Implementation of SAP-Concur for a Customer operating in the pharmaceutical industry
In 2020, the team from MDDP Outsourcing took part in the implementation of SAP-Concur for a large Customer from the pharmaceutical industry. Employees of the company had struggled with many difficulties regarding settlements of business trips and off-site assignments. Let us remind that SAP-Concur is a cloud-based solution mainly used to manage costs of business trips and other employee expenditures.
The implementation was supervised by an IT company specialized in implementation of information systems and with the involvement of the SAP Concur team.
During the implementation, the MDDP Outsourcing team served the role of key user from the financial and tax-related perspective. Knowing the specific nature of the Customer’s business, members of the team were able to successfully plan all the processes related to employee expenditures in the new system, with the acknowledgment of the specificity of the organization and the applicable procedures.
THE CHALLENGES WE HAD TO FACE
Despite the very good opinions on the system itself, the project team had to deal with obstacles. The most important issues that had to be addressed included:
SAP-Concur is a globally developed system. It means that there are some simplifications and it applies the most frequently used accounting and tax solutions. Adjusting the system to the Polish tax specificity appeared to be one of the greatest challenges of the implementing team. For instance, additional reports had to be created to enable calculation of taxes on allowances exceeding the statutory limits for employees and preparation of detailed lists of travels by private car (so-called mileage allowance).
The most effective integration with EPR systems can be, of course, conducted in an SAP environment. Due to the fact that SAP-Concur was implemented before the final implementation of SAP, the system had to be adjusted to the existing accounting system used at MDDP Outsourcing. That is why our project team intensively cooperation with the IT department so that, after the launch of the system, the bookkeeping would be conducted efficiently and under full accounting control.
Throughout the whole process of implementation, we needed to involve a dedicated accounting team in the project, which was a great organizational challenge both for the Customer and MDDP Outsourcing, especially during busy month-end closing or tax reporting periods.
IMPLEMENTATION OF THE SYSTEM
From the beginning of the implementation process, MDDP Outsourcing used a dedicated project team led by a Project Manager who consulted the Customer’s and the implementing team at all times and actively participated at all stages of the project. We participated in a reference meeting at a large FMCG company that implemented the system in Polish formal and legal circumstances. The meeting was a very valuable experience.
The process of implementation was conducted effectively, despite of the prevailing pandemic. Direct meeting most certainly would facilitate multi-lateral discussions, especially when one needs to manage many entities involved in the project. However, thanks to electronic communication, all the meetings were held effectively and according to the schedule.
The project was partially handled in English which allowed users at the customer’s organization who did not speak Polish to actively participate in the process. For our team, the use of English was not an obstacle.
The basic and necessary elements during the implementation of the system included:
Involvement of the team and target-oriented approach
As one of the most important success factors of the implementation, I would mention the involvement of the MDDP Outsourcing team that demonstrated effectiveness and understanding of the whole process. For some of the members of the team, it was the first attempt at implementing a financial system and they performed really well in that role.
ADVANTAGES OF THE IMPLEMENTED SYSTEM
First reactions of the users
After the initial presentation of the system, the Customer’s users were in awe of the possibilities offered by the system, especially in the perspective of abandoning the strenuous settlements of off-site assignments in form of printed documents or Excel spreadsheets. The employees were especially enthused by the fact that settlements of business trips can be done remotely, with a mobile phone, at any moment e.g., when waiting at the airport to board the plane. Not only will the whole business trip be documented and sent to the superior, but it is also possible to attach electronic expenditures from the business credit card. When the employee returns to the office, they do not need to deal with any formalities connected with the settlement and the request for reimbursement.
One may say that nowadays the digitization of business processes is a must, if the company wants to operate effectively. Apart from the implementation of the electronic system itself, the Customer also gets other benefits connected with process handling:
With regard to the company’s long-term plans concerning the SAP implementation, it will be possible to easily integrate Concur with the ERP system.
Advantages in accounting services
For the accounting team of MDDP Outsourcing, the advantages arising from the implementation of Concur are mainly related to the automation of the employee-related settlement process by eliminating printed settlements and greatly improving the communication between employees, superiors and accountants.
Contrary to the average user of the system (the employee) – the accounting team has additional tasks such as verifying whether all settlements meet the accounting and tax requirements. This task needs accuracy and testing of all possible cases that employees of the Customer encounter.
As a result, the expenditures from business cards are imported on a daily basis to Concur and any discrepancies in the settlements are identified on an ongoing basis.
Summing up, the implementation of the SAP-Concur system appeared to be a difficult and complex process. However, the benefits of use are invaluable for the employees of the organization.
We would like to thank our Customer for their cooperation!