“At first, we approached it quite narrowly and thought that we simply had to change over to new consolidation software,” explains Wilfert van Veldhoven, Group Controller at Royal Cosun. “But we eventually came to the conclusion that this is a moment to take a broader look.”
Royal Cosun is a modern, forward-looking cooperative, born and bred in the Netherlands but active across the globe. The cooperative consists of five distinct business groups – Aviko, Duynie, Sensus, Cosun Beet Company and SVZ. These business groups offer a wide range of distinct products and services but are nonetheless closely working together to realise its clear and shared vision The Plant Positive Way.
With regards to group-wide reporting processes, these were still somewhat disconnected. For example, Cosun was only able to fulfil regulatory reporting requirements once each group had individually submitted their month close. This process was not automated and demanded a high manual workload from employees each month. Cosun also lacked insights, with forecasting only being done on a year-end basis without monthly phasing.
“In 2019, we connected with the CFO and the Group Controller, Wilfert, to discuss how they would approach the end of life of SAP BPC. As a start, we proposed to develop the vision and roadmap together with them, to help define their future EPM landscape,” says Sander van Yperen, Functional Practice Leader at inlumi.
Royal Cosun identified three goals. The first was to have a controlled and successful migration from SAP BPC to the new software. The second was to make the improvements that were identified during the vision & roadmap phase. This included optimising processes and the data model, and automating processes such as equity pickup and monthly phasing. And finally, their third and main goal was to make the system future-proof and extensible to include other processes, including processes from the five business groups.
In the pre-implementation phase, inlumi and Cosun took a deep look into the processes, identifying where improvements could be made and what can be standardised.
“At this stage, we were faced with lockdowns and we had to work remotely. In spite of the circumstances, inlumi still found a way to get all the right stakeholders involved. We had regular weekly meetings and a representative from each business group was involved. inlumi also provided a demonstration of each software vendor, which gave a clear overview. At the end of the pre-implementation phase, we all had a sense that we were in this together. It was all about having a shared vision on which software would best fit Cosun’s needs for the next several years,” says Wilfert.
The new technology would need to be integrated and user-friendly. It would also need to be able to support financial consolidation, planning, budgeting and forecasting, annual reporting, tax reporting, regulatory reporting, and direct cash flow forecast. The choice was made for OneStream Software, an extensible platform that can support Cosun’s plan to further standardise their financial processes across the groups. The aim was to go live in July 2021.
“What makes this project unique is the advisory-driven approach. We’re not just replacing old technology – which often results in companies ending up with the same problems,” explains Sander. “We’re making sure to involve the right people, in order to have a lot of support for what we’re doing. That drives successful implementation, but it also motivates our clients to follow up on even more improvements after implementation.”
Not only was the system able to go live on time and in budget, the team transformed the way Cosun does finance and made them fit for the future. inlumi has helped with the technology selection and the implementation of the software, as well as the processes themselves and a governance model for their new software. Today, Royal Cosun is using the OneStream platform for their Consolidation, Budgeting, Forecasting and Regulatory Reporting needs. In addition, processes are being further automated and standardised, enabling a shared view of the numbers, more control and easier maintenance.
“We were working on a very tight schedule. At the same time, the project was very complex. Because of strong project management, we were able to go live within the deadline,” says Wilfert.
Having involved the right stakeholders from each group, Cosun has a clear vision for how they want to expand the platform in the next phase of their transformation. As a next step, Cosun plans to leverage the platform further support the business groups with management reporting and forecasting capabilities.