Finance Resolution #3: Make SAP Finance as easy as possible in 2017

By Clinton Jones on January 5, 2017

I’d like you to take a moment to really think about the existing tools and methods you’re using for your SAP FICO processes. In this post, you’ll learn a few tricks you can implement now to improve those processes in 2017, and begin making your SAP Financials easier.

The challenge with working with behemoth systems like SAP is that they are complex. SAP is a highly configurable system, and has had to provide many options to organizations in the way they can configure their systems. The issue for companies that use SAP is the fact that domain knowledge is key to understanding what all the options mean and what the advantages and disadvantages are, of utilizing these options.

SAP S/4 HANA is effectively a re-implementation of some of the core pieces of the legacy SAP ERP system. As a result, SAP has identified that there are a number of areas that can be improved. SAP initially achieved this with the Simple Finance release of S/4 HANA 1503 and has made further improvements with rel. 1511 and now rel. 1610.

For finance teams in particular, S/4 HANA has led to some old methods of data entry and reporting becoming obsolete. For example, many of the periodic roll-up tables that were typically associated with reporting and needing long running reporting jobs to crunch and compile numbers, are no longer relevant. This does not mean all of your other systems of record, including your legacy solutions and sub-ledgers will miraculously be integrated with your SAP ERP system; in fact, Excel integration has been largely unconsidered.

If the integration was not built and tested, don’t assume your sub ledgers are now synced with your core reporting engine in SAP. While a Fiori screen may make reporting and inquiries a little easier and improve SAP accessibility, it doesn’t address integration of external data in an easy and consumable way for end users.

Step 1: Admit that making changes in SAP shouldn’t be as difficult as it is.

What holds true for S/4 HANA also holds true for ECC and R/3 if you’re still running an older installation. Integration needs to be in place in order for data to appear in your reporting and reconciliation processes. The good news is that pushing (and pulling) data from SAP, irrespective of the version, doesn’t have to be as difficult as you might think. Winshuttle has been providing finance teams with mechanisms to create integration with SAP from Excel for almost 15 years. Over that time and even today, finance process automation has always been one of the most popular automation use cases, even on S/4HANA.

Whether your company has a small finance team or a sprawling one spanning multiple continents and hundreds of participants in shared service centers, Winshuttle has a deployment model that will support you. Standalone workgroup deployments can quickly scale to hundreds of users with centrally managed templates and custom workflows, without you needing to redevelop, redeploy or fundamentally change any of the underlying core components of SAP or previously installed Winshuttle products.

Implementing, modifying and scaling Winshuttle automation is fast, user-friendly and relatively easy without the need for complex training or specialized technical skills. Microsoft Excel is at the core of most Winshuttle solutions deployed for finance teams. Excel is a building block technology for automation, and of course supports feeds from subledger systems in text, comma and tab separate values as well as legacy XLS file formats.

From the easy to use familiar Excel interface, Finance users can simply open a workbook, fill it with data in the designated cells and columns and then invoke real-time calls to SAP using their own SAPGUI credentials, to test, validate and ultimately post data.

Working with SAP financials modules just got a whole lot easier! Don’t miss the next post in this series around improving your workflow efficiency for better financial reporting.

Don’t miss the previous blog posts in this series:

New Year’s Resolutions for SAP Finance teams

Finance resolution #1: Spend More Time on Strategic Analysis

Finance Resolution #2: Become Less Reliant on IT

About the author

Clinton Jones is a Director for Finance Solutions Management at Winshuttle where he has worked since 2009. He is internationally experienced having worked on finance technologies and business process with a particular focus on integrated business solutions in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and North America. Clinton serves as a technical consultant on technology and quality management as it relates to data and process management and governance for finance organizations globally. Prior to Winshuttle he served as a Technical Quality Manager at SAP and with Microsoft in their Global Foundation Services group.

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