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Author's profile photo Aydin Memioglu

Central Finance – Lessons Learned Master Data objects (Part2 – Controlling)


Having been involved in various SAP project implementations we all know how critical the learnings from a project are and how they can help us if we face the similar situation again.

We are a group of consultants at SAP dedicated to gather valuable lessons learned during CFIN projects and share within the external community. Our main objective is to elaborate on lessons learned in regards to harmonization and mapping guidelines for financial and non-financial master data objects.

This is the first blog of its nature to be followed by additional blogs in the future in regards to a variety of topics where valuable lessons could be gathered.

The following blogs will be published separately broken into 3 parts:

  • Part 1 – General Ledger Accounts
  • Part 2 – Controlling master data object (current blog)
  • Part 3 – Business Partner/non-financial master data



While Part 1 focused on lessons learned on General Ledger Account master data, the current blog will provide an overview, harmonization & mapping guidelines as well as lessons learned focusing on the Controlling relevant master data objects.


Financial Master Data

Cost Elements


  • Cost Elements are also created as GL accounts in S4/CFIN system.
  • The cost element category determines which cost elements can be used for which business transactions
    • Primary cost element categories
    • Secondary cost element categories
  • The cost element category is used only in the Controlling (CO) component

Lessons Learned

  • Considerations for Mapping:
    • Ideally cost elements with the same category should be mapped together – e.g. CE1 to CE1
    • Special attention for cases when many cost elements from source are merged into 1 in CFIN
    • General rules if mapping is to a different cost element category or N:1 mapping is required

  • Cost Element Category 90
    • Cost Element of category 90 has been created based on B/S accounts in the sender system.
    • In CFIN, the new solution is to flag the “Apply Acct Assignments Statistically in Fixed Asset Acct/Material Acct”.
    • Checkbox in the Control Data tab of the GL Account.
    • For more information on this please check the OSS Note 2274763 – SFIN Cost Element Category 90

  • Cost element category “11” (revenue element) or “12” (sales deduction) in CO
    • If CO-PA is configured and active in the CFIN system, then revenue accounts must have cost element category 11 and revenue reducing accounts must have cost element category 12 defined.
  • Secondary cost elements (in contrast to SAP ERP source systems) are now GL Accounts in S/4HANA. While attributes of cost elements in ECC can be maintained with certain validity dates, GL Accounts are not time dependent. This is important to consider during the initial load, if attributes of cost elements have been changed during the timeframe for which the initial load is being carried out (table CSKB).


Profit Center & Cost Center


Profit Center:

  • Defines the area of responsibility for profits.  Can record both P&L and balance sheet information. The profit centers divide the enterprise according to the following aspects:
    • Geographical division (locations, regions, and so on)
    • Product-related division (divisions, product lines, and so on)
    • Functional division (production, sales and distribution, etc.)
  • The standard hierarchy is a special profit center group.  It is a tree structure for grouping all profit centers that belong to a controlling area.   When you create a profit center, you have to assign it to a hierarchy node in the standard hierarchy.
  • A profit center is defined at controlling area level.  By default, a profit center is assigned to all the company codes within the controlling area.  You can exclude certain company codes for a profit center by not selecting them.

Cost Center:

  • Defines the areas of responsibility that incur and influence costs.  A cost center records expense accounts.  The cost centers usually depict the internal functional areas in your company´s organization chart, e.g. Corporate, Finance and Administration, etc.
  • Cost centers can be set up based on:
    • Geographic location
    • Allocation criteria
    • Functional requirements
    • Activities services provided
    • Areas or responsibility
  • The standard hierarchy is a special cost center group. Each level or node of the standard hierarchy is a cost center group.   Every cost center has to be assigned to a node in the standard hierarchy.
  • A cost center is defined at company code level and assigned to a profit center and functional area.

Lessons Learned

  • Heavy transformation should not be done for CC, PC, FA attributes as it can lead to errors and inaccurate reporting. Business should decide the use of these elements and can change their usage in the target system.
  • Profit center and PC hierarchy must be thoroughly thought through not just for reporting but also keeping in mind the future vision for CFIN. E.g. if CFIN is meant to be used as book of record and an operational accounting system.


Short-Lived Master Data


  • Short-lived cost objects are managed by the cost object mapping framework in CFIN
  • Internal orders, Production orders, Maintenance orders, QM Orders are some short-lived master data.

Lessons Learned

  • As the number of short-lived master data can be quite high in number, careful consideration should be taken around which of this these short-lived master data is really required in CFIN.
  • Any custom fields extension on AUFK tables for the cost objects in source, require analysis if these are really required in CFIN. If indeed required, AUFK in CFIN also needs to be extended.
    • Please see SAP note 2303031 – Central Finance: Support Customer Fields in Cost Object Mapping Framework
  • Central Finance supports below Scenarios for replicating cost objects:


Hopefully, the above concepts, valuable experiences as well as lessons learned which were gathered from various projects and teams across our organization will help you to overcome similar challenges which you might face during your projects.

We invite you to post any feedback, ideas, or tell us how this content was helpful for your project.

Please also look out for lessons learned blogs Part 1 (G/L Account) and Part 3 (Business Partner/nonfinancial master data) as well.

Best wishes.


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      Author's profile photo Jonathan Negash
      Jonathan Negash

      Hi Aydin

      This is very helpful information. Thanks for sharing your lessons learned list.