Sitting at the heart of your company's processes, analytic accounts (or cost accounts) are indispensable tools for managing your operations well. Unlike your financial accounts, they are for more than accountants - they are for general managers and project managers, too.
You need a common way of referring to each user, service, or document to integrate all your company's processes effectively. Such a common basis is provided by analytic accounts (or management accounts, or cost accounts, as they are also called) in OpenERP.
Analytic accounts are often presented as a foundation for strategic enterprise decisions. But because of all the information they pull together, OpenERP's analytic accounts can be a useful management tool, at the center of most system processes.
There are several reasons for this:
they reflect your entire management activity,
unlike the general accounts, the structure of the analytic accounts is not regulated by legal obligations, so each company can adapt it to its needs.
Independence from General Accounts
In some software packages, analytic accounts are managed as an extension of general accounts – for example, by using the two last digits of the account code to represent analytic accounts.
In OpenERP, analytic accounts are linked to general accounts but are treated totally independently. So you can enter various different analytic operations that have no counterpart in the general financial accounts.
While the structure of the general chart of accounts is imposed by law, the analytic chart of accounts is built to fit a company's needs closely.
Just as in the general accounts, you will find accounting entries in the different analytic accounts. Each analytic entry can be linked to a general account, or not, as you wish. Conversely, an entry in a general account can be linked to one, several, or no corresponding analytic accounts.
You will discover many advantages of this independent representation below. For the more impatient, here are some of those advantages:
you can manage many different analytic operations,
you can modify an analytic plan on the fly, during the course of an activity, because of its independence,
you can avoid an explosion in the number of general accounts,
even those companies that do not use OpenERP's general accounts can use the analytic accounts for management.
Who Benefits from Analytic Accounts?
Unlike general accounts, analytic accounts in OpenERP are not so much an accounting tool for Accounts as a management tool for everyone in the company. (That is why they are also called management accounts.)
The main users of analytic accounts should be the directors, general managers and project managers.
Analytic accounts make up a powerful tool that can be used in different ways. The trick is to create your own analytic structure for a chart of accounts that closely matches your company's needs.
For this chapter, you should start with a fresh database that includes demo data, with sale and its dependencies installed, and no particular chart of accounts configured.