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When SAP S/4HANA Central Finance is implemented in any organization is brings a change management of high magnitude. In this blog I will discuss about the areas which are impacted by the transformation and how. Also, it may or may not bring equal amount of change for every organization as it all depends on current processes, system landscape and organizational set up.

We will classify changes in TWO buckets

  • Functional

  • Technical

Let us start with Functional changes and discuss how they affects the organization


  • Process Change – When S/4HANA is implemented every organization plans to implement the desirable (new) design in terms of financial processes as well as Data harmonization which may be the debt from over last few years and is accumulated due to the independence of the source systems or due to the mergers and integration strategy. With implementation of CFIN few processes like Payments (and some more) may be executed in S/4HANA system them the current processes are impacted and may be done in a different way. This may result in changes to the people skillset as well as their roles. Magnitude of change may depend on the processes being implemented in S/4HANA System.


  • Reporting Change – The day process is changed reporting also changes. Let’s assume the current ECC systems sends data to business warehouse then the process which is shifted to S/4HANA may also be generating the data like in case of payments the payment information now is in S/4HANA system so those reporting changes needs to be accommodated and depending on the information sent from ERP system to the number of reporting systems the magnitude may vary.


  • Master Data Strategy – With implementation of S/4HANA as a central system this is one of the key area which needs to be considered. Organization needs to decide on centralization or decentralization of master data activities and according to the approach tool needs to be decided. However in any case there is a process impact as any data created in source system needs to be replicated in central system or vice versa and mappings of data need to be maintained. For more details read this blog. CLICK HERE!!!


  • Configuration Governance – When Central Finance system is live this is one of the major area impacted. Its kind of similar to master data but in most of the cases in needs to be decentralized. It mostly talks about the configuration changes happening in the ECC system an how those are managed in S/4HANA system for alignment as if ECC is changed (like we create new document type) and the relevant changes are not managed in S/4HANA system then accounting documents will result in errors. It applies to wider areas and document type is just one example. There is no standard way to manage it and it has to be managed and aligned in customer specific way. More complexity comes when we have more source systems.

Now I will move towards the Technical changes


  • Roles & Authorizations – When the processes move from one system to another it impacts the security processes as well. For example payments which were getting executed from ECC are not moved to S/4HANa so the payment roles need to be designed in S/4HANA and has to be blocked in ECC. This is just one example there are several areas with which this area is impacted like Fiori application, AIF error handling roles etc.


  • Release Strategy – Every landscape follow the rleease strategy to move the changes to productive environment which may be weekly, fortnighly or even daily. With introduction of connected landscape (ECC & CFIN) it is important that the release strategy is aligned on both the sides of the coin. If changes are in production on either side only then errors may come in AIF based on what is changed in the system during that release. This also asks for testing alignment in lower enviornments which actually asks for over all activity alignment and when the systems are managed by different partners and different people then it becomes a challenge.


  • Refresh Strategy – In general, practice the lower environments namely Quality and Pre-Production systems are refreshed with production system data at periodic interval. It may be annually or quarterly based on the need of the organization. As long as systems are independent this can be planned easily taking in to account system by system or few systems together but with Central Finance connected landscape the refresh needs to b planned for all systems in scope together. If this is not done with right alignment and planning then data in the CFIN (lower environments), systems may not usable for test (other projects/Regression) purposes.


  • System Changes during CFIN Implementation – When CFIN is implemented it may ask for some changes on the source system side like stop using a field in vendor master or start blocking the internal order periodically or any othr technical change which is relevant for CFIN replication but at the same time it may impact the existing process on source system side.


These are some structural changes which have been seen in SAP S/4HANA Central Finance Implementations and their can be more based on organizational setup and scope of program you are in.

I have mostly used payment (central Payment) as one example in this blog to explain the situation. It can be more processes like credit management, central closing etc so payment should not be the only benchmark to assess the situation.

I hope it helps in planning post Go Live standing organization as the amount of changes it brings is huge.

Happy reading and keep sharing your experience in comment section..
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