Welcome to my blog series of Intelligent Technologies for Finance with SAP S/4HANA Cloud/on premise.
In this blog post, we see how the traditional accounts payable processes which were manual, tedious, time consuming gets automated, simplified, modernized with innovations in intelligent technologies like SAP Intelligent Robotic Process Automation, Machine Learning, Situation Handling and Analytics.
Accounts Payable processes –
Business Partner - Mass Creation, Maintenance
Supplier Invoices - Mass Create, Upload
Reconcile GR/IR mismatches
Collaborate to clear GR/IR mismatches
Supplier Down Payment request creation
Reply to Supplier Invoice Status check
Check the completeness of Supplier master data
Accounts Payable team traditionally used to perform all the above tasks manually in system making them time consuming, requiring more full-time employees, also their repetitive nature made them tedious, error prone. With innovations in Intelligent technologies, these tasks are automated, simplified, thus Accounts Payable team can focus on more strategic tasks creating actual business value.
SAP Intelligent Robotic Process Automation
Let’s see how Innovations in Intelligent Robotic Process Automation automates the accounts payable processes.
1. Business Partner
Mass Creation of Business Partner from Excel (58Z)
The Mass Creation of Business Partner bot will read an Excel spreadsheet and create the data master using an API, in SAP S/4HANA Cloud.
Mass Creation of Business Partner (4MZ)
This process bot provides a mass-change capability that runs automated master data creation using MDG (Master Data Governance) web service in SAP S/4HANA Cloud and SAP S/4HANA On-Premise 1809 and 1909.
Automatic Business Partners Update Based on the Employees Master Data (55D)
This process bot automates the task of confirming the Business Partner’s sensitive data details when it was created or changed in SAP S/4HANA Cloud and SAP S/4HANA On-Premise 1809,1909 and 2020.
Business Partner Master Data Check (4FB)
This process bot automates a check to seek missing data and notify the same to the users to prevent downstream problems. It checks whether the bank details, payment terms of suppliers, and the customer details such as accounting clerk, dunning procedure, dunning clerk, and dunning block are available. The bot sends e-mails to the respective recipients with the details of the missing business partner master data in SAP S/4HANA Cloud and SAP S/4HANA On-Premise 1809, 1909, and 2020
2. Supplier Invoices
Create Supplier Invoices from Spreadsheets (4WA)
Automating Creating Supplier Invoices from Spreadsheets and Uploading Additional Attachments into SAP S/4HANA Cloud. At the end, it also gives a log with summary of automates it performed in SAP S/4HANA Cloud.
Automated Upload of Manual Entries via API (4CA)
The bot automatically collects template of vendor invoice from Microsoft Outlook, extracts and validates the content, and post the entries into SAP S/4HANA Cloud or SAP S/4HANA 1909/2020 via API. At the end, it also gives a log with summary of automates it performed.
Automated Release of Blocked Supplier Invoices (5BG)
This bot can remove the blocks with Item Amount on supplier invoices. It is based on the Web GUI app Release Blocked Invoices. It can automate the process of releasing blocks on Item Amount for multiple supplier invoices. At the end, it also gives a log with summary of automates it performed. This bot is available for SAP S/4HANA Cloud.
Supplier Invoice Status Checks (49W)
Accounts Payable receive multiple requests from Supplier to provide the status of invoice(s) that Supplier shows as unpaid or requesting more details. This bot will automate the supplier invoice status check process, it will read emails from Suppliers for status check, investigate them in SAP S/4HANA system, prepare an output excel file with status and also reply back to suppliers thus automating the complete process, making it faster and error-free. It also gives a log with summary of automates it performed. This bot is available for SAP S/4HANA Cloud.
3. Supplier Down Payment Requests
Supplier Down Payment Request (4AC)
The down payment on a purchase order requires the user to open several applications to create and then post the down payments. The solution is not scalable in case of high volume of Down Payment Request. This bot automates the supplier down payment process. It also gives a log with summary of automates it performed. This bot is available for SAP S/4HANA Cloud and SAP S/4HANA 1809, 1909, and 2020.
The GR/IR monitor is an SAP S/4HANA application that helps accountants process cases where the goods receipts and the invoice receipts are not exactly matched and written off automatically. The processors set the statuses of purchase orders to indicate the next actions that must be taken. This expedites the decision-making process, reduces manual efforts required and avoids potential errors, thus assisting in faster financial close by reducing the number of open items.
With the automated processing using machine learning the machine is trained with the collected data set and once the training is complete it can provide recommendations to the accounts payable accountant. Thus the machine learning feature of the GR/IR application makes a prediction of the next status based on the history of processing. The predictions are provided by a Machine Learning (ML) service that runs on the Cloud Foundry.
For SAP S/4HANA Cloud, the Monitoring of Goods and Invoice Receipts (scope item 2V7) and Machine Learning for Monitoring of Goods and Invoice Receipts (scope item 2ZS) must both be active. Additional configuration steps as given in set up instructions of scope item (scope item 2ZS) must be carried out.
Click here for more information on the architecture of the Machine Learning Service.
Situation Handing facilitates Collaboration among different departments for GR/IR Reconciliation.
Situation Handling is a feature of SAP S/4HANA systems which allows you to notify a set of Business Users regarding a specific situation. Business users receive an automatic notification and are directed to relevant tasks to take necessary preventive measures with regards to the situation.
The root cause for the difference in GR/IR needs to be solved usually through collaboration of different departments. There is high manual effort required in accumulating the information, collaborating with different parties, generating reports and investigating the root cause.
This expedites the decision-making process, reduces manual efforts required and avoids potential errors. As a result, assisting in faster financial close by reducing the number of open items.
The Situation Types need to be configured and enabled by using a template within the scope item 2V7 for SAP S/4HANA Cloud.
Embedded Analytics: SAP Analytics Cloud in SAP S/4HANA Cloud or on premise.
SAP S/4 HANA embedded analytics is direct real-time analysis in SAP S/4 HANA using Fiori applications, which means it enables operational reporting on live transactional data.