RESEARCH REPORT

In brief

In brief

  • Based on successful implementations of SAP S/4HANA® as part of finance transformation, Accenture has compiled a list of seven "secrets" of success.
  • It is important to establish a clear and shared vision for your finance organization and relentlessly manage towards it.
  • Create a compelling and flexible implementation roadmap focused on delivering value early and often.
  • Embed innovation at the heart of the program, and keep in mind both global and local needs. Establish strong governance for decision-making.


Sharing the secrets

Finance transformations leveraging SAP S/4HANA need to be planned and executed with broader strategic goals in mind. Most secrets you don’t want to share, but the seven secrets discussed here need to be well-known across your entire global organization, from decision-makers and budget-holders to front-line workers. For many organizations, this is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to transform their finance function.

1. Establish a clear and shared vision for your finance organization

The vision should be a "north star," remaining fixed regardless of what swirls around it. It guides a company and protects it from inevitable distractions and naysayers. Because it is fixed, it enables a company to manage toward a clear destination and measure value before, during and after the program.

2. Create a compelling and flexible implementation roadmap

A roadmap is the "what, when, who, where and how" planning and guidance asset for the transformation. It includes the functional scope; technical landscape; timeline option and business cycles; users and business partners; global locations; and the deployment approach and governance structure.

3. Design processes with users in mind

One aspect of user-centric thinking involves the user experience. With SAP S/4HANA, it is important to look at how people work and what is needed to help users get their jobs done, rather than rewriting existing transactions with a new user interface technology.

4. Create an intelligent data framework

Don’t underestimate the value of good data and the effort involved to get it right. With any transformation, it’s important to create a data strategy early on to understand the value of data for the organization and then turn it into insights.

5. Embed innovation at the heart of the program

Enrich the right processes in your SAP S/4HANA solution with artificial intelligence and machine learning to accelerate processing, improve data accuracy and creation, eliminate reconciliations and perform allocations in real time—all while maintaining continuous global regulatory compliance and risk mitigation.

6. Manage to both global and local complexities

Every project needs to determine, document and socialize its own definitions of global and local requirements. Typically, "global" refers to common components and processes, while "local" designates legal and statutory requirements by country, along with contractual, industry regulatory, or local business practices.

7. Establish strong governance for decision-making

Governance is critical to supporting effective decision-making. It also enables companies to control the scope of the transformation, ensuring that the solution and key participants are aligned to the original vision that was established.

The vision for SAP S/4HANA and finance transformation success should be a "north star," remaining fixed regardless of what swirls around it.

Constantin Holzner

Managing Director – Accenture


Cenk Ozdemir

Lead – SAP Business Group, North America​

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