Cash Flow design | where is the elephant?

This week I have been working on a driven or calculated cash flow design. As is the common pattern in my experience, the requirement was initially expressed as a need for a consolidation tool, Oracle Hyperion Financial Management (HFM). When digging into the requirement, I asked whether this report definition needed to be shared with their relational reporting tool, OBIEE (Oracle Business Intelligence Suite Enterprise Edition) looking at Oracle E-business Suite (EBS) and their analytical reporting tool, Essbase? Would the cash flow report not be a valuable operational and analytical tool, rather than just a retrospective month-end report? Everyone agreed it would be, but this is when I noticed the elephant in the room. Everyone agreed that the cash flow could be calculated, but had assumed that the ledger did not have sufficient detail to populate the model.

Don’t get me wrong, I have yet to encounter a client that can calculate a full cash flow without some manual analysis, however this is the 5%. The other 95% is usually available in the ledger. I think what deters us, is that we are used to mapping to HFM at an account level only. The information that drives cash flow is often only available at sub-ledger and journal type. Using a masterdata management tool allows you to easily map all kinds of information, including sub-ledgers and journal types. If in doubt about the source of data, start by analysing the support for your cash flow journals or calculation …then get ready to look for elephants!

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