SAP S/4HANA Central Finance (CFIN) deployment can become very complicated. Implementing Central Finance is a necessity for some companies since it provides a centralized system that you can use to replicate financial data from multiple disparate sources into a single system. By creating a single source of truth, businesses can avoid reconciliation errors that typically happen in distributed systems. CFIN, as a solution, was initially designed to offer a distributed network that consolidates data from individual ERP systems to develop periodic financial reports that are accurate and traceable.
Standardizing ERPs for Use with a Central Finance Deployment
From massive companies that have offices in multiple places around the world to small enterprises, businesses depend on CFIN to produce precise accounting records. SAP S/4HANA is uniquely scalable, and as a result, so is CFIN. One of the critical elements to ensuring that a business follows best-practices when it comes to the configuration is to establish overall definitions that function across all of the distributed systems. Many of the source systems involved in the process may contain several different iterations of ERP systems. It is critical to ensure that definitions remain constant across these ERPs for CFIN to accomplish its goals.
Important Supporting Tips for CFIN Deployment
The configuration is only the first step in ensuring that other ERPs play nice with CFIN. From initial load to ongoing replication and even reconciliation across distributed systems, a few elements stand out as essential:
- Monthly Reconciliation Inspection: At least once a month, go through reconciliation records using the available tools. An in-depth investigation may reveal weaknesses in the system’s implementation.
- Test Cycles: Performing a minimum of six test cycles will allow you to discover any inherent problems with the deployment. The testing of source systems should follow, as well.
- Error Bible: Set up a documentation system that keeps a log of issues, where they occurred, and how the company resolved them. Setting up a dedicated sub-department of personnel that like to delve into troubleshooting may net good returns.
- Note the Alignment of Systems: With any distributed systems, alignment is necessary to ensure that reconciliation problems don’t occur. Keeping an eye on the core elements of both CFIN and each ERP to ensure they’re aligned also allows you to flag suspicious behavior for further investigation.
- Incorporate Good Master Data Governance Practices: CFIN is only as good as its master record. The aim of the testing process should be to ensure that this data does indeed form a single, indisputable source of truth that other ERP systems can pull from for their reporting.
A “Start from the Front” Approach
One of the most critical stages of implementing an SAP S/4HANA Central Finance Deployment in a shop offering Creative Cabinets & Faux Finishes is the planning stage. If a business goes through the trouble of deciding to go with CFIN for their financial planning and reporting, they need to plan appropriately. Many issues can be ironed out, solely with proper planning. Reduced planning wastes time in fixing technical issues. Unplanned deployments may get up and running quicker, but take longer to be effective. In the case of planned implementation, you harmonize things like definitions and how the separate ERP systems interact upfront. This prior planning results in far fewer issues to resolve when it comes to fixing reconciliation problems.
Testing is just as necessary as planning. With proper testing, you can catch issues before the system goes live, allowing you to fix them before they impact the company’s accounting. As mentioned before, this testing phase is not just limited to CFIN but affects the individual ERPs as well. To ensure that both systems perform as expected, you should test each ERP system alongside any trial of the CFIN system. The choice you have is a simple one: Hope to get an inaccurate system up and running as quickly as possible, or have a precise, interlinked system that follows industry best-practices. The latter is often the better decision.