Tereos Starch & Sweeteners: takeover of a finance department
Moving a whole finance department from Belgium to France is no easy feat. Centralizing the finance activities from different teams all over Europe to one finance department in Lille (FR) could be even harder. A dedicated team of TriFinance consultants made it happen at Tereos Starch & Sweeteners, and it is finishing the set-up of a Shared Service Center as we speak.
About Tereos Starch and Sweeteners
Tereos Starch and Sweeteners Europe processes 3,9 million tones (Mt) of cereals per year and produces a wide range of starches, glucose syrups, and alcohols. The company operates plants and sales offices in France, UK, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Brazil, and China. It has an annual turnover of 1.5 billion euros and employs 1.700 people.
When Tereos decided to centralize all financial activities of Tereos Starch and Sweeteners in France in 2018, the local Belgian finance team didn’t follow suit. The company needed a team of professionals swiftly, to take over daily activities and to prepare for the move to France and the set-up of a Shared Service Center (SSC). ‘TriFinance succeeded in providing 20 expedient project consultants on short notice’, Tereos Director Long Phan Dang says. ‘Ever since, they have carried out each assignment on time.’
‘TriFinance delivers within the scope and on time’,
Tereos Director Long Phan Dang
'How do we capture the information and knowledge of the current employees? How do we keep running the daily finance department of a company with an annual turnover of 1.5 billion euros, while we prepare for the move? How do we organize and structure data to set up an SSC across the border in France? The logistical challenges were immense', project consultant Marco Vandewalle recalls. ‘As was the scope of the project.’
Today, one year after the initial demand from Tereos, the SSC in France is up and running. Project consultant Marco Vandewalle was there from day one. ‘I was assigned to take over the GL activities from my local Tereos colleague, so the first step was learning everything there was to learn about the company.'
Step two, which consisted of recording and analyzing all the processes of the finance department, took another 3 months. ‘Once the finance department physically moved in August 2018, we set up an altered and improved set of processes in Lille (France).’
Other TriFinance team members acted likewise at other Tereos plants across France, and specified sets of tasks were transferred to Lille. Multiple TriFinance specialty teams were involved during the planning and structuring phase of the project.
The set-up of the SSC took another couple of months, and it is in its final phase today. ‘We’re steadily transferring tasks to newly hired Tereos employees’, Marco explains. ‘It’s been quite a ride. I’ve learned so much while working on this project, both in terms of hard skills and soft skills. My understanding of AP and AR has deepened profoundly, and I’ve gained considerable IFRS experience.’ On top of that, Marco praises the TriFinance team at Tereos. ‘About 20 consultants are collaborating each day to get things done and to move things forward at Tereos. It’s very rewarding to be part of it and to share the challenges and accomplishments.’