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Getting a "Jumpstart" on Financial Closings with SAP HANA

by Dave Hannon

March 18, 2013

By Dave Hannon

Well jumpstart day is in the books at SAPinisder Financials, BI, GRC and Admin 2013 conferences here in Las Vegas and my notebook is already jam-packed with tips on how to close your books faster using the latest SAP solutions. And when you really think about it, is there a better process to expedite than the financial close process? (Insert obligatory Jerry Maguire audio clip)

For those who don't know, the Jumpstart sessions at the SAPinsider events are three hours long each, which lets the presenter and attendees dive VERY deep in a given topic. The two sessions I caught today did just that.

In the morning, I sat in on "A Step-by-Step Guide to Execute a Faster Financial Close and Disclose Process" presented by SAP's Kirk Anderson, Pete Graham and Stefan Karl. The presenters went deep into how SAP Business Planning and Consolidation for SAP NetWeaver can help reduce the time for financial closes. Anderson emphasized the benefits of automated data extraction, saying "One of the most time-consuming parts of a financial close is running reports to confirm what's been extracted" before showing how BPC 10 can be used to automate the process and highlight exceptions.

In the afternoon session, I attended Peter Himmighoefer and Birgit Starmanns' session entitled "How to Accelerate the Financial and Managerial Accounting Process Using SAP HANA." If you like demos, well this was the session for you. Starmanns set the stage by outlining some of the biggest pressures on the finance organization today and gave a quick overview of the SAP solution lineup before Himmighoefer took attendees on a demo tour de force. An y finance person that's had to run a report overnight would have thought they were in a dream when the demos started.

There was Insight-Driven Treasury Management powered by HANA. Receivables Management powered by HANA, Virtual Info Provider, BPC on HANA and lastly, but most extensively, SAP CO-PA Accelerator, powered by SAP HANA.

To emphasize just how well the SAP CO-PA Accelerator, powered by SAP HANA streamlines things, Himmighoefer executed a report with the non-HANA version and let it run on one side of the screen. On the other side, he used the SAP HANA version and performed a myriad of drilldowns and sorts of the data while the other side stood blank. "The thing to remember is this is using the same data and the same reports, so it is not a disruptive process to begin using it," he said. It was an effective way to illustrate just how much of an advantage this HANA-powered version is to finance organizations.

Attending these two semi-related sessions was a great way to start this week, emphasizing not only the power of these cutting-edge solutions, but the real business value they bring, in this case, directly to the bottom line. Both were a good mix of technical tips and business benefits.

If you weren't able to make it here to Las Vegas, be sure to follow us on Twitter using hash tags #Financials2013 #BI2013 #GRC2013 and #Admin2013 for updates and check back here on the Insider Learning Network for the live streaming keynotes throughout the week.

It's an exciting show for me personally, as I try to set a personal best in the "conference decathalon" competition. That's where I attempt to fill as many roles as possible on-site at an SAPinsider event: setup staff, room monitor, attendee, blogger, live tweeter, presenter, video interviewer, podcaster, and booth staff. I'm pretty sure if I register an attendee and if Jon Kent lets me sell a couple SAP Press books, I'll have a world record! 

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