Now more than ever the Finance department is under pressure to deliver accurate and timely financial reporting driven by an increasingly complex business environment and legislation designed to boost corporate transparency. A well integrated financial management system can provide improved data analysis, manipulation and display capabilities, which empowers Finance to accurately counsel the CEO, support critical business decision-making, and meet compliance obligations.
As companies seek to augment their business operations to meet the growing demands of a competitive globalized world, the potential for operational inefficiency has increased. A multinational corporate structure with key management and personnel scattered across the globe, served by multiple management systems, may face difficulties as decisions are based on potentially different information. A single, scalable management system, which provides a funnel through which all financial transactions flow, is more reliable and flexible in today’s dynamic business environment.
CODA has been providing financial management solutions to medium and large organizations across all sectors since 1979, particularly those with a strong international focus. In the U.S., CODA focuses on supporting operations in the financial services, banking insurance, and media sectors in particular.
Asked what distinguishes CODA from other players, Kevin Roberts, VP of Business Development, said it is offering clients “a truly single instance, single database with multinational scalability and multi-everything-functionality.”
One reason for the popularity of the CODA solution among multinationals is its design of the application that enables the system to accommodate multiple accounting standards in a single database. This technical architecture allows organizations that have operations across several offices around the world to support the local reporting requirements in those territories while still running off the same central hub.
Caterpillar Inc, the world’s largest manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, uses CODA’s international accounting system at sites and dealerships worldwide.
“Global organizations can use CODA’s single financial management system and be confident it works anywhere they take it in the world,” says Roberts.
STA Travel is a truly global company that operates more than 400 retail locations in 85 countries across the U.S., U.K., Europe, Asia, Africa and the South Pacific. Since its inception in 1979, the company has grown exponentially and today its annual sales exceed US$ 1.1 billion. In late 2004 STA Travel deployed CODA-Financials in a U.S. data-center and in so doing provided global finance staff from around the world with a single view of the company’s complex finances. According to CFO Mark Adams, the system offers global visibility which has helped meet the day-to-day decision making requirements within STA Travel Group and provides a strong platform to meet the challenges of future growth.
Growth and change have traditionally represented a challenge for financial and analysis systems, but CODA’s XML and web services technical architecture makes it easier to reconfigure the application as objectives change. Take the example of manufacturing in North America. Under increased pressure from foreign competition over the past decades car manufacturers have diversified their business portfolios to include complementary services and financing. As their business model evolves, those manufacturers who have a legacy system that supports solely manufacturing find that they now require something more attuned to what a services or financing firm would use.
“CODA absolutely, inherently supports that,” says Roberts, “because if you add a new line of business, or a new company, it can still all be supported by a single CODA application. So you can be confident that whatever direction your business grows you’ll have a system in place that supports it.”
Financial Management Systems can power analytics and automate key financial processes, significantly reducing the burden imposed by financial reporting, data storage and data privacy standards like Sarbanes-Oxley, Gramm-Leach-Bliley, HIPPA, and equivalent standards elsewhere. Automation also allows Finance to reduce the time spent simply collecting and reporting data, so that more resources can be deployed to analyze key business metrics and deliver accurate management reports.
Consolidating data into a single repository of information also saves time by presenting a common interface between different sources of information; furthermore it provides a single point of maintenance and security. With the CODA solution, users are supplied with a role based level of access within the application and whichever mechanism is used to interact with CODA (via external applications or web log-in) respects the same security rules, irrespective of how the data is retrieved.
Better visibility and a better understanding of future performance and trends are often cited as reasons for implementing Financial Management Systems. In order to be able to track performance effectively, the organization must capture business metrics at a sufficient level of detail. Within the CODA accounts structure users have eight dimensions (defined by the user) that can be used to analyze data, thus providing visibility to performance at each dimension and any combination of dimensions, and in real time. Also, CODA offers a way of interacting with the data through Microsoft Office which reduces the likelihood of human error that could occur if the data was manipulated manually and imported into an external application such as Excel.
HVB Group—a banking and financial services firm based in Munich, Germany—found that old accounting software complicated their already extensive reporting requirements. Staff had to download information into Excel for legal reporting and download a second time into Access for business line results before reconciling the two back to the ledger. Once CODA’s solution had been implemented, legal and business line results were run off the same data source, reducing the need for reconciliation.
Adherence to a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) project has become a key business process and an important component of the organization’s public relations strategy. Partly, this requires demonstrating adherence to the policies dictated by the CSR. From a visibility standpoint, CODA supports workflow transparency and chain of custody by tracking automatically, who created what, when, and who authorized it.
The ability to make proactive strategic decisions founded on reliable and timely information is critical to a firm’s success. By implementing a financial management system with the power to deliver complete financial transparency, firms can operate tighter financial controls, respond to new and emerging regulations, and plan for the future.