Financial firms such as banks, insurance companies and reinsurers will be able to close their books faster and deliver more reliable financial data earlier with Accenture’s Finance Transformation Solution developed for the SAP HANA platform.
At the end of a quarter, this will drastically reduce the effort, said Steve Culp, senior managing director of Accenture Finance and Risk Services.
“In many institutions, by the time of numbers get to sign-off, the amount of time left to really analyze and understand the [firm’s] direction is short. With Accenture’s Finance Transformation Solution, we have much more solid numbers earlier in the process, so the questions you can ask and analysis you can drive are much more robust.”
The modular solution contains accounting, sub-ledgers, reporting and controlling systems designed for banking, insurance and reinsurance firms.
Why would any firm need this when they have Excel spreadsheets, usually lots of them? Those multiple spreadsheets are part of the problem because organizing them and reconciling numbers is time-consuming. With the Accenture solution, said Culp, a lot less offline work will be needed and the close can be accomplished with a high level of straight-through processing. Time to close varies by firm, but it often can be weeks while with the Accenture solution it should be days.
The time required to close varies by institution, and each has its own definition of what constitutes the close, Culp added, regrettably not offering names of specific institutions.
“The value here for our clients is they are asking for more solid results before the final ticking and tying; they don’t want to see major changes in the final numbers. A number of big institutions that have gone through multiple acquisitions have multiple processes running and they have been waiting until very late in the process to have a true understanding, which puts a lot of pressure on them from investor relations to analysts. With this, you have clarity early in the process.”
SAP’s HANA with its in-memory processing, has the ability to do calculations around liquidity and analytics close to real-time, while Accenture offers rigor around the quality, timeliness and level of clean and reliable data coming in, he added.
When it comes to industrializing its processes, financial services is following other industries, Culp said.
By providing pre-configured technical solutions for re-use, the Accenture solution reduces the number of days required for configuration and integration by 20 to 30 percent.
“Industrializing is really simplifying the processes and making them more common, the way that you operate your finance risk processes across geographies and across business units.”
The goal should be the most simple process possible, with fewer moving parts and the entire process codified in technology so financial firms can get away from a multitude of reconciliations and asset allocations which skew performance measures, he added.
Anne-Cecile Hondeville, chief information officer at, Natixis Global Asset Management International, said the Accenture solution “brings common processes tailored for our industry, which we can leverage to get through the implementation more quickly and with more confidence.