Two birds, one stone

28 January 2011

Mark Chalfen

Mark Chalfen

Former SAP S/4HANA Global Lead

Everyone likes it when one action solves two problems or issues. This blog will look at a common issue within Finance and how a parallel activity can resolve the issue.

Cash Management – part of the core SAP Financials solution for a long time now can be overlooked by clients, due to the perceived accuracy of forecasting when customer cash will be received. Analysis can be done to work out when in the chase cycle a customer is most likely to pay and therefore this can be linked into Cash Management by linking into a planning level (an indicator within Cash Management to group data). This assumes that a customer will pay all of their outstanding invoices.

However in the real world customers will occasionally have issues with invoices and not pay the full amount that is due.  Historically this would have been managed via some form of excel spreadsheet to record customer queries and disputes. Having an offline dispute management system and an online cash management system makes the accuracy of the standard Cash Management reporting weak or involves a high volume of manual changes within Cash Management to produce more accurate reporting.

Within some of the recent enhancements to SAP FSCM within Dispute Management is the ability to update standard Finance fields based on the status of a customer dispute. A simple example of this could be a rule that all disputes raised change the planning level to a new specific level to indicate that the invoice is in dispute. This will then be seen in the Cash Management report to indicate that whilst those invoices are due for payment, payment is not expected and therefore can be ignored from the basic Cash Management report. Within the lifecycle of a dispute the status reflects the current position of the dispute. You could have a status of “in progress” or “passed to sales”. Within these Dispute Statuses it is clear that the dispute is still open and therefore the planning level should remain the same. However you may also have other statuses such as “Rejected”, “Credit Created” or “Resolved”. Whilst these do not close the dispute, the status would indicate that the invoices within the dispute have been resolved and therefore it is assumed the customer would now be paying the invoices that were in dispute. Within FSCM configuration you can set rules to change the planning level back to an active level so this is now visible within Cash Management and the user of the report will assume that payment is pending.

For a client to benefit from the benefits mentioned above, you will need to activate Dispute Management as well as Cash Management. By activating each module there are a number of other benefits, however by implementing both together there are further benefits that are not achievable if only one module or solution is activated.

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About the author

Mark Chalfen

Former SAP S/4HANA Global Lead

Mark tells it straight - as an ex-boxer, what else would you expect?  Both his knowledge and experience of SAP products allow him to cut to the chase dispelling myths and hearsay.

As a result of working closely with various SAP Finance Product Management teams on product development, Mark understands these products inside out. This depth of understanding has led to him become a ‘thought leader’ in his field; after all, it is not often SAP consultants have helped shape and develop the very product they are selling.

Having such a strong relationship with SAP alongside being an SAP Mentor and Moderator means that Mark has an extensive network within SAP. For clients, this relationship proves to be a huge advantage and leads to configuration issues being resolved rapidly.

Mark has worked on short proof of concepts through to year-long multi-million pound global roll-outs. However, no matter how large or small the project, the true value Mark brings to his work is in the guidance he provides to senior stakeholders. In essence, he assists them to implement more effective processes and drive better behaviours within their finance teams.

Helping organisations transform their business with SAP S/4HANA is Mark’s current focus. The benefits of S/4HANA are numerous, including the simplification of tasks, embedded analytics and improved user engagement. Whilst the eventual move from SAP Business Suite into S/4HANA is inevitable, the journey to it is not always clear. Mark’s ability to understand an organisation’s needs coupled with his deep understanding of S/4HANA provides clarity and eases their transition.

Bluefin and SAP S/4HANA - welcome to the one horse race

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