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Celebrating Finance Innovation

Every organization has a finance team, but not every CFO has a change agent on the team dedicated to transforming finance. It takes a special kind of finance professional to leverage the cloud and other emerging technologies to modernize finance.

Oracle celebrates these unsung heroes of finance with the Oracle Change Agents of Finance Awards. These global awards recognize those with the vision to see the potential of Tomorrow’s Finance, Today. Nominations are open to any individual or finance team using Oracle Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Cloud or Oracle Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) Cloud deployed alone or in conjunction with other Oracle Cloud applications.

View the announcement of our 2020 Oracle Change Agents of Finance Awards winners.

Oracle Billion-Dollar Story Award

Recognizes industry pioneers who use Oracle ERP Cloud and/or Oracle EPM Cloud to deliver monumental savings using techniques such as process standardization and simplification.

Financial Services Department, ATCO Group

ATCO Group took a “big bang” approach by simultaneously implementing a fully integrated Oracle ERP Cloud while updating business processes. They activated all lines of business and Oracle modules including Supply Chain Management, Human Capital Management and Finance at the same time, bringing together the necessary technology to support newly developed common processes. While making the transition from Oracle E-Business Suite to Oracle Cloud, ATCO Group took a critical look at all business operations and made changes to ensure there were no system customizations. This was a massive change from the old environment. ATCO Group’s efforts catalyzed a shift in the business for the organization’s 6,000+ employees, allowing for more efficient cross-function business operations. Their new, fully integrated system significantly reduced the number of manual journal entries and improved reporting by synchronizing and simplifying processes. Ultimately, ATCO Group saved approximately $20M.

Modern Close Award

Recognizes teams who have leveraged the Oracle Cloud for finance solutions to decrease close times by a large percentage.

Sandra Clarke, CFO, Blue Shield of California

Sandra Clarke, CFO for Blue Shield of California, has a proven track record of innovation. The finance organization developed an internal Center of Excellence and shaved four days off the monthly close process.

To begin this effort, Clarke supported the creation of a Finance Transformation team to help business units apply process improvement and project management principles. She also sponsored the creation of an Oracle Center of Excellence to govern a multi-tenant Oracle cloud environment (enterprise resource planning, human capital management, and Oracle Cloud infrastructure) to ensure that individual pillars operate in a unified manner. Executive sponsorship and consistent communication were key to ensure success of these two programs.

Clarke championed the formation of a cross-functional project team comprised of members across general accounting, finance consolidation, actuarial, accounts payable, cash management, finance transformation, and IT teams. This close collaboration led to a reduction of silos and improved information sharing. Clarke identified bottlenecks causing delays in the close process, such as manual workflows and approvals. Her team leveraged standard Oracle functionality to categorize and identify journal entries that could be automated, resulting in faster processing times and reducing manual labor.

These efforts led to:

  • A close period that is now four days faster than before the project began
  • Reduction of financial consolidation cycles by two business days each
  • Approximately $500k of cost savings resulting from automation initiatives alone
  • Improved strategic decision-making stemming from financial reports being produced four days earlier
  • Adoption of a framework for future innovation using machine learning and artificial intelligence

Shared Services Superstar

Recognizes a shared services organization using Oracle Cloud for finance applications to develop digital capabilities to achieve best-in-class service delivery.

Art Karl, Senior Vice President, Financial Systems, BOK Financial

BOK Financial had multiple silo’d locations with a need to replace their antiquated and disparate legacy systems and home-grown applications with a modern finance structure. Considering the age and limited capabilities inherent in and built up over time in these legacy financial systems, it was becoming a critical factor in their future growth and success, as well as a system risk and compliance issue. Oracle Cloud solutions were chosen to provide a solid, integrated platform for modernizing the company’s back-office financial applications and the core of the company's business and finance operations.

As a shared services leader within the company, Art Karl, Senior Vice President for BOK Financial, is responsible for finance system support activities and business process efficiencies at the enterprise level, supporting all regional offices. As the project owner, key influencer, and strategic visionary, Karl worked to move the company from its unsupported legacy applications to modern Oracle Cloud financial applications. Thousands of employees adopted Oracle’s standard processes and best practices to streamline daily, weekly, and monthly activities and reporting, which has resulted in improved accuracy and accountability across the company.

Within one week of go-live, the AP department was processing more invoices per day than were previously able. BOK Financial showed successful leadership in moving the business from a high-touch invoice entry process to 98% no-touch utilizing Oracle Cloud’s invoice imaging capabilities. Employees now can spend more time assisting stakeholders rather than preforming manual activities. For example: AP clerks can reach out to existing vendors and speak to them about converting from ACH or physical check payments, to using the company’s virtual credit card as their new method of payment. This finance transformation will provide a significant new line of revenue for the company.

Top Talent Award

Recognizes an effective combination of Oracle ERP Cloud and Oracle HCM Cloud solutions.

Swathi Potla, Deputy Director of Financial System Services, Department of Finance, City of Atlanta

Swathi Potla, Deputy Director for The City of Atlanta’s Department of Finance, has a talent training and desire to share their knowledge skills and abilities. She wants everyone to succeed. Switching to Oracle Cloud at the City of Atlanta was a huge under taking given that they have over 9,000 employees with different levels of computer skills. But Potla’s patience is as large as her knowledge & skills set forth to build a body of reports to ease the transition to Oracle Cloud. She always has a smile and all questions have value.

Potla is the top talent or go to person for bridging the company’s needs and the Oracle Consultants. She trained a small team on writing reports and built parameters for testing each report before going live. Potla and her team also spend endless hours customizing reports to fit the unique diverse needs of different departments.

The City of Atlanta’s Department of Finance set up in Oracle an “Employee” section that allows employees to see everything associated with their employment. That includes but is not limited to, the employee’s benefits, online paycheck, training opportunities, track their training, access and responsibility in Oracle, performance evaluation, job opportunities and volunteer activities. Essentially a radio button that provides the employee with one step access. In the industry one step access is unheard of.

The HR portion has streamlined the employee’s ability to self-check their own performance, training, and benefits without having to leave their desk. And because it is in the cloud, they can use any device to view how they are doing. Oracle Cloud has also opened access to allow employees to apply for new positions and track the progression of their application. From the employer side, the managers now have at their fingertips on any device, the ability to track their employees progress, to get real time info on the number of filled vs vacant positions, etc. Prior to Oracle Cloud obtaining anything from HR was a long tedious paper driven process for both employee and employer.

Roll with It Award

Recognizes significant increase in agility using the rolling forecast capability in the Oracle EPM Cloud best-in-class service delivery.

Matthew Harbus, Senior Vice President, Freedom Mortgage Corporation

Matthew Harbus, Senior Vice President for Freedom Mortgage Corporation, recognized the state of their industry and the potential opportunity to enhance his company’s financial reporting and forecasting. By exhibiting a proactive and forward-thinking mindset, he was able to create an infrastructure on Oracle Cloud that has allowed this company to grow into one of the largest in their industry. Harbus was the executive sponsor of the Oracle Financials Cloud and Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud implementation. He was directly involved in the day-to-day and executed their strategic plan to build dimensionality and automation into financial reporting and forecasting.

Before implementing Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud, the corporate finance team relied on manual spreadsheets and models. Oracle has enabled the company to combine multiple data sources into a single platform, which allowed them to automate financial reporting. Freedom Mortgage Corporation now easily manages pricing and the cost to originate and service along with other key performance indicators to drive value. After the Oracle implementation, corporate finance adopted a rolling forecast model, which updates based on current market conditions such as interest rate change. The automation and dimensionality from the Oracle implementation were the biggest drivers of project success. Without Oracle, the finance team would have difficulties reporting and forecasting for each of its departments at the speed required to remain competitive. Harbus’s leadership allowed his organization to achieve a more accurate forecast that updates on a rolling basis, enabling the business to make quicker and more informed decisions.

Crystal Ball Award

Recognizes financial planning and analysis professionals who leverage analytics to test business models and strengthen business impact.

Tina Mashiko, Vice President, Finance, Western Digital Corporation

Tina Mashiko, Vice President of Finance for Western Digital Corporation, is responsible for leading cross-functional teams to integrate finance and business processes following complex multibillion-dollar acquisitions. She continues to modernize and redefine financial planning by maximizing tools and piloting a data analytics center of excellence. Mashiko is the internal change agent responsible for establishing and co-chairing the Transformation Management Office (TMO), whose charter is to approve and govern all enterprise transformation projects including the implementation of Oracle ERP, EPM, SCM, and Analytics Cloud.

Under the seasoned leadership of Mashiko and her finance team, Western Digital was able to conquer two major challenges in a 30-day period. Using the real-time information available in Oracle EPM Cloud, Mashiko and Western Digital were able to pivot quickly and mitigate 98% of potential issues for customers, while simultaneously meeting government requirements.

With Oracle Cloud solutions, Western Digital Corporation is now able to provide employees with the ability to make data-driven decisions using optimized data access, higher data quality, and analytics through self-service applications and an enterprise-wide data warehouse. As a result of standardizing processes in the cloud, Western Digital has significantly reduced its data warehouse refresh time from 8.5 hours to 20 minutes while leveraging real-time operational and analytical reporting.