Simplify Your Month End by Using the Factory Calendar for Batch Job Scheduling

  • by Rohana Gunawardena, SAP Practice Director, Exium Inc.
  • September 15, 2008
Examine how a factory calendar aligned to the fiscal calendar can simplify month-end batch job scheduling, especially if you are not using Schedule Manager and Closing Cockpit. Understand how to create a factory calendar that matches your fiscal calendar and how to create a batch job that follows this calendar.
Key Concept

Every company is looking for tools to help speed up the period-end closing process. During period-end closing, a company is under pressure to produce accurate financial information in the shortest possible period. To expedite the process the company should aim to eliminate error-prone and time-consuming tasks. One way of doing this is by automating tasks. Custom factory calendars can help support this automation process and work in conjunction with tools such as Schedule Manager and Closing Cockpit.

Even when using these tools, you need to have a factory calendar that matches your fiscal calendar. There is not an automatic tool to link factory calendars to a fiscal calendar. You have to set this up manually using transaction SCAL. Transporting the factory calendar has special considerations and it is best to manually create it in each system and not transport. When creating a factory calendar to match a fiscal calendar, especially one that does not follow the normal year (e.g., 4-4-5 periods), you need to use the special rules section of SCAL configuration.

Imagine a company that uses a 4-4-5 calendar. The 4-4-5 fiscal calendar is a common calendar structure for some industries, such as manufacturing and retail. Its major advantage over a regular calendar is that the end date of the period is always the same day of the week, which is useful for shift or manufacturing planning.

The 4-4-5 calendar divides a year into four quarters. Each quarter has 13 weeks, which are grouped into two 4-week months and one 5-week month. The grouping of 13 weeks may be set up as 5-4-4 weeks or 4-5-4 weeks, but the 4-4-5 is the most common arrangement. One disadvantage of the 4-4-5 calendar is that it has 364 days, so approximately every five years there will be a 53-week year, which can make year-to-year comparison difficult.

You use the factory calendar in the SAP system for many different processes, such as customer billing dates, workforce planning, Materials Requirements Planning (MRP) scheduling, and batch job control. I will focus on the last of these.

Consider a batch job that needs to be run on the last day of the fiscal period. If you set it up using transaction SM36 as a repetitive batch job you see that the options provided do not match this requirement (i.e., can have the job repeat once a month). If the last day of the month is not always on the same date, you cannot set up the repetition cycle with the settings provided in transaction SM36.

Rohana Gunawardena

Rohana Gunawardena heads the SAP practice division at Exium Inc. Exium is a leading business and technology consulting firm that enables companies to achieve their strategic business goals. Exium specializes in delivering superior IT solutions using ERP systems, with a special focus on SAP products. Rohana has been working with SAP since 1992. During his career he has assisted multiple clients on detailed system correction projects, such as correcting inventory balances, controlling area reorganizations, retrospectively activating group currency, and optimizing inter-company accounting transactions. He has spoken at many SAP conferences and has published more than 20 articles in Financials Expert, SCM Expert, and SAPtips on various aspects of SAP. His presentations have focused on Financials module selection, the order-to-cash process, global rollouts, business segment reporting, cross-module integration, and the financial impact of SCM transactions. Rohana is widely acknowledged as a leading SAP expert. Rohana is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales. Previously Rohana has worked with the consulting practices of Accenture, Deloitte, and PwC.

Rohana will be presenting at the upcoming SAPinsider Financials 2018 conference October 16-18 in Prague. For information on the event, click here.

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