Improving on the Entity Close Process

By Elizabeth Milne, Sr Director, EPM Product Marketing, SAP

Originally published on SAP Analytics, 27 March 2015. Reposted with permission.

As part of our ongoing accounting and financial close series, today we’ll discuss best practices in entity close management.

So far in our blog series, we’ve addressed a number of different things that need to be addressed during the close process. Managing the entity close process is about keeping track of each of these different things that need to happen during the close process.

Many organizations manage this process with a check list, typically in Excel. Each entity within an organization needs to close their books and this involves many steps and often multiple people. Often different parts of an organization will manage subsets of the close, like by division or by geographical location. As such, many excel checklists are used to manage the process. As with most steps of the financial close process, such manual activities are error prone and time consuming. Managing the entity close process is one that can benefit from standardizing, centralizing, and automating.

Peter Drucker said “What gets measure gets managed.” Measuring and monitoring the close process is the best first step in improving the process as a whole. With manual processes like Excel, check lists measuring can be difficult – not impossible, but not necessarily easy. There are several technology tools available, such as SAP Financial closing cockpit, that can help to standardize, centralize, and automate the entity close process.

Let’s walk through four steps of entity close management:

Close Management Graphic

Step One: Plan

Centralizing and standardizing are key to the planning step. Assess all the different checklists that exist in your organization and design templates for each closing process (monthly, quarterly, and annually). Cross referencing each entity’s close process can help identify best (and worst) practices. Templates all may vary by entity type or regional differences. For example, they may handle local tax processes or handle a plant close for different types of manufacturing methods.

Asses all different types of tasks, including the following:

  • Notes to document instructions for manual tasks outside of any system or for sign-off tasks.
  • Calling up a transaction that needs to be executed, such as opening the next period for posting or posting journal entries for accruals
  • Calling up programs that you want to run online, such as a balance sheet report
  • Batch jobs, such as fixed asset depreciation
  • Process flows that include dependencies between programs and system jobs, for example, in product costing where the sequence of calculating work in process (WIP), then calculating variances, then a settlement run for posting the results to the appropriate accounts must be maintained.

Step Two: Execute

Once the plans have been made it’s time to execute. Based off of the templates created in the previous step, now create a task like with absolute dates and start cracking. Automation is a key factor in this step. Evaluate what steps could possibly be automated. Leveraging a scheduling tool such as SAP Central Process Scheduling by Redwood can be extremely valuable to help with automation of tasks. With such tools you can schedule task execution and monitor the results to ensure there were no issues running tasks.

Entity close management tools such as SAP Financial Closing cockpit have the ability to send notifications via e-mail once tasks are complete to streamline the execution of the next step. Additionally, such tools make it easy to track detailed status information on each task (who, what, when).

You can gain access to all system-created documentation (job logs, spool lists, application logs) and users can add additional external documentation to tasks. While you can manually track all these things in an Excel document entity close management tools can securely store all results with comprehensive audit trail.

Step Three: Monitor

By monitoring the entity close closely, you can identify issues, overdue tasks, and resource bottlenecks early in the close cycle before the overall close schedule is impacted. With tools such as SAP Financial Closing cockpit you can drill down on each task to view its status and other details that have been documented about the task. You can use notes and attachments to document any collaboration or the resolution of any issues that you encountered. For automated tasks, such as programs that were run, you can directly access system logs and spool lists from the SAP Financial Closing cockpit without needing to search for them. Plus the system provides a complete audit trail for configuration and execution. You can easily analyze any kind of status change, how often a task was executed, or who added or changed notes and attachments.

Whether leveraging an automated tool or not, creating a graphical dashboard to obtain an overview of the financial close can be a useful way to monitor the close process. You can create key performance indicators (KPIs) and calculate statistics, such as the percent of completion of the close, to allow you to quickly monitor the overall progress across regions and time frames. This enables managers, at head-quarters, shared service centers, or subsidiaries to monitor the closing process on their levels of responsibilities. Being able to monitor effectively helps the whole process run smoothly.

Step Four: Analyze

Being able to effectively analyze the results of a close process with a manual process leveraging Excel can be extremely difficult. Entity close management tools can automatically record the results. By results in this case, I don’t mean the financial statements that are produced by the close process, but the actual time it took to execute each task. You can analyze how long it took to complete each task and also compare it to the plan that you created with how long you expected that task to take.

Having the ability to analyze this makes it easy to identify bottlenecks in the process, and thus areas for improvement. You can also compare across entities and see which entities are closing faster than others and they can then share best practices with each other to improve their close processes. And lastly you can trend performance over time to see where you’re improving and where you’re losing efficiency.

In conclusion, “What gets measured gets managed.” Whether you leverage a manual process or leverage a tool such as SAP Financial Closing cockpit, measuring the close process itself is the first step to improvement.

To view all the blogs in the series, click here.

Elizabeth Bio & Pic

Why is There High Interest in Enterprise Performance Management? – Part 1

By Gary Cokins, Founder of Analytics-Based Performance Management LLC

There is much confusion and little consensus as to what enterprise performance management (EPM) is. Different information technology research firms define it differently. Different consulting firms describe it to fit their unique competencies rather than what their clients may require. Since my impression is that most of these organizations view EPM far too narrowly – such as only a CFO initiative with better budgeting and control – my feeling is that it is better to discuss what EPM does rather than have arcane debates about defining what it is.

I argue that organizations have been performing the various methods that comprise EPM for decades – well before it received its recent popular references in the media. Organizations have been pursuing basic types of performance management methods arguably even before there were computers! So why is EPM receiving popularity as a buzz phrase now?

The Debut of EPM at the Enterprise Level

If you had done a Google search a few years ago on the term “performance management”, the results would have predominantly referred to the human resources and personnel departments’ attention to monitoring and improving individual employees including employee appraisals. But if you do that Google “search” today the shift is toward the performance of the organization or enterprise in its entirety – not for individual employees. Today the term “enterprise” typically precedes “performance management.”

Some would argue that this shift to where EPM regularly appears in the media and information technology (IT) community has been due to the IT research firms observing that business intelligence software vendors – the type with functionality more towards data-mining and analyzing data rather than producing the raw transactional data – are now integrating analytical information across multiple departments. For example, a computer manufacturer’s purchasing system detects a temporary vendor part shortage that, in turn, is directly signaled to its customer order entry agents to influence their customers to select alternative product variations, perhaps with a discount or deal as inducement, until the part shortage is resolved. The risk of a missed sales opportunity is eliminated. This “demand shaping” is more powerful than “demand management.” This type of communication from the purchasing function deep in the bowels of the production function to a call center agent deep in the sales function would have rarely existed a few years ago.

Others might argue that the increasing appearance of EPM at the organizational level arose from the same IT research firms observing that ERP software vendors like SAP now provide strong combination suites of at-a-glance visual dashboards and scoreboards. Further, these reporting tools are now linked to strategic planning and execution; managerial accounting; and forecasting tools – and they are extremely scalable to handle millions of records for products, distribution channels, and customers.

These are certainly factors, but I believe the emergence and interest with EPM in the media and marketplace has deeper root causes.

The forces causing interest in EPM today

I believe that a better way to understand what EPM is about is to understand what problems the various EPM methods solve – the immense forces on management – such as these:

  • A failure and frustration by executives to execute their usually well-formulated strategy. The terminations of CEOs by boards of directors have been recently occurring at record high levels due to this frustration
  • A lack of trust among managers to achieve results is an increasing concern. Consequently, there is an escalation in accountability of managers and employee teams for results with consequences
  • Change is the new constant. Increasingly rapid decisions by employees (without time for higher management input) needs to leverage trade-off and predictive analytics. This means a need for employees to understand their executive team’s strategy
  • Mistrust by managers of their managerial accounting information and its flawed and/or incomplete product, channel, and customer profitability reporting
  • Poor customer value management. There is a shift from being product-centric to customer-centric with customers now viewed as the primary source of shareholder wealth creation. Surveys report customer retention and growth as the CEO’s number one concern
  • Dysfunctional supply chain management with a lack of trust among the traditional adversarial relationships between buyers and sellers along the supply chain. Trading partners should ideally be collaborating and identifying mutually beneficial projects and actions
  • Balancing risk appetite with risk exposure to optimize financial results with anticipatory risk mitigation actions

Today effective EPM software goes well beyond query and reporting data mining – it addresses and resolves all of these issues. The result is rather than just monitoring the dials of its key performance indicator (KPIs) dashboards, organizations must move those dials. The purpose of EPM is not just managing but improving organizational performance.

Join me in part 2 of this blog next week where I shall discuss the deep root cause forces spurring interest in EPM today.

About the Author: Gary Cokins, CPIM

Gary_Cokins

Gary Cokins (Cornell University BS IE/OR, 1971; Northwestern University Kellogg MBA 1974) is an internationally recognized expert, speaker, and author in enterprise and corporate performance management (EPM/CPM) systems. He is the founder of Analytics-Based Performance Management LLC www.garycokins.com . He began his career in industry with a Fortune 100 company in CFO and operations roles. Then 15 years in consulting with Deloitte, KPMG, and EDS (now part of HP). From 1997 until 2013 Gary was a Principal Consultant with SAS, a business analytics software vendor. His most recent books are Performance Management: Integrating Strategy Execution, Methodologies, Risk, and Analytics and Predictive Business Analytics.

gcokins@garycokins.com; phone +919 720 2718

http://www.garycokins.com

Linkedin.com contact: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/gary-cokins/0/15a/949.

Energy and enthusiasm … SAPinsider Financials 2015

By Karuna Mukherjea, Sr Director Product Marketing, SAP

SAPinsider Financials continues to be one the most important events for our Finance and EPM Community. As always the conference surpassed our expectations in terms of attendance, customer interactions and partner participation. Starting with the Keynote on the first day which included a stellar panel – Thack Brown, Bill McNee and Celina Rogers to the several product presentations and product demos, all talked about the innovation that SAP was doing for Finance and EPM and really focusing on “Simplicity”, “Consumer grade UI” and “Real Time.

Keynote panel at Insider

The term that resonated really well with the attendees was around “The Perfect Enterprise” which is really about solutions being built for the business users to effectively manage organizations.

I also noticed how well attended were sessions around Financial Planning & Analysis and Accounting and Financial Close. We had a very busy Solution Center with meetings scheduled with the experts starting at 8:00 AM every morning and going on till past 5:00 PM every day. The customers and partners came with enthusiasm to hear all the phenomenal stories about innovations from SAP and other fellow customers as well. I also personally think that the beautiful venue, Wynn Las Vegas, contributed to the positive energy. After all , being surrounded by fresh flowers arrangements does bring a smile! When a customer shows up for a session starting at 4:30 PM in Las Vegas you know they are really interested in the topic. EPM topics continue to stay top of mind for customers.

My key takeaways from the event from last week

  • Our average EPM customer and prospect has evolved significantly. The same customer 2 -3 years ago was having a conversation around timelines to implementing an EPM solution, where now the conversation is more about when can we take this to cloud and how can we embed collaboration into our EPM system
  • Customers want to secure their investment in EPM solutions and really broaden the scope and deployment of the EPM footprint. While a majority have implemented our flagship product, SAP Business Planning and Consolidation, they would now like to expand to other solutions like SAP Profitability and Cost Management or Accounting and Financial Close.
  • Our recently launched solution, SAP Cloud for Planning, the brand new solution for FP&A in the Cloud, was of high interest to customers, partners and prospects. They were confident in the vision and roadmap that SAP is demonstrating in the EPM space.
  • Partners continue to play a very important role with us whether as implementers of our solutions or as strategic advisors to our customers. We had the pleasure of having several conversations with customers and partners on the product footprint and roadmaps.
  • Sessions around Business Planning and Consolidation and Accounting & Financial Close had standing room only! We also had a really good chance to hear customer success stories with these solutions as well.

As we wind down from this year, compare notes with our fellow colleagues and de-brief with the conference organizers, the wheels are already in motion for the next event planning in June 2015, SAPinsider Financials Nice.

We look forward to seeing you in Nice soon!

Tried and Died? One and Done? Don’t let this be your EPM epitaph

By Gary Cokins, Founder of Analytics-Based Performance Management LLC

One of the frustrations I experience is when managers or analysts share with me that their organizations tried to implement progressive management methods, and they either failed or abandoned them. A prominent example is an unsuccessful attempt to implement activity-based costing to measure and manage costs and profit levels of products, services, channels and customers. Other examples include risk management, customer analytics, enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, and the balanced scorecard.

What causes these failures or the quick loss of an organization’s interest in them?

Experiencing failure is a foundation for success

What we are discussing here is a topic few wish to discuss – failure. I advocate having a positive view of failure and leveraging disappointing or botched implementations of an advanced managerial method or system as a learning experience. Failure can be a great teacher. Perseverance and determination is important for success. Don’t believe that one needs to avoid failure. You have to accept risk when taking on improvement projects.

There are some inspirational lessons about early career failures by individuals who ultimately succeeded. Consider these:

  • Winston Churchill failed sixth grade, and he was subsequently defeated in every election for public office until he became prime minister at the age of 62.
  • Charles Schultz, the creator of Peanuts, had every cartoon he submitted rejected by his high school yearbook staff.
  • Twenty-seven publishers rejected Dr. Seuss’s first book, To Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street.
  • After film star Fred Astaire’s first screen test, the memo from the testing director of MGM, dated 1933, read, “Can’t act. Can’t sing. Slightly bald. Can dance a little.”
  • Henry Ford went broke five times before he succeeded.
  • Thomas Edison’s teachers said he was “too stupid to learn anything,” and he was fired from his first two jobs for being “non-productive.”
  • Albert Einstein’s PhD thesis was rejected as being “irrelevant and fanciful.”
  • In 1981 the USA’s NBA basketball star Michael Jordan was cut from his high school team.
  • In 2000 Barack Obama ran for the US Congress and failed.

Is this not enough evidence that failure is just another name for experience?

Failures with improving measurement and monitoring systems

In my introduction I mentioned the example of activity-based costing (ABC) as an example of a “tried-and-died” managerial method. I have a substantial amount of experience with implementing ABC. I was a pioneer implementing ABC systems in the 1980s during ABC’s takeoff when I was a consultant with Deloitte and KPMG and subsequently I wrote books about it. Since ABC is a proven and reliable method with value for most organizations, yet some fail implementing it. Let’s use it as an example from which to generalize.

A common problem with implementing ABC is excessively over-sizing and over-engineering the size of the ABC model. This is due to the accountants’ misplaced quest for precision, detail and accuracy. The result is their model is too complex to be understandable and becomes unmanageable to maintain. Yes, if accountants report wrong information for external regulatory reporting with financial accounting, they risk going to jail. But ABC is primarily intended as managerial accounting for internal decision making. So if the ABC information is approximately correct rather than precisely inaccurate, they don’t risk going to jail! Financial accounting is for valuation, like for inventories, whereas in contrast managerial accounting is for creating value – for both customers and shareholders.

But there are other obstacles. If the sponsors for ABC do not secure in advance organizational buy-in from managers and the planned purposes for using the information, there is a likelihood there will be less interest. Lack of proper training is another obstacle. I recall a user looking at the ABC information and saying, “I feel like I am a dog watching television. I do not know what I am looking at!” Finally, after the sponsors for ABC have achieved buy-in to pursue the implementation, they need to remain involved. In particular, they need to motivate their colleagues to use the ABC information to generate previously unasked questions and stimulate conversations as to what changes to make.

There are also misperceptions about the level of involvement by employees to provide input data. They fear they must complete daily time sheets and record counts on anything that moves. Although it is counterintuitive, the accuracy of the output costs, such as for products or customers, is much more determined by the design of ABC’s cost assignment network. With a good cost model design, the costs are good enough for gaining insights and making better decisions.

There is also the “one and done” syndrome. This occurs when there is a problem, like understanding which customers are more or less profitable; and an ABC model is constructed as a one-time study rather than as a repeatable and reliable production system. If the information is needed once, there should be interest in regularly refreshing the model to monitor progress with improvement initiatives.

Lessons learned: Valid methods don’t die but go dormant

To generalize from this single example, there are dozens of books available about project management that can provide useful information. However, when I step back and look at the big picture, the ultimate lesson is that implementers should not underestimate the importance of behavioral change management and overcoming people’s natural resistance to change. This includes employees who are afraid of others knowing the truth or they do not want to be held accountable or measured.

My advice is to consider how much emphasis to place on three factors that, when combined, overcome resistance to change: discomfort with the current situation; a vision of what a better state looks like; and first practical steps (e.g., a pilot project or a rapid prototyping exercise). Many project champions dwell on the second one, a vision, by explaining the benefits of their proposed project. The key is to focus on the first factor by creating discomfort in managers and co-workers. Constantly ask, “How long do we want to continue to make decisions with flawed, misleading or incomplete information?” That creates the interest in the vision – a solution with a software system that will provide it.

After a “tried-and-died” project fails, the need that triggered interest typically does not go away. Like a hibernating bear, the project simply goes dormant. Inevitably managers will repeat the same questions, like “Where do we make or lose money?” There will always be a second chance to successfully implement the project or system. The need for better information remains high.

As an example, I recall an ABC implementation at a bakery goods producer. The product manager for the Danish pastries killed the project. Why? Before ABC his products were the most profitable. With ABC all the sugar and jellies for his products caused extra work for cleaning pans and ovens. He realized that other product managers would now be the more profitable ones. He said to the leadership, “We should be doing six sigma quality management. This ABC is a waste of time.” The project was then terminated. Until a few months later when the management still did not have visibility to where they were making or losing money – and why. The Danish pastries product manager cared more about himself than his organization and its shareholders.

Learn from your failures. Do not underestimate the value of experience. Never lose hope.

 

About the Author: Gary Cokins, CPIM

Gary_Cokins

Gary Cokins (Cornell University BS IE/OR, 1971; Northwestern University Kellogg MBA 1974) is an internationally recognized expert, speaker, and author in enterprise and corporate performance management (EPM/CPM) systems. He is the founder of Analytics-Based Performance Management LLC www.garycokins.com . He began his career in industry with a Fortune 100 company in CFO and operations roles. Then 15 years in consulting with Deloitte, KPMG, and EDS (now part of HP). From 1997 until 2013 Gary was a Principal Consultant with SAS, a business analytics software vendor. His most recent books are Performance Management: Integrating Strategy Execution, Methodologies, Risk, and Analytics and Predictive Business Analytics.

gcokins@garycokins.com; phone +919 720 2718

http://www.garycokins.com

Linkedin.com contact: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/gary-cokins/0/15a/949.

6 Stories to Give You the Finance Buzz at SAPinsider

SAPInsider Financials Logo

It’s going to be a busy time this week for many of my colleagues and the visitors to SAPinsider Financials 2015 in Las Vegas, so I decided to give you my thoughts on some interesting sessions to see, if you’re attending, given that you’re spoilt for choice with such a comprehensive agenda. And I’m bucking the trend with this blog post – because instead of talking about products, I ‘m talking about customers and thought leaders, and in particular the stories that you’ll be able to see and hear at the event this week.

Excited yet? I am! And with good reason, because many valued SAP customers have decided to make the trip to Las Vegas to give an account of their experiences with SAP solutions for Finance…stories of implementation approaches, best practices, and where they have found business benefits.

So for anyone embarking on a software implementation project, or even just considering approaches to solving some of their finance department and process issues, these are key SAPinsider Financials 2015 sessions to attend.

Six in Focus – But Don’t Forget the Rest!

My six focus sessions are chosen not because I know the customer stories particularly well, but rather because they’ll give attendees a good flavor across a range of finance topics. And my apologies to the many other customers not listed here – whose sessions are equally as valuable – but I just couldn’t fit you all into one short blog post.

I would, however, encourage readers attending Financials 2015 to take a look at the many other customer-led sessions at the event this week, as well as those detailed here, just so that you select sessions that will be most relevant to you.

Ready to learn about some of the exciting sessions ahead? Then let’s go:

  1. Keynote address, TODAY, Tue 17 March at 8:30 am – Okay, it’s strictly an SAP-led session, but there’ll be a panel discussion in which thought leaders will be asked to give their view about challenges and opportunities facing CFOs. It’s sure to be an interesting discussion – and let’s face it, no-one wants to miss the keynote!
  2. Sun Products, Wed 18 March at 8:30 am – A session where you should learn some best practice advice on implementing credit, dispute, and collections management.
  3. Velux, Wed 18 March at 10:30 am – I really like the sound of this session, in which you’ll hear how Velux moved from a traditional to “beyond budgeting” approach.
  4. McKesson, Thu 19 March at 8:30 am – For anyone seeking advice on implementing SAP ERP Financials then this is a session for you!
  5. Bentley Systems, Thu 19 March at 1:00 pm – Hear how Bentley Systems automated and shortened the payment processing lifecycle with SAP Bank Communication Management.
  6. Telephone and Data Systems, Thu 19 March at 4:30 pm – This is one for those of you interested in financial consolidations, with particular focus on project planning.

Don’t Be Shy – Get Networking!

All of these customers are attending the event to share their knowledge and experience with you, and I know that if you have questions for them after hearing their sessions that they’ll be delighted to speak with you…so do take advantage of this in the event networking sessions.

And remember to also take a look at the full agenda, so that you can plan your sessions and make the best use of your time. I hope you have an interesting and informative week, and that you return to work buzzing with the excitement of the potential to put in practice what you have learned at the event.

Have a great week!

Improve Intercompany Reconciliation with People, Process and Technology

By Elizabeth Milne, Sr. Director, EPM Product Marketing

Originally posted on SAP Analytics 13 March 2015. Reposted with permission.

As part of our ongoing accounting and financial close series, today we’ll be covering how you can improve your intercompany reconciliation process thus improving your close process.

Intercompany reconciliation can be extremely time-consuming during the close process. Working with people, processes and technology can help improve upon this process. Let’s talk through three steps:

  1. What is intercompany reconciliation?
  2. Two different approaches to process
  3. SAP solutions for intercompany reconciliation 

What Is Intercompany Reconciliation?

In preparation for creating financial reports ,organizations must reconcile activity between its reporting entities. During the consolidation process these amounts must be eliminated so as not to overstate these amounts at the consolidated level.

C2D_Blog5_Image 1

If one entity reports it has a payable with another entity, that entity must record the corresponding receivables. But why, you ask, wouldn’t that be done automatically? Well, in a perfect world it would, but in many organizations it isn’t. Differences may occur for many reasons, including timing of recording transactions, currency exchange rates, or mistakes.

Intercompany Reconciliation Process – The Traditional Approach

Traditionally, corporations will wait until the close of the month when corporate headquarters will collect all intercompany data and run a reconciliation report that matches all entities intercompany activity against each other. Some organizations have consolidation tools that do this, others will do this process manually in Microsoft Excel. Usually this is done at the account level, either at the general ledger (GL) account level or at a summarized intercompany account level.

C2D_Blog5_Image 2

Once the reconciliation report is compiled, it’s then sent back to the individual entities, who then review the report and determine which other entities they don’t agree with, contact them and figure out why they don’t agree. The detail must be reviewed to determine why the discrepancies occurred. This involves going back to the transactional systems and pulling invoices to see which transactions don’t match. Individuals at each of the entities then contact each other by phone or e-mail and decide who will make the corresponding adjustment in order to correct the discrepancy.

Data is then returned back to corporate headquarters for inclusion in the consolidation process. This process is time consuming with manual escalation procedures. It creates a corporate bottleneck with inefficient vertical flow of information.

Intercompany Reconciliation Process – The Peer-To-Peer Approach

This process allows for entities to deal directly with one another in a peer-to-peer fashion. The first key difference is a change in process, with the traditional approach corporate waits until the day of the close (Day 0) to run reconciliation reports to identify discrepancies. With a peer-to-peer approach, entities can start reconciling intercompany balances a week before the close, for example. This shift in the time line removes the reconciliation process from the close’s critical path.

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In order to facilitate such peer-to-peer interaction, a tool is required to let them share intercompany data. Ideally, such a tool would include the transactional data so that the entities don’t need to go back to the source systems, but can review the detailed level data in a sharing tool. A more manual solution would involve creating a shared server spot where entities could load their data to reconcile; alternatively, there are software solutions available to address such requirements. This new process involves people, process, and technology. Each aspect of the change must be addressed in order to be successful. A new process must be defined, and then shared with the individuals at each entity who oversee intercompany reconciliation. Those people need to embrace the process and execute accordingly. Technology needs to be leveraged to identify the most efficient way to share data.

A peer-to-peer process removes corporate as an obstacle and frees time for central finance staff, allowing for more value-added activities.

SAP Solutions for Intercompany Reconciliation

SAP offers two main solutions:

  1. Intercompany Reconciliation in SAP ERP. This solution is part of the SAP ERP Central Component and thus included in the ERP license.
  2. SAP Intercompany. This solution is part of the SAP Enterprise Performance Management suite. It is included with the license of SAP Financial Consolidation, SAP Business Planning and Consolidation, and the SAP Accounting and Financial Close Bundles.

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Both solutions can facilitate a peer-to-peer intercompany process that will help provide these benefits:

  • Reliable data – Perform large volumes of balance and invoice matching
  • Faster reporting cycles – Eliminates bottleneck at corporate finance by providing tools to enable business units to resolve differences earlier in the financial close process. The value increases with the number of entities to reconcile.
  • Greater productivity – Resulting in more time for more valuable activities, such as analyzing data and measuring and improving performance

People, processes and technology are all key factors when considering improvement in the close process. All need to be considered dependently to identify the most effective path to success.

Read the other blogs in the accounting and financial close series:

  1. You Want to Improve Your Financial Close Process – Where Do You Start?
  2. The Financial Close and Simple Finance – How Fast Is Fast Enough?
  3. 5 Things to Look for in Lease Accounting Software in Light of New Regulations
  4. 5 Steps to Help Your Organization Prepare for the New Revenue Recognition Standards