Publisher shares services in $1m upgrade

CCH is the Australian face of Dutch business publishing firm Wolters Kluwer (WK) which has completed a $1 million project to create a 'shared services' environment which gives its Asia-Pacific staff a first-time integrated finance and accounting system.

CCH lacked a central finance and accounting system for Walters Kluwer's 600-person Asia-Pacific operations, whose finance function is managed from the company's regional base in North Ryde, Sydney.

One of the company's major business-IT projects, it is part of an enterprise-wide strategy to align its Australia, New Zealand and Asia-Pacific region finance and accounting functions to create a common financials model for around 100 finance and accounting staff, according to CCH's regional CFO Murray Press.

With WK becoming a more globally aligned business and recently adding a software and consulting arm to its traditional tax, legal and accounting publishing portfolio, the need to centralise financial systems in its Asia-Pacific offices (covering Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, China and Japan) was even more pressing.

Back-office services which are now integrated across regional borders include finance, accounts payable, order management, back-end editorial publishing services and IT.

"We had a mess of an IS environment," Press said.

"Also, with a decentralised finance process we had lots of disparate systems, making financial management and analysis of the business difficult and increasingly costly."

With four recently acquired companies, CCH and those entities each had different order management, accounts payable, general ledger and CRM systems, forecasting and budgeting tools, and banking partners. Those companies' tools were at different development stages to that of CCH and did not integrate with an existing AXS-one finance system made up of AXS-One's general ledger, accounts payable and accounts receivable software.

A user of the US e-business software firm AXS-One's financial tools since 1986, CCH went live with an AXS-One 7.0.4 upgrade version solution suite in early November to help transition to a regional, shared-services environment. These include browser-based financial tool AXS-One Desk, desktop reporting delivery tool OneView, and ECM (Expense Cycle Management) to address compliance risk in financial auditing.

As part of the systems overhaul which has spanned the last nine months, CCH also changed the systems' interface from accounts payable to fixed assets for Australian and New Zealand databases, tasks and processes.

Press said CCH has completely converted the financial management process to an electronic process, which reduces paper shuffling.

"Every business tool our finance staff need is on the desktop. The system has multi-currency functionality and also lets users create data quickly, drill down and analyse financial metrics in real-time. All the data is transparent between different offices in the region."

"The unique piece of this system is one central reporting database, which helps us consolidate the finance and accounting functions of our acquisitions," Murray said.

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