Standardization issues, reconciliation confusion, documentation concerns…OH MY!
Read on to see the full story about how one of our expert SAP Financial Accounting and Controlling (FICO) consultants used his extensive system experience and technologically-savvy mindset to solve even the most complex issues for a major manufacturing client.
The Client Backstory
A large manufacturing client with a strong worldwide presence struggled to find their way through issues with segmented control centers and a lack of resources needed to configure SAP based ERP solutions to meet their specific employee and organizational needs. These issues, paired with employee turnover and an overall lack of understanding among employees, was a recipe for disaster if they didn’t bring in an expert to help…and fast.
From improving knowledge transfer between employees to outlining standardization procedures for documentation and day-to-day operations, finding feasible solutions for issues with system controls, and navigating the paradigm shift that comes with new system implementations and upgrades, our client needed an SAP FICO expert — someone who could not only solve their complex technical issues, but could also communicate with team members to ensure they understood how to operate their SAP system in the best way possible.
A Look at the Consultant
With an extensive background in accounting and more than 25 years of SAP FICO experience, our consultant was sure to fit the bill for this client. He is known as a “jack of all trades” in the SAP FICO arena and is no stranger to solving complex documentation, standardization, or business process configuration issues.
Our SAP consultant provided the expertise our client needed to both fix the complicated reconciliation issues within their SAP system and effectively train their internal employees to be able to keep up once he was gone.
“These employees just needed someone to back them up, to be there to identify their biggest pain points and help them find the best solutions.” And, that’s exactly what this consultant did for the client – identifying the issue, finding the best solution, conducting the execution and system setup to fit business needs, and providing comprehensive training for employees. That’s the name of the game for this top-notch SAP FICO consultant.
The Issues at Hand
When it comes to getting the job done, this consultant is no stranger to a challenge, and he has all the right tools at his disposal to help clients succeed, no matter what. Here are a few of the main issues the client faced, as well as how our consultant used his SAP Financial Accounting and Controlling knowledge to lead them to success.
Lack of Knowledge Transfer
The first (and, arguably most important) issue our client faced was a major lack of knowledge transfer by employees who didn’t understand how their own SAP system worked to best meet the needs of their current business processes. This lack of training and understanding was the result of a decentralized system and too much employee turnover.
With the client’s SAP system based in a different country, employees in this facility didn’t have the right access or permissions to configure their SAP modules and system as a whole to best fit their business needs and requirements. And, pair that with staff changeover and too many employees not knowing the reports offered by SAP, and your team is in a bit of a pickle.
Our consultant worked with the client to identify the core system issues, help them navigate inherited issues from other organizational branches, and improve knowledge transfer to keep everyone on the same page when it comes to system configuration, documentation, and operation.
“Humans will be humans, always looking to find the easiest way to do their job.” Employees tip-toeing around system requirements and regulations and finding non standard ways to complete tasks within their SAP system was another big pain point for this client.
With a multitude of employees following different guidelines and making their own steps to complete core SAP Finance and Controlling tasks comes an ever-increasing amount of confusion, lack of documentation for standard procedures, and less-than-optimized business processes. And, on a larger scale, when an employee who does not follow SAP best practices leaves the company, their successors are left in a sea of confusion trying to understand how the different operational methods match up to do the same job. Sounds like an issue that could be pretty easily avoided, right?
This consultant realigned best practices, including documentation and reconciliation processes, to ensure employees operated the system properly and keep each employee, department, and location on the same page within their SAP system.
Another area of concern for this client was an unclear scope and shifting priorities.
With a lack of cohesion and engagement between employees, departments, and areas of the entire organization, our consultant was faced with a challenge to not only outline a plan for system standardization and integration based on ideas of other internal employees, but also understand what each employee and team needed throughout each phase of the project to operate in the most efficient and effective ways possible.
Our consultant was able to provide exactly what this client needed by simply understanding the system. As an expert in SAP FICO module configuration, documentation, and training, our consultant played all the right cards to get the employees back on the right track and provide solutions that met even the most complicated business necessities.
With an SAP Center of Excellence (CoE) in a different country, our client also lacked the controls needed to configure their own system to meet key employee and business requirements. And, by not owning their own SAP system, our client not only inherited the issues and inefficiencies of other departments and branches, but also lacked the tools and resources they needed to properly configure and manage their SAP solutions.
Our consultant played an important role in not only communicating more effectively with key stakeholders to define business goals and system requirements, but also providing standardized processes and prescriptive procedures that ensure this company location stays on the same page when it comes to SAP system setup and operation.
A Deeper Dive Into Our Consultant’s Solutions
Our client recognized that they lacked the right resources, skills, and personnel needed to transform their SAP system to best fit the needs of their internal employees and their organization as a whole. Here are a few of the key ways our consultant helped the client standardize their business processes to get the most out of their SAP investment.
“Standardized processes and procedures are a huge accelerator in solving issues within the SAP system.” With standardized processes, the same job can be done by different people, making it easier to maximize system and employee productivity.
Our consultant understands that standardized policies and procedures are a major key to success when dealing with system configuration and keeping everyone on the same page throughout each phase of implementation, integration, or upgrade within the core SAP system.
From conducting structured testing internally to providing standardized reporting processes, and outlining more formal standardization policies, our consultant helped the client streamline business processes and maximize overall investment in their SAP FICO module.
Reconciliation accounts in SAP are used to reconcile sub-ledger accounts, like accounts payable, accounts receivable, and fixed assets, with the comprehensive general ledger to ensure transactions match up with their supported documentation. Reconciliation in SAP also helps users identify and resolve any discrepancies between data found in different modules or areas of the organization.
This expert SAP FICO consultant understands the importance of reconciliation in keeping business processes aligned and all employees up-to-date with any system or operation changes. He was able to create table queries within SAP to make the upload and management of large amounts (we’re talking millions of records here) of data easier for internal employees.
Our consultant also created a spreadsheet to simplify reconciliation and master data management in SAP and leveraged standard SAP tools to clear data and ensure all their SAP processes were being carried out correctly.
The GRIR Difference
The goods receipt, invoice receipt (GRIR) accounting-based concept is used to recognize an accounting liability before an invoice is received. Without proper GRIR configuration and recognition, companies could suffer from double counting liabilities, a process breakdown that cannot happen to maintain organizational success.
Our consultant helped the client outline standardized processes within their own SAP landscape, and he provided documentation to help users understand how to use standard SAP tools to fix any issues with double counting or unrecorded liabilities quickly and efficiently.
Products like SAP often become community property, meaning that different employees will use the system in a way that suits their needs (which is not always the correct way). Our consultant believes that each SAP system should outline prescriptive processes to help users understand the right way to operate each area of the system to meet specific needs.
With this, standardized documentation procedures and policies were one of the biggest keys to success for this consultant and the respective client. Our consultant not only taught internal employees how to run reports to get the exact data they needed, but he also provided documentation standards to help keep up with cost center and line item reports.
And, with process standardization and cohesive documentation, if something in the system goes wrong, system administrators and employees can easily solve the issue because everyone is operating the processes in the same way. Our consultant changed the way this organization carried out key documentation processes, and even created a document with step-by-step instructions for users to ensure employees knew how to operate the system in the right way.
With any new system, module, or functionality comes an essential piece of the puzzle: training. Your organization could have the best technology possible and all the right resources to get the job done, but if your employees are not educated and trained on system capabilities and their roles within the technology, it could be all for naught.
Our consultant recognized that employees were often misusing or ignoring reports within their SAP system, so he made it one of his missions to educate employees on available reports and teach them how to run the reports, update them, drag and drop dimensions within report criteria, and more. With this simple training upgrade, employees were now able to run their own reports and find business-critical information whenever and wherever they needed it. This SAP expert understands the importance of not only transferring important information between employees and systems, but he also recognizes the crucial need for training to ensure all employees are on the same page when it comes to standardized processes and day-to-day operations.
In addition to showing employees how to operate their own SAP system, our consultant also created a shareable document that offers step-by-step instructions, screenshots, and test-system access to show them how to complete tasks in each area of the system. With the help of our consultant and his out-of-the-box training solutions, this client (and any team for that matter) is guaranteed to improve knowledge transfer and maximize the productivity of their systems and employees in the long run.
Partnering With Us
Navigating complex SAP FI configuration processes and working to standardize SAP controlling functions is critical in keeping everyone on the same page and working towards the same goal, but it’s harder than it looks — especially without the right team and resources for the job.
Luckily for you, this is where our team of senior-level SAP FICO consultants comes in to help. And, even better, our consultants keep your team and your needs at the top of the priority list no matter what.
Your company. Your needs. Our expertise. That’s the name of the game with us.
How Can Our Consultants Help?
Whether you need help implementing new SAP Finance and Controlling modules, additional support optimizing your accounting business processes, an extra hand conducting SAP FICO training for your internal employees, or anything else in between, Surety Systems is here to help.
Our SAP consultants (like this one) have the skills and experience needed to solve even the most complex SAP implementation, documentation, and configuration issues and help your team get the most out of your SAP investment.
Contact us today to learn more about our SAP consulting services and the ways our team can help you.