
- At least one line must contain a balance sheet account
- Enter as many lines as you need to accomplish the accounting task
Step 5: Attach supporting documentation.
Step 6: Validate the journal.
What happens next?
- Approvers must make a decision about the journal.
- Department and Project approvers see the journal and can make a decision about journal lines that contain chart strings for which they are responsible.
- You may find and view your journal using the Actuals Journal Search.
- Monitor the workflow for progress or feedback.
- Journals must be approved and posted before the accounting period closes, otherwise Accounting Services deletes them.
- If you find yourself without approvals and facing deletion at the end of a period, you may copy the journal to avoid recreating the journal from Give the new journal a date in the next period.