What Is SAP Accounting Software?

by Madison Garcia; Updated September 26, 2017

SAP -- short for systems, applications and products in data processing -- is an inter-enterprise software company that offers software for business functions like accounting, sales, marketing and product planning. It's the world's largest provider of enterprise application software and -- at the time of publication -- leads the market in applications, analytics and mobility solutions. SAP has a variety of accounting software packages customized for the needs of a business, such as SAP Business One, SAP Business ByDesign, SAP Business All-in-One and SAP Core Finance.

What SAP Accounting Software Does

SAP accounting software is designed to streamline the collection and consolidation of accounting data, accelerate the financial close process, assist in regulatory reporting and create high-quality financial statements in accordance with necessary financial reporting standards. It has special functions to handle areas with more complicated accounting needs, like real estate management, and to simplify expense reimbursement work. It also assists the accounting and finance department with everyday tasks, such as managing invoices and accounts receivable and performing financial analysis and planning.

How SAP Accounting Software Works

SAP systems are enterprise resource planning software systems. That means that they integrate with other applications -- like manufacturing, inventory management, sales, shipping, procurement and treasury -- to streamline work and save time. For example, if you have SAP accounting and shipping applications, the shipping application can automatically update the accounting information when products are shipped so the accounting department can record revenue on the sale.

Opening an Accounting Period in SAP

To begin using SAP accounting software, you must enter information into the system by posting transactions. All the transactions that accounting staff enter in SAP is done within a designated posting period. Before employees can post transactions, someone must define the parameters of the accounting period and open it for posting. You can set different posting periods for different accounts. To open a period, follow these steps:

  1. From the main SAP screen, choose the company you want to open and select "Open and Close Periods."
  2. Inspect the open accounting periods listed in the window. If the period you want to open doesn't exist, select "Open Period."
  3. Enter your desired beginning and ending date for the posting period.
  4. Select the closing step you want for the accounting period. Closing step 010, "Operational Postings," allows users to automatically and manually post entries. Closing step 020, "Closing Entries," only allows manual entries.
  5. Click "Save" to open the period.

About the Author

Based in San Diego, Calif., Madison Garcia is a writer specializing in business topics. Garcia received her Master of Science in accountancy from San Diego State University.