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Typical customer questions as a result of the Extel Financial


  Typical customer questions as a result of the Extel Financial
                       data changes
After the letters to customers have been sent out you may receive phone calls from
customers with the following questions:

“I have designed my own report group and use this within Company Analysis.
Will this still work after the data has been changed and do I need to do
anything?” (e.g. Financial Times)

When phase 1 is implemented in April 2005 the database will automatically be
updated as part of the usual update process (this customer would most likely be
updating by CD Rom but may updating by downloading the FTP feed). When CA is
opened for the first time after this update a message saying “The dictionary has been
revised for changes to user and report definitions. See .LOG files in CA/Main or User
directories for details”. These .LOG files will take the name of the user variable file or
report group file. For example the log file associated with the user variable file
usdb.us0 will be called usdb.log. The log file associates with a report group called
Test.rp0 will be called Test.log.

The customer will then see no further messages. The data items that have been
discontinued will be replaced with a zero. This will happen automatically in the report
groups and user variables. Please note that the definition will not be deleted, just the
contents. For example, a report group had a definition “Short interest” ( This
item has been discontinued so is substituted by 0 in the report definitions but the
words “Short interest” and that line in the report group will remain (although there will
be no data).

The only thing that the customer will need to do is to add new items if he/she wishes
to. Please note that customers must have a complete version of the 3.1
dictionary (the updated Extel Financials) in order to fully understand the
deletions and additions. Please ensure that they do have an electronic copy of
this file.

“I use the Extel Financials via the CA Excel Server. Will my model still work or
do I need to change my report group?” (e.g. RBS)

The reply is very much as above as the Excel model is driven from the report group
defined within Company Analysis. Discontinued data items in the report group will be
substituted with zeros but the lines will still exist in the report. This means that the
same report can still be downloaded into Excel and the old model will still work. The
customer may wish to add new items and delete any empty lines at his/her leisure.

“I want to take advantage of the new data items that are available. How do I
incorporate these into my report group”?

Start by getting a full listing of the 3.1 dictionary to understand the new items in their
context. Ensure that the customer has a copy of this file.
The customer will have received a full list of additions as part of Appendix 3 of the
letter sent to customers. He/she does not need to incorporate any of them in order to
continue to use CA or the Excel Server but may wish to take advantage of the new
items at any time. Should he/she need assistance with editing a report group or
linking this to an Excel model please don’t hesitate to contact Amanda at Barron and
Smithers. See contact details below.

“What happens to the history for items that are being discontinued”

At phase 1 items will be discontinued and the history will not be retained. All these
items are note items or do not form part of an internal validation.

At phase 2 some items will be discontinued and the history will not be retained. For
other items the history will be retained as part of a combination as many items being
discontinued will be combined with another item.

For new items there is a 3 year history that will be added, the current collection
period (years ending after 31/12/2004) will be the 4th year of history.

The history of the oldest companies in the existing database is since 1985, 20 years.

“I would like to perform a detailed review of my report group and Excel model,
can you help me with this?”

Obvious answer, yes! If you do not feel you have had detailed training in accounting
I am very happy to get involved with any review of report groups or models. In many
cases improvements can be made in the way the report group has been put together
and this will give us an opportunity to give the customer good service. For example
we have had a good experience with RBS to enhance their model and so tie them
into the Extel Financials database. As Gordana has moved to a different role it may
be advisable to get me involved in all but the very simplest of cases as detailed
accounting questions are inevitable. Contact detail for Barron and Smithers are
shown below.

Please note that customers must have a complete version of the 3.1 dictionary
(the updated Extel Financials) in order to fully understand the data structure.
Please ensure that they do have an electronic copy of this file.

“I currently take an FTP feed of Company Analysis, will I need to update via CD
Rom when these changes take place”

The FTP update is incremental i.e. only changes for the current week. With the
phase 1 & 2 revisions incremental updates are not possible. Customers will be
informed that they have the choice of either taking a complete FTP download (about
130MB) or waiting until the CD arrives and updating with this before resuming weekly
FTP updating. The system will not allow incremental updating to resume until the
relevant CD has been loaded.
“I currently take an FTP feed of the Extel Financials, is the file I download going
to change at phase 1 and phase 2?”

Yes, our plans are that at Phase 1 the FTP file available for download will change to
the database current at that time (exactly the same as in Company Analysis) and the
same at Phase 2. This means that customers will have to make the necessary
changes to allow the new data structure to be ingested into their internal database
without problems. If you have calls to say that this is not possible, Barron and
Smithers can produce a version of the Extel Financials which is the same as at
present to give them a little more time to make the necessary internal changes. We
are not offering this by default but if a customer is having a problem we can make
this available for a limited period.

The same will apply at Phase 2. Ideally only Phase 2 data would be available once
Phase 2 is implemented but files containing data in the old structure can be made
available if the customer really needs it.

All the material used on this training course can be downloaded from look under Company Analysis/Training.

Contact details
Amanda Barton for all general queries
01590 622393 or (Until 14 March 2004 please

Jeremy Smithers – for more technical issues
0208 943 2137 or

Mike Barron – if you cannot get hold of Amanda or between now and 14th March
02380 890564 or

Phil Crowe – Technical queries
01424 422698 or

Note: the full listing of the Extel Financials, (Data dictionary 3.1) has not been
included in the letter to customers. Anyone wanting this list has been asked to
contact their account manager. This list is in electronic formal and is available from
Stephen Carter if you do not already have it.

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