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Will implementing FI/CO transform financial management?

Can the proper implementation of financials SAP R/3 FI-CO transform financial management within a company? Is there a downside to implementing FI-CO?

An SAP implementation will definitely transform financial management within any company. Whether this is good or bad is depends on the forethought that goes into the implementation process.

SAP will force standardization of common business processes (receivables, payables, fixed assets, treasury, etc.) This is because the information that comes out of SAP is only as good as the data going in. Therefore, checks and balances must be established at the front of each transaction to ensure the data going into SAP is accurate. Furthermore, turnover becomes very expensive once SAP is up and running, so established procedures for each workstation are critical to ensuring smooth transitions.

The implementation process should include input from senior management on what they would like to see on reports. Ideally, give them pencil and paper and ask them to sketch out their 'perfect' report. It's much easier to build reports from scratch during the implementation than to wrestle with trying to change reports after go-live. Encourage them to think of a number of perspectives to view the business: perhaps one report that focuses on sales units, another that focuses on revenues and costs, and maybe another report that shows per-unit values for revenues and costs. Different managers have different tastes on how they like to see their information, and planning for flexibility early in the process can save a lot of headaches later!

Many 'downside' experiences can be traced back to poor planning during the implementation phase. For example, setting up profit centers that correspond to regions of the country, then deciding post go-live that bonus plans will be based on individual states. Granted, profit centers can be re-configured to states rather than regions, but there will be a transition time while the profit center hierarchy is adjusted and tested.

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