royal cosun

OneStream – Royal Cosun

Royal Cosun automates tax processes with tax provisioning template

Royal Cosun is a cooperative of beet growers originating in the Netherlands but active worldwide. The organization reports under Dutch GAAP and communicates the preliminary yearly results before the audit. Implementing the tax provisioning template in OneStream makes the tax processes faster, more reliable, and more efficient for everyone involved.

“We wanted to increase the speed of our financial close. One of the challenges in the close was the fiscal position,” says Wilfert van Veldhoven, Concern Controller at Royal Cosun, about the reason to automate the tax process.

Fiscal position needed for expected beet prices

Royal Cosun aims to share the expected prices for sugar beets as soon as possible with its growers. With roughly 8,500 members and 4,400 employees, the Dutch cooperative is active in 29 facilities in nine countries and has a yearly turnover of approximately 2.3 billion Euros.

“We want to communicate the expected beet prices to our members right after the close in January, even before the audit. Previously, we noticed that the few adjustments we had to make after that were based on the fiscal position,” Wilfert explains.

Having the right figures at the right time is not just something a cooperative should have, states Wilfert: “Basically, our members are our shareholders. Every company should be able to trust the fiscal position as soon as it starts to communicate the results.”

Adding tax processes to the OneStream platform

Also, the tax team wanted to be able to work more efficiently. The global organization decided to add the tax provisioning template to its OneStream platform to meet these goals.

Extending the existing Performance Management solution is a logical choice. “OneStream is a platform for all finance processes, providing a broader range of functionalities than a point solution would. Also, a platform is easier to integrate and maintain than various point solutions,” says Jorrit Boonstra, OneStream consultant at Finext, a sister company of Sonum International.

Experts at Sonum, Finext, and Taxvibes – another sister company that focuses on automating tax reporting processes – often team up during OneStream implementations.

Adding the tax processes to OneStream ensures that everyone within the organization has access to the same data and sources. Ewald Hessing, OneStream EPM specialist at Royal Cosun: “The OneStream platform provides one version of the truth for all finance users.”

Automating the tax process with the tax provisioning template

The standard tax template for Dutch GAAP was developed by Taxvibes and Finext, sister organizations that often collaborate during tax solution implementations. “We’ve developed the tax provisioning template based on best practices. The template has already proved itself at many multinationals and is easy to adapt to the specific requirements of every organization,” says Patrick van Gerven, Tax consultant at Taxvibes.

The tax provisioning template was used as a starter kit. Wilfert: “We could choose between either building something from scratch or using the tax template. For us, this was an easy choice. Why reinvent the wheel if a standard solution fits our requirements? Also, a template is much easier to maintain.”

More efficient tax processes for the whole group

The team at Royal Cosun is enthusiastic about the results of the tax provisioning template. Fouad Ouled-Ali, Tax Compliance & Reporting Manager at Royal Cosun: “The entire process has become much more efficient. Previously, we asked the business groups for the same information at different times during the year. Now, OneStream allows us to add statements, calculations, and documents. When I start calculating the tax position, I have all the information needed.”

Automating the tax processes has affected Fouad’s role positively: “Previously, validating and calculating the figures took me 3 days. Now, I can focus on the quality of the figures. In the past 5 years, we’ve already made a lot of progress in improving the tax processes. Moving away from Excel was a big step, making our tax processes even more professional.”

Finance vision

The implementation of the tax provisioning template aligns with the finance vision of Royal Cosun. Wilfert: “Our vision is ‘making the business better’. Digitalization allows us to make the finance processes faster, more stable, and more efficient, enabling us to provide better answers for the business.”

Automating the tax processes also affects other financials in the Royal Cosun group. “The process has become more efficient for all the financials in the business groups; now, they have to provide their information only once.”

Joint approach combines tax expertise and OneStream knowledge

Asked for the key success factors of the implementation, Wilfert says: “The joint approach of Taxvibes and Finext gave us a combination of scarce in-depth tax expertise and proven OneStream knowledge, which is essential for such a specific topic as tax reporting.”

The combined expertise also benefited the user training. Fouad: “Great to have Patrick and his colleague Lars showing us how the automated tax processes work, with Jorrit present to adjust the system on the fly. That approach resulted in a seamless translation of the tax requirements to the system.”

Another key success factor in the project approach was project management. Ewald: “In weekly meetings, we would discuss the progress, the issues, and the outstanding actions. Even though due to Covid-restrictions, we had to do everything remotely, the project went smoothly.”

Future steps

The team at Royal Cosun is already planning future steps, such as country-by-country reporting and automating the journal posts needed to adjust the tax position. Wilfert: “We want to make the tax processes even more efficient. The objective is to reduce the amount of time needed for collecting and calculating figures so that we can focus on improving the finance function even further.”

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