Parlevliet & Van der Plas is Europe's largest fishing company, with subsidiaries such as Ouwehand and Heiploeg. The family business has made substantial acquisitions in recent years. That requires a new platform for consolidation, into which local models can then also be made. Read how automated reporting from OneStream contributes to this new platform.
Acquisitions call for new reporting solution
"Since 2014, we have made a number of acquisitions, so our old reporting system was no longer adequate for the size of the group. Especially with the acquisition of Heiploeg it did go very fast," says Huig Ouwehand, controller at Parlevliet & Van der Plas. In recent years, in addition to Heiploeg, the family company also acquired German fish processor Deutsche See and CFTO, the largest tuna fisherman in France. There was a need to streamline reporting; OneStream's automated reports provided the solution.
First the consolidation
The primary goal of moving to a new system was consolidation. In addition, the fishing company also wanted to immediately create a database and be able to set up local models. "We wanted to be able to report more flexibly. Before this, we were consolidating the figures in a package designed primarily for preparing financial statements. We wanted the consolidation in a more stable environment," Huig continues.
"There is a lot of expertise locally. Before this, we didn't make much use of it because we did everything centrally. Now the participants themselves are more responsible for the numbers."
Since its founding in 1949, the company has been run by the Parlevliet and Van der Plas families. This is reflected in the reporting structure. Huig: "You notice that the management knows very well what is going on locally, so they are less in search of consolidated management reports. From within the group the main objective is external reporting, internally we have enough with local management reports."
Building out incrementally
The fishing company chose OneStream. This was not an easy choice. "Assessing the best system we found difficult, we hesitated between two different solutions. After a knowledge meeting at Finext, we asked Finext to give an independent opinion. This showed that OneStream would work out better for us," says Huig.
"With OneStream you can start with consolidation first, and then you can quietly expand to leverage the platform," explains Andreas Nederhoed of Finext. "A license gives access to the entire platform, so after the initial implementation you can work out a roadmap to incrementally add more and more functionality."
"The big advantage is that users log on themselves and already fill in a lot. We sit together on one platform and direct who uses what where, and when. This streamlines the whole workflow and allows everyone to work in the same way because of OneStream's automated reports," says Rob van der Meij, group controller at Parlevliet & Van der Plas.
After the tool selection, Finext also handles the implementation of the chosen solution. "The click with the consultants was good, it was not so formal," says Huig. "In hindsight we are very happy that it went this way, we certainly have no regrets," Rob says with a laugh.
The consolidation project is progressing smoothly; after starting in January, the platform is already being deployed for the Q2 2017 report. It also reports the 2017 annual figures.
Responding to local need
The next step is to build local models at the subsidiaries. "We started at Heiploeg," Andreas explains. "With these local models, we are responding to the local need to focus more on the business. We incorporate the local users' own requirements so that they can use the platform for local reporting, both internally and externally."
"There is a lot of expertise locally. Before, we didn't make much use of that because we did everything centrally. Now the participants themselves are more responsible for the numbers," Huig adds.
Positively surprised with automated reporting OneStream
Huig and Rob are positive about the platform's results. "OneStream's automated reporting has delivered more than expected. Not only consolidation, but also additional reporting requirements can easily be overcome. You are not stuck with a certain way of reporting, which makes you very flexible," says Rob.
"Before this, we looked from the top down; if it was consolidated, we were satisfied. Now we build up from the intermediate reports."
"Last year, for example, tax Country-by-Country reporting became mandatory. It positively surprised me that in OneStream this is really just a report that you build in the platform; after that it's one click for tax Country-by-Country reporting. Other companies struggle to get it from different sources, that's now in one system with us."
Consolidation processes are also running more smoothly. "Reporting the interim reports and the reporting packages for the foreign associates is much more streamlined," Rob continues. "Before, it was ad hoc and fill-in-the-blanks work, with us breaking it down one more time at headquarters for the local financial statements. Now the reporting packages run much more easily out of the system, based on what the local users themselves have reported."
Rob considers this joint effort a substantial difference: "Before, we looked from above; if the consolidated was right, we were satisfied. Now we build up from the intermediate reports. The advantage is achieved because now you do the consolidation as a team."
The power of simplicity
The platform's wide range of possibilities can also be a pitfall. "You shouldn't want to use everything right away. We are only using a fraction right now, but the simplicity of the project is our strength," Rob states. "We tried to keep it as simple as possible," agrees Andreas. "Take the account structure, we deliberately didn't include too much detailed information and not too many calculations in there."
"OneStream lends itself to everything, but you have to think carefully about what you use it for and what you get out of the ERP system," agrees Huig. "For example, we get management information from the platform, based on a number of kpi's."
Getting everything from one platform
Rob and Huig see further possibilities. "There are so many separate lists, such as catch lists or trip schedules, that now all go into Excel. Those could also go well in OneStream," Rob says. "There's quite a lot of information that we request for consolidation, and also used throughout the organization as management information. If you have the time and the will for it, you can leave the Excels behind and get everything out of one platform."