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In one recent blog post, we talked about the benefits of the Universal Journal – the architecture of SAP S / 4HANA. In this article, we focused on how the Universal Journal eliminates some intra-ERP reconciliations that were previously required in legacy SAP environments such as SAP ECC. Let’s expand on this discussion and get to Universal Journal as it relates to journal entry management. Specifically, let’s break down what this means for the journal entry functionality offered by SAP Account Reconciliation and Automation by BlackLine.
Isn’t that ironic? Universal Journal does not prepare journal entries
While SAP S / 4HANA comes with basic functionality for journal entries, many wonder what value does SAP Account Substantiation and Automation by BlackLine add to an SAP ERP?
As discussed in our previous blog post, the Universal Journal is a simplification of the table structure within SAP’s ERP system. Now, rather than multiple tables that need to be reconciled with each other, SAP S / 4HANA provides a universal journal that stores all of your data.
While the benefits of the streamlined design are immense, the Universal Journal itself does not prepare or process transactions prior to publication. Plus, it doesn’t eliminate the need to record, support, and approve manual journal entries.
Technology can only automate so much
It would be wonderful if SAP S / 4HANA could automate everything. But the concept of a truly informed financial close is unlikely to exist. Can new technologies like predictive analytics and machine learning transform the way finance works? Sure. Can some journal entries be automated by SAP ERP? Absoutely. But accounting professionals are still critical to accuracy and compliance.
Among the complexities, the nature of accrual accounting – a fundamental tenet of US GAAP, IFRS, and other accounting standards – requires companies to recognize income and expense as it is earned to get a true picture of the financial statements. Even the most sophisticated ERP is not able to properly capture all business transactions without the need for adjustments for compliance and reporting.
Getting the most out of your manual entries
When journal entries are required, organizations running SAP have several options to manage the process. Can entries be posted directly to SAP? Sure. Does SAP offer a standard workflow for manual journal entries? Also, yes. SAP ECC customers have the Park and Post functionality with routing of the workflow to the approvers and addition of supporting documents. In SAP S / 4HANA, customers have additional functionality such as uploading from a spreadsheet and the ability to verify journal entries with workflow.
The question then is “What does SAP Account Substantiation and Automation by BlackLine bring and why would I need an additional solution if I can publish logs to SAP and I already have SAP S / 4HANA?”
The answer is that SAP Account Substantiation and Automation by BlackLine brings extended functionality to SAP ERP by adding automation opportunities, intelligent business-managed workflow, full audit trail, and integration with business processes. end of months related as the justification of the balance sheet.
Like closing balances, journal entries are often an area of focus for auditors. Document type and other fields in SAP are useful in reducing the population of journal entries. However, SAP Account Reconciliation and Automation by BlackLine can easily isolate all of the manual entries with the rationale and associated approvals built in to add value and simplify the audit process.
Standardization on several ERP
Another benefit of the journal entry functionality is the justification and automation of SAP accounts by BlackLine, it is process standardization. Many organizations do not yet have the luxury of a single instance of SAP S / 4HANA. This means that journal entries are likely published to many disparate source systems. Processes and controls around preparation, review and justification are difficult to standardize in a heterogeneous environment. BlackLine’s SAP account justification and automation makes it easier by allowing all manual journal entries to originate from its cloud platform.
Log entry fields for each ERP are built into the solution and approved and substantiated entries are then published directly to local systems through secure connectors. Real-time feedback and validation is also available, and as the ERP landscape evolves, updates can be made quickly in SAP Account Substantiation and Automation by BlackLine – little or no IT time required.
An end-to-end solution
With SAP S / 4HANA, businesses have a world-class ERP platform and the ability to simplify finance master data with Universal Journal. With SAP Account Substantiation and Automation by BlackLine, customers have an additional opportunity to improve month-end close.
A series of blogs to answer your questions
There are a number of common questions about BlackLine and SAP and how our solutions work together. Please check out these blogs to answer them:
Discover the SAP S / 4HANA Finance Reasons to Move on demand webinar series.
Elizabeth Milne is an expert in accounting and financial close at SAP. Molly Boyle is an SAP solutions expert at BlackLine.