From the July-August 2006 issue of Treasury & Risk magazine

Sifting for Data Gold

One of the biggest challenges facing finance managers, not to mention CFOs, is determining the quality of data being collected by their organizations. Hyperion Solutions Corp.'s new Web-based application, Hyperion System 9 Financial Data Quality Management, tackles the problem by catching errors and inconsistencies at the source system level, before information is sent to corporate finance to be consolidated. A module to the company's core business performance management (BPM) application, the new solution puts corporate finance staff at the center of setting and changing verification controls, while freeing them from having to do all the actual troubleshooting late in the game.

A data preparation engine helps users integrate, change and validate data from general ledger, human resources or any other transactional systems while other features verify mapping and intersections to compare source data to the consolidated system for completeness. "We're pushing the onus for ensuring data quality onto the financial staff submitting that data into the corporate systems, versus the people at the receiving end," says John O'Rourke, senior director of product marketing at Hyperion. "We're giving the corporate finance staff the tools to control that." Financial Data Quality Management is the result of Hyperion's recent acquisition of Upstream Software, a data readiness and workflow management solutions provider. The application is designed to be set up, maintained and supported by finance staff, with a minimum of input from IT staff apart from the initial installation. "It offers a lot more flexibility for finance to respond quickly to any changes in validation rules, account structures or other elements of the business process," says O'Rourke. An updated audit trail from the balance level to the source document offers users greater transparency into collection and verification processes.

A tax integration option collects information from multiple source systems and transmits the consolidated results to a company's tax preparation application or external tax service.

AN END-TO-END SOLUTION FOR ALL YOU SARBOX NEEDS

Paisley's FOCUS gives small and midsize companies more control over 302 and 404

Paisley Consulting Inc., a maker of compliance and internal audit solutions, released an update of FOCUS, an end-to-end Sarbanes-Oxley compliance application for small and midsize companies. The application handles all business unit-level documentation, certification reviews and control testing for Sections 302 and 404 compliance.

Updates for the Web-enabled system include an easy-to-use interface and features that make it highly configurable to specific settings and business conditions. "CEOs, internal audit, external audit, controllers and CFOs can create all sorts of reports that they need," says Angela Hasley, senior product manager at Paisley. "You could set up a specific report on all ineffective controls by business unit and have it delivered to the CFO at 2 p.m. every Friday. The system would generate those updated reports." Such functionality can be set up by a compliance group and does not require IT support, Hasley adds. Workflow capabilities, such as e-mail alerts and audit trail functions, have also been improved.

Also in the Tool Kit

Controls solutions provider Approva Corp. released BizRights Authoring Studios, a set of standards-based control management tools that let users build consistent rules for greater efficiency. The system can set controls for monitoring, testing, remediation and exceptions management functions across disparate IT systems used for finance functions and operations throughout an organization.

Axentis Corp., a maker of on-demand governance, risk and compliance solutions, released the Axentis Audit Tool Integrator, an application for companies looking to integrate their various systems involved in internal and external audit, financial control and regulatory processes. The solution manages the connectivity between systems and gives finance executives a single view of all compliance efforts and related processes to make it easier to identify control problems.

Payments and invoice automation provider Bottomline Technologies released two solutions for Bank Identifier Codes and International Bank Account Numbers to help companies comply with the European Payment Council's resolution on the single euro payments area and to help lower costs associated with cross-border payments in Europe.

EthicsPoint Inc., a provider of governance, risk and compliance applications, released Enterprise Incident Manager (EIM), a hosted, Web-based software as a service for identifying and organizing potential control breaches for greater risk mitigation. EIM allows companies to establish a single system for maintaining issues raised by employees, suppliers or vendors, including whistleblower complaints.

New York-based insurance and financial services provider MetLife Inc. released a Web-based Benefits Benchmarking Tool that allows companies and brokers to compare the features of a company's benefits plan with those of its peers.

OpenPages Inc., a provider of enterprise governance, risk and compliance solutions, released OpenPages FCM 4.0, an update of its financial reporting compliance application, formerly known as SOX Express. The software allows for better management of international regulatory requirements, with key features available in six languages--English, French, Spanish, German, Japanese and Chinese.

Vengroff Williams & Associates Inc. (VWA), a provider of finance and accounting business process outsourcing solutions, and Avolent Inc., a maker of electronic billing and payment software, have teamed up to offer Conveyance EIPP, an integrated, Web-based electronic invoice presentment and payment application.

NEED HELP WITH OUR (SALES) TAXES?

Vertex offers a centralized depository for staffs worldwide

ertex Inc.'s recent update of its Web-based tax automation solution, Vertex O Series 4.0, includes expanded capabilities for calculating and managing corporate sales, use and international taxes. The new version gives users more flexibility in assigning a taxability category for each transaction, and then the system determines the correct jurisdiction and calculates the appropriate tax. With Series 4.0 in place, a company's multiple divisions around the world can access the system as a single central tax depository. "That gives users more control over the tax process for better compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley," says Paul Dellevigne, senior product manager at Vertex. "There is a cost savings in not having an IT department handle this at each division."

The system's expanded functionality includes excise tax calculations, including fuel and occupancy taxes, all of which can be determined automatically. ERP system integration has also been improved, to give users more ability to customize various tax information and avoid having to do slow and costly coding within the ERP system. "This allows for modifications on incoming data to create the kind of data you need for tax determination," says Dellevigne.

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