|This document describes how BPC 10 can be used to automate and control the collection of text based data using the distribution, collection and comment functions. In a consolidation scenario this could be particularly useful for disclosure management and collecting information required to produce notes in the annual report.|
Peter Warren is a senior SAP BI-BPC Consultant with a background in accounting. He has managed financial planning and reporting systems for multinational companies for 20 years and has worked with SAP since 2003.
Since leaving his last position managing the BI team of a major energy company in 2013 he has worked as an independent contractor in London.
At the end of each financial year it is necessary to publish an annual report which includes a full set of financial statements and notes.
The majority of the financial statements and tables for the notes will be produced from reports run from the BPC consolidation system.
There are however a few notes to the accounts that require text based data from various sources to be collected, summarised and analysed in order to produce a paragraph in the annual report . Examples of this kind of note are
Lease payment commitments
Provisions & contingent liabilities
A manual process for collecting this data might be to create Excel sheets to capture the required information and email them out to multiple recipients to complete.
Each one of these sheets has to be opened when it is received back and the data from it is copied into a summary sheet.
Once all returns are completed – the data in the summary sheet is analysed and if a disclosure note is required the wording of that note is drafted based on the summarised results..
The process needs to be monitored and controlled to make sure that each entity has either sent in a nil return or a completed return by the due date. The person running the collection process therefore needs to create some monitoring spreadsheet to tick off those that have completed on time and those who they need to chase up.
This document describes how BPC can be used to automate and control this process using the distribution, collection and comments functionalities
Step by Step Guide
Step 1: Create dimensions for the model
Dimension – FORM_NAME
Dim Type – Category
Minimum lease payments
Provisions & Contingent Liabilities
Dimension – FORM_TIME
Dim Type – Time
Year to 31 March 2015
Year to 31 March 2016
Dimension – FORM_ENTITY
Dim Type – Entity
Dimension – FORM_ACCOUNT
Dim Type – Account
Line to capture the declaration statement
Line to store text entered in additional comment box
Step 2: Create a new model
I have created this as a financial model and linked it to the rates model in case there is a need to perform currency translation
on the data but it could also be created as a simple standard model using just Category, Account, Time and Entity dimensions.
Set security on dimensions as required, I have set entity and time in order to be able to lock down previous periods
Step 3: Create data collection forms
Create the basic form in Excel. Add any validation using standard Excel data validation formula.
In this form there is a declaration statement at cell C10 to allow the recipient to submit a Nil return
Data in the cell range B14:K18 will be saved as a single data string against the Account dimension using the EPMSaveComment() formula
In order to create the single data string add a formula to column L as shown here
I have chosen the pipe | character to delimit the fields, you can choose comma or other character as required
In column A enter the Account dimension names against the rows that contain the data you wish to capture
Enter EPMSaveData() formulas in column M as shown. I have added an IF(NOT(ISBLANK test around the data so that the comment
is only saved when some data has been entered in the first cell on each line. If you don’t do this you will get a lot of entries with |||||| on the
ITEM01 to ITEM04 lines if there is no data on the line
Now add a simple input form to the sheet so that the worksheet can be used to save the comment data
Now set the context options so that the form name currency and measures dimensions are fixed and the other dimensions are hidden
The input form is now ready for distribution, repeat the process to create additional forms and either save each one as separate workbook
or put them in the same workbook as multiple tabs.
Step 4: Create summarised data reports
The data report will look similar to the input form but will contain the data from all of the returned input forms.
Add another tab to the report to retrieve the data and prepare it for presentation in the front sheet. On the Data Sheet tab create a list of all the
entities with all of the accounts. Tip – use the EPMDimensionPropertyValues formula to get the values list.
Enter the formula into column C that will retrieve the data back from the BPC comments table
Step 5: Test the input form and the report
Fill in some of the fields in the input form
Save the data
Change the Entity on the context options and enter some data for that entity too
Open the Report and refresh the data in the data sheet
You should see the data saved into the return form
Step 5: Create process status report
Create an Excel sheet as shown with the Entity values down and the Category values across.
I have then used an excel formula to interpret the values recorded from the Status declaration in the input form so that they present as either
Return Completed, Nil return or No Reply. I have then used Excel conditional formatting to show the No Reply as red and the others green
Step 6: Create a distribution template
The returns form will be distributed via email using the BPC distribution and collection process so it is necessary to create a distribution template.
In the Report Workbook section – select the data collection form created in step 3
The template will need to have a section for each of the Entity dimension values and an email address
Step 7: Configure Email access
In the EPM User options – add in the server address , usually something like outlook.yourorganisation.com.
You can probably get the server address by looking at Account Settings in the File tab in Outlook but you may need to ask the administrators
of your corporate email system
The log in details will be the same as your Windows AD login and you will need to manually re-enter the password into this User Options screen
whenever your password changes
Running the Distribution Process
1 Open the distribution template to ensure that the correct email addresses are set for each of the entities
2 Check the email addresses
3 Run the distribution process to send an email including the Excel returns workbook to each of the recipients in the template.
4 Select when to run the distribution
5 Select email as the method
6 Create a subject and text for the body of the email
7 Select the template and section of the template
8 Check the summary
9 Process Log
10 Email result
Since in this example I had selected my own email address for each of the 3 countries I have received a mail with 3 separate forms attached. Each Excel workbook has a different context setting for the Entity dimension and the time period set according to the value entered in the template
Ticking the copy to my inbox resulted in receiving 2 emails as I was the sender and also the recipient
The email will be sent from the email address specified in figure 6 above returns.xxxxx.com
(as that’s not a real address the email is from me to me in this picture)
The recipients of the mail open the attachment and fill in the details. They do not need to be BPC users or have any connection
to BPC – they just type in the information then click Save and send as an attachment to send back the completed form
For the purposes of demonstration I have filled in all 3 of the returns that I sent to myself and sent them back to myself
Now my inbox has the replies
Create an outlook folder to store the replies outside of the Inbox. The reason for this is that the collection process will need
to scan all of the emails in the folder and therefore you want to limit the number it looks at to just those that are BPC replies
Running the Collection Process
1 Select Collection from the distribution menu item
When you click the button to select the working folder it should open an Outlook dialog box but it doesn’t always appear in front
– you may see an outlook icon flashing on the task bar. If that happens – click on the icon to display the dialog
2 Select the folder containing the reply emails
3 Click the boxes to process the attachments
4 Dialog shows the progress of the process
5 Run the report to show the data collected
6 Alternatively you can use the web client to retrieve the comments data and download it to a file
7 Run the status report
Troubleshooting and maintenance
It is possible to clear comment data from the table using the standard data package /CPMB/CLEARCOMMENTS
To see the data stored in the comments table – first find out the technical name of the table that stores the comments for your model
Use SE38 to run program UJ0_GET_GEN_TABNAME
Now use SE16 to view the data in the table
The comment function of BPC 10 combined with the distribution and collection process can be a powerful tool that saves time over
manual processes and provides control and status reporting. Even if this particular business scenario is not applicable for your organisation,
by reading this document you should have a good understanding of how to implement and manage these processes.