By Ferry Geertman
The legal requirement for the creation and submission of an electronic tax balance sheet (e-balance) in XBRL represents a major challenge for all companies located in Germany.
Even though the new law is applicable as of fiscal year 2013 for most taxpayers (see figure 1), many ERP software providers, such as SAP, do not offer a satisfactory solution for complying with the comprehensive legal requirements.
The standard functionality of SAP supports only the data provisioning for the electronic tax balance. Separate add-ons are needed for the creation of the final XBRL file and the electronic submission.
SAP’ s own ‘solution’ is called ‘SAP ERP client for E-Bilanz’ and is a local Excel Add-on application and not an integrated SAP solution. It does not work without the generic risk of interfaces.
These risks can be eliminated with as endgame the entire process fully integrated into SAP.
KEY – LiNKiT eBilanz-Cockpit – a simple and lean method
The KEY – LiNKiT eBilanz-Cockpit is an easy-to-use and lean solution for the German e-balance. It is fully integrated into SAP, thus easily accessible and avoiding problems with media discontinuities.
The cockpit’s ten steps process, provide an intuitive guideline for the process of creating and filing the e-balance.
The cockpit has features, such as the drag & drop functionality for mapping the companies chart of accounts to the required fiscal taxonomy, making the cockpit an user-friendly tool.
In order to provide a comprehensive solution for the entire corporate group, the cockpit also has an interface for non-SAP systems, enabling the upload of financial data from subsidiaries not using SAP.
All the group’s tax balances can be created in and filed from one central SAP system. Various characteristics of the cockpit ensure an audit-proof process.
The tax adjustments made in the cockpit do not influence the regular SAP data and are tracked in a separate document journal.
Just as in SAP itself, all entries and changes are recorded, thus ensuring that the cockpit meets high standards of IT and process security, including a full audit trail.
Features of the eBilanz-Cockpit: 10 steps to the e-balance
The cockpit functionalities are split into ten steps. They provide an easy to use guideline to the entire process for creating and filing an electronic tax balance:
- Import taxonomy: Easy import and storage of the different taxonomies
- Import source data: Import of financial statements, Balance Sheet and P&L, from standard SAP report OR file upload (for non-SAP systems)
- Maintain master data: Manual entry of all relevant data OR import from previous year
- GAAP mapping: Mapping of chart of accounts to fiscal taxonomy via drag & drop OR import from previous year or sample mapping (see figure 3)
- Data transfer: Combination of source data and taxonomy mapping to an initial e-balance
- Edit e-balance: Entry of tax adjustments, of-which-positions, additional reporting elements
- Check balance sheet: Internal check of consistency, correctness and completeness
- Generate XBRL: Conversion of the e-balance into the XBRL format
- ERiC validation: Validation with the test routines provided by the fiscal authorities
- Send e-balance: Electronic submission of the e-balance to the tax office (incl. test functionality)
Implementation process of the KEY- LiNKiT eBilanz-Cockpit
The implementation of the KEY – LiNKiT eBilanz-Cockpit is supported by our own trained consultants and is performed in cooperation with your own tax and SAP-IT staff.
The implementation process includes the following activities:
- eBilanz readiness check (1day)
- Installation and configuration of the KEY – LiNKiT eBilanz Cockpit in your SAP®-System
- Installing the relevant taxonomies (depending on legal requirements according to your business)
- Sending test data to tax authoritiesKey user training
- On-site Support (1day) during first productive data transmission to tax authorities
Return on investment after implementation of the KEY LiNKiT eBilanz-Cockpit
- Full compliance with the legal requirements in Germany
- Lower overall costs due to quick and easy implementation
- Reduction of risks by media continuity and audit-proof documentation
- Efficient process of e-balance creation and submission
- Less time needed due to master data mapping and import functionality
- Lower maintenance costs because of complete integration in SAP: no additional interfaces, no additional costs for installation / distribution / maintenance of additional software
- Lower software costs because of upload functionality for data from non-SAP systems: no additional software for non-SAP companies needed
- Centralized support and dedicated contact person for all questions regarding the technical issues of the electronic tax balance
- Less time for training: SAP-integrated solution with intuitive handling and use of SAP standard functionalities
- Centralized solution in which all steps of the process can be executed or triggered
- Reduced risk of data loss because all data is stored safely in the SAP system and thus easily accessible and available for years