Insights from the SAP Central Finance Exchange in Chicago


Authored by:
Julien Delvat, SAP S/4HANA Practice Lead, TruQua

As of May 2018, SAP Central Finance has helped 40 live customers (out of 220 active projects) integrate source systems into S/4HANA. The Central Finance Exchange event hosted by TruQua and Magnitude was the opportunity to take a snapshot of the Central Finance customer base. Twenty-two customers attending the North America Central Finance EXCHANGE event answered the survey revealing surprising insights.

Central Finance Customer Profiles

All industries are represented, with Consumer Goods is leading (24%). Organization sizes vary from 0 – 25,000 employees (25%) to more than 100,000 employees (20%), with 50,000 – 100,000 being the most frequent (35%).

Since the event was hosted in Chicago, the North American attendees are the largest group (20%). Interestingly, 70% of the surveyed see themselves as global organizations.

Central Finance Priorities and Project Goals

Respondents shared their business priorities, mostly aligned around Speed & Efficiency (81%), Transparency & Accountability (81%), Operating Costs & Productivity (57%), and Strategy & Planning to Execution (48%). In that context, Central Finance is a natural choice.

When it comes to the Central Finance projects, the goals are also similar: Finance / Business Transformation (90%), Process Centralization (71%), Stepping Stone to S/4HANA (71%), Application / System Consolidation (57%), and Shared Services Process Executions (48%).

Central Finance Landscapes

Most projects are integrating 5-10 SAP source systems (60%). Almost all projects (91%) also integrate non-SAP systems, especially Oracle, PeopleSoft, Sage, or Navision. The total number of source systems ranges widely between 1 and more than 250. The majority of project data require a high level of data harmonization (53%) and finance transformation (50%).


In conclusion, the Central Finance Exchange event was a great forum for Central Finance customers to share successes and challenges amongst peers. Discussions were very engaged around the need for master data and process standardization and the difficulties of change management. Overall, the group shared and learned a lot and is looking forward to the follow-up breakout working groups on CO-PA, planning, or machine learning.

For the latest information and updates on SAP Central Finance, contact the TruQua team today at

Questions or interested in learning more about TruQua? Contact us today:


SAP S/4HANA: Enabling Cross-System Treasury with Central Finance

Authored by Julien Delvat, TruQua

SAP S/4HANA deployed as central finance is typically considered to be the best option for organizations looking to report across multiple SAP and non-SAP ERP systems in real-time and at the transaction level. However, the harmonized information model provided by central finance is also the perfect platform to enable treasury applications.

* Note: some of the applications mentioned above require additional licenses. Contact your SAP representative for more information.

Harmonizing the Information Model

Implementing S/4HANA as Central finance requires a lot of coordination to synchronize the source systems. Several aspects of the information model need to be evaluated and potentially updated:

  • Controlling Area / Operating Concern / Segments
  • Company Codes
  • G/L Accounts / Cost Elements
  • Customers / Vendors / Business Partners
  • Profit Centers / Cost Centers / Activity Types
  • Plants / Materials
  • Fiscal Year Variant / Periods / Plan Versions
  • Number Ranges
  • Currencies / Units of Measures
  • Hierarchies
  • Custom Fields

Simplified Landscape and Mapping with Central finance. Source: SAP

This preliminary work is crucial for the success of any central finance project, especially for reconciliation with the source systems and to create a unique reporting analysis across the organization. So why not leverage this harmonized data model to enable more scenarios such as treasury?

Cash and Liquidity Management

Once the data is harmonized across multiple systems through Central finance, Cash Managers will be able to deploy Cash and Liquidity Management applications.

Cash Flow Analyzer

Cash Flow Analyzer helps with the analysis of aggregate amounts and line item details of short-term cash position, medium and long-term liquidity forecast, and actual cash flows over time.

Video Source:

Promise to Pay Integration

Forecasted cash flows get updated in real time whenever unconfirmed invoices are updated in the source system or in the central finance system with a promised and paid amount and date.

Bank Communication

Communication with the bank and maintenance of bank information can be performed centrally with central finance.

Bank Account Balance Reconciliation

Bank Reconciliation can be performed either in source systems or in the central finance system.

Bank Reconciliation Fiori Application. Source: SAP

Bank, House Bank, and House Bank Account

Similar to the Bank Reconciliation, the integration to Bank Services through OData can be managed from the central finance system instead of the source systems. In addition, the House Bank can be defined centrally through the new Bank Master Data apps. Also, the workflow functionality has been redesigned to improve the management of bank accounts.

In-House Cash

SAP supports a virtual bank to better handle internal payments. This feature internalizes intragroup payments to reduce risk, minimize external financial costs, streamline intercompany activities, and simplify external operations.

Treasury and Risk Management (TRM)

Instead of installing Treasury and Risk Management (TRM) on top of several source systems that may contain conflicting master data, central finance offers the possibility to setup TRM on top of a harmonized dataset that’s updated in real-time.

Assuming that the required master data and transaction data are connected into central finance, this deployment option will enable all features of SAP TRM:

  • Risk Analyzers (Credit, Market, Portfolio)
  • Exposure Management
  • Hedge Management
  • Transaction Manager (Money Market, Foreign Exchange, Derivatives, Debt Management, Securities, and Commodities)

SAP Treasury Applications. Source: SAP


For organizations relying on multiple ERP systems, treasury operations frequently turn into a spreadsheet nightmare. SAP S/4HANA deployed a central finance delivers a harmonized information model that is perfect for the deployment of applications like Treasury and Risk Management, Cash and Liquidity Management, In-House Cash, or Bank Communication.

For more information:

[1] Cash Flow Analyzer Overview

[2] House Bank Documentation

[3] SAP In-House Cash

Questions or interested in learning more about TruQua? Contact us today or follow us online:



Extending SAP S/4HANA Applications using the SAP Cloud Platform

Authored by: JS Irick, TruQua Enterprises

The purpose of this blog is walk through a real-world scenario that showcases how SAP Fiori apps can be extended using the SAP Cloud Platform.  SAP Fiori applications are a revolutionary step forward for business users, streamlining key business processes, and providing centralized, role based applications for end users.

One of the key features of the S/4HANA Fiori based applications is that you can extend (provide new features) for these applications in the Cloud by leveraging SAP Cloud Platform.  SAP Cloud Platform provides a simple, secure way to add additional visualizations as well as functional changes to your user’s key applications.

The below demo shows the complete end-to-end process of adding new functionality to the Fiori Purchase Order application.  First, we will add an additional field to the purchase order screen, to show updating the “view”.  We will also update the “controller” to add Slack integration, so that the requesting user will receive a chat message when their PO is approved or denied.

Please see the below video stepping through the complete end-to-end process of creating these extensions.  A transcript is also included below.

If you would like to unlock the power of S/4HANA Applications for your users, contact TruQua today at to learn how.


To start a demo instance of SAP Fiori will be created. These instances are available via a free 90-trial available at: (You’ll simply need your S-User ID to get started). Utilizing SAP’s free trial offer is a great way to explore new apps and examine extensibility options both of which can be a critical step towards building your business case for SAP S/4HANA or other various SAP Fiori Applications.

For the purposes of this example, we are going to extend the Approved Purchase Order screen. Within this Approved Purchase Order application, users are able to view existing purchase orders, approve or reject purchase orders, forward purchase orders to appropriate personnel with more details.

The first step is to change a few of the values that appear on screen. In order to complete this task, we’ll need to examine and change the logic that powers the application.

We can navigate over to SAP’s Web IDE to view a few of the ways that these extensions can be performed.  It’s very easy to pull your applications in either through the SAP Cloud Connector or through various SAP Cloud Platform applications.

Let’s pull in a new extension project.

As you can see, there are a variety of applications available, so we can simply click the application we are looking for and it will be added as a new project.

Within these applications there are a number of extensibility points built in. In order to better understand extensibility points, let’s go ahead and walk through the process for generating them.

The first option is to create a new extension. However, through this wizard it can be challenging to understand what you’re really looking at.

We’re going to actually exit out of the wizard and use the Extensibility Pane instead.

Now, once in the Extensibility pane, we can see that it pulls in the data for you and we are also able to view all of the extensibility points on the right hand-hand side.

Now, let’s switch to Extensibility Mode

Now as we go through and look at the various areas, we can actually see the part of the application.

The next step in the sequence is to extend this information into the header.

As you can see the extension is currently empty here, but what we’re looking at is what is called an XML view.

Now, there are a couple of ways to build views in UI5 and XML is one them. You can also build a view using JavaScript if more flexibility is needed. For the purposes of this exercise we’ll use XML.

A key requirement is that we do not want to custom code our application. We want to see the data that we’re pulling in, so to do that let’s go ahead and change this to the Layout view.

Once in the Layout Editor, we can see that the XML view is completely empty.

We are going to add an object attribute. We select our dataset (these are all the various datasets that are coming into this application). In this case, we want the headers added, so here we’ll just drop in an object attribute.

So now let’s say we want to show the company code. We can scroll down through our options and we can see the data type. Now we can just go ahead and double click “CompanyCode Description” to add it to the attribute.

Next, we will go ahead and run it.

Once we’ve run our application, we can see our data and our company code information.

We can now deploy this application either to the cloud or on-premise.

What we’ve just illustrated is the easier part of extensions. As mentioned there are two different kinds of extensions we are going to look at, extending the views (which we just did) and extending the controller, which is the actual business logic, so the logic that powers your application.

Here we will walk through the process for extending the controller. What you’re seeing in the below is a screenshot of an overload of various functions that are being called.

What I’m looking for are real-time notifications of my approvals and rejections. For example, if I’m the person waiting to hear about the status of purchase order, I want to know right away, without having to even check my email.

There are a number of ways that we can do this but many of our clients are now using the chat client Slack, so we’re going to set up our system so that the person waiting to hear about the status of the PO receives a Slack Message.

The key parts you’ll want to take note of, for example, is just how easy it is to pull out the important business properties of the data you’re working with, and you can make a very simple post with that data.

Here we are looking at approval or rejection of the purchase order. First, we’re going to make the following changes:

  • Change our text
  • Change our color
  • Add a link so the original purchase order can be accessed

Then we’re going to go ahead and approve and this message will be sent to Slack.


And as we can see our notification in Slack has arrived, so we can go ahead and approve this purchase order.

For more information on TruQua Enterprises, visit us online or follow us on Twitter at @TruQuaE.

SAP S/4HANA: What it Means for SAP Business Warehouse: A Podcast with SAPinsider and TruQua’s David Dixon

Recently, one of our Partner Principal’s David Dixon, recorded a podcast with Ken Murphy from SAPinsider to discuss with SAP S/4HANA means for SAP Business Warehouse. This has a question that has been coming up time and time again with customers so I wanted to post the transcript here.
To listen to a full version of the podcast, you can find it at : 
Ken Murphy, SAPinsider: Hi this is Ken Murphy with SAPinsider, and joining me today on this podcast is David Dixon, a long-time SAP practitioner and a partner at TruQua Enterprises. SAP is going to be a featured speaker at the upcoming SAPinsider Simple Finance Bootcamp, which begins in Las Vegas next Monday, Nov. 16-19. David has several sessions at the bootcamp, including one on Central Finance deployment within SAP Simple Finance, as well as a session on SAP Business Warehouse (SAP BW) with SAP Simple Finance.
David, thanks for joining us today in advance of the conference.
David Dixon, TruQua Enterprises:  Thanks for having me.
Ken: David I want to start with more of a focus on the SAP BW with SAP Simple Finance angle. Because with embedded real-time operational reporting capabilities in SAP Business Suite 4 SAP HANA (SAP S/4HANA) and of course SAP Simple Finance through SAP HANA Live, I’m curious where does that leave SAP BW? Wouldn’t having analytic and transactional processing in the application itself displace the need for a separate BW instance?
David: This is a question a lot of people are asking right now and for good reason. There’s quite a lot of confusion around it simply because of semantics. I think a lot of the debate that’s going around this is people possibly talking past each other and really you can answer the question yes or no depending on where you’re coming from with respect to the topic. What I’d like to do here is spend a moment making some key distinctions here and discuss what we mean by SAP S/4HANA or HANA Live displacing SAP BW. If you’re just talking about SAP BW as a technology vis-à-vis HANA Live the answer is no, they can interoperate. If you ask if SAP BW as a data warehouse in theory goes away the answer is also no. But if you ask the question, “Hey, can’t SAP BW go away as it’s been implemented in many customer scenarios” well then the answer can be yes. I’d like to go into each of these topics a little bit further: BW as a technology vis-à-vis HANA Live, BW as a data warehouse, and then BW as it’s been implemented.
So if we’re talking about BW as a technology, BW has been embedded in ERP for a decade now, quite a long time. It became part of NetWeaver and because ERP runs on NetWeaver there’s been a BW there all along. It’s a technology that’s deeply embedded inside of the NetWeaver stack and therefore ERP, so it’s not going to go away. In fact, it’s being highly leveraged even as part of HANA Live there is HANA Live BW integration scenarios so when you go and read the documentation they talk about how HANA Live and SAP BW can interoperate. So the two can actually work very complementary with each other; the BW inside of your ERP is now more usable because of the HANA capabilities. So it’s been there all along but it’s now really gaining traction with S/4HANA and becoming more of a practical reality. And so when we talk about HANA Live there are things that HANA Live cannot do that BW can do. And I go into those in a little bit more detail during my session at the conference, but just to touch on it there are advanced OLAP capabilities, online analytical processing capability, that’s in BW that HANA Live as of yet can’t address. Whether that’s around slowly changing dimensions, or time-based hierarchies that don’t exist in ERP, or exception aggregation and whatnot, there are certain extractors that can’t be replaced by HANA Live views, one good example is the product costing extractors; I was in Walldorf talking to (SAP) about whether we could replace it with HANA Live and we went through it and the answer is no. Some of these extractors just have way too much intelligence and so anything that has really complex transformations or a lot of history – like HANA Live works on ERP data so if you archive that data it’s better done in BW especially for trending and historical forms of analysis. So that should give listeners an idea that BW doesn’t quite go away with HANA Live as a technology.
Now, if you ask the question about SAP BW as a data warehouse. Do we need BW anymore to do data warehousing? The answer is no but let me put a caveat here – if you go back to Bill Inmon, the father of data warehousing and his framework of the corporate information factory, he always had next to his data warehouse this notion of an operational data store (ODS). And data warehouse practitioners have always struggled with this ODS concept. Because the idea is to try to make it as real-time as possible, and this is the part – if we talk about data warehousing, then BW is the data-warehousing tool currently and there are a lot of HANA capabilities around this but it doesn’t displace the need for a data warehouse. But what it does open up is the question about new ways of doing operational data store, and maybe that’s your S/4HANA. And that use case there is where S/4HANA can take a lot away from BW as it relates to operational reporting.
That leads me to my third point is can S/4HANA displace BW as it’s been implemented at many customers? The answer is yes. In fact I know customers that have already made the decision to unplug BW in favor of the reporting capabilities that HANA under ERP enables. And that’s because how many people have implemented SAP BW – or many companies I should say – have implemented it is that it’s been used for operational reporting and there have been practical challenges especially in the area of finance where the need for real-time has been difficult to achieve because of the changed data capture approach of the extractors there; there’s this notion of a safety delta where the data recommendation is not to load the data more frequently than an hour because of the possibility of basically dropping records if you do so. Many people have implemented BW really just using it as an operational data store and that part of it can definitely be displaced by S/4HANA.
One more thing to add, the other thing too that a lot of practitioners of BW spend a lot of time and effort on, and this is a key point, they spend a lot of time and effort trying to integrate FI and CO together, and Simple Finance just does that for you. It’s linking the line items for you so that you don’t have to spend time and effort to do that and it’s embedded reconciliation. So this whole universal journal concept where the line items of FI and CO get merged into one table takes away a lot of the customizations that customers have done in SAP BW. 
Ken: So that said then, there are scenarios still where a standalone SAP BW instance still makes sense; that would be accurate to say?
David: Pragmatically yes but in theory the answer could be no and let me elaborate on that. When I say pragmatically yes what I mean by that is there are legacy investments in standalone SAP BW with significant amount of investment that some companies have put into it and they’re happy. So it makes sense to keep it there pragmatically. There’s also new technical approaches like Smart Data Access that enables this notion of data federation or the federated data warehouse where through virtualization you keep the data in different places and bring it together so there’s not necessarily a need to bring everything into one place. You can actually virtualize and federate it. And then of course there are the practical challenges of software versioning. So if you want to upgrade your standalone BW but not impact your ERP and the version that it’s on it facilitates that. But theoretically if you’re asking the if read vs. write contention goes away with HANA, and if it could all run in one code base – and S/4HANA is becoming a singular code base – then theoretically it doesn’t make sense. You can do data warehousing and transactional in the same environment on the same system. Now this is very theoretical, there has to be more proof points to actually show and prove to the market that we can actually migrate and merge BW into SAP ERP. This is very forward-thinking along this, but it is toward the evolutionary path where we might see a hybrid of both where everything is merged into an ERP and in BW – they become one and the same; as ERP, BW, and HANA become one and the same, there’s so much (9:12) push logic on the BW side that’s pulling into HANA, and in effect BW’s inside of ERP it opens up all kinds of possibilities because HANA can already support integration of SAP and non-SAP data, it could do texts, it could do predictive, and so if it could all be done in one place then theoretically yes those things could probably merge and then there is no reason to keep those two things in theory separate. But I think we’re going to see hybrid scenarios where we’ll see because of the practical challenges in doing that and the fact that there’s not yet a lot of proof points around having a singular system that can handle read and write contention in the same place, we’ll probably see some blending or hybrid scenarios.
Ken: With all those possibilities and merging that you mentioned, moving forward where does SAP BW fit into the SAP roadmap?
David: As I mentioned before, SAP BW is not going away as a technology and as a product; there’s a lot of use cases and there’s a BW right inside of ERP and BW functionality that is being leveraged for – I mean it’s a core part of Business Planning and Consolidation (BPC) in the BPC embedded model in particular. And that in turn, once that’s embedded inside of Simple Finance that’s been branded and called Integrated Business Planning for Finance. And so there’s a separate development team in Walldorf around SAP BW still and will continue to probably be there and the SAP ERP teams are separate, and so whatever development or innovation that the BW team comes out with it’s really SAP opting to decide whether they’re going to use it or not. So classic example is on the BW roadmap and it’s been released are these new notions of taking advantage of HANA and creating things called composite providers and open ODS views and this kind of technology. But the Integrated Business Planning for Finance has not yet adopted that, so the BW capabilities that are delivered with Simple Finance today haven’t re-platformed everything onto the latest greatest technologies that the BW team is putting out there. So there is a lag effect; the BW team is a little bit further ahead, the ERP teams decide ‘Hey are we going to use this?” And it’s always been like that, there have been for example real-time data acquisition functionality that the BW team put out but there wasn’t a whole lot of business content adoption around it. So we’ll see – I think it’ll continue to persist as a separate product, it’ll have its own roadmap as it does today and they’re not likely to merge because the BW team is addressing all kinds of different scenarios while ERP is probably more focused on just functionality not the technology in terms of delivering capabilities so I would expect to see products or BW functionality in ERP be more about spreading out the content of what it could do than necessarily keeping up-to-date with all the functions and features that the BW team is putting out. So I see BW fitting into the overall SAP roadmap as its own separate roadmap with components of it being adopted by the other development groups as they become available.
Ken:  David, thanks for joining us.
David: Thank you.
Ken: Again, this is Ken Murphy with SAPinsider and we’ve been chatting with David Dixon, a partner at TruQua Enterprises.

The Top 10 things to know about SAP Central Finance

If SAP Central Finance is a deployment option that you are considering for S/4HANA Finance, it’s important to have a solid grasp on how it works. Keeping that in mind, I thought I’d do a recap of a recent session that David Dixon presented at the Financials 2016 conference to highlight the 10 most important things you need to know about Central Finance.

1. Formerly called the SAP Central Journal, Central Finance is a product and a deployment option for S/4HANA Finance that breaks out the Finance and Controlling (FI/CO) applications for the rest of SAP ERP as a sidecar via SAP Landscape Transformation (SLT) replication .

2. Central Finance is a way to implement S/4HANA Finance without disrupting your existing source SAP ERP systems (but does require installing a DMIS software component and SAP Notes)

3. As example use cases, Central Finance can be used as a functional migration option, a flexible reporting platform for mergers and acquisitions, and a shared services system

4. Standalone BW and BPC investments require data transfer via batch Extract, Transform, and Load* (ETL) jobs while Central Finance is via real-time replication of FI/CO documents

5. Fiori, HANA Live (or the new S/4HANA Analytics), SAP BW, and SAP BPC can all be integrated in real-time at the document level with financial controls and integrity that come with general ledger in addition to error and correction handling prior to posting via Application Integration Framework (AIF) functionality

6. Central Finance consists of one physical document for real-time processing and analytics and merges FI and CO together into a singular line item table for “single source of truth” known as the “Universal Journal”

7. In Central Finance, the accounting interface is directly replicated to the Universal Journal which reduces the need for reconciliation, integration, batch processing and data replication

8. Master data management is handled by Master Data Governance (MDG)

9. A central finance posting looks the same as an SAP ERP financial posting but is linked back to the source system via reference to the document number key of the source document and logical system to which it belongs

10. Central Finance is taking advantage of solutions that were already centrally managed such as Financial Close Cockpit, Intercompany Reconciliation (ICR), and Financial Supply Chain Management (FSCM).

Demystifying SAP S/4HANA for Finance

So, what is SAP S/4HANA Finance really? To put it in layman’s terms, it’s SAP Financials redesigned for HANA (while SAP S/4HANA is SAP ERP redesigned for HANA). It’s important not to confuse S/4HANA Finance (which only impacts the financial modules) and S/4HANA (which impacts many other modules, such as materials management) as they are on separate release schedules. For example, the material master record was extended from 18 characters to 40 only in S/4HANA (not S/4HANA Finance).  Other words, S/4HANA incorporates S/4HANA Finance functionality but not the other way around.  Fundamental and sweeping modifications to SAP functionality make S/4HANA and S/4HANA Finance entirely new products.

SAP S/4HANA is really the first step in what SAP is calling the “Simple Revolution”. From an architectural perspective the objective of S/4HANA Finance is to merge all accounting information into a single source of truth, which makes integration much easier while at the same time cutting out the need for the constant replication of data. Equipped with the a new user experience via SAP Fiori UX and apps, financial processes can now be more efficient and effective than ever.

Over the course of the year and prior, SAP S/4HANA Finance has had many different names and versions, including:

  • SAP S/4HANA Finance as part of SAP S/4HANA, on-premise edition 1511
  • SAP Simple Finance, On-Premise Edition
    • SAP Simple Finance 1503 (Also referred to as SAP Simple Finance 2.0, Initial Shipment)
    • SAP Simple Finance 1503, Support Package Stack 1505
    • SAP Simple Finance 1503, Support Package Stack 1508
    • SAP Simple Finance 1503, Support Package Stack 1511
  • SAP Accounting Add-On for SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA
    • SAP Simple Finance 1.0

So how is S/4HANA Finance really different than standard SAP ERP? As previously mentioned, the biggest change centers around a new single source of truth known as the “Universal Journal”. This journal combines separate tables from General Ledger (GL), Profitability Analysis (PA), Controlling (CO), Asset Accounting (AA) and Material Ledger (ML) into one. This enables instant reconciliation between FI modules, a harmonization between internal and external accounting in one physical table and coding block (known as “ACDOCA”).

From a financial process improvement standpoint, S/4HANA Finance goes beyond real-time single source of truth and faster processing but improves what matters most, namely productivity through a better user experience. Leveraging new SAPUI5 technology for better user interfaces and applying Fiori-based design principles to them, users can expect access to information and functionality fashioned specifically for their role with a lot less mouse clicks.

As it relates to Financial Planning and Analysis, S/4HANA provides real-time analytics and reporting, integrated planning, budgeting, and forecasting.  When taking into account its impact on the Accounting and Financial Close, S/4HANA Finance customers can expect an accelerated close time, as well as a significantly improved full reconciliation process between their statutory and management books. In the area of Treasury, new functionality enables improved cash and liquidity management. Customers will also experience enhanced invoice and receivables management and improved audit and fraud management.

Is your organization looking to move to SAP S/4HANA Finance? If so, we can help. At TruQua we offer services to help you assess the impact on your business and technical landscape, blueprinting workshops, and implementation services. For more information contact us today at