Advice and Information for Finance Professionals

2019 Value of EPM Survey Reveals How the Cloud Helps to Optimize the Close

Toby Hatch
Senior Product Marketing Director for Enterprise Performance Management (EPM)

Earlier this year, Oracle teamed up with Velociti Partners, a market research and strategy consulting company for technology enterprises, and conducted an in-depth study of over 400 companies on financial consolidation and close processes in the cloud. We surveyed respondents who had Oracle EPM Cloud solutions, as well as those who didn't. What we found was amazing. 

Respondents confirmed that in today’s rapidly changing environment, they need better tools as well as more automation and overall process improvements to streamline the financial close. The top challenges they face included over-reliance on spreadsheets to complete tasks in the extended close process (more than 50%), spending 6 or more days closing the books (52%), with 60% still producing cash flow statements manually every month (slow and painful).

To help solve these challenges, many respondents are looking to the cloud to help. And while much has been written about total cost of ownership savings with the cloud, saving money was not a main driver for moving to the cloud among our survey participants. Rather, respondents indicated they wanted to move to the cloud to improve the way they operate:

  • 40% wanted to improve collaboration and communication
  • 38% wanted automatic updates for new software features and functions (painless)
  • 37% wanted access to automation and leading-edge tech (get the latest stuff)
  • 35% wanted to avoid on-premise upgrades (avoid pain)

The next two reasons are finance-related — wanting to avoid infrastructure investment (35%) and lower the total cost of ownership (33%) — but it was interesting that these two were not among the top 4 reasons chosen.

Significant Benefits Realized with EPM

Did those companies that moved to the cloud address their pain points? Yes, indeed they did! Our Oracle EPM Cloud customers were very enthusiastic in telling us about it. They saved time and resources, while boosting agility and adopting best practices:

  • 79% reported a less complex financial close
  • 73% increased financial reporting flexibility
  • 72% are closing the books faster
  • 71% automated more tasks and improved efficiency
  • 71% improved visibility and tracking across the extended close (including across entities and geographies)
  • 71% do fewer manual adjustments
  • 68% reduced their workload during the close process
  • 44% achieved faster management reporting

Almost three quarters of Oracle customers surveyed agreed they are receiving significant benefits from using EPM Cloud for financial consolidation and close processes. Over half realized at least ten benefits addressing most, if not all, of the business challenges they were facing. 

Fewer Spreadsheets, Improved Automation

When we looked at the extended financial close, companies that moved their tax reporting to EPM Cloud also indicated they had realized significant benefits. These included using fewer spreadsheets, improved efficiency from tax and finance working from the same software, improved automation of the transfer pricing process for compliance (reducing the effort associated with tax compliance), better data transparency and controls around tax reporting, and greater effectiveness to implement and monitor tax strategies. 

Those that moved their narrative reporting to Oracle EPM Cloud also experienced significant benefits, and over half said they began to realize benefits in only 2-4 weeks. The most notable were reducing the time it takes to define, produce and deliver narrative reporting (both annual and regulatory filings), peace of mind from security on who can see sensitive data, improved accuracy through better collaboration and integration of data sources, automatic updates, and better accessibility due to the cloud.

New technology is emerging daily that helps make our jobs easier, faster and more accurate — and cloud underlies much of this. Oracle EPM Cloud users are accomplishing more work in less time while delivering quicker, more trustworthy insights to all stakeholders.

Want to learn more? Get the complete survey.

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