Sparking finance transformation

Mastering SAP

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Amy Parker and Melanie Crane will share the lessons of their recent S/4HANA implementation with attendees at the upcoming Mastering SAP conference in Melbourne.

Tasmanian energy business TasNetworks has recently implemented SAP S/4HANA to transform its Finance and Business Services Group. The first phase, which saw the company deploy core finance, HCM/HR, and audit, risk and compliance modules, was completed in February 2017.

Amy Parker, leader, finance analysis and reporting, TasNetworks, said that the SAP implementation has enabled a major transformation of the finance function, through moving from multiple systems to one integrated platform.

“We have moved from a very transactional basis, working with Excel spreadsheets, to really evolving finance and leveraging SAP to see how we can provide better value for the business, as well as strategic insight and problem-solving,” Parker says.

With S/4HANA, TasNetworks has been able to automate a complex cost allocation methodology, digitisation of vendor and expense management, and an overall reduction in paper-based documentation.

Melanie Crane, senior management accountant, TasNetworks, said that one of the benefits of its cost allocation automation is being able to go back to the source documentation within the system.

“We can start from the report and go right back to the invoice; you can really see all the detail you need to on that transaction. The functionality takes a process that could take several days and through all the system drivers automatically run that process every month, so while it still takes time to run it, the manpower to run that is very minimal,” Crane says.

Another benefit of the implementation has been providing leaders within the business with access to workflow approvals via mobile devices.

“They are able to log on to approve invoices, timesheets and so on, which has really increased our efficiency,” Crane says.

This has had positive flow-on effects, including increased speed of payment of invoices.

“Our percentage of invoices paid on time, our vendor satisfaction and the reduction of the paper trail has all improved. Having that all on mobile devices and within the system, as opposed to having manual processes and printing out emails and documents, has streamlined the processes,” says Parker.

“It has also increased visibility. One of the challenges we had previously was not knowing the status of an invoice or where it was in the workflow. Now we are able to understand and report on where it is in the chain, so it provides more control than we previously had.”

DXC Oxygen has worked with TasNetworks on its implementation, and Stuart Dickinson, director, general manager, said that the company is reaping the benefits of adopting a sophisticated approach to its investment in SAP.

“TasNetworks is using the advanced capabilities of SAP S/4HANA to automate granular business processes and in doing so is transforming its finance function and eliminating IT complexity. Its finance team now has the tools to provide improved insights, respond to business challenges and lead change within the organisation.”

TasNetworks has completed its first year-end in SAP S/4HANA, and is now in the midst of the second phase of its implementation. Having drawn on the experiences of peer companies which had already deployed S/4HANA, including how to build a business case for the investment, Parker and Crane are looking forward to sharing their own insights with attendees at Mastering SAP. This includes the specific modules of S/4HANA they have chosen and the particular benefits they have brought to the finance team’s operation.

“We have leveraged SAP to really transform the way finance interacts with the business. Any transformation, particularly with SAP, requires strong leadership and change leadership across the business, to make sure that the team really embraces the new way of working,” Parker says. “We’ll be sharing some insights as to how we went about that.”

Amy Parker and Melanie Crane will share their experience at Mastering SAP in Melbourne on 13-15 March 2018. The event combines four conferences and communities – Financials, HR & Payroll, Business Analytics and Technologies. Find out more and register at – use the code InsideSAP200 to save $200 on the lowest available rate.

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