Back in 1973, SAP launched its very first software solution: the RF financial accounting system. As the world has changed dramatically since then, so has the software that SAP develops to support finance. How can SAP S/4HANA help you boost the efficiency and value of your finance operations and management? We’ve listed four good reasons for CFOs to transition to SAP S/4HANA.
When SAP introduced its SAP HANA enterprise software suite, the popular FI/CO (Finance/Controlling) module was the first to move to the HANA platform. SAP S/4HANA takes advantage of HANA’s in-memory processing speed and streamlined analytics capabilities to support finance operations as well as finance management – from accounting and financial close, treasury and cash management, accounts payable and receivable to finance planning, risk management, and more.
“SAP S/4HANA is packed with features to simplify the job of its users – CFOs and their teams, in this case,” explains Stef Janssen, manager in SAP Finance & Business Controlling at delaware. “The platform helps them improve efficiency and reduce costs. In addition, it enables lightning-fast financials reporting. In this way, CFOs can create the added value the management team expects from them.”
Stef highlights four reasons why SAP S/4HANA is worth the investment:
At the heart of SAP S/4HANA’s financial module is the Universal Journal, which brings together all finance transactions. Stef: “In the past, the finance department had to use data from different datasets for financial accounting and controlling – which required a lot of reconciliation efforts.
The advantages of centralization are crystal clear: there is no more need to reconcile data from different sources, no risk of losing precious data in reports and no duplicate data. “That means that the finance team can work much faster, eliminate errors and, as such, cut costs. And as there’s one single source of truth, it becomes easier for CFOs to respond quickly to inquiries about the financial implications of business decisions or to provide management with insights.”
To further boost those insights, SAP S/4HANA comes with embedded analytics: a set of analytical features that enable users to perform real-time analytics on live transactional data. “Traditionally, SAP users complemented their traditional SAP FI/CO module with SAP BW, as that was the easiest way to draw insights from the financial figures. That is quite a complex process and the analytical reports were not available in real time,” Stef explains. “Thanks to the embedded analytics, the finance team can now make day-to-day decisions based on real-time data. For example, they can instantly advice sales on what discount they can give to a customer.”
The SAP Fiori user interface of SAP S/4HANA revolutionizes the user experience and makes working more fun, as it has a contemporary look and feel and truly focuses on ease of use. When users log into SAP S/4HANA, they see the SAP Fiori Launchpad: a collection of tiles that represent business applications. Some tiles can display live status indicators, such as the number of open tasks to be completed (e.g. the number of payment proposals to be reviewed), or KPIs like the total amount of overdue receivables or accounts payable. By clicking the tile, the user launches the related business application and sees more details on which to take action.
“The SAP Fiori Launchpad is always role-based: it displays only those applications the users need in their jobs. That means that CFOs see a totally different launchpad than colleagues who take care of more administrative tasks. “The Launchpad is a step-change difference in the way finance teams work,” Stef says. “From experience, we see that it does require some time to adapt – but once they get the hang of it, everyone agrees that it’s really lean and self-explanatory. Moreover, the analytical information that is pushed to their Launchpad helps them work more effectively.”
Finance teams who want to add extra business value, will appreciate the new smart apps that SAP launched recently, like the SAP Cash or the SAP GR/IR (goods received/invoices received) applications. While the Cash app matches payments with invoices, the GR/IR app automates the GR/IR clearing process. Both use machine learning capabilities to intelligently automate the matching process. “Finance departments used to spend a lot of time sifting through data and asking colleagues in other departments for information, especially in the GI/GR reconciliation process. More than matching and clearing the receipts automatically, the app informs users on the best next steps to take when an exception is detected. In this way, it helps them save lots of time – which they can use to take finance to the next level of strategic thinking,” explains Stef.
Considering that SAP S/4HANA helps to boost efficiency and effectiveness and, on top of that, adds value to the finance management processes, it’s a perfect fit with delaware’s three-wave finance transformation roadmap. “SAP S/4HANA helps CFOs and their teams to work more effectively in their traditional tasks related to accounting, checks and balances and financial control. On top of that, it provides a a 360-degree view of the organization, which helps CFOs to provide the management team with strategic advice,” Stef concludes. “Just like CFOs are gradually evolving towards their new ‘strategic’ roles, companies can gradually adopt SAP’s HANA-based finance suite, starting with the basics and then adding new applications to boost value.”