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Case study: How do you keep track of 100 companies and more than 200 media?

By introducing Tagetik consolidation software at group level!

Challenge

Ringier is Switzerland's largest internationally active media corporation. A workforce of some 8000 employees throughout the world, over 120 newspapers and periodicals as well as printing works, a variety of radio and TV channels and more than 80 internet and mobile platforms make it a global leader. Ringier has been a family firm for five generations.

One group with a hundred separate financial statements

The Ringier media group comprises about a hundred companies spread across the entire world. The group's accounting is compliant with Swiss GAAP ARR. However, the consolidation process is not standardised – nor is it sufficiently transparent, due to the complex structure of the group. Separate financial statements from the hundred companies in the form of Excel files have to be processed individually, making financial reporting a costly and time-consuming undertaking.

The search for consolidation software

Ringier wanted a solution that would optimise and simplify the reporting process. The aims were to standardise group consolidation, increase its efficiency and transparency and provide support for value-oriented management. Another requirement was the ability to evaluate all the information via SAP BW (Business Warehouse) in keeping with the "one house one truth" concept. It goes without saying that the consolidation also had to meet all the regulatory requirements laid down by Swiss GAAP ARR.

A host of requirements, but only one option

The combination of several factors – the diversity of the system landscape, the lack of uniformity of data structure, the existing consolidation in Excel and the complex consolidation structures – meant that only one solution was possible: one software product for the consolidation process that would integrate perfectly into the existing IT landscape. This demanding project posed even more challenges: Ringier is a strong and rapidly growing group, and the schedule for devising the concept, implementing it and introducing the solution was very tight.

If we'd known how well such a complex project can be implemented by working with a professional partner like PwC, we would have tackled it earlier.

Dr. Annabella Bassler, CFO, Ringier

Solution

To ensure a rapid and streamlined approach to achieving the objective, a project team was formed with PwC experts and a group of specialists from Ringier. The team chose an integral approach starting with the definition of the target model, followed by implementation in stages on a joint basis.

Standardisation of business processes

Ringier undertook a detailed evaluation of the software options and eventually decided on Tagetik. The Tagetik software standardises all the business processes related to a company's finances – from corporate planning all the way through to reporting of the consolidated financial statements. During the evaluation, PwC demonstrated that Tagetik can fit seamlessly into the existing SAP landscape.

Specialist expertise and technical know-how

The software itself was crucially important – but the integrated advisory service provided by PwC was just as valuable. As well as expertise on specialist issues such as Finance Transformation and GAAP Consulting, our experts also drew on their technical know-how of all the applications covered by the project – from SAP ERP and SAP BW through to Tagetik itself. A high level of motivation, teamwork and open interchange among all the participants made it possible to keep to the ambitious schedule for this project at all times, while building up Ringier's own stock of know-how.

Optimised processes from start to finish

The successful introduction of the Tagetik software, its full integration into the SAP landscape and the advice provided on accounting according to Swiss GAAP ARR produced the desired result: a milestone in terms of process efficiency and quality, and a quantum leap for the group's reporting and consolidation process. This solution saves costly manual work for the national companies as well as Group Controlling, and it will meet the standards of "one house one truth".cht.

Result

Thanks to the Tagetik software solution and its integration into the SAP landscape, processes were simplified and optimised, and a decisive improvement in quality was achieved. Right from the outset, Ringier viewed one particular aspect as especially valuable: the fact that PwC can offer everything from one single source..

Integral know-how

There is only one possible approach to a complex consolidation structure with a rapidly growing group and the requirement for a fully integrated reporting and consolidation solution of impeccable quality: integral advisory support from planning through to introduction. Drawing on its experience of similar projects, the PwC Team not only ensured that the new solution was implemented successfully, but also made certain that it will run optimally at Ringier: the core team and the financial managers at the national companies underwent intensive training and were familiarised with all the programmes and processes.

Contacts

Roger Kunz-Brenner

Advisory Partner (Finance), Zurich, PwC Switzerland

+41 58 792 27 46

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