The client was undergoing a strategic finance transformation initiative to globally align technology, policy, and procedures. As part of this initiative, the company had several strategic goals, which included (but were not limited to):
- Improving financial visibility and reporting across locations;
- Developing a comprehensive list of financial dimensions and a single chart of accounts to be used company-wide; and
- Rolling out a singular set of policies, procedures, and controls to be used by all personnel.
To achieve these long-term strategic objectives, the client faced two major financial system changes, including implementation of a new ERP system – Microsoft Dynamics D365 F&O (D365) – and a new consolidation and reporting system.
Due to historical mergers and acquisitions, the client’s hundreds of individual locations were operating on differing ERP systems (e.g., JD Edwards, Solomon, Abila, Sage, Navision, etc.) for their accounting and local reporting requirements, resulting in fragmented, incomplete, and inconsistent data and reporting at the corporate and ownership levels. Additionally, each operation’s accounting team had a separate chart of accounts, and each team would often utilise their own policies and procedures at each location, based on legacy designs or requirements. These decentralised technologies, policies, and procedures hampered decision-making due to a lack of real-time insights and a clear, unified view of the organisation’s performance.
Finance transformation and change management to achieve objectives
When Protiviti was initially engaged, the client had already implemented their new consolidation and reporting system. However, because D365 had not yet been implemented, the financial data was being pulled into the consolidation system automatically (i.e., through an integration) or manually (i.e., through an Excel file) from all the company’s legacy ERP systems. Due to the number of systems being utilised, the differing chart of accounts, and the processes in place to update the consolidation system, management could not readily support the financial data being generated out of this system compared to the company’s audited financial statements. As a result, Protiviti was able to quickly deploy a team of 10 consultants with extensive backgrounds in process improvement and finance/accounting to work directly with the corporate controller and vice president of finance to complete these activities:
- Successfully reconciled GL balances in the consolidation systems to the details embedded within the source ERP systems.
- Identified and documented findings and recommendations related to mapping errors, foreign currency differences, suggested adjustments, etc. that contributed to historical and current period differences between systems.
- Assisted management with consolidating the adjustments required for prior and current periods.
Once the client began their global implementation of D365 across all locations, Protiviti was asked to support the implementation in a variety of key roles:
- Project managed the implementation of D365 globally and coordinated across other project teams (e.g., IT, procurement, etc.) to ensure alignment and consistency across workstreams and systems. Built and maintained a customised project plan in Smartsheet, which was comprised of more than 3,000 project tasks, to ensure client stakeholders and other members of the implementation team were kept up to date on prioritised tasks and any potential project delays.
- Drafted and coordinated communications to corporate and local personnel regarding critical aspects of the implementation, including key dates and activities. Timely communications across the organisation were critical to the facilitation of change management across the company’s multiple projects and implementations.
- Conducted interviews with finance and accounting personnel at each location and documented each site’s current state processes via questionnaire, narrative, and/or flowchart. This documentation was utilised by the project team to confirm and refine each location’s requirements to be loaded into D365 while also meeting the requirements detailed in the company’s global policies. As part of these discussions, Protiviti compiled and confirmed information required for configuration (e.g., user information and workflow details) and worked with each location to map their legacy chart of accounts to a single, global chart of accounts.
- Facilitated, organised, and documented materials that would be heavily utilised during end user training, user acceptance testing, cutover/go-live procedures, and hypercare support. This documentation included various checklists, calendars, training and test scripts and recordings, and other documentation that would be used to effectively scale the implementation from tens of locations per quarter to tens of locations per month.
- Improved the operational effectiveness of other systems integrated with D365. For example, the client implemented an invoice scanning software that was integrated with D365. Protiviti was able to deploy resources from our Global Delivery Center to process invoices and expedite the machine learning capabilities of the software.
As part of these efforts, the Protiviti team worked in collaboration with the company’s finance, IT, and operational teams, as well as the system implementation partner, to help the organisation deliver on its strategic objectives as part of the overarching finance transformation initiative.