From Three Days to 15 Minutes:
Utility Company Speeds Up Financial Reporting Process By 48X
Navajo Tribal Utility Authority (NTUA) provides electric, gas, water, wastewater, photovoltaic, and telecommunication services to 50,000 customers across Arizona and New Mexico. The utility went live on the SAP ERP more than a decade ago, and, during a 2016 review, identified an opportunity to improve the efficiency of its monthly financial reporting processes.
Challenges and Opportunities
“Preparing our board package typically took two or three days of work each month, including a full day just to compile the data” recalled Dolores Rangel, NTUA Accounting Manager. “Everything was manual, from downloading a trial balance from SAP, reformatting it in Excel, reviewing the transactions, making adjustments, and then running that process all over again until the reports were right.”
NTUA engaged longtime consulting partner HPC America to automate those manual steps, eliminate the need for extensive data verification and reconciliation, and enable authorized users to generate reports directly from their SAP desktops. The project scope included the delivery of more than a dozen automated income statement and balance sheet reports, as well as optimization of GAAP-FERC translations to further streamline the financial reporting process.
Solution and Results
HPC kicked off the project with a thorough evaluation of NTUA’s existing reports, mapping, allocations, capital expenditures, and to-be requirements. To deliver a comprehensive reporting package for the NTUA board, HPC then developed a set of “push button” financials in SAP ECC with optimized drill-down capability by each of NTUA’s many lines of business.
“The reporting solution HPC built for us is dramatically better than what we had before,” said Rangel. “Our monthly process now takes 15 minutes to run, saving the team several days of effort that we can use for analysis instead of data checks and formatting.” All reports run directly from SAP, and are available as soon as a reporting period is closed in the ERP. Financial statements tie directly into the FERC module to drill down on line item details, and are easily exportable to Microsoft Excel from within SAP, including line item details by GAAP and FERC accounts. The new automated process is so user-friendly that additional users can review the reports, which, in turn, enables NTUA to identify and adjust incorrect transactions more efficiently.
NTUA Assistant General Manager Gerard Curley commented that, “NTUA is growing rapidly, and it’s more important than ever for our systems and processes support that growth. HPC’s work did just that, by improving the reliability, relevancy, accuracy, and timeliness of our board financial package.”
In looking back at the final results, HPC CEO Jerry Cavalieri noted that, “When utilities have been running SAP for many years, taking a fresh look at reporting processes can deliver very pragmatic, cost effective boosts to productivity. There’s so much valuable data right in the ECC. HPC’s approach to reporting helps Finance, Accounting, and Rates work more independently and analyze financial transactions more thoroughly, while also speeding up the monthly close.”