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Financial reporting & management. (Technology Tools).

Cetova Corp. has released C-FAR (Cetova Financial Analysis and Reporting), which it calls the first comprehensive financial intelligence application to provide integrated, Web-enabled financial analytics and production reporting without the high cost and maintenance of business intelligence and data warehousing platforms.

Cetova vice president Brian O'Kelley says that "CIOs are already realizing benefits from C-FAR because our solution pulls its numbers directly from their ERP systems -- without major infrastructure investments or IT staff involvement. Financial executives appreciate its simplicity, accuracy and superior analysis capabilities."

O'Kelley added that C-FAR provides real-time report generation for faster decision-making; seamless integration with major ERP systems like SAP, J.D. Edwards, Oracle or Lawson; assured accuracy with account and report validation; elimination of manual processes; and robust security Maintenance and user training requirements are minimal, O'Kelley says, with half-day training sessions adequate for most users. Installations can be completed in as little as two weeks, he adds.

Ausimont USA, a leading U.S. fluorochemicals company, completed a soup-to-nuts implementation of C-FAR in less than 30 days. The decision to use C-FAR was based on the need to provide non-technical users with the ability to be self-sufficient. The finance organization did not have the technical expertise to generate reports or analyze information from its ERP system. Additionally, the company had consolidation reporting requirements for Solvay, its new parent company, that could not be completed in the requested timeframe. With C-FAR, the entire finance staff can write reports and leverage financial information.

Mike Lacey, Ausimont's president and CEO (and former CFO), said in an interview that the company's system of J.D. Edwards Financials and Prism, a software application for process manufacturing, made it "very hard to sit on top of those two systems and extract data -- and calculating return on investment was particularly difficult." In effect, he said, users would have to create a "portable data warehouse" to do that analysis -- "and the typical user could never do that."

Lacey adds that he "had practically given up on getting ad hoc information." With C-FAR, he says, report queries can be written virtually on the fly. Now, six people in finance there are using the system regularly, creating and writing reports -- including linking earnings to accounts receivable and fixed assets and reporting the results up through the business unit level.

In addition to the ERP vendors mentioned above, C-FAR is compatible with PeopleSoft and Great Plains. Supported databases include DB2, Oracle and SQL Server. C-FAR supports Microsoft and Oracle OLAP. Compatible platforms include Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP, AS400 and UNIX.

Jersey City, N.J.-based Cetova is also developing a global network of integration partners to market and implement Cetova solutions. Charter partners include GL Associates, a consulting firm in New Jersey from which the company was spun off last year.


KCI Computing has released Version 8.4 of CONTROL[R], the company's financial management software. This latest release provides expanded capabilities and greater deployment flexibility. The company says it "unites more processes and data, making it even easier for clients to plan, measure and drive performance."

The Torrance, Calif.-based KCI says CONTROL puts an end to fragmented financial management, allowing functions ranging from modeling and budgeting to forecasting, reporting and analysis. In doing so, it allows organizations to examine details, continually plan, adjust and predict in real time and with confidence.

The company says that key enhancements to the latest CONTROL release include:

* Sub-Accounts--The fine points behind the plans and forecast numbers can be kept in CONTROL. There is no need to turn elsewhere for the supporting details. For example, a user planning a travel budget now can list individual trips, their cost and an explanation of their purpose. This flexibility to work at individually specified granular levels promotes greater accuracy, accountability, trace-ability and information-sharing.

* Full Functionality over the Web--All CONTROL features can now be used in real time over the Web. This boosts productivity, fosters increased collaboration and facilitates large-scale deployment across remote operating units.

* Row Comments--Textual comments can now be displayed in a column to the right of a data row.

* New Builder Wizard--CONTROL takes leveraging existing information one step further by automatically setting up dimensions, levels and hierarchies--even interpreting formulas from existing Excel worksheets. Users simply launch the wizard, find a report or table they have in an Excel workbook, answer a few questions and the appropriate dimensions and hierarchies are populated.

* Store and Restore--Application building is further accelerated and simplified with the "Store and Restore" functions. "Store" saves a complete representation of a CONTROL object in a worksheet in an Excel workbook, and will store multiple objects on different sheets. "Restore" uses the contents of the workbook to recreate or update objects in CONTROL. These new mechanisms promote rapid prototyping, simplify documentation, shorten project time and encourage collaboration within the organization.

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Publication:Financial Executive
Date:Oct 1, 2002
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