Ace your FICO interview and get hired!

Getting interviewed can be a very nervous time!

Your future depends on the next 30 minutes. 

How can you ensure that you give the right answers and get the job?

In this post, I have given tips that have helped me get around 65% of the jobs that I have interviewed for. 

You can get the complete guide here 

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Before getting into the SAP stuff- this stuff is important!

Ask questions

You might be nervous and it is ok if you are, but it’s ok to be a little casual. 

 

Ask the interviewer a question which gets them to give you a slightly longer answer.

 

Why?   The interviewer is probably checking email and you might be the 3rd person she is interviewing, so she might not be paying attention to what you say a lot. 

 

If you can get the interviewer to think and answer you might be able to grab their full attention.

Know the interviewer

Do you go for a date without having any idea about who you are meeting? ( no not referring to a blind date)

 

why don’t you find out a little about the interviewer and the company before your interview?

 

Look at the difference between the two statements

 

Person 1- I know fixed assets really well. I have worked on depreciation issues, integration with project systems etc.

 

Person 2- I would love to add to the great team of people we already have. I noticed that you( interviewer) are part of the Fixed Assets experts group on linkedin and I understand that Exxon has a lot of fixed assets of different classes which would have different tax laws applied to them. 

 

I have worked on various tax laws with depreciation and customized keys to meet the business requirements.  

 

Do you have a lot of custom keys? 

 

– you see how I gave info which tells the interviewer that I did some homework about the client. It could be a general statement that applies to all the clients, but because I personalized it a little bit, it will make the interviewer know you a little better. 

 

I asked a question at the end. I am trying to make it a conversation. The more the interviewer talks, the better he/she will be able to recall your skills after the interview. Remember you are probably not the only person she is interviewing.

Know the role

Are you going to be a team member on a huge SAP team? Are you only going to be working on fixed assets for e.g.?   Knowing this makes it very easy for you to know where you have to focus. 

 

E.g. they tell you that they already have 10 people, 5 senior and 5 junior. 

 

Those junior folks probably need help.   If you can talk about how you helped others in a prior project, the interviewer will immediately think of how you can help person x and Y  on their team.

Are they currently in configuration stage or in blueprinting?   Why does this matter since you know both? 

 

It matters as blueprinting brings different kind of problems from configuration. 

 

if you talk about issues of blueprinting and how you solved them, the interviewer might put a +1 in the related experience checkbox.

FICO interview questions

Prepare interview questions

Prepare interview questions

 You might be interviewing for an S/4 HANA position, but you are still going to be working on Treasury, G/L etc. 

 

There are differences between S/4 and ECCC, but it’s not entirely a new concept.  

 

You still need to impress the interviewer in the area that they are looking for. Here’s what you can do. Read the requirement. Write down what you understand about the requirement. Which points are listed as a requirement and which ones are listed as a nice to have? For e.g. The requirement might say Treasury skills are a must and Accounts receivable skills are a nice to have. This tells you what you should focus on in the interview, but also tells you where you can get an edge over the others by also mentioning the other nice to have skills 

 Once you know what they are looking for, right down key points they might ask.  

 

These are questions you would ask others if you were the interviewer. 

 

Keep this handy and keep checking off questions if you get asked any of these.  

 

Also, write down questions that you get asked. You can, later on, read this back to the interviewer. For e.g., if the interviewer asks you about your asset accounting skills as that is very important to them, you can, later on, ask, you had mentioned that you need someone with great asset accounting skills, is there anything that I can answer or comment on further to show that I meet that criteria?

Start of Interview questions Please tell us about yourself

This is usually the first question. The interviewer introduces him/herself along with the rest of the people on the call.

This is the most important time for you to impress the interviewer.

When they ask you to tell you about yourself, provide them information and relate it to the current role.

E.g. Hi my name is John, thank you for taking the time to interview me. I know how busy month end close can be or I know how busy Mondays can be etc. 

At this point, I am trying to say something that will make the interviewer agree with me or like me.

you could even throw in a small joke in there. 

For e.g. Hi thanks for taking the time to interview me. I am really excited for this especially after the Lakers won the playoffs last night.

When you say this, they might immediately say something back and it eases the tension in the room.

Back to your introduction

Hi, My name is John, I am an expert in Fixed Assets.

My most recent assignment was with Apple where we migrated to S/4 HANA.

Fixed Assets has changed a lot in S/4 HANA and I led our team to successfully migrate 1 million assets to the S/4 HANA system.

Speak about the most important thing first. I would say something like what is mentioned above if you are interviewing for an S/4 HANA position with the focus on Fixed Assets.

Give an example of a situation where standard sap did not meet your requirement and how you met the requirement?

1-The standard positive pay file would create an output which the bank did not accept. 

They wanted the file to be in a different format, so we wrote a custom program that extracted this info and sent it in the format required by the bank.

2-Standard SAP captures either the discount lost or discount gained. 

We used the discount gained approach.

The business wanted a report which showed how much discount we were losing by paying the invoices late.

3-FBL1N was not displaying the G/L account description and number in the offsetting account field.

We used a BADI to populate this field.

4-During the time of settlement, we needed the settlement account to change based on the cost center that was used on the G/L master.

I found a user exit which allowed us to change the account that SAP uses for Internal order settlement.

Did you work on any interfaces?

1-We had many interfaces between SAP and the non SAP systems.

Payroll was run In ADP and this information would interface over to SAP.

We created a program that would read the file that was sent by ADP and process it.

2-Our capital purchase orders were created outside of SAP through another system. 

I created a translation table for cost centers, G/L accounts, company codes etc. 

This interface would pick up the file every day from a folder and process it in SAP.

After we paid the invoices, this information had to be sent back to the source system so they could clear the invoices.

What is blueprinting? Were you involved in the blueprinting phase?

If a company is in the blueprinting phase, then they need someone with good documentation skills.

That person needs to be good with leading meetings and designing how things would work.

Business blueprint- At the start of a project, you will sit down with the business and go through their current process and then design how SAP should work.

As the SAP consultant, you will need to suggest the To-BE process when SAP is implemented.

The legacy system might have had some shortcomings due to which the business didn’t have the best solutions.

Your job is to go through the current process and document the way things will work going forward.

P.S- refer to our post on what is a business blueprint( to be published soon) 

Are you experienced with X software

They might ask you if you are experienced with Remedy software, zendesk, Zoho etc.

These are softwares that the business uses to create ‘tickets’.

The ticket is basically documenting the issue that the business user faced.

This ticket gets assigned to a group. 

E.g. there will be one group for ABAP, one for FICO etc.

Each group might have a person who assigns tickets to others based on their workload and skill level.

Once you are assigned the ticket, you will contact the user and get more information and resolve their issue.

What is a company code, how is it related to a controlling area

The company code is a legal entity for reporting purposes. Each company code will have a separate EIN number for tax purposes the same way each individual has a social security number. 

E.g. Apple may have one company code for MAC and another one for the iPhone. Both of these company codes are different legal entities.

Controlling Area –A controlling area is the highest entity for controlling. Controlling is used for internal reporting. E.g. if your utility bill was 2 million and you need to know the break down by each department, then you use the controlling module to get this breakdown.

Each company code is only assigned to one controlling area whereas one controlling area can be assigned to many company codes

 You can assign a company code to a  controlling area in tcode OKKP.

You can assign a company code to a  controlling area in tcode OKKP.

What is a chart of accounts, how is it related to a company code

A chart of accounts is the highest level in FI. It has various settings that it controls.

 One chart of accounts can be assigned to many company codes
E.g. Your chart of accounts can be APPL for Apple

and it can be assigned to 
company code 1000- MAC
company code 2000- Iphone
company code 3000- Ipad

but each company code can only be assigned to one chart of accounts. 
If you go to tcode OBY6, you will see that there is only one field for assigning the chart of accounts to the company code.

One chart of accounts can be assigned to many company codes

E.g. Your chart of accounts can be APPL for Apple

and it can be assigned to 

company code 1000- MAC

company code 2000- iPhone

company code 3000- Ipad

but each company code can only be assigned to one chart of accounts. 

If you go to tcode OBY6, you will see that there is only one field for assigning the chart of accounts to the company code.

What is the use of special periods?

Special periods are used to make year end adjustments. The regular postings periods are 12  and the special posting periods are 13,14, 15 and 16.

You can open and close special posting periods in OB52 along with the regular periods.

What does OBY6 control?

OBY6

Oby6 controls the global parameters of a company code. You can assign the company code, posting period variant etc. in here.

What purpose does a G/L account serve?

G/L account groups break classify your G/L accounts into different groups.

E.g. You can have

1- Asset Account group

2- Bank Account group

3- Revenue Accounts

You can assign the range of G/L accounts that fall in this account group. These are created through OBD4.

 These account groups can have different settings. For e.g. The asset accounts can have a field set to required.
Whereas the other account group might need it to be suppressed. 

These account groups can have different settings. For e.g. The asset accounts can have a field set to required.

Whereas the other account group might need it to be suppressed. 

What is the difference between a residual payment and a partial payment

Residual payments vs partial payments

Let’s understand this with an example.

If there was an invoice for $500 and the customer paid $400

If you used the residual payment option, then the original invoice of 500 is cleared and a new invoice is created with the remaining balance of $100

With partial payments, the original invoice is still open

There is a remaining balance of $100 in this case. 

What does the field status group in a G/L master control

Field status group

A field status group controls if a certain field is optional, required or suppressed.

E.g. if you have a G/L account for stationary purchases and it has a balance of $500,000.

None of these invoices have the text in them when the invoice is being entered.

You can assign a field status to this G/L account which makes the text required.

This way no one will forget to enter the text next time. 

 The field status group can be changed in OBC4 to make it required.

The field status group can be changed in OBC4 to make it required.

What is automatic account determination- Provide an example

Automatic account determination

Automatic account determination is when the G/L account is not specified by the user and the system picks it up.

E.g. when you run depreciation, you do not enter each G/L account that the system is posting while the posting happens.

The G/L accounts are picked up from a configuration table in AO90

Check tcode FBKP for other automatic postings.

What is a dummy profit center

When you activate profit center accounting, you enter the profit centers in the cost center master. 

When postings are made to a cost center, they will flow to the profit center.

 When we are making a posting, the system tries to determine the profit center from the cost center, material etc.
If it can't determine the profit center, then it uses the dummy profit center.
We should check to see why the system wasn't able to determine the profit center and fix the issue.

The dummy profit center is assigned in OKE5

When we are making a posting, the system tries to determine the profit center from the cost center, material etc.

If it can’t determine the profit center, then it uses the dummy profit center.

We should check to see why the system wasn’t able to determine the profit center and fix the issue.

The dummy profit center is assigned in OKE5

Give examples of issues you encounter while running the payment program, F110

F110- Payment program errors

There are various reasons for which we could be getting errors while running F110.

1– The payment method entered in the parameters screen is C, but the invoice has a payment method G.

2– The Vendor master does not have the payment method in its master data.

3– The document is not due

4– The payment method specified is not configured in FBZP.

5. This payment method has a certain field e.g. vendor address set to mandatory, but the vendor address is blank.

What is the difference between the open item and line item managed accounts

 On the G/L master in FS00, in the control data tab, you define if the account is a line item account or an open item account.

Line item display- This will show you all the details of the account. E.g. if the account has a balance of $50,000 and you want to see what makes up the balance of 50k, then you can drilldown and view these details if the account is specified as a line item display account.
Note- In S/4 HANA, everything is set to line item display.
Open item managed- Open item managed is for accounts that will balance to 0. 
E.g. if you paid a vendor $100, this hits your check clearing account and not your bank as the money has not come out of your bank yet.

When the vendor deposits the check , the check clearing account is cleared i.e. balances to 0 and the bank account is hit at this step.

On the G/L master in FS00, in the control data tab, you define if the account is a line item account or an open item account.

Line item display- This will show you all the details of the account. E.g. if the account has a balance of $50,000 and you want to see what makes up the balance of 50k, then you can drill down and view these details if the account is specified as a line item display account.

Note- In S/4 HANA, everything is set to line item display.

Open item managed- Open item managed is for accounts that will balance to 0. 

E.g. if you paid a vendor $100, this hits your check clearing account and not your bank as the money has not come out of your bank yet.

When the vendor deposits the check, the check clearing account is cleared i.e. balances to 0 and the bank account is hit at this step.

What is a GR/IR account

Come back to this

How to your reverse a document

A document can be reversed with tcode FB08 if it is a document that was created in FI. 

If the document was created outside of FI, then you need to reverse it from there.

E.g. an invoice is created in MIRO from MM. This creates a FI document, but you can’t directly reverse the FI document.

You will need to reverse it using MR8M.

What is a reconciliation account

Reconciliation account

A reconciliation account is a G/L account in the subledger that updates this account at the time of posting.

E.g. if you post to a vendor account, there is a balance in the vendor account, but this is also updated in the reconciliation account that is in the master data of a vendor

 When you make a posting, you can see that a G/L account is also updated when you post to a vendor.

When you make a posting, you can see that a G/L account is also updated when you post to a vendor.

 you can read more about what is a reconciliation account here

you can read more about what is a reconciliation account here

How do you reverse cleared documents

FBRA- reset a cleared document

If a document needs to be reversed, you can use FB08, but if the document is already cleared, you will need to first reset the cleared document and then reverse it.

What is a baseline date

What is a baseline date

The baseline date determines the date from which the terms of payment apply.

E.g. if you purchased a phone on 1/1/2019(invoice date) and it was recorded in the system on 1/10/2019( posting date)

and you get a 10% discount if you pay within 30 days.

From which date are the 30 days calculated?

Is it from the invoice date of 1/1/2019 or from the posting date of 1/10/2019?

The baseline date determines this

What is the difference between the subledger and the ledger?

Subledger vs Ledger

The Ledger is your G/L accounts. 

The subledger gives the details of what made up the totals for the ledger.

E.g. if you see your Total Payables for 2019, they may be $1 million.

You see the total of $1 million on the G/L level.

This 1$ million is comprised of invoices paid to 500 vendors.

The vendor postings are called the subledger postings.

Similarly, customers, assets etc. comprise the subledger.

Provide a few examples of How FI integrates with other modules?

Integration of FI with other modules

Almost everything finally ends up in FI, hence FI integrated with almost every module.

Integration with MM

E.g. when a purchase order is created in MM, it will eventually have a financial impact.

When the goods are received, our inventory balances need to go up. This G/L account for inventory is set up in FI. 

When the invoice for this purchase comes in, then there is another impact in FI as we need to pay this vendor. A payable is created in FI.

Integration with SD

If your sales team is creating condition types to capture certain promotions, these need to flow into FI. New G/L accounts need to be created for this and assigned to the condition types in configuration. 

Integration with Project Systems

When a project is settled, costs need to flow through to FI. We need to define which are the valid G/L accounts that can post to a certain project profile. Which accounts should it settle to etc?

Integration with Payroll

When we generated Payroll, these amounts need to hit the appropriate G/L accounts, e.g. regular wages, overtime etc. 

Explain the steps involved in Automatic payment program configuration

In order to start making payments, you need to set up the FBZP configuration. Below are the steps that need to be performed

1- Specify the list of company codes that need to be paid.

2- Specify the paying company codes

3- Specify the payment methods that are valid in this country. E.g. Payment method C is valid for the U.S. 

4-Payment methods in company code- You need to specify the valid payment methods for each company code. E.g. if you want to use C check for company code 1000, it needs to be entered here.

5- List the House banks- This will have your bank key and account number

6- This has additional steps like the ranking order and the G/Ls that each payment method should affect when we make a payment etc.

How do you default a cost center to a G/L Account

A cost object is required when you are posting to a G/L account that has been created as a cost element.

In certain situations, you cannot enter a cost center on a cost element as the posting is happening in the background. E.g. if you are running FF_5 to upload a bank statement, you do not see the screen to enter a cost center.

In such situations, you need to default the cost center for the G/L account.

This can be done by either defaulting the cost center on the cost element in KA02.

This option will default the cost center at the controlling area level, but you probably have different cost centers for each company code, hence this option isn’t the best.

To default a cost center per company code, you can enter it in OKB9.

 Note- In S/4 HANA since the cost elements are now a part of the G/L, the KA02 option doesn't remain and OKB9 is the only option to default a cost center for a G/L.

Note- In S/4 HANA since the cost elements are now a part of the G/L, the KA02 option doesn’t remain and OKB9 is the only option to default a cost center for a G/L.

 

  • sapsharks says:

    Do you have any other interview questions that you would like to add or need help with?

    Just post it here.

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