With over a century of providing business-relevant qualifications, ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants. Supporting a diverse range of 178,000 members and 455,000 students in 181 countries, ACCA delivers the application, ability and ambition to those who seek a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management.
No Hope in Sight for Oracle 11i
No strangers to the importance of data integrity, ACCA found themselves in somewhat of a data overload after their ERP upgrade. Having implemented Oracle E-Business Suite in 2005, ACCA battled to meet business needs due to 11i’s severe lack of reporting capabilities. This was a challenge not only within Finance but for Finance to provide high quality monthly and ad-hoc reporting to the entire organization. This challenge was felt most keenly by their Finance Systems Accountant and IT team.
“Oracle is slow to deliver the ‘real’ answer. To try and get a ‘real’ answer we’d have to run a number of different extracts, upload the data into Excel and play with pivots and develop macros. It was an incredibly exhaustive process for our Management Accountants to be able to answer the questions our budget holders were asking.” - Paul Slowey, Financial Systems Accountant, ACCA
As if basic functionality issues weren’t enough, Finance was unable to execute customized reports in a reasonable amount of time. Requests from Finance and Customer Service teams required assistance from Paul or IT to gather information. On average, such in-depth IT requests could take up to an entire month to complete. While IT had time taken from their development testing, Finance faced limited drill down functionality and no agility or flexibility in their current process; making month end and quarter end reporting a significant challenge.
A Real Need for REAL Real-Time Data
As the need for accurate, real-time reports increased, ACCA’s challenge grew. Oracle’s offer of ‘real-time’ reporting only allowed access to a read-only data base which was refreshed every 24 hours. For online transactional reporting it was difficult to run ad-hoc reports for executive level inquiries. A mixture of GL Wand reports and SQL Developer extracts were being used, as well as some Oracle reports and FSGs, but they were widely viewed as too restrictive. ACCA was ready to make some big changes.
Forward-Thinking Strategy Aligns Systems for Success
With their strategy to 2020 in place, ACCA desired to radically transform their business goals with a more forward-thinking approach. Further adopting customer centered solutions, high performing people, and achieving operational excellence went from aspirations to an integral part of ACCA’s plan. Once ACCA had their strategy set, it only made sense to mirror the approach in all business decisions – including those related to their enterprise architecture and supporting software.
In true accountancy style, ACCA took a systematic approach to finding an alternative solution. They assessed 3 vendor solutions: GL Wand, Oracle SQL Developer and Hubble – each scored against the categories: Security, Reliability/Integrity, Drilldown Functionality, Flexibility, GUI, and Read-only. ACCA’s Financial Systems Accountant, Paul Slowey suspected Hubble was the type of product needed at ACCA and was happy to get buy-in from everyone who sat in on the demos.
“Before we purchased we knew that Hubble was tested and proven. We ran a POC (proof of concept) evaluation assessment using our own data and the results gave us great confidence in the solution. We achieved 100% of the functional goals and 94% of the aspirational goals set for this exercise.” - Paul Slowey, Financial Systems Accountant, ACCA
Reaping Results from Day One
In December 2014, ACCA made things official with Hubble and hit the ground running. With no hardware to install, Paul and his teams were using the software in a matter of days. In his own words, “The benefits for us were immediate and the solution quickly proved its reliability”- Paul Slowey
Post implementation, ACCA experienced 80% time saving when creating reports and a reduced reconciliation time from half a day to approximately half an hour. The Finance teams’ day-to-day processes were rejuvenated by the ability to; create custom hierarchies, create custom templates with tables, and allow calculations for certain modules which are made accessible to everyone.
Three-way drill down capabilities within Hubble allowed complete access to Oracle financials modules without any security issues. ACCA Finance users were floored and IT finally freed. “I’ve never seen so many cheesy grins. Grown men were giving me a hug. Finance Managers also love it, you’d often hear comments of surprised delight “it’s brilliant, you’ve got to try this and that” – Paul Slowey
Hubble’s ability to empower the end-user became undeniably beneficial. Paul said “The rapid reconciliation and data validation from Hubble was awesome and something which, as management accountants, we’d never had before. There was such satisfaction in simply giving Finance the information for themselves - it’s their information, let them use it!” Users were finally self-serving and able to interrogate live data however and whenever they pleased; flexibility and agility achieved. A huge win for Paul, Finance, IT and a job well done for the Hubble team.
“With quality software you need quality people and the Hubble team have both in abundance. The team at insightsoftware.com are a real asset. From day one I have found the Hubble ‘family’ to be very professional, knowledgeable and extremely approachable and friendly.”- Paul Slowey, Financial Systems Accountant, ACCA