In response, Accenture implemented an end-to-end automated intercompany solution in tandem with the implementation of its single, global SAP® ERP system. The intercompany capability in the SAP software was one of the key value drivers behind Accenture’s ERP system selection.
To develop a comprehensive design of the solution, Accenture had an exceptional level of interaction, partnership and ownership between the global IT organization, and the tax, controllership, treasury, and client accounting functions. With a heavy focus on the business processes and internal controls to support the business strategy, the design and build of the solution complemented these strategic efforts.
At the core of Accenture’s intercompany billing solution are standard SAP software components—Dynamic Item Processor, Sales and Delivery Resource-Related Billing, Pricing Procedures and Conditions and Material Master. Although the guiding principle was to use standard SAP functionality as much as possible, minor customization was required to accommodate the scale and complexity of Accenture’s business.
The resulting intercompany solution reads financial postings from the SAP system and identifies intercompany activity based on the nature of the transaction and entities charged. It automatically creates intercompany receivables, payables and the associated intercompany revenue and expense postings. Accenture’s intercompany solution properly records invoicing and settlement activity in both functional and global currency, thereby leveraging standard SAP functionality to record foreign currency gain/loss.
In addition to the SAP system, Accenture implemented custom intercompany billing solutions for royalties, central training, cost sharing and share-based compensation. These custom systems source information maintained outside the SAP system, create intercompany billing journals and interface them into the SAP system where they are invoiced and settled. For example, the Cost Sharing application enables Accenture’s tax organization to define pools of internal costs, including detailed narrative describing the cost pool and the base on which the cost pool is billed to legal entities.
Accenture deployed the SAP Treasury module, which brought Accenture onto a single treasury system. As part of this effort, Accenture automated the settlement of intercompany invoices using in-house banking. Because intercompany billing customization was minimal at the outset, compatibility among the standard SAP modules was maintained, enabling the settlement process to occur efficiently.
Today, Accenture bills and settles Intercompany activity across more than 90 countries and more than 500 company codes annually. The complexity of the business has increased both in terms of the scope of products and services that Accenture provides to clients and the global nature of its projects and commercial arrangements. In fiscal year 2021, Accenture’s workforce of 624,000 generated millions of intercompany activity. The automated intercompany solution continues to scale with the increased volume of intercompany activity. Additionally, Accenture operates a single global SAP instance of SAP S/4HANA®, including the integration of the intercompany solution.
The result is an IT solution that is compatible with Accenture’s legal agreements. This capability allows automated intercompany billing and eliminates the need to maintain pricing between countries for each internal activity or client engagement.