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Author's profile photo Ying Shi

SAP S/4HANA Cloud for advanced financial closing: how to maintain parameter values for tasks of type Job

Background

In SAP S/4HANA Cloud for advanced financial closing (abbreviate as AFC below), users can define various types of closing tasks. One, which can bring in a lot of automation into the process, is the task type “Job”. These tasks are linked with SAP or customer-defined ABAP programs and allow automated scheduling and execution in the background. Typical Jobs in the financial close are the “Depreciation Posting Run” for fixed assets or the “Foreign Currency Valuation Run” as part of the G/L closing activities.

To ensure that these tasks can be correctly scheduled by AFC, leveraging the modern dynamic parameter derivation concept, job parameter values are maintained during the definition of closing Task Lists. In this blog, I want to explain the definition and maintenance of the parameter values and share some helpful tips and tricks.

Multiple ways to define parameter values

In AFC, there are multiple ways to maintain the job parameter values:

As a first option, some of the parameter values are dynamically and automatically derived from the Task List header or Task List folder level. These cannot be maintained on the individual task level. Such parameters are the Fiscal Year Variant, Accounting Principle, Ledger, Closing Key Date, Company Code, Controlling Area, and Plant. For the full list, you can refer to the AFC User Guide on the SAP Help Portal.

To find out, which parameters are derived like described for a specific closing task of type Job, users can go to the “Define Closing Tasks” app, select the corresponding task and navigate to the task object page. From this page, users can move to the tab “Job Parameters” and click on “Create” to create a new job parameter. Then, they can use the value help in the parameter field, where they find all parameters for the task. It can be derived via separate columns in the pop-up, which parameters are mandatory, and derived.

Users can maintain common parameter values for multiple tasks on the Task List folder level as a second option. If there are common parameters for multiple ABAP programs such as “G/L Account Type” or “Valuation Area”, configuration specialists can map the job parameters to AFC Parameter Types in the communication system (aka backend ERP system). Consequently, they can maintain the values for AFC Parameter Type on the closing structure folder level in AFC. Those folders’ underlying tasks will then inherit the AFC Parameter Type values from the assigned folder. The required steps to use this technique are as follows:

a. Map the Job Parameter to the AFC Parameter Type in the communication system:

Customizing Path: SAP IMG=>Cross Application Components=>Advanced Financial Closing – Local Settings=> Register Programs for Parameter Mapping

b. Maintain values for the Parameter Types on AFC Task List folder level:

As a third option, users can directly maintain task-specific job parameters, either when registering programs in the communication system, or on the AFC Task List folder or task level, by the below-described activities:

a. Maintain job parameters in the communication system when registering programs:

Path: SAP IMG=>Cross Application Components=>Advanced Financial Closing – Local Settings=> => Register Programs for Parameter Mapping

b. Maintain job parameters in AFC on Task List folder or task level:

 

To understand, what finally the job parameter values are that the task will use during scheduling, users can use the “Process Closing Tasks” app. They first need to select a task of type Job from a released Task List and then navigate to the task object page. Here, they can get the selection variant which shows all parameters taken into account for scheduling the specific task – this is basically the result of the parameter derivation chain:

The sequence of derivation steps for task parameters

This derivation logic provides high flexibility and an efficient and dynamic mechanism to automate the scheduling of closing tasks. Here is how the system follows a clear sequence to derive the parameter values for the job execution:

  1. The derived parameter has the highest priority if the job parameter type is defined as derived.
  2. For non-derived parameters, task-level defined parameter values are first considered, else use folder level parameters type or job parameter assigned value, or the task level job parameter assigned value. If both are not maintained, the system then checks the value maintained in the program variant in the communication system.
  3. If no value found and the parameter value is mandatory, the AFC scheduling job will feedback error messages.

 Tips and tricks to maintain job parameters

A good design and systematic maintenance of job parameters can help you to maximize the automation level, minimize maintenance efforts, reduce unexpected errors, and finally accelerate the closing cycles through AFC. Here are some tips that customers should consider during the implementation:

1.SAP-managed parameters like organizational units, Ledger, Accounting Principle, etc. that are relevant to most closing jobs are to be derived from the Task List header or folders. They must not be maintained in another way. Especially the tasks of type Job need to be created below a folder of type Company Code, Plant or Controlling Area so that the corresponding parameters can be derived automatically and dynamically.

2. For all other parameters, if the parameter values need to be dynamically derived but are following the same logic like a recurring pattern in each closing cycle and across all closing templates, customers should consider using the parameter rules as part of the program registration in the communication system customizing. Such parameters are often relevant to dates, like posting date, fiscal period, fiscal year, etc. SAP provides multiple predefined rules that can be used to dynamically derive the correct parameter values:

Path: SAP IMG=>Cross Application Components=>Advanced Financial Closing – Local Settings=> => Register Programs for Parameter Mapping

3. If a specific task has common parameter values which are used by multiple organization units, I suggest maintaining them directly in the program variant, and then creating the task model with program and variant assigned. As such, by creating a task with referring to the task model, those values will be automatically derived from variants when processing tasks. If the value needs to be changed afterward, it could be changed on the variant so all tasks referring to the task model will get the change, or if the change is just for a specific task, then individually give the value to the task job parameter, to overwrite the value derived from program variant.

4. If there are common parameter values shared by many different tasks, those parameter values can be defined on the AFC task folder level. However, it may not be so easy to find such common parameters, use excels to collect the information beforehand can always help you find such information.

If none of the above can be considered, users then need to maintain the parameter’s value on each task level.

Please be aware that there is no full value help for all parameter values yet, both in the communication and the AFC systems. Also, there is not yet a check for missing value maintenance of mandatory Job parameters. We are planning to further improve this in the upcoming AFC releases.

To design and plan the job parameter maintenance, I suggest that users use a Spreadsheet during the implementation to first collect all tasks of type Job, their according parameters including the right values so that the implementation team to map them to the AFC parameter derivation chain and choose the best fitting logic for the derivation technique. Efficient leveraging the parameter derivation will enable your process to get the maximum out of the Job-based automation and accelerate the financial close.

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

Follow us via @SAP and #AdvancedFinancialClosing, or myself via Ying Shi

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      Author's profile photo Madhusekhar Gupta Gadamsetty
      Madhusekhar Gupta Gadamsetty

      Thanks for the nice blog and sharing tips and tricks to maintain job parameters.