Software packages such as SAP have given businesses a powerful way to track financial and operational data, update it in real time and make course corrections if necessary. Software databases have continued to evolve and improve, with increasing capabilities to track and report on just about any type of business transaction or activity. Users must take advantage of training and tutorials to get the most out of these systems and work through them to maximize efficiency and the flow of information.
Understand the function of SAP and how it stores data. The SAP system is a multi-dimensional database software program. Large companies use it to manage many of the ongoing functions of the business with one software package. SAP is used by companies as an ERP, or enterprise resource planning, solution to manage many of the key functions of the business in real time. The quality of the data is dependent on timely and correct entries.
Get to know how SAP has been tailored to your company to understand how accounting entries flow. SAP is highly customizable, with certain features that, once changed, affect the entire system. Additionally, each specific module within SAP can be configured to fit the needs a specific organization. For this reason, SAP tutorials tend to be somewhat company-specific and are usually created by the information technology team or provided by SAP consultants.
Follow the entire transaction you want to record and verify whether the entries were already made automatically; SAP stores information for all modules in one database, which allows real- time updates to many different pieces of information at the same time. For example, production schedules are driven by sales activity, and accounting entries automatically take place as a result of production and sales entries.
Become familiar with your firm's specific SAP version before attempting to record any entries. SAP contains several different modules. Not all companies use every module and this may affect how entries are made. The modules include work in layers, and the accounting modules include financial accounting and controlling. This encompasses automated reporting and management of accounts payable and receivable along with other ledger sub-accounts defined by the organization's chart of accounts. Journal entries are posted automatically as sales and payments are entered into the system. The controlling module manages the company's cost and revenue flow, with updates happening automatically as well. Other modules include asset management, project planning, work-flow, human resources, materials management, production planning and sales and distribution.
Understand that some tutorials may be a bit generic. The financial accounting module is typically configured to meet the needs of a specific company. Each company has its own unique chart of accounts, departments and cost centers. Additionally, not every company uses the same types of functionality in the software. Some firms may have export sales, for example, which would involve setting up export customer accounts and adding a new revenue account to specifically track revenue from export sales. The SAP implementation team, whether employed by the company or working as outside consultants, should provide tutorials and training for each SAP module.
Review online sources for general tutorials and information. Online sources provide tutorials for accounting and other modules, although they may be geared toward a different type of business. For example, the University of Scranton provides an online tutorial for the financial accounting and controlling modules, along with other modules of SAP.
Cynthia Gaffney has spent over 20 years in finance with experience in valuation, corporate financial planning, mergers & acquisitions consulting and small business ownership. She has worked as a financial writer and editor for several online finance and small business publications since 2011, including AZCentral.com's Small Business section, The Balance.com, Chron.com's Small Business section, and LegalBeagle.com. A Southern California native, Cynthia received her Bachelor of Science degree in finance and business economics from USC.