Supporting the financial close, consolidation and reporting requirements of a fast-growing company, with lots of M&A activity can be very challenging if you are relying on spreadsheets and manual processes. Microsoft Excel is a great personal productivity tool, but it wasn’t designed to support critical corporate processes, like collecting and consolidating financial data from multiple locations for financial reporting.
This was the focus of a recent webinar sponsored by OneStream Software. Moderated by yours truly, the webinar featured Dónal Staunton, Head of FP&A at Valeo Foods and Bart Willemstein, EPM Consultant at Agium EPM. Read on to learn how Valeo Foods decided to move from Excel spreadsheets to OneStream for financial consolidation, close and reporting and more – and the benefits they have achieved.
Hitting the Wall with Microsoft Excel
Valeo Foods is one of Europe’s fastest growing consumer foods producers, headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, with a portfolio of 70 international brands. Valeo Foods has quadrupled in size since its formation in 2010 and has successfully acquired 16 leading food businesses post formation.
Valeo Foods Group had grown significantly through acquisitions – yet was still using Excel® for its monthly close and consolidation process. All the local operating entities reported their data from different source systems in Excel sheets. These sheets were then emailed to the Group Finance team to collate both management and statutory reporting information in Excel. This included consolidations for foreign currency translations, which was becoming more difficult as the group expanded into new geographies with different reporting currencies.
The manual nature of the consolidation process presented challenges in calculating these scenarios. On top of this, as each financial year passed, the Excel consolidated model continued to get larger with increased complexity and was becoming unsustainable. Both management and statutory reporting was completed in Excel and was becoming increasingly cumbersome and prone to error. This was causing a drag on staff motivation in Group Finance.
“We then started the search for a sustainable tool to enable the way forward,” said Dónal Staunton of Valeo Foods, Group Finance. “We needed to safeguard the creation of financial and management reports with a modern solution offering the agility to support future growth.”
Adopting a Modern and Sustainable Solution with OneStream
Valeo Foods began reviewing corporate performance management (CPM) products and evaluated several options, both large and small. Given the acquisitive nature of the business, Valeo Foods wanted to assess in detail which solution was flexible enough to account for these critical and frequent business changes.
Agium EPM, a Dutch-based Platinum OneStream Partner, was asked to show Valeo how OneStream XF would cope with their requirements. They explained how the implementation would work in a detailed design document. “Ultimately, OneStream was selected based on positive feedback from global research firms, and after a demonstration of the platform’s capability during the vendor selection process,” said Staunton. “Also, the many positive reviews from calls we conducted with existing OneStream customers firmed up our decision.”
Taking a Phased Implementation Approach
The implementation of OneStream started with a design phase in which the scope of the project was determined. Phase 1 of the overall Valeo Foods CPM Roadmap encompassed the financial consolidation and close process. The initial part of Phase 2 will see the KPI framework defined and non-financial data added to the application. The second part of Phase 2 will see Business Intelligence (BI) reporting brought into the application. Phase 3 will see driver-based forecasting deployed with OneStream.
Some of the interesting features that were built into the OneStream application for Valeo include the ability to automatically post a Group consolidation journal, eliminating unrealized profit on stock created on intercompany trading. A second feature specific to Valeo is management reporting via “Cross Selling Channel”, showing end to end Group profitability by channel, on intercompany sales.
Living the Sweet Life with OneStream
As a result of the implementation, Valeo Foods has realized significant improvement in management reporting and financial statements, which is recognized by many stakeholders. “With OneStream, we are benefitting from the increased reporting transparency and analysis possibilities,” adds Staunton. “There is now one version of the truth.”
The monthly close is finalized in a significantly faster (roughly three to four days) and more efficient manner, with the reduction in use of Excel leading to improved data quality. In total, close to 30 spreadsheets were eliminated from use in the monthly process. This gives Staunton and the Valeo Foods Group Finance team the opportunity to spend additional time on the review and analysis of data and results as opposed to merely preparing reports.
Further, Valeo Foods now has all relevant details of the group consolidated equity and goodwill of each entity. The local entities can reconcile their intercompany balances with other entities and have comprehensive and accurate details of their balances. OneStream provides Valeo Foods many built-in validations, resulting in intercompany differences to be identified instantly and resolved easily at local entity level.
Thanks to the implementation of OneStream, Valeo now has increased accountability at divisional levels, better tracking and status reporting on month-end submissions, improved intercompany reporting and clear audit trails. They also have a “plug-and-play” approach to onboarding acquired companies and their financial systems that paves the way for additional growth. To learn more, watch the replay of the webinar and contact OneStream if you are ready to make the leap from Excel to OneStream for financial reporting, planning and analysis.