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Author's profile photo Nina Nga Weilemann-Nguyen

More than just efficient financial planning and project execution with SAP Analytics Cloud: How the product assistance helps you optimize your business processes

Co-Authored by Holger Faber and Nina Weilemann-Nguyen

Financial planning is a topic that can be covered in different ways depending on customer requirements. There are fewer legal requirements for financial planning than for many other financial processes. Each company does financial planning a bit differently. One company may do a high-level P&L planning on representative profit centers, while others use a combination of P&L, balance sheet, and cash flow. And others may use group financial planning using consolidation units, or any number of other combinations or ways to carry out your financial planning.

Given this array of planning possibilities, SAP needs to provide pre-built functions that customers can adapt and combine to their needs. And we’ve done just that with the Integrated Financial Planning for SAP S/4HANA and S/4HANA Cloud (IFP) content package for SAP Analytics Cloud. Our content is modular, it’s flexible, and it offers a huge number of possibilities. The scope of the possibilities it offers can make it seem daunting, but don’t worry, we’ve created our product assistance with this in mind.

Whether you’re one of our users or a consultant, or anyone in between, have a look at Financial Planning in SAP Analytics Cloud | SAP Help Portal on the SAP Help Portal. This documentation set guides you through all of the steps required to activate and connect our financial planning content and to adapt it to best fit to your target processes. You can use our documentation in two ways. Since we followed a specific story line, you can basically read it like a manual, or you can directly access the topics you are interested in.

To help you along, we’ve included the following in our product assistance:

  • Short introductory videos
  • Business background
  • Architecture overview
  • Implementation help
  • Interactive graphics
  • Adaptation guidance
  • Overview of available master data, such as OData services in their business context
  • Dedicated descriptions on how to integrate with other contents
  • Links to related documentation and information
  • Screenshots and short click-through videos
  • An FAQ with links to further information such as blog posts on the SAP community, SAP Notes, and other helpful sources

What content packages do we offer for financial planning in SAP Analytics Cloud?

Our content packages provide a quick and easy starting point for your individual planning and analytics scenarios. Our content is ready to run with sample data that helps you find meaningful examples to explore and get inspired for your own planning journey. The packages include pre-built stories and data models tailored to existing SAP S/4HANA Cloud and SAP S/4HANA data sources. You can easily connect the content to your own data and get started with your individual planning journey in SAP Analytics. Have a look at Getting Started with SAP Analytics Cloud | SAP Help Portal.

For financial planning, we currently offer the following content packages:

  • Integrated Financial Planning for SAP S/4HANA (xP&A – Integrated Financial Planning for SAP S/4HANA and SAP S/4HANA Cloud)
    This is our main business content and includes planning areas such as operating expense planning, product cost planning, sales and profitability planning, capital expense planning, and financial statement planning.
    For more information about this content package, have a look at this blog post:
    Integrated Financial Planning – An Overview | SAP Blogs
  • Cross-model Add-on for Integrated Financial Planning for SAP S/4HANA (xP&A – Cross-model Add-on for Integrated Financial Planning for SAP S/4HANA and SAP S/4HANA Cloud)
    This content package enables the integration of financial planning in SAP Analytics Cloud with SAP Human Experience Management: Workforce Planning, with Consumer (CP) Sales Planning, and for SAP S/4HANA also Demand Planning in SAP IBP.
  • Group Financial Planning for SAP S/4HANA (xP&A – Group Financial Planning for SAP S/4HANA and SAP S/4HANA Cloud)
    This content package enables you to perform top-down profit and loss and balance sheet planning for the dimensions of group reporting, such as consolidation unit, profit center, and financial statement item in SAP Analytics Cloud.

To use the SAP Analytics Cloud content, you first need to import the content package and activate the integration between SAP Analytics Cloud and SAP S/4HANA Cloud or S/4HANA. Don’t worry, we guide you through the entire process in Integrating SAP Analytics Cloud with SAP S/4HANA Cloud | SAP Help Portal.

How financial planning content integrates with other applications

We know that our customers come from different starting points. We’ve got users coming from SAP ECC using classic planning transactions, we’ve got others using SAP BPC, and others who have an SAP BW (Business Warehouse) implementation in place. So, integration is something that we have to look at from different angles.

Our financial planning content in SAP Analytics Cloud is therefore not a stand-alone content package. It’s tightly integrated with a number of other SAP applications, first and foremost, of course, with SAP S/4HANA Cloud and SAP S/4HANA. We’ve made sure that the data structures and logics are aligned between our content and the integrated contents and systems, so that the records you create in planning can be consumed by follow-on processes in the other SAP applications. For example, you can import quantities from SAP CP sales planning and SAP IBP demand planning, perform planning in SAP Analytics Cloud, and then send the financial figures back. We also utilize business content from SuccessFactors’s workforce planning to feed personnel expenses into our operating expense planning. In SAP S/4HANA (Cloud), we can also use cost center budget data from SAP Analytics Cloud as a basis for availability control, for example.

To see more, have a look at Exporting Data from SAP Analytics Cloud to SAP S/4HANA or SAP S/4HANA Cloud | SAP Help Portal, where we’ve described these steps in detail.

How Integrated Financial Planning content plays together

It’s also worth noting that within the Integrated Financial Planning (IFP) content, all planning modules can interact with each other. That is, all of the data can be reused between the models, as shown in the graphic below. For example, cost center activity cost rates available in operating expense planning are used in product cost planning to calculate the product cost rates. Product cost rates from the product cost planning are then used in sales and profitability planning to calculate the COGS. So overall sales and profitability, product cost, and operating expense planning come together, and the results can be reused, for example, in your financial statements.

The ways your data flows between the modules via data actions are described in the respective planning areas of the documentation. As an example, have a look at Operating Expense Planning – Process Overview | SAP Help Portal.

Process%20Flow%20of%20cost%20center%20planning

Process flow of cost center planning (part of operating expense planning) in SAP Help Portal

And just as you can use the planning modules together, you can also use them on their own. If, for example, you just want to use operating expense planning, then just activate that module by selecting the respective content elements, and it works on its own. To help you to easily identify these content elements, we’ve provided a “Content Elements” page for each planning area in our documentation. Since we’re talking about operating expense planning, have a look at that topic to see how it looks: Operating Expense Planning – Content Elements | SAP Help Portal.

Whether you start with several modules at once or just one, you’re not locked in. You can always add additional modules later. This is another way the solution’s flexibility works for you.

How the Simulation Cockpit helps you to foresee unexpected changes

If we’ve learned anything over the last few years, it’s that the old cliche about needing to expect the unexpected still has a lot of truth to it. Well, we have a tool for that: Our simulation cockpit. Imagine the following situation: You’ve finished your financial planning process and have a consistent plan at hand. Then someone from management asks you what would happen if the energy price or the personnel costs increase. The simulation cockpit for financial planning has been built to handle exactly this kind of question. It provides you access to your original plan and allows you to make adjustments as needed, either in the original version or in dedicated new versions, then recalculates everything based on the changes that you make. It allows you to perform “what-if?” simulations for sample processes and see the results immediately, meaning you can simulate and game plan virtually any permutation that you can think of. Just head over to Simulation Cockpit for Financial Planning in SAP Analytics Cloud | SAP Help Portal to learn more.

This is just a short overview of the ways the product assistance works hand-in-hand with the PRODUCT to help make your work easier. If you have any questions, please post them in the comments section below. We will get back to you as soon as possible. Also, don’t hesitate to just share your feedback and thoughts in a comment.

 

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