Page Three

By Dennis Callaghan  |  Posted 2003-06-02 Print this article Print

To help with its reporting, Owens-Illinois Inc., of Toledo, Ohio, has turned to Hyperion Solutions Corp.s Financial Management product to do its financial consolidations and reporting, replacing an unwieldy home-grown system, said Vice President and CIO Earl Newsome.

Newsome said he regards Sarbanes-Oxley as an opportunity to improve financial processes and make sure they conform with managements intent. "We want to use Sarbanes-Oxley as a leverage point to do process improvement," he said.

Quaker Chemical has turned to SAS Institute Inc.s business analytics applications to achieve similar goals. "Business analytics helps us manage the company more intelligently and make sure everyones following the strategy and the business processes," said Tyler.

Another key system for Sarbanes-Oxley compliance is Quaker Chemicals knowledge management system, developed by Intraspect Software Inc., which stores documented business practices, processes and intellectual property, key to any compliance report.

Owens-Illinois uses software from FileNet Corp. for similar purposes. Newsome compared Sarbanes-Oxley compliance to ISO 9000 compliance. "Theyre both very document-centric. ISO 9000 is focused on manufacturing processes; Sarbanes-Oxley is focused on financial processes," said Newsome.

Tyler agreed: "The whole time people were finding ways to make us compliant [with ISO 9000], they discovered we were already doing that; we just had to do an assessment. Its definitely achievable."

Another process Quaker went through before Sarbanes-Oxley that will help the company comply with the law was standardizing its back-office systems on J.D. Edwards & Co. software.

"We wanted to make sure we understand our results, make sure our business activities are in compliance with our management objectives," said Tyler. "We were doing all these things anyway, so there are no hurdles in terms of having compliant systems."

Standardizing systems makes it easier for management to feel confident in the numbers it reports, said Mark Kelly, chief technology officer of ACT Teleconferencing Inc., of Golden, Colo. ACT, formed from the merger of several regional phone companies around the world, chose MetraTech Corp.s MetraNet billing software for its global operations.

"We had a complicated situation with nonstandard billing and nonstandard financial management systems," said Kelly, who is based in Ottawa. "If we really wanted to grow, we had to put some regimented processes in place."

Some finance experts say companies should see Sarbanes-Oxley not as a chore but as an opportunity. "If you put an extra paragraph into your annual report that will satisfy those 200 [institutional investors] who drive your stock price," said a former CFO at a Fortune 500 company, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, "that would help the stock price a lot."

Additional reporting by John S. McCright and Lisa Vaas

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