Financial Accounting (FI)
75. Explain ‘Financial Accounting (FI)’ in SAP.
The ‘FI (Financial Accounting)’ module of SAP is the back-bone, which records, collects, and
processes financial transactions or information on a real-time basis to provide the necessary
inputs for external (statutory) reporting. The module is integrated with other modules (such as
Material Management (MM), Sales & Distribution (SD), Human Resources (HR), Production
Planning (PP), Controlling (CO), etc.). The module FI has several submodules that are tightly
76. What are the ‘Submodules’ within FI?
FI-AA Asset Accounting
Integrated with FI-GL, FI-AR, FI-AP, CO, MM, PP and PM, this module manages the
financial side (depreciation, insurance, etc.) of the assets throughout their entire lifecycle
starting with procurement of assets and ending with scrapping or sales.
FI-AP Accounts Payable
Integrated with FI-GL, FI-AA, FI-TR and MM, this submodule manages vendor transactions
by linking with material management, asset accounting, travel management, etc. Notable is
the ‘payment program’ for making payments to vendors.
FI-AR Accounts Receivable
Integrated with FI-GL, FI-AA, FI-TR, MM and SD, this submodule manages customers and
receivables, and integrates with SD. It is well-known for credit management functionalities
and the ‘dunning’ program.
FI-BL Bank Accounting
FI-FM Funds Management
FI-GL General Ledger Accounting
This submodule is integrated with all other submodules within FI and outside FI.
FI-SL Special Purpose Ledger
This submodule is used to provide the summary information from multiple applications at a
level of detail that the user defines.
FI-LC Legal Consolidations
This submodule helps in the central task of combining the financial operating results of the
companies within a group to provide overall results for the group.
FI-TM Travel Management
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77. Name the Submodules Within FI, from Which FI-GL Gets
Accounts Receivable (FI-AR)
Accounts Payable (FI-AP)
Asset Accounting (FI-AA)
78. Name Three Distinct Characteristics of FI-GL.
Flexible real-time reporting
Real-time transaction entries
Global and Enterprise Settings
Before getting into the questions, please look into the FI organization structure depicted below.
When moving through the questions, at any point in time if you need clarification on the
arrangement of the various organizational elements, do visit this page again. To be successful as
an FI/CO consultant you need to have a thorough grasp of this basic fundamental block in SAP
Figure 14: FI Organization Structure
79. What do You mean by ‘Organizational Units’ in SAP?
The ‘Organizational Units’ in SAP are the elements or structures representing business
functions, and are used in reporting. For example, Client (across the various modules) Company
Code (FI), Controlling Area (CO), Plant (logistics), Sales Organization (SD), Purchasing
Organization (MM), Employee Group (HR), etc.
80. What are the Important ‘Organizational Units’ in FI?
2. Company Code
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3. Business area
81. What is a ‘Company’?
A ‘Company’ in SAP is represented by a 5-character alphanumeric code and usually represents
the enterprise or the group company. A Company can include one or more Company Codes. The
creation of a Company, in SAP, is optional.
Figure 15: Company and Company Code
Figure 16: Define a Company
82. What is a ‘Company Code,’ and how is this different from a
A ‘Company Code’ in SAP is the smallest organizational unit for which you can draw individual
Financial Statements (Balance Sheet and Profit & Loss Account) for your external statutory
reporting. It is denoted by a 4-character alphanumeric code. The creation of a Company Code is
mandatory; you need to have at least one Company Code defined in the system, for
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Figure 17: Define a Company Code
You may define a Company Code by copying from an existing one (Copy, Delete, Check
Company Code Option).
You may also define the Company Code anew (the second option in the following figure), from
Figure 18: Options to define a Company Code
83. What are the Important ‘Global Settings’ for a Company Code?
Chart of Accounts
Credit Control Area
Fiscal Year Variant
Field Status Variant
Posting Period Variant
84. Can You Assign more than One ‘Company Code’ to a
All the Company Codes within a Company should use the same Chart of Accounts and the same
Financial Year, though they all can have different Local Currencies.
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85. What is a ‘Business Area’?
‘Business Areas’ correspond to specific business segments of a company, and may cut across
different Company Codes (for example, product lines). They can also represent different
responsibility areas (for example, branch units). The Business Areas are optional in SAP.
Figure 19: Business Area
The financial statements drawn per business area are for internal reporting purposes. You need
to put a check in the check box in the configuration for the company for which you want to enable
business area financial statements.
Figure 20: Enable Business Area Financial Statements
When transactions are posted in FI, you have the option of assigning the same to a Business
Area so that the values are properly captured for internal financial statements.
86. Can You Attach a ‘Business Area’ to a Transaction?
Yes. The Business Area can also be derived from other account assignments; for example, cost
center. But to do this, you need to define the Business Area in the master record of that particular
87. How do You Post Cross-company Code Business Area
By using a cross-Company Code transaction, you should be able to post to different ‘Business
Areas’ and cut across various Company Codes. Any number of ‘Business Area-Company Code’
combinations is possible.
88. What is the ‘Credit Control Area’ in SAP?
The ‘Credit Control Area’ in SAP helps administer credit management functions relating to
customers. This organizational unit is used both in SD and FI-AR modules. By definition, you can
have more than one credit control area in a Client, but each Company Code is assigned to one
credit control area. However, it is true that you can attach many Company Codes to the same
credit control area.
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Figure 21: Credit Control Area
89. What is a ‘Chart of Accounts’?
A ‘Chart of Accounts’ is the list of GL accounts used in one or more Company Codes. All the GL
accounts in a chart of accounts will have an account number, account name, and some control
information. The control information decides how the GL account can be created.
90. What are all the Major Components of a ‘Chart of Accounts’?
A ‘Chart of Accounts’ includes the following components:
Chart of account key
The GL Account Number
Group chart of accounts (consolidation)
91. What is an ‘Operating Chart of Accounts’?
This chart is used for day-to-day postings and is also known as an ‘Operative’ or ‘Standard’
chart of accounts. Both FI and CO use a chart of accounts. It is mandatory that the chart of
accounts be assigned to a Company Code.
92. How does ‘Group Chart of Accounts’ Differ from ‘Operating
Chart of Accounts’?
The ‘Group Chart of Accounts,’ also known as the Corporate Chart of Accounts, is used for
consolidating all Company Codes (with a dissimilar Operative Chart of Accounts) falling under a
Company. This is the ‘universe’ of all-inclusive GL accounts from where the Operative Chart of
Accounts is derived. A Company Code is not mandatory.
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93. What is a ‘Country Chart of Accounts’? Why do You need This?
This chart of accounts, also known as an Alternate Chart of Accounts, contains the GL
accounts necessary to meet the specific statutory/legal requirements of a company from which a
Company Code operates. The assignment of this chart of accounts to a Company Code is also
optional. It is possible that both the operative and the country chart of accounts are one and the
same. In this case, you will not need two different charts of accounts.
In cases where the operative and country chart of accounts are different, a link needs to be
established by entering the GL account number from the ‘Country Chart of Accounts’ in the GL
master record (under the Company Code section) of the ‘Operative Chart of Accounts’ in the field
‘Alternate Account Number.’
94. Can one ‘Chart of Accounts’ be Assigned to Several Company
Yes. One chart of accounts can be assigned to several Company Codes. However, the reverse is
not possible; i.e., you will not be able assign more than one chart of accounts to a single
95. What is a ‘Fiscal Year’ and ‘Fiscal Year Variant’?
A ‘fiscal year’ is the accounting period, which normally spreads over 12 months. Financial
statements are drawn for a fiscal year. The fiscal year, in SAP, is defined as a ‘Fiscal Year
Variant.’ All Calendar Year Fiscal Year Variants, in standard SAP, are denoted usually as K1,
Figure 22: Fiscal Year Variant
The fiscal year may or may not correspond to the calendar year. In the standard SAP system, the
Non-Calendar Fiscal Year Variants are denoted V1, V2, etc.
Figure 23: Fiscal Year Variant (non-calendar year)
It is also possible that the fiscal year may be shorter than 12 months, and this is called a
‘Shortened Fiscal Year’ (R1, in Figure-1).
96. How do You Assign a ‘Fiscal Year Variant’ to a Company Code?
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One ‘Fiscal Year Variant’ can be assigned to one or more Company Codes.
Figure 24: Assign Fiscal Year Variant to a Company Code
97. What is a ‘Posting Period’?
A fiscal year, in SAP, is divided into various ‘Posting Periods,’ with a start and end date defined
for each of these periods. Any document posting is possible only when the ‘posting periods’ are in
place in the system. Normally there will be 12 posting periods. A posting period consists of a
month and year.
98. How does the System Identify a ‘Posting Period’?
Based on the posting date entered into the system while posting a document, the system
automatically determines the period by looking at the document date and the year. However, for
this to occur you should have properly defined the fiscal year variant.
99. What Happens when You Post to Year 2006 when You are in
First of all, to post a document relating to a previous year, say 2006 when you are in 2007, the
relevant posting period should be ‘open’ in the system. When such a posting is done, the system
makes some adjustments in the background:
One: the carry-forward balances of the current year, already done, are updated in case the
posting affects balance sheet items.
Two: if the posting is going to affect the Profit & Loss accounts, then the system adjusts the
carried forward profit or loss balances to the Retained Earnings account(s).
100. What do You Mean by ‘Opening/Closing’ Posting Periods?
Postings in SAP are controlled by the ‘opening’ or ‘closing’ of posting periods. Normally, the
current posting period is open for document posting and all other periods are closed. At the end
of the period (month), this posting period is closed and the new one is opened for postings. This
way it provides better control.
It is, however, possible to keep all the periods or select periods open.