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Save time and money and have improved data with VAT Validation in SAP CRM EHP1

Hi everyone, my name is Chris Helm.  I am a Business Analyst at Bentley Systems.  I have several years of SAP CRM experience both business and IT, beginning with CRM 4.0 and more recently 7.0 and now EHP1.  My job function consists of config and programming so I am fairly well rounded.  I have worked on many Sales, Marketing and Service projects implementing several new innovations such as the VAT validation functionality that I am blogging about today.

Please feel free to post comments or questions and I will gladly reply.

Thanks,

Chris

Problem:

Financial operations team bills invoices for European accounts where VAT numbers are required.  Many of the VAT numbers on record are incorrect.  This creates a large AR issue because the team creates the invoice, invoice is sent to customer, customer replies stating incorrect VAT, we then have to cancel or credit the invoice, reissue the invoice with the correct VAT.  This creates problems in time delay of payment receipt as well as the overall cost to do that overhead processing of invoice and reinvoicing. 

Solution:

Use EHP1 open architecture to validate existing VAT numbers in the system, output results and have a team proactively approach accounts, address incorrect VAT numbers so invoices can be invoiced the first time, or subsequent time, correctly.  Secondly, provide real time VAT validation for when users are entering VAT numbers onto accounts.

With that said, I took the approach of the above solution and began looking for means to validate VAT numbers with little to no cost to the company.  I found that the EU commission, the same commission where VAT numbers are validated against, had a free web service we could tap into for this solution.  After finding the web service, it was only a matter of consuming the service and then creating the function to call the service, pass the VAT number information and return the result to the end user.  For the mass processing of validations, I created a program to run in background that collected the VAT numbers in the system, passed each through the web service, then stored results on a Z table.  Lastly, I displayed those failed results in a Z component and Z view. 

This solution has provided great benefits to our finance department and is actively saving us money on each and every invoice generated to those customers with VAT.

I know this post is short, it is my first post afterall.  Depending on the response, I will post my steps to this solution and hope it benefits your organization.

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