SAP Central Finance (CFIN) Introduction Part 1 – AIF (Application Interface Framework)
As you may know, AIF is a vital component of Central Finance. In the blog, I will do an introduction of how the Central Finance system handles the inbound documents/messages by AIF.
# Overview of AIF in Central Finance
AIF (Application Interface Framework) is a tool to ‘Implement, monitor, and manage application interfaces from a central location to simplify interface handling across your system landscape.’ In Central Finance, AIF is mainly used for error handling. SAP has delivered some standard AIF interfaces for Central Finance, Central Finance’s initial load and real-time replication will trigger the AIF Interfaces and the AIF interfaces will process the data (loaded by initial load or real-time replication) and the related documents/records will be created. If there is any error happens in the process then the error can be checked in AIF (success or ongoing message also can be checked in AIF).
The Central Finance data load process is:
Source System (SAP or Non-SAP system) -> SLT (SAP Landscape Transformation) server -> CFIN-SLT-AIF-API -> MDG Mapping -> Post Data -> Any error will be recorded in AIF
It is important to note that AIF is not particular to Central Finance, AIF is a common tool to do interface management in the SAP systems. Other functions also can use this tool to do the message monitor/process.
# Which AIF settings are needed for Central Finance?
The screenshot below is the AIF messages overview tool, you can use Tcode /AIF/IFMON to access it.
Before you can see any AIF message in the tool, you need to assign your user name to the related AIF namespace. SAP has delivered AIF namespace ‘/FINCF’ for Central Finance, you can reuse it or you can define a new AIF namespace based on your requirement (customizing configurations are needed).
You should assign the users to the AIF namespace in Tcode /AIF/RECIPIENTS.
You can also use Tcode /AIF/ERR to monitor and reprocess (you can only reprocess the messages with error status) AIF messages.
The AIF messages will be displayed with status.
You can change the field values and reprocess the failed AIF message in /AIF/ERR.
In /AIF/ERR, AIF messages can be filtered by:
- AIF Namespace
- AIF Interface (with interface version)
- Time periods
- Message Status
- Technical Mode or not
You can also add your customizing filter by configuring an AIF Index table.
# Better understand AIF from AIF configurations
As mentioned, the standard AIF configurations have been delivered for Central Finance, you do not need to create new AIF namespace or AIF Interface to process the standard Central Finance messages. But I still advise you to take a look at what AIF configurations have been done for Central Finance, this will help you to better understand how Central Finance works.
You can find the configurations from Tcode /AIF/CUST.
Firstly, check the AIF Namespace configuration.
/AIF/CUST – Interface Development – Define Namespace
Secondly, check the Central Finance related AIF Interfaces (FI/CO/Project WBS).
You can find more detail information on each AIF Interface by checking the configurations under ‘Additional Interface Properties’.
From ‘Specify Interface Engines’, we can see most of the Central Finance related AIF Interfaces are processed by XML (Project WBS is processed by IDOC). That is why we will not use SLT server to load Project WBS data to the Central Finance system.
Thirdly, let’s take a look at another important AIF configuration, AIF Action. You can assign a function module to each AIF interface and the function module will be processed when the AIF Interface is called.
This configuration is related to how the AIF Interfaces process the Central Finance messages.
Path: /AIF/CUST – Interface Development – Define Actions
Let’s use AIF action ‘AC_DOC_POST’ as an example. This is a per-delivered AIF action for Central Finance and post document is one of the most common Central Finance actions.
Function module ‘FINS_CFIN_AIF_ACT_DOC_POST’ is assigned to the AIF action.
This function module will be called when a document is loaded to the Central Finance system by SLT server (processing by AIF in Central Finance). Consider one scenario, you loaded a document to Central Finance by SLT server and there is no error that appeared in the SLT server, but you cannot find any AIF message created for this document in the Central Finance system. You can try to set a breakpoint in this function module and reload the document from the source system to the Central Finance system. If the breakpoint meets, then you can debug it and try to understand which step is wrong in the Central Finance system.
This blog gave a brief introduction to how Central Finance uses AIF to handle the messages/documents. The things introduced in the blog are based on experience and surely you will find more useful functions of AIF when you try to use it.
In the next blog, I will introduce how to configure mappings in the Central Finance system.
SAP Central Finance (CFIN) Introduction Part 2 – Mapping