Demystifying CO Module "Actual Costs" and "Actual Revenues"

  • by Kurt Goldsmith, Senior Business Consultant, Enowa Consulting
  • January 15, 2002
Within the CO module, the data values "Actual Costs" and "Actual Revenues" have additional meaning not always found in other modules (such as Profit Center Accounting, Special Ledger, and Costing-Based Profitability Analysis). For FI/CO report users and developers, it is sometimes confusing how such a common, everyday word, "Actual," can represent a very uncommon, special relationship between the FI and CO modules. The article examines in depth the meaning of the term "Actual" in the context of the General Ledger and the CO module's Managerial Accounting Ledger. In the process, it also clarifies cases in other R/3 accounting modules where the terms "Actual Costs" and "Actual Revenues" both can and often do mean something other than what they do in the CO module.

The SAP R/3 system is loaded with many kinds of "Actual" accounting data values that typically create meaning for us when we compare them against "Planned" or "Budgeted" accounting data, or against Monthly, Quarterly, or Annual time periods.

However, within the CO module, "Actual Costs" and "Actual Revenues" offer R/3 report readers an additional meaning not always found in modules such as Profit Center Accounting, Special Ledger, and Costing-Based Profitability Analysis.

This valuable extra context deals with SAP’s concept of "Controllable" vs. "Not Controllable," and can be a source of great confusion for both FI/CO report users and developers. I believe this is due, in part, to the unfortunate use of a common, everyday word ("Actual") to represent a very uncommon, not-everyday relationship, namely the relationship that exists between the R/3 General Ledger (or FI module), and the R/3 Managerial Accounting Ledger (or CO module).

This article aims to clear up this confusion. By way of comparison, I will also identify some cases in R/3’s other accounting modules (Special Ledger, Profit Center Accounting, Costing-Based Profitability Analysis) where the terms "Actual Revenues" and "Actual Costs" both can, and often do, mean something different than what they mean in the CO module!

Kurt Goldsmith

Kurt Goldsmith is a senior business consultant for Enowa Consulting, specializing in the diagnosis and resolution of productivity-related integration issues between a company’s division of labor (end users, managers, executives) and SAP software (R/3, BW, APO, CRM). He also has a lifetime performance record of one win and two third-place finishes from five career starts as a thoroughbred racehorse trainer.

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