Search strings: the powerhorse of Electronic Bank Statement

Dmitry Kaglik

August 2, 2021


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SAP Expert published multiple articles about the bank statement process in SAP. We looked at the ways to import the statement, the ways to process the end-of-day and intra-day statements.

Now let’s have a look at some interesting aspects of configuration behind the Electronic Bank Statement process.

You are probably already aware of the four main steps in Electronic Bank Statement configuration:

  1. Create and assign Account keys
  2. Create and assign Posting rules
  3. Create Transaction type and assign posting rules to them
  4. Assign bank accounts to Transaction type

You can already read a lot about EBS configuration in the free e-book by SAP Expert.

If your bank statement transactions can be easily classified by external transaction codes only, then all works in a pretty standard way . But what if you need to do something extra? Like find profit centre based on POS terminal code quoted in the text? Or change posting rule based on text description of the transaction?

Here we come to search strings for Electronic Bank Statement in SAP. What are they?

Search strings is a functionality that looks at the description of the bank statement transactions, like tag :86: in SWIFT MT940 format, and searches for the symbol sequences (read: pieces of text) that you configured. Based on the finding, it can do a lot.

So, how does it work?

Search string definition

First of all, you need to define the search string itself in transaction OTPM. It can be a fixed text like “BANK CHARGES” or a more complicated set of characters with wildcards and additional logic. Press F1 on the search string field and you will get a nice help page with plenty of examples.

When you define a search string, you can put the mapping directly there. For example, you can map combination “123123123” (as quoted bank account number) to “999888” (as your vendor number), so that you can directly use this vendor number later. Alternatively, you can leave mapping fields blank. It means that search string will only be a trigger for further actions, which we will discuss in few moments. If you want to leave mapping fields blank, don’t forget to remove the search string auto-mapped characters from the right column of search string definition.

Once the search string is defined, you can put some text in the special window and test if the search string really works. For example, you can copy-paste the text from tag :86: of your MT940 file.

Search string use

The second step is activation of search string, “Search string use”. Here you specify under which conditions your search string should be attempted: Company Code, House Bank, Account ID, External Transaction Code, Interpretation algorithm and so on. As for Interpretation Algorithm, it should either match the one from posting rule assigned to external transaction code, or you can put “999” for any algorithm. Most of the fields in the list above can be left blank, so you don’t need to make multiple records for each combination of Company Code, House Bank, Account ID, if your search string is really universal.

Then you specify the search string to be attempted by the EBS processing program. If your defined search string is found in the text, the rest of the table starts to work. First of all, you define which fields you want to populate or replace when the text is found in description of bank statement line item. These can be Posting rule, Cost Centre, Profit Centre, GL account, [Business] Partner and it’s type (vendor or customer) and some more. You also have an option to populate 3 fields in the posting not directly listed in the drop-down list. This gives you a lot of flexibility indeed, only limited by number 3. If you want to use these fields, you first need to define their names and then their values. You can also optionally restrict the use of the search string by debit or credit side in posting area 1 or 2. If you do not restrict, then field will be populated on both sides in all active posting areas.

And last in the list, but on the top of the importance hierarchy stands the configuration field “Prefix”. This prefix is used to add characters to the values produced by search string mapping. For example, prefix 0000000000 (ten zeroes) with search string mapping 123456 will produce output 0000123456. But what if the search string value itself is empty like we discussed few lines above? Then Prefix becomes the only value passed into the posting. This means that you do not need to populate the mapping value in the search string definition. The search string will only work as a trigger. The Prefix values are what will be really passed into the posting. This way, you can use the same search string for different purposes. Just one example: the same search string can be used to define batch input field and batch input value. Just leave the mapping blank and put field name and value right in the Prefix column of Search String Use configuration.

Finally, tick the checkbox “Active” to activate the search string.

So, we defined search strings with their mappings, and configured their use. What is next?

Next is moving changes from configuration to test client and uploading the test statement file. Did it work? Congratulations!

If you have more questions about the search strings for Electronic Bank Statement in SAP, why not ask SAP Expert?

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