SAP in Latin America: Top 10 Implementation Challenges

Gustavo Jiménez
December 6, 2018

Mandated e-invoicing and tax reporting requirements in Latin America make SAP implementations in this region more complex than anywhere else in the world. Here, we examine the Top 10 Hurdles to Implementing SAP in Latin America:

1. Consistency

Consistency between transactional invoices and accounting reports is essential. Any slight discrepancy triggers audits and fines, which is why it’s so critical to maintain compliance within SAP, despite its challenges.

2. Customizations

Each country has different requirements that must be reflected in your ERP implementation. For example, Chile doesn’t allow decimal points, and in Brazil and Mexico, reporting is based on the calendar year – not your fiscal year.

3. Shipping

The ability to ship is tied to the e-invoice in many countries. Proper contingency systems must be in place to ensure your business can continue to run smoothly in the event of any issues.

4. Billing

Government data requirements and processes can lead to billing challenges. Many countries require specific processes for cancellations and credits, and also require certain fields and formatting.

5. Receiving

Inbound receiving processes must include verification of the purchase order, invoice and materials received. However, this is an opportunity to automate processes and lower the costs of receiving – eliminating data entry with a simple scan and click process.

6. Accounts Payable

The government-approved XML invoice is the only invoice of record. PDFs should not be used for payments, as the XML is the version the government will use to determine tax liability.

7. Tax Reporting

Accurate VAT reporting is a process; not something that can be solved with OSS notes. For example, Mexico’s polizas report requires each individual pay stub, expense, etc., to be tied to the journal entry – a practice not common in many accounting departments.

8. Maintenance

SAP doesn’t provide standard compliance solutions across Latin America, but local and third-party solutions remove SAP as the system of record, leaving companies with multiple support calls required in the event of an issue.

9. Updates

In less than two years, Latin America has seen seven new countries implement e-invoicing and reporting requirements, and these mandates affect an increasing number of business processes, meaning the updates are never done.

10. Support

Many companies underestimate the sup-port needed to maintain compliance internally, requiring up to 11 full-time staff to maintain compliance, adjust processes, verify accuracy and address any issues.

Despite these challenges, it’s imperative that compliance is managed wholly within your ERP – housing data and reports elsewhere only adds challenges in the form of the discrepancies and errors that trigger audits and fines. That’s why choosing the right compliance solution is such a critical decision.

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Author

Gustavo Jiménez

Gustavo Jimenez is the Product Marketing Manager for Sovos’ e-invoicing solutions and is based in Atlanta. Gustavo is responsible for go-to-market strategy for Sovos LatAm e-invoicing solutions in countries with existing and upcoming mandates. He has more than five years of experience in e-invoicing, middleware integrations, and regulatory research. He works closely with the product management and development team as well as sales and marketing to facilitate compliance process transformations for Sovos clients. Prior to joining Sovos, Gustavo was responsible for marketing activities and strategy at Invoiceware International, a leading e-invoicing solution for businesses with operations in Latin America. He focused on the go-to-market strategy of their solutions as well as communications with the LatAm market about regulatory changes and new solutions.
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