Tips on Working with Financial Consolidations in Microsoft Dynamics AX

There are plenty of Microsoft Dynamics AX users who are charged with consolidating parent company financial data from multiple subsidiary entities.

Aggregating company financials from more than one subsidiary can be a challenge if you do not have a powerful financial reporting and consolidations solution. As the importance and amount of data continues to grow for corporate decision-making and planning, business leaders are seeking an easy-to-use tool for the regular responsibility of consolidating data into a unified set of financial statements.

Let’s begin by defining the term ‘financial consolidations’. This refers to the process of bringing together and reconciling operational and transactional information into a singular set of financial reports for a parent company. These statements consolidate subsidiary information, which comprises the parent company’s financial portfolio, into one report.

Consolidations typically entail currency conversions (if you’re working with multiple money types), inter-company transaction eliminations, and any additional adjustments that need to be done manually in Microsoft Dynamics AX or right in the financial consolidation tool, so you can produce a comprehensive picture of the parent company’s financial health.

There are plenty of reasons to start shopping around for software to facilitate financial consolidations, but you might identify with two main motivators – both of which have to do with age.

First, some organizations are looking to retire their mature consolidation tool because it is too simplistic to meet modern business demands. Examples of this might be FRx, Management Reporter, or Prophix.

The second situation has to do with those instances when you might want to replace your older software because it is too complicated for business end users to maintain, which may be the experience with Cognos or Hyperion. There are also some Dynamics AX users that have tried the native consolidation module that was built into AX 2012 – and found it to be simply too tedious or incapable of meeting their needs.

I’ve had the opportunity to speak with a number of CFOs, controllers, and other financial professionals who depend on Dynamics AX to manage the financials of multiple subsidiaries, sometimes internationally, for parent corporations. This role is responsible for meeting domestic accounting and global accounting rules as well as currency conversions, like the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles adjustments (GAAP).

Some consolidation solutions offer flexible sub-ledger analytics and are positioned within a Business Intelligence (BI) suite, fully integrated with other modules, like ad-hoc reporting, budgeting, forecasting, modeling, data visualizations, and BI data storage.

There are many things to consider when examining consolidation. What’s important is to know there are different product functions, and it’s a matter of finding the right one to best meet  your company’s specific financial analysis demands.

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