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Author's profile photo Nitin Gupta

Roadmap of SAP Central Finance (CFIN) for delivering business value

In any SAP Central Finance Project the focus should be on the value chain which can help business in realizing the value of the investment. Just replicating the data from any source system (SAP or Non SAP) will not deliver value rather additional cost will be taken over by the IT organization for:

  • Infrastructure
  • Maintenance
  • People for managing the system
  • AIF error handling team

The 4 key components of the chain are below and all these steps should be executed in sequence. Any overlap may result in huge regret cost

Explanation of the Steps:

  1. Transform – In this phase the core of SAP Central Finance is built. Focus should be on replicating data from source systems with excellent quality of data. As in this phase Initial Load (with some amount of month’s data) will be run so that data should be usable for the organization in future. This data forms the foundation of the whole value chain. Some key activities in this phase may be:
    1. Identifying source systems
    2. Working on System connectivity
    3. Working on Master Data Strategy
    4. Working on future consolidation requirements

End state of this phase should be robust foundation to next. Processes, people and technology should be in place, Data strategy should be in execution and team should be aligned for resolving the AIF replication defects and also any new acquisition or landscape changes should be accommodated.


  1. Sustain – This phase is less of an execution and more of a planning to next. Here the real time replication should be happening from the source systems. Resolving the errors is operational focus. Strategic focus should be on working on dashboards to do the root cause analysis of the major defects. 80-20 rule can be of benefit here. Process mining can also be used if needed on the source systems to determine the root cause of errors and working on permanent fix.

Please note that till this phase SAP Central Finance will not delivery any value except getting the common view of data which can be used for reporting purposes. Cost will be higher and the value is almost zero till this phase.

  1. Run – In this phase the value delivery starts. When the data in the Central Finance system is sustainable then we should start implementing the processes on the CFIN and centralize the operations. We can implement
    1. Central Payments
    2. Central Credit Management
    3. Central Financial Close
    4. Standard Reconciliation approach
    5. Harmonize bank connectivity due to Central Payments
    6. Connect the satellite applications to the Central Finance System
    7. Implement Group Reporting or other consolidation tool
    8. Implement SAP Analytics cloud or any other planning tool

With this the major operations will be centralized. It is also important to consider the changes which need to happen in security roles & authorization like when payments are centralized the payment transaction should not be available to users in source systems and should be only be given in CFIN system. There will be lot of similar changes in security/authorization area

  1. Innovate – In this phase the focus should be on the sustainability of the centralized operations and stabilize the processes which have been changed/redesigned or newly added including the tools and applications. In addition to the same the organization can start their digital journey with the introduction of:
    1. Robotics Process Automation (RPA)
    2. Machine Learning
    3. Artificial Intelligence
    4. Process Simplification and continuous improvement

Execution of one and Planning of next phase can happen in parallel but parallel execution of the phases should be avoided.

Please note that the content is based on author’s experience with several Central Finance implementations and transformations. There is no good or bad practice and it all depends on organizational plans and goals for their digital journey.

Happy reading…

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      Author's profile photo Ravi Rana
      Ravi Rana

      Very good blog

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      awesome blog. Can all source systems be non SAP or we need to have one system mandatorily as SAP?

      Author's profile photo Nitin Gupta
      Nitin Gupta
      Blog Post Author

      source can be anything SAP or non sap or both

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Thank you so much

      Author's profile photo Akash K
      Akash K

      I think it is very important for the program managers to understand this and avoid program failures as projects run for long and business seeks value from investment soon

      Author's profile photo Natasha D
      Natasha D

      I think this should be part of CIO forum

      Author's profile photo Nilesh Pathak
      Nilesh Pathak

      Hi Nitin,


      Good informative blog- we are in situation where we connected Nonsap -->SLT ->S4HANA and in this case staging tables are in SLT as well but they dont have any time stamp field- due to growing data volume in these - its impacting memory , is there are solution you have to clean up them or suggest any alternatives,


      RFINS_CFIN_CLEANUP - am aware this program does clean for S/4 HANA related log tables , please let me know your thoughts.