Fueled by a surging stock market, M&A activity in 2006 hit a record $4 trillion, altering the competitive landscape at an accelerating pace. Meanwhile, as regulatory mandates continue to evolve, businesses across the globe are facing new pressures to improve financial transparency.Consequently, today's corporate managers can no longer afford to operate in the dark. Having a complete, up-to-date picture of corporate performance integrated with the ability to simultaneously drive future performance is no longer a luxury.

The challenge is that financial reporting, planning and analysis have typically been treated as siloed tasks, relying on separate, often standalone systems. At the end of each reporting period, financial consolidation systems have the truth about actual performance and are used to generated the reports for submission to regulators and stockholders, while business intelligence (BI) tools are used for management to dissect performance beyond just finance. In recent years, both classes of tools have converged, with the result that financial reporting tools have added valuable analytic capabilities and vice versa.

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