Challenges on the path towards the solution
In this innovative and complex multi-stakeholder digitalisation project, various hurdles had to be overcome and the diverse requirements of the different departments and stakeholders had to be taken into account. Getting the relevant departments and stakeholders on board at a very early stage was a key factor in the success of the project. “For example, we supplied a cost-benefit calculation, which strengthened participation,” Frank Bub explains. “One of the technical challenges DCCS had to overcome was changing the base technology from SAP R/3 to SAP S/4HANA." “Another reason for us to choose DCCS was the new SAP S4 technology, which is currently being rolled out in the Siemens Group and thus future-proofs the connectivity and integrability of side-by-side applications,” says Denk. In addition, CITAX was upgraded to the latest technology level by means of the Fiori front-end (based on SAP UI5). As a synergy effect of the successful collaboration, DCCS was able to further develop CITAX to the next generation with input and feedback from Siemens. “Together with DCCS, we were able to overcome all project hurdles and find the perfect balance between high technical accuracy and ease of use with the solution – and all that at a consistent pace that led to the successful completion of the first project phase in just over a year,” Denk summarises.
Success by focussing on the users
Siemens is more than happy with the result of the project. “The solution enjoys a high degree of acceptance among users – not least because it was developed in close cooperation with them,” Denk describes the secret of the project’s success. New paths were also blazed in the fields of communication, information supply and training – for example, a concept was developed that involved virtual training sessions e.g., in comic style, and short instructions and videos were made available to end users to explain how to use the solution as simply as possible. Links to support and contacts, further documentation, useful websites, and the integration of the subject area of non-cash benefits into the Siemens HR chatbot also make it easier to get started. In the form of monthly user calls, the project team collected user feedback and provided information on the current development progress and new features in regular newsletters and internal social networks. “We shaped the training sessions to be tailored to the target groups and to involve short sessions to maximise learning success while minimising the time required. As of now, we were able to provide more than 8,000 learning units to our users, significantly reducing the number of support requests,” Denk illustrates.
High efficiency and tax compliance
Currently, 12,000 end users, 3,000 managers, 200 key and advanced users as well as five users in support and quality assurance are using the solution – at the locations and in 50 Siemens subsidiaries across Germany. The system makes it astonishingly easy to record non-cash incentives and process them in an optimised and compliant manner: The user selects the type of incentive in the intuitive user interface and enters the title, date and recipient. Data can be simply copied and pasted from appointments or e-mail distribution lists, as well as from event agendas. The costs, which are available as receipts in Financial Accounting, can be conveniently imported from the CITAX worklist; manual cost entries are also possible. The solution then calculates the applicable taxes, creates entertainment receipts, if necessary, reports the results to Payroll and transmits posting specifications to Financial Accounting for correct accounting entry. The automated process also includes approvals and queries, postings in SAP S/4HANA, importing company master data, importing posting data from Financial Accounting, displaying invoices from the scan archive, information from the ordering process and travel cost accounting, employee master data, SAP authorisation assignments, and reminder and escalation emails. “Thanks to this solution, we have been able to reduce some 30 manual process steps to less than ten and are working on further optimisation opportunities. We mainly benefit from increased efficiency across the entire process, through simplified recording, increased transparency and higher quality in tax calculation,” Denk happily reports. Additionally, Siemens expects to reduce its expenses for company audits as all recorded non-cash incentives are documented centrally and the auditors have direct access to data relevant to them according to GoBD (access types Z1 and Z3). “By automating this process, we were able to significantly reduce the workload for the processors, processing times and the number of queries as well as the workload in downstream processes such as invoice receipt verification by about 40 percent. We no longer need Excel lists,” says Denk.
Successful development cooperation
After three years of the development cooperation between it and DCCS, Siemens concludes: “Our collaboration was always characterised by trust. Honest and open communication contributed much to the project’s success, as did the tax knowledge and the experience DCCS’s experts brought to the table,” Denk concludes. However, the project is not yet at its end. The next milestones are the expansion of the link-up of ordering and travel cost accounting as well as an event-triggered recording process. All available information will then be brought together automatically at the user's end and the user will be informed directly by the system about new documents, for example. This will additionally facilitate data entry, further increase quality and reduce queries in support.
Images: (c) Siemens
Image Ralph Schmieder: (c) DCCS GmbH