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Stick with accounting career or transition to FI/CO

Making the transition from an accountant to a FI/CO consultant.

I have been an accountant for six years with knowledge in tax, auditing and commercial accounts. Eight months ago I moved into SAP working with the FI/CO module. My project now is handling data conversion (using LSMW to upload data from old legacy system into SAP). I found it is so plain I can't learn new things from it.

In addition to that, I found I am behind with the new career because my knowledge is so little I am unable to support...

the users (I am at end-user side doing support functional consultant). I am at a crossroads now, should I return to my accounting career before all the accounting skills fade or should I continue with the new career? If continue, how can i master FI/CO in the most efficient way without a mentor? I do not have a mentor now and have to do everything on my own

You are correct -- just using LSMW is not enough to really get you started as an FI/CO consultant. It's not bad to have LSMW experience, but you really need to get more configuration experience in the financials side.

Your accounting background should serve you well in an SAP FI/CO career path, so I would advise you not to give up on SAP just yet. I believe if you are determined to master FI/CO, you can do it affordably. There are a number of high quality SAP financials books available that get pretty in-depth. You can also find online resources. Yes, it takes much more self-discipline to work your way through books than it does to pay for training, but it's much more affordable.

Since you are already interacting with users, if you can increase your FI/CO knowledge base through hard work, you may well be able to help them, and in the process, earn credibility with your employer that you can use to get more heavily involved in FI/CO configuration. It would be great to find a true mentor, but many successful consultants got their start without a mentor, so you can do it too. I realize that the strategy I suggest is hard work, but if you put the time in on evenings and weekends, I think you can learn a whole lot and then solidify that knowledge by working on a live system, which many SAP hopefuls do not have access to. So, you should take advantage of what you have for sure.

If the approach I've recommended does not get you more SAP experience, then you are at a crossroads. At that point, I would apply for other SAP jobs in financials. Only then, if you are unable to find any new SAP jobs, would I return to a pure accounting role. Until then, I think you should try to combine that financials background with more SAP FI/CO know-how. It is a good combination of skills to have.

This was last published in July 2006

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