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SAP S/4HANA Finance, Simple Finance, and Central Finance

What is the difference between these SAP products?

By Graham Jordan

We often encounter some confusion around the branding of SAP’s Financial Management products. Part of that confusion is due to the increasing velocity of new features, and part of the confusion is due to product re-naming. We’re hoping to clear up some of that confusion with this post.

First off: “SAP Simple Finance” was a former name of what is now called SAP S/4HANA Finance. The term “SAP Simple Finance” is no longer an official brand, but there are still many people who use this term interchangeably  because it was strongly marketed by SAP for a while.

S/4HANA is a business suite built on top of SAP’s in-memory platform, HANA. The S/4HANA suite includes ERP capabilities across many different business areas such as HR, Sales, Finance, Procurement, Supply Chain, and more.

“SAP S/4HANA Finance” is the area of the S/4HANA suite dealing specifically with Financial Management solutions. It enables:

  • One common view of financial data which is consistent company-wide, minimizing reconciliation efforts
  • A Universal Journal for financial/controlling data
  • Central Finance to consolidate multiple back end data sources

This last bullet brings us to our next subject: Central Finance. “Central Finance” is actually an  enhanced deployment of an S/4HANA Finance system. In a perfect world, an S/4HANA Finance system could be implemented and immediately replace all existing transactional or FI/CO systems at once. However as we know, an implementation of a system this essential is a time consuming and sensitive project.

Central Finance is an intermediate way of implementing an S/4HANA Finance system that minimizes any disruption by allowing the existing Finance and Controlling applications to remain in place and active, while still incorporating those same transactions into the new S/4HANA Finance system by using SLT data replication. This can reduce the risk of trying to replace multiple transactional systems all at the same time.

With a Central Finance configuration, you can have the best of both worlds: your tried and true transactional systems will remain in place, and you can get the benefits of the power of S/4HANA Finance.

We hope this post has cleared up a bit of confusion around these topics.

Check out this page from SAP for more information on S/4HANA.


*Central Finance requires additional licensing


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