With the release of SAP S/4HANA Cloud for advanced financial closing (AFC) on Dec. 16th, 2020 as a standalone SAP Business Technology Platform application, customers and partners want to understand the required configuration to bring the system up and running. The following sections will help you to quickly understand the major steps.
Before going into the details, we need to first understand the systems landscape. There are two types of systems involved:
The first is AFC itself, which is a SaaS solution and cloud service deployed on the SAP Business Technology Platform (formerly known as SAP Cloud Platform). It works as a cloud-based hub solution to orchestrate the closing processes.
The second are the financial backend systems, which provide programs and business context data for the closing steps that are defined in AFC. The financial backend systems can be of different types, for example SAP S/4HANA Cloud systems, SAP S/4HANA systems, or SAP ECC systems. They need to be integrated with AFC to provide business context and to execute the programs which are scheduled by AFC.
The following figure illustrates the possible landscape, the supported financial backend systems as of today and the software needed to set up the system connections:
AFC systems landscape
With the understanding of the systems landscape, let’s now focus on the configuration steps. Basically, there are 5 major parts that need to be set up, as showed in the graphic below:
First, customers need to onboard with AFC as described in the Onboarding part of the AFC Administration Guide. After finishing this part, the own AFC space is provisioned successfully and can be further configured.
Second, customers need to set up the connectivity between AFC and the financial backend systems. This process varies depending on the type of system – for SAP ECC, other steps are required than for SAP S/4HANA Cloud. For details, you can refer to the Connectivity part of the AFC Administration Guide. Apart from system connectivity, the guide also includes information about user management, authentication, access control, security, etc.
Once the system connectivity is set up successfully, customers can as a third and fourth step perform the ABAP program registration and the task modeling in the financial backend systems. Task Models represent an abstract semantic layer of the closing tasks in AFC. They are mapped with existing ABAP programs, Fiori apps, or web services in the financial backend systems. Note that this is not needed for SAP S/4HANA Cloud Essentials systems.
Let’s take an example: There is an ABAP program “Foreign Currency Revaluation (FCV)” performed with each close to re-valuate the accounts and transactions in foreign currencies according to close-relevant currency exchange rates. For this program, depending on the purpose, you can set up one Task Model as “FCV of Accounts Receivables and Accounts Payables open items” and a second Task Model as “FCV of General Ledger accounts open items”. Each Task Model has different parameter settings and can be owned and processed by different accountants.
SAP provides Best Practices content for Task Models, which is available for SAP S/4HANA Cloud and SAP S/4HANA 2020 FPS02 or higher. For the other on-premise financial backend system types such as SAP ECC and for custom programs, customers need to define their own Task Models in two steps:
- Register standard and own developed (Z-) programs as Task Models of type “Job”. Here is a How-to video. Please also consider Note 2879220.
- Create Task Models and Task List Models according to own business needs.
All these steps are done in the financial backend system’s reference IMG (Transaction Code SPRO), under menu path Cross-Application Components à Advanced Financial Closing à Local Settings.
The fifth and last configuration part relates to configuration in the AFC system itself. Users assigned with the role template “AFC_Config” have the required configuration apps available for access on their Fiori Launchpad. The configuration in AFC includes for example the E-Mail Notification setup, Country Groups for Reporting, User Roles, and Authorization Objects. There are also further configuration and setup apps, such as Compliance Settings and Communication System settings. With enhanced features added in the future, also more configuration apps will be delivered.
Once these five configuration parts are finished, customers can start to set up the closing task lists in AFC for solution testing and final deployment.
More detailed AFC learning materials are available in SAP Learning hub. After logging in, you can search for “Advanced Financial Closing” in learning content. The e-learning material can be found as part of what’s new in “SAP S/4HANA Cloud 2102: Stay Current for Finance” (course ID LJ_S4CFI_SC_EN_2102) or as a dedicated course “SAP S/4HANA Cloud for advanced financial closing” (course ID S4F98e).
In future, we will share more information about the product, stay tuned by following the #tag Advanced Financial Closing (press left side tab “Following”). You are also welcome to write blogs to share your experience or to ask our experts anytime with your questions.
For more information on SAP S/4HANA Cloud, check out the following links:
- SAP Community Page for Advanced Financial Closing: here
- SAP Help Portal for AFC: here
- AFC in the SAP Roadmap Explorer: here
- SAP.com page about AFC: here