I first encountered CODA when I had to analyze a .COD file that was being imported to SAP. The concept was to check on the amount and sign (+-) it was triggering prior to conversion to Multicash. Naturally, Google was my best option to decode (real talk). Unfortunately, I was not able to find a step by step tutorial at the time. As such, here some notes. Maybe in the future I could find time to write more on bank related topics.
Disclaimer: My notes below are specific to Belgium on the conversion of CODA file to Multicash. The same “concept” applies when I say the file is “consumed” and “interpreted” in SAP for financial posting. The formats accepted in the SAP payment engine can vary per country but you can find more information on the differences here: SAP Help Portal Link.
Designed by the Belgian Bankers Association, CODA is a coded statement of account and it is considered as a national banking standard for Belgium. This file is in .COD file format. It allows automatic processing of electronic bank statements which we will be discussing shortly.
Life is made easier with electronic banking because this allows the exchange of bank related data electronically. One example is though Isabel. Isabel stands for Interbanks Standards Association Belgium (https://www.isabel.eu/en/ebanking/banks.html). Based on their website, Isabel provides access to more than 25 banks and payment institutions. The concept is straightforward: No need to access several other programs to do your banking online. Just do it through Isabel.
How does Isabel relate to CODA files?
Basically, Isabel can provide CODA files when needed. Digital bank statements (such as CODA, MT940, CAMT) can be received in the Isabel environment. This should give you an overview of all the movements across the concerned bank accounts. In this case, we will cover CODA.
CODA and SAP
When CODA files are generated, they are usually imported into the company accounting system (like SAP) for the purpose of recording and reconciliation. In a direct explanation, the flow happens like this:
- FEBC – Import CODA file and convert to Multicash so it can be interpreted and understood by SAP
- FEBAN – Monitor / check the processed bank statements
- Documents posted accurately? Great!
- Documents with errors? Manual intervention and/or assistance with IT
Analysis on an IT perspective comes to the picture when documents are posted erroneously or when documents are not posted at all. There are many approaches or perspectives to resolve these types of issues, but some analysis options can be the following:
- Understand the CODA file to assure yourself of what the CODA file wants to tell the system
- Analyze if SAP interpreting the file correctly: SAP Program and Configuration
- This can be through an SAP program (some can even have custom programs to interpret) or
- SAP Configurations
This blog will focus first on Part A: Understanding the CODA file.
Part A – Understand / Interpreting CODA
For this scenario it is assumed that the business is familiar with what was wrongly auto-posted in SAP and that the corresponding accounting document is viewable. You need the CODA (.cod) file and Notepad++ to view it. I personally find Notepad++ a bit more readable compared to the regular Notepad application. I also find myself switching between Notepad++ and MS Word (where I can use different colored highlights to ‘sort out’ the data).
Back when it was my first time encountering CODA, I needed to find the entry in the file to confirm if the details being pushed to SAP is correct.
- Analyze FEBAN, the corresponding accounting document posting, and what is pointed out as incorrect. Gather details from FEBAN and/or the accounting document such as the date, amount, transaction code, and behavior.
- View the .cod file in Notepad ++ and immediately isolate the block by doing (ctrl+f)
- Search for some details found from FEBAN or the accounting document
- Interpret the CODA file by using the Febelfin CODA document (https://www.febelfin.be/sites/default/files/2019-04/standard-coda-2.6-en.pdf)
- You can also find other versions here (https://www.isabel.eu/knowledge_base_ibs6/en/03_client_solutions/04_ebanking/02_transactions/01_creating_transactions/isabel-6-supported-banking-file-formats.html)
It can be difficult to understand at first but below is a simple example of me locating the specific amount, the sign it triggers, and interpreting other details along the way. It helps to treat it as a puzzle and make sure that the piece fits. Ensure that you can match bits of information from FEBAN / posted document to the coda segments you are isolating.
Goal: Locate amount 150,00 EUR under Business Partner “Company ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOP” and confirm the sign (+ or -) encoded on the file. For the file sample provided, note that details have been “generalized” or modified for confidentiality purposes.
Sample .cod file in Notepad ++
Copy pasting and formatting in MS Word
For MS Word settings, I used Calibri (Body) Size 9 Narrow Margin Single Paragraph spaces. Just manipulate or change to ensure all lines are in one line.
In page 4 of the .pdf we see that there are “record” indicators such as 0, 1, 2, 3, 8, 4, and 9. Keep a lookout for these numbers on the left-hand side of the file. In the CODA example above, we see 0, 1, 2, 3, 8, and 9.
Now if we are to interpret the sample file correctly using the Febelfin coda guide and highlight the corresponding record indicators, we will get this output:
|Record||MSWord highlight||Notepad ++ Row #’s||Febelfin CODA Guide|
|1||Light green||2||Old balance|
|2||Light blue||3-11 13-15||Movement|
|3||Blue||12 16-19||Additional information|
|8||Light grey||20||New balance|
Zoomed in Version
Refer to the zoomed in image on the left where we compared the .cod file and the MS word file. Notice how the record indicators are seen and highlighted accordingly. We we use these indicators to interpret the records per line.
After you isolate the “records” you can now interpret EACH record. You can also read the whole Febelfin file or go directly to Annex I (page 14) to start.
We will start from top to bottom starting with the header.
Header record 0 – Page 14
This record indicator starts with 0. Start counting from this number following the Febelfin file. On my end, I have highlighted some of the key details I might need. You can try counting and cross referencing.
Old balance 1 – Page 15,16
This record indicator starts with 1. Start counting from this number following the Febelfin file. On my end, I have highlighted some of the key details I might need. You can try counting and cross referencing.
Movement 2, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3 – Page 17,18,19,20,21
This record indicator starts with 2. The movement can start as 21, 22, 23. Start counting from this number following the Febelfin file. On my end, I have highlighted some of the key details I might need. You can try counting and cross referencing.
Notice that it is with record indicator 2 that I have found the amount and sign that is being passed. In this example, look at the red 0 as it indicates a positive (+) amount. The text highlighted in red is the amount 150,00. We know it is EUR because from record indicator 1, it gave us the account number and corresponding currency.
Notice also that green colored text “005556210” that denotes the Transaction Code. This is not to be confused with the TCode in SAP. This is the unique transaction code provided by the bank to differentiate and understand what type of movement is happening i.e. Wire Transfer, Cheque, etc.
Look at how the grey highlighted text all denote “0001”. All entries with this are related to one another. The next digit series following the grey highlighted text show us “0000, 0001, 0002, 0003” which you can think of as extra movement info. Look at the white colored and red highlighted text. They show us “63000, 57000, 30000” which sum up to 150,000.
Remember that the amount makes up 12 positions and 3 decimals. So the red highlighted 150000 actually means 150,000 where the “000” are 3 decimal points.
Additional information 3,3.1,3.2 – Page 22,23,24,25
This record indicator starts with 3. The additional information can start as 31, 32. Start counting from this number following the Febelfin file. On my end, I have highlighted some of the key details I might need. You can try counting and cross referencing.
New balance 8 – Page 26
This record indicator starts with 8. Start counting from this number following the Febelfin file. On my end, I have highlighted some of the key details I might need. You can try counting and cross referencing.
Notice if you can recall the pink highlighted text “999” from record indicator 1 as the sequence number statement of account on paper.
Trailer record 9 – Page 28
This record indicator starts with 9. Start counting from this number following the Febelfin file. On my end, I have highlighted some of the key details I might need. You can try counting and cross referencing.
Notice how the debit and credit movement both sum up as 150000 in this example. For the bold and underlined 2, this signifies the last file.
Overview of the Highlights
Overall, we can see that there are some repetitive texts in the CODA file such as the dates, references, sample IBAN/BIC, Bank Account information, Company information and so on. On a higher level perspective, you can actually see which details belong together. When uploaded to SAP, the statement balance would be 0 since we have both a positive and negative amount movement of 150,00 euros.
As supplementary information, we can look at the 2nd series of record indicator 2 and 3. Notice how this denotes the opposite sign (-) and gives the same amount 150000. There are more “additional info” record indicators here and we can see that the sample Transaction Code is “001556210”.
More Info (Thank you Google Translate):
Overschrijving in euro (SEPA) Van means “Transfer in euros (SEPA) From”
Mededeling means “Statement”
For the next blog post, I will talk about the SAP configurations involved that you can further check.
Part B – Is SAP interpreting the file correctly? (Program and Configurations) Link
This blog post has a YouTube version! Click here to see the video.
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