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Automating the Last Mile of Finance #1 What’s New for US Companies?

Automating the Last Mile of Finance #1Keyvisual_alternate_Illustration_5.jpg
What’s New for U.S. Companies?
The Last Mile of Finance
Today economic actors largely agree on the “last mile of finance” concept definition. Yet, according to recent research by the American Productivity & Quality Center (APQC), “until recently, the prevailing sentiment among CFOs about the financial reporting process was “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” That process, often called the “last mile of finance,” involves all the steps a publicly traded company must take to close its books each quarter, perform accounting reconciliations, prepare consolidated financial statements and publish official documents that explain performance results to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the investing public.” These events, as KPMG points out, “occur from sub ledger closing to the final filing of reports with management, the public and regulatory entities” and form what Deloitte calls “a brief period at the end of each financial quarter when the pressure is on accounting and finance teams to close company books quickly, while producing accurate results. During this window, employees engage in a frenetic, deadline-driven process.”
The “last mile of finance” is familiar to SAP and we’re already providing software to help operate on this process. The SAP financial close software help drive accelerated, more reliable close processes and analyze the why and how behind financial results. Our software can give visibility and tools needed to dynamically manage challenges – including multiple currencies, mergers and acquisitions, and ever-evolving accounting standards and regulatory disclosure mandates. In particular, with our Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) suite we’re combining software power with regulatory expertise into unique software solution to run the “last mile of finance” according to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).
Help US Companies Run Their Business Better
Over the course of 2012, we’ve been discussing with ou US customers and asked them what they would need to run their “last mile of finance” better. Their answer was:
  • Smooth ways to link our system of records (ERP) to their system of engagement (EPM),
  • Be able to use software provider preconfigured EPM financial close software to streamline compliance with the SEC,
  • Benefit from fast time to value and implementation in weeks – not months.
Based on these discussions our Labs teams in Palo Alto, California have decided that SAP needed to do “something new” for US companies. The last quarter of 2012 we’ve officially kicked off an unprecedented investment plan dedicated to the “last mile of finance” in the US. We have set three execution goals for 2013. Firstly, simplify, secure and accelerate the “last mile of finance” process for US companies through software automation. Secondly, fuel the software solution with our unique business process knowledge and US GAAP regulatory expertise. Thirdly, embark our innovations within SAP technology strategy and seize new opportunities by leveraging technologies like cloud, in-memory, and mobile computing. We’ve summarized our goals in the following road map graph.
What’s Next

Executing on SAP’s strategy our goal is to leverage our core competency in solving business problems to make the enterprise run better and improve finance people’s lives. We will complement our strengths in applications and analytics with our breakthrough technologies in HANA, mobile and cloud/social collaboration to provide innovation without disruption to our US customers and high value finance-specific applications. We have a great opportunity to reshape the IT industry and transform business networks. With our vast experience in enterprise performance and our technology innovations, we can now power these new types of solutions. We are committed to driving business value of US companies, lowering their total cost of ownership (TCO), and helping them innovate.
Stay tuned, in the coming weeks we’ll be giving you more insight on our plans including Labs Preview screenshots and videos as they become available.

Elizabeth Milne, SAP EPM solution marketing

Kristina Henn, SAP rapid deployment solutions

Stephane Neufcourt, SAP EPM solution management

APQC “Three Good Reasons to Automate the Last Mile of Finance”
KPMG “The Last Mile of Finance: Building Transformation Momentum with Technology”
Deloitte “Automating the ‘Last Mile of Finance”
SAP Financial Close
CFO Knowledge
SAP Technology Strategy
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