28 May 2012

Mark Chalfen

Mark Chalfen

Former SAP S/4HANA Global Lead

I have been blogging about SAP FSCM for over 2 years now. On the back of these blogs I've had a lot of questions and feedback from both customers and consultants. . The feedback has come from a mixed audience, some are experienced consultants and some are just starting out and have different interests and concerns. I have put together a mixture of frequently asked questions (FAQ's).

1 - Why should I use SAP FSCM?

This is probably the most common question and normally comes from a customer based audience. My answer here is pretty simple, if you are using standard FI-AR to manage your credit collections process, SAP FSCM provides tools to enhance your process. The tools in isolation will not solve any problems or add any direct benefit. However, the various modules will improve control and visibility, and enable the team to process more customers with a common process. Check out the following blogs:

5 reasons why your accounts receivable team should be using a collections worklist within SAP FSCM

What exactly is SAP FSCM? A high level guide to the processes and benefits

2 - What version of SAP do I need to be on?

If you are using SAP ERP 6 then the core processes and functionality can be accessed. However, it should not be overlooked that new functionality has been released in the latest Enhancement Packages. Some customers can see the benefit of implementing SAP FSCM immediately and will work with their existing Enhancement Package version. Others will recognise some of the new functionality and wait until their ERP system is on the relevant Enhancement Package.

Please note that in order to benefit from the new functionality within the Enhancement Packages, the relevant Business Function Sets need to be activated.


The following blog covers the new functionality available within Enhancement Package 5 in more detail - Enhancement Pack 5 functionality within SAP FSCM.

3 - Is my business too small/ big to use SAP FSCM?

As I mentioned before if you currently manage your Credit Collections process utilising the SAP FI-AR module then you can use SAP FSCM.  The size of your business should not be seen as a blocker to move to SAP FSCM. In some cases, having large volumes of customers or large volumes of invoices increases the potential benefits. The real measure is to look at the potential process improvements. If you want to perform credit checking and scoring in a more efficient manner SAP FSCM will improve your existing process.

SAP has recently released an RDS to provide an efficient process to implement SAP FSCM, reducing the cost of implementation. This is targeted at smaller customers wanting an accelerated implementation. Please note this is only available for customers on Enhancement Package 5 and beyond.

Check out the following blog - Is a RDS the best tool to implement SAP Receivables Management

4 - What module(s) should I start with?

Collections Management is the most popular and most simple module to implement.  However, to fully see the benefits of Collections Management the other 3 modules should be implemented as well.

When asked the question, I normally turn this around and try to align the customer's strategic objectives from the implementation to decide the scope of the implementation. Customers who have high volumes of customer invoice disputes will obviously look towards Dispute Management - however aligning this with Collections Management joins the gaps between disputes and credit collections.  Where a customer has bad debt issues and pays significant attention to Credit Limits and Credit Exposure, Credit Management will be more appealing - however the Credit Risk Class and Credit Exposure can be used to influence the Collections Worklist.

5 - What are the benefits of SAP FSCM?

The process improvement that can be achieved can be broken down into a number of different streams.

  • Process efficiency and controls can be seen within the Credit Collection teams and other associated teams.
  • The Collection worklist ensures the correct customer is called at the right time within the Collection process. This will enable more customers to be called, as the volume of effort to record a customer contact is simplified into a single transaction.
  • Logging disputes removes manual offline processes, and reducing the time spent to log and process disputes will directly improve the cash collection process leading to more cash being received in a quicker time frame.
  • The new version of Credit Management provides more accurate credit data using internal and external data, reducing the potential risk for bad debts.

6- Where is reporting found for SAP FSCM?

As with most new SAP functionality, reporting in core ERP is limited within SAP FSCM. Implementing just the core SAP FSCM modules alone will leave a gap in terms of business reporting. Within SAP BW there is some good business content which is simple to implement. Reporting should be part of the initial build within the project. Some customers who do not use SAP BW will design their own ABAP reports which is must better than using the standard content. Any project that does not consider reporting will find it almost impossible to measure the performance of the various teams.

7 - How do you implement SAP FSCM?

It is really important to note that a SAP FSCM project is 80% process re-design and 20% software implementation. It is therefore imperative that any business implementation of SAP FSCM aligns to these percentages. An implementation team cannot work in isolation from the business as the screens, terminology and processes are considerable different to core SAP FI-AR.

A business cannot input into any solution unless they understand the full capability of a system, otherwise they are over reliant on the implementation partner to make decisions for them. With this in mind, running business workshops on a proof of concept within the customer's landscape enables the customer to make decisions with a better understanding. In turn this will reduce the subsequent phases including, build, test and training. Check out the following blogs:

How to ensure a successful SAP FSCM Collections Management implementation

Just 1 tip for your SAP FSCM project

8 - Do I need to have PI to use SAP FSCM Credit Management?

The simple answer here is no if you have Enhancement Package 5. However you need to implement WS-RM to replace the job PI does. If you have a PI server it does not make sense to look at the WS-RM option. If you do not have PI and want Credit Management it is worth considering WS-RM (if you have Enhancement Pack 5). To be fair this is more of technology question for your BASIS team to decide the landscape approach they plan to adopt.

9 - How do I design a global template for SAP FSCM?

Before designing the processes to support the Credit Collections team, the organisational units need to be defined. Collections and Credit Management have separate organisational units to represent the various levels within a Company. Where measure are to be common, organisational units can be shared, and where differences are required unique values are required. Breaking out the full implementation into smaller chunks enables the solution to be rolled out and enabling quick wins.

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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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