The digitization of accounting is certainly one of the hot topics in the accounting departments of companies of late. In this blog post, we want to look more closely at the topic of how to measure the degree of digitization in accounting in the first place. I will show you how to perform three SQL evaluations in SAP as possible points of entry to get you started.

Accounting is a highly standardized domain. This is something which comes naturally with the principle of double-entry accounting, which has now quite clearly established itself worldwide (though it is already very old). Accounting processes are also highly standardized, because every company needs proven processes for operations like incoming and outgoing invoice processing. So it is obvious that the general assessment is that accounting processes are or will be strongly affected by digitization. A quick glance at an often cited study shows that the probability that machines will take over accounting is 94% (see p. 69, Accountants and Auditors down in 589th place, 1st place being the least computerizable occupation).

 

How can digitization be measured in SAP accounting?

One can think of various pointers as to how to operationally implement the measurement of digitization in SAP Accounting. Of course, it must be possible to look for these pointers when performing an evaluation of the data. We want to make use of three pointers as a measure of digitization:

  1. Non-dialog users (or system users) post receipts. This suggests that automatic processes are at work and that the receipts were not manually posted by employees. The first premise is therefore: the more postings are being made by system users, the higher the degree of digitization.

  2. Accounting documents are "posted together" by other SAP modules (integration postings such as a goods receipt in SAP MM). The following applies: The more integration postings are being made, the higher the degree of digitization.

  3. Accounting documents are posted to the SAP system en masse. This can be done with batch input sessions. The following applies: The more postings are being made by batch input sessions, the higher the degree of digitization.

So now let's take a closer look at the details.

 

Postings by system users

Let's start with the system users. There are different types of users in SAP. The user type is in the user master data (table USR02, Field USTYP). The following user types exist:

A = Dialog

B = System User (Internal RFC and Background Processing)

C = Communication User (External RFC)

L = Reference User

S = Service User

 

Dialog users are users who can log on to the SAP GUI. Postings by such users are therefore to be regarded as manual postings. With regard to an assessment of the digitization of your accounting system, you should therefore pay attention to postings made by system users. The following statement evaluates your entire posting data and examines which user types have posted. You can try this out in SAP yourself by using the "DBACOCKPIT" transaction and navigating to the "SQL Editor" via the "Diagnostics" tab:

 

SELECT USTYP, BUKRS, GJAHR, COUNT(*)
FROM BKPF
LEFT JOIN USR02 ON (BKPF.MANDT = USR02.MANDT AND BKPF.USNAM = USR02.BNAME)
WHERE GJAHR=2018 AND BUKRS='1000'
GROUP BY USTYP, BUKRS, GJAHR
ORDER BY COUNT(*) DESC;

 

USTYP BUKRS GJAHR COUNT
A 1000 2018 84
S 1000 2018 3

 

In this simple example, 84 documents have been posted by dialog users and only 3 by system users. This does not suggest any particularly comprehensive degree of digitization.

 

Integration postings

There are various business transactions in non-FI SAP modules that trigger a posting in Accounting. The automatic triggering of a posting in SAP FI by a non-SAP FI module is also referred to as integration posting. An integration posting can therefore also be used as a characteristic for digitization. The "AWTYP" field in the "BKPF" table indicates which SAP module or subsystem initiated the posting. We can easily evaluate this with this query:

 

SELECT AWTYP, BUKRS, GJAHR, COUNT(*)
FROM BKPF
WHERE GJAHR=2018 AND BUKRS='1000'
GROUP BY AWTYP, BUKRS, GJAHR
ORDER BY COUNT(*) DESC;

 

AWTYP  BUKRS GJAHR COUNT
MKPF 1000 2018 46
BKPF 1000 2018 24
RMRP 1000 2018 17

 

The abbreviations in AWTYP mean:

BKPF = Accounting document

MKPF = Material document

RMRP = Invoice receipt

 

Postings with AWTYP=BKPF can be considered as manual postings. Postings from MKPF (= material postings) and RMRP (= invoices from the MM module) are integration postings from non-SAP FI modules that are to be regarded as automatic.

If you are wondering about the meanings of the reference transaction (AWTYP field), you can find an overview here.

 

Batch input postings

As a last pointer as to the level of digitization of accounting in SAP, we suggested measuring the use of batch input folders. Whether a posting was made by a batch input session and if so, by which one, can be seen in the "GRPID" field of the "BKPF" table. So here’s how it’s done:

 

GRPID BUKRS GJAHR COUNT
  1000 2018 87
HR 1000 2018 5

If there is nothing in GRPID, then no batch input session was used.

 

Here only one batch input session seems to be used from the area of HR (Personnel). But the scope only covers 5 documents.

 

And now’s let’s put at it all together

In the last few sections, we have looked at three pointers that speak in favor of or against the digitization of accounting. Ultimately, however, a conclusion only makes sense if all three points of reference are audited in an integrated manner. This is what we will seek to do with the following query:

 

SELECT USTYP, GRPID, AWTYP, BUKRS, GJAHR, COUNT(*)
FROM BKPF
LEFT JOIN USR02 ON (BKPF.MANDT = USR02.MANDT AND BKPF.USNAM = USR02.BNAME)
WHERE GJAHR=2018 AND BUKRS='1000'
GROUP BY GRPID, AWTYP, BUKRS, GJAHR, USTYP
ORDER BY COUNT(*) DESC;

 

USTYP  GRPID AWTYP BUKRS GJAHR COUNT
A   MKPF 1000 2018 46
A   BKPF 1000 2018 16
A   RMRP 1000 2018 17
A HR BKPF 1000 2018 5
S   BKPF 1000 2018 3

 

Performing such an integrated evaluation raises the question: Which lines should be considered to be "digital" and which "manual"? Line 2 is to be regarded as "manual" (not "digital") because only dialog users posted (the USTYP column), no batch input session was used (the GRPID column) and the postings were posted directly to SAP FI and were not generated from another SAP module as integration postings (the AWTYP column).

In summary, it can be said that IDES – the model company in SAP - has not yet arrived in the digital age based on an evaluation of its data for 2018. In addition to the large number of postings by dialog users (USTYP A), the lack of batch input folders speaks for itself: the field of digitization is still totally undiscovered territory for IDES.

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