BI Content 3.2 Add-On Deliver Balance Sheet, P&L Analyses More Easily

  • by Lori Vanourek, BI Specialist, BI Product Management, SAP Labs
  • January 1, 2004
New functionality in the BI Content 3.2 Add-On release allows you to use contra accounts - accounts that can appear as assets or liabilities depending on their status at financial statement runtime - without custom workarounds. See how this functionality can help you produce better balance sheet and P&L analysis reports with less effort.


Many SAP BW implementations begin with a rollout of R/3 Financial Accounting (FI) information. A common requirement of these implementations is to deliver balance sheet and profit and loss (P&L) analyses via SAP BW. With the launch of the BI Content 3.2 Add-On, this requirement is now much easier to fulfill.

New functionality in this release, based on existing R/3 configuration settings, allows users to accommodate so-called “contra accounts” in their financial reporting without the need for costly custom workarounds. Prior to the 3.2 release, it was necessary to either address contra accounts during the staging process via customized transformations or during the query definition process by using custom VBA coding in BEx workbooks. The balance sheet functionality will be available with SP18 for SAP BW 3.0B and with SP15 for the BI Content 3.1 Add-On (please read SAP note 652934 for details).

On the balance sheet, a contra account is one that can appear as either an asset or a liability depending on its status at the financial statement runtime. Cash is one example. When the financial statement is generated, a positive cash balance is considered an asset. However, a negative balance can be considered a liability because the cash must be repaid to the bank. Because cash is an asset, some companies elect to record a negative balance in the asset section of the balance sheet. Other firms, however, represent a negative balance as a positive number on the liability side of the balance sheet.

I will identify the master data settings and data models required to display contra accounts using either of these accounting practices. If the finanacial statement is a P&L, the contra account simply shifts values between revenues and expenses instead of shifting between assets and liabilities. For the remainder of this article, I will refer only to balance sheet scenarios. However, the same logic can be applied to P&L statements.

Lori Vanourek

Lori Vanourek started with SAP in 1996, after receiving her master’s degree in international business from the University of South Carolina, as a financial applications consultant focusing on the reporting and information analysis requirements of SAP’s customer base. She moved into the BW practice with its first release and has since specialized in the BW product, currently as a member of the BW product management team. Prior to joining SAP, Lori spent five years in the private sector as a financial analyst.

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