Reduce Oracle EBS Month End Accruals Process Time using Automated Dashboard

Reduce Oracle EBS Month End Accruals Process Time using Automated Dashboard

Executive Summary

Business enterprises are presently living in the age of digital Darwinism. An enterprise will either have to adapt to modern trends or it fails to survive in the competitive market. Traditional enterprise systems like Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) alone cannot suffice the need of tech savvy millennial workers who expect quick, intuitive and remotely accessible solutions. A key requirement for all business enterprises is to adapt to the modern trends and strive for digital transformation.
This paper explains the digital transformation of Oracle EBS payable module and how business workflow is streamlined by automating the manual accrual process. It addresses the business benefits, key features and typical architecture of accrual automation solution. The information in this paper is based on a solution implemented by RapidValue for one of the world’s largest professional social media company. The paper addresses how RapidValue digitally transformed the manual vendor accrual process to an automated web-based dashboard and integrated it with Oracle E-Business Suite and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Systems.

Introduction

Digital transformation in the form of extending the on-premise ERP systems to web/mobile platforms, will not only reduce the infrastructure cost by promoting the BYOD culture (Bring Your Own Device) but also, increase the productivity of the employees as they get empowered to do business transactions on-the-go.

Vendor Accruals Automation is implemented to automate the payable accrual process for vendors in Oracle E-Business Suite. It comprises a user interface to enter and submit the accruals. The entire manual process of accruals is automated, so that each user role can login to the application and complete the accrual process as per the requirement. It enables seamless interactions between different departments in the organization and reduces the process closure time by two days. Automation also, saves the cost of labor on a large scale, by optimizing the workflow.
Digitization does not only mean IT implementation with disruptive technology alone but also, an implementation of a proper strategy that integrates multiple enterprise modules and considers user needs/customizations to create maximum value.

Overview of Purchase Order (PO) Accruals Automation

The Vendor Accruals Automation is a role-based application, where a particular user (role-based) is able to see data, based on the actions taken by their subordinate.

  • The users (role-based) include Financial Planning and Analysis (FPA), General Ledger (GL), GL Manager, System Admin and Auditor.
  • Other roles which are enabled are Requestor, Budget owner, Project manager, FPA manager, Accrual owner etc.
  • Requestors are the default requestors on PO/ PR and projects. Accrual owner are the users who are set up by FPA as requestors for a particular PO/PR and projects.
  • FPAs will set up these accrual owners based on their PO/PR and project lines in Delegate dashboard that is designed within
    the application. This dashboard details are explained in a separate section.
  • Once the Accounts Payable (AP) period closes for a particular month, the application sends an email to all the FPAs and requestors to log in to the application, enter the accrual amount, submit open Purchase Order (PO), Purchase Requisites (PR) and open project lines.
  • Initially, the requestors/accrual owners will login to Accrual system and enter the required accrual amount and comments. They can also, attach additional supporting documents for the entered accrual amount.
  • Once requestors/accrual owners submit those lines, they will send out a notification to FPA to take action on those lines. FPA has an option to override the amount/ comment entered by requestors/accrual owners. They can also, decertify to push back the lines to requestors/accrual owner.
  • After the FPA takes action by certifying the lines, these lines will be moved to GL role user queue. GL will be able to certify or decertify those lines. If the lines get decertified, the lines will go back to FPA’s queue and the process gets repeated. If the lines get certified, they will be moved to GL manager’s queue.
  • GL manager also, has an option to certify or decertify the line. If the GL manager certifies, these lines will be moved to Oracle for auto posting and the journal entries gets created. If the GL manager decertifies, it again goes back to FPA’s queue and the process gets repeated.
  • When each role user takes action on a particular PO/PR/PA, the corresponding immediate role user will get an email to log in to the application and do the required action.
  • All the FPA, GL and GL manager role user will be able to see all the open POs and PRs in a separate page and are able to take action on each PO and PR line.

The system admin role is specifically, there to add other system administrators or auditors. System admin (user) is able to control the access given to other role users.
Auditor role users are able to see all the data and able to audit the accrued and pending amount and lines in the application.

Business Problem

Business Requirement

The client, a leading social networking site, wanted to eliminate the manual process and automate their vendor accrual process with secure and seamless integration with their backend systems.Determining correct open PO accruals for each month-end close is a manual process. It is time consuming, labor intensive and not scalable. In preparation of each month end close, a representative in FP&A or regional GL team runs the ‘Open PO report’ in Discoverer as each Oracle AP sub-ledger is closed. The reports are exported to Microsoft Excel, and pivot tables are created so that each open PO can be matched to the prior month’s accrual and appropriate FP&A business partner. The FP&A business partner provides the listing to his/her assigned budget managers for input on amounts to accrue at the end of the month. FP&A sends the open PO accruals and supporting documentation to the GL team to prepare the accrual entry. The GL team uploads and posts the accrual entries to the GL by the designated deadline during the month end close.

Goal

To strategize in order to maximize return on investment by integrating multiple oracle modules and corporate emails. Thus, digitizing the manual vendor accrual process.

Reduce Oracle EBS Month End Accruals Process Time using Automated Dashboard

Business Benefits

Integration and Process Automation

Vendor accrual automation application automates business workflow between various module interfaces like active directory, corporate emails, Oracle projects, Oracle iProcurement, Oracle general ledger and Oracle purchasing. The application will notify different roles like FP&A, GL, GL manager, Budget owner, Requestor, Project manager etc. about the action required from each role during the process of accruals through emails. All the role-based users can log in to the application, perform the required action in realtime, which thereby, reduces redundancy errors and improves coordination between different departments. Thus, creating a real value-add.

Key Features

Some of the features of the vendor accrual application are:

Open PO Accrual Dashboard
  • The open PO Accrual dashboard will have all the open PO lines for that month. This dashboard is accessible to all the role users. The user is able to add attachments, comments and delegate lines to the same role user.
  • The FPA, requestor and accrual owner role users will be able to enter the accrual amount and certify the PO lines, apart from the above functionalities.
  • The GL and GL manager will be able to certify or decertify a line.
  • The grid data is to be exported into excel, pdf or csv format. The page will have a commentary list and on selection of each PO, the user will be able to see all the comments added by the user in the past three months.
  • The dashboard will have section to list out the invoices created for each PO and the total invoice for the last three months. The user will be able to see all the PO lines of last twelve months. The previous months’ data will be ‘read-only’ and the user cannot take any actions on these lines.
  • The open PO accrual dashboard also, has option for manual accruals. If the user wants to do accruals for those that have no POs, then the user can manually add these lines for
    accruals in this tab.
  • The process and flow remains similar to open PO dashboard.
  • The delegated lines can be seen in the same dashboard by using the options in the dashboard. We have a dedicated dropdown that will help to differentiate the lines that are their own or the lines that are delegated from other users.
  • The delegation will happen only once for a particular PO. During delegation, the user should give the start and end date. Once the end date is crossed, these lines will go back to the delegator, if the delegate has not taken any action on those lines.
  • The accrual owner and FPA will have an option to close the PO from dashboard. FPA can directly close the PO from dashboard with a closure comment. Accrual Owner request will go to FPA for approval and once FPA approves it, the PO will be closed. There will be an option to close entire PO as well, as each line in a PO.
  • The user should be able to see the lines which he/she delegated to other users and are able to recall these lines.
  • Accrual owners get access to the dashboard based on the rule set by FPA. FPA will have the option to view the lines that are delegated to accrual owners, the lines that do not have any accrual owner associated with it.
Open PR Accrual Dashboard
  • This dashboard is accessible to all the rolebased users.
  • Similar to open PO, the user will be able to add attachments, comments and delegate lines to the same role user.
  • The process remains similar to open PO, where FPA should be able to enter accrual amount and certify. The lines will be moved to GL queue. The process flow remains same as in open PO.
  • The open PR dashboard also, has a comment list, where the user should be able to see comments of the last three months for each PR.
    Similar to open PO, PR also has manual and third party lines. The functionality remains same as in open PO.
Open Projects Accrual Dashboard

The open projects dashboard will have all the open project lines for that month.

  • Open projects are accrued in two different ways based on the way accruals are done.
  • The accruals can be done based on POs that are associated with projects using similar accrual amounts and based on the percentage of completion.
  • In percentage of completion, user will enter percentage of completion based on the actual amount used for that project. Based on that percentage, accrual amount will be calculated.
  • After all the certification from all the role users, the journal creation process is different if compared to Open PO/PR.
  • For projects, first the line details will be pushed to Oracle Project Accounting (OPA) to create an expenditure batch, after that these lines will be pushed directly from OPA to GL to create journals. The open projects dashboard will have all the open project lines for that month.

All other functionalities will remain same as compared to open PO/PR.

Open PO/PR Status Dashboard

Open PO/PR status dashboard gives information about all the pending lines with the user subordinate, with respect to each entity.

  • For FPA, the pending lines will display, with respect to requestor and the count with each requestor.
  • For GL, it will be entity-wise pending count with FPA. Similarly for GL manager, the pending count is entity-wise with respect to GL user.
  • The status dashboard always shows data with respect to the current month.
Aged Open PO Accrual Dashboard

Aged Open PO dashboard is a repository of PO lines that is open for more than 90 days. This dashboard will be read-only and the user will not be able to take any action on these lines. The lines present here will also, be available in open PO and the user will be able to take action in open PO dashboard.

Closed PO Accrual Dashboard

Closed PO dashboard gives details about all the PO lines that are closed between the GL periods. This dashboard will give information about all the closed POs irrespective of whether a PO has gone through the process of certification in the dashboard. This dashboard also, is read-only and the user will not be able to take any action on the lines.

  • Closed PO dashboard also, has one more tab for FPA, where all the closed PO requests from Accrual owner will be listed. FPA will have an option to approve or reject this request. Once FPA approves it, the PO will be closed directly in Oracle.
Accrual Report

Accrual report provides information about all the PO/PR lines that have completed the certification process. This accrual report includes the manual accrual lines, timestamp of each role certification, the journal batch and created date information. The report can be seen for the last twelve GL periods.

On Hold Report

On hold report gives information about all the PO/PR lines that are certified by FPA with zero accrual amounts. This report will be a repository to show all the PO/PR lines for which there is no JE creation, as the journal entries should not get created for the lines that are certified with zero accrual amounts.

Project Accrual Report

Project Accrual report is similar to Accrual report. However, this will list down all the project lines that have completed the certification process. This report will have similar columns as compared to the Accrual report and other project related details.

Project On Hold Report

Project On hold report gives information about all the project lines that are certified by FPA with zero accrual amounts. This report will be a repository to show all the project lines for which there is no JE creation, as the journal entries should not get created for the lines that are certified with zero accrual amounts.

Accrual at a Glance

Accrual at a Glance view is for audit purpose. This page gives information about the pending number of lines and pending accrual amount with each role. This page has information about the lines that are posted to Oracle, on hold lines and error out lines.

FPA Manager Dashboard

This dashboard is designed for FPA users and FPA managers, where they will have a metrics view with graphical representation of the month-end accrual process. FPAs will be able to see details with respect to their own and reporting FPA’s certified, pending line details. The dashboard shows information with respect to all PO/PR, projects and manual accruals.

GL Manager Dashboard

This dashboard is designed for GL users and GL managers to view metrics view with respect to overall status of month-end accruals. The dashboard shows details with respect to pending and certified lines from each role an

System Admin

System admin dashboard, as the name suggests, is used only by the system administrators, where the admin can control the access given to each user. The system admin can add other users as system admins; they can add other users as auditors.

Delegate Dashboard
  • In delegate dashboard, FPA has an option to delegate all his/her lines to another FPA based on the dates or forever.
  • Delegate dashboard is viewed only by FPA. This dashboard is used to assign PO/PR and project lines to accrual owners who are not associated with a particular PO/PR and project line.
  • FPA can set up rules based on the country, department, vendor, budget owner, requestor and other parameters.
  • FPA can set up rules based on one parameter or multiple parameters and assign data to accrual owners.
  • These rules can be set up for certain dates or forever.
  • FPA managers will have the option to update or delete rules of their reporting FPAs.

Solution Architecture

The architecture of the application is layered into three tiers:

1. Client Tier

AngularJS based UI framework is used as the front-end application framework. Bootstrap JS is used to bring in responsive behavior. Angular JS is recommended as front-end frameworks because of its clear demarcation of the different layers of MVC that will help in modular system design and various advantages that AngularJS has as compared to other JavaScript frameworks.

2. Middleware Tier

Integration services exposed as REST based services using Oracle Service Bus (OSB). The integration layer facilitates the connectivity to different systems in the application for example: email servers, file shares, Microsoft Active directory
for authentication.

Authentication is implemented using client’s username and password token that will be validated against Microsoft Active Directory
configured on the Oracle Service Bus (OSB). Every request from web application will have a username and basic authcode that is created with
the password entered by the user in HTTP header. The OSB extracts the security credentials from the header and validates them against AD before an application specific logic is executed.

3. Data Tier

Data store comprising Oracle EBS (master store of accrual information) and Oracle DB (to persist intermediate information). Any requirement for configuration information will be set up on the Oracle database and access to these configuration data will be enabled through services exposed on the service bus.

The Results

With the implementation of automated vendor accrual solution, we were able to achieve the following results:

  • Streamlined Purchase Order (PO)management and approvals.
  • Enhanced the overall process time by 10X.
  • Reduced duplication of effort and improved sign-off.
  • Cost savings due to reduction in resources on non-value added tasks.
  • Satisfied tech savvy millennial employees.
  • Completely integrated workflow between multiple Oracle modules/corporate email
    modules to manage the services accruals process.
  • Automated workflow to transform a spreadsheet-based process to a fully efficient automated workflow-based process.
  • Enabled seamless interactions between different departments.
  • Secure integration to backend systems including ERP.
  • Deployed web-based system, which is highly secure and scalable.
  • Highly customized solution that ensures prompt usability in accordance to daily needs of employees.
  • No redundancy due to the elimination of manual process.

Abhijit Ramachandran
Practice Manager – Oracle Mobility Solution
RapidValue

If you’d like more information on this topic, please write to us: contactus@rapidvaluesolutions.com

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