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The accounting and finance team at Citrix produces the company’s consolidated financial statements, aiming to show the performance of Citrix’s divisions as though they were a single entity. That’s easier said than done when you consider Citrix has achieved much of their growth by acquiring other companies.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA
SAP Business Planning and Consolidation, SAP NetWeaver
From their humble beginnings as a small start-up more than two decades ago, Citrix has sought to centralize applications, virtualize them, and optimize their delivery over any connection available. One driving principle is that making work better makes life better for the customers who use Citrix technology and the 8,200 people who work for Citrix.
Citrix has experienced exceptional growth since their founding in 1989. But that growth has added a great deal of complexity to the company’s finance and accounting structures. For example, the company recently expanded their list of internal company codes from 80 to 120. Consequently, the existing consolidation system wasn’t meeting the demands of users.
Performance slowed as data volumes increased. Attempts to drill down into data began taking longer and longer. In some cases, the system timed out before results were delivered. Users were frustrated and increasingly dependent on IT for support, especially for reports that required customized queries. And the finance team wanted to provide a solution that could enable executives to get information they needed on demand, as fast as possible, without having to ask finance or IT.
Empowering employees to run their own reports
Citrix has been an SAP customer for more than 13 years. The finance and accounting department has been relying on SAP Enterprise Controlling-Consolidation System (EC-CS) for statutory and management financial reporting. While looking to upgrade to a new consolidation system to accommodate their global growth, Citrix sought a solution that could drill down to actual transactions in SAP. After evaluating consolidation solutions, Citrix chose to implement the SAP Business Planning and Consolidation (BPC) for SAP NetWeaver.
Citrix set the ambitious goal of rolling out the SAP BPC solution worldwide. Working directly with SAP Services, Citrix was able to implement SAP BPC on time and under budget. Additionally, SAP consultants worked to ensure that Citrix personnel would be self-sufficient. Citrix has been able to expand their use of SAP BPC without requiring additional assistance from SAP. SAP Services provided mentoring and documentation services and as a result, users have been able to train themselves in about two hours.
SAP really fit into our mantra
One of the major benefits of migrating to SAP BPC has been to improve the quality of the work of the members of the Citrix accounting and finance team. Users can build reports on their own, instead of requiring assistance from IT. Previously, it could be frustrating to wait for help, as well as having to explain to co-workers about delays in providing information.
Another benefit is time. For example, Citrix workers used to spend about 250 hours per quarter manipulating files in Microsoft Excel to get them into the right format for reporting. A task as basic as printing an income statement could take three or four days because data needed to be properly formatted for the report generator. Another 250 hours per quarter was spent trying to extract data regarding revenue and deferred revenue by product line.
Citrix has also improved their ability to drill down to specific data. The old system couldn’t provide access to granular data such as the countries customers were in. Today, Citrix can take information from both the company’s general ledger and the U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) ledger and automatically deliver data to SAP BPC.
Supporting the executive team at a better level
Because the SAP BPC solution is faster and more efficient than the previous system, finance and accounting team members have more time to analyze data and perform other high-value work, instead of downloading data or building reports. Additionally, IT teams have more time to work on strategic projects. Finance and accounting have reduced their demand on IT for routine tasks, increased level of self-service for executives, and have an increased ability to provide decision support with detailed financial data.
No longer waiting hours, days, or weeks
The new SAP BPC system has been set up at Citrix with all 120 company codes for their general ledger reporting. Statutory reporting, which is the external reporting required by law for public companies, has been loaded into the system for modeling. That is where the U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) consolidations will take place. By the end of 2013, Citrix plans to perform all of their international statutory reporting and consolidation according to International Financial Reporting Standards.
The addition of SAP BPC is also expected to streamline merger and acquisition processes. The solution gives Citrix the option of loading data from acquired entities directly into SAP BPC, or view SAP and non-SAP data and run eliminations according to rules established by Citrix.