Group Reporting in CFIN
CFIN or Central Finance system is a deployment option offered by SAP S4/HANA as an add-on and is linked to source ERP systems, both SAP and non-SAP, with real-time imitation of financial transactions. It enables a centralized execution of transactions, business planning, group consolidation, as well as reporting and analytics.
SAP CFIN benefits an organization’s finance division with the key advantages of SAP S/4HANA and thereby, leads to a larger SAP S/4HANA transformation. It provides an organization-wide financial overview in real time.
Group Reporting is a consolidation solution that provides analytical reports and supports the computation, creation, and disclosure of consolidated reports. It also provides information on the performance of a corporate group and functions for group accounting and management reporting by supporting process control, data collection, data quality control, consolidation, and reporting.
Capturing of Actual & Planned Data
Group reporting helps in bringing actual data and planned data under one table. Table 1 is the primary data that stores all the consolidation data created after collecting actual data from ACDOCA and plan data from ACDOCP. ACDOCA is a standard General Ledger Accounting Transparent Table in SAP FI application. ACDOCA contains actual data based on the Universal Journal line items of the financial fields and a lot of information from other modules. ACDOCP has the same structure as the Universal Journal and is used to store all planning data. This table covers period-based planning like general ledger planning, cost center planning, etc.
Incorporating Data From Outside SAP S/4HANA Companies
It has been confirmed that companies that run on SAP S/4HANA keep their Actual and Plan data in ACDOCA and ACDOCP. Therefore, companies that run a SAP ERP / ECC system can use the CFIN system to make sure that the Actual data is also real-time available within SAP S/4HANA.
A CFIN solution is made up of a combination of SAP systems of different releases. It is also possible to imitate Financial Accounting (FI) and Management Accounting (CO) postings into this Central Finance system as this system allows to create a common reporting structure. This common reporting structure can be prepared by mapping different accounting entities such as account, profit center, or cost center, in source systems to one common set of master data in the Central Finance system. Post this step, financial accounting (FI) and management accounting (CO) postings can be replicated. These posting are combined into one document – the universal journal entry and stored in the table ACDOCA. Since all data is stored in ACDOCA, data is real-time available in S/4HANA for Group Reporting.
Using S/4HANA Group Reporting Data Collection is possible by running SAP Cloud Platform, which is SAP’s open platform as a service available for developing cloud business applications in a fully provisioned environment. This platform is also suitable to run SAP Analytics Cloud and is the strategic application for Planning & Analytics.
Using this application in combination with SAP S/4HANA feeds the table ACDOCP. Companies that do not use a SAP ERP / ECC system and do not want to use the CFIN solution can use the S/4 HANA Group Reporting Data Collection option. Data Mapping apps allow the users to define mapping between source dimensions from any external system and target dimensions available in SAP S/4HANA. In this case, the source is limited to CSV- files, and the destination is limited to the ACDOCU table of SAP S/4HANA for Group Reporting. The mappings can be directly created in Microsoft Excel files and then uploaded in the data mapping definition. These mapping files are used to transform data and to import the data to ACDOCU. It is expected that SAP might bring in more developments and innovations soon.
Impact Of Changes In Data Flows
If any adjustment is done locally on actual or plan data using SAP Analytics Cloud within SAP S/4HANA or any SAP ERP company using CFIN, it is real-time available within SAP S/4HANA for Group Reporting in local currency or any other reporting currency, any structure (consolidated or simply aggregated) that the user likes. Within this configuration of the presentation or group adjustments that have an impact on single entity level (a subsidiary), the adjusted data is real-time available at consolidated level but not at local or aggregated (using a reporting hierarchy) level since the adjustment is done in ACDOCU and not in ACDOCA.
It is important to remember that any local adjustment made for any non-SAP ERP company that uses SAP S/4HANA Group Reporting Data Collection is not real-time available within SAP S/4HANA for Group Reporting. This is because this local adjustment must be firstly loaded to the table ACDOCU. The same rule applies for presentation or group adjustments that have an impact on single entity level (a subsidiary).
Significance of Real-Time Consolidated Data
The companies that report actual or plan data using SAP Analytics Cloud within SAP S/4HANA or within any SAP ERP company using Central Finance have their data available at all levels – local, consolidated or aggregated in real time. For non-SAP ERP company that uses SAP S/4HANA Group Reporting Data Collection, data is available in real-time. This, in turn, makes it possible for the SAP companies to have real-time consolidation but not always.
Based on GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles), real-time financial consolidation seems irrelevant. For instance, currency conversion at a ‘real-time rate’ makes from a business view more sense, but it is not the basis for International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). P&L-items and movements in balance sheet items are converted at average month rate and closing values of balance sheet items are valued at month end rate. So, it does not seem to have much added value for financial (responsibility) reporting towards any stakeholder.
From a business perspective, real time consolidation seems very interesting. But real-time consolidation in the form of a balance sheet or cash flow statement is less likely as these processes are still very much monthly driven. The real-time financial information like cash position, working capital, gross and net margins require instant information due to rapid changing (market or business) circumstances, but this is more related to information at local level or (at most) at aggregated level. Real-time consolidation has real business value in the context of shorter monthly reporting cycles and that benefit on its own.
Group reporting improves the consolidation process with its simplified architecture, continuous accounting and Unified local and group close. However, the unavailable custom extensions in universal journal entry and multicurrency reporting, and the need to rely on Manual FS Data mapping for consolidation in group reporting for non-S/4 users leads to the need of working on its improvement.