Contract Accruals - Set Up & Maintenance Best Practice

How to set up and maintain your Contract Accruals

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A contract accrual is required any time a Service Contract bills a base period in advance that is larger than 1 month, and the revenue billed must be divided over the months within the period. 

The best practice below details on how to set up your system to handle accruals, setting up base deferrals on your Service Contracts and how to run the Accrual tool each month.


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Best Practice Steps

Best Practice Steps

Setting up your Database to Properly Manage Accruals:

In E-automate, go to Tools from the top tool bar and select Options

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From the Options box that appears, click on Contracts from the options on the left-hand side

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For the accrual options listed, complete them as seen in the screen show below. Below explains what each area controls.

Require Accrual Cycle if base Billing Cycle Greater than the Following Number of Months = it is standard business practice to only accrue for billing periods that are 1 month or greater

Default the Accrual Cycle To = it is standard business practice to accrue revenue monthly

Default the Accrual Start Day to the First Day of the Month = This option controls how revenue is accrued during the first month of the contract billing if the billing cycle does not start on the first of the month. When this is turned on, the system will prorate the first month of the accrual at a rate calculated by a normal monthly accrual amount adjusted for how many days are in the first month, and then will begin accruing the normal monthly amount in the next month. When this is turned off, the first month of the billing will not accrue anything and it will bill that prorated amount in the second month and the normal monthly accrual amount will begin in month 3. 

Allow the User to Change these Defaults = This option gives the user ability to adjust accrual cycles on the contract level after periods have been billed on the contract. It is recommended to not have this turned on to avoid contract setup or billing users creating unintentional errors. However, this can be turned on temporarily in cases where a contract's accrual cycle was set up incorrectly and needs to be fixed

Accrue Revenue on the Last Day of the Cycle = it is standard business practice to accrue revenue on the last day of the monthly cycle

Use Accrual Cycle Consolidation = This option gives the user ability to accrue prior periods on the current period. For example, if you forgot to accrue January or February (or a contract was set up late causing these months to now be needing accrual) and those periods are closed, having this option open allows you to accrue the revenue all in March and avoids opening the prior periods. This will make revenue in March higher, so this is up to the company on if they want this turned on or not. 

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Ensuring your Service Contracts and Distribution Codes are Set Up to Properly Accrue Base Revenue:

Accrual Status on the Service Contract:

In E-Automate, go to Service from the top tool bar and select Contracts

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Using the QuickSearch dropdown, find the contract to be reviewed 

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Open the contract and view the Installment Based Billing tab. On the right-hand side of the tab, you'll see an Accruals column. this column will indicate the current accrual cycle of the contract which is the next cycle to be accrued. View the Base Accrual Schedule to ensure its properly setup on current and future months. You can see the current unearned balance at the top of the contract as well, this indicates how much has been billed but not yet accrued. 

Example of a Brand-New Unbilled Contract: This contract bills its first quarterly base of 7/24-10/23 and the first accrual cycle is shown as 7/1-7/31. This means that when the 7/24-10/23 period bills, the contract will be ready to accrue month 1 (July). On this same contract, if we view the Base Accrual Schedule, it shows us that it is scheduled to accrue a pro-rated balance for the 7/24-7/31 period, and then begin accruing the normal monthly amount each month after. We also see that the unearned balance at the top of the Service Contract is $0.00 because we have not yet billed the 7/24-10/23 period. 

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Example of a Billed Contract: This contract billed its first quarterly base of 7/24-10/23 and the current accrual cycle is shown as 8/1-8/31. This means that 7/24-10/23 has been billed, and the accrual for month 1 (July) has been completed. On this same contract, if we view the Base Accrual Schedule, it shows us that it is scheduled to accrue $50 for August and September and then in October a pro-rated balance for the 10/1-10/23 period and the 10/24-10/31 period which totals to a normal monthly amount of $50. We also see that the unearned balance at the top of the Service Contract is $137.10. This is because we billed $150 for the quarter, accrued $12.90 for the 7/24-7/31 period, will accrue $50 in August and in September and then the remaining $37.10 through 10/23.

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Base Distribution Codes on the Service Contract:

It is required that the Base Distribution Code that your base bills against is set up properly for accruals. To ensure your distribution code is set up, view the code details. The steps to do this are as follows. 

On the Service Contract, go to the Base Distribution Code that's select and click the downward pointing arrow and select Edit

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The box for the code will appear. If the Use Accruals button is check marked, then it is set up properly

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If the code is not check marked, then you will need to set up a new Base Distribution Code that can accrue properly. Unfortunately, if the Base Distribution Code has been billed anywhere in your system, the accruals cannot be turned on later. Creating a new Base Distribution Code is done in the List and Codes.


Manually Processing Monthly Accruals

In E-automate, go to Service from the top tool bar and select Accrue Contracts

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The Contract Accrual List will appear. Set the Accrual Date to be the last day of the month you're wanting to accrue and click Go.

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The list of Service Contracts will appear that the system identifies as needing to be accrued either on your current accrual date or prior. Note that your contracts must have a date in the Base Accrual Date column and a cycle listed in the Accrual Cycle column. If any of them are missing, this means that the accrual was not set up properly on the contract. 

Checkmark the contracts that you want to accrue for the accrual date listed. Then select Create List. Note that the Unearned Balance column shows the balance left to be earned on the last billed base period, it is not how much will accrue for the specific period you're prosing.

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The Current Accrual List on the right-hand side of the screen will indicate how much contracts are now listed for accrual (Note that if you ever need to clear the list you created before you process them, you'll have to uncheck all boxes and click Create List again to reset.)

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You may choose to audit what is being pulled in for accrual by clicking Audit Accruals, this will bring up a report showing what contract numbers are to be accrued and for what dollar amounts

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Once you are finished auditing and would like to process the accruals, click the Accruals button

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Enter the Accrual date which will be the last day of the month you're accruing and click OK to process them

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Note: if you have a negative balance in the Unearned Balance column inside the Contract Accruals list, it is recommended to review billings against accruals to see what went wrong. Most commonly (1) The contract has been terminated and it is likely that invoices on the contract were voided, and the accruals must now also be voided or (2) the contract was renew/revised prior to the accruals being current.


Reviewing and Voiding Previous Billings and Accruals

In E-automate, go to Service from the top tool bar and select Contract Accruals

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The Contract Accruals box will appear. You can use the QuickSearch dropdown to search by Contract Number, Batch Number, etc. This view will show you what has been accrued, what for periods and in what amounts. 

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To void any accrual, know that you must void the most recent accrual for that same contract first and continue voiding in that order. You should always use the Void and Reset option and not just the Void. Resetting will allow for you to accrue the same period on that contract again. 

You can also access Billing and Accrual Information inside of the Service Contract. when in the Service Contract, click on the blue "i" symbol in the lower left-hand corner

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The Contract Accrual History box will appear. You can use the Available Lists dropdown to view lists of things such as previous accruals and previous invoices processed on the contract

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Setting up an E-Agent Task to Automatically Run Accruals (not recommended until billing/contract end users are tenured) 

In E-automate, go to Tools from the top tool bar and select E-Agent

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Your web browser will open to the E-Agent Tasks Page. Click New to begin creating the Auto Accrual for Contracts. 

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Select Auto Accrue Contracts and click OK

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Below are screen shots of the Task and its 2 tabs; Options and Schedule as well as how to use each to accomplish how you would like to automate this task.

Task Name = name this task what you would like it to be, auto Accrue Tasks is the default and can be left as that

Task Engine = this is specific to your company

Task User = select Admin

Enabled = checkmark when you are ready for this task to be ran, don't worry as it won't run in real time unless you're out of Test Mode

Test Mode = when this is check marked, the task will run just like it normally would if not in test mode, except it will not actually post to or make change in your database. Instead, you'll receive an emailed report of what occurred in the test run. 

Include all Contracts / Customers = these are filter options if you'd like to allow only specific customers to be auto-accrued

Notification Email = add email address that you would like the summary of the accruals that are ran each time sent to

Recurrence Pattern = select Last Day of the Month

Range of Recurrence = select start and end dates

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Other Helpful Info

Other Helpful Info




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Related Alerts

Related Alerts

ID662 - Contract with accrual balance was terminated


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