Welcome to the first part of our new series How does it work? These posts are intended to provide a look into the technical details about how various Oracle EPM technologies work. We are starting our series with the Financial Consolidation and Close (FCCS / FCC) business process of Oracle EPM Cloud. We will dive into the details of how Oracle has implemented a consolidation system in Essbase. You will get a chance to see the inner working of FCCS as we cover first the big picture and then each individual dimension in future parts of the series.
The Wonderful World of Hybrid Essbase
FCCS was originally a basic BSO application built to replace the functionality of the on-premises Hyperion Financial Management (HFM). When it released, it was an imperfect product to be kind. As it has matured since that initial release, it now supports up to four custom dimensions instead of two and has transitioned from basic BSO to now operate on Hybrid Essbase. To be clear, this is not your on-premises Hybrid Essbase. This is Oracle EPM Cloud Hybrid Essbase. This version of Hybrid Essbase performs better than on-premises and supports things like ASO aggregate math in business rules. But, with this new technology come many challenges that can sometimes leave you scratching your head about why Essbase isn’t doing what you expect. More on this in a future post.
Next, let’s take a look at the very many built-in dimensions in FCCS. Here’s the list:
- Data Source
Many of these should look familiar if you have worked with PBCS or Hyperion Planning. But you probably noticed that there are a LOT of dimensions. Some of these are options but the range is anywhere from nine dimensions on the low side and up to twelve dimensions on the high side. Oh, and that doesn’t even include Custom dimensions. But we’ll get to that later. For now, let’s look at each of these dimensions at a high level and we’ll eventually have a blog post that goes much deeper.
The Account dimension in FCCS is much like the account dimension you would find in a PBCS or Hyperion Planning application. There are account types and time balance settings. Where things get a little interesting is that the account dimension in FCCS has a pre-built set of accounts that are critical to the way the application operates. Additionally, there are attributes that you need to assign if you are using intercompany functionality. That’s right…account, a generally dense dimension with attribute dimensions associated. We’ll dive more into what all this means in part 2 of our series.
The Period dimension in FCCS is again much like a period dimension you would find in a PBCS or Hyperion Planning application. You can choose a 12-month, 13-month, or custom calendar. You can add upper level members, but not base-level members. You can also specify Dynamic Time Series (DTS) settings like a normal PBCS application. But…we probably don’t need to. We’ll discuss why when we get to a deep dive on the view dimension.
The Data Source dimension is an especially interesting dimension in FCCS. Personally, when I build PBCS applications, I often times will include a dimension for data sources when there are many sources of data. This data source dimension is much like what I would build…except different. There are members you would expect to see for actual sources of data and then there are system members for data generated by the system like intercompany eliminations and journal entries. As we will find in a future blog post about rounding in FCCS, you will see that this dimension is much more powerful than it appears.
If you are coming from the HFM world, you can look at the Consolidation dimension as serving some of the purpose served by the Value dimension. Here you will find members like Entity Total and Parent Total that should ring a bell. You will also find the likes of eliminations and contributions. This dimension is also heavily leveraged when you enable Ownership Management.
The entity dimension is one of the most interesting, complex, and honestly obfuscated dimensions in FCCS. This is again much like an Entity dimension in the PBCS world. You can set things like currency and have multiple hierarchies. But, it also controls things like consolidation. We’ll cover this one extensively later, but know that this dimension is stored, not dynamic. Also know that this dimension has data living at the upper levels that are no simple aggregations. Very…interesting.
The Movement dimension is another largely stored dimension in FCCS that we will cover in more detail. In general, the goal of the Movement dimension is to track the movement of accounts like opening balance, closing balance, and activity. This dimension highly important to any company hoping to build a cash flow in FCCS.
The Scenario dimension in FCCS is probably the most similar to what you will find in a PBCS application. It has start and end periods and years. You start with Actual and can add scenarios as you go.
The Years dimension in FCCS, much like Scenario, is basically the same dimension you find in a PBCS application. It is even the only plural-named dimension due to the same ancient bug requiring the name of the dimension to be Years and not Year. You specify a range of years when you create the application and you can add years as you go.
The View dimension helps to explain why we don’t really need DTS in FCCS. For those familiar with HFM, you should recognize the View dimension. It comes with four members: Periodic, YTD, QTD, and HYTD. Basically the only thing you can change about this dimension is basic member properties and aliases. This makes a lot of sense, as data is translated by the system back and forth as necessary.
The Intercompany dimension is an optional dimension in FCCS that is created when you enable intercompany functionality. This dimension comes with three members: FCCS_Intercompany Top, FCCS_No Intercompany, and FCCS_Intercompany Entities. Under FCCS_Intercompany Entities, FCCS automatically creates ICP entities that have been flagged for intercompany.
The Currency dimension is another option dimension in FCCS that is again created when you enable multi-currency functionality. You can create members for each necessary currency and then assign those currencies to entities.
The Multi-GAAP dimension in FCCS is by far the most unique to FCCS. This dimension takes the place of a potential custom dimension and provides your FCCS application the ability to report financial statements in GAAP and IFRS. The allows you to basically track adjustments to each separately either through manual or automatic adjustments.
In the next part of the series, we will start to dive into each individual dimension must deeper. The Account dimension is up next…