‘Clearing’ in SAP refers to squaring-off open debit entries with that of open credit entries. Clearing is allowed in GL accounts maintained on an ‘open item’ basis and in all customer/vendor accounts. The clearing can either be manual or automatic. In the case of manual clearing, you will view the open items and select the matching items for clearing. In the case of automatic clearing, a program determines what items need to be cleared based on certain pre-determined open item selection criteria and proposes assignments before clearing these assigned items. Whatever the type of clearing, the system creates a clearing document with the details and enters the ‘clearing number’ against each of the cleared open items. The clearing number is derived from the document number of the clearing document.
You will also be able to do a ‘partial clearing’ when you are unable to match open items exactly; in this case, the balance amount not cleared is posted as a new open item. You may also configure clearing tolerance and also define rules on how to tackle the situation where the net amount after clearing is not zero (such as, writing off, posting the difference to a separate ‘clearing difference’ account, etc.).
In the case of customers who are also vendors, you will be able to clear between these two provided it is duly configured in the relevant master data (by entering the customer number in the vendor master record and the vendor number in the customer master record).