Users of your financial systems — executives, managers, financial
staff, accountants — require financial content, information, and
tools to analyze data, often gathered from various sites, units, and even
time zones. Document sharing, requests for information, invoices, receipts,
key indicators, budget and forecasting, and approvals — the financial
processes required to gather and update this information touch many users
across the company.
Of course, whenever collaboration is required
across multiple sources, portals are an ideal technology. Now, SAP customers
can introduce portals into their financials applications with SAP’s
Financial Portal Solutions. mySAP Financials now provides portal solutions
to support role-specific, task-oriented content integration with easy
accessibility for the user. Portal solutions also hide system complexity
from users, bringing them just the applications they need. Using mySAP
Enterprise Portal technology, financial professionals and even occasional
users can work with an intuitive, unified user interface for the applications,
resources, and data stores required.
Benefits of the SAP Financial Portal Solution
Benefits as simple as fewer rounds of emails and phone calls, minimal
re-keying of data, or easier document-sharing across locations and time
zones bring dramatic efficiencies to financial workflows. With the portal
as the central point of access to financial data, users avoid information
overload and increase their productivity. SAP’s Financial Portal
Solutions provide users with clear communication channels, self-services,
and end-to-end integrated Internet processes. The result is increased
return on investments in data and infrastructure, leveraging information
already available within your current system.
This article introduces you to just a
few of the portal offerings for executives, managers, and financial teams.
All the following Portal Solutions are currently available and are part
of the mySAP Financials, mySAP Human Capital Management, mySAP Business
Suite, and mySAP ERP solutions.
From the Executive Portal, top management and executives can benefit from
up-to-date and easy-to-handle information access for fast, clear, relevant
facts about the company’s key performance indicators (see Figure
1) as well as financial market data. With data from sources inside
and outside the company, the portal acts as the central source of information
for easier, faster analysis. Features include:
- The Management Cockpit in the Executive Portal, shown in Figure 1,
which provides consolidated access to crucial reports along with a general
overview of key figures and company progress.
- SAP SEM Balanced Scorecards, from which executives monitor company-wide
strategies as well as consolidation processes. Key data is pulled straight
from SAP’s Strategic Enterprise Management in real time for consistent,
|| The Executive Portal — Management Cockpit
SAP Manager Self-Service provides managers throughout your enterprise
- Monitors and alerts for cost drivers like internal orders, activities,
capacities, and assets that allow them to instantly pull the strings
in business-critical situations.
- The ability to execute finance and human capital management strategies
for budgeting, recruitment, compensation, and cost management, which
also creates real return on investment (ROI) for your finance and HR
- SAP’s Internet Service Requests (ISR), a generic tool that
ties web forms together with tailored workflows to replace manual processes
and to streamline interaction with corporate administration and other
lines of businesses. This paves the way for HR and finance staff to
focus on strategic issues.
With portals, centralized departments
such as Controlling or HR can more easily pass along information and tasks
to managers wherever they might be located.
With SAP’s Corporate Finance Portal (see Figure 2),
financial staff in any group have a platform for collaborative business
processes. With workflows, real-time document-sharing, and collaboration
features built in, complex tasks are completed more quickly. The Corporate
Finance Portal offers:
- Control mechanisms that allow financial staff to monitor critical
- Workflows and collaboration features that support processes like
planning and forecasting, cash flow analysis, intercompany charging,
monthly closing, and delivery of reporting data.
- Corporate guidelines, global chart of accounts, international accounting
standards, and other unstructured information made available to all
Much of your data collection efforts can become
redundant — all users work in one system using the Corporate Finance
Portal. The result is improved communication and streamlined processes
for near-term cost savings.
|| Business Planning Within the Corporate Finance Portal
Portal Solutions Available
Other mySAP Financials Portal Solutions currently available include
biller direct, credit and dispute management in a customer-facing
portal, as well as portal solutions for business travellers, such
as trip planning, trip approval, and expense claims.
All Financial Portal Solutions are
industry-independent, meaning that they can be used in every company
and any industry. They are currently available as part of mySAP
Financials, mySAP Human Capital Management, mySAP ERP, and mySAP
All Financial Portal Solutions are
recommended from these releases onward: R/3 4.6C, SEM 3.1B, and
One Example of How Portals Can Streamline Financial Workflow
Let’s take a closer look at one scenario for collaborative business
planning with the Corporate Finance Portal, which supports the profit-planning
process scenario modeled in Figure 3.
||Collaborative Business Planning Process
This process starts with the corporate accountant.
From a review of targets set by the company board and by unit management,
the accountant drafts an estimate of profits for the upcoming period/year
for all units. This is then forwarded to local accountants, who verify
their figures against headquarters’. In cases of discrepancies,
local accountants send a request change. The corporate accountant reviews
the new figures, recalculates them, and sends the new version to the subsidiaries,
where local accountants finalize this new version — possibly after
several passes. Finally, the corporate accountant freezes and consolidates
this version, plans the allocations for these units, and completes the
final profit plan for the entire group.
With SAP’s Corporate Finance Portal, the
whole process can be completed via the portal with easy document-sharing,
and with all access to data, plan versions, documents, and scheduling
information via the portal.
Consider the sheer number of processes like
these for financial users across your own company, and you get a sense
of the scope of the efficiencies to be gained by the utilization of SAP
Financial Portal Solutions. Further information on all the features and
benefits of Financial Portal Solutions is available at www.sap.com/financials.
Additional information for SAP customers and partners is available at
Skutela is a product manager at
SAP AG in Germany. Currently focused on
mySAP Financials Portal Solutions, she
works with customers to determine their
product needs and requirements for product
planning and development. Ariane has several
years’ experience in logistics and
IT controlling, involving the development
of concepts, software training, and management
consulting. She is a frequent speaker at
SAP conferences. Ariane holds a graduate
degree in business economics.