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Can anyone recommend good consolidation software?

consolidation software recommendationsWe consolidate as many as 12 to 15 companies on a monthly basis.  Not all companies use the same ERP/accounting software, so right now we require them to submit a monthly trial balance in Excel. The software we have been using is no longer supported (surprise!) and we need to find an alternative asap.

Answers

Sandra Alsina
Title: CFO/CIO, Project Manager, Business Proce..
Company: ManageBooks.net, Inc.
LinkedIn Profile
(CFO/CIO, Project Manager, Business Process Manager/Analyst, ManageBooks.net, Inc.) |

I prefer Intacct which is an ERP app.

It can do either partial or full ownership, multi currency and nice financial reporting.

You can import the monthly activity via CSV file.

Once initial setup is done the Monthly consoles are super easy.

Viviana Eugenia Estrada
Title: Sr FICO Consultant & Instructor
Company: Sr FICO Consultant (Freelancer)
(Sr FICO Consultant & Instructor, Sr FICO Consultant (Freelancer)) |

Hi, at this moment, wich is the ERP installed in your company? because, if you have SAP, you can use BPC (Business Process Consolidation) , is part of the SAP Business Intelligent solution. And you can ensure the integration with the ERP. Sincerely.V

Sarah Jackson
Title: Associate Editor
Company: Proformative
(Associate Editor, Proformative) |

Good question, Anonymous.

You might want to watch this free video here on Proformative:

"Financial Consolidations and Reporting: The Alignment of People and Technology"

https://www.proformative.com/videos/financial-consolidations-reporting-alignment-people-technology

Best of Luck... Sarah

Mark MacLeod
Title: CFO & Chief Corporate Development Office..
Company: FreshBooks
(CFO & Chief Corporate Development Officer, FreshBooks) |

I've used Netsuite in the past. Instant consolidations.

Topic Expert
Bob Scarborough
Title: CEO
Company: Tensoft, Inc.
(CEO, Tensoft, Inc.) |

Most mid-market to tier one ERP applications support multi-national operations as well as consolidation. The close process for multi-national companies still takes time (closing the local entity ledgers, including revaluing any multi-currency balances), closing inter-company transactions, elimination entries, and consolidation (I'm assuming FASB 52 compliant) take some time. If you are looking to replace your full ERP solution then understanding all of the required steps in your close process is important.

At the same time, guessing from your question, it appears you have an organization with some independence in the subsidiary organizations. If the subsidiary companies use multiple systems you probably can’t move all of them asap. To do that would take significant resources and someone in the corporate dictator role to make the change happen. That could be possible with your organization – in most companies it is not.

This would put you in the position of either implementing a new system for your legal entity that supports consolidation from other systems, or implementing a consolidation tool that is separate from your ERP environment. The separate consolidation tool category includes Adaptive Planning, a tool that is certainly very popular. The old standard used to be from Hyperion (Pillar, IFRS) – software tools now owned and supported by Oracle. Here is a recent thread from Proformative that discusses these types of tools: http://bit.ly/1b5ZN3I

Bob Scarborough

Don Wall
Title: CFO
Company: Double B Foods, Inc
(CFO, Double B Foods, Inc) |

I saw a Grant Thornton presentation on Blackline Systems that is cloud based works with multiple ERP systems, has account reconciliation application and consolidation. Others on the market similar, but probably worth checking out.

Martin Le Comte
Title: Manager - Business Modeling
Company: Modelcom
(Manager - Business Modeling, Modelcom) |

Your are already in Excel. My suggestion would be to build a full consolidation model in Excel as an interim solution. It would be implemented faster than other ERP solutions and it will give you the time to evaluate, without being in a hurry, other (permenant) solutions.

One of the permanent solution, as Bill Aiken said, would be Adaptive planning. It's easy to implement and user friendly.

Andy Jorgensen
Title: Principal
Company: Lighthouse Investments LLC
LinkedIn Profile
(Principal, Lighthouse Investments LLC) |

If you are dealing with a degree of complexity with your 15-20 companies such as currency translation and inter-company transactions, or if your userbase is more than 6 people, you'll probably struggle with Excel. The other aspect is not being on the same ERP - I would recommend you take a look at OneStream XF. It has great data integration capabilities to map your different ERPs to a common chart of accounts, and the ease of use is top-notch. It's also fairly inexpensive and easy to install.

Mark Crowell
Title: Director of Finance and Accounting
Company: At-Pac Group
(Director of Finance and Accounting, At-Pac Group) |

We started using Host Analytics last year and love it - the company is very progressive and continues to make good, useful improvements to the software every month. We are expanding our usage this year to our budgeting process as well. We consolidate about 12 entities. We are implementing Epicor before the end of this year and plan on bolting on Host Analytics to Epicor.

Doug McAteer
Title: Global Finance, Enterprise Reporting Man..
Company: Bio-Rad
(Global Finance, Enterprise Reporting Manager, Bio-Rad) |

The answer depends on many factors:
- What is your budget? Think about hardware, software, network connections, annual maintenance fees and professional services fees.
- Do you need to file with the SEC using RR Donnelley's services, which also costs money?
- Are you USGAAP only, or do you have international operation?
- What is your appetite for a cloud solution versus on premise?
- What reporting do you need to get out of your consolidation system? The account mappings from multiple source systems can take a while to perfect.
- Intercompany eliminations is another area of functionality that needs to be examined closely.
- How much training will your finance team need?
- Is planning in scope?

My understanding is that most Fortune 250 companies use Hyperion Financial Management (HFM). Even if you are a small to medium sized enterprise, HFM by Oracle is worth looking into and comparing with other candidate applications.

Good luck.

Topic Expert
Bob Stenz
Title: Controller
Company: Silicon Valley start-up
(Controller, Silicon Valley start-up) |

I got by with eleven entities in a single instance of QuickBooks Enterprise. I added two digits to the front of my GL accounts for each entity. I had the local accountants map their trial balances to my GL, convert the currency, and create a monthly consolidating journal entry which I would upload into QB. Once the process was worked out, the consolidation for these entities went really well (less than 1 hour a month, excluding those entities mentioned in my NOTE) and we had world-wide reporting with our ERP system. NOTE: 6 of the entities were consolidated in Excel and then booked as a single entity into QB. This was the most difficult part and would have been made much easier if I could have booked each entity separately in QB. Unfortunately, these 6 entities were controlled by an overseas CFO that didn't know anything about consolidations (and eliminations) and much work was needed each month to ready the consolidating journal entry.

Martin van Wunnik
Title: Experienced Financial Projects Manager
Company: ARSIMA Projects
LinkedIn Profile
(Experienced Financial Projects Manager, ARSIMA Projects) |

If you are OK to go European, you might want to check Mona from Sigma Software.
http://www.sigmaconso.eu/en/consolidation-software/mona-group-reporting/
All the best!
Martin

Sandy Petty
Title: Director of Financial Analytics
Company: Herdon Capital Management
(Director of Financial Analytics, Herdon Capital Management) |

Currently using NetSuite for Accounting and NetSuite Financial Planning (Adaptive Planning) for Budgeting, Forecasting & Reporting.

Seth Gregg
Title: Accounting Supervisor
Company: RCAB
(Accounting Supervisor, RCAB) |

I appears this is an older post so I hope you have come up with a resolve by now. It is not apparent what your current ERP/Accounting systems are, what industry(s) your company (and subsidiaries) operate in, if international subsidiaries (currency conversions) are involved or what size your company is. Based on the missing information I cannot suggest what ERP solution would work for you. Selecting a new accounting system that will complement your company's reporting needs while optimizing your accounting operations is based on a lot of factors. However, I will suggestion some low cost improvements for your consolidation process that is easy to implement.
1. If one of your Accounting systems is already supported and you have a someone with the technical abilities (system administrator or consultant) available, then moving the remaining subsidiaries to that software product would make a great short-term improvement. This will avoid the resources required for a full system implementation and you may only have to purchase additional user licenses.
2. Standardize your Chart of Accounts. Which really should be rule number one with consolidations. This is a must regardless of what you final system or process choice is. You will want to standardize your cost center structures as well.
3. Purchase a 3rd party report writer for use as a consolidation tool. Report writers such as FRx can be used to set up reporting trees for all of your subsidiaries and cost centers. There will be consulting costs involved, but in the end you will be able to consolidate on a monthly basis and create monthly, quarterly and annual comparative reports.
The steps above will use a fraction of the time, resources and costs required by a full implementation. Hopefully this is helpful to you.

Best regards,
Seth

Lynette Biers
Title: Sr. Manager of Accounting Systems
Company: NGL EP
(Sr. Manager of Accounting Systems, NGL EP) |

SAP's BPC is a great product for consolidation and also can also be utilized for planning, forecasting and various operational reporting needs as well. This allows for lower TCO. It is a single platform solution, completely agnostic and can easily allow for data from multiple ERP's systems and different charts of accounts. It can accommodate currency conversion, I/C eliminations as well as partially owned subs if that is a requirement. BPC has an Excel front end which allows for easy and quick user adoption. It is easy to maintain and administer from the business side and requires very little IT intervention. I appreciate the flexibility of this tool as compared to others. It doesn't have to be only a finance application allowing you to continue to capitalize on your initial investment. From a cost perspective, the initial licensing is much less expensive than Hyperion and the back-end architecture is much easier for IT to support. I can put you in touch with one of the SAP partner's I have worked with in the past if you would like additional information or I would be happy to discuss further with you.
Another new product on the market that is making some exciting innovation in this space is Tidemark. Their consolidation platform is still being fully developed since they are fairly new, but depending on your company requirements they could be a great fit. The founders of this new software solution are the original founders of Hyperion and BPC, so they understand the limitations of current solutions on the market and have worked to redesign the planning, consolidation and reporting tool to fit current technology and business requirements.
I think there are many great products on the market, the key is finding the best one that fits your specific requirements, budget, and implementation time line. And what I have found, is many times the implementation partner you choose will be almost as equally as important as the solution you choose. Even a great software solution can fail if not implemented correctly.
Have fun with this project! What a great opportunity to help your organization work smarter and not harder.

Jim Juliano
Title: Business Analyst
Company: Berkshire Group L.L.C.
(Business Analyst, Berkshire Group L.L.C.) |

We are reviewing similar technology and found The Gartner report Magic Quadrant for Corporate Performance Management Suites (14 February 2013) to be helpful. Many of the solutions mentioned previously, including Board and SAP, are included. We are currently using SAP BPC as a budgeting and reporting tool; I would second the comments by Lynette Biers.

Kundan Lal
Title: Accounting & Finance Consultant
Company: Real Time Cloud Services, LLC
(Accounting & Finance Consultant, Real Time Cloud Services, LLC) |

I would recommend you to go for QuickBooks Enterprise version or if you are looking for a cloud solution you should try NetSuite.

Anonymous
(Sr Financial Professional) |

Have you looked at TenSoft? This is a consolidation tool that is used for the purpose of data structures not being the same. It would need a place to 'import' all the files to show the consolidation. For instance if 7 of your 12 companies used Great Plains - the 'entries' for each company could be imported into a consolidated company in GP from TenSoft. In addition - TenSoft has multi-currency functionality.

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