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Meet Espresso Tutorials author Ashish Sampat. Ashish is the author of First Steps in SAP Controlling (CO).
How did you get your start with SAP?
I started my professional career in 1996 with Arvind Mills in Ahmedabad, India. Arvind Mills is one of the largest textile manufacturing companies of the world. I spent the first two years working in the costing and manufacturing accounting department of the denim manufacturing unit. The company’s SAP implementation journey started in 1998. I was the key business subject matter expert in the product costing space. It was an interesting learning experience. I was awed by the capabilities of the SAP system. Very soon, I felt like I was eating, drinking, and breathing SAP! After two years with Arvind Mills’ SAP implementation and support, I moved to SAP consulting. I was employed by Wipro India (three years), Wipro US (five years), and IBM US (five years). I have been an independent (freelance) SAP consultant for the past three years. My professional journey is close to two decades so far but I can say I am still learning!
What are you most proud of in your SAP career?
I love working at different clients and studying their SAP design – each design is unique. Starting with the organization structure and then moving down to master data and transaction data, it is nice to visualize the big picture and see how it all fits together. I tried to incorporate many of these learning and best practices in my book First Steps in SAP Controlling (CO).” Publishing this book is a proud moment in my SAP career.
I also had had the opportunity to be on the faculty for a week-long SAP Product Costing training at SAP India in 2000. This was very early in my SAP career and I was particularly proud of being selected by SAP to conduct this training.
What are some of the most important trends that you see currently impacting SAP teams?
In my opinion, the most important trend impacting SAP teams is keeping pace with the constant innovation and improvement in SAP’s product features. Teams have to continuously update their knowledge AND upgrade their systems to the latest software version available. The goal of “keeping the lights on” as well as continuous improvement become even more challenging when there are competing business requirements. Supply chains are continuously innovating – back-end systems need to keep pace with such changes. Financial integration plays a key role in SAP implementations. For example, there has been a trend towards combining the role of CEO and COO and there is a similar trend for combining the functions of CFO and CIO due to a great amount of overlap. CIOs need to have a deep insight in the financials aspects of IT investments, at the same time CFOs need to have a good understanding of how to leverage IT capabilities that best suit the organization’s internal processes and needs.
What professional organizations are you associated with?
I am a member of theSAP Controlling Community, ERP Fixers, SAP Community Network, and FI-CO Forum.
How do you stay up to date on SAP topics? What resources do you regularly use?
I enjoy researching SAP Finance and Controlling related questions and challenging queries from different SAP installations. Whatever the assignment it might be, big or small – I have walked away with learning a new feature almost on every occasion! This is a great way to hone one’s skills in areas that are unexplored for a consultant. I have been attending the SAP Controlling Conference for the last couple of years it helps me “sharpen the saw” by keeping pace with new developments, improving knowledge of existing functionality and of course, in networking with clients and fellow consultants!
What is one of the funniest compliments that you have received?
I started as a lone SAP Controlling consultant at a client and quickly learned their SAP design and internal setup. Six months later, my employer won a large global roll-out project at this client. My clients used to jokingly call me a “Trojan horse,” since I had helped my employer penetrate the client IT organization!
Ashish Sampat is a qualified finance and costing professional with nearly two decades of industry experience in the SAP Finance and Controlling space. Ashish has been an SAP consultant for most of his career with various consulting organizations and now works as an independent SAP FI/CO consultant. He has provided solutions in several areas of SAP Controlling including product costing, material ledger, and cost center accounting to global clients in consumer packaged goods, life sciences, and industrial sectors. Born and educated in India, Ashish now lives in suburban Chicago with his wife and two kids. He is the author of First Steps in SAP Controlling (CO). His second book on SAP Controlling will be released in the fall of 2016.