Expertise Beyond the Numbers

SC&H Group Deploys Oracle’s Cloud Solutions to Fuel Thayer Lodging’s Rapid Growth

Thayer Lodging, a leading global hospitality and investment company, knew it needed to evolve to keep up with growth, so it turned to SC&H Group.

A unit of global asset manager Brookfield Asset Management Inc., Thayer was expanding so rapidly last year that its technology couldn’t keep pace with the growth.

The story of how SC&H Group deployed Oracle solutions to solve Thayer’s financial reporting issues is explained in the recent CFO.com webinar, Modernizing the Financial Close.

Prior to the Oracle solution, Thayer implemented a financial consolidation and close system that employees dubbed “inflexible” and “inefficient.”  “The availability of data was very limited and was very high level,” Mike Zink, Vice President and Controller at Thayer Lodging, explained to the audience attending the webinar. “It left very few insights into the details of the data coming over from the hotels. It really prevented us from having a solid control environment in the old process.”

Thayer turned to SC&H Group for a new solution, who in turn conducted an intensive review of the company’s financial reporting systems. It found a multitude of different hotel ERP systems, an outdated corporate QuickBooks ERP system and a significant number of Excel spreadsheets often requiring manual data entry and a gateway for mistakes.

“There was no way to get reporting out of a single ERP system,” said Kevin Hebbel, Senior Manager, SC&H Group. “There were a significant number of excel spreadsheets … leaving the door open to issues with manual adjustments and preventing the process from being controlled.”

Thayer and SC&H identified seven key requirements representing the primary focus for the project. They included:

  • Reducing time to close
  • Enhancing visibility and control
  • Compliance with global standards
  • Cloud based application
  • Rapid implementation
  • Owned by finance and accounting
  • Something with minimal IT

The solution:  Oracle’s Financial Consolidation and Close Cloud Service and Oracle ERP Cloud Financials. In the process of determining the right solution, Thayer stacked Oracle’s solutions up against a handful of competitors.

“What drove me to Oracle was the product was able to meet all of our requirements,” Zink said during the webinar. “The cost-to-value was appropriate, and they (SC&H) were able to implement it within my required timeline. We went through a lot of the products and I feel like we had some unique requirements, just given the entire structure, the various GAAPs that we have to report on, the uniqueness of the high dependency on fixed assets for our business, and just really felt that Oracle was not only able to meet but exceed many of our expectations on the product.”

For Thayer, the benefits are profound. There are no longer scores of separate logins required because financials from separate entities are linked together in a single ERP financial application. Zink and his team have no problem producing both consolidated financial reports and detailed level information out of the same application.

In addition, the average time to close has been cut by 50 percent, there are minimal questions around compliance with global accounting standards, and there is limited manual intervention and a reduced dependency on Excel.

“Overall, it is a more controlled process,” Hebbel said. “Making it a simpler and more streamlined process from end to end.”