Business challenge

To continue to thrive in the highly competitive credit insurance market, Credendo wanted to gain faster insights into business performance across its diverse European subsidiaries.

Transformation

Credendo worked with IBM Services to replace its home-grown, local accounting systems with a single SAP solution to record business transactions across all companies within the group.

Results

2 times faster

financial closing processes

Simplifies

work of finance teams

Eliminates

inconsistencies caused by disparate local systems

Business challenge story

Insuring global enterprises

For businesses exporting products or services to customers across the globe, protection against the risk of non-payment is essential. Credendo, one of Europe's largest credit insurance agencies, provides enterprises with solutions and insights that help them to mitigate risk and facilitate the smooth flow of goods.

Lode Vermeersch, CIO at Credendo, begins: “We have been supporting export trade for almost a century, protecting against commercial risk such as customer insolvency, and political risk – including currency exchange problems and trade embargoes.

“Although credit risk is a niche area, it is an exceptionally crowded marketplace, and we face competition from many global insurers and government agencies. It is therefore vital that we stay as agile as possible.”

To achieve this goal, Credendo launched a wide-ranging transformation program aimed at becoming more flexible in its customer-offerings, and introducing standardized ICT processes across the group.

“We have expanded significantly over the last 15 years, from a single company to a pan-European group with many subsidiaries,” continues Lode Vermeersch. “Our acquisitions were running their own home-grown general ledger and accounting software, making key processes such as consolidations tricky and very time-consuming.

“We were using legacy software built in-house to support our core operations. Every time we wanted to launch new offerings or we faced changing regulatory requirements we would adapt or rewrite sections of the software code, which caused a huge headache for our teams.

“We realized it was time to deploy a group-wide accounting solution, and began the search for the right implementation partner.”

We can now complete financial closing twice as fast, whether it be our quarterly, half-yearly, or end-of-year accounts.

—Lode Vermeersch, Group CIO, Credendo

Transformation story

Embracing industrialization

Credendo decided to standardize on SAP ERP Financials, as Lode Vermeersch explains: “We were already using SAP ERP Financials at our main office in Belgium, and were very pleased with its capabilities. It was the natural step to extend our use as a standard general ledger and accounting solution for the group.

“We looked at several possible implementation partners, and IBM was the standout candidate. Their experience and expertise working in the insurance industry, and with SAP ERP Financials deployments, were important differentiators.

“Most impressive, though, was IBM’s proven track-record of coordinating projects across multiple geographies. The fact that IBM could provide consultants with local-language skills and a structured methodology for the project made for a compelling proposition.”

Supported by the IBM Services team, Credendo deployed SAP ERP Financials at its subsidiary companies in Czech Republic, Austria, Belgium and Russia, as well as at local branches in some other European countries. The company is using the SAP solution to complete core financial tasks, which include recording aggregated business transactions, profit and loss, and statutory accounting.

Lode Vermeersch continues: “Working with the IBM Services team was excellent. Large-scale implementations are always a soft science: you cannot expect to predict every outcome and there will be often be obstacles along the way.

“Thanks to IBM, however, this was a very well-managed, smooth implementation. Whenever we encountered challenges, the IBM Services team helped us to resolve them, and whenever we requested changes, they were quick to respond. We will certainly be open to working with the team again in the future.”

Our engagement of IBM Services has been key to establishing smarter financial processes across Credendo. The knowledge and skills of the IBM team were integral to guiding the project to a successful outcome.

—Lode Vermeersch, Group CIO, Credendo

Results story

Accelerating key financial processes

With the SAP solution in place across its business entities, Credendo has taken an important step towards industrializing its operational processes.

Lode Vermeersch explains: “We use the analogy of an automotive plant, where one production line enables the creation of many different vehicle types. By implementing a single, harmonized solution to support our finance team, we believe we are building the backbone we need to support more flexible customer offerings in the future.”

The SAP implementation has enabled Credendo Group to accelerate key accounting tasks, as Lode Vermeersch notes: “We can now complete financial closing twice as fast, whether it be our quarterly, half-yearly, or end-of-year accounts. As a result, we have faster insight into our group-wide performance. Having a single solution to record transactions across our business entities also makes consolidating group-wide accounts much easier, with fewer errors and less manual administration.”

Moving to an industrialized, group-wide solution has helped Credendo Group to eliminate inconsistencies caused by running multiple local accounting systems.

Lode Vermeersch explains: “Previously, with our home-grown solutions, we would encounter problems with interfaces not responding to one another, or different systems applying different accounting rules and standards. With one solution deployed across Credendo, we have cut the level of complexity within our ICT landscape, easing the burden on our ICT team significantly.”

Lode Vermeersch concludes: “Our engagement with IBM Services has been key to establishing smarter financial processes across Credendo. The knowledge and skills of the IBM team were integral to guiding the project to a successful outcome.”

About Credendo

Headquartered in Brussels, Credendo is a leading credit risk insurance group, with operations across Europe. Founded in 1921 by the Belgian Ministry of Economic Affairs to guarantee exports, Credendo today offers customized solutions including credit insurance, guarantees, and bonding against commercial and political risk to enterprises and banks. Credendo has around 500 employees, and in 2016 insured transactions worth almost EUR 80,000 million (USD 100,000 million).

Solution components

  • GBS AD&I - EA - SAP
  • IBM Global Business Services
  • IBM-SAP Alliance

Take the next step

To learn more about the IBM SAP Alliance, please contact your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following website: ibm.com/sap

To learn more about IBM Services, please contact your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following website: ibm.com/services/enterprise-applications

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