How to Improve Currency Translation

One of the areas that Brass Tacks specializes in is improving currency translation.  Multinational companies not only rely on accurate translation, they often need it fast and agile.  Look what’s been happening with UK rates and the risk that brings.  Smart financial analysts need to be able to quickly present all of the risk factors involved.

The key to this is to have an efficient currency translation.  Today I’d like to give some examples of how we’ve done this in the past. Both of these clients were not only operating in multiple countries and continents, they had data rolling up several ways.  There was never time for an overnight process because these businesses ran around the clock.  You can’t run a calculation for two hours in the middle of China’s day just because you’re asleep.

My first example told me that they had a reporting problem.  Turns out that the problem was that they couldn’t report in foreign currencies.  They exported all of the data, translated it in spreadsheets and then re-imported it back into the database.  It took days (i.e. more than just a reporting problem).
They were US based and reported in Dollars, they also had European headquarters in the UK and needed to roll up in both Pounds and Euros. Then it really started to get complicated.  Europe would buy (in dollars) supplies from the US and then sell them to the countries that reported up to it (in Euros or Pounds, depending on the type of transaction)

We created a highly focused translation that calculated everything in to every other currency.  It would run every time a user saved data so the countries could always have translated data.  We had a more complicated one that ran at the end of the budget process and did everything.  Triangulating the currency allowed us to meet all of the needs that they had at the moment they had them.
Fast forward a couple of years, and my most recent client had a similar problem but was more complicated for one reason; the need for multiple ad hoc currencies.    An around the clock business like client one, but with far more locations and data submitters.  They also wanted extensive and immediate aggregation.  We had put in some focused aggregation in Client one, but had to do a lot of tuning.

The difference this time is called Hybrid.  The newest type of Hyperion database.  Hybrid is the best of both BSO and ASO. It uses BSO for all the familiar functions, but ASO for lightning fast aggregation. In a nutshell, BSO is the classic Essbase that’s been around for decades.  Easy for finance people to use.  ASO is fast and powerful, but more difficult for finance users.  Hybrid combines the ease of use from BSO with the speed of ASO.

​Using Hybrid, we were able to do base level translation fast using a BSO methodology and then let ASO do instant aggregations.  This led to a very happy field where they could act independently.