Aligning finance and accounting strategies with SAP S/4HANA Central Finance

SAPinsider Benchmark Report 2021: SAP S/4HANA Finance and Central Finance - State of the Market

  • Data Integration
  • Data-Driven Enterprise

Are you struggling with a lack of visibility into your financial data? What if you could streamline finance and accounting operations and achieve a complete and straightforward view of corporate financial information to understand the current state of your business? Many SAP run-enterprises are turning to consolidated financial solutions – such as SAP S/4HANA for central finance foundation to provide them with a single source of truth across all their financial streams, without disrupting their legacy ERP systems.

We partnered with SAPinsider and SAP on a research study seeking to understand how SAP customers are prioritizing visibility, simplicity and automation as they solidify finance and accounting strategies and investments. In the report, “SAP S/4HANA Finance and Central Finance: State of the Market 2021,” Riz Ahmed, Chief Content Officer at SAPinsider, examines how SAP customers are adapting their strategies and technology investments to evolve their finance and accounting organizations.

Based on interviews and surveys of key finance and accounting members of the SAPinsider community across a wide range of geographies, industries and company sizes, the report reveals the top drivers of finance and accounting strategies and how SAP S/4HANA Finance and Central Finance play into decision-making.

It’s no surprise that reporting has risen from the third largest pain point in 2018 to number one in 2021. Much action is required to reduce complexity and improve visibility within finance operations. Additional takeaways:

Automation plays a key role in adapting to changing business conditions and providing real-time visibility into operations

Although the pressure to cut cost and complexity is the most critical driver for finance and accounting strategies, survey respondents noted the demand for improved planning insights, as well as the need to support new business models and products to influence their strategy. To satisfy these drivers, respondents indicated they are increasing the use of automation, examining ways to improve record-to-report processes and increasing real-time visibility into finance and operations. Respondents also plan to use a wide range of SAP and SAP partner tools and technologies to support these requirements and strategies.

Cloud-based solutions are being evaluated to stay on top of latest functionality

Intelligence, cloud and automation are considered key themes for technology evaluation moving forward. AI-and machine learning-based financial solutions represent the number one group of technologies being investigated by a significant majority of our survey respondents – 59%. Other cloud-based solutions being considered include performance and profitability and management (55%), core finance solutions such as SAP S/4HANA (54%) and reporting and analytics solutions (49%).

Solving data issues will increase your company’s faith in finance

Respondents recognize that a lack of faith in the system generating numbers and reports challenges their ability to close their books and make confident decisions. In order to drive adoption and support for future investments and improve efficiency, organizations must resolve data issues. Many of our respondents focus their time and technology investments on addressing core financial processes, where much of the pain and complexity lies.

SAP S/4HANA and Central Finance adoption and evaluation is accelerating

Over one third (34%) of our survey respondents are running or are currently implementing SAP S/4HANA Finance. However, 54% of SAP customers are currently evaluating SAP S/4HANA and no longer just watching and waiting when it comes to their future plans. SAP recognizes the obstacles holding back SAP customers and created the RISE with SAP offering to help business and IT leaders understand the potential benefits and build business cases and migration plans for moving to SAP S/4HANA.

Ensuring a successful transition to SAP S/4HANA Finance is key

Survey respondents cited simplicity, speed and easy access to data as the top benefits for those who have completed their move to SAP S/4HANA Finance. Respondents are finding the ability to go from high-level reports and drill down to the document or line-item level makes it easier to understand the numbers and perform in-depth analysis quickly. To ensure a successful transition to SAP S/4HANA Finance, SAP says practicing your upgrade multiple times within a sandbox system is critical in addressing issues before go-live.

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Learn more about Magnitude solutions designed to empower SAP finance user

  • Magnitude Process Runner GLSU provides a flexible, intuitive interface for SAP data entry and transaction posting directly from Microsoft Excel. Quick to install, Process Runner GLSU immediately empowers your Finance team to work faster and smarter with powerful automations and pre-post data validation features.