Goodyear restates accounts after finding errors in SAP roll-out

Goodyear, the multinational tyre and rubber company, has announced a $100m (£59m) restatement of its accounts as a result of...

Goodyear, the multinational tyre and rubber company, has announced a $100m (£59m) restatement of its accounts as a result of errors during the implementation of an SAP financial system.

The company said last week it was restating accounts dating back to 1998 after a review uncovered problems when legacy billing systems were connected to new SAP modules.

Goodyear is still investigating the causes of the problems, but both the tyre manufacturer and SAP insisted there was no fault with the software itself.

"The problems occurred way back and have lived in the financial system since then," said a spokesman for SAP in the US.

In 2000 and 2001, SAP users including Volkswagen, WHSmith, Hershey and Bang & Olufsen hit the headlines with troubled implementations.

But Derek Prior, research director at Gartner, said the Goodyear case showed that even if a company did not notice problems during implementation, errors could come back to haunt the organisation.

"The devil is in the detail with the implementation and dealing with the complexity of SAP," Prior said. "Errors transferring data and configuring the software, especially with complex highly-integrated environments, can show up later."

Dennis Keeling, chief executive of the Business Application Software Developers' Association, said the lesson of Goodyear and other enterprise software implementations that hit trouble was the need to control project scope and limit customisation.

"It is best to implement in vanilla form and customise later," he said. "Many firms fall into the trap of customising as they implement SAP. If you dive in and make changes you get scope creep. SAP has standard templates and can be implemented quite quickly."

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