Operating in the industry and in the world of SAP we keep hearing about the revolution which is to come with the new version of SAP: S/4 HANA. It concerns end users, developers, consultants, as well as marketing people in a general sense. Everyone is excited and tense. We are flooded with high-sounding slogans, but everyone is asking themselves the question – what exactly is S/4 HANA Finance? What tangible changes will it bring? How exactly is it different from the ERP we know?

In an attempt to answer this question, we must start with S/4 HANA’s fundamental feature, i.e., the fact that it operates real-time. The slightest customer activity or economic event is analysed here and now. This is the requirement of the changing world of business. At the end of the day, each company analyses services, processes, needs of a specific user, trying to find a common denominator. For that purpose, it needs a tool ready for that integration (including a huge amount of data). And this is the solution introduced by S/4 HANA – as the system based on a completely new technology it is a response to the contemporary approach to business. It focuses on functions and roles in the organization. In addition, it is fully mobile thanks to SAP Fiori, which provides access to data and allows it to be managed from a smartphone or tablet.

How about specifics? Below are the most important (but not all) differences:

  1. Single source of truth – regardless of how it sounds, this relates to the combination of structure of data deriving from different components (FI,AA,CO, CO-PA) into one ACDOCA table. This eliminates several aggregated, index tables, and significantly reduces the amount of data.
  2. Ledgers and currencies – to parallel ledgers, already known from the New General Ledger, S/4 HANA adds and additional ledger – the so-called Extension Ledger – which is connected with the main ledger, and all the reports brought up for the additional ledger extract data from both ledgers to show the full picture of the company’s condition.
  3. Line item reports the reports FBL1N, FBL5N, FAGLL03 we are familiar with still exist, but with a little different name which in HANA resembles the letter H – FBL1H, FBL5H, FAGLL03H and with a different design.
  4. Combination of CO and FI – S/4 HANA offers: Universal Journal: the journal area serves to store both the GL account and the cost element. Cost elements (both primary and secondary) are currently GL accounts, and therefore they are created/maintained (in FS00) with the relevant cost element category. Reconciliation (in the case of CO with FI) is no longer needed. As a result, the closing of the accounting period will also be faster.
  5. Business Partner – all accounts of suppliers and recipients to date will me migrated as Business Partners. This functionality is already known, for example from the Treasury module. But with S/4 HANA this step is obligatory and may pose some difficulties at the beginning. But this is only a question of learning a new functionality, which in many places resembles the familiar views of XD03 or FD03 transactions, etc., and at the same time provides many new fields and possibilities. One of them is the time limit for the specific BP address – which will significantly facilitate the management of data on printouts and invoices if changed.
  6. Credit management – FI-AR-CR has been replaced with the FSCM functionality (Financial supply chain management). The traditional setup of the FI-AR-CR credit management requires time and quite an intensive manual effort. FSCM-CR, on the other hand, has advanced functions such as:
    • credit procedure setup – which will allow the credit limit to be calculated automatically,
    • automatic update of basic data for confirming the credit limit, etc.,
    • WF process for credit events, etc.,
  7. CO-PA – The primary COPA variant is the accounting variant (account-based). Optionally, the calculation COPA may be used (based on value fields). Both versions can be used at the same time.

These are just a few of the differences introduced for us by S/4 HANA Finance. All the new features were introduced in order to speed up operations and to provide a wider, more comprehensive and global perspective on the processes within the organization.

Are we dealing with the financial revolution of the SAP world? We will only know this after several years of using, testing and benefiting from the new solutions.

Author: Karolina Berks, SAP Consultant, Hicron