One of the motivations for the optimization is the possible IPO of Ampleon. “We want to be able to consolidate more efficiently and reliably, especially given the possible IPO,” says Polman. In the context of investor relations, you need to have your reporting process in order.”
“We want to be able to provide our internal stakeholders with information faster and ensure it is reliable information, which will mainly constitute trust,” says Robin Whelan, Reporting Manager at Ampleon. “Once listed, we will face more and tighter deadlines and external information requirements. Then we must be able to produce ad hoc analysis faster.”
Another reason is to reduce dependency. Polman says: “If one person does everything manually, and that person becomes ill or leaves the company, then you are very vulnerable. With standard processes and an off-the-shelf solution, creating backup becomes much easier.”
From Corporate to Local
The third reason is the desire to transfer more activities to the local financial managers. “To further increase professionalism, we want to enable local users to do their own analysis,” says Whelan.
The local managers are responsible for the figures up to and including uploading into OneStream. It is up to the countries’ discipline to ensure that the numbers are correct. “The responsibility for the correctness of the local numbers in the consolidation shifts from corporate to the countries,” says Ruben Cammeraat, consultant at Finext and closely involved in the implementation of OneStream at Ampleon.
Improving Financial Processes in Three Phases
Optimizing the financial consolidation and reporting processes is the first phase in a broader program. “We approach this program in three phases. The first phase aims to increase the reliability of the reporting. This concerns reports to internal and external stakeholders, such as bank reports, reports to shareholders, and internally to management. The second phase is ‘management information’, where we want to spend less time on reporting and more on analysis. The third phase is ‘driver-based forecasting,’” says Polman. “Ultimately, we believe that every piece of information from finance should have a purpose.”
Phase 1 (Reporting) is key in connection with the possible listing. But even without the listing, this is a logical sequence, Cammeraat says, “You must first ensure that you, as a team, know how to use the tool and that everyone — including the local users — starts working with it. In practice, we use such a project approach at many organizations; first, the mandatory consolidation, then gradually expanding to a strategic plan and driver-based forecasting.”
Choosing OneStream's Broad Platform
The broad program is an important reason for choosing the OneStream platform. “We wanted an off-the-shelf and scalable system that helps us achieve our goal of automating our processes even further. Moreover, we wanted to integrate the entire process from validation to analysis into one system,” says Polman.
Ampleon did not decide on a new corporate performance management (CPM) system overnight, as an earlier implementation of another consolidation system was unsuccessful. It is one of the reasons for working with Finext this time. “We asked Finext to help us in two areas: the tool selection process and the implementation,” says Polman.
An important aspect was the fact that Finext is independent of software vendors. “Other parties often have a strong preference for one tool, while Finext has a broad tool knowledge and can provide independent advice,” Whelan says.
Part of the tool selection process was a reference visit to Flow Traders, where Finext previously implemented OneStream. Polman and Whelan are enthusiastic about the progress of the project. “To the fullest satisfaction, both the standardization in the system and the implementation of the project. The organization’s training and support also went well,” they said.
Supporting the Strategy with OneStream
Polman says, “When Ampleon was founded four years ago, all group functions were disconnected, and are now fulfilled independently. This is still relatively new to parts of the organization.”
The implementation of OneStream to optimize the processes supports Ampleon’s strategy. “Ultimately, we want to translate the strategy into action plans. Also, we want to see progress on these action plans — OneStream helps us to approach this in a structured manner,” says Polman.
Faster and Better
The innovative company is positive about the results of the new consolidation and reporting process. “I only see benefits, and I also get feedback from the organization that they see a lot of added value. The figures are much easier to retrieve. The speed of reporting has increased, which leaves us with more time for other activities,” says Polman.
The next phase (management information) has already been started. “However, before moving on, it is always important to first complete a prior phase properly,” says Whelan. “This should not be underestimated; it takes time to prepare all additional reports. Think, for example, of manufacturing variances and cost center reporting. Following that, we can further expand our management information.”
About the Implementation Partner
Finext has been implementing leading Performance Management solutions at more than 150 organizations in the Netherlands and abroad for almost 20 years. The performance management team consists of 100 experienced, skilled and certified EPM professionals. This makes Finext the largest independent performance management specialist in the Netherlands. With knowledge of information architecture, advice & implementation, infrastructure & management, they realize good management, reliable figures, fast reports and clear insights from stable systems with their customers. For more information, visit Finext.nl/en/.