Automating Your Financial Consolidation Process Using Automatic Jobs and Job Templates
Meet the Experts
⇨ Some organizations rely on SAP S/4HANA Group Reporting for processes it was not intended for, like overall company planning.
⇨ Group Reporting should be leveraged to receive planning data and consolidate planned data sets.
⇨ Group Reporting automation requires a review of services activation and security roles to run effectively.
The consolidation process is a complex and sophisticated effort that requires data validation, data quality, and multiple evaluations. It can be intricate, depending how the system was built, the number of data sets used, and the complexity of the organization. In other cases, the system is being used to perform processes that it was not designed to do, such as overall company planning.
Yes, SAP S/4HANA Group Reporting as a product can handle multiple data sets including Actual, Budget, and Forecast data, but it is not designed to be the planning tool for your company. For that, there are multiple options available such as SAC, DWC, BPC, and others. However, what SAP Group Reporting can do is be the ultimate receiver of your planning data for either data comparison with actuals or to perform consolidation on planned data sets (such as Budget, Forecast, and Plan) and combine these data sets in the same environment with your actuals for financial reporting.
After the implementation is completed or is nearly done, IT and Finance teams are looking for automation of tasks and, yes, robots are on the table these days—if you have any doubt, ask ChatGPT. If you have very large Group Reporting structures from a Consolidation of Investment (COI) point of view, clicking in so many structures can become very time-consuming in the Data Monitor and Consolidation Monitor.
To address this topic, SAP has provided not only for SAP Group Reporting, but also for many other areas the possibility of creating Automatic Jobs and Templates to manage repetitive processes or tasks that do not change over time. These tasks can be scheduled daily, hourly, monthly, and more. Like any software, there is no magic behind this. SAP cannot yet read minds, and it is not self-aware to know what you want…yet. This document will review how we can configure this functionality in SAP Group Reporting, and the same procedure can be used for other areas in SAP S/4HANA.
SAP Group Reporting Job Automation Options
SAP Group Reporting with job automation can schedule one or multiple processes to run on a scheduled basis. Applications like Jobs, Job Templates, Log Messages (see Figure 1) can schedule Consolidation Tasks that are executed in either the Data Monitor, the Consolidation Monitor, or both.
Figure 1—SAP Group Reporting Job Automation Tiles
However, the procedure requires a review of services activation and security roles to run effectively. Another alternative for users interested in consolidation tasks automation is the implementation of old Process Chains, if using tiles is not desirable (Figure 2). To achieve process chain and job scheduling, T-Code RSPC1 can be leveraged if available in the systems (Figure 2) to implement a job automation process for group reporting.
In Figure 2, the T-code RSPC1 has been used to create two process sequences―once for actual data and then for budget data. These processes run on the first day of the month every two hours for 10 days, which means that nobody in the consolidation team needs to manually trigger any of the processes in SAP Group Reporting.
Figure 2—Running SAP Group Reporting Jobs as Process Chains Using T-code RSPC1
Regardless of your choice, the one recommended in this article is using the standard tile functionality shown in Figure 1. It is the one supported by SAP, and it is significantly easier to implement by business users than the option shown in Figure 2.
SAP S/4HANA Group Reporting Pre-Delivered Job Automation Jobs
As mentioned, SAP has tiles available in Figure 1 to perform this function. Feel free to explore the other tiles; in this document, we will focus on only Schedule Jobs for Consolidation Tasks because it is the tile specific for SAP S/4HANA Group Reporting as shown in Figure 3. In the SAP Group Reporting roles, this is also identified in this article for your consideration.
Figure 3—Accessing the Schedule Jobs for Consolidation Tasks
The goal of this article is to set up an automatic program to load the SAP S/4HANA transaction data Actuals from ACDOCA into ACDOCU on a predefined schedule. To configure this task, follow these steps:
- Click on the Tile “Schedule Jobs for Consolidation Tasks” shown in Figure 3.
- Click on the Create button as shown in Figure 4.
Figure 4—Accessing the Schedule Jobs for Consolidation Tasks
- Select the Template or program to use, and then UNCHECK the “Start Immediately” checkbox for the scheduling options to appear. Notice that the initial program is for a “Single Run” as shown in Figure 4. Open the Job Template option and select the SAP pre-delivered program called “Release Universal Journals,” and the system will populate the Job Name field. This program is the one that controls the load of SAP S/4HANA ACDOCA to ACODCU data process in the Data Monitor.
- Now, if you want for example a job to run every two hours starting on a specific date and ending on a specific date, then click on the Define Recurrence Pattern as shown in Figure 5.
Figure 5—Configuring a New Job and Automating the “Release Universal Journals.”
- The screen shown in Figure 6 will appear and notice there are multiple fields available for scheduling your job. Remember, unless you configure it the system will not “know” what you want, so get familiar with this screen to improve your job scheduling. To complete this step, you will need the following:
- A start date
- A Recurrence Pattern: select “how often” you want the job to run such as Minutes, Hourly, Daily, Weekly, Monthly.
- Select the END date and time by choosing the BY option in the END to select the date and time when you would like the job to finish.
Once you complete these steps, click on the OK button shown in Figure 6.
Figure 6—Scheduling the “Release Universal Journals” Job
- After clicking on the Next button, you need to define the parameters required for the Program to run such as Ledger, Version, Fiscal Year, Period, Consolidation Groups, and Cons Chart of Accounts. The system needs these parameters as part of the program, and it is not recommended to run more than the current period. As shown in Figure 7, the setup is done for Period 1 for 2023, and the parameters with the RED Asterisk are MANDATORY, otherwise the system will not let you continue or complete the configuration. Different jobs have different parameters; they are not always the same, so please keep this in mind.
Figure 7—Configuring the Parameters for the “Release Universal Journals” Job
- When you have completed the configuration, just click on the Check button shown in Figure 7. The purpose of this Check button is to verify the job setup is correct. When satisfied with the overall configuration just click on the Schedule button shown in Figure 7.
- Once you click on the Schedule button, the program will set up the jobs in the future at once based on the scheduling options that have been selected. The status that you expect is FINISHED without any errors once the job is executed. Unfortunately, this is the standard out-of-the-box behavior of these job scheduling tool.
Creating a Job Template
Great, now you know how to run and schedule jobs. Now a manager will ask, “Why do I have to do these steps all the time every month? Ridiculous!” Good point. If you have a job that you want to just change the Period while maintaining the other parameters just changing dates or Periods, you can create a Job Template as shown in Figure 8.
Templates are quite useful for reusing programs that have specific characteristics or parameters that are repetitive. For example, if you would like to execute the Release Universal Journals job monthly, just change the START and END dates, as well as the PERIOD to be executed. To save yourself a little time, you can create a template with the parameters ready to go and share the template with other team members. In this section, we will explore this functionality.
Figure 8—Reviewing the SAP S/4HANA Group Reporting Pre-delivered Job Templates
By now, you have probably seen the “Release Universal Journal” template in the same menu you saw other programs for this tile as shown in Figure 8, and there are other SAP pre-delivered Job Templates:
- Balance Carry Forward
- Calculate Net Income
- Currency Translation (CTA)
- Preparation for Consolidation Group Changes
- Release Universal Journals
- Validation of Consolidated Data
- Validation of Reported Data
- Validation of Standardized Data
- Validation of Universal Journals
Again, Figure 8 shows the SAP Pre-delivered Job templates; now, we will learn how to create our own. To perform this task, follow these steps:
Perform the same steps done in the previous section, all the way to the Parameters definition in Figure 7 and selecting the SAP Pre-delivered Job template you want to adjust to your needs. In this case, “Release Universal Journals.”
To create a template using the previous configuration steps, instead of clicking on the Schedule button, just click on the Template button as shown in Figure 9.
Figure 9—Reviewing the SAP S/4HANA Group Reporting Pre-delivered Job Templates
Notice in Figure 9 there are two options available in the Template button:
- Save As: Use this option to save your template and make it shareable by clicking on the checkbox. As shown in Figure 10, the Template requires a description; in this case, “TEST1-TEMPLATE” is the name of the template to be saved, and it has been identified as “Share” in the checkbox. After this set up click the Ok
Figure 10—Creating a New Job Template
- Manage: Use this option to access the templates available, hide, delete, and identify the ones that are pre-delivered, shared, or private as shown in Figure 11. The gold icon is next to the template name as a pre-delivered SAP template that cannot be erased. However, the ones that we created appear as TEST1-TEMPLATE, as shown below. The icon is a Shared Template available to be used by other users, and the delete button is activated if you choose to delete or hide it. Once you are finished working with the templates available, click on the OK button as shown in Figure 11.
Figure 11—Manage Templates
Once the Template has been created and you want to reuse it, create a new Job as discussed in the previous section, open the Job Template tab as shown in the Figure 12. The newly created Template TEST1-TEMPLATE is available for selection along with the other pre-delivered programs.
Figure 12—Using a Customized Template
Click on the Template, and all your saved settings become available and ready to use if you choose to schedule the job. As shown in Figure 13 on the top left corner, you see the name of the customized template “TEST1: TEMPLATE” and your saved parameters are in their respective area.
Figure 13—Reusing Your Customized Template
Now perform the required modifications, such as START/END date, while keeping the rest of the parameters static, as they were saved in the template, or change the parameters as required.
Click on the Check button again shown in Figure 13 and click on the Schedule button to complete the configuration. As a general comment, the “Release Universals Journal” SAP pre-delivered program only accepts the Period Parameter only ONCE. So, if you want to run two or more periods, you need one job per period to be executed, which is not recommended. Congratulations! You have finished configurating and setting up Jobs and creating customized Job Templates.
In this document, we have explored the options available for automatic jobs. Yes, SAP can have multiple jobs running at the same time for different processes. You need to get familiar with each program, know what they do and how to use them, and know when to use them as part of your SAP or consolidation processes. If you need help, contact Arellius Enterprises, and we will be happy to help you.
We focused our attention on SAP S/4HANA Group Reporting automatic jobs configuration. However, SAP S/4HANA has multiple jobs from different modules available in the Application Jobs and Application Job Templates tiles shown in Figure 1. Using these tiles, you will also see the SAP Pre-delivered Jobs for SAP Group Reporting, so it is up to you and your implementation to determine which tiles work best for your needs.
So, the managerial question of whether SAP provides automation options has been answered. Now it is a matter of how you use it, and how you can align this functionality with your business needs. As a general recommendation, isolate the data set that you want to automate and avoid too much automation. You can create more problems, as some jobs might need to be created in sequence. And, for that answer, you can also create package sequences using Job Templates like the old SAP BW Process Chains functionality.