Sunday, 12 January 2020 12:09

Amount field length extension (AFLE) & Limitations in SAP S/4 HANA

Written by https://blogs.sap.com/2020/01/13/amount-field-length-extension-afle-limitations-in-sap-s-4-hana/
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Source https://blogs.sap.com/2020/01/13/amount-field-length-extension-afle-limitations-in-sap-s-4-hana/

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functionality, then we look at how to activate the AFLE functionality, followed by the restrictions one must be aware of before activating the AFLE functionality. In end, blog would provide a summary and a recommendation for scenarios where AFLE should be activated.

Section 1: Introduction

First let’s understand what is AFLE (Amount Field Length Extension) –

In ERP, while posting any journal entry or any entry posted through any other modules eg. Logistics, Sales etc. there was a limitation of 13 digits i.e. 11 digits and 2 decimals (13,2). Therefore maximum possible amount which could be posted was 999,999,999,99.99

Now, this has been extended to 23 digits (including 2 decimals)

In addition to Currency Amount fields, some other fields of  type ‘Decimal’ & ‘Character’ are also updated.

However, it is important to note that this functionality is not supported out of the box and needs to be activated, which we will look at in the next section (Section 2: Activation of AFLE).

Before, moving to the activation – it’s important to understand that it’s a pretty big change as this is a core functionality. Therefore to make it happen, changes have been made by SAP in code, structures, tables, data elements etc. However, there are still some restrictions which don’t support AFLE (Amount field length extension) functionality. We will look at that in subsequent sections (Section 3: Limitations of AFLE in SAP S/4 HANA)

It is also important to note that Storage of an Amount in database has been unchanged even though the field length of the database is also extended. This means no data conversions are required as amount is stored in database in same manner in SAP S/4 HANA 1809 as in previous versions.

Section 2: Activation of AFLE (Amount field length extension)

As explained above, this functionality is not available out of the box and needs to be activated.

  • If you’re converting your SAP System, or upgrading from an older version of SAP S/4HANA, to SAP S/4HANA 1809 or later, the amount field length extension is not activated in customizing by default. It needs to be activated.
  • Note:Once the AFLE (amount field length extension) feature is activated in customizing, it cannot be deactivated.

Reference: OSS note 2628654 – S4TWL: Amount Field Length Extension

  • The activation is done as a client-dependent customizing table by accessing the Customizing via the following path:
    • Cross-Application Components -> General Application Functions -> Field Length Extension -> Activate Extended Fields
    • Set the checkbox for Extended Amount Length and SAVE.
    • T-code: FLETS (Screenshot below)

Myth: There is a common misconception that even if AFLE (Amount field length extension) is activated, you still won’t be able to post documents with large values due to a limitation for BSEG. This is not true. Let’s look at BSEG table for this.

If we see in the 1809 and higher release systems, we notice that BSEG is coming with 23,2 digits – ‘even without activation of the switch for AFLE’ (screenshot below)

This means SAP is giving this functionality technically already as part of CORE and we just need to activate the switch to use as explained above.

Section 3: Limitations of AFLE (Amount field length extension) in SAP S/4 HANA 1809 & higher releases

First, let’s look at the functions which are supported and then the restrictions.

Functions Supported:

Few of the functions which are supported by AFLE (Amount field length extension) functionality are as below:

  •  Post/Upload/Verify Journal entries
  •  Manage Journal entries
  •  Approve/Reject Verify General Journal Entries (for Processor – Inbox)
  •  Recurring Journal entries
  •  Display G/L Account Line items
  •  Display G/L Account Balances
  •  Manage Profit centers
  •  Parked Journal entries etc.

For the complete list of functions, please refer OSS note-> 2628654

Note: The OSS note 2628654 – S4TWL: Amount Field Length Extension  not only provides the complete list of functions but also includes Motivation and Scope for AFLE (Amount field length extension). It can be considered the master OSS note for AFLE functionality and definitely deserves a read.

Limitations:

Now, moving to the limitations for the AFLE (Amount field length extension) functionality.

Following functionalities may not work perfectly or have restrictions once AFLE (Amount field length extension) is activated:

  • Arithmetic Overflows -> Dumps can occur due to overflow
  • SAP scripts and Smartforms, Adobe forms -> Rounding issues can occur
  • Tax calculation -> SD condition technique is not supported
  • External Tax calculation through Vertex
  • Product Cost Controlling
  • FSCM -> Credit Management, Dispute Management, Collections Management
  • IDOC
  • DME Enginges
  • Following Reports (but not limited to)
    • Document Journal Report
    • Cross-Company code Tax Report
    • Balance Sheet Adjustment Report
    • etc.

Note: However, alternative reports can be used for the reports above

Note:For complete list of restrictions, please refer OSS notes below. The list above is s subset from these OSS notes.

  • 2601956  (SAP S/4HANA: Amount Field Length Extension: Restriction Note)
  • 2602659  (AFLE: Scope and limitations)

These OSS notes provide the restrictions in detail along with alternative options (if any).

Central Finance & AFLE (Amount field length extension)

Probably, one of the biggest restriction for AFLE (Amount field length extension) is that You cannot use Central Finance and Extended Amount Length together. This is considering that some clients might chose the Central Finance as a deployment route to move to SAP S/4 HANA from the legacy systems.

This means, we cannot use a system where AFLE (Amount field length extension) is activated as either:

i) Source system for Central Finance OR

ii)Central Finance system itself.

Therefore, you can either activate Central Finance Business Add-In or AFLE (Amount field length extension) – but not both.

For more details, please refer OSS note-> 2643282 (Central Finance: Restrictions regarding Extended Amount Length)

Section 4: Summary and Recommendation:

AFLE (Amount Field Length Extension) to 23 digits (including 2 decimals), instead of 13 digits earlier is one of the big changes which came in SAP S/4 HANA 1809 and later releases. This functionality was developed primarily to meet the requirements of the Financial institutions to post financial documents with large amounts. Another Use case is where we have a highly inflated currency in the picture.

To achieve the functionality, the Amount field length was extended within the General Ledger and Controlling Application Areas. Primarily data elements of type CURR were extended and data elements of type DEC, CHAR, and NUMC that were used to store amounts were also extended.

However, scope was limited by decoupling the extended data elements from other applications like Logistics. That’s why the functions currently supported mostly refer to FI transactions only.

It must have been fairly technically challenging to accomplish, considering it’s affecting one the CORE functionality in Finance. Lot of code adaptation was done. So it definitely a commendable step by SAP to extend the amount fields to cater to larger businesses.

However, by looking at the restrictions – it feels that a lot of work remains to be done. There are many reports which don’t support AFLE (Amount field length extension) and alternatives need to be used. IDOCS, DMEE files, Tax calculations, Credit Management, Dispute Management etc. still don’t allow large documents to be posted even if AFLE is activated. The OSS notes which we discussed above mention that notes would be updated once there is an update for the restrictions. This is a positive indication that there is work ongoing by SAP to fix those.

Also, if your company is planning to use ‘Central Finance’ as the deployment option to move to SAP S/4 HANA – then AFLE (Amount field length extension) can’t be activated. Therefore, if you really want to use AFLE, then- Greenfield implementation or a Migration are the only deployment options available to move to SAP S/4 HANA.

Therefore, to summarize one must be fully aware of the restrictions before activating the AFLE (Amount field length extension) functionality. Currently it looks like AFLE is best suited only for business which majorly uses GL capabilities only for Finance in SAP S/4/ HANA. Also, there must be a strong business case to activate AFLE, i.e. company must have high percentage of transactions which require more than 13 digits. Otherwise, it’s best to split the high value transaction into multiple transactions that fit into standard 13 digits. Like many clients did in ERP.

Please share your feedback below in comments if you have activated AFLE (Amount field length extension) functionality for your client.

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