This article was originally published on OneStream.com by Nicholas Cox
The focus for this first session was using the Task Manager MarketPlace solution in the context of Financial Close and Consolidation.
In the session, I introduced the presenters and gave an overview of the OneStream Champions customer advocacy program. I explained how customers can earn points for special rewards, such as gift cards, OneStream SWAG items, and charity donations. Champions are also invited to ask questions and network with other power users through the OneStream Champions Discussion Board.
We then ran a quick poll of the audience to find out what they’re currently using to manage their financial close task lists. The results were interesting:
A. Mostly Excel and Email 47%
B. OneStream Task Manager 20%
C. Other/Custom Solution 20%
D. Not Sure 13%
The survey results are very similar to the dynamics we regularly see with most organizations. At 47%, Excel and email continue to be the predominant tools used, but with a combined 40% already using OneStream Task Manager or another solution this demonstrates strong recognition of the need to adopt a specific capability. We may even see an increase in users of OneStream Task Manager following the webinar!
Next, I explained how OneStream supports virtually all statutory reporting needs including US GAAP, IFRS, and Multi-GAAP and local requirements. OneStream provides capabilities for complex organisations to handle sophisticated requirements, such as intercompany transaction matching and eliminations, financial signals to help shorten the financial close, variance and flux analysis, and more. And even more importantly, we do it all with a complete audit trail and drill-through capabilities – providing users with insights into every single number in all reports and analysis.
I followed that explanation with an introduction to Task Manager, a specific OneStream Marketplace solution many customers are leveraging. It’s easy to see why since, as I pointed out, ‘it walks you through your close process’.
This process management solution enables Finance teams to organise and manage workflows – both inside and outside of OneStream – and really adds to the user experience. It guides users to the right place, at the right time and keeps them focused on the next task in the close process. (See Figure 1)
At this point, I handed things over to Jessica McAlpine, Group Product Manager Close & Consolidation, and Kelly Darren, Global Domain lead for Financial Close.
Jessica explained that, as a topic, Task Manager was chosen by the most customers through the Champions program. Customers were especially interested in shortening the financial close process through Task Manager.
As a customer, Jessica first saw OneStream’s Task Manager and loved the power and process it offered, but she also talked about being asked to put together the business justification to implement Task Manager. After leaving her role to join OneStream, she now regularly hears the same question: ‘How can we build the appropriate business value case to add this capability?’ In other words, Jessica stressed how more customers would implement the solution if they knew how simple the setup would be.
Demonstrating the Power of Task Manager
Next up was Kelly, who started to demonstrate the solution – including a setup from start to finish within the 50-minute webinar. Here are some additional features she covered:
- Different views for users to see their tasks, including the highly popular Gantt chart view which displays the start and end dates and gives visibility into dependencies.
- Segregation of duties, ensuring that one user cannot complete and approve specific tasks.
- Task instructions, which enable detailed documentation to be uploaded to a task for users to learn and understand the process – a capability that’s particularly useful for new employees.
As Task Manager is a MarketPlace solution, Kelly also showed how to access the MarketPlace from the OneStream website (See Figure2). Task Manager is listed as a financial close solution but can be used for multiple purposes across the platform. Here are a few:
- Financial Planning & Analysis (F&A)
- Other operational planning scenarios (e.g., HR, IT, Sales)
- Any task – even non-financial ones
Jessica and Kelly then shared various best practices – including how to get the correct time dimension dropdown to show by default, which saves time, and how to use event-based email notifications. The notifications can be used to alert users on past-due and upcoming tasks. This capability really helps to keep the close process moving and meet deadlines.
Here are a few additional best practices highlighted in the webinar:
- Task Scheduler helps streamline the close by offering different types of schedules to meet the needs of organisations, and tasks can be tracked down to the hour if required.
- Holidays offer great capability to deal with the different country holidays around the world. Multiple profiles for different regions can be set up, giving international companies everything needed to manage the close process amid a geographically dispersed footprint.
- Templates help make the management of tasks less daunting since users can find a template example to help them set up whatever they need.
Kelly concluded the demonstration section with the power of OneStream dashboards and reporting. The scorecard is excellent for visualisation and displays all tasks. Users can immediately see the preparers, the approvers, and all-important due dates. And another great feature? The ability to see all comments that have been entered throughout the process.
The final part of the webinar was dedicated to questions from the audience, and there were plenty! Jessica and Kelly answered as many as possible – and quite a few focused on the best setup and use of the solution.
Interested in learning more about Task Manager please watch the replay of the webinar or visit the OneStream website – and don’t forget to check out OneStream Champions and our events page for future sessions