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Setting up Statistical Orders for Project Monitoring

by Paul Ovigele

November 29, 2011

Paul Ovigele, Ovigele Consulting

There are basically two main ways of tracking projects in SAP – by using WBS Elements in the Project System (PS) module, and using internal orders in the Controlling (CO) module. The Project System module is much more robust and has extensive project tracking, recording and reporting capabilities, however using internal orders is a sufficient way of monitoring your projects without some of the complexities involved in the Project Systems module.

If you simply want to track short-term project costs (CAPEX overhead, marketing, R&D, etc) for planning and reporting purposes, you can use statistical internal orders. As opposed to real orders, you do not need to settle statistical orders (hence saving time on any extra month-end steps) to another cost object. However, it means that if you are making expense purchases, you would need to specify a cost object (such as a cost center) as well as a statistical order. By specifying an internal order alone, you will get an error message by the system, asking you to enter a real cost object.

If you are making a Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) purchase, you would need to specify a statistical cost element (balance sheet account) in order to use a statistical order. Fixed Asset balance sheet accounts can be created as statistical cost elements by going to the following configuration menu path (SPRO):
Financial Accounting (New) -> Asset Accounting -> Transactions -> Budget Monitoring with Statistical Orders/WBS Elements -> Create Statistical Cost Elements

You can then double-click on the activity “Create Cost Elements for Project/Order Account Assignment”; then en ter your Controlling Area, a ‘Valid from’ and ‘Valid to’ date, and hit the ‘Execute’ button. The system will then produce a log of the accounts that have been created as statistical cost elements and assign to them a cost element category of ‘90’.

In order to create a statistical internal order, you check the ‘Statistical’ indicator in the order master data. You can find this in the ‘Control data’ tab of the internal order master data transaction (KO01 to create or KO02 to change). Once the statistical indicator is flagged, you will not be able to create a settlement rule for the order, as these orders cannot be settled.

Some users have asked me to set up certain order types so that the ‘statistical’ indicator is automatically defaulted anytime they create an internal order using that order type. This is a reasonable request as you may not always remember to set this indicator when creating the order. The way to do this is to go to the following configuration menu path (SPRO):
Controlling -> Internal Orders -> Order Master Data -> Define Order Types

You can then double-click on the relevant order type to go to its settings. Then click on the ‘Field Selection’ button (which looks like a pencil) and scroll down to the second page of the ‘Change Field Selection’ screen until you get to the line that reads “Identifier for statistical order”. You can then click on the “Req. entry” radio button and check the “HiLi” checkbox (which stands for Field is highlighted). Then save your settings.

When next you create an internal order with that order type, you will find that the 'statistical' flag is automatically selected in the ‘Control’ tab for that order.

For more information on how to optimize your SAP Financials landscape, I've put together my top tips in the book 100 Things You Should Know About Financial Accounting with SAP  which is published by SAP Press.

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