Preparing Master Data for an S/4 Conversion

12 Mar Preparing Master Data for an S/4 Conversion

Julie Squires-Kiddoo

Optimizing master data when converting to SAP S/4 HANA is crucial for a smooth transition and ensuring that your data is aligned with the new system’s capabilities.

Chances are your organization put a lot of thought into the design and governance of master data during the initial implementation of SAP, but over time, as processes evolve and mergers happen, some of that design and governance become lost or obsolete.  If using an agile approach, this review, optimization, and clean-up can take place pre-sprint zero.

Here are recommended pre-implementation steps that can be taken to optimize master data for an SAP S/4 HANA conversion and some specific examples to consider:

Data Assessment and Cleansing:

Conduct a thorough assessment of your existing master data.  Identify and eliminate any duplicate, incomplete, or inaccurate records.

GL Accounts:

Consider extending GL account numbers to include 10 digits and define number ranges for specific purposes.  Obvious ranges are probably already being used for example:  assets, liabilities, revenue, COGS, and expenses, but can you come up with some governance around ranges at lower levels, for example, set aside specific ranges for:

    • Reconciliation accounts (customers, vendors, assets)
    • Intercompany or external accounts
    • Reduce the number of GL accounts if stratification can be accomplished with other characteristics in reporting
  • Benefits:
    • Simplifies configuration, substitution, and validations to look at ranges rather than individual accounts
    • Variants used in jobs and reports so that ranges can be used rather than specific account numbers


Remove duplicate vendors that may have been created across different partner types, company types, company codes, or purchasing organizations.

  • Benefits:
    • Better duplicate invoice checking and less risk of duplicate payments
    • Better reporting to understand the full value of purchases from a specific vendor
    • Less likelihood of unused credits


Remove duplicate customers that may have been created across different partner types, sales organizations, or company codes.

  • Benefits:
    • Better cash application
    • More accurate risk assessment
    • Better reporting


Remove duplicate or obsolete materials.

  • Benefits:
    • Better inventory control
    • Reduce the risk of over-purchases or obsolete inventory
    • Better reporting

Additional Check List

Below are additional steps to consider starting in sprint zero or very shortly after kicking off the project.

  1. Data Mapping:
  • Map your existing master data to the corresponding data structures in SAP S/4 HANA. Understand the changes in data models and fields between your current system and S/4 HANA.
  • Ensure the mapping includes all currently used fields. Old mapping documents used for the original conversion to SAP may be obsolete or incomplete.
  1. Data Governance Policies, Roles and Responsibilities:
  • Review or establish data governance policies to ensure data quality and integrity throughout the conversion.
  • Define roles and responsibilities for data management, including data owners and stewards who will be accountable for the quality and accuracy of specific data sets.
  1. Data Migration Strategy:
  • Develop a comprehensive data migration strategy that outlines the approach, mapping, tools and methodologies for moving data between systems.
  1. Data Validation and Testing:
  • Implement data validation tools that can be used in multiple testing iterations to ensure migrated data is accurate and that there is a repeatable process for validations.
  • Conduct stand-alone data load and validation testing as early on as possible to identify issues.
  • Include end-to-end testing with converted data.
  • Consider implementing SAP Master Data Governance (MDG) to maintain data quality and enforce policies across the organization.
  1. User Training and Communication:
  • Provide training to users and new processes and functionalities
  1. Continuous Monitoring:
  • Establish processes for continuous monitoring of data quality post-conversion.
  1. Documentation:
  • Document the entire optimization and migration process for future reference and potential audits.

By following these steps, you can enhance the efficiency and accuracy of your master data in SAP S/4 HANA and ultimately contribute to a successful conversion.



  • Emily Swanson
    Posted at 13:02h, 23 March Reply

    Excellent advice from the true, authentic pro!! Thanks, Julie. For sure saving this – I miss working with you so much!!

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