Enable Multiple Search Criteria for Clearing in Electronic Banking

  • by David Burns, Owner and Managing Partner, Prime, LLC
  • August 10, 2015
Learn how to use multiple search criteria when clearing items with electronic bank statements. Discover some electronic banking limitations and challenges in dealing with bank data that require alternative methods to increase automatic match rates. To increase automatic match rates, you can use enhancement FEB00001 to modify table FEBCL and a screen enhancement in program SAPMF05A (an FI post with a clearing program) to create an AND condition in the item selection process. Doing so can allow you to automatically clear bank items that don’t contain a unique field value.
Learning Objectives

By reading this article, you will learn:

  • The data challenges and system limitations that may warrant the need for multiple search criteria
  • How to implement an enhancement to search and clear, based on dollar amount and posting date
  • The logic behind a screen enhancement for program SAPMF05A
  • The impact its use can have on automated match rates
Key Concept

Interpretation algorithms provide an automatic search and clear function in an electronic bank statement (EBS) in SAP ERP Central Component (ECC) 6.0. This function is built on the premise that one field value is sufficient for clearing a bank statement item with a general ledger (G/L), customer, or vendor line item. With several transaction types, this premise doesn’t hold true. Some examples include cash deposits and ACH payments. Moreover, even when the premise does hold true, technical limitations may prevent you from receiving the field value needed for clearing the bank statement. The obstacle may be in getting the right information from your business partners to the bank, or it may be in getting the right information from your bank onto your electronic bank statements.

Bank statement clearing isn’t rocket science. In essence, it’s simply a process to match an item in an electronic bank statement (EBS) with a line item in a general ledger (G/L), customer, or vendor account. The mechanics behind it, of course, are more complex. To initiate the automated bank clearing process in SAP ERP Central Component (ECC) 6.0, you use transaction code FF_5 to import a bank statement. In setting up an EBS, there are lots of specific details around the transaction types used, the G/L account setup, clearing rules, and more. Yet, assuming all that is in place, there is one element of the entire process that still presents a significant challenge. That challenge is the process of selecting and clearing. The process of selecting and clearing is based on interpretation algorithms and the values they populate in table FEBCL.

In accounts payable (A/P), check clearing tends to be the easiest bank clearing transaction type. The reason is that A/P houses a check number for checks issued out of the ECC system, thereby providing one unique field value for clearing. Therefore, when the bank statement is imported into the ECC system, with check numbers included, this is a sure-fire way of linking a bank statement item with the G/L line item to which it belongs. The other point about A/P check clearing is that banks are accustomed to providing the cleared check number in the bank file, so no complications exist in getting the unique field value (i.e. check number) that’s needed for clearing.

For the most part, SAP EBS functionality extends the A/P check clearing process to all other transaction types, assuming that through the use of interpretation algorithms you can simply designate one unique field value (e.g. document number) that can be used to match a bank item to a G/L item. In many ways, this makes sense. In practicality, however, it’s difficult if not impossible for many transaction types to select and clear open items based upon a single field value.

To illustrate the point further, consider the gamut of transaction types represented on a bank statement. In addition to checks in and checks out, you have incoming and outgoing wire transfers, incoming and outgoing ACH transactions, fees, interest, penalties, returns, and more. Some transaction types, such as fees and interest, more often than not don’t even have a G/L item on the books to clear. That’s fine, because standard EBS tools exist for dealing with transaction types such as these.

Yet, for the other transaction types that do have a G/L item available for clearing, it can prove challenging to get a document number, reference number, or other unique field value throughput to the bank statement. If you are able to do so, I encourage it. If you struggle in coordinating these efforts with your business partners, or in getting your banks to cooperate in providing the data at a reasonable cost, the solution offered in this article may be the right solution for you.

Whatever obstacles you may be facing in getting unique field values for clearing, the alternative approach that I describe allows you to clear bank items based on multiple search criteria. In my example, I use amount and posting date as the multiple criteria, yet there is no need to limit your options to only those two fields. Use your imagination, investigate your transaction types, and do your research to find the combination of field values that works for you. Doing so can not only increase your EBS automatic clear rate but also provide greater accuracy in the bank statement clearing process.


David Burns

David Burns is owner and managing partner of Prime, LLC. David has specialized in SAP Financials since 1998. Since founding Prime, LLC in 2008, he focuses on techno-functional consulting on a cross-modular basis, with a special emphasis on SAP configuration optimization and FI integration.

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8/13/2015 9:22:55 AM
Sridher Sathi


Thanks for such a wonderful article


8/13/2015 9:22:12 AM
Sridher Sathi


Thanks for such a wonderful article



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