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To prepare itself to comply with demanding new converged accounting standards, Accenture leveraged its SAP BusinessObjects Planning and Consolidation skills to keep its world-class finance organization operating at peak performance levels.
The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) is expected to release new converged accounting standards related to revenue and leases by the end of calendar year 2013. To comply with these new standards, organizations are expected to complete two technology-related initiatives.
First, they must implement the technology changes required to apply the new converged standards as their standard accounting principles. Second, for the two years leading up to adoption of the new converged standards, organizations must put the capabilities in place to generate reported results under both current and converged standards (parallel reporting).
These parallel reporting requirements may be needed as early as fiscal year 2014. For Accenture, it was imperative to deploy a solution that would meet both current and future reporting requirements.
Beyond its impact on the finance function, these mandates can affect external stakeholders, IT and business operations. They can also potentially add complexity to initiatives, such as new enterprise information systems implementation, mergers or acquisitions and expansion of global operations.
Recognizing the far-reaching implications of these mandates, Accenture adopted a proactive and globally centralized approach to preparing itself for these changes and keeping its world-class finance organization operating at its peak.
In line with the strategic value Accenture places on its single SAP instance, its philosophy of keeping SAP on current versions, with continuous process improvement in mind and to support these changes, Accenture selected SAP BusinessObjects Planning and Consolidation (BPC).
To ensure success, Accenture tapped into Accenture Consulting’s deep BPC skills, utilized the Accenture Delivery Methodology and closely collaborated with the finance organization.
With high-level executive sponsorship in place and overseen by an operating committee that reviewed all key design decisions, the finance and IT teams shared delivery responsibilities from the outset, starting with requirements gathering, through planning and analysis phases to design, build, test and deployment. Each functional requirement was discussed in design workshops and prototypes were built to confirm the design and facilitate sign-off before the build phase began. Prototypes helped prove, for example, that the enhanced monthly close schedule was possible and that special purpose ledgers could be used for parallel reporting. In test cycles, the business played a critical role in testing accuracy and performance before deploying the solution in production.
Penny Hughes, Assistant Corporate Controller, responsible for Global Financial Reporting, explains, “This implementation has enabled us to maintain appropriate compliance with current operations, while effectively preparing our team to meet future reporting requirements. We were able to incorporate new best practices and automated processes that save us time, helping us in the present, as well as positioning us for the new standards that are on the horizon.”
The new capabilities bring numerous advantages:
Automated pre-close reporting enables efficient and timely access and analysis of results.
Data loads automatically during pre-close days without manual intervention, freeing up resources for more value-added activities.
A more simple ownership hierarchy makes managing investments easier and productivity is improved with familiar, intuitive interfaces based on Microsoft Office programs.
Steve Collins, Accenture SAP program delivery lead and executive data architect reports, “By standardizing pre-close reporting and automatically producing financial statements, our SAP BPC implementation brings increased confidence and earlier insight to our financial results.”
As well as accurate statutory reporting and minimized business and compliance risk, a single set of high-quality, globally accepted financial reporting standards drives process consistency, visibility and efficiency, allowing a panoramic view of the organization’s financial landscape and delivering a complete audit trail.
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