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David Fellers

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Building Finance Innovation upon a strong Compliance Foundation

Posted by David Fellers on Sat, Aug 11, 2018 @ 04:43 PM

We can all agree that any physical building needs to have a strong foundation to assure safety of the occupants and sufficient resilience to maintain structural integrity against external forces, such as wind, flood, earthquakes and other potentially damaging events.

StrongFoundationFor CFOs facing the challenges of dynamically changing regulatory requirements, establishing a strong Compliance Foundation is also vital for avoiding the risks of non-compliance, such as legal sanctions, while also ensuring adaptability for accommodating ongoing changes driven by both internal and external forces.

Some companies view new accounting standards as specific painful topics that need to be handled with ad hoc, standalone solutions.  The thinking behind this approach is to “limit the impacts” and minimize changes to other related financial and operational processes.

However, this line of thinking is inherently shortsighted.

Over years of helping many companies on their journeys to compliance with new standards such as ASC 606, IFRS 15, ASC 842, IFRS 16 and others, Bramasol’s experts have found that embracing the changes and making them an integral part of core financial operations is a much more effective and efficient approach. 

Rather than trying to limit the impacts of changing compliance regulations, forward-thinking companies proactively incorporate them as key elements in the central foundation for all related processes.

FoundationDetailAt Bramasol, we firmly believe that Compliance Innovation Empowers Overall Finance Innovation.

Every new compliance program and solution should be treated as an additional important building block to be tightly integrated into the underlying core foundation, and bound together using connective “mortar” such as comprehensive analytics, shared in-memory data sets, agile reporting, configurable dashboards, and built-in disclosure processes.

When deploying compliance solutions that should integrate seamlessly within comprehensive business processes, we always start by looking for solutions that are designed to work with core ERP and Finance systems.  For example, SAP Revenue Accounting and Reporting (RAR) is integrated with SAP FICO and has the flexibility to act as an agnostic engine for revenue recognition with other ERP environments. On the lease accounting front, SAP Contract and Lease Management provides a compliance solution that integrates across existing SAP platforms and directly accesses core data sets.  Looking forward, both of these solutions are designed to integrate with S/4HANA (on-premise or cloud) and Bramasol is proactively providing analytics and disclosure solutions to leverage these integration opportunities.

To help with rapid deployment while still maintaining tight integration, we’ve created purpose-built compliance and disclosure solutions, including our Rapid Leasing Compliance Solution and Rapid RevRecReady Compliance Solution.  Both solutions expedite the implementation process by leveraging pre-built capabilities while providing robust compliance coverage for the relevant regulations.

In keeping with the overall philosophy of building a solid and comprehensive Compliance Foundation, all our purpose-built solutions make use of core SAP Cloud Analytics and data sources, which minimizes duplication, enhances productivity and eliminates isolated pockets of data.

As illustrated below, by building all your compliance activities on a solid foundation of SAP S/4HANA, SAP Cloud Analytics and agile dashboard technologies, each pillar of compliance and finance innovation can be directly integrated with core processes and data.  This makes the entire structure more efficient and improves the coherence between various compliance efforts and ongoing operational activities.

Bramasol-Vision-nobackground

If you’d like to learn more about this approach to building a comprehensive Compliance Foundation, visit here to request a consultation.

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Topics: finance innovation, CEO perspective

Advanced Analytics Provide the Keys to Compliance, Optimization and Transformation

Posted by David Fellers on Wed, Jun 20, 2018 @ 01:40 PM

If you think of today’s businesses as being like complex organisms, then it becomes easier to understand the critical role of advanced analytics in monitoring organizational health and supporting growth. Just as your body’s nervous system, immune responses and circulatory network provide continuous sensory feedback to identify problems and maintain healthy functioning, your company’s analytics processes are critical for organizational adaptation and survival.

In a very important way, adaptive analytics processes help companies cope with constantly changing external forces, such as new regulatory compliance requirements, market dynamics and competitive pressures.  Analytics are also critical for monitoring internal functions and change programs to provide context, transparency and agility for identifying issues and responding to potential problems before they become emergencies.

For example, major regulatory changes including Revenue Recognition (ASC 606 and IFRS 15), Lease Accounting (ASC 842 and IFRS 16), the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and others are all impacting compliance requirements for companies throughout the world.  Analytics are the key for successfully unifying internal processes and data to meet these external demands.

With so much external change going on, it’s vital that your organizational sensory and response systems be agile, transparent and comprehensive. To succeed, you need to simultaneously see the big picture and have the flexibility to drill down for detail across a widening range of compliance requirements.

At Bramasol, while working with a broad spectrum of companies across many industries on their compliance and financial transformation initiatives, it has become clear that “analytics” needs to be treated as a core strategy for overall success – with a comprehensive and highly adaptive approach.

Our go-to analytics technology stack spans the creation of purpose-built tailored solutions for issues such as Leasing and RevRec compliance, combined with user-friendly overall dashboards, such as the SAP tile-based analytics launch pad below.

TiledDashboard

Companies need end-to-end integrated solutions for compliance that fit seamlessly within existing operational and financial systems while providing the detailed information, audit trail, aggregation methodologies and advanced analytics to support disclosure reporting.  In addition, company management needs assurance that these end-to-end solutions are capable of being adapted and updated as compliance and disclosure requirements are fine-tuned or to meet special situations.

While there is no easy one-size-fits-all solution for all companies, it is useful to leverage core analytics technologies that can readily adapt to unique requirements while also meshing with existing legacy systems and laying the foundation for forward-looking business strategies.

For example, we’ve standardized on the SAP Digital Core, SAP Cloud Analytics and S/4HANA because these technologies provide flexiblity, scalability and performance for agnostically integrating and anlyzing data from virtually any existing systems and/or legacy data repositories. 

In addition, we’ve gone the extra step of creating purpose-built analytics and disclosure solutions for Rapid Leasing Compliance and Rapid RevRecReady Compliance.  By leveraging these targeted products, companies that just need quick and easy-to-deploy solutions can get up an running fast for basic compliance while also creating a solid foundation for adapting their analytics to meet future needs.

Comprehensive analytics are a key element in any company’s journey of Compliance, Optimization and Financial Transformation.  Beginning with advisory services and analytics integration, with pre-defined disclosure reports and purpose-built out-of-the-box solutions, these core analytics tools enable companies to comply quickly and then optimize their operational processes for driving transformational change.

Comply-Optimize-Transform

 

Only by creating a multi-faceted sensory and analysis strategy that holistically unifies the entire organization can today’s companies hope to stay healthy and compete in today’s global environment.

Learn more by visiting Bramasol’s Financial Transformation solutions.

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Topics: analytics, financial transformation

Data Drives Everything: Do you know where your data is and how to use it?

Posted by David Fellers on Wed, May 16, 2018 @ 04:33 AM

For the past forty years, companies have been building all their financial and business decisions around information contained in traditional data structures. Virtually all financial systems, no matter who has designed them, have been built around relational databases.  This brings the same set of issues and challenges to every single system.

The primary limiting factor with every relational database is a relatively finite limit as to how much data it can contain without compromising performance.  In most companies, these finite relational database limits have already been outstripped by the flood of new data that is constantly being created.  In response, virtually all companies have resorted to segmentation of their information into different standalone databases for faster manipulation and management. 

For example, the General Ledger is often separated from sub-ledgers and other critical functions such as profitability analysis, revenue recognition and management reporting are relegated to standalone programs and dedicated servers.

DataSilos

Although the goal of segmentation is to achieve faster performance from each database, every time a function or data set is handled separately, informational gaps are created. This sets in motion a myriad of problems from different understandings of what is supposedly the same information based on where and how the data is stored.  The result is a need for constant reconciliation of data drawn from different databases and the imposition of rigid “data cleansing” processes before any decisions can be made.

Of course, these interim steps to cleanse and validate the data are cumbersome, time consuming and a big drain on productivity.  Managers can sometimes spend much more time debating the accuracy of each other’s data than they actually spend on making decisions.

In recent years, thought leaders have been grappling with the above issues in an effort to find effective ways of unifying these separate data repositories with the core processing of transactions.  Overall goals have been to increase accuracy, efficiency and performance by eliminating the need to massage, analyze, reconcile and move data before acting on it, while at the same time accelerating transaction speed.  Steady improvements in chip performance, memory speeds and in-memory software architectures have now made those goals achievable.

By leveraging the in-memory data and processing capabilities of the SAP S/4HANA architecture and S/4HANA Cloud deployment scenarios, CFOs can seamlessly unify their information landscape to remove the gaps and ease the pain-points arising from the artificial segmentation of information.

Instead of always grappling with reassembling disparate pieces of the picture this approach enables CFOs and staff throughout the company to see a holistic real-time view that encompasses all operational data sets and analysis capabilities within a single unified architecture.

In addition to improving both the access to and the ability to manipulate information, S/4HANA also dramatically improves real-time analytics performance because nothing must be moved, massaged or reconciled before the analysis.

With S/4 HANA you now have access to all the data in real time. So how does this change the paradigm for how we approach data? In the past we struggled to get data. You had to abstract it, put it into files and then use what you had. I know that as a user of data we had to think long and hard about what data we needed to answer specific questions.

The heart of this new unified approach is the Universal Journal, which now enables the long-sought after "Single-Source-of-Truth" for decision making. It embodies the concept that all the data is unified within an unsegmented database so that all processes and people see the same set of information in real time. 

This is possible because S/4HANA offers three transformative innovations:

  1. Enables a 7 to 10 times compression of data to greatly shrink the data footprint
  2. Takes the data off disk and puts it into main memory so it’s immediately available
  3. Makes real-time information available to front-line users via flexible S/4HANA deployment scenarios and personalized User Interface technologies

Leveraging S/4HANA has enabled a complete re-imagining of the whole financial architecture and structure of applications so that everything can be driven in real time from the single SAP Intelligent Digital Core.

SAPIntelligentDigitalCore

Once everyone is working with the same information and operating in sync with each other, the single-source-of-truth also begins to inform high-level strategies and long-term planning processes.   Instead of constantly struggling to understand where you are, the whole team can turn their focus and energies toward getting where you want to be.

Now that we have instant access to raw transaction level data, and are constantly adding more data with technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT) and machine learning, companies need partners, such as Bramasol, who are experts in deploying solutions with the agility and scalability to handle escalating data and transaction processing requirements.

Bramasol is a co-innovation leader in the implementation of the SAP S/4HANA (On-Premise and Cloud) to help customers achieve high-performance results with in-memory capabilities and extensible Digital Core. 

Our capabilities include leveraging S/4HANA technology in purpose-built offerings such as our Rapid RevRecReady Compliance Solution and Rapid Leasing Compliance Solution as well as helping our customers incorporate S/4HANA benefits into their on-going Finance Innovation initiatives.

Click here to request a demo of S/$HANA Cloud and get expert answers to your specific needs.

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Topics: data integration, s4/hana cloud

Compliance-Driven Finance Innovation: Putting the Pieces Together

Posted by David Fellers on Wed, Apr 11, 2018 @ 01:09 PM

Today’s corporate finance professionals face an accelerating set of new challenges, changing compliance requirements and global competitive pressures that threaten to overwhelm the inherent limitations of their existing legacy finance and ERP systems.

Most conventional finance management technologies have been in existence for decades and, while they offer a familiar environment, they have significant limitations when it comes to keeping pace with today’s complex and dynamically changing corporate challenges.

Some of the chronic challenges that arise from these limitations include:

  • Too much time and energy spent on inefficient month-end & year-end close processes
  • Difficulty acquiring and accessing accurate data for financial reporting
  • Time wasted reconciling reports based on conflicting data sets
  • Inability to extract timely ad hoc data for operational decision-making

Layered on top of these enduring issues are new challenges driven by major changes in the compliance and regulatory environment.  These include:

  • Revenue Recognition Changes (ASC 606 and IFRS 15)
  • Lease Accounting Changes (ASC 842 & IFRS 16)
  • Financial Instruments Impairments & Disclosures (IFRS 9)
  • General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) for companies doing business in the EU

Of course, the overarching challenge facing CFOs is their responsibility to handle all the above issues while also providing strategic and tactical leadership to meet their companies’ business goals for growth, market share, and profitability amid increasingly dynamic and globally competitive environments.

In working with a wide range of companies, across multiple industries, our Bramasol team has seen a variety of mindsets on the part of C-Suite decision-makers when it comes to addressing these issues. 

Most people thankfully have now abandoned the “head in the sand” approach and are actively grappling with the reality that the need for compliance-driven changes can’t be ignored. 

But the majority of CFOs and CEOs can do more to fully embrace the new compliance regulations as an opportunity for driving transformative changes across the organization.  Many of these companies are attempting a piecemeal approach to compliance based on ad hoc point solutions, spreadsheets, and other short-term fixes. Ultimately, this limited-scope mind-set almost always costs more and delivers less than can be achieved with a broader and more integrated approach.

On the other end of the spectrum are proactive forward-looking company leaders who see these external compliance-driven change-drivers as major opportunities for truly transformative finance innovation.

As part of our efforts to serve the whole range of companies’ needs, from those that just want to put their toe in the water and comply to those who are proactively committed to financial transformation, we’ve focused on creating targeted purpose-built solutions for compliance that that also can readily integrate with big-picture financial transformation initiatives.

We fundamentally believe that Compliance Innovation lays the foundation for Finance Innovation.

So how does a company go about getting targeted cost-effective compliance in the near-term along with a transformative path forward to overall Finance Innovation?  Well, for those companies that are already invested in SAP technologies, the answer is S/4HANA and S/4HANA Cloud.  Looking at the SAP roadmap, it is clear that S/4 HANA will be the future for all SAP-based companies and that virtually everyone will undertake migration projects to implement S/4 HANA over the next two to three years. 

Given the near-future reality of S/4 HANA as the core SAP technology platform, coupled with the excellent and cost-effective S/4 HANA Cloud functionality available right now, we believe in charting a path that takes maximum advantage of today’s compliance-driven requirements to usher in tomorrow’s financial transformation.

Our immediate compliance activities have been focused on integrating purpose-built applications such as SAP Revenue Accounting and Reporting (RAR) for revenue recognition (ASC 606 and IFRS 15) along with SAP Lease Administration by Nakisa and SAP Real Estate (RE/FX) for lease accounting (ASC 842 and IFRS 16).  We augment these specialized applications with pre-packaged solutions such as RevRec Disclosure Reporting, Lease Data Extraction/Abstraction/Migration, SAP Cloud Analytics, Cloud for Planning and flexible integration tools that span existing ECC and SD environments with future-leaning S/4 HANA capabilities.

This forward-looking journey to the future with S/4 HANA and the digital core can effectively unify and integrate these four key arenas 1) Cloud-based technologies, 2) Data unification, 3) Mobile access everywhere and 4) People-oriented usability and personalized processes.

inside-blog-image-1-(002)

You might say we’re betting the farm on a future built around S/4 HANA, but in truth all companies that use SAP software today have already made that same bet.  They just may not have given the future much thought as they grapple with the pressing issues of today.  But, if we all stop and take a look ahead, it’s clear what is coming – and it is S/4 HANA, either on-premise or in the cloud (or both).

Those companies that acknowledge this reality today and align their near-term compliance efforts with an S/4 HANA enabled future, will reap the benefits by putting all the puzzle pieces together to not only Comply but also to Improve Customer Engagement, Increase Profitability, Better Manage Inventory and Assets, Streamline Operational Processes, and Optimize Cash Generation.

inside-blog-image-2-(002)

In summary, by creating Compliance Innovation solutions for today with built-in Finance Innovation and migration opportunities for tomorrow, companies can cost-effectively leverage a highly extensible technology-stack that limits any dead-ends or throw-away implementation efforts along the way, and positions them to grow and be nimble in a competitive environment while addressing new complex regulations.  A company cannot achieve Finance Innovation without mastering regulatory compliance in a streamlined and strategic manner.

To learn more about these opportunities.

 

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Bramasol Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Posted by David Fellers on Fri, Jun 24, 2016 @ 05:32 AM

On the occasion of our 20th Anniversary we want to take a moment to thank everyone who made this incredible journey possible. Most importantly, though, we thank you our customers, our partners and
our people without whom we could not be celebrating 20 years as an SAP Business Partner.

Dave Fellers, CEO
Bramasol
The Leader in SAP Revenue Recognition

Bramasol20thAnniversary.png

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Start Now to get ready for new FASB and IASB Revenue Recognition Rules

Posted by David Fellers on Tue, Apr 21, 2015 @ 04:30 PM

When January 1, 2017 arrives, companies across all industries that follow US GAAP and IFRS rules will be required to comply with the new five-step model for revenue recognition.  On May 28, 2014, the FASB and the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) issued converged guidance on recognizing revenue in contracts with customers.  The process calls for implementation during 2016 and “go live” reporting under the new standards in 2017.

Unlike the previous revenue accounting standard that was industry-specific and transaction-specific, the goal of the FASB and the IASB in the new standard is to introduce uniformity and predictability to revenue recognition practices. Among the industries that are likely to experience significant changes are aerospace, asset management, construction, real estate, software and telecommunications. Changes won’t be limited to these industries, therefore all companies need to develop an implementation plan. 

The new rules mandate Five Steps in the revenue recognition process as follows:

Revenue_recognition_fivesteps

While it may seem like a long time until January 2017, the sweeping nature of these mandated changes requires an early start on implementation planning for a smooth transition and full compliance.

For a successful RevRec implementation, "early" means "Now".  Most companies will need to do a significant amount of preparatory work and accounting assessment during 2015 before they can start to implement any system changes. They also need to have a well-planning schedule for piloting the new processes throughout 2016 in order to be ready for the January 2017 "go live" mandate.

RevRecImplementationTimeline-Accounting

To help companies get ahead of the curve on their pre-planning and structured implementation programs, Bramasol has developed an overview eBook for Assuring Success with New Revenue Recognition Requirements.  This eBook outlines the Five Key Elements that must be addressed starting ASAP and lays out a road map to help keep implementation on track from now to January 2017 and beyond.

RevRec Ready eBook "Getting Ahead of the Curve" Read it Here

 

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Topics: revenue recognition

Bramasol Welcomes New CFO, Mina Farahmand

Posted by David Fellers on Tue, Aug 27, 2013 @ 12:02 PM

Mina FarahmandI am pleased to announce and introduce you to our new CFO, Mina Farahmand.

Mina brings over twenty-five years of corporate financial management and global development exposure to complement the executive team. She has served in leadership positions for several high-tech companies, including chief financial officer for Xeralux, Inc., and international chief financial officer for Ultratech, Inc. Additionally, she has held management positions at AMD, Infineon Technologies and Deloitte. Mina is replacing Jonathan Bell, who has been with Bramasol since early 2001 and is leaving for personal obligations.

You can learn more about Mina in today's press release and on our website.



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Topics: CFO, Bramasol, Mina Farahmand, global, financial

Celebrating a Year of Growth and Expansion

Posted by David Fellers on Fri, Jul 5, 2013 @ 11:06 AM

On July 3, 2013, Bramasol celebrated the one year anniversary of purchasing Caarma Corporation and thus initiated a year of growth and expansion.

The purchase, completed on July 2, 20112, doubled the size of Bramasol, increased geographic coverage across the U.S., and added an offshore operation to deliver high quality, cost effective services. The addition of offshore operations based out of India has allowed Bramasol to deliver superior services for very compelling rates to our customers.

Some of our San Francisco Bay area employees gathered together to enjoy lunch, and we as a company look forward to another year of progress.

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Topics: Bramasol India, Bramasol

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