How to Prepare Financial Reporting for Transitioning to Oracle ERP Cloud


By Naill Mclean posted 24 days ago


Whether you are running Oracle ERP Cloud today or plan to do so at some point in the future, it’s important to understand your options for financial reporting, as it can be difficult to choose from Oracle’s extensive offerings.

For standard financial reports like income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements, the most popular tool is Oracle’s Financial Reporting Studio (FRS), which relies on data from the Oracle Fusion GL Balances cube.  Although FRS does offer drill-down and addition of formulas, it lacks the flexibility and familiarity of Excel, and the tool’s presentation options are limited. For ad hoc analysis and more expansive drill-down capabilities, many finance users find that FRS isn’t right for them.

Oracle Smart View is popular for Excel-based reporting and analysis, which combines a multidimensional pivot analysis tool with full Excel functionality, providing a more flexible environment for ad hoc analysis. Unfortunately, Smart View has limited drill-down capabilities, lacking visibility to subledgers and making it hard to research account variances or perform GL account reconciliations.

The GL Balance cube underpinning Smart View largely dictates the structure and layout of reports, so although Excel provides a flexible foundation for reporting and analysis with Smart View, the structure of the source data in the GL cube data may constrain a user’s options for formatting and drill-down.

Combining multiple charts of account into a single workbook isn’t feasible with Smart View. That creates challenges when combining information from multiple corporate entities into a single report, or even when comparing budget to actual for a single entity.

Oracle Transactional Business Intelligence (OTBI) is another popular tool, and can report on General Ledger, Payables, Receivables and more. While OTBI can be good for ad hoc analysis, it can only pull data from Oracle ERP Cloud, so OTBI won’t work if you have other sources to include in your analysis, or if you are reporting against on-premise data.

OTBI is also an IT-driven application, requiring SQL knowledge and a detailed understanding of the Oracle database, which comes at the cost of dependency on IT. For a typical end-user in the finance department, the prospect of designing an OTBI report on the fly to address an urgent month-end need is unrealistic.

Given this array of reporting tools, it can be hard to choose which one to use.

What Do You Need Your Reporting Tool For?

How should you select the right reporting tool? 

Automation is usually a top priority. Most accounting professionals would prefer to spend less time building and compiling reports and more time focusing on the value created through analysis and problem-solving.

That means eliminating repetitive manual tasks that can introduce errors and deploying tools that allow deep, flexible analysis with full visibility to information across your Oracle ERP Cloud landscape. This enables finance teams to provide critical perspective across all departments based on consistent and trusted information.

Finally, by eliminating dependency on IT, finance teams can develop and modify reports whenever needed with tools that eliminate the need for detailed technical knowledge. This frees up valuable IT resources to focus on activities that carry greater strategic value.

Fast, Flexible, Excel-Based Reporting for Oracle ERP Cloud

To get all of those benefits within a single reporting tool, you will need to look beyond the Oracle product line.

Spreadsheet Server from insightsoftware delivers fast, flexible reporting for Oracle ERP Cloud, offering tight integration and deep analysis, including the ability to drill down to subledger transactions. It seamlessly integrates with Excel, giving you all the flexibility and familiarity of the finance team’s favorite tool.

Spreadsheet Server accesses Oracle data using a query-driven process that any member of the finance team can execute without detailed technical knowledge. You can also consolidate information from across multiple modules into a single report without any programming expertise. You can even report across multiple data sources within a report.

New users can learn to develop their own reports from scratch with Spreadsheet Server in a matter of minutes. Finance users can add formulas to an Excel spreadsheet that directly accesses Oracle data and can be refreshed with a single click. Unlike Oracle Smart View, Spreadsheet Server can access multiple charts of accounts simultaneously, making it possible to build consolidated reports across multiple corporate entities and to present budget vs. actual numbers easily.

Spreadsheet Server offers one of the fastest data refresh rates in the industry, automatically synchronizing data from Oracle ERP Cloud as frequently as every 15 minutes, or on-demand during your close, whereas other providers may refresh over a couple of hours or once a day.

Unlike many other enterprise-grade reporting tools, Spreadsheet Server installs in under a day, without requiring any large-scale BI infrastructure or BI implementation project.

Smoothing the Path from EBS to Oracle ERP Cloud

If you currently run EBS, Spreadsheet Server can address existing reporting challenges with that ERP, with a single, streamlined reporting tool that can do it all. When you are ready to make the move to the Oracle ERP Cloud, you can easily migrate those reports and keep using them with Spreadsheet Server in the new environment.

Spreadsheet Server can also make the EBS-to-Oracle-ERP-Cloud data migration process easier, by extracting data from EBS into Excel and getting them into the right format to import into Oracle ERP Cloud. You can also automate and simplify other important data migration tasks such as data validation, side-by-side comparisons, and data transformation.

Whether your organization is running on EBS or has already moved to Oracle ERP Cloud, insightsoftware can help you by simplifying reporting, eliminating tedious manual tasks, reducing errors, and bringing together all reporting under one unified tool. Because it doesn’t require specialized IT skills, Spreadsheet Server puts the finance team in control.

To learn more about how your organization can enjoy a smooth transition to Oracle ERP Cloud, watch our free on-demand webinar for Oracle ERP customers. You’ll hear about the benefits of a single, streamlined reporting solution and get a chance to see it for yourself in a recorded demo. Check out the webinar today: Prepare Your Financial Reporting for a Smooth Transition to Oracle ERP Cloud.

About the author:

Naill McLean is a Senior Product Manager at insightsoftware. He is a qualified accountant and has many years of experience working with Oracle ERP products both as an end user and as a product manager.