Reporting and insights accelerated with a digitized, connected, and faster close

KPMG and Workiva help a global IT company transform its financial processes from good to great



A global IT company


Telecommunications, media, and technology (TMT)

Primary goal

Digitally transform the record-to-report (R2R) process and reduce time required by five days

Primary platforms

Workiva and SAP S/4HANA

When a leading multinational IT provider of hardware, software and services was about to complete its implementation of SAP S/4HANA, the CEO issued a challenge to the finance department: Find a way to cut five days out of the close and earnings reporting process.  Although the company was already known for the accuracy of its financial reporting, speeding up the process would get quarterly and fiscal year-end numbers to investors more quickly and enhance its reputation as a leader in technology and digital transformation.

Compressing the R2R cycle wouldn’t be easy. The first step would be persuading the talented and dedicated people managing the reporting process to rethink the way they worked. Next would come identifying optimal ways to leverage the value they could realize from existing software platforms including SAP, Workiva, and other R2R specialty providers. KPMG was ready with the savvy and experience to do both.



Key outcomes - Overall

Increased credibility 

with internal stakeholders and the investment community

Five-day reduction

 in close and reporting time

Enhanced reputation

Client’s reputation enhanced through faster, technology-driven reporting

Key outcomes - Finance

Reduced duration 

of R2R process by five days

Automated reporting

 New, automated reporting process

Greater speed

and insight into factors affecting quarterly numbers

Client transformation journey

Click on each part of the journey to learn more about our client’s transformation.

  • Where they were
  • Where they are
  • Where they’re headed

Where they were

Looking for the “one way” forward after acquisition-fueled growth.

Albertsons is committed to “one way.” Meaning that, as large as the company becomes, it aims to remain unified in its vision and in the systems and tools that support it. 

Acquisition-fueled growth naturally opens the door to “many ways.” By 2019, different divisions and subsidiaries had their own back-office solutions. People, processes, and data were becoming more siloed.

A different kind of company might have assumed that decentralized processes are an acceptable consequence of multiple acquisitions. Or that you can’t be one of the biggest industry players and move with startling speed and agility when it comes to acquisitions. But accepting trade-offs like those is not the Albertsons way.

Company-wide opportunities

  • Replace nearly XX aging applications that differed across divisions and subsidiaries
  • Reduce manual, disparate processes freeing up more resources for advanced analytics
  • Enable enhanced reporting and make it more widely available across the enterprise
  • Act with greater speed and agility to capture value in acquisitions

Finance Opportunities

  • Process XXX,XXX transactions per month with greater efficiency
  • Reduce 10,000+ manual journal entries per period
  • Decrease >3-week close
  • Shorten the >3-month annual budgeting cycle
  • Provide better support for a growing e-commerce busines
  • Control rising finance function costs and derive greater value 

HR Opportunities

  • Decrease hiring and onboarding times to keep pace with staffing needs
  • Be more efficient in complying with more than 800 collective bargaining agreements and dozens of government contracts
  • Introduce enterprise-wide training programs
  • Unify and automate workforce administration processes across the enterprise

Where they are

290,000+ Albertsons employees come together every day in the cloud.

Today, cashiers at 2,200 stores all log their hours via the same mobile app. That data flows seamlessly to payroll, and across the enterprise-- where it’s available for everyone from store managers making data-driven staffing projections to CFOs reviewing budgets.

Back-office staff spend less time on manual processes and more on analyzing data in ways that help lower costs and improve performance every day, and inform due diligence during acquisitions.

HR executives and business managers find it easy to access candidate information, share observations and schedule interviews, quickly and easily moving the right candidates through the hiring process.

And candidates who become new hires, continue through the same efficient, cloud-based environment as they complete onboarding and get to work—already a part of Albertsons’ “one way.” 

Company-wide success

  • Installed a single, modernized digital platform serving the entire enterprise
  • Accelerated the project schedule by XX-months due to a dual-installation of Finance and HR
  • Migrated 290,000 employees from legacy systems to Oracle Cloud
  • Increased insight-driven decision making across functions, driving performance and growth gains

Finance Successes

  • Decreased balance sheet reconciliations by 85%
  • Achieved a consolidated retail and corporate close within a shortened period
  • Reduced the types of P&L statements from 100+ to 4
  • Reduced operations costs across the board
  • Enhanced availability of data-driven insights that help to capture maximum value during acquisitions

HR Successes

  • Installed an automated, central solution to efficiently administer 800+ complex union agreements for all employee populations
  • Deployed a custom application for union rule processing enabling a single HCM platform to administer benefits to all employee populations
  • Created a digital-first, digital anywhere experience resulting in higher employee engagement
  • Reduced new hire onboarding time
  • Reduced the time it takes to fill staffing vacancies
  • Streamlined and improved the process integration of new employees post-acquisition
  • Integrate processes and technology across the employee lifecycle from recruiting through compensation and performance

Where they’re headed

Making sure the “one way” continues to be the best way.

Long before the go-live date, Albertsons was collaborating with Oracle and KPMG about future initiatives. They wanted to know what to expect from upcoming product releases and how they should be planning to leverage new functionality.

The company’s agile mindset combined with its investment in Oracle Cloud and KPMG Powered Enterprise will keep it in a position to continue evolving, always finding the best way forward as one, strong enterprise.

Company-wide vision
  • Continue to enhance analytics-driven planning and forecasting
  • Optimize the supply chain

Finance Vision

  • Achieve a continuous, virtual accounting close
  • Increase data monetization 

HR Vision

  • Migrate payroll, benefits, and absence mangement to Oracle cloud for 2023
  • Insource benefits administration
We worked with our client to gain the perspective that looking at the close was not only about producing accurate numbers about the business, but also supporting all functions to engage around what those numbers mean to the business. The real value occurs when you use technology to support your discussion of the story behind the numbers—the factors and conditions that are affecting your business.

– Ralph Canter, KPMG Managing Director, Finance Transformation

KPMG takes a multiphase approach to transforming reporting

Click on a phase to scroll down to its description.


1. Vision phase

Reimagining Reporting

Understanding how financial reporting could be improved meant understanding how the current process had evolved as well as the culture behind it.  Most of the company’s business comes from selling PCs and other hardware—categories that have existed for decades.  And many of the financial professionals involved in reporting are long-term employees accustomed to working within an established (if unwieldy) system that consistently produced strong reports. Finally, it’s worth noting that achieving consensus among teams and managers had always been a key element in the company’s organizational culture.

All of this meant that persuading the finance department to embrace change wasn’t easy. But once our KPMG team had demonstrated an in-depth grasp of the background, work processes, and technology used for reporting, we began to gain greater acceptance for a new approach. Only after this essential buy-in was achieved did we explain how to leverage the cloud-based technology they already owned from SAP and Workiva to execute the work.  Key steps included:

  • Establishing a target operating model for how a best-case R2R process should work
  • Challenging embedded governance and “rules” that no longer added value
  • Breaking down established functional silos for better workflow and data sharing
  • Establishing an enterprise global process owner
  • Optimizing the functionality and value from the existing technology landscape.

2. Validation phase

Making the most of a dedicated, experienced financial team

Early in the engagement, the client asked our team to document the current R2R process since little formal documentation existed within the company.  Each participant had their own set of rules, systems, and procedures, but a full perspective on how the entire process worked was hard to pin down. In a matter of weeks, we were able to show the client the reality of the multiple inputs, data challenges, and constant revision that went into each report. Yes, the final output was still on time and accurate, but the method for getting there was labor-intensive, requiring the finance department to work longer and harder than necessary.  To address these issues and identify better alternatives we began by:

  • Reviewing and documenting the existing R2R processes and technology
  • Defining success criteria for an improved reporting process
  • Rationalizing an overall strategy across key reporting packages
  • Developing a detailed data model identifying all required data points.

3. Construction phase

Saving time where it matters most

While the upgrade to SAP’s S/4HANA platform delivered company-wide efficiencies, it had little impact on the later stages of the reporting process. One reason was that two sets of reports were developed simultaneously for different constituents: purely fact-based quantitative external reporting for shareholders and regulators and more qualitative reports used by management to explain quarterly results. The process for creating these reports was only partially automated through older techniques that required extensive human inputs. To replace this, KPMG made changes to Workiva’s reporting software that allowed it to access data from a single, validated source and generate fully automated reports. Other improvements included:

  • Removing 99 percent of export/import activities through common data model linking
  • Configuring all reports in Workiva, including rollforwards to support cash flow reporting
  • Developing a process to support commentary creation in Workiva
  • Eliminating unnecessary extracts and Excel models
  • Streamlining communication and discussion by removing emails as the primary discussion forum
  • Enabling a more digital process for comparing differences between periods
  • Streamlining the process automation connections between similar external and internal reports.

4. Delivery phase

Building the processes needed to support a modern, digital platform

Implementing a full digital transformation instead of spot fixes for individual problems was a key factor in shortening the R2R process by five days.  Quarterly and monthly reports are already being created on this new schedule, with fiscal year-end reporting set to follow. Other benefits being realized include:

  • Streamlined, quantitative monthly enterprise report and qualitative “story behind the numbers” processing
  • Automated cash flow reporting process
  • Reduced validation across report packages
  • Automated data integration/availability to report preparers and end users
  • Developing a leaf-level data repository capable of supporting a growing set of reporting demands
  • Improved employee morale due to lack of redundant processes
  • Increased collaboration in commentary compilation and review
  • Reduced control effort and reconciliations of data.

5. Evolution phase

From fixers to futurists – Spending less time ensuring data

Helping the client make the most of technology from Workiva and SAP was an accomplishment in itself.  But the bigger achievement was changing their perspective on how to manage the R2R process and expanding its value within the organization. Historically, R2R participants found themselves spending too much time focused on double- and triple-checking numbers, seeking out bad data, or working around anomalies in the system. But as reporting grows faster and more automated, it promises to make information more available and relevant—not just on a monthly or quarterly basis but continuously. By building on this foundation, finance departments can look ahead to providing forward-looking strategic information and analysis to a wider range of end users inside and outside the organization.

Getting more out of work with Workiva

Workiva is a cloud-based platform that helps more than 4,300 companies worldwide simplify the process of managing and reporting financial data. KPMG has been an alliance partner with Workiva since 2019.  Our client was already using Workiva to support quarterly reporting, but our team helped to customize the system for added functionality and speed.

Are you getting the most from your financial reporting?

Let’s talk about where you are now and your goals for the future.

Morris Treadway

Morris Treadway

Principal, Finance Transformation, KPMG US

+1 832-880-8006
Ralph Canter

Ralph Canter

Managing Director, Finance Transformation, KPMG US