Wednesday Feb 13, 2013

Tax Provisioning: Simplify, Standardize then Automate

Tax provisioning is a process that has become increasingly more complex to perform, but increasingly more important to do well. I recently interviewed Andy Oliver, a PWC Director in their Tax Practice and an expert in Tax Provisioning, in a Podcast which I feel sheds some light on this increasingly complex matter. To listen to the Podcast, click here.


Tax provisioning is the process of reporting current and deferred income taxes in a company’s financial statements – tax on current profits and estimated future tax on future profits. There are a myriad of rules and requirements for calculations and disclosure that apply to different companies and countries and they are changing all the time. It is extremely important to have accurate, transparent calculations as when and what to pay and defer can make a huge difference to a company’s bottom line.


How do most tax accountants and departments manage this process? Andy indicated that a majority of companies pull this information together through numerous and large spreadsheets with complex and convoluted calculations. And although these spreadsheets offer flexibility – to keep up with the ever changing rules – they do not provide consistency in calculations, standardization of the process, or data security. This means that the calculations and resulting reports are error prone and can cause countless hours of work to find and correct the errors.


Ideally, the tax provisioning process should be performed early in the financial close process to get a really good picture of the end result. However, inevitably being early in the process means the financial results will change and the provision or estimation will have to be recalculated. Having the tax provisioning process integrated with the financial close process and systems makes a lot of sense, from an efficiency standpoint, to reduce the amount of work required each time there is a change to the financial results. We also discussed how important it is to SIMPLIFY the tax provisioning process and then standardize and automate the process before integrating with the financial close process to be truly effective and world-class.


Oracle’s Hyperion Tax Provision solution was designed to provide this integration with the financial close process and drive efficiency into the tax provisioning and disclosure process.


Finally, Andy had this advice for the listeners, “If you can align the tax reporting process with the financial close process – eliminating much of the manual, spreadsheet-based calculations, you will get the job done quicker, experience fewer mistakes, and be able to spend more time doing the important part of your job as a tax accountant; analyzing the numbers, and providing insight on the results such as WHY the numbers are different from forecast or from last year.


For more information on the Oracle Hyperion Tax Provision solution, click here.


To listen to the podcast, click here.


 

Tuesday Feb 21, 2012

Hyperion Enterprise Customers - Moving Forward

There has been a lot of buzz in the Oracle/Hyperion customer and partner community in the past few weeks about the impending end of life of Hyperion Enterprise.   Yes, Hyperion Enterprise (or good old Sparky as we affectionately call it) which was first released in 1995, is finally approaching the end of its lifecycle after almost 20 years.  Hyperion Enterprise was the leading financial consolidation application in the world with over 3,000 organizations using the application at its peak.  But market requirements and technology have changed, new licenses of Hyperion Enterprise have declined, and the majority of customers have switched to Hyperion Financial Management, Oracle Essbase, or other solutions.  So in January 2012, Oracle published a Statement of Direction for Oracle Hyperion Enterprise and Hyperion Enterprise Reporting which communicates that these products will be on Controlled Availability as of December 2012.  What does this mean?


This means that additional sales of these products will be limited to existing customers only, no sales of Hyperion Enterprise to net new customers.  Premier Support for these products will be offered until April 2013, after which Sustaining Support will continue to be provided, so customers who wish to continue using these products will be supported for a number of years into the future.  More information on the Oracle Lifetime Support policy and the services offered under Premier and Sustaining Support can be found here:  http://www.oracle.com/us/support/library/lifetime-support-applications-069216.pdf


The good news is that there are a number of options for existing Hyperion Enterprise customers:


For customers who are satisfied with Hyperion Enterprise and wish to continue using the application, you can continue using it and will receive support for many years into the future.  However there will be no product enhancements and limited service patches.


For customers who have outgrown Hyperion Enterprise and are ready to move to a more modern, web-based financial consolidation application, with more dimensionality and other advanced features, Hyperion Financial Management (HFM) has been the solution of choice.  There are software tools and services available from Oracle, and some partners, that can help with the conversion process.  In addition to offering a more robust platform for financial consolidation and reporting, HFM is complemented by a number of other modules that can help address the extended financial close and reporting process.  This includes Hyperion Financial Data Quality Management for data integration, Hyperion Disclosure Management for regulatory filings and XBRL support, Hyperion Financial Close Management for orchestrating the financial close process and Oracle Financial Management Analytics, a packaged executive dashboard solution providing real-time access to financial results and close process metrics.     Of course, Hyperion Financial Management also integrates with Hyperion Planning and Oracle Essbase, so customers already using these products will see additional advantages from converting to HFM.


For customers with simpler financial consolidation requirements but a need to collect and aggregate financial data from multiple sources to perform financial and management reporting, Oracle Essbase has been a popular choice as well.  Customers can leverage a number of familiar tools with Essbase such as Hyperion Financial Data Quality Management, Hyperion Financial Reporting, and Smart view for Office.  One advantage here is that Oracle Essbase data can be leveraged by Hyperion Disclosure Management for regulatory reporting and XBRL filings, as well as OBIEE for management reporting.


Of course, since the news has broken about the upcoming controlled availability of Hyperion Enterprise, some of Oracle’s competitors have been targeting Hyperion Enterprise customers with their own offers.  Customers should certainly evaluate all of their options here, but Oracle’s goal is to make it as attractive as possible for Hyperion Enterprise customers to “stay in the family” and take advantage of our solutions to address their financial and management reporting requirements.  Here are a couple of key points to consider:


·         Oracle/Hyperion has been a trusted partner and a low-risk choice for thousands of customers, and we continue to invest in providing market-leading financial close and reporting solutions.


·         Oracle’s Hyperion Performance Management applications address the complexities of the extended financial close and reporting process as well as enterprise planning, strategy management, profitability and cost management.  All of these applications are designed for high scalability and performance, with integration across the suite.


·         Oracle’s Hyperion applications provide direct integration with Oracle E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft Financials, Fusion Financials and soon JDE Financials.  This enables customers to leverage existing ERP investments, data and meta data, and provides drill-through capabilities from summary reports and dashboards to transactional details.


·         Oracle’s Hyperion applications also provide direct integration with SAP Financials, and thousands of SAP customers continue to select our solutions over alternatives from SAP and other vendors.


·         Oracle’s Hyperion Financial Close Suite integrates with Oracle Essbase, the Oracle Hyperion Planning Suite, as well as Oracle Business Intelligence tools – so customers can leverage their investments in these technologies as they convert from Hyperion Enterprise.


Some of the “all in one” performance management solutions offered by other competitors may appear attractive to Hyperion Enterprise customers looking to move.  But “buyers beware”, while these applications claim to support a broad range of requirements (i.e. budgeting, planning, financial consolidation, financial and management reporting) they can be risky and typically don’t provide the depth of functionality offered by best of breed applications.  And the all-in-one applications typically don’t scale and perform well for large deployments.  A number of customers who tried the all-in-one approach eventually switched to Hyperion Financial Management due to performance issues.  One example is Brady Corporation who tried to use SAP’s BPC solution for financial consolidation and eventually switched to Hyperion Financial Management.  Here’s a link to a podcast interview with an executive from Brady Corporation:  http://streaming.oracle.com/ebn/podcasts/media/9590934_Brady_Int_012711.mp3


Here’s a link to more information about Oracle’s Hyperion Financial Close Suite:  http://www.oracle.com/us/solutions/ent-performance-bi/051190.html


Here’s a link to a white paper on the options for Hyperion Enterprise customers: http://www.oracle.com/us/solutions/business-intelligence/064290.pdf


Here’s a link to the Astellas Pharma Hyperion Financial Management success story:  http://www.oracle.com/us/corporate/customers/astellas-pharma-europe-hyperion-081582.pdf


I hope this information is helpful as you consider your path forward from Hyperion Enterprise.  The product has had a long life, providing value to many organizations, but it’s time to move forward.  Feel free to contact me if you need additional information:  john.orourke@oracle.com.

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This blog will highlight key EPM market trends, recent events and other news of interest to our field, customers and partners.

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