Tuesday Jul 31, 2012

Accelerating Payments to Small Business for Goods and Services

On September 14, 2011, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued Memorandum 11-31, "Accelerating Payments to Small Business for Goods and Services.”  That memorandum established, “the Executive Branch policy that, to the full extent permitted by law, agencies shall make their payments to small business contractors as soon as practicable, with the goal of making payments within 15 days” or receipt of relevant documents.  That said, this memorandum does not affect the application of the Prompt Pay Act’s late-payment interest penalty provisions.

Fortunately, there is a method to systematically satisfy this memorandum in EBS today. 

For example:

Invoice Received Date:  01-MAY

Goods Accepted Date:  01-MAY
Invoice Due to be paid Date (per OMB memo you mention):  16-MAY
Date Interest should start accruing:  31-MAY

One method agencies can satisfy the guidance of the memorandum would be to record or carry forward from the PO the applicable Pay Terms.
  In the example, they would be 'Net 30'.  By using the standard payment terms this allows the agency to start accruing interest on 31-MAY, if necessary.  In addition, when the agency runs its 16-MAY pay, they should set the 'pay through' value to 31-MAY for small business payments.  This will select all invoices which are due within the 15 day window.  Users can also get more complex through the use of pay groups.

I hope this helps.

If you have any topics you would like to see addressed in the blog, please leave them in the comments section.

Thank you for reading.

Monday Jul 09, 2012

Is Oracle Policy Automation a Fit for My Agency? I'll bet it is.

Recently, I stumbled upon a new(-ish) whitepaper now posted on the Oracle Technology Network around Oracle Policy Automation (OPA). This paper is certain to become a must read for any customer interested in rules automation.

What is OPA?  If you are not sitting in your favorite Greek restaurant waiting for that order of Saganaki to appear, OPA is Oracle’s solution for automated streamlining, standardizing, and the maintenance of policy. It is a specialized rules platform that simplifies the automation of rules and policies, putting the analysis in the hands of the analysts, not the IT organization. In other words, OPA allows the organization to be more efficient by eliminating (or at a minimum, reducing the engagement of) the middle man from the process.

The whitepaper I mention above is titled, “Is Oracle Policy Automation a Good Fit for My Business?”. This short document walks the reader through use cases and advice for the reader to consider when deciding if OPA is right for their agency. The paper outlines many different scenarios, different uses of OPA in production today and, where OPA may not be a good fit.

Many of the use case examples revolve around end user questionnaires or analyst research. What is often overlooked is OPA’s ability to act as a rules engine behind the scenes. That is, take inputs from one source (e.g., personnel data), process that data in OPA and send the output (e.g., pay data with benefits deductions) to a second source. The rules have been automated, no necessary human intervention to perform analysis. A few of my customers have used the embedded OPA solution to improve transaction processing and reduce the time spent analyzing exceptions.

I suggest any reader whose organization is reliant on or deals with high complexity, volume or volatility in rules that are based on documentation – or which need to be documented – take a look at Oracle Policy Automation.

You can find the white paper on Oracle Technology Network.

You can find the white paper in the Oracle Policy Automation of the OTN.

You can find more information around OPA on oracle.com.

Finally, you can send me a question any time at jeffrey.waterman@oracle.com

Thank you for reading. If you have any topics around Oracle Applications in the Federal or Public Sector industries you would like to see addressed in this blog, please leave suggestions in the comments section and I will do my best to address in a future post.

Monday Jun 11, 2012

Oracle at ASMC PDI 2012

Recently, I had the pleasure of representing Oracle at the American Society of Military Comptrollers National Professional Development Institute (PDI).  The PDI is the premier training event for resource managers in the Department of Defense and US Coast Guard.  Each year they assemble top presenters and key note speakers to convey their experiences and share the upcoming goals and vision for the Defense Department's financial and resource management community.

 This year, the common themes were centered around 'auditability' and 'efficiency'. 

 What is auditability?  There were many definitions/themes tossed around, but to summarize my notes, it boiled down to:
- the proper tracking of funds
- audit readiness
- proper controls
- proper documentation

There were sessions regarding entire programs focused on the need for auditability.  For example, FIAR: Financial Improvement and Audit Readiness (http://comptroller.defense.gov/fiar/index.html)   The FIAR stresses the "...improve(ment of) the Department's financial processes, controls and information."

The entire conference, one set of solutions kept popping into my head around, "how can Oracle's solutions assist the Department of Defense", or any other Federal Agency, improve their financial processes and controls?   One answer came to mind:  Oracle Governance, Risk, and Compliance Management. Commonly referred to as "GRC".

Let me summarize the main components around Oracle's GRC solution:

GRC Manager: This solution is the central repository for documenting business processes, policies, and established controls.  All identified risks and issues are documented within the repository as well as action plans necessary for mitigation.

GRC Controls:  This solution consists of a set of tools which are embedded with your ERP (financial, human resource, supply chain, etc.) applications to detect, prevent, and/or enforce the policies and procedures established by your Agency.  Components of the solution include:
- Application Access Control Governor: a robust tool for managing application roles and responsibilities; simplify segregation of duty maintenance
- Configuration Controls Governor: complete audit trail for changes made to configurations
- Transactions Control Governor: track violations of internal controls; alert management to suspicious activities; be warned when high dollar transactions are occurring on an irregular basis;
- Preventative Controls Governor: prevent sensitive information from being viewed by unauthorized parties; enforce field, block, and form change control

If you are in the financial or resource management community and are concerned about auditability within your organization I suggest you follow up this post by reading about Oracle's GRC solutions.  www.oracle.com/grc

Please feel free to follow up with thought and questions in the comments section below.  Also, if you have a topic you would like addressed in this blog, just drop me a note at jeffrey.waterman@oracle.com  or leave the suggestion in the comment section as well.

Thank you for reading.

Thursday Apr 26, 2012

What is GTAS?

What is GTAS?

GTAS – Government-wide Treasury Account Symbol Adjusted Trial Balance System

From the Dept of Treasury webportal:

“The Governmentwide Treasury Account Symbol Adjusted Trial Balance System (GTAS) will replace the functionality of FACTS I, FACTS II, IFCS, and IRAS reporting systems as the primary means of reporting agency trial balance data. A single data collection system will pave the way for more consistent and complete financial data and will allow for better analytical reporting. GTAS will go into production December fiscal year 2013. Now is the time for agencies to begin preparing to use GTAS. This Web site will help agencies to identify what is needed for GTAS and to answer questions regarding its use and launch.”

How is Oracle helping it’s Federal customers with respect to the new GTAS functionality?

Oracle is developing to the new GTAS requirements to update and ensure its EBS and PeopleSoft solutions meet the modernization of the Government solutions.

In April’s Federal Financial Board meetings, Oracle stated the goal is to have the GTAS improvements available to all PeopleSoft Federal customers by July 2012.

For its EBS customers, refer to this chart:

Deliverable

Targeted for Patch Availability

GTAS Phase I  (R12) - Configuration

Late April  / Early May  2012

GTAS Phase I  (11i10) - Configuration

Late May / Early June 2012

GTAS Phase II  (R12) - Key Processes

Late July / Early August 2012

GTAS Phase II  (11i10) - Key Processes

Late August / Early September 2012

GTAS Phase III  (R12) - Other Processes/Reports

Late September / Early October 2012

GTAS Phase III (11i10) - Other Processes/Reports

Late October / Early November 2012

The patches will be made available on Metalink.

To meet the requirements necessary to comply and interact with GTAS, Oracle will be adding BETC, Trading Partner TAS, and Trading Partner BETC to POs, AP Invoices, and AR Transactions. In the EBS, GTAS Enhancements include capturing additional information on existing forms, such as:
GTAS Attributes
Define Budget Codes
Define Treasury Account Symbols
Define Fund Attributes
Define Reporting Codes
Define USSGL Accounts
Define Trading Partner TAS
Enter Appropriations
Reprogramming Transactions

Oracle is planning to develop new EBS reports to support GTAS, such as:
GTAS Trial Balance
GTAS Transaction Register

Of course, with the implementation of GTAS, the FACTS I and II forms and reports will be retired from the suite.

**********

For those of you who were unable to attend the Federal Financials Spring Briefing are welcome to visit the Online Resource Center to download the presentations from the event.

URL: http://launch.oracle.com
PIN: FFB

**********

Again, thank you for taking the time to read the Federal Applications Blog. If you would like to see any topic related to Oracle’s Applications, please let me know in the comments and I’ll do my best to feature it in a future post.

Monday Apr 09, 2012

Announcement: Federal Financial Briefing

Dear Oracle/PeopleSoft Federal Financial Management Customers: Oracle is pleased to announce that we will conduct the next Federal Financial Management Briefing on Tuesday, April 17th from 8:30 am until 2:00 pm at the Oracle Campus in Reston, Virginia. The Registration Link and Agenda can be found at the web site below:

Federal Financial Briefing: Register Here

Directions to Oracle Reston: From the Beltway take the Dulles Toll Road (Route 267 West). Do not get on the Dulles Access Road or you will not be able to exit until you get to the airport. Take the Reston Parkway Exit (Exit 12). At the end of the exit ramp, turn right onto Reston Parkway. Make your first right onto Sunset Hills Road. Take a Right turn onto Oracle Way and park in Visitor Parking. The receptionist will direct you to the CAB.

About

The author, Jeff Waterman, has been with Oracle since 1996 in various roles, but always working to apply Oracle Application solutions assist the US Federal Government with fulfilling its mission to its citizens. Presently, he serves as a Master Principal Applications Sales Engineer within North America Public Sector.

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