Group consolidation and reporting
As part of its transition to IFRS, Nationale Suisse needed a fast, professional consolidation solution that was easy to use and offered high levels of process support. In order to meet these new financial reporting standards, the company had to make changes to its data structure and chart of accounts. Its new solution based on Tagetik has fulfilled these requirements and supports the consolidation of planning and management reporting data as well. The system dynamically builds sophisticated reports for specific companies or account categories and only grants users access to the information that is relevant for their work.
Nationale Suisse switched from Swiss GAAP to IFRS accounting standards and implemented a new consolidation tool all in one step. The company consolidated its 2009 group accounts for the first time with Tagetik. In order to fulfill segment reporting and other IFRS requirements, the international insurance company would have had to have made massive changes to its previous system. So when it learned that the software was going to be discontinued anyway, Nationale Suisse started its search for a powerful, new solution.
In order to find the optimal product, the company kicked off the project with an intensive evaluation process over a period of several months. After choosing a short list of appropriate vendors, it then conducted a multi-level selection process consisting of questionnaires, presentations and prototyping under the guidance of Horvàth & Partners. After this thorough evaluation, the Horvàth experts made a recommendation for Tagetik as a very fast, professional solution. Since the decision-makers at Nationale Suisse echoed these sentiments as well, work on the project began at once. “Our prime goal was to close our accounts based on IFRS standards – including all of the respective disclosures such as segment reporting – fully automatically,” explained Kirsten Fender, Director of Group Accounting at Nationale Suisse. “We also wanted to accelerate our processes and improve the level of detail in our data.”
Whereas the old system simply processed data to create annual and half-year consolidated financial statements in line with Swiss GAAP, the new solution offers a broader scope of functionality. As part of the switch to IFRS, the company now saves the consolidated data to a data warehouse where it can also be used for financial controlling.
In comparison to the previous system, the new solution also administers more complicated structures and in-depth data records. The project team also had to include many insurance-specific requirements related to the increased complexity of its chart of accounts and relationships within the group. With Tagetik’s built-in intercompany matching cockpit, the insurance company can reconcile internal transactions in the exact currency they took place – either on the reporting unit level or for the company as a whole.
During the implementation, Horvàth & Partners served as the primary contractor and was responsible for the project management. While pmOne supported the systems and configured the interfaces, the consolidation experts at Alper & Schetter set up the consolidation application as well as the reporting functionality. This project team was supported by four members of the group accounting team at Nationale Suisse. The department as a whole was involved in other related projects – such as the enterprise rollout of IFRS or the implementation of a new ledger – that were running at the same time. Although the new consolidation solution was only a subproject in the overall scheme of things, the team was able to deploy it within the targeted time frame. Only the testing phases took longer than originally planned due to dependencies on other projects.
As part of the transition to IFRS, the project team was able to implement a fast, professional solution that comfortably guides the users through the different consolidation steps as part of a clear, direct process for generating financial statements. “With the new solution, we are much faster and can deliver much more detail than in the past,” summarizes Fender.
The Tagetik solution is also very flexible. Users, for example, can generate a separate extract alongside the financial statements without much additional work. Nationale Suisse can use this abridged version, for example, to fulfill additional requirements imposed by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority.