Monday Aug 15, 2011

Account Inspector

I put together this blog entry for the Account Inspector at the same time as writing the one for Smart View. It made sense because the two tools are similar in many respects - both are designed around the capabilities of the Essbase cube which is at the heart of Fusion GL.

Just like Smart View, you can use Account Inspector to slice and dice or pivot your data, you can also expand parent / child values within your account hierarchy and drilldown to supporting journal details. And, like Smart View, the Account Inspector is based on real-time GL balances. (If you need more details on what any of these mean, please take a look at the earlier Smart View post).

So why do we have two similar tools in Fusion GL? When might you want to use one rather than the other?

  1. Account Inspector is an online tool available from within Fusion Applications, so you can use it directly within Fusion GL. For example, when you are investigating account balance changes using the Account Monitor, you can choose whether to view the amounts in a table / graph, or whether to open them up in Account Inspector so you can manipulate the data to understand it differently. It is useful for ad-hoc inquiries against an account.
  2. Smart View is a desktop tool, available as a plugin to Excel. It is a more re-usable tool for your analysis – ie you can save your spreadsheet layout as a template for future use, and then refresh it with the latest GL balances whenever you reopen it. It can be used to construct ad-hoc analysis too, but is useful for inquiries that you perform regularly.
There are lots of options in Fusion GL for account analysis - in addition to the two I've mentioned you could use Account Monitor or Financial Reporting which are also real-time tools that let you slice and dice your data, and drill to more detailed levels. If you need more information on any of them - what they are, what they are used for - please post your questions here and we'll try to answer them in this blog.

Wednesday Aug 10, 2011

Smart View

Smart View is one example of the Essbase cube at work: it is a GL account analysis tool that combines Essbase and Excel. Smart View is an Excel plugin, so if you're already using spreadsheets for account analysis this is a very nice feature. And it works by exploiting some of the capabilities inherent in the cube.

  • Slicing and Dicing: Allows you to restrict any of the dimensions of your data to a specific value or range of values, so you can focus directly on the information within that "slice" of data. In Smart View you can slice your data using the Point of View window, specifying values to limit the data that you want to see for any dimension of your chart of accounts.
  • Pivoting: Rearranges your data so you can view it from a different perspective. In Smart View this is done by clicking and dragging to move dimensions between columns and rows.
  • Expansion: Shows account balances in a greater level of detail. When a parent value is displayed in Smart View, you can click on that value to expand it, and account balances will then be shown for the child values. One other aspect of Fusion GL is that balances are pre-aggregated in the cube at every level of your hierarchy, so you don't need any calculations / re-calculations of roll-up amounts when expanding summary and detail account balances.
  • Drilldown: Reveals the underlying data that constitutes an account balance. Click on an account balance in Smart View to open up the underlying journals (and drill back further to originating transactions) so you can investigate in more detail.
  • Real Time: Ensures that the data is current. Rather than importing new data into your spreadsheet each time you want to use it, save the layout and when you want to use it again, click the "Refresh" button on the Point of View window to re-populate the spreadsheet with the latest live GL data, so you know your analysis is real-time and relevant.
How much do you use spreadsheets for account analysis right now? You might find Smart View makes a big difference to the way you access and analyze your data, and how confident you are in the information you get. It's worth mentioning that we have added other new account analysis tools in Fusion to make this task easier for you. Account Inspector, Account Monitor and Financial Reporting also utilize the Fusion GL cube, and have similar capabilities for manipulating data and drilling to more detail. More on these tools to come....

Tuesday Jul 19, 2011

Fusion + GL = GL3

For those of you that have forgotten algebra, GL3 is GL cubed, that's an Oracle Essbase cube to be precise.  The idea behind incorporating the cube into Fusion GL was to give users the powerful  multi-dimensional analysis capabilities, but wait, it's even better.....

The cube contains real-time balances.  Meaning that when a journal is posted, the balances in the cube are updated.   And not only the detailed balances, but the balances for all levels of the hierarchies over different dimensions too.  In short, this means that there's no longer  any processes needed to calculate summary balances.  Oh, and, you can have multiple hierarchies or versions of hierarchies over any dimension, and they're all updated during posting.

Still not convinced?  There's more.....Smart View, Financial Reporting, Allocations, Account Monitor, and Account Inspector all powered by cube.

Stayed tuned.  Over the next few weeks, I'll go into more details around what makes Fusion Financials better and more on the power of the cube.  In the meantime, if there's something that you would like to know, leave a comment and we'll put it on the list of topics for future posts.


This blog will be used by Financials Strategy group to discuss various Fusion Financials topics. Want to know more? Just ask.


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