A key step in configuring Finance is to create accounting periods in Zuora to match your company's financial calendar. This allows Zuora to produce reports and data exports organized by accounting periods, and to perform the work of closing the accounting periods for the revenue sub-ledger.
How are accounting periods used in Zuora?
As you work in Zuora, accounting periods provide the timeframe for most accounting reports. At the end of an accounting period, use Finance to run a trial balance, make any adjustments, and close the accounting period. Once that's done, you can run reports or generate data exports to provide summary or detailed entries for your external accounting system.
The most common accounting periods are monthly accounting periods. However, some companies use quarterly, annual, or a 4/4/5 schedule (4 weeks, 4 weeks, and 5 weeks). In Zuora, we allow you to define any length of accounting period as long as it's at least one day long. But we recommend that you use the same periods that you use in your accounting system.
In traditional accounting systems, you must set up accounting periods far in advance,and if you have a transaction that occurs during an accounting period which has not yet been created, then everything halts and the process fails. To prevent this, Zuora uses the concept of an open-ended accounting period, which we use to capture all transactions that fall in the future outside of any existing accounting period.
Creating your first accounting period
When you create your first accounting period, Zuora checks to be sure that no transactions exist before the start of the accounting period (which you specify in the From field).
This check helps you clean up your data. You might discover that you have subscriptions dated really early on, these might be subscriptions that you created as tests. In that case, you should delete those subscriptions if they are just test data. If there is a legitimate reason why you want to keep those subscriptions, you can always create a first accounting period that happens before that date. Zuora gives you the ability to create arbitrary-sized accounting periods, so you can create a big, two-year accounting period to accommodate those subscriptions and other transactions.
To create an accounting period:
- Navigate to Finance > Accounting Periods.
- In the upper-right corner of the page, click the new accounting period button to start.
- Enter a Name for the accounting period. Use a meaningful name that allows you to quickly identify the accounting period.
- The From date, which is the starting date of the accounting period, is set automatically based on the last day of the previous accounting period. The From date will be the day after the previous accounting period's To date.
- Select a To date for this accounting period. This is the ending date of the accounting period.
- Specify the Fiscal Year. For many companies, the fiscal year is the same as the calendar year. For other companies, they are offset by some amount. For example, if the fiscal year is offset by a month, then February 2019 through January 2020 is fiscal year 2020, and February 2020 through January 2021 is fiscal year 2021.
- (Optional) Specify the Fiscal Quarter. This field specifies one of the four three-month periods that make up the fiscal year. Supported values are: 1, 2, 3, and 4.
- (Optional) Specify a note in Notes. The notes are visible only when viewing the detail view of the accounting period.
- Click create accounting period to create it.
Note: Once you create an accounting period, you can move revenue out of the Open-Ended accounting period into the accounting period you just created. See Distribute Revenue from the Open-Ended Accounting Period into Newly-Created Accounting Periods for more information.
Editing accounting periods
Although you cannot delete an accounting period, you can edit the Name, Fiscal Year, Fiscal Quarter, and Notes of any open or closed accounting periods. Both the Zuora Finance Standard User and Zuora Finance Administrator (pre-built roles) can create and edit accounting periods.
You can also edit the To date of any open accounting periods. Editing the To date will automatically changes the dates of the next accounting period to start on the day after the new To date that you set.
When you change the date of an accounting period (and also the dates of an adjacent period), Finance invalidates and clears all existing trial balances. This ensures that you aren't using trial balances that no longer encompass the correct time span, and aren't looking at invalid trial balance results.
Viewing accounting periods
On the Accounting Period List page, you can organize how you want to view accounting periods, by the following:
- All Accounting Periods: Displays all accounting periods.
- Current and Past Periods: Default view. Displays the current accounting period, followed by the previous accounting periods.
- Status - Open: Displays open accounting periods.
- Status - Closed: Displays closed accounting periods.
Deleting accounting periods
To delete an accounting period:
- Navigate to Finance > Accounting Periods.
- Click the name of the open accounting period you want to delete to display the details.
- Click More to display the page options and click Delete this Accounting Period.
You can also use the SOAP API to delete an accounting period. See AccountingPeriod for more information.
When you delete an accounting period, the accounting period history is deleted. The open-ended accounting period start date shifts back to have the same start date as the deleted period.
You must have the Delete Accounting Period permission in order to delete an accounting period. See Finance Roles for more information.
The accounting period to be deleted:
- Must be the most recent accounting period
- Must be an open accounting period
- Must have no revenue distributed into it
- Must not have any active journal entries
- Must not be the open-ended accounting period
- Must not be in the process of running a trial balance
Why can't I edit the dates of a closed accounting period?
You can edit only the Name, Fiscal Year, Fiscal Quarter, and Notes of any closed accounting periods. If you want to edit the To date, then you must reopen the accounting period.
Why can't I edit the From date of an accounting period?
You can only edit the From date of the first accounting period in your system. After the first accounting period, all subsequent periods set their From dates to the day following the To date of the previous accounting period. For example, if you create an accounting period From January 1, 2012 and To January 31, 2012, then the next accounting period will automatically start From February 1, 2012.
When should the first accounting period begin?
The first accounting period you create will have to be earlier than your earliest transaction in the system. Zuora will show you the first transaction for your company in Zuora.
For example, if the earliest transaction is dated Feb 8th, 2009, then the first accounting period will need to have a starting date of Feb 8th, 2009 or earlier.