Universal Journal


The universal journal is the book of original entry for business transactions in Financial Accounting (FI) and Controlling (CO). It represents the single source of truth in SAP Simple Finance. Integrity of financial data is guaranteed by design, eliminating reconciliation effort between FI and CO and ensuring that everyone can always access the most current data.

Line items are written only once, keeping the memory footprint at a minimum and optimizing system throughput rates. Totals are calculated on-the-fly when needed, further reducing the memory footprint while ensuring high performance for analytics and period closing processes. Having FI and CO with full detail and reconciled in a single table provides unprecedented levels of transparency and financial insight.


Permanently Reconciled Financials

The universal journal is the basis of an integrated accounting system in which financial accounting and management accounting data are recorded in a single chart of accounts. Since all financial data is based on the same line items, no reconciliation between financial accounting and management accounting is ever required.

The universal journal achieves this advance by bringing together the following components:

  • General Ledger Accounting (FI-GL)

  • Asset Accounting (FI-AA)

  • Controlling (CO)

  • Profitability Analysis (CO-PA)

    Note Note

    The universal journal is integrated only with account-based profitability analysis. It is not integrated with costing-based profitability analysis. However, costing-based profitability analysis can be run in parallel.

    End of the note.
  • Material Ledger (CO-PC-ACT)

All business transactions, both external and internal, are recorded on G/L accounts. Drilldown to the same line items from key figures and reports of both FI and CO is possible without the need for mapping rules.

The chart of accounts contains all balance sheet accounts and income statement accounts, including accounts for secondary costs. The ledger entity provides multi-GAAP reporting capabilities, enabling reporting based on different accounting principles in parallel, such as US GAAP and IFRS.

The complete set of Controlling entities (such as cost center, project, and internal order) that comprise the coding block are integrated into the universal journal. Secondary cost elements are a special type of G/L account rather than a separate entity in CO.

Since the different application components often use the same dimensions (such as profit center, cost center, or fund), these dimensions do not need to be stored redundantly in each component but are integrated in the journal entry. The fact that everything is in one table already allows for many improvements, for example:

  • G/L accountants can drill down from a fixed asset account in the balance sheet to the individual fixed assets (balances) assigned to that account.

  • Cost center managers can easily determine which fixed assets are incurring depreciation costs for their cost centers.

Balance sheets can be prepared for multiple dimensions by means of document splitting. Document splitting ensures balanced journal entries for entities other than the complete company. For instance, you can create a full balance sheet for each segment.

Enhanced Reporting

The universal journal optimizes the reporting and financial analysis process since no time-consuming reconciliation activities are necessary. The enhanced reporting features include:

  • Flexible analysis of financial statements

    You can drill down from any balance sheet item to entities such as fixed assets or materials.

    Income statements can be broken down based on any dimension available in the universal journal. Market segment analysis is possible for any item of the income statement. The income statement is fully reconciled with profitability reports.

    If any data is not entered when a transaction is recorded in the universal journal, the data is derived automatically. This enables you to analyze data using characteristics from different components. For example, you can create a balance sheet at the segment level.

  • Real-time profitability analysis

    Market segments are included in journal entries as additional attributes, allowing you to continually analyze profitability rather than having to wait for settlement runs at period close.

    For example, when salary costs are posted to a cost center, the corresponding market segment can be derived instantaneously and is immediately available for analysis.

    Profitability attributes are provided for each income statement item, ensuring that the profitability data is always reconciled with the income statement. Market segment fields are filled through derivation of profitability attributes (for example, a posting to a cost center derives the product group). Attributes can be enriched by further processes such as settlement or allocations.

  • Comparability of costs

    Costs in the income statement can be compared directly with the costs in a CO report, because both are based on the same underlying data. There is no need to map G/L accounts to cost elements or ensure that the ledger in G/L is adapted to the CO version.

  • Easier to meet financial reporting requirements

    The integration of financial and management reporting enhances your ability to meet financial regulations, such as the requirement to include operating segments in statutory reports.

  • Merge of OLTP and OLAP

    Replication of data to an OLAP system is not necessary in most cases, since SAP HANA provides multidimensional access to line items almost instantaneously. Even in cases where data is needed in an OLAP system, the data only has to be extracted from one data source rather than different data sources in each component.


The universal journal integrates the coding block extension (structure CI_COBL) allowing the input of customer fields on many user interfaces. The CO-PA extension technology is used as well in order to bring customer-defined market segment information into the new structure.

The capabilities of the different components are leveraged and combined in the universal journal.

More Information

Universal Journal Entry