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First Steps in Financial Accounting in SAP S/4HANA

This book provides an overview of Financial Accounting in SAP S/4HANA across the key process areas — General Ledger, Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, and Fixed Assets. Explore the user experience in SAP S/4HANA and learn how to navigate the SAP Fior...



  • Acknowledgements
  • Preface
  • 1 Introduction to Financial Accounting in SAP S/4HANA
  • 2 The user experience in SAP S/4HANA
  • 3 Financial accounting master data
  • 4 General ledger accounting
  • 5 Accounts payable
  • 6 Accounts receivable
  • 7 Fixed assets
  • 8 Closing
  • A The author
  • B Disclaimer

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Maddie Allenspach






2.1 SAP Fiori applications

With SAP S/4HANA, SAP has introduced a new front end, SAP Fiori. While the traditional SAP GUI remains, most companies are limiting this access to system analysts or deep support business roles. Therefore, it is important for finance and accounting business users to be introduced to and become comfortable with the new front end.

Upon first logging into SAP Fiori, users will see the home screen, also known as the SAP Fiori launchpad (see Figure 2.1). The bar at the top of the screen will list the different Fiori groups assigned to the user. For example, we can infer that the user in this example is assigned to an accounts payable role and therefore has the Payments, Supplier Accounts, Periodic Activities for Accounts Payable, and Checks groups assigned. The SAP Fiori launchpad offers quick access to daily tasks and provides finance users with the necessary insight to make key decisions through icons, alerts, and KPIs.


Figure 2.1: SAP Fiori home screen

The tiles inside a group represent the SAP Fiori applications assigned to that group. The tiles can be personalized based on user filters. Certain SAP Fiori tiles also highlight trends and exceptions with color coding to alert users to tasks that require immediate attention.

Post Outgoing Payments is an example of one of the applications within the Payments group. SAP Fiori applications are similar to transaction codes (t-codes) in the SAP GUI. The main difference is they are more intuitive for end users as a logical description rather than a set of letters and numbers (especially if you are new to SAP entirely).

For example, which is easier for auser to remember: F-53 or Post Outgoing Payments? If you answered F-53, then I know you have been using SAP for a while and may be hesitant to change (we have all been there). There are still options to search by t-code in the search bar of SAP Fiori if the t-code has a 1-to-1 mapping with an SAP Fiori application. For example, Schedule Automatic Payments is one of the SAP Fiori applications replacing F110, so this can be found easily in the search bar by entering the transaction code (see Figure 2.2). However, most SAP Fiori applications combine multiple transactions into a single view. While this may take a moment to get adjusted to, it ultimately saves a user time from having to click through multiple screens to perform a single task.


Figure 2.2: SAP Fiori search bar

If you want to search for a different app or group without utilizing the search bar, you also have the option to select the drop-down arrow, which represents More Groups (see Figure 2.3 showing the user also has access to the Bank Statements group). Similarly, if you want to find a frequently or recently used app, click on the FIS4 icon. This is where you can view your profile and settings as well (see Figure 2.4).


Figure 2.3: SAP Fiori more groups function


Figure 2.4: Frequently used SAP Fiori apps

Personalizing the SAP Fiori launchpad

Users can personalize the order, naming, and grouping of the apps on their SAP Fiori launchpad. Directions on how to do this are shown in section 2.1.1.

Another huge advantage of SAP Fiori is that the apps are enabled consistently across multiple user platforms. This allows business users to take advantage of mobility by utilizing SAP Fiori apps on tablets, phones, and other devices. For example, the My Inbox app allows for approval or rejection of journal entries or purchase orders which can be easily done on the go. This means you no longer have to wait for your accounting manager to return to his or her computer to approve your journal entry. Especially during the critical month-end close timelines, many of these activities cannot wait, and the ability to utilize mobile applications to speed up tasks is a huge advantage. My Inbox is an example of a transactional application. Within SAP Fiori, there are three different kinds of applications, and the following sections highlight the differences between each of these.

2.1.1 Transactional applications

Transactional applications are used to perform business transactions, such as posting a journal entry or maintaining master data. Examples of transactional applications are Manage Internal Orders and Manage Customer line items.

Master data transactional apps enable a user-friendly experience for reviewing, downloading, creating, and editing master data. For example, in the Manage Cost Centers app, shown in Figure 2.5, users can perform all the following activities in a single screen:

  • Reporting based on cost centers
  • Filtering cost centers by multiple dimensions (e.g., cost center hierarchy, responsible user, etc.)
  • Creating new cost centers
  • Copying existing cost centers
  • Changing/editing existing cost centers

In the traditional GUI, a user would have to go through multiple separate transactions to perform each of the activities (KS01, KS02, KS03, KSH1, S_ALR_87013615, etc.).


Figure 2.5: Manage cost centers

If a certain filter is applied that you want to keep reviewing, there is an option to save this filter as a specific tile on the SAP Fiori home page (or to another existing SAP Fiori group, if preferred). This can be done by selecting the FIS4 (share icon) and then selecting FIS4. Upon this selection, you can personalize the name of your tile. For example, if I am the responsible accountant for IT cost centers, and I wanted to see all cost centers across my department (IT sales, IT finance, IT supply chain, etc.), I could set a tile with this specific filter so I can easily manage this data in case of changes or additions (see Figure 2.6).


Figure 2.6: Save as tile

Upon selecting FIS4, the tile will be saved to the home page (or whichever group is selected) and can be seen upon going back to that group (see Figure 2.7).


Figure 2.7: Personalized home page

Outside of master data, there are transactional applications for reporting and transaction processing as well. Another application is Manage Supplier Line Items, which replaces transaction FBL1N. This SAP Fiori app is geared toward filtering open and cleared accounts payable line items, but the reporting capabilities are much more robust than the legacy transaction. Since these filters are updated in the same screen as the report itself, it makes it easy to identify changes in the data based on revised filters (rather than having to selectExecute and move to a separate screen, as done in SAP ECC). For example, an accounts payable user can display all line items due for a supplier in the upcoming week. Then, if the date filter were changed to the upcoming month, additional line items could be easily identified. As the SAP Fiori UI is much more user friendly than the traditional GUI, icons in the dashboard will easily highlight which payables are overdue.

The Manage Supplier Line Items app also provides additional functionality not available in legacy transaction FBL1N. This includes the ability to drill down directly into each supplier document or roll up to an overall supplier balance, which used to have to be opened in a separate window. There are also multiple drill-down options to move from a display transaction to directly perform a business task, such as clearing vendor open items or posting a payment. This ease of going from displaying supplier line items to transacting upon them in the same screen is a key advantage of SAP Fiori apps over the previous GUI transactions, as shown in Figure 2.8.


Figure 2.8: Manage supplier line items

There are two locations on the SAP Fiori screen where users can select a saved layout or saved filter. The drop-down labeled Standard, above the line items and below the filter criteria, can be selected to save a layout or change to a pre-existing layout (see Figure 2.9). The icon FIS4 above the filter criteria can be selected in order to save or select a predefined filter. For example, if I wanted to filter all payables for a group of key suppliers or all payables in one company code, I could select this filter and save it as my own view to return to the next time I run the application.


Figure 2.9: Views and filters

2.1.2 Analytical applications

Analytical applications are used to analyze sets of data. These apps provide the user with real-time information and key performance indicators (KPIs) against these data sets. Analytical applications provide an easy-to-use drag-and-drop methodology for pulling in dimensions to report on line item or balance details. The results can be easily downloaded to Microsoft Excel and can also be converted from a columnar view to a graph view directly within the application in order to perform a quick visual analysis. This is incredibly useful in preparing executive-level summaries, as changes to the filters can be applied in real time, and the graph can be refreshed. Historically, this data would need to be extracted to Excel and pivot charts created to present to leadership. In case different dimensions were requested, the data would need to be downloaded all over again, slowing down the analysis.

Drill-down in analytical applications

The one downside of analytical applications is that they do not offer drill-down capability into line item details as standard functionality. While drill-down capability can be customized by query developers, most companies would choose not to do this as transactional applications can still be utilized for drill-down purposes.

The following activities can be performed with analytical apps:

  • Comparing planned and actual data
  • Comparing current data with prior year data
  • Filtering data by various dimensions
  • Visualizing data in various ways using provided charts (e.g., bar chart, pie chart, etc.)

An example of an analytical application is the P&L – Plan/Actual app. With this app, the user can generate customized views of pre-consolidated profit and loss statements. This app provides actual and planned dollar amounts and quantities as well as dollar and percentage variances. The self-service reporting capabilities in SAP Fiori give more flexibility to the user, which reduces reliance on IT to build reports and empowers business analysis.

Another analytical app is the Days Payable Outstanding (DPO) app, as shown in Figure 2.10. This app contains a prebuilt analytics screen for the days’ payable outstanding for the last 12 months. The view can be filtered by supplier (for both the top 10 and bottom 10 DPO) or by the company code. The user has the flexibility to change the chart type to keep with a dashboard view or in a table view for statistical reporting or extraction.


Figure 2.10: Days payable outstanding

2.1.3 Fact sheet applications

The last type of SAP Fiori application is a fact sheet application. Fact sheet applications are used to display key details about master data and to navigate directly to an associated master data transaction. Examples of these apps are Internal Order, Supplier, and WBS Element. These apps can be easily found by searching for the relevant master data element in the search bar. For example, I can search for a specific cost center in the Cost Center fact sheet, shown in Figure 2.11, to display relevant data such as the user responsible or the assigned profit center. I can then drill down to report on plan vs. actuals of this cost center or even perform transactional tasks, such as deletion and changes to the cost center.


Figure 2.11: Cost center fact sheet

Check SAP S/4HANA version

Please note that if you are using SAP S/4HANA 1909 or later, Cost Center – Fact sheet and Manage Cost Center Master Data are now combined into a single application: Manage Cost Centers.

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