LaSalle Investment Management
LaSalle Investment Management choose Consolidations for Infor SunSystems to manage their complex fund structure.
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LaSalle is an independent subsidiary of Jones Lang LaSalle one of the world's largest real estate companies.
To implement a data aggregation tool that could handle the complex business unit/fund management structure within LaSalle.
A solution was required to assist LaSalle to build a consolidation structure that truly reflected the real funds structure, as well as allow LaSalle to create both main and sub consolidations that fully responded to the requirements of both fiscal reporting and investor report needs at the fund level.
Given the close development relationship between authors Professional Advantage and Infor SunSystems, Consolidations for Infor SunSystems from Professional Advantage was finally implemented.
LaSalle, a market-leading investment management firm, says uses of the powerful ledger data aggregation tool Consolidations from Professional Advantage has helped it meet accounting and aggregating needs.
LaSalle Investment Management ("LaSalle") is a leading real estate investment management firm that manages over $46 billion worth of private and public property equity investments. The company has been in operation since the 19th century and has been an institutional fund manager for the last 40 years. The company specialises in the management of capital for institutions and private investors all over the world, investing in private and public real estate equity and debt through a range of investment vehicles; with nearly 700 employees in 16 countries worldwide, the firm was ranked fifth largest global private equity real estate firm in PEI's 2013 PERE ranking.
In terms of solutions it offers the market, LaSalle products include separate accounts, open and closed end funds, public securities and entity level investments. With a client base including public and private pension funds, insurance companies, governments, endowments and private high net worth individuals, LaSalle has a brand clients value and rivals envy.
However, given its large structure, diverse set of investment activities and wide range of services, the company has accounting challenges concomitant with its tier-one status. No-one is better placed to understand that than Laura Tedoldi, System Manager in the giant's European finance department: "We manage a number of funds for our clients and these funds' entities can be based on the same country or on different countries," she explains. "We also have funds structured in a unique way, plus funds that have a very complex structure with different sub-consolidation steps."
Tedoldi works for the LaSalle Investment Management unit and is charged with looking after the systems on its internal business users side plus for system administration for its 'Continental Europe' arm, encompassing its Paris, Munich and Luxembourg centres. She explains that well-engineered software - specifically, the Consolidations platform from Professional Advantage (PA) - is needed to help her team build a consolidation structure to reflect the real funds structure, plus allow LaSalle to create both main and sub consolidations that fully respond to the requirements of both fiscal reporting and investor report needs at the fund level.
The natural choice
LaSalle implemented Consolidations in conjunction with its deployment of the market-leading Infor SunSystems financials in 2006. The reason: the team decided it was a natural choice in this functional area given the tight relationship between the two vendors.
Prior to moving to SunSystems all reporting had been outsourced and then reworked internally. This, however, proved to be a highly complex activity requiring manual or Excel-based approaches, reports Tedoldi.
Clearly, a more scientific approach would be beneficial for this crucial business process: as she notes, "Excel would look like you have different files and then you have to create another file and then you would have to do the links from all the other files. This process is too risky. We know now that Excel is an excellent tool, but it is subject to human error."
This is where PA Consolidations comes in. LaSalle creates appropriate 'business units' for all the entities to be included in a fund, then creates additional ones for as many sub-consolidations as it needs to produce for that fund. Once that is done, Tedoldi and her team can use the tool to create the appropriate groups, roles and steps for each level of consolidation.
In her view, "PA Consolidations is very flexible, allowing us to structure exactly the required consolidation process, while we can also set up elimination rules as appropriate, too."
PA Consolidations also helps her cater for a range of reporting currencies and associated conversion processes, a step performed automatically by merely inputting at the each end of the quarter the correct current currency rate. PA Consolidations' ability to cater for different charts of accounts and analysis codes also comes in very handy at this point, she says, although all the consolidations currently managed are based on the same chart of accounts.
Smooth month ends
LaSalle is able to schedule PA Consolidations to run at whatever frequency needed to keep month-end running smoothly, while determining its own levels of summarisation. In fact, Tedoldi singles out the tool's ability to run as many consolidations for the same period as required as "very useful", as this means the Fund Controllers can easily check all the data for each step and if there is something not working as expected, make any required changes and re-run the consolidation so as to automatically clear the accounting data for the concerned period and re-write all the postings.
Administration wise meanwhile, PA Consolidations offers just the consistent levels of speed, accuracy and efficiency she foresaw. "It's easy to use with Infor SunSystems as it reflects the same transaction data structure and uses the same reference data - which means that my team doesn't have any issues."
Overall, Tedoldi is emphatic that PA Consolidations is saving "considerable" time, integrates extremely well with their main accounting engine, Infor SunSystems, and works as described, while her relationship with partner service provider and Consolidations software author Professional Advantage has been "strong" and "helpful".
"Our relationship with Professional Advantage has always been very well managed," she notes. "We once had an issue with our serialisation number expiring but I received immediate support from the Professional Advantage help desk and the issue was cleared up immediately."
Overall, for Tedoldi and her team at LaSalle, the verdict's clear: Professional Advantage A Consolidations is a tool she is happy to say "the best choice for our consolidation needs."
"Professional Advantage Consolidations is a very good system, bringing us all the efficiency that our business requires together with great support."