Is your organization’s financial close process more complicated than it should be? Managing, approving and waiting for others to complete their tasks in order to start yours has become a burden on the timeline of the close process. Close Manager from Oracle Financial Consolidation and Close Cloud Service (FCCS) allows you to perform all these things in a much more structured manner. You can create templates and schedules to perform the usual tasks on a monthly, quarterly or yearly basis. You can add or remove tasks from that schedule as needed as well. This blog will introduce that process with the following high-level tasks.

Create a Template

The first step to achieve a process for financial close is to create a template in Close Manager. Templates allow you to repeat a certain process on an assigned frequency. For example, for many organizations the close process doesn’t change much on a month to month basis. We can create these repetitive tasks in a template.

To create a template, go to Close Manager:

From here, the most crucial feature is the Number of days before and after day 0. Day 0 is usually the day the books are closed. Tasks can be assigned before and after day 0 according to the days assigned here. You can also assign organizational units to a schedule to reflect any holidays for that organizational unit. Doing so does not allow tasks to be assigned on those dates.

Create a Schedule Using the Template

After the template has been created we can now create the schedule that reflects the month we want to start the close process.

As shown above, Jan 30th is going to be my day 0 therefore, all tasks assigned will be 5 days before and after that time period. We can also assign predecessor task links to this process for any tasks to be completed prior to the start of this schedule. After clicking the Create Schedule button, the success screen will appear as below.

Create Tasks for the Template

Now it is time to start adding different tasks to my template. There are two types of tasks, Basic and Integration. A basic task is not associated with any part of the FCCS application – it is simply a task. An Integration task on the other hand, uses an artifact on FCCS such as a form or a dashboard.

As shown below, we can add tasks to either a schedule or a template. Adding a task to a template means that these tasks will be repeated on every schedule this template is assigned to. Adding a task to a schedule means that it will only be assigned to that specific month (or assigned period) the schedule is assigned to. As shown below we will be adding a task to the template.

As shown below, clicking on the Add tasks button:

From here, we will add a basic task by dragging it to the left panel of the screen.

As shown below, the basic task is already associated with the source US Close Process. You can change the task type as well as add a priority to the task. Yes, all tasks are important, but we can also use the priority function to filter on all our tasks once we have a complete list.

Since this is a basic task there are no parameters to add as we don’t want to associate this task to any artifacts. Under workflow, we can create an assignee and an approver as well as add a timeline on when this needs to be done. We can also add backups to both. Keep in mind, all the timelines are associated with the template at Day 0.

From here, we can add questions that must be answered, assign viewers, create attributes for filtering and assign rules to a task like auto approving a task if a certain condition is fulfilled. However, we will keep it simple for this demonstration. After saving and closing the new task we notice that our template has changed.

It is now time to initiate the schedule for it to be open to users assigned. We are now back to managing the schedule and setting the status as “Open” as shown below to start the execution of the task schedule.

As soon as I initiated the schedule I received the following email notifying me of the task that is open.

I can also see the task in FCCS as shown below from the Tasks card:

Putting it All Together

The close manager is a strong feature for organizations looking to organize and put structure into the financial close process. Sophisticated systems can be created using flexibility in the alerting systems as well as being able to report on task statuses. We can easily view what tasks are late and who is/was responsible and have FCCS send out alerts as frequently as needed. Users can receive notifications as soon as an edit has been done to a form or receive an alert on a task only when it is complete. We can manage the task creation process itself to be approved by an executive as well before the schedule can be opened to all users. Who doesn’t want a faster and smoother monthly financial close process?

Blog post by Yousef Saead of Key Performance Ideas.

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