7 Reasons to Replace Your Legacy Plant Accounting Software: Data Transparency and Accessibility

Part 1 -Data Transparency and Accessibility

In the world of accounting, precision and transparency are everything.  That’s a problem for users of legacy plant accounting software though, leading you to question system results.  Do you know how your escalations are being calculated? Did you correctly identify the sequence of allocations? If you are like most users of the status quo plant accounting solutions, your visibility into calculations is limited, which translates to more time answering questions, resolving issues, and manual workarounds.  We think your software should simplify your life, not make it harder.

In 7 Reasons to Replace Your Legacy Plant Accounting Software, we will explore the top challenges midstream accounting professionals face with outdated technology.  The topics will include improving user experience, benefits of a unified platform built on the cloud, making upgrades easy, replacing software with a complete solution, ensuring compliance, and accelerating processing speed.  First, let’s cover the challenge of data transparency and how W Energy Software delivers enhanced visibility and accountability.

Legacy Plant Accounting Software Black Box

Legacy plant accounting software presents users with a “black box,” in which there is limited visibility into allocations, settlement results, escalations, and other complex calculations.  You may wonder why accounting software cannot provide its users with more transparency. These systems are built on 30-year-old vintage technology, which limits calculations to the techniques and best practices of a bygone era.  Sure, it’s easier to slap a new look/feel through an updated GUI. However, if the underlying data architecture doesn’t change, it’s impossible to show how the system performs calculations. Legacy plant accounting software vendors have simply failed to listen to their users and add the audit trails, ad hoc reporting, and data transparency demanded by accounting professionals.

The big problem with all of this is that users of legacy plant accounting systems don’t trust the results generated by the software.  I’ve seen clients perform calculations in Excel each month to validate their own accounting software because of this distrust. This creates more work for users to manually verify calculations which places an unnecessary burden on staff, introduces risk, and adds significant costs for midstream companies.

Be Confident with Your Calculations

W Energy Software offers enhanced visibility into your plant accounting data through user-friendly reporting, slick grid views which can be exported to Excel, and enhanced audit trails.  My favorite feature of our software is Calculation Trace—our proprietary algorithm that shows every variable of how a calculation happened. Want to see how a value of ethane was calculated including percent of proceed percentages based on tiered GPMs and the greater of two index prices?  No problem. Want to see how we calculated a treating fee which takes five cents per CO2 mol % in excess of the tolerance and then escalates it on CPI with a max of 3% annually? That’s easy for us. Our Calculation Trace feature brings complete transparency and accountability to our system calculations.  This feature exists in our valuation, tax, accounting, and disbursement results. Users and auditors can easily back trace financial results from values posted to the general ledger through every proceeding stage and calculation.

Understand the Impact of Your Changes

Another popular feature is our Show Association Graph button.  This allows users to see in real-time where an object is used throughout the system.  Want to see if a Meter is tied to a contract, exists in an allocation group, or has volumes or analyses?  What about which contracts a residue price is tied to before you make changes to it? Maybe you want to see which rates use a specified escalation?  Or which contracts use a certain formula? Each of these questions can be quickly answered with our association graph. Knowing what you’re changing can prevent prior period adjustments, ensure proper setups, and give confidence in your results.

With W Energy Software, reliance on manual workarounds and wondering how calculations are made are a relic of the past, providing today’s accounting professionals with complete confidence in their data.  Now that’s what you should expect from your plant accounting software.

Ready to learn more? Let’s talk.

This is part 1 of a 7-part series. Read part 2 here.

Blake Fraley, Director of Midstream Implementation Earning a B.S. in Management of Information Systems from Oklahoma State University, Blake started his career with Deloitte Consulting where he worked as a software developer using SAP, report developer, and PMO support. Joining our team in 2012, Blake was the first implementation consultant and helped start the Midstream team. He loves helping clients make a complicated industry easier using the W Energy Software suite of products. Blake enjoys traveling with his family and almost has as much energy as his two young daughters.

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