New tool gives ketchup effect: “Takes a few hours to complete an interim financial statement”

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Published: January 30, 2023, 12:19 p.mOne of the world’s largest food companies switched to a common platform for financial reporting. What used to take days is now done in hours.Read more about how other companies use Workiva for financial and sustainability reporting here. Kraft Heinz is the USA’s third – and the world’s fifth – largest food company and has almost 200 subsidiaries outside the USA. The eight largest brands in the product portfolio – which includes everything from ketchup to cheese – have a turnover of over SEK 10 billion each. The size and complexity of the business means a challenge when it comes to reporting and consolidating monthly accounts, interim reports and annual reports, notes Luke Templeman, who is Financial Reporting Manager at Kraft Heinz. In search of a way to simplify work and deliver consistent and quality-assured reports, Kraft Heinz switched to Workiva – a cloud-based platform that streamlines the collection and sharing of data used in financial and sustainability reporting. – Before we switched to Workiva, our financial reports could look very different. Although we spent a lot of time quality-assuring the data and meeting all regulatory requirements, it was frustrating not being able to deliver consistent and uniform reporting to different stakeholders in different markets, he says. After the switch, he and his colleagues do not have to spend time updating and share information by cutting and pasting between different spreadsheets. At the same time, they ensure that the information presented to different markets meets both national and global regulatory requirements, Luke Templeman states. – Now it takes me two to three hours to prepare an interim financial statement for further dissemination internally. It used to take me several days.

Automatic updates

Another advantage is that all updates take place automatically. – It feels safe to know that new data that is entered is automatically updated in all relevant places. There is no risk of missing or forgetting figures, and we feel more comfortable with the information we hand over to the accountants. The fact that the financial reporting has become consistent and uniform is also appreciated by the controllers and managers who must check and approve it. – Now managers and management teams can access Workiva at any time and quickly get an overview of the situation, he says and notes that Heinz Kraft has been given a platform that matches the group’s spread and complexity: – Reporting and accounting should not be an ad hoc process in a company of our size. With Workiva, we’ve got a standardization tool that means I don’t have to spend hours formatting and double-checking new information that is entered. If I create a new table, I know it will look consistent and professional in all reports where it appears.

Tagging and translation

In accordance with the EU’s new ESEF rules (European Single Electronic Filing), financial information must be tagged electronically, via so-called XBRL coding. The new platform takes care of this automatically. – Our tax manager breathed a sigh of relief when he realized that it now happens automatically. The large number of subsidiaries in many different countries could previously lead to language confusion. – In order for local managers to be able to understand and approve notes and comments in the financial statements, the reports had to be manually translated into different languages. Now Workiva takes care of this, which saves a lot of time.Register for Workiva’s new webinar series with PwC starting February 14. Read more here.

Challenges for Kraft Heinz:

• Manual procedures for accounting and reporting took a lot of time but still did not lead to consistent and uniform results.• Lack of standardization and transparency throughout the process reduced confidence in the reports.• There was a lack of a fast, simple and reliable process to translate the reports into several languages .Results since the introduction of Workiva:• A standardized process that saves time for everyone involved, generates consistent and uniform information and increases the quality of the reports.• The approval process has become significantly easier as everyone involved has a common overview of all data, can see where it comes from and have the opportunity to dialogue directly with the relevant informants.• Workiva’s built-in translation tools facilitate collaboration between teams spread across the globe.

This is Workiva:

Workiva is a cloud-based platform used by over 5,300 companies worldwide. The customer list includes three quarters of the Fortune 500 companies. Workiva simplifies and quality-ensures the collection and sharing of data for financial and sustainability reporting. The article is produced by Brand Studio in collaboration with Workiva and not an article by Dagens industri

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