Someone (probably) once said that if you wait long enough then everything comes back into fashion.
Perhaps that is why I’ve had three separate conversations about the SAP New General Ledger in as many weeks.
There is a tendency to think that the New GL is a commodity area, which in terms of marketplace skills, it clearly is. New GL is over 10 years old so ‘new’ it most definitely is not. An interesting stat, that I’m paraphrasing, is that the majority of the SAP customer base is still on the classic GL.
When the New GL was introduced, there was an expectation that large numbers of SAP customers would migrate from classic to new. Indeed, I remember sitting the SAP AC212 course in anticipation and undertaking an end-to-end dummy migration over the week. (As an aside, I recall the tutor worrying about the ledger approach for parallel accounting because of the potential number of line items that would be written to the FAGLFLEXA table. Seems a bit quaint in hindsight!)
However, the tidal wave of migrations never really came. There were some high profile migration projects and, indeed, there is still the odd one around but migrations never really became truly mainstream.
So what has prompted the re-emergence of the New GL conversation now? I think there are two main reasons:
(1) The transformation agenda. Whether this is large scale transformation or system optimisation.
(2) A groundswell of thought about S/4HANA in the business and IT roadmap.
The first one depends on the business requirements and ultimately the business case.
The second is interesting and is driven, to a certain extent, by a desire to avoid compromise. A move to S/4HANA should open up opportunities and not see a perpetuation of workarounds to satisfy reporting requirements.
In terms of the technical restrictions, I won’t repackage information that is already available out there in other blogs and posts (more info can be found here).
To summarise: there is no barrier to S/4 adoption through running classic GL. There’s a technical activation of the New GL as part of the migration but, for the moment, it is not possible to switch on document splitting or parallel ledgers either as part of the conversion to S/4HANA or subsequently. It would need to be completed prior to the S/4HANA project.
A migration scenario is being developed by SAP to enable document splitting and parallel ledgers that can be undertaken after the S/4 migration but it’s not clear yet when this will be available.
I do wonder about the appetite to embark on a separate New GL project either pre- or post-S/4HANA conversion though. Perhaps a better approach would be for SAP to develop tooling that allows the activation and migration to New GL as part of the S/4HANA conversion itself.
We will see how this story develops and what is included in the 1709 release...