Oracle Federal Financials FAQs
Here’s a stab at a few questions that some readers might have about Oracle Federal Financials:
What is Oracle Federal Financials? Oracle Federal Financials is a common term used to describe a collection of Oracle E-Business Suite modules and functionality used by U.S. Federal Government Agencies.
Are there any technical software differences between Oracle Federal Financials and the Oracle E-Business Suite? No. Oracle Federal Financials leverages the same database, middleware and underlying application code as any other Oracle E-Business Suite installation.
Is Oracle Federal Financials installed any different than any other E-Business Suite installation? A little bit. All Oracle E-Business Suite software is installed from the same set of DVDs (available from http://e-delivery.oracle.com or through a metalink request) and uses the same Rapid Install process (see Oracle Applications Installation Guide: Using Rapid Install – available from http://www.oracle.com/technology/documentation/applications.html). After the basic installation is complete, the application needs to be converted to use the “Public Sector” products. Furthermore, there are a variety of concurrent requests that should be executed as part of any Federal Financials installation.
What Oracle E-Business Suite functionality is typically used in Federal Financials environments that is different from commercial or other public sector environments? Federal Financials utilizes a collection of functionality that is organized under the FV database schema to support various Federal requirements. This may be referred to as the ‘Federal Administrator’ module in some circumstances (Federal Administrator is the seeded Super User responsibility that allows access to the functionality).
Key components of this functionality include:
- Budget Execution configuration and transaction capability (to distribute congressional appropriation funding within an agency),
- Integration with the US Treasury for making disbursements for required payments,
- Integration with US Treasury for providing various financial reporting files (FACTS I/II) and processing Intergovernmental transactions (IPAC),
- Various Federal reporting capabilities (SF224, Financial Statements),
- Various Federal Specific AR and AP functionality.
Prior to R12, Federal Agencies are required to utilize the USSGL Transaction Code functionality to meet the various Federal Budgetary Accounting requirements. Furthermore, most Federal Agencies make extensive use of General Ledger Budgetary Control functionality (aka Funds Control). While this functionality is not Federal-specific, it is commonly used to meet specific Office of Management & Budget (OMB) requirements for controlling funding availability to eliminate any potential of an Anti-Deficiency Act (ADA) violation (i.e. disbursing a greater amount of payments than appropriations received).
What is the difference between Oracle Public Sector Financials and Oracle Federal Financials? The underlying architecture, E-Business Suite code and install steps are the same for both Oracle Public Sector & Federal Financials. The two terms are used to group different sets of functionality and for marketing, but don’t represent any technical differences. The perceived differences are 1) in how the E-Business Suite environments are configured for Public Sector vs Federal and 2) to group additional Federal-specific functionality that is not applicable to Public Sector organizations and vice-versa, Public Sector functionality not applicable to Federal Agencies. Oracle Public Sector Financials is typically targeted/used at State, Local and Municipal governments, higher-ed institutions and others who need to leverage the available functionality.
Some of the most visible differences in business process (& Oracle functionality used) between these government organizations and Federal Government organizations include:
State, Local, Municipal Governments
Subject to the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB)
Manage Funds using Encumbrance Accounting
Produce the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR)
Typically can make their own payments/disbursements
Federal Government Agencies
Subject to the Federal Accounting Standards Board (FASAB)
Manage Funds using Budgetary Accounting
Produce Federal Financial Statements in compliance with the US Office of Mgmt & Budget (OMB) Form and Content for Federal Financial Statements
US Treasury and the Department of Defense make disbursements for all Federal Agencies
Oracle E-Business Suite functionality to create Encumbrance journal entries is typically enabled for State, Local & Municipal organizations, but not used in the Federal Environment. Oracle Public Sector Financials also includes specific functionality for handling GASB 34/35 Asset Accounting guidance. Year-end funds rollover and carryforward are different between the governmental types due to the different uses of Encumbrance vs Budgetary Accounting. Oracle provides the Public Sector Financials User Guide which provides information on using Encumbrances in Oracle E-Business Suite, GASB 34/35 and other info. The Oracle General Ledger, Purchasing and Payables documentation also include info on implementing/using encumbrances in the Oracle E-Business Suite.
What resources are available for learning more about Oracle Federal Financials? The best documentation is the Federal Financials User Guide and the Federal Financials Implementation Guide (http://www.oracle.com/technology/documentation/applications.html). My Oracle Support (aka Metalink) is the official E-Business Suite support resource/knowledgebase and contains Federal-specific content. Other resources are the Federal Financials Special Interest Group (FEDSIG, http://fedsig.oaug.org), this blog and anything else that comes up online.
How mature is Oracle Federal Financials? Oracle Federal Financials functionality (previously marketed as Oracle Government Financials) initially started to appear in the mid-90s. Some of the earliest customers included US Coast Guard, Western Area Power Administration, Defense Logistics Agency Fuels, Military Sealift Command and others that went live on Oracle Applications 10.7/11.02 and potentially earlier versions. From the late-90s forward, numerous cabinet-level agencies and smaller Federal organizations implemented later versions of the software.
How can I try out Oracle Federal Financials? Oracle provides a Federal Set of Books and Operating Entity in the standard Oracle Vision demonstration environment (in R12 actually there are 2 SOBs/Orgs now). In a vanilla Vision environment, these can be accessed using the user FEDERAL/pwd welcome. Anyone with a valid Oracle Customer Support Identifier (CSI) can sign up to access the Vision environments hosted by Solution Beacon at http://www.solutionbeacon.com. Demo software can also be downloaded from http://edelivery.oracle.com, if sufficient hardware and patience to go through the install process is available.
If anyone has anything else to add, notices I have something wrong, or just wants to comment on, please do.