By Kerry Nutley, Senior Director, Mid-Market Sales Development, Oracle
Axactor is a debt-collection business, which aims to help individuals struggling with their financial situation take steps to improve it, and help companies recoup monies owed.
Founded in 2015, the Nordic-based organization is focused on investing in new technology to offer customers and debtors the best and most cost-effective service possible. Axactor’s priorities are being a lean business with excellent processes and being highly efficient in its day-to-day operations. The aim is to be the most cost efficient in the industry when it comes to debt collection.
However, the firm’s financial processes were at odds with these overall objectives. In its first 18 months, Axactor was doing manual consolidation, adding time and complexity onto its financial reporting. The company realized it needed to automate the financial reporting process and use a single ERP system across its six country locations: Finland, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, and Sweden.
Axactor chose Oracle technology to improve its financial reporting due to Oracle’s reputation as a market leader in this area. The business was also looking for a flexible application that could easily be adapted or configured to fit around its own existing processes and ways of working, rather than a technology with rigid processes that would force them to change their business processes.
The firm implemented Oracle Cloud Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) Financial Consolidation and Close, Oracle Cloud EPM Tax Reporting and Oracle Cloud EPM Narrative Reporting to enhance its consolidation, reporting and tax calculations.
Bård Haugan, Group Chief Accountant at Axactor, noted that Oracle EPM Financial Consolidation and Close is used by most large Norwegian groups.
“So it was quite a logical choice when we were looking at a consolidation tool primarily to go to Oracle. FCC is considered to be probably the best consolidation tool that you can buy.”
Haugan added that there has been a positive response within the business, and finance staff in the organization find it very useful and easy to understand. For those who have not worked with an Oracle product or similar consolidation tools before, he noted they may need some support to begin with. However, this support is readily available from Oracle to help users get to know the system, and they are then quickly able to start using it themselves.
The timeline for financial reporting is where Axactor has seen the biggest impact of the Oracle technology. Once data is loaded in the new system, the process of getting group financial statements out is straightforward and a very lean process. Typically the business closes on day six; by day seven, all six countries are ready to present their local financial results to the group. As a result, Axactor has reduced the time and effort of their reporting cycle from over a week, to just one day.
Compiling these reports via Oracle technology also ensures that Axactor complies with International Financial Reporting Standards on how to present financial statements.
Moving from manual processes to a cloud-based financial system can prove daunting. Axactor approached this by employing a new controller who had experience with Oracle EPM Financial Consolidation and Close to help bridge the knowledge gap, and used an Oracle business partner to carry out the implementation. Overall, the process was smooth.
Axactor has only recently implemented Oracle Cloud EPM Tax Reporting, and has been training staff in its different country locations to manage their own data and submit it centrally. With one platform for tax reporting and the financial close, the numbers flow automatically from a single source, making the reporting process even easier.
“Today, I have to do all the tax calculations manually in Excel. Once we are comfortable that we have everything correct there, the tax calculation should be much faster than what it is today,” Haugan said.
Adopting an automated over manual process for tax calculations will not only free up finance staff time; the Board of Directors will be able to get a feel for the financial results even faster, while senior management will be able to get visibility of financials more easily and more often. Furthermore, the Board and senior management team can access this critical information on any device, anywhere, at any time – and always securely.
As Axactor is a listed company, there is also the potential to release company results to the market at an earlier date than is currently possible.
Axactor is also now taking advantage of Oracle Smart View, which lets the company view, manipulate and analyze data from Oracle Cloud EPM in Microsoft Excel. This makes monitoring the financial performance of each country much easier and ensures each location is extracting the same numbers as head office – vital for an organization scattered around Europe and operating out of six countries. Previously, each country generated its own reports, and that was typically done without matching what the finance team were looking at in Oracle Cloud EPM. Now, when it comes to geo-reporting from countries, Oracle EPM is the source of one single truth when it comes to the numbers and financial performance.
If Axactor were to start the technology project over again, the only thing it would do differently is being even more involved with the setup of Oracle EPM to ensure staff gained a full understanding of how to make changes once the system was installed. The firm used third-party consultant Evri Insight to support the Oracle rollout.
With its previous reliance on manual consolidation and reporting, the goal of being a lean, highly efficient business was difficult for Axactor to obtain. By switching to a single Oracle EPM system, the company has automated the financial reporting process. Financial statements are now ready in a day rather than a week, and the company has a single version of the truth for business data and performance.