"By integrating and establishing certain standards, new companies can be included in the uniform reporting system and consolidation immediately."
General Manager of Commercial Administration
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Flowing with milk and data – group reporting and consolidation at Bauer Group
At the Bauer Group holding company, not only are the flows of milk analysed for the dairy products, but also the flows of data for all the group companies. In the group’s corporate performance management, all the information converges in the integrated solution of Corporate Planner and CP-Cons.
In 2013, the Bauer family reorganised their group of companies. The privately-owned Bauer dairy – the group’s best known brand – was hived off, and a central holding company came into being: J. Bauer GmbH & Co. KG.
In the same year, Florian Kellner took up his position as General Manager of Commercial Administration at the holding company in Wasserburg am Inn, Bavaria, where he had a variety of tasks to contend with right from day one. His to-do list contained nothing less than the introduction of a uniform group reporting system and the preparation of the holding company’s initial consolidated financial statement. At the same time, he took charge of the corporate performance management, accounting, commercial administration and dispatch departments of the three group companies located on site.
Integrated data flow
Florian Kellner knew that if he were to make any progress in the short term, he would have to be able to rely on a software program with which to achieve a quick and efficient result. He found that the software environment in the group’s finance and accounting departments was heterogeneous: his colleagues at the Wasserburg headquarters used SAP, the North German subsidiaries had Microsoft Navision, and DATEV was widespread among the smaller companies. In production management, the predominant software was an industry-specific application for dairies in which milk flows, recipes, etc. are displayed.
Being an experienced CP software user, it was clear to the financial expert Florian Kellner that he would be making the case for introducing an integrated solution consisting of Corporate Planner for group reporting and CP-Cons for consolidation. Going for a software solution in which group reporting, financial planning and consolidation are all built up on one another would make sense not only for him, but also for the group’s general management. “By taking the data of all the subsidiaries, which have already been prepared for group reporting, as an integrated basis for the consolidation, I won’t need to do everything three times over,” was one of Florian Kellner’s main points in favour.
No sooner said than done. Florian Kellner began by setting up a centralised reporting system which was geared to the information requirements of the holding company management. Previously, each subsidiary had supplied some kind of P&L report, and the figures were gathered in Excel lists by hand. New group accounting policies have now led to all the companies using the same balance sheet and P&L structures and to the foundation being laid for consistent reporting and consolidation. By means of an import script defined just once, all the data – from whatever pre-system – flow into the central group structure in Corporate Planner. Using the master-client method, it is now a simple matter for the group management accountant to add a new company to the uniform group reporting system.
With loving attention to detail, the CP expert Florian Kellner has produced every report in the group layout, from the P&L and management analysis through previous-year comparisons and informative key ratios to milk deliveries and quantity structures. In order to provide the report users, i.e. the group managers Florian and Markus Bauer plus the managers of the individual companies, with information to supplement the results, he makes use of the software’s commenting function.
A transparent group
Despite not having the historical values, Florian Kellner very quickly drew up a financial plan for his company for 2014 and 2015. What’s more, his plan came pretty close to the mark. His practical skills and experience in using the software serving him well, he was able to achieve a quick and efficient result.
Next, Florian Kellner depicted the group, with all its associates and shareholdings, as the consolidated entity in the CP-Cons module. He had already compiled the necessary P&L and balance sheet data of all the companies in Corporate Planner. Working to a tight deadline and under considerable pressure to deliver, with the help of an auditor and the CP consultant Matthias Stubenvoll he succeeded in putting together the first consolidated financial statement since the holding company was founded. At present, there are ten companies included in the consolidation. Planned acquisitions, capital increases or disposals are added, the investments amended, or the companies separated out as of the effective date, simply by using the consolidated entity diagram in the software. From 2016, Mr Kellner’s objective is no longer just to produce one consolidated financial statement per year. In future, he also intends to provide the Bauer entrepreneur family with a management consolidation on a quarterly basis.
Just the beginning
Even if Florian Kellner still has many plans and projects which he would like to implement with assistance from the CP software, within a very short period of time he has already been able to tick off a lot of the items on his to-do list. “At last, everybody in the entire group is talking about the same thing when they look at and discuss a particular report, rather than one person talking in terms of quantities, somebody else in package units and somebody else again in kilos,” he says, explaining what he sees as being a distinct advantage. Besides, when the group management board make strategic decisions, he can take all the changes into account in the planning and reporting and run through them straight away. “By integrating and establishing certain standards, new companies can be included in the uniform reporting system and consolidation immediately,” the General Manager of Commercial Administration at the Bauer dairy group adds.