By Mike Arnoldy
February 27th, 2017
Oracle is moving the entire EPM Suite of products to the cloud, and they’re doing it fast. In this blog post, we’re looking at Account Reconciliation Cloud Services, or ARCS, the cloud version of Account Reconciliation Manager (ARM). Unlike some of the other members of the EPM Cloud Suite, ARCS currently has the majority of the functionality found in the on-premise version.
What is ARCS?
ARCS is a cloud-based solution designed to bring automation and controls to the account reconciliation process.
- It moves the reconciliation progress from a series of Excel spreadsheets to a unified platform.
- It enables reconciliations to be automatically completed when certain criteria are met.
- It allows you to place controls on the reconciliations so defined criteria are met before the reconciliation is completed.
- It provides tracking of the reconciliations so that progress towards completion can be monitored and acted upon.
An ARCS implementation is far less complex then say an HFM or FCCS implementation. The application is initially configured based upon the client’s requirements and their current reconciliation process. This will include defining monthly or quarterly periods to be reconciled, attributes that will be assigned to reconciliations such as Risk Rating, Account Type, Aging Profiles, User Defined Attributes and Reconciliation Formats.
Once these are set up, a Profiles is created for each account to be reconciled. The Profile will assign the attributes defined above to each reconciliation. The Profile will define who prepares and who reviews the reconciliation. The Profile will contain the auto reconciliation criteria and any rules or questions related to the reconciliation. Each month, the Reconciliations will be created from these Profiles. From volume of work perspective, this will take the most time during the implementation. Companies can easily have hundreds or thousands of accounts that are reconciled and each will need a profile. The set-up of the profiles can be easily set up in an excel worksheet and uploaded to ARCS making this process easier. Profiles can also be maintained in this spreadsheet with changes uploaded to ARCS.
Data is loaded into ARCS using either Data Manager or via a specifically formatted CSV file. Data Manager would be required if the data file required formatting or mapping. The data that is loaded can be either account balances or transaction detail. Once the data loaded, Auto Reconciliation is run to complete the reconciliation that meet the auto reconciliation criteria. Users will then complete the remaining reconciliations followed by a review process by the designated reviewers.
A typical ARCS implementation should be able to be completed in a manner of weeks. Unlike an HFM or FCCS implementation, no history is loaded so there is no lengthy data validation process. An implementation could begin with setting up a few account reconciliations to gain experience with the application and then additional reconciliation can be added.