A journal entry is an internal accounting transaction used to make a transfer or an adjustment. The entry indicates the two aspects of the transaction, the 'debit' and the 'credit', as well as the ledger accounts to be charged. The total value of the debit components must equal the total value of the credit components. A journal entry incorporates a 'narration' (a brief meaningful explanation of the entry) and is also substantiated by relevant supporting documentation.
ANU raises journal entries to effect internal transfers and adjustments between various accounts within the ledger. Where goods and / or services or items of plant and equipment are transferred from one University cost centre to another, the correct method of processing is by journal entry. Journal entries are also raised to action a wide range of accounting adjustments, including for example the dissection of some multi-charge transactions, the approved reversal of ledger postings, period-end accruals, and adjustments to asset and liability accounts.
Care should be exercised when generating journal input to ensure the resultant postings do not give a distorted view of the ledger. In particular postings should not contravene accepted accounting practice and University policy. Staff should not be permitted to process journal entries until they understand the structure of the ledger record in which they are operating and the rules pertaining to correct journal construction. They should have a general sense of the overall ledger structure and its relationship with the major subsidiary systems.
Specific journal rules are included in the Chart of Accounts - Sections 8 to 12.
There are a number of different types of journals.
Journals affecting the General Ledger:
- ACTUALS journals
- FINANCIAL journals
- YEAR END journals
Journals affecting the Budget Ledger:
- STD_BUDGET journals
Journals affecting the Encumbrance Ledger:
- ENCUMBRANCE journals
Journals affecting the Adjustments Ledger (S/Q Funds only):
- ADJUSTMENT journals
It is important that staff understand the difference between these journals, as different rules will apply.The guidelines outlined below generally apply to all ACTUALS journals, which is the most common type of journal prepared by general University staff.
- FINANCIAL journals are normally restricted to F&BS staff.
- YEAR END journals are for a specific time period only after 31 December and special rules apply.
- STD_BUDGET journals have specific rules and reference should be made to the BUDGET area on the WEB.
- ENCUMBRANCE journals have specific rules and reference should be made to the relevant section on the Chart of Accounts.
- ADJUSTMENT journals only relate to S and Q Funds and have specific rules. Reference should be made to the SPF area on the WEB.