Armanino Blog

The Sneaky Cost Variance - No Mystery Here!

November 06, 2008

Have you ever had a GL transaction that just seems to appear out of nowhere? As a consultant I hear about magical transactions from clients all the time. With a little digging we always seem to prove that there was no magic involved at all.

Yesterday I almost had a Proof of Magic Experience ... and then ... the nature of Cause and Effect reared its (oh yeah...duh) ugly head!

My client has a user who does not have security access to any access to GL related functionality. She does shipping and receiving along with SOP invoicing. She had created a GL series transaction. How?

The controller found a strange transaction which originated in the GL and advised me that "the user who created it" is the same user who has no access rights to do GL transactions. It appears to have mysteriously created itself between 2 receiving transactions. The receiving transactions are correct in that they came from Receiving and they debt accrued purchases and credit inventory. How could a user who doesn't have access to create GL transactions make that transaction?

I checked it out myself and sure enough, there is a GL series transaction posting to COGS and Inventory. Several head scratching hours and a Microsoft Support Incident later, sure enough, we figured out the "physics of the matter."


  1. There was a negative quantity on hand for an item at 9/30/08.
  2. The User shipped out (invoiced via SOP) product that she didn't have.
  3. On 10/1/08 she "received" in the purchase order that was to fulfill this sales order.


  1. The Inventory only had the cost from the existing inventory item to debit COGS when it was sold.
  2. The current cost for the item (which was significantly higher then prior purchases) came from the purchase order that was received in after the SOP invoice was created. The current cost in the system differed from the purchase order cost.

Ah Ha! Mystery solved. Dynamics GP automatically created this GL series transaction to account for the cost variance - something our Shipping/Receiving/Invoicing User would never have thought of when she overrode her item shortage at invoicing.

Lesson 1: A person with no GL security rights can create a GL transaction (at least get the credit for it!) Don't let this be a red-herring.

Lesson 2: There are 4 situations in which an automatic cost variance can occur.

Lesson 3: There are no mystery transactions in Dynamics GP.

I have referenced a really good KB Article that Microsoft sent me. It is very clearly written with examples that will help you explain the unexplainable to your client.

KB 869470- Cost Variance for Inventory

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