Understanding Inconsistencies in Intrastat Reporting for Purchase Orders and Sales Orders

  • by Kees van Westerop, Senior SAP Consultant, Kwest Consulting
  • July 2, 2010
When Intrastat reporting is incorrect, it is often assumed that it is the result of incorrect data or incorrect settings for the supply chain processes. However, sometimes the reporting appears incorrect when it actually is correct. Discover and understand the four main reasons for inconsistencies in Intrastat reporting and reduce your time and stress level in meeting European Union legal reporting requirements.
Key Concept

When looking in detail at Intrastat reports, they can seem inconsistent — figures you expect differ from what the reports show. Several reasons are the cause of this, such as test run versus production run, selection parameters, standard functionality, and legal requirements.

Intrastat reporting is a legally required report for all European Union (EU) countries. It is also mandatory for all companies that have a Value Added Tax (VAT) declaration number in an EU country and a turnover over a certain threshold. (There are two thresholds: one for revenue and one for the purchasing value). All goods movements related to sales orders and purchase orders (i.e., all cross-border goods flows within the EU) must be reported in Intrastat. You can find the data used for the Intrastat reports on the foreign trade views of sales orders, sales invoices, purchase orders and purchase invoices.

EU companies must complete two Intrastat reports: one for the goods receipts and one report for dispatches. The most important data on both reports are the product’s value and weight.

In SAP ERP Central Component (SAP ECC), the creation of Intrastat reports has three steps. The first step is to manually select the data to be reported (goods flow). You can make the selection either in test mode or production mode, but the next two steps can only be executed when the selection is executed in production mode.

In the second step, you manually create an intermediate file. SAP uses the intermediate file to store the selected data in a standard format. The intermediate file may also contain transactions that you do not report to the authorities, such as cancellation documents. The intermediate file serves as the basis for the final reports that you send to the authorities.

In the third step, you manually create the file you send to the local authorities. Although Intrastat is an EU report, the format of the report for the authorities is country-specific.

The challenge users tend to experience with Intrastat reports is that the figures in the first step differ from the figures in the second step. For example, in the first step, say the value total is $1,000,000, whereas the total in the second step is $915,000. This discrepancy makes it difficult for a user to reconcile Intrastat with sales figures or tax figures, for example.

The goal of this article is not to explain all discrepancies, but to make you aware of the four reasons these inconsistencies occur.

Kees van Westerop

Kees van Westerop has been working as an SAP consultant for more than 25 years. He has an MBA degree in mathematics and a degree in finance. Kees has been concentrating on the financial modules, especially in general ledger accounting, cost center accounting, and consolidation. He also has a great deal of experience with rollouts of kernel systems and integrating finance and logistics.

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