Use Search Strings with Electronic Bank Statements to Perform Automatic Clearing

  • by Karthik Tharkabhushanam, SAP Consultant, Infosys Technologies
  • August 17, 2010
Improve efficiency in bank statement processing with effective use of search strings. Review the process of electronic bank statements and how they complement the standard SAP interpretation algorithm with an illustration.
Key Concept
Search strings complement the SAP standard interpretation algorithm to better interpret the information in a bank statement and to determine the appropriate clearing transaction. An interpretation algorithm determines whether (and with which algorithms) the system should search the note to payee lines of the electronic bank statement for clearing information. They can do this even if the information is incomplete, altered, or in an unstructured format.

Imagine this scenario: Company A processes its order-to-cash cycle in its SAP system. Its process calls for the accounting document number (posted via transaction VF01) to store the billing document number (e.g., invoice number) BKPF_XBLNR in the Reference field on the header of the document. It advises its customers to include the invoice number in the payment instructions (note to payee line) to the bank whenever they make payments against the invoice. Company A needs to set up configuration to enable the system to interpret this information and perform clearing.

To do this, Company A needs to use search strings. They complement standard SAP interpretation algorithms to assess the information that is provided in a bank statement, in the processing of its electronic bank statements (EBS). (For more information on EBS, see the sidebar, “How to Use Electronic Bank Statements.”)

You might expect EBS to automatically assign payments received by or made from bank accounts to the appropriate customer/vendor open items (which have already been posted in the system) and post clearing documents. In most cases, the system uses the document number entered in the note to payee lines of the bank statement to determine the appropriate document numbers to perform the clearing transaction. Often, information in the note to payee in the statement is incomplete and the system cannot interpret the information received. This means a document is not cleared and you must post this transaction manually (using transaction FEBA).

I’ll show you how to make sure the documents clear properly by using search strings in your system. This happens in two phases: first defining the search strings, then using them. My example is with SAP ERP Central Component (SAP ECC) 6.0 and the SAP General Ledger (formerly called the new G/L), but it works in previous versions of the systems as well.

Note
Quentin Hurst covered EBS in the SAP R/3 system in the article “Improve the Integrity of your Electronic Bank Statement uploads with Search Strings” published to the Financials Expert knowledgebase in February 2003.

Karthik Tharkabhushanam

Karthik Tharkabhushanam is an SAP consultant at Infosys Technologies Limited with more than 11 years of consulting experience. As a certified SAP Financials consultant, he specializes in SAP implementations for the manufacturing industry domain. He has a bachelor’s degree in accounting and is a chartered accountant.

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