The Ledger

A digital finance blog

The Ledger

Posted by Sarah Werner

Leading Financial Services Company gains key to data-driven insights

This leading financial services firm had steadily added new products, customers and channels and with this growth had come increased reporting requirements and a desire to gain a deeper understanding of trends and analytics around pricing, supply contracts, cash management and more.  The business realized that when applied over millions of transactions; smart, data-driven decisions in these areas could provide a key competitive edge.

Unfortunately, the CFO and the finance team found that the information in their data warehouse was neither reliable nor timely enough, and their legacy General Ledger only showed highly aggregated balances.  To make matters more difficult, finance processing was characterized by highly manual (excel-based) processes which involved over 200 people at significant cost to the organization

Convinced that they needed to modernize their existing finance IT infrastructure, they first looked at an ERP upgrade that would likely take several years and require several million dollars and still not drive financial analytics value. Instead they laid out the following plan which would leverage their existing data warehouse but provide the data integration, financial control and transparency they needed:

Accounting Hub finance strategy

 

Through one-on-one white boarding sessions with the Aptitude Software team, finance began to develop a way to achieve their goals without replacing the General Ledger. The result was a solution that addressed the three key milestones.

Accelerating manual adjustments

As a first step the finance team sought to improve the manual adjustments process which required over 200 people to make manual adjustments directly into the General Ledger during the monthly close period.  This slowed down report generation and introduced considerable risk and cost into the process.  By implementing a Manual Adjustment Portal within the Accounting Hub, the organization gained an electronic, flexible workflow with a robust workflow dashboard that efficiently caught mistakes before they got the change to travel further downstream.  Now instead of waiting days to amend incorrect entries due to the previous batch dependent close process, the portal allowed them to see manual adjustments on balances in a real-time accounts explorer.

Streamlining finance data integration & gaining a single point of control of accounting rules

The next step was to reduce the complexity of data integration by integrating and standardizing source data from 90+ systems, each with their own COBOL-coded integration logic and accounting rules, into a centralized point within their finance IT architecture. With the Accounting Hub's single standardization layer, the finance team could bring together required data and apply consistent accounting rules, bolstering control over and transparency of reporting.

A single source of financial truth & a platform for next-generation analytics

Finally, the organization deployed the Accounting Hub's Sub-Ledger to store accounting balances and movements in detail in near real time.  The sub-ledger captures detailed accounting balances resulting from automated postings and manual adjustments, reconciling these balances with the General Ledger.   Now finance teams can drill down from the GL to detailed balances and underlying transactional data - giving them confidence in reporting and ensuring a high level of auditabilty.  The addition of the sub-ledger also unburdened the General Ledger, eliminating the need to add to or replace it, and allowing it to function as it was meant to be used - as a tool for high level statutory and regulatory reporting.

Looking Ahead to Value

Through the use of a powerful staging layer and reconciliation process, the Accounting Hub will serve to improve the accuracy, accountability, reliability and value of finance data. In turn, the organization is already evaluating the numerous ways that they can pull additional value out of their new data hub.

To access the full case study, please click here.

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