Thursday, December 20, 2007

New Ways to Depreciate Fixed Assets in ERP 6.0 (Part 4)

My previous blogs (Blog 1, Blog 2, Blog 3) introduced the key capabilities of the new depreciation calculation program (New DCP) delivered in ERP 6.0. This blog will focus on a hidden transaction that is extremely useful when validating the amounts that SAP calculates.

The Upgrade Scenario

As part of an ERP 6.0 upgrade, users who are responsible for Asset Accounting (FI-AA) are going to want to verify that the calculation between the old and new depreciation calculations are in fact the same (or different, depending on the scenario that you are validating). This is an important step because end users and managers need to have confidence that the subledger is calculating amounts correctly. The best way to do this is to use the Asset Explorer and "proof" example assets to show that they are depreciating per the system's configuration. In the context of an upgrade and the switch to the New DCP, those who work in FI-AA will have the added burden to prove that the calculated amounts have not changed as a result of the switch to the New DCP.

As mentioned in an earlier blog, the system will use either the old or new calculations depending on the status of the EA-FIN extension. Since the extension can only be active or inactive it is not possible to deactivate the calculation for a single entity (company code, asset, etc.)... it is either active across the entire SAP Client, or it isn't.

So how can you compare asset values in an upgraded system with those that existed prior to the upgrade? How do you prove that a particular asset is depreciating with the New DCP in the same way that it was prior to the upgrade?

I suppose you could investigate records between systems where one has been upgraded and another has not, but that solution is ripe for error. There is a much more efficient and accurate way to perform this validation.

The Solution

The solution to this scenario is to use transaction code AW01_AFAR. SAP has delivered this as a hidden transaction code... "hidden" in the sense that it won't appear on any menu path or in the IMG yet is fully supported and accessible. It is a duplicate of the standard Asset Explorer transaction AW01 except that it will always use the old depreciation calculation regardless of the status of the EA-FIN extension.

Here's how it works...

As shown in the previous blog, the asset below exists in an ERP 6.0 system where the EA-FIN extension is active. This first image is taken from the standard Asset Explorer transaction AW01. For those of you who are relatively new to Asset Accounting, the Asset Explorer is a comprehensive transaction that displays the asset values and key master data attributes, provide links to other reports, and key capabilities such as currency translation and simulation functions. This makes it the single best transaction code in the entire system (naysayers can post below if they are up to it). Note the title of the screen "Asset Explorer" and the planned depreciation amount of $17,250.

AW01 Asset Explorer New DCP

The second image below is of the same asset but viewed using transaction AW01_AFAR. Notice the screen's title and the differeint amount of $9,750.

AW01_AFAR Asset Explorer Old DCP

Same asset, same system, but with different values because they are each using different depreciation calculation programs. By utilizing both transactions in an upgraded system you can now compare the values and bring visibility to a calculation problem or gain confidence that your calculations are consistent.

For this particular asset we can now see that there is in fact a difference in the calculated amounts and that it can be attributed to the New DCP. The reason for this difference is that the old calculation (AW01_AFAR) does not support time dependent depreciation parameters which were reviewed in part 3 of the blog series. As a result of that limitation it must evaluate the most current entry and use it to calculate the asset's values for its entire lifetime (which is how the old calculation works). In this case, the difference is justified.


Since this is the last post in the blog series, please post any feedback below regarding your experiences with the New DCP, questions, concerns, upgrade issues, etc.

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