Q&A: Costing vs. Account Based CO-PA – Understanding the Differences In ECC & S/4 HANA (Part 1)

SAP Help


  • What is the difference between Costing and Account Based CO-PA?

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of Costing vs. Account Based CO-PA?

  • What are the implications of activating both types of CO-PA?

  • What are the steps to transition from one type of CO-PA to the other?

  • Which type of CO-PA is compatible with the Universal Journal in S/4 HANA?

  • How much CO-PA detail is now posted to the Universal Journal?


Marjorie Wright, FI/CO Expert, SimplyFI-CO, LLC

Watch the prerecorded webcast by pressing play:

Q: I have heard that there is something called "Combined Profitability Analysis". Will this also be available in the Universal Journal?

A: Combined Profitability Analysis is a really interesting feature. It’s been around even before S/4 HANA. And the general advice on that feature is it was created by the support people at SAP not by the developers. It was a way for people to have account based and cost based data in one table for reporting. Combined COPA will not be in ACDOCA it has it’s own table structure and reporting feature.

Q: With Attributed profitability segment, what happens when there is a change to one of the characteristics? Does this change get reflected in the Universal Journal?

A: The change does get reflected. It is always possible between the time of creating the settlement rule for an object and the actual settlement it is always possible for a characteristic value to change or for additional characteristic values to be present at settlement. So those will be captured with the real posting to the profitability settlement, and they will be in ACDOCA for reporting purposes.

Q: If a company used Costing Based in ECC, it is not as simple as turning on Account Based CO-PA. There are a lot of "posting" changes that have to happen, correct? How much work is it?

A: Yes you’re right, they are not exactly 1/1 in alignment. So you really have to determine your business process and your cost based CO-PA. For example, there is a KE21N where you can manually create a posting to cost based CO-PA that was not allowed for cost based and would not be allowed going forward. So you’d have to look at your business reason for using a feature like that and find an alternative way around it. You would need to spend some time looking at your historical data and determining how that gets migrated. There isn’t a really good tool provided by SAP right now migrate cost based CO-PA data to the Universal Journal. I think Central Finance has some features so hopefully they’ll make it over to the non-central Finance. Maybe in next year’s release. Yes we definitely have to spend a little time looking at those other processes and determining how we’re going to meet it in a non cost based CO-PA environment.

Q: What if you are shipping from DCs or ICs?  Do the variances and CCS flow through?

A: They should. There are a couple business add ins that might help with that. To use an alternative cost estimate or specifically in drop ships where there are no post goods issue. There are two new business add ins that will help address those problems.

Q: In the configuration screens you showed for the COGS and Prodn Variance accounts, there is a Default field on the right hand side of the screen, what is that for?

By checking the default box for an account, you’re indicating that if there’s something you missed in your mapping. So let’s use the cost for example, if there’s some other cost component that has a small value and you don’t want it to have it’s own GL account number, the default check box means include that value here. So we can say any cost component not specifically assigned to a cost element or a GL account in that view, the default check box would mean put that value here.

Q: How do we get the CO-PA characteristics posted to ACDOCA in S/4 HANA?

A: So the system is going to be deriving characteristics for CO-PA the same way it always has, we have a derivation strategy. When we generate our operating concerns or regenerate our operating concerns, ACDOCA is extended with a column for each characteristic of the operating concern. The system is just accumulating the value the same way it always has been using the derivation strategy except now instead of going to our CO tables, it’s transferring those characteristic values to ACDOCA.

Q: Is there possible the integration between Account Based COPA and others ledgers besides the leading ledger (0L)? For instance, if I want to use more parallel ledgers, am I able to use that information as the base to a COPA Report?

A: The only thing that would be different across parallel ledgers would be the valuation. In ACDOCA all ledgers are listed they’re just a separate document. I believe the value would be there, I might want to do a quick test on that to confirm it, but since each ledger is a separate line in ACDOCA, I think the characteristics are going to be present.

Q: To get all this extra "CO-PA Costing info" in ACDOCA sounds like there can be a lot of extra config steps to analyze and complete.

A: Yes, that’s a good observation. If we think back to the complexity of configuring actual posting for cost based CO-PA, those of you who are familiar with it you can visualize the configuration, there was a separate folder each kind of activity; with order settlement was it FI, what was the source of the activity. So now I don’t need all of those steps, that was a huge folder for actual costing cost based CO-PA, now I need two things. Maybe some variations of those two things. And those two things are the cost of consoled refinement, the splitting structure for that, and the splitting structure for production variances. So it may feel like it's extra config, but to me the cost of consoled refinement and the production variant splitting, they replace that long menu for actual posting in the cost based CO-PA config, so I think it's a win.

Q: What's the benefit using KE24 instead of using any General Ledger Report when using CO-PA account based?

A: If you’re working with account based CO-PA, then KE24 is going to look just like your your FI documents, specifically new GL because they’re the same. Account based COPA only gets a posting when financial accounting gets posting. One of the benefits of people who like to tick and tie. So perhaps in KE24 if I just want to see values by a specific characteristic, and here we’re talking about a non-HANA system. If I want to see values by strategic business unit, that’s not going to be in my general ledger report, because it was only captured in CO table in a non-HANA system. In S/4 HANA we can say that there’s no benefit of using KE24, because ACDOCA holds all of the information.

Q: What replaces KE21N for account based in HANA?

A: KE21N was not available before HANA, F simulation as an actual posting and we weren’t allowed to create posting in account based COPA that did not come from FI, they have to tie. So I think the simulation transaction is still alive and well in HANA. The KE21F simulation can toggle between cost based simulation because they’re often we are trying to prove out our derivation strategy. If KE21S is not in the menu, you an always just simulate your derivation strategy. N was never available for account based COPA, if F is not still there the alternative method would be to simulate the derivation strategy.

Q: So in S4/HANA, the Operating Concern has to be re-generated after the S4 HANA Conversion steps are completed?

A: This question can be answered in Paul Ovigele’s session about conversion (Part 2 to this webcast). He is the expert on conversion and has done several. Register for part 2 to this webcast HERE.

Q: We currently use costing based COPA to provide CM reports for comparison of actual to budget.  How will we be able to load Plan/Budget data into Account Based COPA?

A: Plan values are still on my open concern list. There is an equivalent to ACDOCA, there’s an ACDOCP table. However, on the account based side, all of the planning needs to come from the new integrated BPC planning product. So we don’t use the same planning tools we knew and loved from the ERP system. That’s still an open question for me to see the SAP address how can we streamline our planning process for COPA.

Q: Can characteristic realignment (KEND) still be done to change history?

A: It can be but it’s still imperfect. The characteristic realignment is still available but many features that we relied on in the legacy SAP system are still on the development list for S4 HANA. Some characteristics can be realigned , others still under development.

Q: In ECC, when you post to a cost center and CO-PA at the same time, the cost center posting is statistical. In S/4 HANA with Attributed profitability segment on a cost center, is the cost center posting real or statistical?

A: In that case, the cost center posting would be real. SAP still uses the same logic of one real CO accounts assignments, so the attributed profitability segment would be the statistical object and the cost center would be the real object. At the time of assessments, most likely for the cost center at period ends, going from cost center to profitability segment, the probability segment would then become the real cost object.

Q: Can the COGS account split be done for the main cost component structure only or can it be done for the auxiliary cost component structure?

A: It can be done for any cost component structure. That is one of the parameters of a splitting profile in addition to chart of accounts and controlling areas. So yes, it can be split using any cost component structure.

Q: Will a posting that does not come from PGI, such as Material Ledger Revaluation of Consumption, also be split in the COGS account?

A: That kind of posting can be split. There is a new business add in to include posting that don’t necessarily come from a PGI get the split for cost of goods sold. We would use that business add in to meet that requirement.


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