A new way to manage your house bank G/L accounts in SAP S/4HANA release 2009
Bank account subledger
The most recent S/4HANA Finance for cash management completes the bank account management (BAM) functionality with a bank account subledger concept. This final enhancement allows the Treasury team to assume full ownership in the bank account management life-cycle.
With the introduction of the new cash management in S/4HANA in 2016, SAP has announced the bank account management functionality, which treats house bank accounts as master data. With this change of design, SAP has aligned the approach with other treasury management systems on the market moving the bank account data ownership from IT to Treasury team.
But one stumbling block was left in the design: each bank account master requires a dedicated set of general ledger (G/L) accounts, on which the balances are reflected (the master account) and through which transactions are posted (clearing accounts). Very often organizations define unique GL account for each house bank account (alternatively, generic G/L accounts are sometimes used, like “USD bank account 1”), so creation of a new bank account in the system involves coordination with two other teams:
- Financial master data team – managing the chart of accounts centrally, to create the new G/L accounts
- IT support – updating the usage of the new accounts in the system settings (clearing accounts)
Due to this maintenance process dependency, even with the new BAM, the creation of a new house bank account remained a tedious and lengthy process. Therefore, many organizations still keep the house bank account management within their IT support process also on S/4HANA releases, negating the very idea of BAM as master data.
To overcome this limitation and to put all steps in the bank account management life cycle in the ownership of the treasury team completely, in the most recent S/4HANA release (2009) SAP has introduced a new G/L account type: “Cash account”. G/L accounts of this new bank reconciliation account type are used in the bank account master data in a similar way as the already established reconciliation G/L accounts are used in customer and vendor master data. However, two new specific features had to be introduced to support the new approach:
- Distinction between the Bank sub account (the master account) and the Bank reconciliation account (clearing account): this is reflected in the G/L account definition in the chart of accounts via a new attribute “G/L Account Subtype”.
- In the bank determination (transaction FBZP), the reconciliation account is not directly assigned per house bank and payment method anymore. Instead, Account symbols (automatic bank statement posting settings) can be defined as SIP (self-initiated payment) relevant and these account symbols are available for assignment to payment methods in the bank country in a new customizing activity. This design finally harmonizes the account determination between the area of automatic payments and the area of automatic bank statement processing.
New G/L Account type in the G/L Account master data
In the same release, there are two other features introduced in the bank account management:
- Individual bank account can be opened or blocked for posting.
- New authorization object F_BKPF_BEB is introduced, enabling to assign bank account authorization group on the level of individual bank accounts in BAM. The user posting to the bank account has to be authorized for the respective authorisation group.
The impact of this new design on treasury process efficiency probably makes you already excited. So, what does it take to switch from the old to the new setup?
Luckily, the new approach can be activated on the level of every single bank account in the Bank account management master data, or even not used at all. Related functionalities can follow both old and new approaches side-by-side and you have time to switch the bank accounts to the new setup gradually. The G/L account type cannot be changed on a used account, therefore new G/L accounts have to be created and the balances moved in accounting on the cut-over date. However, this is necessary only for the G/L account masters. Outstanding payments do not prevent the switch, as the payment would follow the new reconciliation account logic upon activation. Specific challenges exist in the cheque payment scenario, but here SAP offers a fallback clearing scenario feature, to make sure the switch to the new design is smooth.