Account Groups, Group Categories and Sort Codes Explained
Why is it needed?
The General Ledger comes with many ready to use financial reports. These reports provides for versatility through the use of Account Groupings. You can tag Accounts to belong to one of 26 groups. Once tagged, these financial reports that are coded using them are immediately usable.
The use of these reports will be time savers as it shortens the implementation cycle as they are all ready to use. At worst they only need some minor changes and they will good to go.
This simplicity also means that it lacks flexibility when it comes to having more granular reporting for your financials. This behavior changed a number of releases ago when Sage introduces user definable Account Groups together with Sort Order setting.
With this it means one can have as many groupings in your financial reports as needed and not have to be forced to templated groupings.
How does it work?
We will explain how each of these relates to the other and then we will show you how they are used in the reports. Later, there will be steps to show how you can create new Groupings and have them used in existing or new reports.
To understand how Account Numbers, Account Group Codes, Group Category and Sort Code work, it can be best explained with some illustrations.
First, let us start off with the Account Master. This is basically your Chart of Accounts. When you create Accounts, you will need to assign a Group Code. Accounts must be tagged to a Group Code. If your business does not intend to take advantage of this which would be odd, it will be tagged as “Unclassified Account Group” when you leave the field as blank.
There is also a table that stores Account Groups. This is the new feature introduced a few versions ago. This table stores the user defined groupings. Every new Group Code will be a record in this table. It will have in its definition a sorting order value and a Group Category value.
The original design uses a list of 26 pre-defined groupings. These are referred to as Group Categories now. The new Group Codes you create are linked to them. Each of these code has its own pre-determined description.
And, when you relate these 2 tables together, you can see that each account number is linked to a Group Code (if none is specified then it defaults to an “Unclassified Account Group”.
Tip: To locate all accounts in your system that has not been linked to a proper Account Group Code, use the Print G/L Chart of Account report with the blank Account Group Code as the parameter.
And, each Group Code is linked to one of the pre-built 26 Group Categories. The Sorting Code is also assigned here together with the user defined Group Code.
The 26 pre-built categories are maintained for 2 reasons:
- The original groupings are retained to support customers who find it sufficient to use just the 26 Grouping Categories.
- For those that need to take advantage of more granular reporting groupings and to be able to determine the print position (sort codes) in a report, they can switch to use the new Groupings.
This way everyone can choose which is right for them.
Seeing it in action
The behavior of these groupings only comes into effect when you use them in financial reports which are created using the Statement Designer.
To illustrate and show how this is used, we will use a standard financial report, Balsum01.xls, here.
First, let us add a new Account Group. Below you can see a new group code, 27 that we will use to tag specific Trade Debtors account, say for inter-company use.
Notice that the new group is referencing the in-built category “Accounts Receivable” and uses the same sorting code (02) like the group’s Sort Order for Accounts Receivable. This is because in this example, we choose to do so.
Note: The effect of Sort Code only comes into effect if your report uses \\ACCTGROUP sort option and your report prints without any filter that will limit the print row to only a single value.
Here is how the standard Balsum01.xls looks like. Notice that row 12 uses ACCTGRPCOD = “02” and the printed row text is Accounts Receivable.
When you run FRView, the output will have one row for Accounts Receivable and the value there would be the total of all Accounts tagged to “02” for the required year and period.
Say, we need to split the report to show Intercompany Accounts Receivable as a separate row. Before the new Groupings, you would need to work with filtering the data through either the use of Column A or B. This would make the maintenance of your report messy.
Now, all we need to do is to create a new Grouping Code (as shown above) and then amend the Account for Intercompany Accounts Receivable to use it.
Next, we will edit the Balsum01.xls report to use this new Group Code. We will have it showing just after the original Accounts Receivable group.
To do this, insert a new row and enter the definition as shown.
Now, run the report in FRView. You will notice a new row is printed and the value is for the ACCTGRPCOD which is 27.
Sage 300’s financial reporting tool is possibly the best tool in the market for any embedded financial reporting. Read this article here – The best report writer for accounting software – where we show why it is so.
Now with the addition of user definable groupings, the capability of this tool has been expanded many folds.
If you have not switched to using the new groupings because you are not sure of how it works or you think that this is going to disrupt existing working reports then hopefully this article can be of help. Remember, you can always make a copy of an existing report and amend it to see how it works. And, any changes that you make to your Chart of Account can easily be reversed with no impact to your data.
Hope you enjoy this article.
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