Top 100 SAP CO Interview Questions & Answers


Explain ‘Controlling (CO)’ in SAP.
SAP calls managerial accounting ‘Controlling’ and the module is commonly known as ‘CO.’
The CO module is, thus, primarily oriented towards managing and reporting cost/revenue
and is mainly used in ‘internal’ decision-making. As with any other module, this module also
has configuration set-up and application functionality.
The controlling module focuses on internal users and helps management by providing reports
on cost centers, profit centers, contribution margins and profitability, etc.

What are the Important ‘Organizational Elements of CO’?
The important organizational structure of controlling includes:
Operating Concern (the top-most reporting level for profitability analysis and sales and
marketing controlling).
Controlling Area (central organization in ‘controlling,’ structuring internal accounting
Cost Centers (lower-most organizational units where costs are incurred and transferred).

What is a ‘Controlling Area’? How is it Related to a Company Code?
A ‘Controlling Area’ is the central organizational structure in ‘controlling’ (CO) and is used
in cost accounting. The controlling area, as in the case of a Company Code, is a selfcontained cost accounting entity for internal reporting purposes. The controlling area is
assigned to one or more Company Codes to ensure that the necessary transactions, posted in
FI, are transferred to controlling for cost accounting processing.
One controlling area can be assigned one or more Company Codes.
One chart of accounts can be assigned to one or more controlling areas.
One or more controlling areas can be assigned to an operating concern.
One Client can have one or more controlling areas.
Outline ‘Company Code—Controlling Area’ Assignments.
There are two types of assignments possible between the Company Code and a controlling
One-to-one: Here, one Company Code corresponds to one controlling area.
Many-to-one: More than one Company Code is assigned to a single controlling area.

What are the ‘Components of Controlling’?
There are three major submodules in CO and each of these submodules has many
components as detailed below:
Cost Element Accounting
Cost Controlling
Cost Center Accounting
Internal Orders
Activity-Based Costing
Product Cost Controlling
Profitability Analysis
Profit Center Accounting

Why do You Need ‘Cost Element Accounting’?
‘Cost Element Accounting’ (CO-OM-CEL) helps you to classify costs/revenues posted to
CO. It also provides you the ability to reconcile the costs between FI and CO. CO-OM-CEL
provide the structure for assignment of CO data in the form of cost/revenue carriers called
cost elements or revenue elements.

What is ‘Product Cost Controlling’ (CO-PC)?
‘Product Cost Controlling’ (CO-PC) deals with estimating the costs to produce a
product/service. CO-PC is divided into two major areas:
Cost of materials
Cost of processing
With CO-PC, you can calculate:
Cost of goods manufactured (COGM)
Cost of goods sold (COGS)
CO-PC is tightly integrated with Production Planning (PP) and Materials Management
(MM), in addition to FI. The functionality helps to:
Calculate Standard Costs of manufactured goods
Calculate the Work-in-Progress (WIP)
Calculate the Variances, at period-end
Finalize settlement of product costs
Note that CO-PC deals only with production costs as it deals only with the production.

What is ‘Profitability Analysis’ (CO-PA)?
‘Profitability Analysis’ (CO-PA) helps you determine how profitable (denoted by the
‘contribution margin’) your market segments are. The analysis is on the external side of the
market. You will be able to define what segments, such as customer, product, geography, sales
organization, etc., of the market are required for analyzing ‘operating results/profits.’ With
multi-dimensional ‘drill-down’ capability, you have all the flexibility you need for reporting.

How is ‘Profit Center Accounting’ (EC-PCA) Different from CO-PA?
Unlike CO-PA where the focus is on external market segments’ profitability, ‘Profit Center
Accounting’ (EC-PCA) focuses on profitability of internal areas (profit centers) of the
enterprise. Profit center accounting is used to draw internal balance sheets and profit & loss
statements. You may use EC-PCA in place of business area accounting.
Both CO-PA and EC-PCA serve different purposes, and are not mutually exclusive. You may
need them both in your organization.

Explain ‘Integration of CO’ with its Components and Other SAP Modules.?
The CO module is integrated with FI, AA, SD, MM, PP, and HR:
FI is the main source of data for CO. All expenses, posted in FI, flow to CO through the
‘primary cost elements’ to the appropriate ‘cost centers.’ Similarly, postings in Asset
Accounting (such as depreciations) are also passed on to CO.
Revenue postings in FI would result in postings in CO-PA and also in EC-PCA.
The SD, MM, and PP modules have many integration points in CO. Goods issue (GI) to a
controlling object or goods receipt (GR) from a ‘production order’ are some examples of
integration. These modules are tightly integrated as consumption activities, cost of goods
issued, overhead charges, material costs, etc., which are passed on to production objects such
as PP production order or sales order. The WIP (Work-in-Progress) and the variances, at
period ends, are settled to CO-PA, CO-PCA, and also to FI. Revenues are directly posted
when you generate billing documents in SD, if the sales order is a cost object item.
The HR module generates various types of costs to be posted in CO. Planned HR costs can
also be passed on for CO planning.

What is a ‘Cost Object’?
A ‘Cost Object,’ also known as a CO Account Assignment Object, in SAP denotes a unit to
which you can assign objects. It is something like a repository in which you collect costs, and,
if necessary, move the costs from one object to another. All the components of CO have their
own cost objects such as cost centers, internal orders, etc.
The cost objects decide the nature of postings as to whether they are real postings or
statistical postings. All the objects that are identified as statistical postings are not considered
cost objects (for example, profit centers).

Differentiate Between ‘Real’ and ‘Statistical Postings’ in CO.?
The CO account assignment objects decide the type of postings allowed. They can be real or
statistical postings.
‘Real Postings’ allow you to further allocate/settle those costs to any other cost object in CO,
either as ‘senders’ or as ‘receivers.’ The objects that are allowed to have real postings include:
Cost Centers
Internal Orders (Real)
Projects (Real)
Profitability Segments
PP—Production Orders (make-to-order)
‘Statistical Postings,’ on the other hand, are only for information purposes. You will not be
able to further allocate/settle these statistical costs to other cost objects. Examples of such
objects include:
Statistical (Internal) Orders
Statistical Projects
Profit Centers

How do you Define ‘Number Ranges’ in CO?
You will be required to define, for each of the controlling areas, the ‘Number Ranges’ for all
transactions that will generate documents in CO. Once done for a controlling area, you may
copy from one controlling area to other controlling areas when you have more than one such
To avoid too many documents, SAP recommends grouping multiple but similar transactions,
and then assigning number ranges to this group. Further, you may create different number
ranges for plan and actual data. As in FI, the number ranges can be internal or external. The
document number ranges in CO are independent of fiscal years.

How Does ‘Master Data’ Differ from ‘Transaction Data’ in CO?
The ‘Master Data’ remains unchanged over a long period, whereas ‘Transaction Data’ are
short-term. The transaction data are assigned to the master data.
Though you normally create the master data from transactions, note that you will be able to
create these records from the configuration side as well. When you need to create a large
number of master data, you may use the ‘collective processing’ option to create related master
records in one step. SAP puts master data in ‘groups’ for easy maintenance.
In the case of master data of cost center/cost elements/activity types, once they are created,
you will not be able to change the date. SAP calls this feature the ‘time dependency’ of
master data. If necessary, you can extend the ‘time’ by creating a new one and attaching it to
the existing objects. In the case of resources, the master data are time-dependent and the
system will allow you to delete these objects. Statistical Key Figures (SKF) are not timedependent; once defined they are available in the system forever.

What is a ‘Cost Element’?
‘Cost Elements’ represent the origin of costs. There are two types of cost elements:
Primary Cost Elements
Secondary Cost Elements

What is a ‘Primary Cost Element’?
‘Primary Cost Elements’ represent the consumption of production factors such as raw
materials, human resources, utilities, etc. Primary cost elements have their corresponding GL
accounts in FI. All the expense/revenue accounts in FI correspond to the primary cost
elements in CO. Before you can create the primary cost elements in CO, you first need to
create them in FI as GL accounts.
Note that SAP treats revenue elements also as primary cost elements in CO processing. The
only difference is that all the revenue elements are identified with a negative sign while
posting in CO. The revenue elements correspond to the revenue accounts in FI and they fall
under the cost element category, category 01/11.

What is a ‘Secondary Cost Element’?
‘Secondary Cost Elements’ represent the consumption of production factors provided
internally by the enterprise itself, and are present only in the CO. They are actually like cost
carriers, and are used in allocations and settlements in CO. While creating these elements,
you need to mention the cost element category, which can be any of the following:
Category 21, used in internal settlements
Category 42, used in assessments
Category 43, used in internal activity allocation

What is a ‘Cost Element Category’?
All the cost elements need to be assigned to a ‘Cost Element Category,’ to determine the
transactions for which you can use the cost elements.
Category 01, known as the ‘general primary cost elements,’ is used in standard primary
postings from FI or MM into CO.
Category 22 is used to settle order/project costs, or cost object costs to objects outside of CO
(such as assets, materials, GL accounts, etc.).

How do you Automatically Create ‘Cost Elements’?
You will be able to create ‘cost elements’ automatically by specifying the cost element, the
cost element interval, and the cost element category for the cost elements. All these are
achieved by creating default settings. The creation of cost elements is done in the
The primary cost elements can be created only when you have the corresponding GL
accounts in the chart of accounts of the Company Code. Even though the GL account names
are used as the names of the primary cost elements thus created by the system, you have the
option of changing these names in CO. All the secondary cost elements are created in CO;
the name of these cost elements comes from the cost element category.

Define ‘Cost Center Accounting (CO-OM-CCA).’?
‘Cost Center Accounting (CO-OM-CCA)’ helps you to track where costs are incurred in your
enterprise. All the costs, such as salary and wages, rent, water charges, etc., incurred are
either assigned or posted to a cost center.

What is a ‘Cost Center’?
A ‘Cost Center’ is an organizational element within a controlling area.
You may define cost centers according to your specific needs; the most common approach is
to define a cost center for each of the bottom-most organizational units that are supposed to
manage their costs. So, typical cost centers could be canteen, telephone, power, human
resources, production, etc.
There are other ways of designing cost centers; you may create cost centers representing
geographical requirements or responsibility areas or activities/services produced, etc.
After defining individual cost centers, you will assign each one of the cost centers to one of
the cost center categories. All cost centers of a controlling area are assigned to a standard

What is a ‘Cost Center Category’?
A ‘Cost Center Category’ is an indicator in the cost center master record that identifies what
kind of activities a particular cost center performs. SAP comes delivered with default
categories such as administration, production, logistics, marketing, development,
management, etc. If necessary, as in other cases, you may create your own categories. The
categorization is useful for assigning certain standard characteristics to a group of cost
centers performing similar activities.
SAP also allows you to store special indicators (such as lock indicators) for each of the cost
center categories. These special indicators serve as defaults when you create a new cost

What is a ‘Standard Hierarchy?
A tree-like hierarchy structure grouping all the cost centers (of all the Company Codes
belonging to a single controlling area) so defined is known as the ‘Standard Hierarchy’ in CO.
This is the SAP method of grouping all the cost centers in a controlling area, which helps in
analyzing the cost summary at the end of the nodes of the hierarchy (cost center or cost
center groups or at the top level). A cost center can be attached to any number of cost center
groups, but you cannot assign the same cost center more than once within a cost center
The standard hierarchy helps in easy maintenance of the cost centers/cost center groups for
creation of new ones or changing existing ones. It supports drag-drop functionality.
You may use alternate hierarchies to group cost centers according to your internal reporting
requirements. You can have any number of alternate hierarchies but it is mandatory that you
have one standard hierarchy. The alternate hierarchy is also known as the master data group.

Explain Posting of Costs to ‘Cost Centers.’?
When you create accounting transitions in FI/FI-AA/MM, you typically post to one or more
GL accounts. While doing so, provided you have already configured in such a way, you also
require the user to input the cost center for that transaction, so that when the transaction is
posted the values (costs) flow not only to the GL but also to CO to the appropriate cost
center. The system will create two posting documents: one for FI and another for CO.
Additionally, you will also be able to post non-financial information such as direct labor
hours from HR or PP modules to cost centers in CO.

What is an ‘Activity Type’?
‘Activity Type’ helps you do define the service/action (for example, human labor, machine
labor, repair hours, etc.) performed or provided by a cost center. It forms the ‘basis’ for
allocating costs to other cost centers or internal orders, etc. You may assign an activity type to
an operation so that they are reflected in PP; a CO document is created with the costs of the
operation allocated from the cost center that produced the operation to a production order,
when the operation is completed in PP.
You may group activity types into activity type groups for easy maintenance.
You need to arrive at the activity price, which needs to be attached to that particular activity
type for planning or recording the actual. The activity price is calculated by dividing the total
costs by the total planned/actual activity quantity (hours, units, etc.).
It is not necessary that all the cost centers have activity types associated with them. If there is
no output from a cost center, then there will be no activity type for that cost center.

Where do You Assign Activity Type in Cost Centers?
There is no direct assignment. You plan the output for a cost center first by using Transaction
KP26. Then, plan the value of that cost center with the budget for a period in Transaction
KP06. ‘Planned Activity expenditure’/‘Planned Activity Quantity’ gives the ‘planned activity
rate,’ which you can use to valuate your activity confirmations in manufacturing orders. You
can also define your activity prices on your own, but you have to run the ‘price revaluation’ if
you want to revaluate your actual activity prices.

What is a ‘Resource’ in CO?
‘Resources’ are goods/services, consumed by CO objects such as cost center/internal
order/WBS element, which are supplied (internally or externally) to an organization in order
to produce business activities. The resources are used only in planning and not for tracking
the actual.
There are three types of resources:
Type B (used in base planning object)
Type M (refers to a material)
Type R (exists only in CO-OM)

What is a ‘Statistical Key Figure’ (SKF)?
The ‘Statistical Key Figure (SKF)’ is used as the basis (tracing factor) for making allocations
(assessments/distributions). They are the statistical data such as number of employees, area
in square meters, etc. You will make use of a SKF when you are faced with a situation where
it is not possible to use any other conventional method or measure to arrive at the share of
costs to be allocated to cost centers.
Suppose that you are incurring a monthly expense of USD 5,000 in the cost center cafeteria,
the cost of which needs to be allocated to other cost centers. You can achieve this by the SKF.
Imagine that you want this to be allocated based on the ‘number of employees’ working in
each of the other cost centers such as administrative office (50 employees) and the factory
(200 employees). You will now use the number of employees as the SKF for allocating the
In SKF allocation, you have the flexibility of using two different SKF Categories; namely,
Total value or Fixed value. You will use fixed values in situations where the SKF does not
change very often, as in the case of the number of employees, area, etc. You will use total
values in situations where the value is expected to change every now and then, as in the case
of power use or water consumption and the like.

Explain the ‘Planning’ steps in CO-OM-CCA.
The three steps involved in planning in cost center accounting include:
Configuration required for planning
Configure a Plan Version
Create or Copy Plan Layouts
Create Plan Profile
Insert Plan Layouts into Plan Profile
Inputting the planned data
Completing the planning activity

What is a ‘Plan Version’?
A ‘Plan Version’ is a collection of planning data. The version controls whether the user will
maintain plan data or actual data or both. You may create as many versions as you need,
though SAP provides you with the necessary versions in the standard system.
Each version has information stored in the system per fiscal year period. The version ‘000’ is
automatically created for a period horizon of five years, and is normally the final version as
this allows for storing actual information as well. You will be using the data in version ‘000′
for all the planned activity price calculation. Once planning is completed, you need to ‘lock’
that version so that no one will be able to modify the plan data.

What is ‘Integrated Planning’ in CO-OM-CCA?
‘Integrated Planning’ helps you to transfer data from other SAP modules such as PP, HR, FIAA, etc. If you have planned data in these modules and just transfer these into CO, without
making any changes, then you do not need plan again in cost center accounting. Before using
integrated planning, you need to activate the integration in the planning menu.
Note that integrated planning is possible only when there has been no data planned on that
version before activating the integrated planning.

Explain ‘Plan Layout.’?
A ‘Plan Layout’ is nothing but a data entry screen or template that you use to input plan data.
In most situations, it would be more than sufficient to use SAP supplied planning layouts;
however, you may create your own by copying one of the existing layouts and altering it with
the help of report painter. While creating a custom layout, note that you have the flexibility to
create up to nine lead columns (giving the details the nature of the data associated with the
value columns), and any number of value columns (plan data such as amount, unit, etc.,
corresponding to the lead column).
You also have the option of using MS-Excel spreadsheets as the data input screen in lieu of
the SAP plan layouts; but to achieve this you need to activate the ‘integrating with Excel
option’ while assigning the layout(s) to a planner profile in IMG.
You need to define a plan layout for each of the three planning areas in CO, namely:
Primary Cost and Activity Inputs
Activity Output/Prices
Statistical Key Figures

Explain a ‘Plan Profile.’
A ‘Plan Profile’ (or Planning Profile) helps in controlling the whole process of planning by
logically grouping the various plan layouts together. It determines the timeline for planning.
You can have more than one planning layout per plan profile.
Before you actually start inputting the data, you need to set the plan profile so that the system
knows what layout needs to be used for the planning exercise.

How do You Copy ‘Plan Data’ from one period to another?
SAP allows you to copy planning data, created manually earlier, from one fiscal year to the
other or from one period to a different period within the same fiscal year. You have the option
of copying existing plan data to a future period as new plan data or copying actual data from
one period to another as plan data.

What is the recommended Planning Sequence, in CO?
SAP recommends three steps in the planning. In all three steps, the planning can be carried
out manually or automatically. You may use assessment, distribution, and indirect activity
allocation or inputted costs for planning. You can also have centralized planning (cost
element planning for all the cost centers) and decentralized planning (planning for individual
cost centers) in your organization.

What are the two options for entering Plan Data?
SAP provides you with a choice of two options to enter your plan data. You may use Formbased entry or Free entry.
In form-based entry, all you need to do is fill in the plan data in the rows corresponding to the
characteristic values (cost centers, cost element, etc.) displayed on the screen. But, in free
entry, you have the freedom of inputting even the characteristic values.

What are ‘Distribution Keys’?
The SAP system uses ‘Distribution Keys’ to distribute planned values across various periods.
With the standard distribution keys supplied by SAP, you will be able to achieve the type of
distribution you need:
DK1 (equal distribution)
DK2 (distribution as done earlier)
DK5 (copy values to period where there is no value)
For example, if you have a planned annual value of 12,000, by using DK1 you will be able to
distribute 1,000 each as the monthly values. If you had plan values for last year which were
something like 1,000 for January to June, 500 for July, 1,500 for August, and 1,000 each for
September to December, then by using DK2, you will be able to copy the same amounts to
the next fiscal year. DK5 will copy values to future periods only if there are no values already
available for those periods.

Differentiate ‘Activity-Dependent ‘and ‘Activity-Independent’ Costs.?
As you might be aware of already, there are two types of costs; namely, variable costs and
fixed costs.
Variable Costs, such as material costs, factory labor, etc., are always dependent on an activity,
and will vary depending on the activity. The higher the activity the more will be the
expenditure towards variable costs. In short, these costs are directly proportional to the level
of activity. In SAP CO, these costs are known as ‘Activity-Dependent Costs.’
In contrast to the variable costs, ‘Activity-Independent Costs’ or fixed costs do not usually
vary with the level of activity. And you may need to incur these costs irrespective of whether
there is an activity. Costs such as costs towards security, insurance premiums, etc., fall under
the category of fixed costs.

What is a ‘Mixed Cost’?
There are instances where you will come across a costing situation where the costs cannot be
strictly segregated into either fixed or variable costs. These costs are known as semi-fixed
costs or semi-variable costs or mixed costs, because a portion of the total costs is fixed and
the remaining portion is a variable cost.
The classic example is the charges for electricity in a production environment, where there is
a basic minimum charge payable to the electricity provider (or towards heating requirements
of the buildings) which remains fixed whether there is some production activity or not. When
there is production, you will use more electricity, which varies with the level of production.

Explain ‘Manual Primary Cost Planning.’?
‘Manual Primary Cost Planning’ is used to plan for costs associated with the external
procurement of goods and services. You will plan both fixed and variable costs, and also
mixed costs, if necessary. You will plan costs such as salaries, wages, etc., as activitydependent costs; the costs towards security, etc., will be planned as activity-independent costs.
You need to note that planning fixed primary costs is not vastly different from that of
planning for variable primary costs. When you plan for the variable primary costs you need to
mention the activity type associated with that. You may further break down this cost into
fixed and variable proportions. The ‘fixed primary costs’ or ‘activity-independent primary
costs’ are planned using the primary cost elements on various cost centers, based on the
activity performed on a particular cost center.
You may use any of the following SAP supplied planning layouts:
1–101— Activity-independent or activity-dependent primary costs
1–103— Activity-independent costs
1–152— Activity-independent costs (on a quarterly basis)
1–153— Cost-element planning (two versions simultaneously)
1–154— Cost-element planning (previous year’s actual displayed in the lead column)
1–156— Central planning (Cost element planning from Cost center perspective)

Explain ‘Automatic Primary Cost Planning.’
SAP provides you with two ways of handling Primary Costs Planning; namely:
Inputted Costs Calculation
Inputted Costs Calculation is used to smooth one-time costs (bonus, incentives, etc.) incurred
by spreading them over a period of time though it is posted on the FI side at the end of the
year. You again have two methods of processing these costs: (i) when there is no
corresponding costs equivalent on the FI side such as the inputted family labor or inputted
rent, etc., and (ii) when there is a corresponding cost equivalent on the FI side such as festival
bonus, etc.
Distribution helps in planning primary costs from one cost center to the other. The cost center
from where the costs are distributed is known as the sender (or pooled cost center or clearing
cost center) and the other cost centers to which the costs are distributed or where the costs are
received are known as receivers.
Note that you will be able to distribute planned/actual primary costs only. Also note that the
pooled cost center does not incur any of these costs but acts only as the ‘clearing center’ for
distribution to other cost centers. During the process, you will use the SKF or the regular
percentage method as the distribution rule for achieving the distribution. The distribution
cycle helps to carry out the whole planning exercise.

Explain ‘Manual Secondary Cost Planning.’
‘Manual Secondary Cost Planning’ is required when you need to plan consumption
quantities of a sender cost center’s planned activity from the point of view of the receiving
cost center. The activity inputs may be planned either as the activity-dependent costs
(variable) or as activity-independent costs (fixed).
The ‘activity-dependent primary cost planning’ is used only when you need the services such
as repair hours on a specified activity type. On the other hand, you will use ‘activityindependent primary cost planning’ when you need services such as maintenance hours,
which are not restricted to a particular activity.
The system uses the ‘planned calculated activity price’ for posting the secondary cost. It is
possible to carry out ‘manual secondary cost planning’ for activity types categorized as
Category-1 (manual entry/manual allocation). Note that it is important that you perform
reconciliation of planned consumption of an activity at the receiver cost center to the volume
planned at the sender’s level; otherwise, you will get a warning message when the system
calculates the activity price.

Explain ‘Assessment’ in Secondary Cost Planning.
‘Assessment’ is one of the methods used in ‘automatic planning of secondary costs’ in cost
center accounting. You will typically use this method when you need to allocate costs from
one cost center to other cost centers. The original costs, even if they are primary, from the
cost center are grouped and reclassified as secondary while allocating the same to other cost
centers (imagine that you are collecting primary costs such as postage, telephone, courier
expenses, fax charges, etc., into a cost center called 1000, now group these costs for
assessment using a secondary cost element to receiver cost centers: 2000 and 3000).
You need to define an assessment rule (either ‘percentage’ or ‘SKFs’ or ‘fixed amounts’) for
affecting assessment. You would have now noticed that this is similar to the distribution used
in ‘primary cost planning.’
So, why do you need an assessment? Assessment is required when you need to allocate
secondary costs, and when you do not need the details you would otherwise get from

What is an ‘Allocation Structure’?
You need to define or use a secondary cost element, called the ‘assessment cost element,’
while you carry out the ‘assessment’ in ‘automatic secondary cost planning.’ Instead of
defining individual assessment elements (for a group of primary cost elements) in individual
segments, every now and then, you may define various assessment elements in an ‘Allocation
Structure,’ and use them repeatedly.

Explain ‘Segments’ and ‘Cycles.’
A ‘Segment’ is one processing unit required to complete an automated allocation of
distribution or assessment or reposting of planned/actual costs in controlling in SAP. A
segment is made up of (a) allocation characteristics—to identify the sender/receiver, (b)
values of the sender—plan/actual, type of costs to be allocated, and (c) values of the receiver
—the basis for allocation, for example, the tracing factor such as SKF, percentages, etc.
When you combine multiple segments into a single process, then you call that the ‘Cycle.’ A
Cycle helps you to process various segments in a chain-like fashion one after another. A Cycle
consists of header data (valid for all Segments in a Cycle) and one or more Segments, with
summarized rules and settings enabling allocation. The Segments within a ‘cycle’ can be
processed iteratively (one segment waits for the results of another) or non-iteratively (all the
segments are processed independently) or cumulatively (to take care of variations in receiver
Tracing Factors or sender amounts).
Typically, when you start the cycles you will start them in a ‘test’ mode to see the allocations
before actual postings. Technically, you can run the cycles in ‘production’ mode at any point
of time, but the system will carry out the allocation postings only on the first day of a period.
The utility of the cycle lies in the fact that you can run these period after period.

What is ‘Iterative Processing’ of Cycles?
‘Iterative Processing’ is nothing but the repetitive processing of sender/receiver relationships
until the sender’s entire cost is transferred to the receiver(s). During iterative processing, you
will not be able to use ‘fixed amounts’ as the ‘sender rules’; you will also not be able to define
a percentage to remain on the sender. You will be able to use both plan and actual data while
using the iteration.

What is ‘Splitting’? Explain the ‘Splitting Structure.’?
‘Splitting’ is a process used to assign ‘activity-independent’ plans/actual costs, both primary
and secondary, of a cost center to the individual activity types within that cost center. But the
important requirement is that you will use this when there is no account assignment to the
activity types.
You may either use the Splitting rules or the Equivalence number to achieve this. When you
split the costs from a cost center, the cost center temporarily becomes more than one cost
center for the purpose of allocation but again becomes a single cost center when posting
happens in the subsequent period.
If you need to assign different cost elements or cost element groups to activities in more than
one way, then you need to define a ‘Splitting Structure’ containing ‘splitting rules’ to
determine the criteria of splitting ‘activity-independent’ costs to an activity type. If you have
created the splitting structure in customizing and assigned the same to a cost center, then the
system uses the splitting structure for cost apportioning; otherwise, it will use the equivalence
The ‘splitting rules’ determine the amount or the proportion of costs to be allocated to
various activity types of a cost center and is based on the consumption of these activity types.
The costs thus allocated may be a fixed sum, or a percentage, or it can even be based on the
tracing factors or SKFs.
The ‘equivalence number’ is a basic method for splitting the costs when you manually plan
for each of the activity types. By this, you will plan all activity-independent costs according to
the equivalence numbers (the default is 1).

What is an ‘Activity Price Calculation’?
You will be completing the planning process only when you perform the ‘Activity Price
Calculation,’ which is based on planned activities and costs. By doing this you are valuating
the planned secondary costs at receiving cost centers. If you do not want to use activity price
thus calculated, you are free to use the political price for the activity type.
As you are aware, the activity price is used for planned/actual allocation and is determined
by using either the political price or the system-calculated activity price.

What is known as the ‘Political Price’ for an Activity Type?
The ‘Political Price’ is the price determined outside the SAP system, which is used in manual
input using the required planning layout in planning.

What is ‘Allocation Price Variance?
‘Allocation Price Variance’ is the difference between the ‘political price’ of an activity type
and the ‘system calculated activity price’ of the same activity type.

What is ‘Budgeting’?
‘Budgeting’ is used to augment the planning process at the cost-center level. While planning is
considered the ‘bottom-up’ approach, budgeting is regarded as the ‘top-down’ method to
control costs.
Budgeting usually comes ‘down’ from the ‘top (management)’ and is used to guide the
planning process at the cost-center level. Note that budgeting is not integrated with postings;
you will get an error when the system comes across a posting that will result in the actual
values exceeding the budget for that cost center.

What are the ‘Direct Allocation’ Methods of Posting in CO?
The ‘Direct Allocation’ of posting in CO may be an actual cost entry or a transaction-based
The actual cost entry is the transfer of primary costs from FI to CO, on a real-time basis,
through the primary cost elements. You may also transfer transaction data by making the cost
accounting assignment to cost objects from other modules such as FI-AA, SD, and MM:
FI-AA: Assign assets to a cost center (to post depreciation, etc.)
MM: Assign GR to a cost center/internal order
SD: Assign or settle a sales order to a cost center or internal order
Note that during actual cost entry, the system creates two documents. When you post the
primary costs from FI to CO, the system will create a document in FI and a parallel
document in CO, which is summarized from the point of the cost object/element.
Transaction-based postings are executed within the CO, again on a real-time basis, enabling
you to have updated cost information on the cost centers at any point in time. You will be
able to carry out the following transaction-based postings in CO:
Line items
Manual cost allocation
Direct activity allocation
Posting of Statistical Key Figures
Posting of sender activities

What is the ‘Indirect Allocation’ Method of Postings in CO?
The ‘Indirect Allocation’ of postings in CO may be used at the end of a period as a periodic
allocation. This is done after you have completed all the primary postings. You may post the
following periodic allocations using indirect allocation:
Periodic Reposting
Accrual Cost Calculation (Inputted Cost Calculation)
Indirect Activity Allocation

Explain ‘CO Automatic Account Assignment.’?
For transferring primary costs to CO, on a real-time basis, you need to have ‘Automatic
Account Assignments’ defined in the system. By doing this, you will always be able to post a
particular cost to a specified cost center. You can also use this assignment for automatically
posting the exchange rate differences (gain or loss), discount, etc., to CO.
You may also have additional account assignment at different levels such as:
Controlling area/account/Company Code in the customizing
Controlling area/account/cost element in the master record
Controlling area/account/Company Code/business area/valuation area in customizing
The system always goes through the route of customizing first, then to the cost element
master record while accessing the account assignment rules.

How does ‘Validation’ differ from ‘Substitution’?
SAP uses validations and substitutions to check the integrity of data entered before posting a
document. When you have both substitutions and validations defined, the system first
completes the substitution then goes on to validate the entries. Note that only one validation
and one substitution can be activated at a time for a controlling area per ‘call-up point.’
A ‘Validation’ uses Boolean logic for checking any type of combination of specified criteria
(such as account type/cost center combination) for ensuring the validity before allowing you
to post a document.
Validation Rule: If the cost element is ‘120000,’ then the cost center is ‘1200.’
Document: You try posting a document containing the cost element as ‘120000’ and the cost
center is ‘1400.’
System Response: The system will throw an ‘error message’ after checking that the cost center
value does not match the cost center value of the criteria for that given cost element value.
In contrast to validation which just checks for validity, substitution ensures that the system
replaces a value assigned to one or more fields based on predetermined criteria, using, again,
‘Boolean logic.’
Substitution Rule: If the cost element is ‘120000,’ then the cost center is ‘1200.’
Document: You try posting a document containing the cost element as ‘120000’ and the cost
center as ‘1400.’
System Response: The system will replace the entered cost center value of ‘1400’ with that of
the correct value ‘1200.’

What is a ‘Call-up Point’?
A ‘Call-up Point’ is a particular point in transaction processing that triggers an action such as
substitution or validation.

What is ‘Boolean Logic’?
‘Boolean Logic’ is based on simple logic to determine if a given statement is true or false. The
logic works on the basic principle that a statement can either be true or false. In a complex
statement (created using operators ‘and’/‘or’/‘nor,’ etc.) with many parts, the logic goes by
assigning true or false from part to part, and then determines at the end whether the
combination is true or false.

Explain ‘Reposting’ in Cost Center Accounting.?
‘Reposting’ is one of the ‘transaction-based postings’ in Cost Center Accounting used to
reallocate costs that were incorrectly posted to another cost center earlier. Also called internal
reposting, there are two types:
Line Item Reposting
Transaction Reposting
Use Line Item Reposting only when a certain line item, from the original posting, needs to be
reposted. Under this reposting, at the end of the transaction, the system creates a new CO
document, but keeps the original FI document unchanged. In the new CO document created,
the original FI number is referenced.
You will resort to the entire Transaction Reposting when the original posting was incorrect.
Here, the original FI documents are not referenced to in the new CO document created,
though the original FI document remains unchanged.

Is ‘Periodic Reposting’ Different from ‘Reposting’?
‘Periodic Reposting,’ a method under ‘indirect allocation,’ is used to correct multiple postings
made to cost centers during a particular period. As such, this is similar to multiple reposting
under ‘transaction-based postings.’
Periodic reposting is also similar to distribution, when you use this, at the period end, to
transfer all costs from a ‘pooled cost center’ to other receivers. (Note that the ‘distribution’ is
meant primarily for cost allocation, but periodic reposting is meant for correcting the posting

Explain ‘Manual Cost Allocation.’?
‘Manual Cost Allocation’—one of the ‘transaction-based postings’—is used to post both
primary and secondary actual costs (not the planned costs), and also to transfer external data.
You may also use this to correct secondary costs that were incorrectly posted earlier. In the
process of manual cost allocation, remember that you can use any type of cost element
except 43, as this is meant exclusively for activity allocation.
You may use this among cost centers, internal orders, networks, network activities, sales
orders, sales order items, WBS elements, etc., identifying these cost objects as

What is ‘Direct Activity Allocation’?
‘Direct Activity Allocation’—one of the ‘transaction-based postings’—is used to record
activities performed by a cost center and to allocate simultaneously to ‘receiving cost centers.’
You will use this ‘direct activity allocation’ only when you know the activity volumes of both
the sender and the receiver. If not known, then use the indirect activity allocation at the
period end.
You need to input the activity quantity, sender/receiver cost center and date to enable the
system to allocate the costs; the system will automatically determine the allocation cost
element and the activity price (either the planned price or the actual price). The system
multiplies the activity consumed with that of the activity price to arrive at the allocated cost.

How do You Calculate ‘Accrued Costs’?
SAP provides two methods for calculating the Inputted or Accrued Costs in CO:
Target=Actual method
Cost Element Percent method

Describe the ‘Reconciliation Ledger.’?
The ‘Reconciliation Ledger’ is used to keep track of all cross-Company Code transactions
between FI and CO, as there is every chance that there may be some imbalance between the
CO totals and FI totals when more than one Company Code is attached to a controlling area.
This is because you may try to allocate costs from one cost center to another assigned to a
different Company Code.
The reconciliation ledger records the Company Code, business area, functional area, amount,
cost objects, cost element, currency (Company Code and controlling area), etc. You can make
reconciliation postings at the end of a period to synchronize FI and CO with the
configuration settings to automatically post the differences to FI.
While configuring the reconciliation ledger, you may use extended account assignments
besides the normal account assignment for automatic transfer of reconciled postings. The
extended account assignment helps make more comprehensive assignments to the relevant
reconciliation accounts, with the option and flexibility of specifying any field in the
reconciliation ledger (Company Code, cost element, functional area, etc.) for checking the
‘substitution rules.’
To aid in determining possible reconciliation postings, you can opt for selecting individual
cost flows from all the relevant cost flows. This is accomplished by running the relevant
report and looking for the relevant ‘data block’ (such as total cost flows, basic overview list,
and detailed list).

What is ‘Variance Analysis’ in CO-OM-CCA?
‘Variance Analysis’ is the determination and interpretation of the difference(s) between the
actual and planned (target) costs (within a cost center/cost center group) in cost center
accounting. The analysis is intended to provide important clues to top management to plan
better later.

What is the ‘Categories of Variances’ in CO-OM-CCA?
SAP helps to classify all variances into two categories:
Input Variance
Output Variance

Explain the ‘Input Variance.’
The ‘Input Variance’ is the result of the mismatch of amounts/quantities of inputs planned
and actually used. You will be able to identify the following input side variances in the
Quantity Variance—when there is a difference between planned and actual quantity of
activity consumption. The inference is that there is some production inefficiency leading to
more consumption or there is some loss/shrinkage in the quantities.
Price Variance—when there is a difference between the planned and actual price of an
activity. The inference will be that you may need to change the suppliers looking for lower
prices or it is just a market condition.
Resource (use) Variance—when there is use of an unplanned cost element or there has not
been a posting of a planned cost element. The inference is that there are some unidentified
costs that may be planned in the next planning cycle, or just plain errors in postings.
Remaining (input) Variance—these are all miscellaneous variances where the system is not
able to categorize a variance.

What is an ‘Output Variance’?
An ‘Output Variance’ is the result when the actual costs allocated from a cost center differ
from the planned (or target) cost allocation from the cost center. The variances on the ‘output
side’ may be any one of the following:
Volume Variance – This variance occurs with actual and planned activities (in terms of
activity quantity and/or the activity itself).
Output Price Variance – This variance occurs when the activity price used in the actual
allocation is a political activity price (manually entered or plan price) differing from the
system calculated activity price (target price).
Output Quantity Variance – This kind of variance occurs only on the actual side, when there
is a difference between the actual activity quantity (manually) entered in the sender cost
center, and the actual activity quantity allocated from that sender cost center.
Remaining Variance – This reflects the miscellaneous variance, at the cost center level,
identified by the system on the output side but remains not categorized into any of the above
three types. The possible reason can be that you have deactivated the output variances in the
variance variant configuration or the output variance is less than the ‘minor difference’ you
have defined in the ‘variance variant.’

How do you Deal with ‘Variances’?
Though the system identifies and calculates variances, they are not automatically dealt with
by the system. Hence, these variances will remain at the cost center as a period-end balance
and you need to act on that in one of the following ways:
You may do actual activity price calculation to revalue all internal allocations with a newly
calculated price (as against the initial planned activity price), and post the difference to all the
cost centers which initially received the allocations. This will help you in clearing all or a
portion of output price variances.
You may ‘transfer’ the variance balance to other modules (such as CO-PA) for further
You may make additional automated allocations within CO-OM-CCA to one or more cost

What is all the ‘Standard Reports’ in CO?
SAP comes delivered with a number of ‘Standard Reports’ in the CO module. The reports are
grouped under:
Planning reports
Comparison reports
Line item reports
Report for activity prices
Reports for variance analysis
Master data reports
Document display
All the reports are arranged in a ‘report tree’ with a hierarchical arrangement of reports under
various nodes. Note that you will not be able to change the standard report tree supplied by
SAP; if you need to you can copy it, define your own reports, and then attach these newly
defined ones to the new report tree you just defined.

What is ‘Summarization’ in CO?
‘Summarization’ helps to condense and store the transaction data at the ‘cost center group’
level. You may do the summarization for the highest node of the standard hierarchy or any of
the ‘alternate hierarchies.’ Once summarized, you will be able to create a vast number of
reports with report run-time vastly reduced as all the data of the nodes are readily available
from the summarized table.

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