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10 Must Know ABAP Skills for Functional Consultants

After entering in SAP arena, earlier I used to assume as a SD Functional consultant, you should be master of own topic. You should know SD business processes as well as SPRO part of SD module & its subsequent impact to end user. I was living in a wrong assumption, in order to survive as well as excel in SAP field, you should have command over SAP SD only & I need not to know programming language of SAP i.e. ABAP.

However while handling client requirement or solving their tickets, several time I got stuck due to lack of knowledge of ABAP skill set. Over the period of time I realized that, a flavour of ABAP is must have ingredient to be a perfect SAP functional consultant.

By understanding utility of this topic I decided to write a blog on this & publish on SCN, career section, so that all entry level as well as mid-level SAP professionals can enhance their SAP ABAP skills & add power to their SAP career.

1) Knowledge of SAP Tables – This is the first & most important skill a functional consultant must have. As we all know, SAP system stores all data in the form of tables. Hence it becomes mandatory for us, when we carry out any transaction, in which table data goes. Knowledge of tables will help you in preparation of Functional Specification which we provide to technical consultant. Knowledge of table helps us to track errors & data retrieval operations.

2) LSMW/BDC – Whenever there is mass upload of data to SAP system, knowledge of these data upload technique becomes handy tool for functional consultant. While dealing with BDC’s though functional consultant not supposed to write code of BDC but at least they should aware of SHDB & recording.

3) Functional Specification preparation – Whenever client provides us a requirement which cannot be fulfilled through standard SAP configuration, we have to go for Z development with the help of ABAP consultant. At that time, functional consultant interacts with customer & understands his requirement.  These requirements get transmitted to ABAP consultant with the help of functional specification. For preparation of the same, you have to provide table name & data fields, logic of development, if conditions to be used, loops to be used etc. Though it appears to be very simple task but preparation of functional specification required lot of skills.

4) Interface & EDI – Whenever SAP system interacts with another SAP or non-SAP system, data transmission takes place through EDI i.e. Electronic Data Interchange.EDI is The computer-to-computer electronic exchange of machine processable business documents in a standard format. Knowledge of interface technologies like I-Doc & ALE becomes imperative when we are dealing with the client which is dealing with its vendors & customers through electronic transmission of data.

5) Query –   This is a handy tool if you want to create a small report having few numbers of fields from a single table or joining two tables. If you know this tool, without the help of ABAP consultant you can create a small report & satisfy client’s requirement.

6) Debugging – In day to day operation, in the absence of desired output from a transaction, it becomes very critical to find out root cause of the given issue. At that time this skill can act as magic. Debugging will help you to find out missing link. Though this is tool is having lot of utility, but it’s difficult to use.

7) Smartforms – Wherever there is print output, there is a smartform.  If you are in support operation, you will face majority of print output issue. Ex. –Invoice Prints & Purchase Order prints. Smartform has 3 driving components: Print Program, Layout Set and Function module. Knowledge of these will help you to resolve issue fast, at least you can explain issue fast to ABAP consultant.

8) SAP Notes – SAP Notes are provided by SAP itself as correction in code. SAP Notes contains instructions to remove errors from SAP System. SAP Notes can be searched & Implemented based on Note Number, Application Component, and Implementation Status. Transaction Code is SNOTE.

9) Variants – Variants are input data which are filled in the selection screen and then saved so that at runtime the variant can be selected and then the entire selection screen is filled with the desired values.

10) Creating Z T-Codes – For any operations/transactions, in SAP system you can create ‘Z’ ‘T-Codes as per client requirement.

I had tried to enlist maximum number of ABAP skill set required for Functional Consultant according to my knowledge. The list might be incomplete. I request experts to contribute to the blog & enrich this blog so that many SAP functional consultants can be benefited from this blog.


Balaji Parsewar

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  • Thank you for this blog!


    Could you please advise how can a SAP SD functional consultant improve in point 1 and point 2?


    I have not worked with LSMW but how to learn even if one has not worked with it? So that when there is client requirement, one shall be prepared.

  • Very nice blog, Balaji! I've added it to the list of blogs that I recommend to everyone interested in SAP careers (SAP Career Blog Links). It's always nice to hear a new voice in the career section. Keep up the good work!


    Best regards,


    • Hi Tom.


      I feel, innovation & creativity flourishes if its backed by encouragement & good wishes.


      Same way, your words of appreciation always encourage me to contribute best of my knowledge & experience to the forum & make this forum  a ideal place for knowledge-sharing.


      Again thanks for including my blog to the SAP Career Blog Links.





  • Well done, Balaji.  I started as an ABAP programmer, and I've transitioned into a techno-functional role. Considering many functional skill requirements are module-based, what functional skills are required for ABAPers?

  • Hi Balaji


    This is a very informative blog...i am also a SD consultant and this is exactly what we all need to learn.  SAP being an integrated solution requires a broad based approach rather then the narrow modular vision.  I  have also realised that it is important for all the functional consultants to touch base with their fundamentals regularly to be successful.  But knowing the technical aspects has a definite advantage!!!

  • Dear Balaji,


    Thanks for valuable information....


    Could you please advise how can a SAP HR & PY functional consultant improve from point 4 to 10 abap related.



    Santosh Shivane

    • There is less need for debugging, print outputs etc in the SAP HR side of things.


      For HR related abap knowledge I would focus more on knowing how infotypes are created(PM01) and if you use webforms, how they link to backend code(BSP Pages), here is where you might have to do some debugging.




  • Hey balaji,


    Good work ....

    I felt the same for the required skills for a functional consultant..


    I will post these quick points on my study desk.



    Gaurav Chopra

  • Hi Balaji,


    Good work, even I agree with you that a functional consultant should have an ABAP knowledge inorder to grow in his career.


    I have planned to read the SAMS teach your self ABAP in 21 days inorder to improve my ABAP skills as I am an Funtional consultant.


    Guide me If I am wrong choosing the approach.


    Thanks & Regards,


    • Hi Vijaya,


      Its good initiative. Reading book will give you theoretical base.It will definitely help you to increase your knowledge of SAP tables.


      Still I feel better way to increase interaction with ABAP consultants. If you just observe them while doing their tasks like debugging also, you will gain vital knowledge. I had shared my blog with my fellow ABAP consultants & they assured me to contribute to my skill set mentioned in my blog.





  • Dear Balaji,


    A Very nice blog. All the words in ur blog are 200% true. I have worked in printing forms (PO and Migo) for more than 100 times .


    Expecting as such further from u !!!!

  • Hi balaji ,

    My situation is same as you pasted the forum .I had only being to functional side but knowing ABAP is must,as far I am concern in SD there is less involvement of ABAP .

    but the points which you have mentioned covers almost 70 percent of knowledge for a SD consultant.

    • Hi John,


      By looking at the dynamics of job market, we simply can not rest on our functional skills.

      Simply above mentioned ABAP skills will act as career booster & will add lot value to our CV.


      Slowly & steadily working on these skills say tenure of 3 years, we will move further in our career as a techno-functional consultant which I suppose the best thing a functional consultant can do.





  • Hello Balaji,


    This is Aritra. I require a small help from your end. I was going through your blog on "10 Must Know ABAP Skills for Functional Consultants" and found the same is very helpful. However, I am a new joiner in the SAP world. Presently I’m into functional consultant role in Human resource performance management. My work is to provide functional support to our internal clients and stake holders. Now, we are migrating to SAP HCM - Performance Management and I want to excel my skills on the same. What are the must know ABAP Skills for me, and what are the other module except the Performance management on which I should grab my knowledge. My target is to be a successful SAP functional consultant. Request your thoughts and advice on the same.



    Aritra Dutta

  • Hi Balaji,


    Very helpful document. nicely explained. thanks for sharing.really every functional consultant have to follow these to become a good resource for a company.




  • mate, you have missed SAP scripts


    your item number 7 is not enought, beside the t-code SMARTFORMS there is a t-code SE71 - it is a different world, friend.




    I would also mention that all functional guys need to understand the purpose and ideas of these "abap" tools like (and they need to know how to use them):









    good luck

    • Hi PPIO,


      SAP scripts are no more in use. You will find SAP scripts in old implementations.

      Quite complex as compared to smartforms.


      If you know the concepts, eventually you will come to know about T-Codes also.

      I agree with your view regarding BAPI & BADI.


      Especially BAPI's are widely used now a days in SAP & mobility integration.

      • dear, i wouldn't say "SAP scripts are no more in use".


        there are clients with SAP 4.0B (surprise? )


        if you're functional, you simply must know about SAP scripts.

  • Hi Balaji,


    Very useful information. Surely 'Must know' for Functional. After reading this, I come to know that I need to work vigorously on four points.


    Thank you very much for sharing this !!




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  • Hi Balaji,


              Awesome blog as I am new to sap ABAP it helps me a lot that where I want to focus more, but I have a few queries , to display output we want to create ALV reports, so where I want to focus more can you suggest

  • Hi Balaji,

    Thanks for these insights. As a developing functional consultant, I'm looking to broaden my skillset to a more technical areas, such as ABAP as well.


    If you're interested in enhancing this blog (or making it a series since it's pretty popular), I would suggest you add links or descriptions to each area about the ways how one can learn these skills. E.g. you could do a blog about the Creating z-codes for transactions or provide a link to a good resource.


    Of course these can be found quite easily from Google but I would see that they would enhance the blog even further!

  • Thanks Balaji,


    Nice Blog


    We can not ignore the importance of reporting aspects as well to analyze the business & operations by using latest analytics tools SAP BI/BW HANA...





  • And, of course, transport system. How to work with customizing (and sometimes development) requests correctly.


    And authorizations. Many functional consultants don't understand even how AUTHORITY-CHECK works!

  • Hi balaji,


    I got a good information from your blog. This is my first week as a SAP SD associate consultant. I will surely learn the things which you mentioned in your post.




    Syed Althaf

  • Hi Balaji,


    Thank you so much even I had same perception but your blog also has given a great insight about what a functional people need to aware of..




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  • Good job! I agree that at least some ABAP knowledge is crucial for functional consultants. This makes communication with the ABAP team much easier as without technical knowledge it is often difficult to formulate requirements for the ABAP team.

  • In my opinion knowledge of table and LSMW or ecat is a must have skill.


    Every functional in SAP want to learn debugging but until you have deep knowledge of ABAP you will keep pressing F5 , F6 , F8 

    • Bikas,

      appreciate your philosophy behind the post! Strive for deep knowledge.

      But in what "not main areas" and to what level of expertise does one want to invest? Is something which confronts us constantly. I wish to learn more of some "not main area" say debugging, but then there is this voice "so much more is there to learn in need to gather more and more in your core skill first". This makes me concentrate in SD and not venture in to other things.


      • Agree with TW that one should focus on SAP SD CORE i.e. main areas.


        However my experience says, in a day to day life, a SAP SD consultant have to deal with above mentioned 10 must know ABAP skills more than SD topics irrespective of project type i.e. implementation project or support project.