How to Maximize Your SAP ERP Investment With Strategic Integrations

When businesses invest in an enterprise resource planning (ERP) tool, it’s with the understanding that the solution will serve as the bedrock for finance and accounting operations and planning in the future. Understandably, this requires a tremendous degree of detailed research, analysis, and vetting, but at the end of the day, whatever solution the business chooses will play a significant role in how the company is run.

For accounting teams implementing an SAP ERP, they know what they’re getting: A secure, flexible solution with top-of-line support developed by an industry-leading organization with nearly five decades (!!!) of experience developing finance and accounting systems. 

Understanding the level of investment required to implement something as substantial as an ERP also means managing expectations for the project. Given the time and cost associated with such an undertaking, it’s easy to see why some businesses might expect miracles from the solution. To avoid falling into this trap, it’s critical for key stakeholders to set these expectations appropriately. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of the SAP ERP is a great place to start, but really understanding the fact that SAP provides a reliable foundation to build out finance and accounting operations needs to be top of mind: After all, you’re not starting from scratch. 

Let’s look at how accounting teams can maximize the effectiveness of their SAP ERPs by exploring SAP’s Ecosystem for Finance and Accounting operations.  

Challenges Abound

Accounting teams face a bevy of challenges not easily addressed by a simple change in approach or a workflow hack. For most teams, communication is a huge challenge. Whether it be transparency into the team’s progress or actually letting someone know a task is closed out and ready for the next person, most teams require status update meetings and communications to understand what still needs to be done. 

A major challenge facing teams is data integrity, which ultimately impacts much more than something as frequent as the Month-End Close. Even on a stress-free, simple Close, the opportunity to swap one spreadsheet for another is always there, creating headaches for everyone (even when version control isn’t an issue). This can be attributed to a couple of different things, but first and foremost: It’s a problem because of how teams manually approach the Close process. Multiple spreadsheets — most saying something to the effect of “Final_For_Real-This_Time_Promise_(14)” — being shared via Teams, Slack, email, the cloud, etc…In the short term, this leads to delays in the Close, but over time, this can lead to challenges with audit, given the erratic communication process, siloed collaboration between stakeholders, and no centralized location to host FINAL version of all worksheets. 

While this all makes for a headache for accounting leaders and their teams, the effects go just beyond the 9-5. Ultimately, approaching work like this will lead to burnout — something we’re seeing more than ever before in the accounting world.

The Need for Alternatives

When accountants enter the workforce, they know what they’re getting into: Periodic long hours with fluctuating levels of stress (and panic), but, overall, a steady paycheck. Though, if the evolving workplace dynamics of the last five years have taught us anything, it’s that there’s undoubtedly a better way. Simply put: The status quo won’t work anymore.

According to a study of burnout in the accounting profession conducted by FloQast and the University of Georgia, a staggering 99% of accountants suffered from some level of burnout. Additionally, 81% reported that the Month-End Close process interrupted their personal lives. While these figures are concerning, to say the least, the fact that 85% of participants reported that they had to reopen the books over the last year to fix errors should concern business leaders most, given the toll on productivity and attention to detail that burnout takes.

Given the historically manual nature of accounting processes, many teams still default to what they know instead of exploring opportunities to improve. But with the need to ensure accuracy and provide financial figures faster than ever before, it’s time for businesses to invest in resources to help their teams operate more efficiently while ensuring accuracy. 

So, what’s out there?

Understanding the Environment

Thankfully, there are a number of SAP integrations designed to address specific components of the accounting function.

Accounting teams are responsible for a wide variety of tasks, but given the frequency — and importance — of the Month-, Quarter, and Year-End Closes, researching Close Management solutions should be top of mind. 

FloQast has helped numerous customers optimize their investment in SAP’s Ecosystem for Finance and Accounting operations. Using FloQast, they have reduced manual data manipulation and automated the Financial Close, increased their ability to collaborate on the range of tasks that require cross-team coordination, possess real-time visibility into the status of the close, and now have centralized controls and documentation to drive a virtual audit. 

Learn more about how FloQast works with SAP’s Ecosystem for Finance and Accounting operations today!