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In the world of finance, the term “year” is a loaded one. In many places around the world, the fiscal year does not necessarily line up with the calendar year. Luckily, SAP allows us some leeway in configuring our fiscal years to be different from how the calendar assesses it. Additionally, we can break our fiscal year into periods, which allows us a certain amount of flexibility as well as ensuring that only a particular period is open for posting. Closed periods can’t be posted to and can’t be reopened. If errors arise within a closed period, corrections can then be posted in a special period with detailed descriptions about what the corrections are for and how they were developed. SAP’s default calendar system allows for a maximum amount of sixteen (16) periods for posting in each fiscal year and can be broken up into twelve (12) regular periods and four (4) special periods for auditing and correction purposes. Knowing how many periods a particular fiscal year contains is important to determining how we set up the fiscal year variant.

Calendar Years, Non-Calendar Years and Year Shift

Calendar fiscal years, as mentioned before, match up with the regular year cycle. That means that each fiscal year starts on January 1st and finishes on December 31st. In many situations we may be required to have a fiscal year that doesn’t end exactly on a calendar year. If the fiscal year we’re dealing with is non-calendar, then we must determine which month the fiscal year starts and which month it ends in. We must also determine the Year Shift. Basically, a Year Shift is used when a fiscal year for a particular year happens in a previous or post calendar year. For example, if the fiscal year finishes in September of 2014, then anything posted after September will be recorded in the 2015 fiscal year in properly managed IT services, meaning that there will be a Year Shift of +1. Alternatively, the year might be shifted backwards so that all posting occurs in the prior fiscal year until the end of that fiscal year (Year Shift -1) then it syncs with the calendar year going forward until that calendar year ends. To define a year-dependent fiscal year, we select the Fiscal Year Variants setting in the system dialog and define the period ending values by month and day.

Configuring the Fiscal Year Settings

To define these settings, we visit the Display IMG and go into Financial Accounting (New)-> Financial Accounting Global Settings (New)-> Ledgers-> Fiscal Year and Posting Periods. From here we can select the “Maintain Fiscal Year Variant“. From the opened dialog, we can define our calendar year if we’re going with that method of posting. This method automatically determines the posting periods to be the 12 months and sets the start and end of the year automatically. Alternatively, we can define a non-calendar year in which we get to define how many posting and special periods we require. We also need to go into the details dialog for the periods and edit the periods for posting as well as the year shift.

Alternative Posting Scenarios

While the system supports a lot of different monthly postings, there is also the ability to add posting systems that take advantage of different time variants. If we define a 24-posting year, then we can define the periods to take up fifteen days per period. For a daily posting time variant we can define three hundred and sixty-six (366) postings for the year and define each posting to be logged on a different month and day throughout the year. Weekly posting can be done by defining the posting as year dependent and setting up fifty-three (53) posts per year. Depending on what sort of posting you intend to do with your accounting, the SAP software can be modeled to suit your financial guidelines with ease.

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