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Let me try to explain this with an example.
Suppose I buy some stationary from a vendor and he provides me with a detailed invoice of the goods puchased.
In this case the invoice will always have a date printed on it and this date should ideally be entered in the invoice date at AP_INVOICES_ALL level.
Now suppose the invoice happens to be received by me in february and for some reason I could not capture the invoice in my books in february and made a provision for the liabilities and close the books.
However in march i want to book the invoice say on 10th of march in my books and pay the vendor the amount payable.(I Have to reverse the already provided liability in march to reverse the accounting effect).
In this case my book entry date of invoice is the accounting date i.e. 10 March.
In case of oracle, the accounting is maintained so that the invoice header hits the liability account while the invoice distribution hits the charge account(expense account so to say). And to gain more flexibility oracle provides date in both header and distributions to provide an option of booking liability and charge on different dates..
As per the 11i checks there is no check on any of these dates except that accounting date at header and ditribution level must be in an open AP and GL period.
GL Date The date used to determine the correct accounting period for your invoice and payment transactions. You assign a GL Date to your invoices during invoice entry
and your payments during payment creation.
Invoice date The date you assign to an invoice you enter in Payables. Payables uses this date to calculate the invoice due date, according to the payment terms for the invoice. The invoice date can be the date the invoice was entered or it can be a different date you specify.
The GL Date for the invoice distributions. If you do not enter a value here or enter a value for GL Date when you submit Payables Open Interface Import, Payables will assign a GL Date based on the GL Date Basis defined in the Invoice Region of the Payables Options window.
Thank you Raju and MAveri((k for the explanations. They helped me a lot.