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Finance in S/4HANA 1610: the what, why and how

Nowadays there is a tremendous interest in S/4HANA, especially from current SAP customers. It’s
about what, why and how to go to S/4HANA. This motivated me to start writing a series of blogs on
the subject matter.

In this part 1 of the blog I will explain the what and the why of S/4HANA. In part 2 the How will be
explained further.

Let’s start from the beginning by knowing the product. The What. In the title of this post I say
‘Finance in S/4HANA’ and not ‘S/4HANA Finance’. That has a reason which you will find out
below. This post expects some entry level knowledge about S/4 HANA and the HANA technology in
general. I will dive into the different S/4 HANA product versions and the Finance specific topics.

The What… Let’s know the product

In 2014 SAP introduced the simple innovations starting in the area of Finance. The new product was
initially named ‘Simple Finance’ and at that time there were already rumors about ‘Simple Logistics’.
The Simple naming convention lasted until the release of Simple Finance 2.0. In 2015 SAP
announced that the name Simple Finance will be changed to S/4 HANA Finance. By doing this, SAP
introduced heterogeneous naming across different product lines.  Simultaneously it created a lot of
confusion with all the different release numbers.

Let me try to help you understand the differences. As you can see in the figure below, S/4 HANA
Finance is a different product that S/4HANA (Enterprise Management).
S/4HANA Product Versions
S/4HANA Finance includes only the finance innovations (replacement of classis FiCo) on to the
already existing system. So everything in logistics will remain as it is. You can imagine that the
migration effort to this product is lower than directly going to S/4 HANA. More about this in the ‘How’

In S/4HANA 1610, SAP has included all the available functionality of the latest release of S/4HANA
Finance 1605. This means that in terms of Finance S/4HANA 1610 and S/4HANA Finance 1605 are
in sync.

Except for some minor differences which are listed below. This make things a bit easier to
understand later on :).
S/4HANA Enterprise Management and Finance deltas
The Why… Key differences and innovations in the
area of Finance in S/4HANA 1610
Now we have to understand the product. Let’s look at the benefits of S/4HANA for our organization.
In this topic I will hit the key differences compared to classic FiCo in R3.

To make the list comprehensive I will also mention some features which were already included in
Simple Finance 1.0 back in 2014.

One Single Source of truth and all accounts become GL accounts

All actual line items will be stored in the new table ACDOCA. The will be no redundant, aggregate or
total tables anymore. All dimensions of GL, CO, COPA, AA and ML will be in ACDOCA.

In the ACDOCA whe have multidemsional GL, parallel ledgers, parallel currencies, 999,999 line
items and custom defined fields. The chalenges of gathering combined content of several tables to
represents the truth and reconcile the different level of detail stored in the different
components/tables of SAP (e.g. CO= much detail, Fi= less detail) is now somehting of the past.

S/4HANA One Single Source of Truth

The reason of the merge of secondary and primary cost elements is the fact that all actual line items
will now be stored in one single table. The ACDOCA. This also applies on purely (internal) CO
postings. You should not include these secondary accounts in your P&L.
S/4HANA GL account Cost Element

Parallel currencies and parallel valuation

In S/4HANA 1610 we can now have up to 10 parallel currencies per ledger. Real-time conversion for
all currency types is possible, Zero balance per document is guaranteed for each currency and CO-
area currency is now calculated for all accounts (also non cost element).
S/4HANA Additional Currencies
Parallel valuation functionality is significantly enhanced in S/4HANA 1610. SAP now provides two
options to store multiple valuations:

 Parallel valuation updated in parallel single-valuation ledger

 Separate ledger for each valuation
 Transparent separation of posting and reporting based on different regulations
 Parallel valuation updated in multi-valuation ledger
 Separate amount columns in the same ledger
 Reduce memory footprint
 Reduce effort and time for closing
See an example of the 2 methods below.
S/4HANA Parallel Valuation

Profitability Analysis in S/4HANA 1610

With S/4HANA SAP focuses on the enhancement and integration of Account based COPA. This is
the preferred type of Profitability Analysis. Costing Based profitability analysis is still available and
can be used in parallel, but there will be no integration with the Universal Journal (ACDOCA table).

Below you will find the list of enhancements on Account Based profitability analysis. Critical gaps of
the past are closed.

 Split of Cost of Goods Sold on multiple accounts based on cost component split. This is done
during posting of the Goods issue.
 Split of production variances on multiple accounts. This is done at order settlement.
 3 new quantity fields provided in the line items and a BAdI for conversion of the logistical
quantities to common quantities in Finance.
 Real-Time derivation of market segment information from cost postings (Cost Center, order
Summary of the enhancement:
S/4HANA Profitability Analysis
Unfortunately there are still some limitations which are on the future roadmap. Current limitations of
Account Based profitability analysis:

 Sales conditions which are not posting to GL (statistical) are not supported
 Realignment of characteristics which are changed after posting are partially supported. Not
for all characteristics!
 Creation of sales order generates expected revenue, COGS etc. in profitability analysis is not

Attributed Profitability Segments

In my opinion, this is one of the greatest enhancements in Profitability Analysis. I was always
thinking why this was not possible in SAP and now it is here! With a couple of additional
configuration steps the ‘Attributed PA segment’ can be activated.
S/4HANA Attributed Profitability Segment
Another good example is when you have a debit memo request in a Time & Material Service order
which has a settlement rule for settlement to COPA. The debit memo request will have an account
assignment to the service order and no profitability segment. That means that you do not have the
profitability segment information until the service order is settled to COPA. With this new functionality
you can have the real account assignment to the service order and an attributed assignment to a
profitability segment. Great stuff!

Event based revenue recognition

The revenue recognition process is now fully integrated with the Universal Journal. There is no
separate storage for Revenue Recognition data anymore.

Cost and revenues are recognized as they occur. The entry of the source document will generate
two postings. An entry for the initial costs and revenue and an entry for the revenue recognition
S/4HANA event based Revenue Recognition
There is even a new app ‘Event based revenue recognition’ for monitoring of revenue recognition
postings and manual adjustments.
S/4HANA Event Based Revenue Recognition app

Bank Account Management (lite)

In the ‘old’ setup there were house banks and bank accounts in SAP. In S/4HANA basic functions of
the Bank Account Management functionality of Cash Management is brought in to the core. This is
called Bank Account Management Lite.

The main new features and differences compared to the old house bank and bank account setup are
the following:

 Group-wised account management

 Signatory
 Overdraft Limit
 Opening and Closing with approval process
 Easily maintain bank accounts
To highlight the latest point. Bank accounts are now part of master data and can be maintained by
users through a dedicated Web Dynpro or Fiori application. The house banks itself are still created in
customizing. Transaction Fi12 is obsolete and the new transaction Fi12_hbank is introduced for this

So the process of creating the house bank and the house bank account are separated and executed
in two different places.

New Asset Accounting

Migrating to New Asset Accounting is a pre-requisite for migration to S/4HANA (Finance). The
reason and motivation behind New Asset Accounting is:

 No data redundancy
 Reconciliation between GL and AA ensured
 Transparent assignment of depreciation area to accounting principle
 Simplified chart of depreciation: only 1 CoD per valuation
 No delta depreciation areas
 Asset balance in real-time (APC posting run not needed)
 Plan values in real-time
Usage of the New Depreciation Calculation Engine is mandatory and the tables ANEA, ANEP,
ANEK, ANLC, and ANLP are not updated anymore in New Asset Accounting.

 An example of the new posting logic during integrated asset acquisition with two ledger with two
different accounting principles:

S/4HANA New Asset Accounting

As you can see a new ‘technical clearing account’ is used to post accounting principle specific
documents. The balance of the technical clearing account is zero.

Embedded Analytics and Reporting
SAP blends transactions and analytics in one system allowing operational reporting on live
transactional data.

I can talk hours about reporting in S/4HANA. With the new data structure (e.g. ACDOCA), all the
pre-delivered Virtual Data Models (VDM’s), the performance of HANA and the modern and state of
the art reporting tools/interfaces, there are so many new possibilities.

The concept of embedded analytics in S/4HANA is to provide pre-defined models across the entire
suite in which the business logic is embedded. So the provided data models are delivering
contextual information rather than raw data.

S/4HANA Embedded Analytics architecture

In a nutshell I can say that the following reporting tools are mostly used at my customers where I did
S/4HANA implementations:

 Fiori-reporting
 Analysis for Office
 SAP Lumira

S/4HANA Reporting Tools

Each tool has its own purpose of course. I can say that with out of the box analytical Fiori apps and
the KPI Modeler in SAP Smart Business together with the Analytical Path Framework already
provides a lot of content and satisfies a lot of customers.

Some examples of Smart Business cockpit and the Analytical Path Framework apps.
S/4HANA Out of the Box Reporting with Fiori
Next to these type of apps, SAP provided multi-dimensional reporting apps. For example the Market
Segment Actuals app in which I can report on my P&L with in addition my Profitability Analysis
S/4HANA Market Segment Actuals App
For more flexibility the products from the BO suite (additional license) Analysis for Office and Lumira
can be used. This is worth another separate blog.

After reading this blog I hope you have gained a good understanding of the S/4 product and the key
differences and innovations in the area of Finance. Part 2 will explain the How. With the different
migration scenarios and deployment possibilities.

Stay tuned! Soon I will also start sharing demo videos on specific topics on an S/4HANA 1610

Last week I shared the What and How on Finance in S/4HANA. In part 1, we have learned the
product and understand the key benefits of Finance in S/4HANA. Now I will continue with possible
migration scenarios.
The How… different scenarios and migration paths 
One of the 5 pillars of S/4HANA is the choice of deployment. Both On-Premise as well as Cloud
deployments are supported. In this blog you will gain an inside in the On-Premise deployment and
migration scenarios.

S/4HANA 5 Pillars
When you go for the On-Premise deployment option there are 3 options; a completely new
installation, a system conversion or a landscape transformation.

A new installation is quite straight forward since no migration activities are necessary except from
bringing in your balances, stocks, open items and other standard cut-over activities. In a system
conversion scenario however, there are additional steps to perform which will be explained further

The best strategy for your company, either new install, conversion, cloud or On-Premise depends on
the requirements and complexity of the current IT environment / SAP systems. After reading this
blog you will get more insights in de system conversion options and activities involved. A specific
assessment and analysis should be performed on your individual situation to define the best path.
S/4HANA Deployment Options
Currently there are 3 major migration scenarios for customers running SAP ERP 6.0 on any
database. Starting from the bottom these are the following:
S/4HANA Migration Paths
Migrate to Suite on HANA:
This scenario is purely a technical database migration. This can be an intermediate step if your
company has to renew its hardware but there is no time and/or budget for an additional migration
project to S/4HANA. Of course there can be more valid reasons. Maybe the company needs to
upscale or renew hardware because of performance issues or expansion. In these situations going
for an in memory HANA appliance is a no-brainer.

Since this is only a technical migration, no application migration is involved. However you still get the
performance improvements and the data compression provided by the HANA technology.

The biggest advantage is that HANA Live will be available so you can make use of real-time in
memory reporting.

Migrating to S/4HANA Finance:

Migration to S/4HANA Finance can be chosen for different reasons. Your company can move to
S/4HANA Finance when only the innovations in Finance are relevant, you would like to enable
specific functionality like Central Finance or you use this path to mitigate risk and shorten the lead
time of the project. There can be many other reasons like these. If the last applies keep in mind that
you still need to go for a migration to reach the final destination.

In this blog I will go further with the details of the S/4HANA Finance migration. These steps are also
valid for a migration to S/4HANA 1610.

In S/4HANA Finance, I have already explained all the innovations in Part 1 of my blog. As mentioned
in the previous blog, S/4HANA Finance 1605 and S/4HANA 1610 are now equal in terms of
functionality in Finance. In terms of migration there are however still some deltas such as the
business partner and the 40-digit material number.

Migrate to S/4HANA
If you want to enable all S/4 innovations including the ones in Supply Chain, Sales and Procurement
a direct migration to S/4HANA 1610 is the preferred path. During this path, the Finance migration,
which is also required for an S/4HANA Finance migration, is part of the game as well. And I can say
that the finance migration part is the most difficult one (see below).

There are also additional migration activities like the migration of the customer/vendors to business
partners. Along these, there are also transactions or even functionality which is replaced or removed
to another module.

To capture this information and to be able to perform a fit-gap SAP provides a so called
simplification list for each release where you can find all deltas compared to previous releases. I
have more to say about the simplification list further in the blog.

The migration and system conversion process

SAP provides are clear process for the conversion to S/4HANA. In the below figure you can see the
required steps and sequences. Along the technical migration steps, there are application specific
preparation steps (from t2 to t4). For a successful migration it is important that functional expertise of
all the relevant domains are involved in this phase of the project.
S/4HANA Migration Phases
T1: you need to be aware of system requirements, start releases and data volume. All information is
provided in the Conversion Guide.

T2: the maintenance planner checks your components, add-ons and business functions to ensure
compatibility with S/4HANA.

T3: The Pre-check tools provide a detailed report about the technical readiness of your system to
S/4HANA. There is separate pre-check available for the migration of financial data.
T4: the migration tool checks the code of your SAP Business Suite system where it does not comply
with the scope and data structures of SAP S/4HANA.

T5: this is the technical step where the database migration (if needed) and the software update is

T6: in the final part we perform the adoption of the innovations. E.g. adopting the new UI (Fiori 2.0),
configuring and modeling the Fiori apps and enabling and modeling KPI dashboards based on CDS

More about the simplification list

The Simplification List provides the key information by application or functional area about the
simplifications in SAP S/4HANA. Each simplification item details the steps that need to be taken for
the conversion from a business and a technical point of view. Actually it is a collection of all business
impact SAP notes. All items in the simplification list refer to a business impact note.

This is your entry document to an application conversion from the business suite to S/4HANA.
S/4HANA Simplification List
An example of an item in the simplification list is about master data and specifically the business
partner. All related information is provided in detail. The purpose, the business process related
information and obsolete transaction codes. But also the required actions. This document in
combination with the relevant SAP notes really gives all the information for a smooth conversion.

The most tricky part: Migration of Finance

Now let us discuss the migration of finance. Whether you go for a full S/4HANA migration or only for
an S/4HANA Finance migration, in both cases you always need to migrate your financials. The
migration tasks consist of the following steps:

 Preparation and migration of Customizing (GL, CO, AA, ML, Banks)

 Data Migration (migrate transactional data into the new data structures and generating
Compatibility Views of obsolete tables)
 Activities after migration (some last steps, enriching transactional data and releasing the
To give you an idea of some of the migrations in customizing you can think of defining document
types for posting in Controlling, migration to New Asset Accounting or migrating your House Banks
to the new structure. Check the previous blog to see the differences with Finance in R/3, it will clarify
some of the necessary migrations steps.

For the preparation and migration for Finance a very clear path is provided in the IMG for the above
mentioned steps. There is some guidance, however the steps in the IMG are not always in the
correct sequence! Functional expertise is very essential.

Finally to control all migration activities a migration monitor is now provided in S/4HANA 1610. In the
monitor you can keep track of all activities and the status of the individual steps.

As you can see a migration to S/4HANA should be taken as a project in which the involvement of
both technical (ABAP and Basis) and functional application consultants is required. Especially for the
Financial migration the expertise and experience of a SAP FiCo consultant is a must. In the last part
(t6) experience and knowledge of Fiori UX and Embedded Analytics options is very welcome as well.
These things will make the difference compared to your old R/3 system.

As mentioned before, a migration to S/4HANA is non-disruptive and backwards compatible.

Compatibility views (CDS views) are generated for all obsolete tables meaning that old programs will
continue to work. Even your custom programs, except when you have INSERT/WRITE statements
to one of the obsolete tables. These should be redirected to the new data structure. All these
necessary steps are captured in the migration path and tools are provided by SAP to make your
system ready for S/4HANA.

I hope you have enjoyed part 2 of this blog and gained some insights in typical S/4HANA migration
options and activities.

Stay tuned for more S/4HANA news and demo videos on specific topics.