Describing the Source to Pay Business Process


After completing this lesson, you will be able to Describe the Source to Pay Business Process.

Source to Pay Overview

As a long-term SAP user, you want to gain an overview of the purchase to pay process. Therefore, you need to know the basic functions covered in purchasing and the integration aspects.

The figure, Purchase-to-Pay Business Process, shows the steps of the purchase-to-pay business process, which are as follows:

  1. Determination of requirements:

    The responsible department manually creates a purchase requisition to inform purchasing of its requirements. The system can automatically generate a purchase requisition with the Materials Requirements Planning (MRP) process.

  2. Determination of Supply Source / Supplier Selection:

    The system supports buyers in determining possible supply sources. You can refer to purchase orders, outline agreements, and purchasing information records that already exist in the system. In addition, you can create requests for buyer quotations (RFQs).

    To find out which supplier has the best prices you can carry out price comparisons between various supply sources or quotations

  3. Purchase Order Processing:

    Similar to purchase requisitions, you can create purchase orders manually or let the system create them automatically. When you create purchase orders, you can copy data from other documents (such as purchase requisitions or quotations) to reduce the amount of entries that need to be made.

  4. Purchase Order Monitoring:

    Monitor the processing status of the purchase orders in the system. For example, you can determine whether a delivery or invoice has already been received for a purchase order item. You can also remind vendors about outstanding deliveries.

  5. Goods Receipt:

    Enter inbound deliveries in the system by referring to the associated purchase order to reduce the number of entries that need to be made. Referring to the associated purchase order also allows you to check whether the goods and quantities delivered match the purchase order. The system updates the purchase order history.

  6. Invoice Verification:

    Enter invoices in the system by referring to the previous purchase order or delivery to check the calculations and accuracy of the invoice. The availability of purchase order and goods receipt data means that you can be informed of any differences in quantity and price.

  7. Payment Processing:

    Run the payment program to pay vendor liabilities. The accounting department is responsible for running this program on a regular basis.

Foreign Trade and SAP Global Trade Services (GTS)

Currently, there are two software services for international trade transactions: Foreign Trade and SAP Global Trade Services (GTS). Foreign Trade is part of standard Materials Management (MM).

SAP GTS is an external service that can be installed on a separate instance. With SAP S/4HANA on-premise, the foreign trade solution will be not available because SAP Global Trade Services is the successor for the business requirement.

Additional functions for import and export management are available with SAP GTS.

The customer needs to check whether 3rd party foreign trade systems are in use for foreign trade processes.

Because of the replaced foreign trade functionality in SAP S/4HANA, it is possible that third party foreign trade system will need adjustments by the respective third-party Solution or Service Provider. However, SAP GTS can be connected to SAP S/4HANA to run the respective foreign trade processes.

Logistics Material Management Inventory Management

  • Actual stock quantity data will be calculated on-the-fly from the new material document table MATDOC.

  • The advantage of the new MM-IM data model is the capability of simple and fast reporting, because the most information is in one place (the MATDOC table).

Material Ledger Obligatory for Material Valuation

  • Flexible valuation methods in multiple currencies

  • Parallel accounting standards while simultaneously reducing required system resources and improving scalability of the business processes

  • Statistical moving average price:

    One major innovation in SAP S/4HANA in the area of MM is the significant increase of transactional data put through for high volume transactions, especially goods movements.

This simplification makes it obligatory to use the Material Ledger in all SAP S/4HANA systems. When a system is converted to SAP S/4HANA, the Material Ledger will be activated, if not active already.

Latest trends in material management aim for improved and more flexible valuation methods in multiple currencies and parallel accounting standards, while simultaneously reducing required system resources and improving scalability of the business processes. Since the data model of the Material Ledger (ML) module supports these business requirements, it was chosen as the basis for material inventory valuation in the new solution SAP S/4HANA.

It is important to distinguish between Material Ledger, in its role as an inventory subledger in Accounting, and business feature Actual Costing. Material Ledger, as the inventory subledger, valuates material inventories in multiple currencies and GAAPs in parallel. In addition, Material Ledger is a base prerequisite for the use of Actual Costing. With Actual Costing, you can valuate your material inventories, work in process and cost of goods sold with weighted average unit costs that are being calculated after the fact by evaluating business transactions of one or several posting periods. Other features, for example, actual cost component split, are provided by Actual Costing.

For compatibility reasons, there are Core Data Service (CDS) Views assigned as proxy objects to all those tables ensuring that each read access to one of the mentioned tables still returns the data as before. The CDS views consist of database joins in order to retrieve both master data from the original xBEW(H) table and transactional data from Material Ledger tables.

All customer coding, reading data from those tables, will work as before because each read access to one of the tables will get redirected in the database interface layer of NetWeaver to the assigned CDS view.

For goods movements, this can be achieved with few exceptions for materials with price control Standard, where the relation between unit costs for material inventory (standard price), and inventory quantity and inventory value is kept constant during goods movements. To calculate a consistent moving average valuation, the system is still forced to use exclusive locks. Therefore, the same increase of transactional data throughput cannot be achieved for materials with price control Moving Average in comparison to materials with price control Standard.

The system calculates a standard price valuation for materials with price control Standard, also a moving average valuation in parallel, the so called "statistical" moving average price. Obviously this statistical valuation also requires exclusive locking. As said, exclusive locking is limiting the transactional data throughput, and therefore shall be avoided in SAP S/4HANA.

The deactivation of the statistical moving average is not mandatory in SAP S/4HANA, but recommended to achieve a significant increase of transactional data throughput for goods movements. It is important to note that the deactivation is not reversible. The deactivation of the statistical moving average is the consequence of a new lock behavior for materials with price control Standard. This new lock behavior does not use exclusive locks anymore. The activation of the new lock behavior leads to the deactivation of the statistical moving average.

As a result, end users, creating material master data in SAP S/4HANA, have to select one of the following material valuation methods for a material:

  • Price control Standard that offers a fixed price inventory valuation, no parallel statistical moving average valuation. Only dedicated business transactions can change unit costs. But a significantly increased transactional data throughput for goods movements can be achieved.

  • Price control Moving Average with which unit costs of material inventory might be changed by any business transaction, but transactional data throughput is still limited by the exclusive locking.

The statistical moving average price is as the name already implies purely statistical and does not have an impact on actual financials-relevant valuation.

Without the statistical moving average price in few scenarios an alternative way of valuation needs to be used.

This concerns, for example:

  • Balance Sheet Valuation: Selection variants must be checked and adapted.

  • Product Cost Planning: Valuation variants must be checked and adapted.

Even though Material Ledger is becoming obligatorily active, Actual Costing is not. Activation of Actual Costing is still optional.

Output Management

  • Print Channel:

    The SAP S/4HANA Output Management supports the following Channels:

    • E-mail

    • Printout

    • XML

  • Print Technology:

    The SAP S/4HANA Output Management supports the following print technologies:

    • Smart Forms

    • Adobe Forms

    • Adobe Forms using Fragments

Over the years, several output management tools have been established. Different applications are using different output management tools to determine what is to be communicated, how it is to be communicated and when it is to be communicated. In addition, if communication is via printing, different print form technologies have been established, such as SAP Script, Smart Forms and Adobe Form technology. For example, form determination (along with other output parameters) occurs via message determination (NAST) in SD and MM, while other applications use different output management technologies, for example, FIN. The output management based on NAST supports the following:

  • Print Channels:

    • Print output

    • Fax

    • Telex

    • External send

    • EDI

    • Simple Mail

    • Special function

    • Events (SAP Business Workflow)

    • Distribution (ALE)

    • Tasks (SAP Business Workflow)

  • Print Technologies:

    • SAP Script

    • Smart Forms

    • Adobe Forms

New Output Management

There is a new and modern Output Management within SAP S/4HANA. The new output management by design includes cloud qualities like extensibility enablement, multi tenancy enablement, and modification free configuration. Therefore, the complete configuration differs from configuration that is used when output management is based on NAST. The configuration is based on BRF+ which is accessible for Customers on premise.

Regarding the forms especially footer and Logos for the new output management:

The standard SAP Script Repository is used (Transactions: SO10 and SE78). A customer can maintain texts and logos centrally. The determination rules can be accessed via Customizing. The access is available for Customers on premise (and for Service Center in the cloud edition).

SAP S/4HANA Analytics

  • Real-time operational reporting approach – enables a key user or creates and modifies reports, KPIs, or any other analytical data according to their needs, based on easy to use and cloud enabled administration tools.

  • The analytics functionality within SAP S/4HANA is designed for ultimate simplicity.

  • The new SAP S/4HANA Analytics concept as the target architecture technology is based on OData and open CDS and is introduced in addition to the existing analytics functionalities in SAP Business Suite.

SAP Source to Pay — Intelligent Spend

Intelligent Spend Management Key Themes:

  • Embedded Intelligence and Insights across Source to Pay

  • Connecting Procurement to Supply Chain and Asset Management

  • Extending Business Processes beyond the four walls of an enterprise

  • Managing All Spend, All Buying Channels, All Suppliers on a Common End-to-End Platform

  • Connecting Suppliers into Supply Chain Planning and Maintenance Operations

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