The regional health insurer isn’t connected to the new SAP system yet, but as soon as it is SAP S/4HANA Cloud will make data analysis easier for Rohrer Group’s accounting department — of that, head accountant Brigitte Walcher is sure.

Walcher is keenly aware of what’s at stake for the industry services provider. “There’s currently no direct connection between our new SAP system and the statutory health insurer,” she explains. One of her tasks is to ensure that every supplier providing construction services pays the correct dues to the health insurer. Rohrer’s previous system, a homegrown option customized by Franz Wohlscheiber, head of IT, provides direct insight where this is concerned. If the link is poor or faulty, Walcher’s department has to check the numbers manually – a mammoth task. “SAP is also directly connected to the tax department, so it [the connection] will probably work out just fine with the health insurer, too,” she says.

Migrating the ERP System to the Cloud

As head of bookkeeping and accounting, Walcher is one of the driving forces behind the family-run company’s current migration to SAP S/4HANA Cloud. Joining her on the core project team is Maria Mitteregger, head of Controlling.

“This migration to SAP will no doubt mean a lot more work for me and my colleagues at first,” Walcher says, quickly adding, “But I am sure that once things are up and running, data analysis will be much easier and a lot more comfortable for us.”

Globalization of Interfaces and Processes

The project team is made up of colleagues from specialist departments, IT, and management. After all, moving its legacy ERP system to SAP S/4HANA Cloud impacts all corners of the organization.

Its founder, Johann Rohrer, chose to migrate in order to satisfy its customers’ need for seamless data exchange. Among other things, the move means that credit memos issued by those customers will be posted automatically in Rohrer’s financial accounting system going forward.

Walcher and Mitteregger welcome the streamlined processes and standardized reporting now at their disposal. “More important to me are globalized interfaces and processes, from goods management – for example, inventory – through to sales,” notes Walcher.

The old system would have sufficed if the company only operated in Austria and Germany. But having since expanded to 14 markets, including some outside the EU, this was no longer possible. The new standardized setup promises a slew of added conveniences for Walcher’s team at Rohrer headquarters in Austria. For one, they will now be able to call up data from international locations without having to send an email request in advance.

But, in Walcher’s opinion, there is a downside to the new technology: It is still in its infancy. Rohrer has entered uncharted territory and adjusting to some of the processes is taking a long time. The entire purchasing process, from the purchase order to the incoming invoice, is one such example. Accounting depends on the purchasing department doing its job correctly and efficiently. If it doesn’t, or can’t, accounting cannot realize the full potential of automatic recognition of incoming invoices via optical character recognition (OCR) and simplified posting.

The Working World is Changing

The project team brought an external partner, SAP Certified services provider S&T, on board to help with the implementation. “This is a flagship project for S&T, too,” Walcher says. Nevertheless, she feels she is “in good hands and well-prepared for the new solution” thanks to S&T’s on-the-job training. S&T is also her first point of contact whenever questions arise.

But perhaps the most important asset in the accounting department’s favor is its excellent working atmosphere. “We always strive to learn something new, so we pretty much all have the same mindset,” she says. “And we always help each other out.”

This positive openness can only empower her team going forward, for increasing digitalization is quickly changing the way they work. “We’ve gone from entering things manually to more checking and control,” she says. This evolution is leading to changes in the training requirements for accountants, who now also have to be able to detect potential errors in integrated systems.

As Walcher sees it, the extremely short project lead time was the biggest challenge in her company’s migration, especially in view of the go-live at three Austrian and one French location. Walcher’s advice to other companies seeking to migrate? “Take more time.”

This story originally appeared on the SAP News Center.
Top image via Rohrer Group