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Using Assessment and Distribution Cycles in the New General Ledger

by Paul Ovigele

August 30, 2011

Paul Ovigele, Ovigele Consulting

When you hear the term “Assessment” or “Distribution” in SAP, you usually think of the allocations that are made in the Controlling module, typically between cost centers and other cost objects. In the New General Ledger, you can also perform assessments and distributions for profit centers, segments and functional areas. In classic Profit Center Accounting (PCA) you could also perform assessments and distributions however these will only update the old profit center tables such as GLPCA, GLPCT, GLPCP and so on. With the advent of New General ledger and the requirement by SAP to eventually deactivate classic PCA, you will need to use the assessments and distributions based on the New General Ledger tables for any PCA allocations.

You probably know that the difference between assessments and distributions is that the ‘distribution’ retains the original cost element in the receiver object, while the ‘assessment’ uses a separate cost element for the posting and therefore the original cost element is not shown on the receiving object. The decision to choose between an assessment and a distribution varies and is based on the users’ preference. In my SAP life I have seen more assessments being used than distributions. Probably because users are more interested in seeing the original transactions in the sender object (which, if allocated using an assessment will be zeroed out or changed) rather than the receiver object (which may only need a cost element that describes what the allocation relates to).

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In the SAP General Ledger, you can create actual distribution/assessment cycles by going to the following application menu path:

Accounting -> Financial Accounting -> General Ledger -> Periodic Processing -> Closing –> Allocation. Then you will see the respective folders for Actual Distribution and Actual Assessment.

You can create plan distribution/assessment cycles by going to the following application menu path:

Accounting -> Financial Accounting -> General Ledger -> Periodic Processing -> Planning –> Allocation. Then you will see the respective folders for Plan Distribution and Plan Assessment.

If you already use (or used) assessments and distributions in the controlling module, then you already know how to set them up. If not, then refer to the SAP Help information on how to do this. The main differences with creating assessments/distributions in the New General Ledger are as follows:

  1. You need to specify the ledger where the allocation you are making exists in. If you specify the leading ledger, then all the non-leading ledgers for that company code (which you need to specify in the ‘header data’ of the cycle) will be updated as well. If you specify a non-leading ledger, then only that ledger will be updated. You can also specify a ledger group, in which case all the ledgers in that group will be updated.
  2. For assessments, instead of using a secondary cost element as an assessment cost element, you need to specify a general ledger account, which could either be a balance sheet account or a profit and loss account. In fact you can use an open item managed account so that you can clear the items in the account (which should always net to zero) periodically.

For more infrormation on how to optimize your SAP Financials landscape, I've put together my top tips in the book 100 Things You Should Know About Financial Accounting with SAP  which is published by SAP Press.

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