SAP Finance System

West Chester University

Finance and Business Services
Budget Office
201 Carter Drive, Suite 200

West Chester, PA 19383
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Glossary of Terms Glossary

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

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ABAP

(ah-bop) Advanced Business Application Programming, which is SAP's fourth generation programming language. Many reports are programmed in ABAP.

Accounting Document (FI)

(FI) The accounting document represents the original financial document in the system. An accounting document can also be generated from the creation of another type of document in R/3, such as an Invoice document. Accounting documents always consist of a document header with general information about the entire document and at least two line items for the debit and credit. The balance of the document must equal zero.

AM

AM represents the Asset Management module in R/3. Capital assets are managed in this module, including depreciation, useful lives, and equipment location.

Application Toolbar

The Application Toolbar is the fourth bar located beneath the Standard Toolbar at the top of the SAP R/3 screen. This Toolbar contains "shortcut" buttons (icons) for additional functions based on the screen displayed or task being performed in SAP.

Application of Fund

The Application of Fund refers to the type of fund which is defined around general purposes.  This is a master data element assigned when a fund is created.  The Application of Fund numbers will make up positions 3 & 4 of our 10 digit Cost Center and Fund Center numbers.  Each of our PeopleSoft Program numbers has an equivalent SAP Application of Fund number.

SAP Application of Fund Description PeopleSoft Program Equivalent
11 General Fund EG
12 Educational Supplies ES
13 Faculty Development FD
14 HR Staff Development HD
15 Campus Initiative IN
17 Self Support SS
18 Workshop WK
19   UG
     
21 Auxiliary - Residence Halls XR
22 Auxiliary - Dining XD
23 Auxiliary - Sykes XS
     
33 Restricted Non-Scholarship REN
39 Restricted Scholarship RES
52 Endowment RZW
     
31 Restricted Student Financial Aid - Z RST
34 Restricted Grant/Contract, Federal - F RGF
35 Restricted Grant/Contract, Local - L RGL
36 Restricted Grant/Contract, State - S RGS
37 Restricted SSHE Appropriation - A RSA
38 Restricted PASSHE Grant - R RSG
     
82 Agency Funds  
     
41 Loan Funds  
     
61 Plant - New (61-####) P61
63 Renewal & Replacement - Auxiliary (62-####) P62
61 Renewal & Replacement - Plant (63-####) P63
     
     

Asset Class (AM)

(AM) The asset class is the main criterion for grouping fixed assets according to operational and legal requirements. The asset class defines control parameters and default values for the depreciation calculation and other master data. Each asset master record is assigned to one and only one asset class.

Asset (AM)

(AM) An asset is defined as any building, land, equipment, or furnishings that qualifies as a capital item and is owned or leased by WCU. Every asset has an asset master record in R/3, which assigns an asset number and contains the company code, responsible cost center, location, and other information.

Authorization

Authority to perform a particular action in an SAP System. Each authorization refers to one authorization object and defines one or more permissible values for each authorization field listed in the authorization object. Authorizations are combined in profiles that are in a user's master record.


Authorization Profile

An authorization profile gives users access to the system. A profile contains individual authorizations, which are identified by the authorization name and one or more authorization objects. If a profile is specified in a user master record, the user has all the authorizations in this profile.

 

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Business Area

The two digit code identifying each University in SAP.

Number

University

10 Bloomsburg
15 California
20 Cheyney
25 Clarion
30 East Stroudsburg
35 Edinboro
40 Indiana
45 Kutztown
50 Lock Haven
55 Mansfield
60 Millersville
65 Shippensburg
70 Slippery Rock
75 West Chester
90 Dixon Center

 

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Chart of Accounts (FI)

(FI) The Chart of Accounts (COA) in R/3 contains a detailed list of G/L (general ledger) accounts within account categories. The COA includes G/L accounts for the categories of Assets, Liabilities, Fund Equity, Revenues, and Expenses.

CO

CO represents the Controlling module of R/3, which provides internal reporting of revenues and expenses by responsible entity or department. Budget information is loaded into R/3, so that comparisons of budget to actuals can also be seen in this and other modules.

Command Field

A field located on the Menu bar of the most R/3 screens. This field can be used to enter Transaction codes to navigate the system instead of using lengthy menu paths.

Commitment (FI, CO)

(FI/CO) A commitment is an outstanding order that will lead to actual expenditures in the future. A commitment is created for both an electronic Purchase Requisition and a Purchase Order. The commitment amount will become an actual expense, when the goods are received or when the Invoice is paid against the Purchase Order. A commitment in R/3 is equivalent to an encumbrance (alternate terminology) in the legacy PeopleSoft general ledger system.

Commitment Item (FM)

(FM) A commitment item represents the functional aspects (expenditure and revenue structures) within the Funds Management module. In other words, a commitment item in FM is the equivalent of a cost element in CO. Each cost element in CO must be assigned to a commitment item in FM, to ensure that FM receives the transaction information occurring for that cost element.

Company Code

The company code for transactions in the SAP R/3 system is SSHE.

Cost Center (CO)

An organizational unit within a controlling area that represents a separate location of cost incurred. Cost centers (departments) can be set up based on functional requirements, allocation criteria, activities or services provided, location or area of responsibility (object type “K”).  Each cost center has a corresponding fund center with the exact same number.  Cost center numbers are 10 characters in length.  WCU's cost centers will always begin with the digits 75.

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Dates (FI, CO)

(FI/CO) The master data for Cost Centers, Profit Centers, and Cost Elements are defined with validity dates that determine when the object can be used. (See the Document Date, Entry Date, and Posting Date.)

Depreciation (AM)

(AM) Amounts that are calculated to record the decline in value of the operating funds. WCU records depreciation for capital assets, equipment, and buildings.

Document

An electronic record of a transaction. For example, whenever a journal entry (journal voucher) is created and either parked or posted in R/3, a document is created in the system. In addition, several documents can be created from one single action in the R/3 system. For example, when an "Invoice" is entered into R/3, which references a Purchase Order document in R/3, an Accounting document is also automatically created. Each document is linked to the other and provides different pieces of information.

Document Date (FI)

(FI) The Document Date is the date in which the business transaction for the Document (e.g., a transfer of posting or the issue date of an invoice or payment) took place.

Note: It is possible that an invoice was issued with a Document Date of 6/15/98, entered into R/3 on 7/15/98 (Entry Date) with a Posting Date of 6/30/98 (to post the Document in the previous fiscal year). Most times, all three of these dates are the same.
(See Entry Date and Posting Date)

Document Type

A Document Type is a two-digit alpha code that helps to identify the type of Document being created or displayed for a transaction in R/3. The Document Type can be found in the header of a Document and also in column on most line item reports.

A few common examples are listed below:

NB = Regular or "normal business" Purchase Requisition
SA = A manually keyed journal entry (journal voucher)
KN = Net Vendor, an invoice entered into R/3 that DOES NOT reference to a Purchase Order document number
RN = Net Vendor Invoice, an invoice entered into R/3 that references to a Purchase Order document number
Z5 = Student Refunds

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Entry Date (FI)

(FI) The Entry Date is the date the transaction was actually "permanently entered" into R/3.

Note: It is possible that an invoice was issued with a Document Date of 6/15/98, entered into R/3 on 7/15/98 (Entry Date) with a Posting Date of 6/30/98 (to post the Document in the previous fiscal year). Most times, all three of these dates are the same.
(See Document Date and Posting Date in the On-Line Glossary).

ERP

ERP stands for Enterprise Resource Package, which is an integrated software solution for enterprise-wide business applications. The SAP R/3 system is an example of an ERP.

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FI

FI stands for the Financial Accounting module of R/3, which supports the external accounting functions, such as the General Ledger, Accounts Receivable and Payable, Balance Sheet reports, etc., for WCU. The FI module is administered by the Finance & Business Services division.

FM

FM represents the Funds Management module, which supports the financial business information for WCU. This module provides balance sheet information by individual fund.  The FM module is administered by the Office of Budget & Financial Planning.

Fund Center (FM)

(FM) A set of similar funds used to represent organizational units in a hierarchy, such as areas of responsibility, departments, and projects. For WCU the fund center is a ten-digit code that mimics the Cost Center.  WCU's fund centers will always begin with the digits 75.  The second two numbers represent the Application of Fund.

(See related terms of Cost Center and WBS Element).

Fund (FM)

(FM) A Fund tracks balance sheet information by fund, including expense and revenue balances. A Fund represents the basic unit that comprises the entire organizational and functional structure of WCU. FM is a receiver system, in other words, FM only receives transactions from other modules and NO transactions are created in FM. Therefore, a Fund must have a corresponding Cost Center or WBS Element (Project) for transaction to be received.

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G/L Account (FI)

(FI) A G/L Account defines the type of balance sheet (asset, fund equity, liability), expense, or revenue category of a posted amount in the FI module. Each G/L account represents one item in the entire Chart of Accounts of the FI module. A G/L Account consists of six digits.

A G/L Account is also known as a:

  • Cost Element (or Revenue Element) for expenses and revenues in the CO module.
  • Commitment Item for all assets, liabilities, expenses, and revenues in the FM module.

See related terms such as Chart of Accounts, Object Code, Cost Element, and Commitment Item.

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HR

HR stands for the Human Resources module of R/3, which supports not only Human resource functions such as benefits and wage/salary, but also the payroll functions as well.

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Matchcode Search

A Matchcode Search in R/3, is a way to view a complete or partial list of all valid values for an Input Field and to select a value from that list for the field. A triangle symbol in the lower right corner of the Input Field usually indicates that a Matchcode Search is available. Searches can be done on numeric or text values, and allow the use of an asterisk (*) as a wildcard.

Menu Bar

The Menu Bar is the first bar located at the top of the SAP R/3 screen.  The Menu Bar options vary by the screen displayed or the task being performed in SAP. The Menu Bar also contains the buttons for managing the size and position of the window.

MM

MM represents the Materials Management module of R/3, which supports procurement functions.

Modules

The R/3 system consists of many application modules, each one offering different functionality, yet all integrated into one enterprise package.

AM Asset Management
CO Controlling
FI Financial Accounting
FM Funds Management
MM Materials Management
 

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Organizational Unit

Organizational units are the various departments within each Pennsylvania State System University, the Office of the Chancellor and the Educational Resource Group. Multiple organizational units and their interrelationships form the organizational structure.
 

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Plant (MM, AM)

A Plant is an organizational unit within the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education where either materials are purchased or goods and services are provided. A key attribute in MM and AM modules, a two-digit Plant code corresponds to the individual universities (See Business Area)

Posting Date (FI)

(FI) The Posting Date determines the posting period and defines in which fiscal period a document will post (regardless of the Document or Entry date). The periods that are permitted for posting are determined by Finance and Business Services. This is the date that G/L Account Balances are updated. The Posting Date will override the Fiscal Period entered on a document if they are different.

Note: It is possible that an invoice was issued with a Document Date of 6/15/98, entered into R/3 on 7/15/98 (Entry Date) with a Posting Date of 6/30/98 (to post the Document in the previous fiscal year). Most times, all three of these dates are the same.
(See Entry Date and Posting Date)

Posting Key (FI)

(FI) A two-digit numeric key that controls the entry of document line items. The key specifies the following for example: account type, debit or credit posting, or layout of entry screens.

The most common examples are:

40 = Debit
50 = Credit

Posting Period (FI, CO, PS)

(FI, CO, PS) The posting period is a period of time within a fiscal year during which transactions can be posted and transaction figures can be updated. Duke's posting periods are based on the Fiscal month periods per the Fiscal Calendar distributed by the Finance & Business Services division.

Purchasing Organization (MM)

(MM) The purchasing organization is an organizational unit responsible for procuring materials or services and for negotiating general conditions of purchase with vendors. The purchasing organization assumes responsibility for all external purchase transactions.
 

 

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Real Time

The "R" in R/3. Data is processed the moment it enters a system, as opposed to old-style "batch" processing where the information enters the system, is stored, and is processed at a later time.

R/3

R/3 is an ERP system offered by the SAP company. The R/3 stands for real-time / three-tiered architecture, defined as follows:

The "R" in R/3 = real time. During real-time processing, data is processed immediately, the moment the data is entered into the system. This is different than a "batch mode", in which data is stored and all transactions are processed together, at a later time.
The "3" in R/3 = A three-tier computer architecture comprised of three operational layers as outlined below. The SAP R/3 system uses a special type of client/server architecture consisting of three well-defined and separate processes, each running on a different platform :

  1. Presentation: the user interface, which runs on the end user's computer (the client) and is actually seen on the end user's desktop.
  2. Application: the functional modules that actually process data. This middle tier runs on a server and is often called the application server.
  3. Database: a database management system (DBMS) that contains master data that PASSHE owns and stores the data required by the middle tier. This tier runs on a second server called the database server.

The three-tier design has many advantages over traditional two-tier or single-tier designs, the chief ones being:

  • The added modularity makes it easier to modify or replace one tier without affecting the other tiers.
  • Separating the application functions from the database functions makes it easier to implement load balancing.

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SAP

SAP (pronounced as spelled out) AG, founded by five former IBM engineers in 1972, is based in Walldorf, Germany. SAP is an acronym for Systeme, Anwendungen, Produkte in der Datenverarbeitung, which means Systems, Applications and Products in Data Processing.

SAP GUI

SAP Graphic User Interface: (pronounced "sap gooey") - The SAP GUI is the software on your computer that allows you to connect to the SAP environment.

 

Standard Toolbar

The Standard Toolbar is the second bar located directly under the Menu Bar at the top of the SAP R/3 screen. This Toolbar contains standard buttons (icons) for performing common functions, depending on the screen or task. Some functions include moving back to the previous screen, exiting a screen, canceling a transaction, and printing.

Status Bar

The Status Bar is located at the bottom of each R/3 window and displays messages and system information, such as the session number and Insert / Overwrite status for text in fields.

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Three Tier

The "3" in R/3. SAP R/3 uses three-tier computer architecture as defined below. This is a special type of client/server architecture consisting of three well-defined and separate processes, each running on a different platform:

  1. Presentation: the user interface, which runs on the end user's computer (the client) and is actually seen on the end user's desktop.
  2. Application: the functional modules that actually process data. This middle tier runs on a server and is often called the application server.
  3. Database: a database management system (DBMS) that contains master data that PASSHE owns and stores the data required by the middle tier. This tier runs on a second server called the database server.

The three-tier design has many advantages over traditional two-tier or single-tier designs, the chief ones being:

  • The added modularity makes it easier to modify or replace one tier without affecting the other tiers.
  • Separating the application functions from the database functions makes it easier to implement load balancing.1. The user interface, which runs on the end user's computer (the client).

Title Bar

The Title bar is the third bar from the top of each SAP R/3 screen and located directly below the Standard Toolbar. The Title Bar contains the name of the current screen displayed for the task or transaction being performed in SAP.

Transaction Code

A Transaction Code is aN alpha-numeric value that can be entered in the Command Field and used as quicker way to navigate to a transaction screen in R/3, as opposed to using lengthy menu paths. The Transaction Code identifies a "transaction" in R/3 and links all the screens related to that one transaction (e.g., ME51 = Create a Purchase Requisition, F-02 = Create/Post a Journal Entry). Transaction Codes must be used in conjunction with Command Codes from any screen other than the initial SAP R/3 System screen.

The four-digit Transaction Code for a particular screen can easily be found once on that screen, by following the menu path: System > Status.

For more information, see the related term of Command Field .

 

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WBS - Work Breakdown Structure

The Work Breakdown Structure (known as WBS) is the hierarchical representation of activities and actions to be carried out on a Project. The activities and actions that make up the Work Breakdown Structure are known as the WBS Elements. Revenue and expense transactions are posted to each WBS element (node) of the Project. Reporting can be done on each WBS Element or the WBS for the Project as a whole.

WBS Element

The activities and actions that make up the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) for a Project are individually known as WBS Elements for that Project. WBS Elements are also known as a "Node" of a Project hierarchical structure. Revenue and expense transactions are posted to WBS Elements and reporting can be done on each WBS Element or the WBS for the Project as a whole.

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Updated: October 2014