An Oracle EBS user since 1996, State Trustees upgraded to Oracle R12 in 2012, but bottlenecks with financial reporting continued. It took hours to run the required Oracle Financial Statement Generator (FSG) reports, which were also limited in visual appearance for easy data comprehension. After managerial requests for more regular and efficient reporting, the finance team sought an alternative to FSG reports and landed on GL Wand, a real-time Microsoft Excel-based tool from insightsoftware.
“We weren’t really having particular issues with Oracle FSG, but it was clunky, hard to use, and required a level of knowledge within the team that might continually require re-training if further changes occurred,” said State Trustees Accountant, Nicholas Thoroughgood. “With the volume of reports required and the hours it took to run Oracle FSG profit & loss (P&L) statements alone, we needed faster data access. Reconciliations alone took a week to create.”
Additionally, the FSG templates lacked visual appeal. “The FSG report formats remained the same throughout the years and didn’t fit our corporate branding,” Thoroughgood explained. “We wanted the ability to customize them.”
“We were committed to making a smooth transition for our business units, so we made the GL Wand reports look similar to FSG reports at first,” said Thoroughgood. “As we became confident that reports were running correctly, we started customizing the report designs as intended.”
The Excel-based financial reporting tool remains low maintenance for IT, while allowing finance users to stay self-sufficient. “IT hasn’t had to provide any support, except for upgrades, as the finance team can tap into insightsoftware for help,” Thoroughgood said. “Even then, we haven’t had to go back to insightsoftware with many questions aside from when we first started creating reports. It’s been a very seamless solution for us, and, we can also refer to a video library through the online user community.”
Standard P&L reports were some of the first ones State Trustees transferred to the new Excel-based financial reporting tool, with significant performance results. “Our P&L reports previously took four people an average of two hours each to run, which is now down to just half an hour each on average with GL Wand,” said Thoroughgood. “GL Wand is exponentially faster, meaning we have more time to focus on actually looking behind the numbers rather than just reporting them.”
From management’s perspective, the finance team’s ability to change report designs and provide more useful information has been well received. “We can leverage Excel formulas, as well as GL Wand formulas, to make reports more versatile, as we can now access more information than we’ve ever been able to provide,” Thoroughgood explained. “In terms of its standard templates and standard information, this tool’s click-and-drag functionality easily and quickly gives us the information we need—and in real time.”
Some of the areas in which State Trustees is expanding report diversity are rolling 12-month reports and budgeted P&L reports. “In the past, we haven’t developed these reports because the information was too difficult to put together with FSG reports,” said Thoroughgood.