Nicolas Neumann from Buenos Aires joined SAP in 2016 through the Autism at Work program and is now recognised as the first individual winner of the Hasso Plattner Founders’ Award.
At the recent global employee meeting in Walldorf, SAP Co-CEOs Jennifer Morgan and Christian Klein have announced Nicolas Neumann as the 2019 Hasso Plattner Founders’ Award winner for his innovation posting automation tool that radically simplifies accounting processes. Neumann’s project was one of the eight esteemed finalists.
Neumann’s posting automation tool automatically structures invoices and feeds them directly into an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, simplifying accounting processes massively.
Christian Klein acknowledged Neumann’s intrinsic motivation to solve a problem with technology. He said:
“I am extremely impressed how Nicolas identified a challenge and took action. His tool will not only be applied internally, our customers will also reap the benefits from it going forward. This is a perfect example of what innovation means.”
How the 21-year old Autodidact did it
The idea for the innovative accounting solution stemmed from his daily work as an SAP accounts payables analyst. Nicolas Neumann recalls:
“I felt exhausted by the tons of material that I had to process by hand.”
As an autodidact, Neumann can acquire complex knowledge in a short time and even learned basic programming skills at a young age. With the accounting challenges at hand, he was able to come up with a solution and developed an algorithm for automating the posting of complex cross-company invoices. With great zeal, he deepened his knowledge in his spare time.
In the process of finding a solution, Neumann was fully supported by his mentors who recognise his undeniable potential and intrinsic motivation. He was given the freedom to devote one day per week exclusively to developing posting automation.
The Award-winning Posting Automation Tool
Accounting processes are tedious, time-consuming and require zero mistakes. Neumann’s posting automation tool astonishingly ticks most if not all the accounting checkboxes. It simplifies and accelerates accounting.
The tool reduces the accounting processes to 20 minutes, an astounding development compared to the manual creation of complex cross-company invoices that takes two to three days.
The posting automation application increases operational efficiencies in terms of time savings, avoidance of manual entry processing errors and accurate display of data in real-time. These results in better customer service as employees can spend valuable time on more productive activities.
To date, the Financial Accounting department at SAP and the SAP customers have already been implementing and benefiting from the new application.
Neumann expressed his excitement after the ceremony and shared:
“I am very happy! The award gives me great motivation in this project. And the recognition of my work is an important step for my professional future.” He explained that his life has changed a lot since his nomination. Social interactions have always been a challenge for him, and the project often forced him to go beyond himself. “The project has helped me a lot in my personal development. And it opens many doors for me professionally to do what I enjoy doing: developing!”
Jennifer Morgan was humbled and impressed with the 2019 Hasso Plattner Founders’ Award finalists. She said:
“When I see these amazing innovators who are doing this on their own time, I think they’re setting the bar for all of us. It also shows us the amazing talent we have in this company — and how we have to unleash that talent to continue innovating our products and SAP as a whole.”
Hasso Plattner Founders’ Award is the highest employee recognition at SAP, awarded annually by the co-CEOs to an individual or a team. The award recognises employees for inspirational and extraordinary achievement that reflects the founders’ legacy of innovation, entrepreneurialism, and courage. Neumann makes a new record by being the first individual to receive such recognition.