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Accounting automation overview

Learn the basics of Plane’s accounting automation

Updated over a week ago

Plane’s accounting automation enables you to streamline your month-end close for all financial transactions from Plane. It provides a workflow to prepare and approve accounting items and export them as journal entries into your accounting system. This automation can help you save days of effort in closing your books.

This automation integrates with QuickBooks Online, and will support more accounting systems in the future.

Feature walk-through

Let’s walk through a simple example of how this feature works end-to-end. Assume two transactions for April:

  1. A one-time payment to a contractor on April 1.

  2. Payroll for two US employees for the April 1 to April 30 pay period.

These transactions will result in three accounting items, one for every person who is being paid.

An accounting item is a financial transaction for a specific person. We split financial transactions by person to help you see how how attributes of a person, like employment type and department, can be used to map to different financial accounts.

Accounting items are prepared, approved, and then exported to your accounting system as journal entries. To prepare accounting items for export, you’ll need to map all associated expenses and liabilities to your chart of accounts.

Mapping to your chart of accounts

To configure the accounting automation feature, you’ll need to map Plane’s accounting categories to your chart of accounts. Once you’ve set this up, you’ll be able to use this same mapping system for future month-end closes.

You can customize your mapping according to your needs, but we’ll start with a simple example. Assume the following mappings:

Plane accounting category

Financial account

Employee earnings

Workforces expenses:Employee wages

Employer taxes

Workforce expenses:Employer taxes

Employee benefits

Workforce expenses:Employee benefits

Employee benefits payables

Payroll liabilities:Benefit liabilities

Contractor earnings

Workforce expenses:Contractors

Journal entries

When these mappings are applied to the transactions in our example, two journal entries are created. A journal entry will always summarize one or more accounting items grouped by pay period (or pay date) and transaction type (e.g., US payroll, international payroll, contractor payroll, and more).

Journal entry #1

The contractor payment includes only earnings, so it is very straightforward. The bank charge for the payment matches the regular earnings.

Journal entry #2

This payroll includes regular earnings, employer taxes, and benefits. The journal entry consolidates the expenses from both employees.

Note: Benefits for US employees are not paid by Plane directly, so are not included in the bank charge. Instead, a payroll liability is created, which needs to be paid to the provider later.

Journal entries are always associated with a bank charge so they are easy to match to your bank transactions.

Posting date

The posting date of a journal entry is set to the period end date of the transaction, and when that is not available, the pay date is used. All payrolls will have a period end date, and one-time payments may have a period end date if that information is provided on the payment or payment request.

Month-end close

Accounting items are available for review as soon as transactions are processed, so you can get a heads start on your month-end close. Accounting items follow a three-step process:

To Prepare → Ready for Export → Exported

To Prepare

  • If you configured the feature accurately, all items should already be mapped to the right accounts, but you should review for accuracy

  • Update any accounting items that have missing data

  • Adjust configurations and refresh accounting items if needed. This may be required if you changed your chart of accounts.

  • Approve accounting items to move them to the Ready for export stage and to create journal entries for preview

Ready for Export

  • Preview journal entries to make sure everything looks accurate

  • Mark items as “To prepare” if they need to be changed and re-approve when ready

  • When everything looks good, export journal entries to your accounting system


  • Work with your exported journal entries in your accounting system

  • Easily match bank transactions to your journal entries (or rely on auto-matching rules)

  • You can also view the history of your exported data in Plane

Feature options

Plane’s accounting automation gives you several options to control how journal entries are created.

Account mappings

Mappings between Plane expense categories and accounts are defined for employees, contractors, and vendors separately, and can be very granular if needed. For example, you can map sales commissions or severance to different workforce expense accounts. You can also map expenses to different accounts based on a person’s department.

Reporting categories

Journal entries can be organized by department-based reporting categories to enable more flexible reporting in your accounting system. Let’s assume the two employees on payroll in the above example were from Sales and Engineering, With reporting categories configured, the journal entry would change to look like the following:


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