Monday Jun 22, 2015

Powering Fast-Growing Companies

Congratulations to Stripe Inc., a builder of software tools that accelerate global economic and technological development. Stripe recently celebrated its go-live on Oracle ERP Cloud Financials. You might not think midsize when you think "Oracle," but more and more midsize companies are selecting Oracle ERP Cloud to help drive their rapid growth, because Oracle ERP Cloud is the one finance system they will never outgrow.

Friday May 29, 2015

Is the next generation of CFOs learning the right skills?

As the CFO role becomes broader, and more analytical in scope, is the next generation of CFOs being moulded and trained appropriately? Oracle's Dee Houchen explores this question in a column for Financial Director.

"In the digital age, the finance department has moved out from under the cover of the back office and straight into the heart of the modern digital business," Houchen writes. "With notable advances in the volume, breadth, and speed of data that businesses collect today has come the need for finance to significantly broaden its expertise."

But are future finance leaders getting the expertise they need?

"Increasingly, finance professionals are expected to have strong managerial capabilities - strategic thinking, the ability to mentor and lead their colleagues - as their insights become more valuable to executive level decision-making. And yet, according to recent global research, leadership is at-once one of the most desired qualities in new recruits and one of the least possessed."

Read more of Dee's insights in Financial Director.

Wednesday May 13, 2015

3 Ways You Can Avoid Spending Too Much On IT

In his book SAP Nation, tech advisor Vinnie Mirchandani takes aim at the costly vendor ecosystem of SAP, claiming that its customers spend more than $200 billion a year on a “runaway economy.” Mirchandani contrasts this with the general industry trend of falling IT costs—a result of software as a service (SaaS) and cloud infrastructures.

In this Forbes article, writer Kate Paveo talks with Mirchandani about the SAP economy. Mirchandani offers three recommendations to avoid over-spending on IT, with advice from Rod Johnson, group vice president of Oracle’s cloud applications business.

Read the full story at Forbes.com.

Wednesday Apr 15, 2015

Finance and HR: A Marriage Made in Cloud Heaven

By Dee Houchen

What’s keeping CFOs up at night?

In conversations with chief financial officers, there are a number of business issues that are common across industries and geographies. One such issue—finding and retaining the best finance talent—is a topic that can dramatically impact the CFO’s effectiveness within his or her own organization.

Over the past several years, the role of the CFO has evolved from someone who keeps the books, to a more visionary and advisory role. Modern CFOs provide the essential reports, insight, and information needed to drive strategy around the boardroom table. This requires a new skill set—much different from the traditional accounting role. The best CFOs have learned to ask themselves the following questions:

  • How is the role of finance officer changing?
  • What sort of skills do finance professionals need today?
  • How do I attract and retain the best talent?
  • Do I have the right technology in place to keep my best and brightest engaged and intellectually challenged?

Wall Street Journal Custom Studios recently issued a report that addresses some of the above questions. Winning the War for Finance Talent: Game Plan for the Digital Age provides six recommendations on how finance leaders can improve bench strength within their own organizations. This infographic summarizes the report’s six recommendations:

  1. Recruit—and pay for—talent armed with a greater variety of skills.
  2. Fill talent gaps by grooming from within.
  3. Ask the right questions when analyzing data—you want answers that propel your business.
  4. Share data with your team or it has no value.
  5. Use technology and data insights to read your customers’ needs more accurately—making you a better business partner.
  6. Upgrade your technology to attract and retain the best and the brightest. If you don’t, you may lose gifted people to more modern rivals.

On the last recommendation, many finance offices are looking to the cloud to not only update their technology, but improve efficiency between finance and HR. A modern ERP and HCM cloud—with built-in social capabilities, data analysis and dashboards, designed for today’s mobile workforce—can provide the technology edge that CFOs need to attract, and retain, the best talent.

Read more in the recent Forbes.com articles, "How to Win the Finance Talent You Need" and "Turning Bean Counters into Difference-Makers: How Corporate Finance is Changing with the Times."

Dee Houchen is senior principal product marketing director for Oracle ERP Cloud.

Wednesday Feb 25, 2015

Safe Passage to the Cloud: ERP Cloud Migration Best Practices

Modern CFOs are increasingly turning to cloud-based financial management systems to replace legacy ERP systems, consolidate far-flung subsidiaries or business units, and deploy new functionality to complement on-premise systems. In addition to creating a business case for deploying ERP or EPM Cloud services, smart executives diligently prepare their organizations for a move to the cloud, standardizing and simplifying their processes and cleaning up their data to take full advantage of the frequent updates that come with a cloud delivery model.

In this interactive webcast, Deloitte Consulting Partner Mike Brown and Corey West, Oracle SVP, Chief Accounting Officer and Corporate Controller discuss the variety of cloud migration options available to finance organizations today, including the hybrid approach adopted by West and his team to streamline the transition to a full cloud instance across Oracle's global operations.

 The webcast is on April 2, 2015 at 9:00 PDT. Click here to register today!!

Wednesday Oct 01, 2014

Deferred Revenue Replaced by Revenue Performance Obligations

I was talking to Seamus Moran again the other day.

He was saying he had some sympathy for the existing US GAAP folk who had so much to unlearn in respect of the new revenue recognition standard.

He told me that with deferred revenue, you took a sales invoice, and predicted when you’d put that into revenue in the P&L.  You’d add carve-ins and deduct carve-outs and deduct releases to the P&L.

But the new standard takes all of that away.  Instead of accounting for deferred revenue, sales invoices you had to postpone on the sale side, you now have to account for performance obligations, what you owe customers.

It is a big change.  It is not sales invoice-based. The FASB & IASB spelled out the four steps to get a performance obligation value, and they did it so you would get to a performance obligation value, not a delta to a sales invoice.  He said he can recite them: Step 1, ID the contract.  Step 2, ID your promises (assign ID numbers), explicit and implicit, to customers as performance obligations.  Step 3, value the transaction in total, what are you going to get in total.  Step 4, using standalone selling prices (SSP) or estimated selling prices (ESP), allocate the total to the performance obligations. 

At this stage, you now have valued your performance obligations.  No need to go looking at invoices, carvings, or releases. Sure, you may not have all the necessary data, or the quantities aren’t known yet, etc., but this is data you are supposed to book keep, at which you should value revenue, contract liabilities, and contract assets.  Quantity times performance obligation times SSP or ESP.

He says that, actually, embracing the performance obligation idea makes this whole standard much more easy to digest.

Stay tuned for the next in our series of blog posts about the new revenue recognition standard. 

Friday Sep 26, 2014

IOFM AP & Vendor Controls Workshops at Oracle OpenWorld 2014

Oracle is very pleased to announce two Institute of Finance and Management (IOFM) workshops at Oracle OpenWorld 2014: 1) The Top Twenty Internal Controls for Accounts Payable: The Foundation for GRC; and 2) How Your Vendor Master File is Critical to Governance, Risk Management and Compliance.

The Top Twenty workshop will provide the top twenty controls that can be implemented to protect the integrity of your accounts payable process. And the Vendor Master File workshop will highlight how collecting and maintaining accurate vendor information saves money, reduces fraud and helps leverage vendor relationships.

To register for these workshops, please contact Dane Roberts. For a complete listing of all Oracle GRC sessions and meetings at OpenWorld, click here.

Pennsylvania Treasury to Save Millions by Innovating with Oracle GRC Solution

Pennsylvania (PA) Treasury undertook a major financial transformation project to improve audit controls over its payment process, and Oracle GRC is an integral component of the solution. They are using Oracle GRC’s advanced audit algorithms to identify and prevent error, waste, and fraud prior to processing billions of dollars in payments.

PA Treasury’s innovative use of Oracle GRC is expected to help the department increase the average annual savings. “We saw an innovative opportunity to use Oracle GRC in our fiscal review process that, we believe, will help us to improve our pre-transactional auditing capabilities,” said PN Narayanan, chief information officer, Pennsylvania Treasury.

“The Pennsylvania Treasury’s groundbreaking use of Oracle GRC and Oracle’s PeopleSoft to stop financial leakage is paving the way for other organizations to improve profits, strengthen internal controls, and provide a modern platform to meet the recent update to the COSO framework,” said Sid Sinha, senior director, Oracle GRC Product Strategy.

Read the full press release here. To learn more about how Oracle GRC continuously monitors 100% of transactions to help PA Treasury and other organizations achieve their objectives, click here.

Monday Sep 22, 2014

The New Revenue Recognition Standard: Performance Matters

Last week I was talking to Seamus Moran, our resident accountant and we chatted about the new Revenue recognition Standard, Topic 606 and IFRS 15.

He’d just been speaking at a couple of conferences, and noted that the fundamentals of the standard are beginning to click with people.

A few months ago, he said, it wasn’t obvious to people that the core principle, “you should recognize revenue as you transfer goods and services to customers” was a mandate to recognize revenue as you performed.  That is, as you delivered, executed and serviced.  But now, that mandate was being more widely understood: you must recognize revenue as you perform.

One example is a software company that ships a game with some missions or episodes missing.  Under today’s GAAP, they would have to defer all the revenue until the missing episodes were published. Under the new standard, they would have to – not just “could” – recognize the revenue that related to the delivery they had performed, and postpone recognizing the rest of the revenue until they delivered the delayed missions.  A key question is how to identify and value a performance obligation of this nature, especially since this company doesn’t sell missions separately.

But that’s a blog for another day.

Thursday Aug 07, 2014

JD Edwards EnterpriseOne and XBRL Reporting

By Karen Brown on August 7, 2014

Do you have requirements to provide Financial Statements and Reports in XBRL format? Are you wondering exactly what XBRL is?

XBRL is a reporting language based on XML. XBRL is specifically used for submitting financial statements and reports to governments and other governing bodies (i.e. US SEC, German Government). Each governing body has different requirements for the types of reports to be submitted and the content of each of them.

Details of XBRL:

  • XBRL Standards are known as XBRL Taxonomies.
  • These taxonomies are the definitions of the documents, formats, and elements that are needed for a specific XBRL requirement
    • Documents are things like a Balance Sheet or Profit & Loss
    • Elements are things like net profit, depreciation expense, statement annotations
  • National jurisdictions have different accounting regulations, so each may have its own taxonomy for financial reporting.
  • Many different organizations, including regulators, specific industries or even companies, may also require taxonomies to cover their own business reporting needs.
  • These taxonomies are governed by the XBRL International Standards Board
    • New taxonomies are continually being added
    • here are 30+ existing taxonomies which are being updated on a regular basis

There are many solutions available for your XBRL requirements. Oracle Hyperion Disclosure Management is Oracle’s solution for XBRL. To generate XBRL tags and complete filings for JD Edwards EnterpriseOne with Oracle Hyperion Disclosure Management, here are the steps:

  1. Download the XBRL required taxonomy from the XBRL Website into Hyperion Disclosure Management to create a company taxonomy.
  2. Publish the report from JD Edwards EnterpriseOne to Microsoft Excel or Microsoft Word.
  3. Create the final report in the Microsoft programs and perform the XBRL tag mapping in Oracle Hyperion Disclosure Management.
  4. Submit the company taxonomy and XBRL instance document to the proper authority.

Get more details about Oracle Hyperion Disclosure Management.

There are also many 3rd party XBRL solutions in the marketplace to choose from with a wide variety of price points. A few of these solutions are:

C

Wednesday Jun 11, 2014

Oracle Delivers New Generation Revenue Recognition Solution

 

Revenue is a fundamental yardstick of a company's performance, and one of the most important metrics for investors in the capital markets. So it’s no surprise that the accounting standard boards have devoted significant resources to this topic, with a key goal of ensuring that companies use a consistent method of recognizing revenue.

Due to the myriad of revenue-generating transactions, and the divergent ways organizations recognize revenue today, the IFRS and FASB have been working for 12 years on a common set of accounting standards that apply to all industries in virtually all countries. Through their joint efforts on May 28, 2014 the FASB and IFRS released the IFRS 15 / ASU 2014-9 (Revenue from Contracts with Customers) converged accounting standard.

This standard applies to revenue in all public companies, but heavily impacts organizations in any industry that might have complex sales contracts with multiple distinct deliverables (obligations). For example, an auto dealer who bundles free service with the sale of a car can only recognize the service revenue once the owner of the car brings it in for work. Similarly, high-tech companies that bundle software licenses, consulting, and support services on a sales contract will recognize bundled service revenue once the services are delivered. Now all companies need to review their revenue for hidden bundling and implicit obligations.

Numerous time-consuming and judgmental activities must be performed to properly recognize revenue for complex sales contracts. To illustrate, after the contract is identified, organizations must identify and examine the distinct deliverables, determine the estimated selling price (ESP) for each deliverable, then allocate the total contract price to each deliverable based on the ESPs.

In terms of accounting, organizations must determine whether the goods or services have been delivered or performed to the customer’s satisfaction, then either book revenue in the current period or record a liability for the obligation if revenue will be recognized in a future accounting period.

Oracle Revenue Management Cloud was architected and developed so organizations can simplify and streamline revenue recognition. Among other capabilities, the solution uses business rules to efficiently identify and examine contracts, intelligently calculate and allocate deliverable prices based on prescribed inputs, and accurately recognize revenue for each deliverable based on customer satisfaction.

"Oracle works very closely with our customers, the Big 4 accounting firms, and the accounting standard boards to deliver an adaptive, comprehensive, new generation revenue recognition solution,” said Rondy Ng, Senior Vice President, Applications Development. “With the recently announced IFRS 15 / ASU 2014-9, Oracle is ready to support customer adoption of the new standard with our Revenue Management Cloud,” said Rondy.

Oracle Revenue Management Cloud, an integral part of Oracle Financials Cloud, helps organizations comply with accounting standards, provides them with confidence that reported revenue is materially accurate, and simplifies the accounting process for revenue recognition.

Stay tuned to this blog for regular updates on Oracle Revenue Management Cloud. We also invite you to review our new oracle.com ERP pages @ oracle.com/erp. We will be updating these pages very soon with more information about Oracle Revenue Management Cloud.

Friday May 02, 2014

Empowering Modern Finance: The CFO as Technology Evangelist

Guest post by Karen dela Torre, Vice President, Oracle Corporation

We are observing a tangible shift in the finance function. Modern technologies like cloud, mobile, and big data are helping to accelerate the current transformation of the role of finance. In order to gauge exactly where the finance function currently stands and what the future holds, we recently partnered with Accenture on a global research study, “Empowering Modern Finance: The CFO as Technology Evangelist.”

As eWEEK summarized, the study highlights the opportunity for CFOs and other finance executives to be technology evangelists. I recapped this in my previous post, noting the ambition to be a tech evangelist is there, but a gap remains between aspiration and reality.

ZDNet explored this significant opportunity for CFOs. While there is consensus around the finance function leading business transformation, only a small majority is actually leading the way. However, steps are being taken. Baseline emphasized that finance professionals are now bolstering their technical skills while integrating analytical tools and modern applications.

But that’s not all. As Financial Executive discussed, the study also highlighted how the finance function is leveraging modern technologies, like mobile and cloud, to get real-time insights and to drive business transformation forward. In fact, 28 percent of respondents are already using the cloud to support budgeting, planning, and forecasting, and another 34 percent plan to move those areas into the cloud within the next year. That’s a lot of CFO love for the cloud, but I’m not surprised!

As evidenced by the study, the finance function is driving change and taking on the role of technology evangelist in organizations. I think this shift in finance will continue and CFOs will embrace modern technology to gain a competitive advantage and positively impact the bottom line. 

Wednesday Apr 23, 2014

Oracle's Leadership in Finance Award Nominations Now Open!

Now in its third year, Oracle’s Leadership in Finance Award is quickly becoming the award of choice for visionary finance executives who have demonstrated outstanding leadership in leveraging Oracle solutions to transform their businesses. Last year’s global winners were honored by Oracle Chairman Jeff Henley at the CFO Summit @ Leaders Circle, and shared their success on stage and in these videos: AT&T CFO John Stephens (North America), Ricoh Europe CFO Ian Winham (EMEA), Grupo Fármacos CFO Otto Kroboth (Latin America), and National Australia Bank Finance GM Gary Lennon (APAC)

Customers, partners, and Oracle employees are urged to submit their nominations now for the 2014 Leadership in Finance Awards before nominations close on June 20, 2014. CFOs, controllers, chief accounting officers, and VPs of finance from North America, EMEA, LAD and APAC are all eligible for consideration, as long as they were directly involved in the success of the Oracle solution deployed. Full details and submission guidelines are available on the Oracle Excellence Awards home page.

Award winners will be announced the week of Oracle OpenWorld and will be honored once again by Jeff Henley at the 2014 CFO Summit @ Leaders Circle.

Please email comments about this story to anne.ozzimo@oracle.com.

Wednesday Mar 19, 2014

The CFO as Technology Evangelist

Guest post by Karen dela Torre, Vice President, Oracle Corporation

Finance has historically been at the forefront of technology adoption.  Earlier technology investments focused on process efficiency and standardization. After all, closing the books faster and keeping costs down are table stakes. Today, finance is increasingly called upon not just to contain costs and keep score; modern finance seeks to change the game by providing the business with data-driven acumen on the best ways to drive innovation and growth. So how is modern finance using technology today to meet these new demands?

To provide more insight on how to define and benchmark the key attributes of the modern, technology-enabled finance function, Oracle partnered with Accenture to sponsor a global research study conducted by Longitude Research. The study, “Empowering Modern Finance: The CFO as Technology Evangelist,” features insight from 1,275 CFOs, senior finance executives and line of business executives from organizations of varying sizes and industries around the world.   

And while the study clearly shows that many CFOs are making major strides towards creating a more productive and technology-enabled finance function, it’s clear that much work still needs to be done. In particular, here are a few key takeaways I wanted to highlight:

CFOs are seen as tech evangelists, but a gap remains between ambition and reality:

· More than two-thirds of respondents agree the CFO is a strong evangelist for the transformational potential of technology.

· Nearly three-quarters of finance executives believe new technologies such as the cloud, mobile technology and social media will change how finance is structured and run.

· But, and it’s a BIG BUT, only 20% of C-suite executives believe their finance organizations have adopted leading-edge technologies.

New skills and analytics capabilities are needed to execute on modern finance’s mandate:

· Nearly half of respondents saw an increase in the number of finance analysts hired over the past two years.

· 23% of non-finance respondents feel that the ability of finance to provide an up-to-date view of performance against budget “falls below expectations” and 42% think they could do far better.


CFOs are embracing the cloud to modernize finance:

· 28% of respondents are already using the cloud to support budgeting, planning and forecasting, and another 34% plan to move those areas into the cloud within the next year.

· More than two-thirds of executives surveyed have either already adopted a cloud-based system in some part of their organization for core financials (24%), or are planning a road map for doing so (45%).

For more information, you can find the press release and the full report here. If you’d like to hear the findings discussed in more detail, make sure to tune into the webcast on March 19 at 12:00 noon ET. The webcast will feature Oracle Chairman of the Board Jeff Henley, Scott Brennan, managing director in Accenture Finance & Enterprise Performance, and Stuart Brown, senior vice president and CFO, Red Robin International, Inc. To register,  visit: http://pub.vitrue.com/ZTgI

Tuesday Mar 18, 2014

Using Technology to Ease the Pressure Cooker Environment of the Modern CFO

Guest Post by Karen dela Torre, Vice President, Oracle Corporation

The finance function as we know is seeing big change.  We've been talking about this transition here at Oracle for quite awhile. Last year in a survey Oracle conducted with Accenture we explored how the role of the CFO has evolved from financial overseer to corporate strategist and change agent. The results from that study illustrated that this transition is not only happening, but it’s happening very quickly.

We’ve entered into the era of Modern Finance. Not only are CFOs depended on to  drive the finance function forward, but increasingly they also play a vital part in all strategic business decisions.  In fact, it’s fair to say that today’s CFO lives in a completely different environment than five years ago. Put simply, CFOs live in a pressure cooker environment.

With the pressure to help identify new opportunities, products and services that will deliver growth and generate revenue, the modern CFO is undoubtedly presented with challenges and must leverage existing and new assets to deliver on the new mandate to provide strategic guidance and insight to the business.

How can CFOs meet these challenges and stay ahead of their competition? One thing that comes to mind is technology.

Technology enables CFOs to drive change and innovation. Mobile, cloud, social and analytics are just a few types of technology that are completely revolutionizing the way organizations function. Implement these technologies and organizations can gain a significant competitive advantage.

CFOs are beginning to understand this and how technology can drive change within their organization that positively impacts revenue. For example, take the cloud. The cloud is reshaping finance best practices around buying decisions as organizations duke out the ROI of cloud versus on-premise. Cloud technologies save on overhead costs with less infrastructure, timely updates, and more productive employees.  

Modern Finance will be empowered through technology and CFOs are taking note.

For more information about the changing role of the CFO and best practices for keeping pace with the ever-changing landscape, visit Oracle CFO Central at www.oracle.com/cfo

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Focusing on solutions for the Office of Finance, this blog will highlight key financial management market trends, events and other news of interest.

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