Today, thousands of SAP customers worldwide execute their electronic compliance processes using SAP Document Compliance, running silently as an integral part of their finance and logistics execution. But there is far more than invoicing to it, all electronic documents (eDocuments) including, for example, delivery notes, documents summaries, certificates, sales orders, are processed.
Countries without electronic submission obligations are becoming an exception. Governments worldwide request and promote the usage of electronic channels for multiple purposes starting from tax evasion prevention (back in the early 2000’s) to fully standardized logistics and finance integration, financial services, transport security and ubiquitous B2B procurement.
Our Value Proposition
There are a couple of guiding principles behind the creation and success of SAP Document Compliance. Clearly there are consistent patterns in the compliance regulations worldwide:
- Designed as validation process before proceeding with the actual business execution.
- Integration mostly via web services with strong focus on security.
- Clear separation between the compliance process and the actual document generation.
SAP Document Compliance covers all common patterns, providing an integrated, robust and highly stable framework, leaving the regulation-specific solution aside.
As part of the basic capabilities, also the core SAP business components (for example Sales and Distribution, Convergent invoicing, Finance, Contract Accounting) are very closely coupled to guarantee full consistency among different representations of the same document (for example XML, PDF, logistic transaction and accounting). Namely, the core component hands over the source data to the compliance process directly which is subsequently represented as technically required and transmitted real-time to the tax office or the delegate recipient.
Today around 20 different types of documents are typically required to be shared, starting from sales orders, invoices, payments, all fully integrated and supported by SAP.
A Strong, Extensible Foundation
The key engine running behind the scenes is again the document compliance framework. This open framework allows SAP and the ecosystem to consistently add new country solutions with little effort and out-of-the-box integration with the business process.
The framework provides clear separation between the compliance processes and the documents, keeping track of each interaction and providing the required confidentiality, data integrity and authorization control at each step.
Governmental offices worldwide develop new regulations to prevent tax evasion, ensure commerce security and digital transformation to improve their processes. Most countries have multiple regulations in place, including support for multiple vertical industries and volume specific scenarios like utilities or retail.
SAP currently provides various solutions for SAP Document Compliance for 20+ countries coming from 15 different source applications seamlessly integrated.
If there is something that defines the compliance processes worldwide, it is its dynamic nature. Tax offices implement new regulations on a regular basis, those changes may affect the business process on 3 different levels:
- Business process: This is the highest level of changes, it involves changes in the processes, and the impact goes beyond the SAP systems.
- Commercial operations rules: When business rules are impacted, new logistic and financial configurations are required, typically there are impacts on surcharge or discounts rules, tax calculations, payment terms, tax collection rules or registration of tax exemptions.
- Technical details: This is typically the lowest level and easy level, only the technical levels are affected, and the changes can be implemented rather easily.
At SAP, we work hand in hand together with the tax offices and our customers worldwide as trusted advisors, providing a network of local experts to help guarantee business continuity. Also, due to the open nature of SAP technology, customers have full governance of the process and the capability to adapt to their specific needs, again without impacting the architectural strength, security and flexibility of the solution.