IFRS17 Online Round Table Discussion

IFRS17 Online Round Table Discussion

Thursday 21st October 2021

9.00 a.m. US ET/2.00 p.m. GMT/3.00 p.m. CET


This event is part of a quarterly series taking place throughout 2021 during which you can engage with other IFRS17 leaders and exchange news/views in confidence. There will also be the opportunity for separate off-line discussions with other forum members.

You are invited to join Millennium Consulting for an on-line round table discussion to talk through the merits of both options and to exchange news and views with other IFRS17 strategic decision-makers regarding the technology, processes, project resourcing and adoption challenges they face.

Register here.


IFRS17 Online Round Table Discussion

IFRS17 Online Round Table Discussion

Thursday 22nd July 2021

9.00 a.m. US ET/2.00 p.m. GMT/3.00 p.m. CET


This event is part of a quarterly series taking place throughout 2021 during which you can engage with other IFRS17 leaders and exchange news/views in confidence. There will also be the opportunity for separate off-line discussions with other forum members.

You are invited to join Millennium Consulting for an on-line round table discussion to talk through the merits of both options and to exchange news and views with other IFRS17 strategic decision-makers regarding the technology, processes, project resourcing and adoption challenges they face.

Register here.


IFRS17 Online Round Table Discussion

IFRS17 Online Round Table Discussion

Thursday 22nd April 2021

9.00 a.m. US ET/2.00 p.m. GMT/3.00 p.m. CET


This event is part of a quarterly series taking place throughout 2021 during which you can engage with other IFRS17 leaders and exchange news/views in confidence. There will also be the opportunity for separate off-line discussions with other forum members.

You are invited to join Millennium Consulting for an on-line round table discussion to talk through the merits of both options and to exchange news and views with other IFRS17 strategic decision-makers regarding the technology, processes, project resourcing and adoption challenges they face.

Register here.


Finance Transformation in focus: how to deliver added value in 2021

Finance Transformation in focus: how to deliver added value in 2021

January 11th, 2021

Finance Transformation in focus: how to deliver added value in 2021

To deal with the continuing COVID-19 fallout, the pressure is on CFOs to shape business strategies for survival, stabilisation and recovery. So, are businesses equipped to handle what lies ahead? A year ago, strategic transformation of the finance department was something to aspire to; in 2021, it is business-critical.

COVID-19: the great transformation accelerator

Has COVID changed anything fundamentally? Arguably, when we look at things like the fall of high street names and the rise of flexible working, a more accurate assessment is that the pandemic has accelerated trends that were present already.

This certainly applies to finance transformation. Long before COVID, the function of the finance department was shifting. Being a keeper of the books and an overseer of reports is no longer enough for any CFO. Businesses want a truth-teller, a first-responder and a course-corrector.

Above all, they want a value creator; a role that the vast majority of CFOs are more than happy to fill. Faced with continued workplace disruption and market uncertainty, the need for CFOs to take a major strategic role has never been greater. Trouble is, if you are grappling with day-to-day reporting, oversight and compliance requirements, there just isn’t enough time to focus on value-added
strategy.

This is where finance transformation comes in. We are not talking about adopting new tech for the sake of it. Rather, it’s about process, system and cultural change right across the organisation, with two key aims in focus:

  • Streamlining, simplifying and optimising existing processes. This frees up bandwidth, enabling you to expend fewer resources on transactional processing and reporting.
  • Increasing your decision-making capabilities. By leveraging your data and boosting your analytics capabilities, transformation enables the CFO to become a strategic business partner.

Research from Grant Thornton shows how the events of 2020 have inevitably led to increased pressure on senior finance executives to focus on strategy. But at the same time, 62% of businesses say that the COVID crisis has meant that finance transformation projects have had to be delayed.

It is unfortunate – albeit somewhat inevitable – that many businesses have had to step back from their transformation plans right at the time when the need for change is at its greatest. Right now, a workable, affordable strategy for transformation is essential: one where your business can reap the benefits from the outset. If this is your aim for 2021, then these are the areas to focus on…

Automation

Corporate finance teams spend an estimated 80 percent of their time on gathering, verifying and consolidating data. This leaves only about 20 percent for value-added tasks such as analysis and decision-making.

To transform your focus, you firstly need to redress this balance. Here’s a broad roadmap for achieving precisely that:

Carry out a resource audit. Simply put, this involves working out where all your department’s time goes. Common culprits include operational and regulatory reporting, requesting (and chasing up) data from various parts of the business, consolidation and reconciliation. These are the areas that are usually ripe for transformation via automation.

Look for ‘easy wins’. Deploying a transformative solution for a particular business problem does not always have to mean ditching the technology you have already. Let’s say, for instance, that your department is currently grappling with the recent rules changes relating to lease accounting and revenue recognition. Dedicated compliance solutions mean you can automate complex calculations, keep your general ledger up-to-date, and keep regulators at bay, thanks to a clear audit trail. Even better: with a best-in-class compliance solution, it is usually possible to reduce your reporting workload, without a complete overhaul of your existing accounting technology stack.

Explore your optimisation options. You are already invested heavily in financial management and accounting software. Despite this, your team still seems to be spending an inordinate amount of time on routine, transactional tasks. So what’s going wrong? Often, we find that there are certain business-specific processes that are creating the stumbling block.Through targeted help such as a custom automation solution designed specifically for the process (or even just through expert reconfiguration of user dashboards), we are able to make a huge difference.

Data analytics

Once you have freed up resources, you can focus on delivering strategic business support. This is where data analytics comes in. From setting realistic budgets through to identifying your organisation’s most profitable product lines, data analytics gives you the ability to answer key business questions – and to do so with confidence.

To enable effective transformation, your data analytics project needs to cover the following:

Integration. Business leaders will be looking for you to deliver the full picture on organisational performance. This is why you need to ensure that all relevant data is integrated from across the organisation.

Timely access to insights. In 2020, we saw just how quickly the market landscape can shift. When conditions are altering day-to-day, the idea of quarterly or even monthly budgets seems hopelessly out of date. In fact, one survey showed that when employees require data-based evidence to take action, just 3% have access to it. For 60% of staff, acquiring the data takes hours or days. For effective transformation, focus on solutions that deliver the ability to monitor performance and budgets in real time.

Forecasting and modelling. Faced with the need to make savings, should you make across-the-board cuts, or focus on specific departments? What will be the impact of an exchange rate shift, a supply line delay or a price increase? You need the ability to model “what if” scenarios with ease, to stress-test possible courses of action and reach evidence-based decisions.

Big Data and AI

In sectors as diverse as banking, logistics, manufacturing and retail (to name just a few), data is generated at every turn. Your business almost certainly has a growing number of devices, systems and applications in play. So how might this benefit the finance department?

It links back to the need for rapid insight. In particular, forward-thinking CFOs already recognise that if you want to provide business decision makers with the most up-to-date insights, you need the ability to capture data produced on the shop floor and beyond. Once harnessed, you need to be able to connect this data, analyse it, and translate it into insight.

‘Big Data’ analytics has the potential to deliver insight from across all operations, giving CFOs the potential to react quickly to rolling events and identify inefficiencies. So how do businesses put this capability to work? Here are the areas to focus on:

Data architecture and integration. To make use of large volumes of machine-level data, you need a ‘Big Data-friendly’ solution for extraction, migration and integration. Technologies such as Microsoft SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) or Oracle Data Integrator provide the foundations for even the most complex data initiatives.

Advanced analytics and AI. With robotic speed, advanced analytics solutions incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) are able to mine vast amounts of data for insights, automatically recognise risks and flag up events, assess thousands of variables, spot problems and highlight opportunities.

What next?

For CFOs committed to adding extra value to their organisation in 2021, the three key questions to ask are as follows:

  • Do we have the potential to streamline routine processes and free up resources?
  • Can we deliver the right insights to the right people at the right time?
  • Are we making the most of the data that exists in the organisation for more accurate insights?

Contact us for further details


For targeted help in addressing each of these questions, submit your details and one of our experts will be in touch.


Finance Transformation in focus 2021

Finance Transformation in focus: how to deliver added value in 2021


To deal with the continuing COVID-19 fallout, the pressure is on CFOs to shape business strategies for survival, stabilisation and recovery.

So, are businesses equipped to handle what lies ahead? A year ago, strategic transformation of the finance department was something to aspire to; in 2021, it is business-critical.

Download Brochure to read more

Unit4 Financials ‘Ask an Expert’ Event

Unit4 Financials ‘Ask an Expert’ Event

Thursday 25th March 2021

9.00 a.m. US ET/2.00 p.m. GMT/3.00 p.m. CET


Join Millennium’s Unit4 Financials ‘Ask an Expert’ event. Presented by Millenniums Principal consultant, Phil Leaf.

Hosted by Unit4 Elite Partner – Millennium Consulting, this event is open to all Unit4 Financial Users.

An opportunity to ask any questions you may have regarding any current challenges you have with your Unit4 Coda Financials system.

These free virtual events will be hosted on the last Thursday of the month.

No Registration Required

Join the Teams link here:


Unit4 Financials ‘Ask an Expert’ Event

Unit4 Financials ‘Ask an Expert’ Event

Thursday 25th February 2021

9.00 a.m. US ET/2.00 p.m. GMT/3.00 p.m. CET


Join Millennium’s Unit4 Financials ‘Ask an Expert’ event. Presented by Millenniums Principal consultant, Phil Leaf.

Hosted by Unit4 Elite Partner – Millennium Consulting, this event is open to all Unit4 Financial Users.

An opportunity to ask any questions you may have regarding any current challenges you have with your Unit4 Coda Financials system.

These free virtual events will be hosted on the last Thursday of the month.

No Registration Required

Join the Teams link here:


Unit4 Financials ‘Ask an Expert’ Event

Unit4 Financials ‘Ask an Expert’ Event

Thursday 28th January 2021

9.00 a.m. US ET/2.00 p.m. GMT/3.00 p.m. CET


Join Millennium’s Unit4 Financials ‘Ask an Expert’ event. Presented by Millenniums Principal consultant, Phil Leaf.

Hosted by Unit4 Elite Partner – Millennium Consulting, this event is open to all Unit4 Financial Users.

An opportunity to ask any questions you may have regarding any current challenges you have with your Unit4 Coda Financials system.

These free virtual events will be hosted on the last Thursday of the month.

No registration required

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Rules engine and subledger technology: what every CFO needs to know

Rules engine and subledger technology: what every CFO needs to know


From revenue recognition through to the treatment of leases – not to mention a raft of sector-specific rules and standards, the compliance burden faced by CFOs is growing year by year. Managing it requires effective internal controls, auditability and of course 100% accuracy.

Added to this, the routine reporting workload remains as relentless as ever. Familiar tasks such as reconciliation and final report preparation continue to consume a huge amount of time. In fact, currently, 87% of finance professionals are still obliged to work overtime in the run-up to the financial close.

This guide aims to provide an insight into the use of subledger technology, its benefits to the CFO, how it can help address specific compliance requirements and what should be looked for in a subledger.

Download Brochure to read more

Rules engine and subledger technology: what every CFO needs to know

Rules engine and subledger technology: what every CFO needs to know

November 24th, 2020

Transform your processes and liberate your finance team 

From revenue recognition through to the treatment of leases – not to mention a raft of sector-specific rules and standards, the compliance burden faced by CFOs is growing year by year. Managing it requires effective internal controls, auditability and of course 100% accuracy.

Added to this, the routine reporting workload remains as relentless as ever. Familiar tasks such as reconciliation and final report preparation continue to consume a huge amount of time. In fact, currently, 87% of finance professionals are still obliged to work overtime in the run-up to the financial close.

Expectations of the finance department are also changing. With high volumes of valuable data at their fingertips, there is growing pressure to put this data to work and to use it to generate solutions to business problems. CFOs themselves are keen to find new ways to add value to their organisations. The trouble is, without streamlining routine operations there is rarely time for finance to contribute more fully and help formulate corporate strategy.

A subledger system integrated with an accounting rules engine can help overcome this deficiency. With this type of technology, transactions can be stored, processed and posted automatically to the general ledger. For the finance department, this means less time spent on manual tasks, increased accuracy and greater compliance with standards. It also frees up internal resources, providing more time to focus upon added value tasks and strategy.

This guide aims to provide an insight into the use of subledger technology, its benefits to the CFO, how it can help address specific compliance requirements and what should be looked for in a subledger.

Part 1: Subledger technology explained

The general ledger is the foundation of a company’s accounting system. As a key reference point for the finance team and other business insiders, keeping it accurate and up-to-date is essential.

For any large organisation however, hundreds or even thousands of weekly accountable transactions are not unusual. Many will be straightforward, while others will need to be processed in a particular way to comply with internal policies and with general accounting principles and standards.

Manual processing of these transactions can be both resource-intensive and subject to error and therefore an automated subledger approach offers more efficient processing.

Key characteristics of subledger technology:

• The subledger provides a database for logging, storing and processing a subset of double entry accounting records.
• Subledgers can be set up for any areas of the general ledger e.g. accounts payable, accounts receivable, fixed assets, product inventory and purchasing etc.
• An automated system allows multiple subledgers to be connected to the general ledger.
• Transactions are automatically generated and posted to the general ledger.

Transactions however are not always straightforward and it’s not always enough to merely summarise a group of transactions and post them to the general ledger.

This is where a rules engine can help. A rules engine is essentially a software tool that automates the steps that make up a business process. With a subledger solution, you can apply specific rules to determine the way in which transactions are processed (before they are posted to the general ledger) to comply with all relevant accounting principles and standards, internal policies, as well as handling what can often be complex multi-entity, multi-currency calculations. Rules can be set and then applied to ensure transactions are processed correctly.

Part 2: The benefits provided by using a subledger

More effective use of time and resources

Especially in the current climate, businesses demand up-to-date insights and new ideas. From workforce and asset deployment through to analysis of product-line profitability, they need to drive efficiency and identify new commercial opportunities. In all these areas, the CFO has an important role to play.

However, if the finance department is spending time mainly on routine tasks such as transaction processing, reporting and compliance, then there simply isn’t the bandwidth to devote to adding value to the organisation. What can be automated to deliver greater efficiency? This is the key question to be addressed by any finance department seeking to become more strategy-focused.

PwC highlighted the fact that in areas such as management reporting, tax and general accounting, there’s the potential to free up between 30 and 40% of time by introducing automation and process efficiencies. By dramatically reducing the time needed for manual transaction entry and reconciliation, subledger technology goes a long way to help the finance department become a valuable and trusted partner to the business.

Greater consistency and fewer errors

Subledger technology allows transactional data to be processed and automatically posted to the general ledger according to pre-defined rules. With large organisations and groups, it’s especially easy for processing inconsistencies to arise. Through universal rules, processes are rationalised, eliminating manual-entry error and inconsistency, providing increased confidence in the integrity of the financial results.

Enhanced compliance and auditability

Regulations such as IFRS15, IFRS16, IFRS17 and LDTI require finance departments to ‘show their workings’; to have their underlying operational data available for disclosure in order to demonstrate adherence to regulatory standards. Using the right subledger solution, allows drill down to the general ledger at transactional level and provides a full audit trail. Likewise, the rules set for data processing and accounting are transparent and easily verifiable. In the event of any regulator queries a solid foundation for compliance can be easily demonstrated.

An up-to-date financial picture

During the current year, the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated how quickly market conditions and expectations can change. The general ledger provides the foundation not only for accounting, but also for rolling budgets and forecasts. To provide the most value, it needs to keep up with what’s happening on the ground. Subledger technology reduces the time and manual input required for transactions to be fed to the general ledger. It helps transform the general ledger from a periodically revised accounting tool into a reliable and up-to-date information asset.

Enabling analytics and generating insight

The subledger’s primary purpose is to allow automated processing and data feeds directly through to the general ledger. But the general ledger doesn’t need to be the only destination for this data. Depending on the specific rules set, the rules engine powering the subledger effectively cleanses transactional data and ensures that data from multiple sources is processed in a consistent manner.

This helps the creation of a ‘ledger-certified’ foundation not just for statutory accounts but also for management reporting and analytics. As well as connecting to the general ledger, a feed can be set up directly from the subledger to data analytics or business intelligence tools of choice.

Part 3: Compliance troubleshooting: Subledgers and accounting standards in focus

Here is a closer look at how subledger technology can help tackle the compliance challenges raised by specific accounting standards and principles.

IFRS 15

The challenge

The ‘revenue recognition’ standard determines how revenue should be recognised and reflected in an organisation’s financial statements and balance sheet. It sets out a standard five-step model for recognising revenue effectively. For high volumes of long-term contracts with multiple elements, there is a considerable challenge in making a distinction between the different elements in the contract, recognising revenue for each of them.

The solution

At what point should revenue from a particular contract be recognised within the profit and loss and balance sheet? A subledger with a suitably configured accounting rules engine can help manage data processing, calculations, reporting and an automatic feed to the general ledger, complete with a clear audit trail. This ensures that consistent revenue recognition policies are applied, keeping the general ledger up to date, while also providing the ability to drill down into individual contracts to check data regarding, for instance, contract balances, performance obligations and contract costs.

IFRS 16

The challenge

IFRS 16 marks a once in a generation shift in the categorisation, calculation and presentation of leases for financial reporting purposes. The most obvious impact concerns the layout of financial statements: specifically, a wide range of financial liabilities that were previously held off-balance sheet as operating leases must now be shown on the balance sheet.

Behind this presentational change, there’s a significant and ongoing data management challenge. As a start, you need to identify and classify all leases that come into play within the business. For the relevant calculations, data must be standardised – often filling in the gaps arising from incomplete information. It can prove particularly resource-heavy where the information needed is spread across different departments and formats and these is extensive reliance upon spreadsheets.

The solution

A dedicated lease accounting subledger helps ensure that all relevant leases are appropriately accounted for on the balance sheet. The lease subledger will also need to include sections covering areas such as discounting of future lease payments, ROU asset depreciation and liability amortisation. This information needs to be accessible when needed without the general ledger becoming cluttered by detailed entries for each lease.

A subledger solution preconfigured for IFRS 16, allows automation of complex calculations (e.g. asset depreciation and applicable interest). It also means that all relevant information such as changes in rates or terms, extensions, renewals or impairments can be easily managed, without the need for multiple data entries.

IFRS 17

The challenge

The stated aim of the new reporting standard for the insurance industry is to provide greater transparency concerning an insurers’ financial position, performance and risk exposure. For insurers on the ground, this means collating and processing potentially enormous amounts of additional data, such as historical policies and an increased number of calculations. Given the volumes of data involved, the complex interplay of different categories of actuarial and accounting data and the calculations required, the sole use of a general ledger for accounting becomes practically unsustainable.

The solution

What’s needed is a subledger and accounting rules engine specifically configured for IFRS 17 compliance. The standard requires regular recalculation of the performance of applicable insurance contracts over their lifetime. A subledger solution can allow this to be carried out automatically, giving the ability to store the calculation results at each measurement period – and provide a fully auditable data trail.

Part 4: Choosing a solution

Start with your specific problem. If you already using an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system such as SAP or Oracle then you are likely to find that it has a subledger component. A good example is the S/4 HANNA-based subledger for SAP which provides a ‘catch all’ solution aimed at handling the regulatory and reporting requirements for financial institutions, insurance companies and similar enterprises.

Such solutions may carry impressive functionality, but because they are designed to handle a range of compliance needs, they often demand a considerable degree of bespoke configuration for them to address the problems to be solved. If there is the need for a quick implementation with a minimum of technical input, an out-of-the-box subledger solution configured for specific compliance requirements may be a good option.

Examples include the IFRS 16 lease management solution provided by Legerity and the IFRS 17 insurance accounting subledger from Aptitude.

Aim for seamless integration

Adopting a subledger solution does not have to mean a complete overhaul of your existing technology stack. Millennium Consulting specialises in helping equip you with the type of subledger technology that addresses your specific requirements, while ensuring full integration with existing systems.

Supporting wider transformation initiatives

Compliance is often the primary driver of subledger adoption however organisations may require a more efficient system to handle the increased data processing and calculation burden that the new standard brings. A compliance challenge may also be the springboard to achieve additional business benefits. The subledger provides a way to harness potentially enormous volumes of granular data and provides the opportunity to consider how else this data may be put to work for the purposes of analysis, forecasting and delivering timely business insight.

What next?

Starting with your specific goals and operational and requirements, Millennium Consulting can help you implement best-of-breed subledger technology and processes. To keep on top of compliance, assign finance team resources to more profitable use and to build the foundations for stronger business insight, speak to Millennium Consulting today to discover how we can support you.

Contact us for further details


Submit your details and one of our experts will be in touch.