SAP S/4HANA Finance for group reporting implementations: five valuable lessons learned

As each company’s situation is different, implementing SAP S/4HANA Finance for group reporting is no standard trick performed in a single-finger snap. At cpmview, we find evaluating each project very important and using the lessons learned to improve our implementation methodology continuously. In this blog, we share five valuable lessons learned for successfully implementing SAP Group Reporting.

Lessons learned from prior SAP S/4HANA Finance for group reporting implementations

#1 Prepare your data well before the SAP S/4HANA Finance for group reporting release

Preparation of data prior to the SAP Groep Reporting release is crucial for the success of the program. The breakdown of data is very important for reporting. This makes a clear definition of transaction types in S/4HANA mandatory to correctly prepare complex reports on cash flow, for example.

When you start working on the program architecture, make sure all necessary information and data are available. Define the transaction types and master data based on the mission statement of the company. This will be your input for further configuration. If you don’t define the correct information at the start, your reports might become incomplete.

#2 Pay attention to goodwill calculation

Goodwill calculation in consolidation can vary based on different requirements. The business should examine the pre-delivered solution to see if it meets its requirements. In case it is not enough, alternative calculations need to be performed.

From a financial perspective, consolidation is very complex en difficult. A lot of companies strip the data. Or they use different accounting principles, like the activity-based or rule-based method. These methods probably do not work for a correct calculation of goodwill. Our advice is to examine if this can be solved with other customisation or some coding. If not, prepare the goodwill calculation with manual adjustments and posting.

#3 Sometimes, standard automatic elimination rules will require further manual postings

Manual adjustments may be needed for the complete consolidated data if standard elimination rules are insufficient. Or if it is not feasible to create elimination standards in the system, for instance, if there is no standard rule.

#4 Boost system performance by leaving out unnecessary breakdowns

The group reporting process comprises many separate tasks, like data collection, calculations, currency conversions, and eliminations. If the data set is big, this can lead to a huge data load, complex and time-consuming calculations, and as a result, significant memory usage. Running the entire process can take an enormous amount of time or even cause system failures.

Take a close look at your master data and ask yourself: do I really need all those deep-level data breakdowns? Maybe some breakdown dimensions are obsolete and can be removed. Leaving out unnecessary data can lower the data load, speed up the reporting process, and drastically boost the performance of your system. When you design the system, you need to select the mandatory dimensions. For other dimensions, check if you really need them for consolidation purposes.

#5 Team up with other workstreams

A connection with other modules like Finance & Control is key for the success of the program. SAP S/4HANA Finance for group reporting depends on F&C (S/4HANA module) and uses a lot of the configuration and content from that module.

Smooth cooperation and communication between all workstreams are vital for proper implementation. At the start, align all departments involved and define the requirements for GR together. Identify and investigate blocking points in the group consolidation. And configure all workstreams to secure access to the Group Reporting program.

How does this approach make us slightly different from our competitors?

No implementation process is the same. Our strength is in preparing each GR implementation: as we directly incorporate the lessons learned from previous implementations into our methodology, we keep developing our knowledge of the technical, complicated topics. This lets us dive into the more complicated details early to avoid problems later. Saving our customers time and money during the implementation process.

We use a clear and concise SAP GR methodology and have a solid knowledge of the GR application. Our implementation team consists of certified and experienced GR consultants and business advisors who can advise on more complicated topics. Discussing those topics at the start of the project helps us to quickly analyse and define company-specific features and, as a result, secure the success of the program.