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FAST FINANCIAL CLOSING OPENS UP NEW POSSIBILITIES

 

When we set out to go Enterprise Agile by 2020, we knew it would have to be done leveraging disruptive technologies and driving rapid behavioral shifts in business. This strategic vision led to the re-imagination of an internal activity -- the streamlining of one of the most important processes in any organization, the monthly closing of financial books, which in turn has a direct bearing on quarterly and annual closing timelines.

TCS decided to enhance its financial closing process by introducing multiple layers of digitalization.  As a result of this fast closure of our books, our P&L is now available on Day 1. This in turn helps our business leaders make fast and confident decisions with a complete real-time view of their operations. Fast closure is enabled through digitized business performance metrics, and by leveraging the Machine First™ Delivery Model (MFDM™). 

A Domino Effect

In-memory computing has helped achieve near real-time reporting that enabled the release of business P&L results on day 1 and a consequent result declaration in seven days (our fastest turnaround time to deliver quarterly results). This speediness provided a lead time of 10 -15 days for leadership to make decisions and chart an immediate course of action for subsequent quarters. The process has been made automated and intelligent through AI, giving us a continual and, may we add, invaluable stream of data and analytics to help us stay on top of our game operationally.  

The ability to generate P&L statements on Day 1 for an organization with 450K+ employees and across 47countries is no mean feat. The leveraging of multiple technology-stacks and optimizing complex financial accounting processes made this reimagination program one of the most innovative in the finance domain. The transformation also paved the way for paperless AGMs and digitalization of operations in a governed manner.

Last but not least, auditable financial data was delivered faster and more accurately through global data consolidation. It was possible thanks to standardized performance management, core accounting and vendor management processes. All governance aspects were built into the system and were demonstrated to auditors, fast!     

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Business Benefits: THEN and NOW

The lead time for our P&L statement dropping to 10 hours from the earlier 120 has unlocked a slew of business benefits for us. Where earlier, our results were published in the last week of the next quarter, we now manage this in a mere two weeks, so our shareholders stay informed sooner too. (It was declared within one week for the second quarter of FY20-21, on the 7th of October.) It also helped us optimize our human resources. Given the earlier pace of work and levels of human intervention during financial closing, all teams were on alert and available 24x7 for an extra five-day period; back-up staff was present for longer.  Now, we accomplish this in just two days – the last day of the month and the first day of the following month.

How it came together

The reimagination saw the involvement of around 10 multi-located agile teams working in tandem and was jointly driven by two units –internal IT and finance. Agility and design thinking played key roles in the end-to-end process. Technology initiatives that were implemented within the finance ecosystem included cognitive monitoring (TCS IgnioTM), in-memory analytics, and self-service reporting.

The focus remained on core process simplification, digitalization and automation, and identifying the best technologies to enable this. The objective was to eliminate the possibility of human-introduced error, mitigate duplication and redundancies, and strengthen the fitness of our financial operations. 

The transformation has not just helped us punch one more hole in our enterprise agility belt, but also made our internal financial ecosystem robust and future-ready to handle operations at scale, giving the leadership an early heads up to plan our future quarters.