Accounting for fixed assets is probably not the most attractive but still important area of corporate finance. Managing fixed assets are key to many companies. Especially in capital-intensive industries such as utilities, construction, and telecoms, fixed assets represent the largest item on the balance sheet. Therefore, any mistake in fixed asset records can have a large impact on the accuracy of financial reporting with all potential negative consequences. In the SAP system, it is the Asset Accounting (FI-AA) component that is responsible for managing fixed asset processes such as acquisitions, transfers, retirements, depreciation, revaluations, and reporting.
In this blog post, we will take a look at what is new in release 2020. But before that, I would like to give you an overview of the major new features done in the previous releases of SAP S/4HANA.
New features in previous releases (delta)
With the 1511 release
The initial releases of S/4HANA (1511 and Simple Finance before)were the versions that introduced the biggest changes in functionality. There are plenty of resources describing the new asset accounting in S/4HANA. Therefore, without delving into details, the major developments include
- Data model changes based on Universal Journal which brought several benefits such a no reconciliation between GL and AA needed anymore, asset accounting attributes (for example, asset number) available in all reports based on Universal Journal…
- Redesign of parallel accounting in Asset Accounting – the introduction of new posting logic
- Improved planned depreciation calculation and depreciation run
- The first bunch of FIORI apps has been shipped Fixed Asset, Asset Master Worklist, Manage Depreciation Runs, Fiscal Year Change, Recalculating values. In the next releases, all of them, except the Asset Master Worklist, was deprecated and replaced with alternatives.
With the 1610 release
- As a temporary solution, the reports Asset Balances and Asset History Sheet were delivered using webdynpro UI.
- With the brand new FIORI app Schedule Asset Accounting Jobs, you can take advantage of the new application job framework introduced. Here users can schedule jobs using the provided templates, for example, Depreciation Posting Run or depreciation recalculation.
- As a result, the separate FIORI app for running depreciation Manage Depreciation Runs was deprecated and replaced by Schedule Asset Accounting Jobs. The Manage Depreciation Runs is not supported from release 1709 or higher.
With the 1709 release
- With the Manage Fixed Assets FIORI app, you got all the data for an asset in one place, potentially replacing classic asset master data maintenance transactions AS01/02/03 and asset explorer(AW01N).
- Two brand new Fiori apps Asset Transactions and Depreciation Lists have been made available
- Asset History Sheet and Asset Balances (delivered as webDynpro in the previous release) were redeveloped using FIORI Design Studio technology.
- Key user Extensibility technique has been enabled for asset accounting. You can use the Custom Fields and Logic FIORI app with the business context Fixed Asset Master Data for adding custom fields to asset master data. The big advantage can extend not only the underlying tables but also associated CDS views, Odata services, and UIs
With the 1809 release
- The Asset Accounting Overview app – An overview page Fiori app type (basically a dashboard) that provides all the information an Asset Accountant role user needs on a single page.
- Subsequent Implementation of a Depreciation Area (RAFAB_COPY_AREA) program which was developed for the special case of implementing a new depreciation area for insurable values in an existing valuation in an already productive system
- Small adjustments in the balance carryforward functionality for assets (embedded in the overall GL balance carryforward program) such as – the new fiscal year is only opened if all assets are processed successfully. BCF functionality now also processes deactivated assets.
- Introduction of parallel buffering for AA number range objects which improve performance when creating assets
- Standard CDS views
With the 1909 release
- Execute/Undo Year-End Closing program (transaction FAA_CMP) was enhanced to enable closing per ledger or depreciation area – using this transaction you can close a fiscal year per ledger
- New enhancement point when posting asset documents – BADI FAA_DOCLINES_CUSTOMER Change to Line Items in Asset Document replaced the previous BADI_FIAA_DOCLINES
- Slight adjustments in several asset accounting FIORI apps for improved user experience and performance enhancements
New features in SAP S/4HANA 2020
Now let’s take a look at what is new in release 2020. As already mentioned, there are only very few new functionalities. Probably the most significant change is the introduction of new CDS views for reporting. However, from a functional point of view, it is a new program for fiscal year close which will get noticed by users of the system.
The new year-end closing program
The new functionality allows you to close the fiscal year for multiple company codes and/or ledgers in a single run. You can run it as a separate transaction (transaction FAA_CLOSE_FISC_YEARS) in the SAP GUI or schedule it in the FIORI app Schedule Asset Accounting Jobs.
If we look at the typical asset accounting year-end closing process in the S/4HANA system, it consists of 3 main steps:
- Posting planned depreciation – transaction AFAB or Depreciation Posting Run via the Schedule Asset Accounting Jobs FIORI app)
- Carry forward balances – transaction FAGLGVTR or the Carry Forward Balances FIORI app)
- Closing fiscal year – transaction AJAB or FAA_CMP (since release 1909)
The new program replaces the obsolete transaction AJAB which does not provide the capability to close the fiscal year per ledger/depreciation area. Transaction code AJAB is redirected to the new transaction FAA_CLOSE_FISC_YEARS. The FAA_CMP transaction is still available and you can use it. However, you can only perform year-end closing for a single company code and ledger.
Elimination of the need for parallel depreciation areas in BADIs
One of the limitations in S/4HANA is that freely defined currencies are not fully integrated with all Asset Accounting processes. For instance, depreciation in foreign currency (which is defined as a freely defined currency) is not translated into local currency using the historical exchange rate from the date of acquisition. Instead, a workaround is used, where depreciation is translated using the current exchange rate. Of course, this is not ideal and in the future, the plan is to support all 10 currencies also in Asset Accounting.
Now, looking at the current currency configuration in AA it is obvious that it is quite complex. For each currency in General Ledger, you have to create a parallel depreciation area in Asset Accounting. With the support of 10 currencies in the future, this could mean a necessity to create 10 additional depreciation areas. Therefore, we can expect some simplification of the currency configuration. Parallel currency depreciation areas should no longer be needed and you will be able to define all currencies in the respective depreciation area settings.
There is already some technical preparation being made in release 2020. One of the areas where technical changes have already been made is BADIs where you can program your own depreciation calculation methods – FAA_EE_CUSTOMER and FAA_DC_CUSTOMER. Starting from release 2020, the import structures have been adopted to contain currency type. It might be necessary to adjust the BAdI custom implementations. For more details and examples, please refer to SAP help.
Minor improvements in FIORI apps
There have been minor improvements in some of the FIORI apps.
- Asset Transactions – using this app you can display asset transactions posted to the general ledger, such as retirements, acquisitions, or transfers. Starting from release 2020, new selection criteria for filtering depreciation postings were added.
- Asset Accounting Overview – separate fiscal period filters for cards relating to asset balances, and for cards relating to asset transactions
New CDS views for reporting
The following CDS (Core Data Service) views have been released for Asset Accounting in S/4HANA 2020. For more details, please see SAP help.
- Fixed Asset (Time-Dependent Data): I_FixedAssetAssgmt
- Fixed Asset (Ledger-Dependent Data): I_FixedAssetForLedger
- Fixed Asset (Country-Dependent Data): I_FixedAssetCountryData
- Fixed Asset Valuation (Ledger-Dependent Data): I_AssetValuationForLedger
- Asset Class: I_AssetClass
- Fixed Asset Group: I_FixedAssetGroup
- Depreciation Key: I_DepreciationKey
- Depreciation Area: I_DepreciationAreaForLedger
- Depreciation Area Text: I_DeprAreaForLedgerText
- Chart of Depreciation: I_ChartOfDepreciation
- Chart of Depreciation Text: I_ChartOfDepreciationText
- Asset Transaction Type: I_AssetTransactionType
- Asset Transaction Type Text: I_AssetTransactionTypeText
- Asset Account Determination: I_AssetAcctDetermination
- AssetAccounting Key Figure Group Specification (With Sorting Sequence): I_AssetSortedKeyFigureSetSpec
- Asset Accounting Key Figure Group: I_AssetKeyFigureSet
- Asset Accounting Key Figure Group Text: I_AssetKeyFigureSetText
- Asset Accounting Key Figure: I_AssetKeyFigure
- Asset Accounting Key Figure Text: I_AssetKeyFigureText
- Asset Balances: C_AssetBalance
- Asset Balances Cube: I_AssetBalanceCube
- Asset History Sheet: C_AssetHistorySheet
- Asset History Sheet Cube: I_AssetHistorySheetCube
- Evaluation Group 1: I_Group1AssetEvaluationKey
- Evaluation Group 2: I_Group2AssetEvaluationKey
- Evaluation Group 3: I_Group3AssetEvaluationKey
- Evaluation Group 4: I_Group4AssetEvaluationKey
- Evaluation Group 5: I_Group5AssetEvaluationKey
The following CDS views have been deprecated and will be deleted in a future release
- Asset Balances: C_FixedAssetBalance
- Asset Balances Cube: I_FixedAssetValueCube
- Asset History Sheet: C_FixedAssetHistorySheet
- Asset History Sheet Cube: I_FixedAssetAHSValueCube
After the 1511 release, the majority of new developments for On-Premise releases were focused on UI redesign and minor functional enhancements. As a part of this effort, the most important asset transactions have been delivered as native FIORI applications, Key user extensibility has been enabled and CDS views have been provided.
If you look at the recent S/4HANA Cloud ES edition releases, you may notice the number of new features that are not available for On-Premise yet. This can give you an idea of what new functionalities you can expect for On-Premise release in the future.
Brought to you by the SAP S/4HANA RIG