specializing in Oracle’s E-Business Suite
need the sharp eye of a consultant and a heavy dose of functional expertise to create custom application components, seamless interfaces into popular modules, and to support future growth. In addition, they need great communication skills to work with end users while refining business requirements, functional designs, testing and reporting documents.
That’s why Jagdeesh Reddy, HR manager for Virginia-based Doyen Business Solutions
, likes to explore a professional’s functional expertise and coding skills during an interview. Here are some of his questions. How do you handle errors in the customer interface?
What is a flexfield and how are they used?
- What Most People Say: “I use the SQL*Loader.”
- What You Should Say: “I typically use the SQL*Loader to load customer information into the interface tables, which reduces the need for debugging. Essentially, the SQL*Loader uses a control file to dictate how it should read and parse records into columns, and it rejects bad or unreadable records by putting them into a ‘bad file.’ However, to make sure the customer interface program can properly validate a data file, I map the global attribute columns from the interface tables to the corresponding global flexfield segment columns in the customer tables.”
- Why You Should Say It: Data quality is paramount, says Reddy. So provide enough details to demonstrate your understanding of the data validation process and how to use the SQL*Loader to prevent and resolve errors in the customer interface.
How are key flexfields structured in the accounting module? How have you used them in the past?
- What Most People Say: “A flexfield is a database field that is used to define the reporting structure in a specific organization.”
- What You Should Say: “The Oracle financial module features two types of flexfields. Key flexfields are used to record mandatory items like GL accounts, inventory, fixed assets and so forth. Descriptive flexfields are user-defined fields that track unique information not captured in a key flexfield. While programming is required, descriptive flexfields provide abundant expansion space for capturing a company’s unique data.”
- Why You Should Say It: Top developers demonstrate their knowledge of Oracle EBS by describing the difference between key and descriptive flexfields and how they can be customized to gather and analyze information for accounts payable, general ledger, cash management and the like. Go above and beyond by explaining how you’ve combined your knowledge of EBS apps and the accounting process to satisfy stakeholder needs.
- What Most People Say: “Let’s see. I’ve typically used four key flexfields to capture the name of the company, account number, cost center number and product information.”
- What You Should Say: “A flexfield structure is a specific configuration of segments. The accounting flexfield can be customized to have as many segments as needed, like company, department, cost center, account and one to accommodate future needs. If you add or remove segments, or rearrange the order of segments in a flexfield, you get a different structure. In some applications, different users may need a different arrangement of the segments within a specific flexfield. I’ve used as many as 12 segments to meet the needs of a company when structuring a general ledger. Would you like to hear about it?”
- Why You Should Say It: Having broad experience with key flexfields is a plus, Reddy says, adding that most developers can only name four flexfields. Highly skilled developers have used the flexfield structure to customize applications toward current business practices for accounting codes, product codes and so forth, with an eye on meeting future business initiatives, he says.