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Setting a Tolerance Limit when Maintaining the GR/IR Account

by Paul Ovigele

December 18, 2011

Paul Ovigele, Ovigele Consulting

In most companies the Goods Receipt/Invoice Receipt (GR/IR) clearing account is the most difficult to manage due to the number of lines that are posted to it. For this reason, SAP has a maintenance transaction for this account (transaction MR11). The purpose of this transaction is to whittle down the number lines in the account by writing off quantity differences that exist between a goods receipt and an invoice receipt, and reversing goods (or invoice) receipt postings that do not have corresponding invoice (or goods) receipts that they can be matched with.

When you are using transaction MR11 it is important to pay attention to the tolerance amount (this is the field that is called “Qty Var. Less Than/Equal To”) because it influences which lines are displayed when you execute the transaction, and hence which lines can be written off. For whatever percentage you enter in this field, the system will display any purchase order line that has a quantity variance that is less than or equal to that amount. This therefore means that if you enter too high an amount (like 100%), you could end up writing off a purchase order line which did not have a quantity difference but only shows up because its invoice has not yet been entered into the system. Therefore, if the invoice is subsequently posted, there will be no goods receipt to match it against. If on the other hand, you enter too low an amount (like 2%) you may not pick up several purchase order lines that have genuine quantity differences with the invoices that are posted to them, but for percentages that are higher than the one that you sent as a tolerance. The effect in this latter case is that you will have a constant mismatch of goods and invoice receipt lines in the GR/IR account and this will make the account even more difficult to manage.

To set appropriate tolerance level, I would suggest that you go with the following approaches:

(1)    Set a percentage that matches the quantity variance tolerance that you have set up for the purchase order (which is made in transaction OMR6 under ‘Tolerance Key’ “DQ”). This way you will only be displaying purchase order lines whose invoices were not blocked for payment (and hence require further investigation) and can therefore be written off due to known or expected discrepancies.

(2)    Set a percentage of 100% so that any goods receipts that have not been invoiced can be ‘reversed’. Note that if you use this approach, you have to be careful that you are not writing off a purchase order line that has been goods received but is still awaiting an invoice. You would therefore need to have a timeline for which goods receipts that have still not been invoiced can be written off. This timeline can vary between organizations but I would normally suggest that it is at least as long as the maximum payment term that you receive from any of your vendors. If for example you have a payment term of 120 days from a vendor, then I would recommend setting this timeline as three months. Therefore, if a goods receipt has been posted, but the invoice receipt to match it has not been entered after three months, then it is okay to write that goods receipt off. The way to set this timeline in transaction MR11 is by setting ‘To’ field of the purchase order date to three months before the period that you are running the transaction for.

There are also cases where you would want to uniquely treat a specific purchase order that does not fall in line with the above approaches. In that case you can simply leave the “Qty Var. Less Than/Equal To” blank so that all the variance lines for that PO appear and you can select which ones you want to write off.

For more information 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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Gary Byrne

9/25/2013 8:59:51 PM

You make some very good points in your blog, Paul. For more details on setting tolerance limits, read Maurizio Binatti's article titled "Use a Three-Way Invoice Control Assessment to Reduce the Risk of Fraud and Money Loss" at