Datasets - journals

Article Objective: To assist users in navigating Active Ledger & Reporting in posting journals and extracting journal reports.    

Context: Active Ledger allows a user to create, edit and void various types of journals including a standard, movement and imported journal. 

Please refer to the Glossary for definitions of key terms used in this article.     


Workflow concepts

Active Ledger allows a user to use any workflow pattern that they are comfortable with. Generally, this falls into one of two main patterns: 

1. Perform changes in Active Ledger and export in bulk at the end of the job 

Here, the basic flow is as follows: 

  1. Import the client accounting file into Active Ledger at the start of the job
  2. Make changes by creating journals inside of Active Ledger 
  3. At the end of the job, export a balancing journal and enter into the client accounting software to ensure the client file and Active Ledger file reconcile

In this system, journals are used to perform all changes. Active Ledger will let you create these journals, and will provide a balancing journal comprising all these changes after the end of the job.

2. Working with the client's live file

Here, the basic flow is as follows:

  1. Start by importing the client accounting file into Active Ledger 
  2. Make changes directly in the live client file
  3. Reimport the client accounting file on a regular basis into Active Ledger so it reflects changes made.

In this system, journals would only be used in Active Ledger to perform 'presentation' based changes which the user does not want to be reflected in the client file. For example, the client file may have several small accounts that need to be tidied up for the reports. In Active Ledger you could do a journal to move the balances into other existing or new accounts, without impacting the client file.

Note: In Active Ledger, you can create a journal in any dataset, including datasets that have no trial balance, which means it is also possible to use the journals as a method of creating an accounting file or trial balance from scratch.

Creating journals

Select the relevant dataset, navigate to the Journals screen and click + New Journal.  

When creating and editing journals, the following fields are relevant:

Journal Details
Journal TypeThis will determine how the journal is incorporated into the dataset. There are five options:  
  • Journal
  • Opening balance adjustment journal
  • Imported trial balance
  • Imported movement journal
  • Imported opening balance

Journal No.This is automatically created by Active Ledger and can be edited. You can use this to identify your journals.Required
DateThe date represents the posting date of the journal. Be careful to ensure that the date entered is inside the dataset date range.Required
MemoThis is for journal narration and is for internal use only.Optional
Flag as Pending Export to Client File (checkbox)If this field is ticked it will be included in the balancing journals to be pushed back to your client's live file. Generally, this is unticked for 'presentation' journals (i.e. journals to make the reports presentable). Ticked by default
Journal Lines
Account NoThe account number is the number assigned to the chart. Simply type the account name and/or number and select the appropriate account from the drop-down. You can create a new account by entering a unique value in this field. Optional
Account NameIf you selected an existing account above, the account name will automatically populate. You can create a new account by entering a unique name in this field.Required
ClassIf you selected an existing account above, the account class will automatically populate. If you created a new account by entering unique values above, give the new account a class in this field. There are seven options: 
  • Assets
  • Liabilities
  • Equity
  • Revenue
  • Cost of Sales
  • Expenses
  • Other

DebitAmount to be debited to the account.At least one DR is required
CreditAmount to be credited to the account.At least one CR is required
QuantityThis is where you can put the number of items for calculations such as livestock. Optional
DivisionIf you are using divisional reporting this is where you can select the correct division. For more information on divisions, see the knowledge article: Accounts - Divisions.Optional
MemoThis is for your reference and internal use only. It is a field to enter any additional notes about this individual transaction line.

If you need to use more than the five available lines, simply click Add Lines to add additional lines.  

Hint: Double-clicking on the final debit/credit will auto calculate the amount required to balance the journal. 

To post the journal click on Add Journal.     

Editing and voiding a journal

Navigate to the Journals screen.

Editing a journal

To edit a journal, select the relevant journal from the page. The fields which are editable are the same as when creating a journal.  

After editing the journal click on Save Journal.

You are also able to copy an existing journal by clicking on the relevant journal from the list and selecting the Copy as New Journal button. This is useful for reoccurring journals or for creating reversing journals by using it in conjunction with the Switch Dr/Cr button.

Voiding a journal

You are unable to delete a journal, but it can be made void. Select the relevant journal from the list, click on the Void Journal button at the bottom and confirm that you understand the consequences of voiding the journal. 


To find this journal, tick the Include Void Journals checkbox above the list of journals. From here you can see the journal voided journals (now shown crossed out in grey).  

If you need to reinstate the journal, select the relevant journal and click Reinstate Journal. 

Note: You are unable to void import journals.  

Audit log

Active Ledger maintains an audit trail for all journals to keep track of any changes made. To view this, select the relevant journal from the list and then click on the Audit Log button.   

This will give you a full list of when the journal was created/imported and when and by whom a journal was altered and/or voided.

Journal status

The status of a journal can change as the job progresses. By default, any imported journals will be marked as 'Imported' and any newly-created journals will have the status 'Pending Export'.

To learn more about updating the journal status and posting journals back to the client file, see the knowledge article: Datasets - balances - trial balance

The following is a list of statuses for journals:

  • Imported - those that were imported from the client file 
  • Not Exporting - presentation journals used for reporting that will not be posted back to the client file
  • Pending Export - those that will be posted back to the client file
  • Exported - those already posted in the client file
  • Balancing - consolidated journal that was exported to the client file.

Right-click menu

From anywhere within the Journal section you can right-click to bring up the following menu options:  

Note: Exporting via the right-click menu DOES NOT update the status of the journal. To do this, you need to select Prepare a Balancing Journal - see knowledge article: Datasets - balances - trial balance for more information.   

Creating journals from Active Workpapers

Journals in Active Ledger can also be created while working within Active Workpapers. 

From within the binder, right-click on the account balance you would like to prepare a journal for to bring up the menu options. Select View General Ledger.

A dialogue screen will pop up showing the current ledger items associated with that account. Clicking on the + Add Journal button will redirect you to Active Ledger where you can prepare the journal in the usual manner. 

After adding the journal, return to your binder. If you click on the refresh button in the general ledger screen the new journal will show in the ledger. 

Click Close to return to the index. 

Once closed, click on the Reimport button to update the balances with the new journals.

Hint: Be sure to reimport the primary column (on the provision the adjustment has been made in the current year) and select the reimport to be from the Active Ledger & Reporting.  

Journal reports

There are a number of reports that can be run from the Reports tab to make data analysis quick and easy. 

The Journal Report tab allows you to run a report of journals by journal type that can be exported to Excel already formatted so it can be sent to clients with your branding. 

To create a report, navigate to and open the relevant dataset, click on the Reports tab and then the Journal Report tab. 

Here you can choose the journal types to be displayed in the report and edit the dates if required. 

Click on the Run Report button. 

You can then export to Excel if needed by clicking the Export to Excel button.

Import runs

You are able to use import runs data to examine any changes in the source file that may have occurred between imports. To make a comparison, navigate to and open the relevant dataset, click on the Journals tab and then the Import Runs tab. 

From here you will see a complete list of previous imports.  

Simply click on the Compare button of the relevant dataset that you want to make the comparison with.

This will display the current trial balance with that of the previous import you have selected, along with a variance column.

Note: You are also able to reinstate a previous import to be used as the current dataset by clicking on the Reinstate button in either the Import Run screen or within the comparison itself.

To investigate further, you are able to select particular journals or a range of journals to compare. To do this, first click on the Select Journals button, then simply select the relevant journals using the checkboxes and click on Run Comparison.

This will display a comparison with any variance as described above, but just for the journals selected.

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