SAP S/4HANA Cloud for advanced financial closing: Pre-delivered Automation Content for SAP ECC

Dear finance experts,

with the latest update of the SAP ERP connector 1.0 for SAP S/4HANA Cloud for advanced financial closing (AFC), you can now benefit from pre-delivered content for SAP ECC backend systems. This will help you accelerate your implementation project and provides a lot of good examples for closing task automation.

Background:

Advanced Financial Closing (AFC) is a hub solution to orchestrate closing tasks for your whole SAP landscape comprising SAP ECC, SAP S/4HANA and SAP S/4HANA Cloud systems. For any of those SAP financial backend systems there is a specific “AFC proxy layer”, which exposes ABAP programs, TCodes and SAP Fiori applications as Task Models to AFC for scheduling or processing by means of an OData- (SAP S/4HAHA) or REST- (SAP ECC) service:

  • Closing Task Models of task type Job refer to the combination of a program and a variant, where the variant defines the mapping of program parameters to task attributes and task list attributes.
  • Closing Task Models of type SAP Fiori Application refer to either a transaction or a Fiori application. SAP managed task list parameters (“Parameter Types”) such as Fiscal Year, Fiscal Period, Key Date, Company Code, Accounting Principle and others are mapped implicitly to Fiori-app parameters, if the Global Field Name is identical. When processing such Closing Tasks by clicking the “Process” button, the Fiori App is called up keeping the context of the Task List in this regard.

A set of partially interdependent tasks can be modeled in a Task List Model, so that one or more Financial Close sub processes or even the whole Financial Close process can be pre-defined in your backend system and applied to e.g. multiple Company Codes in a semi- automatic way. The Task List Model refers to a Hierarchy Type Company Code or W/o Hierarchy) ) and typically provides a predefined hierarchy of structural folders representing specific sub processes such as Procure-to-Pay (P2P), Order-to-Cash (O2C) or Record-to-Report (R2R).

While for SAP S/4HANA and SAP S/4HANA Cloud the AFC proxy-layer is part of the core delivery and a rich content comprising both ready-to-use Task Models and Task List Models has been delivered already in the past, for SAP ECC the “AFC proxy layer” is not part of the core shipment and can be installed as additional Integration Component (the SAP ERP connector 1.0 for SAP S/4HANA Cloud for advanced financial closing) on top of the SAP ECC stack, which until recently came without pre-delivered financial closing business content. Now, on February 18th, 2022 a new support package of the SAP ERP connector has been released including a rich set of out-of-the-box Task Model- and Task List Model content.

Task Model content and how you can use it

More than 200 Task Models, most of them of type job, have been provided for FI, CO, general Accounting, logistical and other components. Some of the delivered Task Models such as the Balance Carry Forward or the Foreign Currency Valuation are specific in parameterization for either classic or New General Ledger. In such a case the classic G/L equivalent of a New G/L specific Task Model will be adjacent to the latter and carry a “5” as last digit of its key.

A few of the Job-type Task Models have been defined covering multiple variants of one and the same program to support specific use cases out-of-the-box. Here are two examples:

Program Report Title Task Model text
RFOB5200 Posting Periods: Change Periods Open next Fiscal Year
Open next Fiscal Period
Close current fiscal period (normal Periods)
Close current fiscal period (adjustment periods)
… and others more…
SAPF124 Automatic Clearing Automatic Clearing – Clear Outgoing Payments
Automatic Clearing – Clear Incoming Payments
Automatic Clearing – G/L Open Items
Automatic Clearing

Using rules and parameter values in the specific variants of the named programs, these Task Models are set up in a way that ready-to-use automated business process steps are supported. For example, referring to the Task Models mentioned above, the current fiscal period can be closed (locked) against further postings either covering normal periods or adjustment periods or (in combination of both tasks) both. Alternatively, the period can be closed just for a specific account type such as “A” (for Fixed Assets) which is supported by yet another Task Model. Similarly, the Automatic Clearing can be scheduled with a Task Model specifically for accounts payable (vendors), accounts receivable (customers) or open item managed G/L accounts.

While most of the Task Models will serve you primarily as a template to be copied into the customer name space, since in general you’ll need to define program variants and Task Models with a more specific set of parameters, others are ready to be used out-of-the-box, such as in addition to the ones listed above

  • in G/L the Balance Carry Forward, or the Foreign Currency Valuation,
  • in Fixed Asset Accounting the Depreciation Posting Run (Planned posting run, RAPOST2000),
  • in logistics the Close Previous Period for Material Master Records,

to name a few examples.

Task List Model content and how you can use it

Two Task List Models of hierarchy type “Company Code” have been predefined for New G/L and G/L classic respectively. While these task lists can help you to come quickly to a consistent and usable template, since the mutual dependencies and a logical sequence have already been taken into account, you can leverage them best by copying them to a customer name space and adjusting them according to your needs. Since the Manage Closing Task Lists application supports a flexible assignment of multiple Task List Models on folder level, you can consider to set up Task List Models for each major process subject to financial close, such as Order-to-Cash or Accounts Receivable, Procure-to-Pay or Accounts Payable, Fixed Assets, Tax Accounting, General Ledger Accounting, Overhead Accounting etc.

Key questions you might ask:

Questions Answers
·       What do I do as SAP Simple Finance customer?
  The set of closing activities in a SAP Simple Finance system is roughly a sub set of those of a New General Ledger system. So please use New G/L related Task Models as a starting point and adjust.
·       What do I have to think off when preparing for an upgrade of my SAP ECC system to SAP S/4HANA?
 

The main purpose of the content delivery is to bring you to speed in your implementation project and to showcase how to best leverage automation possibilities.

The upgrade to SAP S/4HANA will rarely be done as a mere technical upgrade. SAP S/4HANA comes with fundamental functional enhancements in FI/CO drastically simplifying the financial close process: Many closing activities are rendered obsolete, such as main ledger vs. sub ledger reconciliation, fixed asset accounting posting run and many others more. Others have been replaced by real-time and event-based update during the operative periods. In general you will want to benefit from these innovations and simplifications and start with a completely new template for your financial close in S/4.

·       What is the rationale behind the numbering of SAP delivered Task Models?
 

The SAP delivered Task Models have been numbered by sub application:

01… General Ledger and Tax
02… Fixed Assets
03… Cost Accounting
04… Accounts Receivable
05… Accounts Payable
08… Materials Management
09… Joint Venture Accounting
11… Financial Supply Chain Management, Treasury and Loans Management
13… Funds Management
14… Grants Management

Within each sub application the numbering roughly reflects the natural sequence of activities: activities to be done early in your Financial Closing process have smaller numbers, while usually the later activities at key date of afterwards carry large numbers.

What is a good practice:

  • Create your own Task Models and Task List models in customer name space and use delivered content only as a reference. Note that SAP delivered Task Models and Task List Models serve as a good and mostly usable example. They do not cover the complexities of real life.
  • Only for special cases such as “Change open/closed posting periods”, “Close Period for Material Master Records”,“Automatic Clearing” or “Depreciation Run” you can consider using SAP delivered task models productively.
  • Define Task List Models for every rather stable sub process such as Fixed Asset Accounting, Overhead Management etc. The compilation of Task List Templates will become considerable easier and more consistency and structural unity.

Good to know: