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Finance Transformation - SAP

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Finance transformation projects have a way of quickly growing bigger than anyone expected. And if you don’t watch out, they can grow out of control. That’s partly because finance transformation reaches so deep into the organization, uncovering issues that nobody could have imagined before the start of the initiative. Plus, it’s a test for the finance organization which has to make hard choices about where it can deliver the most value through transformation, balancing technology capabilities with business needs. In the end, finance transformation is equal parts business challenge and technology challenge. That’s where Deloitte shines.

Many finance transformation leaders report that they build their approach from scratch, improvising as they go along. There’s no such thing as a transformation playbook, they say. While it’s true that organizations have different needs, it’s also true that transformation projects share many of the same challenges and approaches regardless of industry or company. Deloitte’s finance transformation practice is recognized as a global leader, known equally for insights into the challenges of finance as for our mastery of the technology required to bring about change. Learn more about the offering.

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The right role
SAP’s finance transformation solutions offer a range of capabilities and controls, including faster time to close, scorecards, reporting and more. Many of these solutions are tailored at the industry level, offering even more functionality.

But these capabilities aren’t of much value if the finance organization doesn’t have a clear understanding of where it is today and where it needs to be. Does finance need to shore up its planning, budgeting and forecasting capabilities? Is it all about closing? Should the transformation be broad or targeted? Questions like these get at the heart of the transformation challenge: Which role does finance need to fill to deliver the most value to the organization? Does it need to be a better steward? A catalyst? Strategist? Operator? Or some combination?

How we can help

Many finance transformation leaders report that they build their approach from scratch, improvising as they go along. There’s no such thing as a transformation playbook, they say. While it’s true that organizations have different needs, it’s also true that transformation projects share many of the same challenges and approaches regardless of industry or company. Deloitte’s finance transformation practice is recognized as a global leader, known equally for insights into the challenges of finance as for our mastery of the technology required to bring about change.

Working with SAP, we have developed an approach that draws upon our experience helping some of the largest and most complex financial organizations in the world generate the right results from their transformation initiatives.

Here are some of the ways we can help clients:

  • Finance-focused implementation of the latest SAP software offerings including Enterprise Performance Management, Governance Risk and Controls, Strategy Management and BusinessObjects
  • Closing improvements using Redwood’s Fast Close Cockpit for SAP
  • Post-implementation improvements, streamlining SAP solutions such as data cleansing, allocation redesign, and information and report simplification
  • Balanced and cascading scorecard implementation

Bottom-line benefits

  • Improve finance’s operating effectiveness while reducing costs
  • Produce timely financial reports for management and regulatory purposes
  • Support the organization’s growth strategies by helping the business tackle key challenges such as International Financial Reporting Standards, global consolidation and mergers and acquisitions
  • Streamline the process for integrating newly acquired businesses
  • Develop solutions that align with global accounting and reporting standards
  • Quickly and easily produce consolidated financial reports across disparate entities

Six ways to get more value now

Deloitte has helped many companies complete their finance transformation initiatives on time, within budget and on strategy with SAP technology. Here are some practical tips we’ve learned along the way:

Make information work harder. Information can be a key asset for improving performance. Make sure the tools, processes and technologies you have in place are equipped to manage information more effectively and efficiently than before, drawing from a wider range of sources.

Focus on speed. It’s a simple proposition: if you can accelerate the close, consolidate and report cycle, then you can deliver more value. But it’s not as easy as it sounds. You’ll have to embrace the inherent complexity of these tasks, looking for ways to simplify where it makes sense, and building a technology foundation that is responsive, flexible and scalable.

Engage your top talent. Transformation projects define how the finance organization will operate for years or even decades to come. You want to get it right, and that requires your “A-Team.” If it doesn’t hurt to pull a particular person out of the business to work on the project, then you probably have the wrong person.

Create links between finance and other business functions. Although finance transformation has the most direct impact on the finance organization, that’s not the end of the story. In reality, changes in finance have a ripple effect throughout the enterprise. It’s important to understand and actively manage this broad impact.

Tailor solutions for competitive advantage. Generic solutions tend to deliver mediocre benefits. The solution should be carefully tailored to fit the specific requirements of your industry and business.

Use risk to your advantage. In finance, risk is just an unavoidable part of doing business. Make sure you have a common, well-defined risk framework in place including definition, standards, clear roles, responsibilities and authority for risk management. With the right framework in place, you can use risk to your advantage.

Finance Transformation in action

  • A large retailer needed help with its finance transformation initiative focused on improving financial controls and defining a single source for financial reporting through process redesign and streamlining its financial system landscape. Today, the retailer has designed a finance template and is in the process of rolling it out globally, creating a global chart of accounts and standard platform for financial reporting capabilities.
  • A large food and beverage manufacturer, which has grown through several mergers and acquisitions, needed help with its business transformation initiative. The transformation will support the organization in its effort to achieve its aggressive growth objectives. The new product costing and profitability design, the standardization of the chart of account and financial processes, as well as the new reporting toolkit provides insightful business information and greater transparency and control.
  • A large bank needed help with its finance transformation initiative, which included streamlining of finance processes, enhancing master data management and governance and implementation of an integrated system. The initiative will mitigate the process and reporting risk associated with its aging financial systems, increase transparency across functions and provide flexibility for future business growth.

As used in this document, “Deloitte” means Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Please see www.deloitte.com/us/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting.

Related links

  • SAP
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  • Technology
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