By Shyam Bansal, Fujitsu
How painful is your financial close process? If you’re like many companies, it’s probably more painful than you’d like it to be.
Regulators and stakeholders are putting more pressure on businesses to speed up the close and reporting process. However, most companies are struggling to meet these demands because of fragmented data sources and manual work-arounds. As a result, we see more and more companies looking at cloud solutions to drive a consolidated, end-to-end approach; a recent Oracle survey found that more than half of respondents plan to move consolidation and close to the cloud.
If you’re dealing with stacked deadlines, an overload of spreadsheets, and more manual interventions than you can track, here are the top six priorities you should consider when looking at cloud-based financial close solutions.
The most effective way to speed close and reporting processes is to consolidate all of your financial close processes into a single, end-to-end solution. Ideally, you also want complete visibility across all of your data sources and third-party applications, regardless of currency, hierarchy, or entity.
If your organization is looking for robust automation, then look for a cloud solution with pre-configured, out-of-the-box standard calculations, dimensions, dashboards, and reports.
Best practices are a key principle of cloud solutions. Therefore, it’s imperative that you select a cloud-based solution with built-in best practices, such as multi-GAAP functionality that incorporates both U.S. GAAP and IFRS guidelines. You also want a solution with pre-built reporting capabilities, like balance sheet, cash flow, and income statements.
To meet regulatory requirements, look for a strong compliance framework that includes segregation of duties, auditing, user activity logs, and highly secure data access rights. Integration with Excel and Outlook is a plus, too, because it means that users can still work in familiar applications.
While cloud solutions promote standardization with best practices, some organizations might still need their own, individual processes. Therefore, look for flexibility in a cloud solution—ideally one that offers additional pre-seeded dimensions, financial reports, ratio analyses, translations, as well as elimination and consolidation rules. If your company doesn’t plan to use the built-in multi-GAAP functionality, you will want a cloud that gives you the flexibility to create custom dimensions to support your specific chart of accounts.
Repeatable, automated processes eliminate bottlenecks and nasty surprises. Therefore, look for a solution that allows you to schedule data loads, back-ups, and application activities. A vendor that regularly updates their cloud application with the latest, move innovative capabilities—rolled out quickly to users—is a must, too.
At the end of the day, your users are the ultimate consumers of your cloud. You want the system to streamline their workloads and make them more efficient and productive. Look for a solution with real-time data dashboards, role-based task and work areas, and a tablet-friendly design for mobile users.
We highly recommend Oracle Financial Consolidation and Close Cloud—part of the Oracle EPM Cloud suite. Oracle has addressed all six priorities in its cloud, enabling organizations to consolidate financial balances and streamline the close process across business functions.
Oracle EPM Cloud addresses the extended close, from account reconciliation through to robust reporting. It’s an end-to-end solution that is timely, transparent, and auditable. It also offers the key capabilities of Oracle Hyperion Financial Management in a flexible cloud application.
For many companies, the out-of-the-box capabilities of Oracle EPM Cloud meet all of their needs, and those organizations with more complex requirements have found it easy to tailor the solution to meet their specific requirements. At Fujitsu, we have worked with many customers to improve consolidation and close processes. To learn more, visit us at fujitsu.com/oracle.