High Sierra Energy Simplifies Complex Financials with EPM
by Alison Weiss, October 2012
It’s been a wild ride for High Sierra Energy (HSE). Since the Denver Colorado-based company was founded in 2004, it has emerged as a leading gatherer, transporter and marketer of crude oil and natural gas liquids—expanding to 22 operational divisions across several Western states and Canada. Recently, HSE moved into oilfield water and wastewater handling and disposal services, and in spring 2012 the company was acquired by NGL Energy Partners LP, of Tulsa, OK.
Over the years, as the company completed acquisitions and added more divisions and employees, financial systems naturally became more complex. When management decided to simplify financial reporting, it sought the help of Oracle partner Edgewater Ranzal to implement an Oracle Hyperion Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) solution that would easily integrate with HSE’s Oracle E-Business Suite ERP system.
According to Lori Rappucci, prior controller at HSE, E-Business Suite was used for financial consolidation, and then the data was downloaded to Microsoft Excel to create financial reports for the corporate monthly, quarterly and annual closing process. “We spent too much time with manual manipulation of data,” she says. “We were unable to report segment information accurately.”
Rappucci knew improvement with EPM software was possible because she had used Hyperion in a previous job. Selecting an Oracle partner for support was also easy because she had heard about Edgewater Ranzal’s excellent reputation from colleagues at other companies. In fact, Edgewater Ranzal, based in White Plains, NY, has one of the largest Hyperion practices in North America and has focused exclusively on Oracle EPM solutions for over 15 years. “High Sierra needed a Hyperion software solution to simplify the consolidation and reporting process,” says Bob Sanders, business development manager at Edgewater Ranzal. “They needed to eliminate the older processes where 80% of the time was spent on collecting data and only 20% on analyzing the data.”
After consulting with Edgewater Ranzal experts, HSE leaders decided to implement Oracle Hyperion Financial Management (HFM) to streamline the corporate monthly, quarterly and annual close process. In addition, HFM would provide greater detail via custom dimensions and better reporting options via Smart View and Financial Reports. HSE executives also wanted to integrate the HFM system with E-Business Suite to give HFM users the ability to drill back to E-Business Suite to access planning actuals to conduct comparative analysis. On the recommendation of Edgwater Ranzal, HSE management elected to implement Oracle Hyperion Financial Data Quality Management (FDM), a tool targeted to facilitate such integration. Now, using FDM, general ledger data automatically loads from E-Business Suite to HFM every two hours.
The project kicked off in fall 2011 and went live on schedule and under budget in May 2012. Sanders attribute much of the success of the project to the fact that it was a straight forward implementation, much like the other 150 HFM projects Edgewater Ranzal has completed over the years. However, as part of the HSE project, consultants put special focus on automating adjustments for Discontinued Operations and Assets Held for Sale and entries for complex consolidation accounting, as well as creating a custom Intercompany Matching Report. Rappucci says, “The consultants were fabulous and led us in the right direction. It was a great all around project.”
Enhanced data analysis is one of the biggest payoffs of the project, along with improvements in accuracy and time savings. And because the Hyperion system has only been in use for a couple of months, Rappucci and her team are looking forward to achieving further benefits as users become even more familiar with features and functions. “It’s an easier tool for our accountants to use in their analysis every month,” says Rappucci. “Instead of downloading the general ledger transaction detail and having to sort through everything, they slice and dice as they need to.”
Initially, the EPM system is only being used at corporate headquarters, but now that HSE has been acquired, there is hope that management with the new merger firm may decide to take advantage of the application. “Our finance team may one day put in a Hyperion forecasting tool,” says Rappucci.”And if our new owners want to go bigger, they can always do that, too.”