The allure of SAP Central Finance for organizations to completely reimagine their financial business processes for the new age is captivating. The key uses of Central Finance underlying S/4HANA and the impact of extracting all financial information without much disruption to the source as a single source of truth is strategic and powerful. This is even more valuable when the organizations want to utilize certain SAP S/4HANA innovations without disrupting their current system and without converting their entire systems to SAP S/4HANA.
Central Finance solution can be seen as a stepping stone to S/4HANA, especially for organizations with diverse & distributed landscape to help them replicate the financial data from different source systems (SAP ERP systems as well as non-SAP systems like Oracle Business Suite, PeopleSoft, NetSuite, Baan, Workday, etc.). This data is integrated into Central Finance system (powered by S/4HANA) which enables the organization to get consolidated financial reports, group reports, embedded planning, centralized business processes etc. This leads to enhanced transparency and productivity due to improved process executions. Therefore, the decision making as data is up to date is real time and the management has instant insight on Real time Analytics.
The data from SAP as well as non-SAP source system can be replicated in Central Finance. Working with SAP source systems is comparatively easier because the data mapping & replication between SAP components & documents is easier because of the same underlying application. However, third-party application integration with Central Finance could prove challenging due to the need for conversion of data from the third-party application into SAP nomenclature. Each third-party system would have their own nuances and ways of storing data, handling documents and transactions. Legal restrictions & obligations provide a hindrance to access the database of third-party system (in case the source system is a non-SAP system). Extracting the data from third party system must be the part of customer project, for which, external tools like Magnitude (recommended by SAP) can be used. This connector tool helps to extract data from the source system which can be loaded into the staging tables in the SAP Landscape Transformation (SLT) Tool. Further, this data can be loaded and replicated into Central Finance system.
There are certain pre-configured tools that help to load data from a simplified staging area. The staging area is used to connect various legacy systems that have different data models than a Central Finance system. A new Mass transfer ID is needed in SAL SLT for each system.
Following kind of documents can be transferred from third-party system to Central Finance:
• General journal entries (including source references, segment, profit center, division and trading partner
• Documents with business partner, like customers and suppliers (including source references, segment, profit center, division, trading partner, discount, payment information, product tax, withholding tax).
Post replication of data, Application Interface Framework (AIF) is triggered to control data processing within the Central Finance system. The monitoring of the FI document processing is done in the AIF. In AIF, the error messages for documents which are not posted in the Central Finance system are displayed. The correction of these documents can be done, and documents can be reprocessed from within the AIF.
Data processing including Key mapping (Master Data like suppliers, customers etc.) and Value mapping (Code items like company code, country etc.) are provided by the SAP Master Data Governance (SAP MDG) framework which finally updates the Central Finance database.
Following reports help to identify the documents posted from third-party system to Central Finance:
• Comparison of FI Document Headers (transaction FINS_CFIN_DFV_FI_NUM)
• Comparison of FI Line Items (transaction FINS_CFIN_DFV_FI_DOC)
Posting of Reversal Documents
Posting of reversal documents require a reference to the document which is being reversed. From SAP source system, this process is quite simple as SAP identifies the reversal and original document. But this process can be tricky when trying to reverse documents posted from non-SAP source system.
BAPI_ACC_DOCUMENT_REV_POST can be used to ensure that all references are filled in correctly for the reversal & the reversed (original) document while trying to reverse documents from a third-party system. This will also ensure that the documents are linked correctly between each other.
• If no document items are transferred, that means that only the document headers are transferred, the third-party interface reverses the documents in Central Finance by using BAPI_ACC_DOCUMENT_REV_POST. In the Central Finance system, the document is reversed.
• Otherwise the interface assumes that the reversal document items are transferred and calls BAPI_ACC_DOCUMENT_POST. In the Central Finance system an inverse posting is made.
Replication of Journal entries with more than 999-line items
Posting of financial accounting document with more than 999-line items in the Non-SAP Source system to Central Finance system require splitting of the document into two or more documents.
The document split is supported for outgoing invoices, incoming invoices, G/L account postings and material movement postings.
To enable the document split for the replication of FI documents with more than 999-line items, the prerequisites mentioned in the following SAP notes apply. Refer the below SAP notes for guidelines on how to split the documents:
SAP notes: 1353125, 1497092 , 1670486 , 2078335
The document split can be activated by using some Business Add-Ins (BAdIs). The following table lists the Business Add-Ins (BAdIs) required to activate the document split for different business processes:
The documents to be replicated and posted must fulfill the following criteria:
• For outgoing invoices, the field SALES_ORDER_ITEM_NO must be filled with the line item number of the original sales order.
• For incoming invoices, the field SALES_ORDER_ITEM_NO must be filled with the line item number of the original purchase order. This is copied automatically during ongoing replication into the purchase order item number.
• For goods issues and goods receipts, the credit and debit items that belong to the same material line item must have the same value in the field LOGICAL_TRANSACTION. This ensures that the line items belonging together are kept together in the same FI document. Note that this field must be filled with numbers only.
• If taxes are calculated on line item level, the field PRDTAX_ITEM_GROUP must have the same value in the product lines and the corresponding tax lines. Note that this field must be filled with numbers only.
Using connector tools like Magnitude would help to load the data into the staging tables in the SLT. There are some configurations required for the SLT tool listed as follows:
Implementation of SAP note 2610660 to make the staging tables and fields for financial accounting data available on the SAP LT Replication Server.
List of Staging Tables for third-party systems is as follows:
• Document Header (/1LT/CF_E_HEADER): Contains the fields for the header data of the accounting document to be replicated.
• Accounting Items (/1LT/CF_E_ACCT): Contains the fields for the item data of the accounting document to be replicated.
• Debtor Item (/1LT/CF_E_DEBIT): Contains the fields for the item data of the customer document to be replicated.
• Creditor Item (/1LT/CF_E_CREDIT): Contains the fields for the item data of the supplier / vendor document to be replicated.
• Product Tax Items (/1LT/CF_E_PRDTAX): Contains the fields of product tax data to be replicated
• Withholding Tax Items (/1LT/CF_E_WHTAX): Contains the fields of withholding tax data to be replicated.
• Customer Extensibility Header (/1LT/CF_E_EXTENT): Contains the fields to include additional customer-specific data for the journal entry header.
• Customer Extensibility Item (/1LT/CF_E_EXT_IT): Contains the fields to include additional customer-specific data for the journal entry item.
AIF & Error Handling
Error handling, monitoring of document posting status, distribution of messages, use alerts & reporting can be done in the AIF. Besides, AIF can also be used for Emergency Correction and reprocessing of documents. Namespace /FINCF is used to display errors related to Central Finance.
The documents which have been posted in Central Finance as well as the documents which could not post in the target system (because of some error) are displayed in the AIF along with the respective error messages for the failed documents. The documents can be corrected / errors can be resolved and the document can be reprocessed from within the AIF.
The BC Set FINS_CFIN_EX_AIF_DOC_POST_V2 must be installed in the target system.
The interface monitor (transaction) /AIF/IFMON with node /FINCF is used to launch the AIF. This node can be expanded to check the different interfaces and number of messages, successful & failed postings and the respective errors. By clicking on the number of errors, the display with the error messages and the documents in error can be navigated to.
Alternatively, the Monitoring & Error Handling Tool (transaction /AIF/ERR) can be used to check the details of the error based on the error message ID / document number filtering criteria based on date, error status etc. The message structure for replicated document can also be displayed using the same transaction.
The customizing settings can be maintained to change values directly in the AIF and the document can be reposted after correction using the ‘Repost with user changes’ button. This process is known as Emergency Correction in the AIF. The below steps can be followed to perform Emergency Correction in the AIF:
1. Press enter in the transaction /AIF/ERR to make the Emergency Correction check box visible and select the check box.
2. Select the required message.
3. Select the structure in which the value is to be changed, for example, for FI, the Account Document Item Information.
4. In the structure, double-click the field to be changed. A pop-up window is displayed in which the value can be changed.
5. Choose Save.
6. Once changes have been done in the document, choose Repost with User Changes.
Mapping can be performed between non-SAP source system & the Central Finance system. There are two types of mappings supported in Central Finance:
Business mapping is used to harmonize the master data in the documents. Identifiers and codes in the documents can be mapped, which means that the relationship between an identifier or code used in the source system and one used in Central Finance must be defined. This is vital because generally, there are different identifiers or codes being used for the same entity (like master data). In the source system, a vendor with vendor# 8700000 could be vendor# 1200000 in the Central Finance system. Central Finance provides integration to Master Data Governance (MDG) to access available mapping information there.
Mapping must be defined for the following categories:
o Key Mapping: Mapping for business object identifiers (customer, vendor, material etc.).
o Value Mapping: Mapping for codes (company code, business area, country code, etc.).
Note: The background Central Finance uses the MDG mapping tables that are available without installing MDG which does not require an MDG license.
• Definition of business system for each third-party system. SPRO – Financial Accounting – Central Finance – Central Finance: Target System Settings – Mapping – Define Technical Settings for All Involved Systems.
• Definition of mapping actions per mapping entity. SPRO – Financial Accounting – Central Finance – Central Finance: Target System Settings – Mapping – Define Mapping Actions for Mapping Entities.
• Enter Key and Value mapping in Central Finance system. SPRO – Financial Accounting – Central Finance – Central Finance: Target System Settings – Mapping – Define Key Mapping (or Define Value Mapping.
Alternatively, the Central Finance: Manage Mappings report (transaction FINS_CFIN_MAP_MANAGE) can be used to display / upload / edit / delete mappings.
Mapping Entities Supported by the Third-Party System Interface
The external representation of an accounting document does not provide all mapping-relevant context information to do a correct mapping. The missing content is derived from the Central Finance system. This leads to a mixture of source and target mapping meta data.
The third-party system interface supports the following mapping entities and the context fields. The context fields company code and withholding tax type are part of the source journal entries. Other context fields are derived from the Central Finance system as shown in the table below:
Target System Settings
The following activities are carried out in Customizing for Central Finance (transaction SPRO) under Financial Accounting Central Finance Central Finance:
• Activate Central Finance Business Function
The business function Central Finance (FINS_CFIN) must be activated. If the business function has not been activated, activate it in the Switch Framework (transaction SFW5).
• Define Logical System for Source and Central Finance Systems
In this activity, one logical system for each connected source system client and one logical system for the receiving Central Finance client should be defined. A logical system identifies the client of the connected source systems in the accounting documents.
• Check Logical System Assignment for Central Finance Client
In this activity, the logical system assignment for the Central Finance system client can be checked.
The journal entry postings to the Central Finance system are represented by the data filled in the staging tables of third-party system interface. In case there is a requirement for additional fields (which are not available in the staging tables) that need to be transferred from third-party system to Central Finance. These structures consist a field with type ‘string’ which allows transfer of complex structures. The following structures can be used to store & transfer additional information:
• FINS_CFIN_EX_EXTENSION: Replication of data for the journal entry header
• FINS_CFIN_EX_EXTENSION_ITM: Replication of data for the journal entry item
However easy this process seems to be, it can prove tricky to align non-SAP system with Central Finance. Below listed are some challenges for integration between third-party system and Central Finance:
Complexity of Source System: There are multiple source systems (Oracle EBS, JD Edwards, PeopleSoft, Microsoft Dynamics, Infor, and many more) for most organizations and there is a requirement for an deep knowledge of the source system – the physical and logical way of storage of transactions & master data in the system as well as how they are managed and updated over time. Also, each source system needs an automated connector to identify, extract, transform the relevant journal entries into SAP SLT format and then load into the SLT staging tables for load into Central Finance. Even a simple thing like handling of dates (each ERP handles dates differently) can prove to be exponentially complex.
Multiple Transaction Types: Different transactions (sales invoices, purchase invoices, material transactions, depreciation etc.) are posted and handled differently in each source system. All these transaction types have to be mapped correctly with the corresponding SAP format. There could be other issues like handling of decimal places, balances migration, tax handling while loading data from non-SAP system to Central Finance.
Evolution of Central Finance: Central Finance is a relatively new product which is still evolving, therefore, changes in the product and the new functionalities and ways to load data to the Central Finance system will always happen. Which implies that the connector must be adaptive to the changes in source as well as target system.
Specialized Skill Set: There is a requirement of specialized skills for the integration, source & target know-how, functional & technical knowledge for this complex integration & all technologies involved.
References & Further Reading
SAP Notes 2610660, 1353125, 1497092, 1670486, 2078335