Automatic period closing in SAP Finance

Period closing is a process that involves many steps in different SAP modules.

Even if we take SAP Finance (FI) alone, period closing activities include various steps in GL, AP, AR, Assets and other submodules. To ensure the period closing is complete and reports are finalized, users maintain a table with periods open for postings.

You can see and maintain the table in transaction OB52. Period closing is controlled by Posting Period Variants (PPV) that are assigned to one or several Company Codes. Each Posting Period Variant can be further controlled by different account types:

  • + – postings are allowed in general
  • A – Assets
  • D – Customers
  • K – Vendors
  • M – Materials
  • S – General Ledger

Each account type can have 2 separate period ranges open, one for general users (closer to the right part of the screen) and one for users with special authorisation group (closer to the left part of the screen, and authorisation group itself is the right-most column).

Correct maintenance of this table is an essential requirement for period closing. If you maintain it incorrectly, you either risk having additional postings after all the reports are submitted, or risk disallowing legit postings in the current period.

Complex closing procedures in large companies may lead to OB52 maintenance errors.

Is it possible to automate OB52 maintenance and avoid errors? Yes, SAP provides you with automation tools that allow you to maintain the table “en mass” or even in the background. Let’s look at them.

Formalize closing routine

Even though this is an out-of-system step, it is essential that you formalize your period closing routine before you start any automation. Namely, I would recommend you to highlight in the document:

  • Date and time for each account type opening for the next period
  • Date and time for each account type closing for regular users
  • Date and time for each account type closing for users with special authorisations (“superusers”)

Date can be either calendar day of the month, or n-th working day related to a beginning or end of the month.

If you have several PPVs, you may have different rules for each PPV.

Installation of SAP Notes

Once you are clear with the opening/closing timings, you can start the technical preparatory steps. You need to activate the program RFOB5200 in your system, which is delivered in SAP Note 1483900. There are some additional side-effect notes that I would encourage you to review and implement as you see fit.

SAP systems with higher level of Service Packs may have this program already delivered. However, I would still recommend you to search for update notes and act accordingly.

Prepare the variants

Once the program is implemented in your system, you can create variants for it.

Program RFOB5200
Program RFOB5200

The variant should specify PPV, account types, open periods and authorization groups as you would specify them in manual OB52 maintenance.

If you want to run RFOB5200 in the background, you may need to automatically calculate the current/next period number and year. Unfortunately, RFOB5200 cannot calculate them for you. You have to rely on external variables and then assign them in the program variant. Some of the variables can be calculated by the standard program RVSETDAT. If this program does not give you proper values, you can create your own program and do the necessary calculations there.

It is a good idea to run the program RFOB5200 in test mode before saving the variant without the “Test run” checkbox. The test run output will give you the list of PPVs, account types and open periods that would be set in the system after the program run.

Check the authorisations

Running RFOB5200 requires special authorisations for period openings. You may wish to ensure your regular or background users have these authorisations.

Schedule the job

When the variants are created and tested with necessary authorisations, you can schedule the jobs that would automatically maintain the OB52 table.

When you schedule the job, there is an obvious option to start it on a certain day of the month. However, not everyone is aware of a slightly less obvious option to schedule the job to run on the certain working day rather than on the calendar day.

Scheduling background job
Scheduling background job
Using logistics calendar to schedule jobs
Using logistics calendar to schedule jobs

Using this feature, you can ensure that the period opening and closing happens on specific working day, adjusted to weekends and bank holidays of the current month. Of course, you need to maintain a holiday and logistics calendar for that. SAP Expert has already written about the special rules for transporting the calendar in SAP and about the small tricks in using the calendars. I encourage you to re-read these articles.

So, now you are able to open and close the Financial periods in SAP using the most complex closing procedures and scenarios.

If you have further questions about the period opening or other SAP Finance activities, why not ask SAP Expert?

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