How Sasol is reshaping finance control using models built in OneStream

Sasol is a global integrated chemicals and energy company spanning 22 countries. The company reserves significant funds annually on its balance sheet to provide for long-term environmental rehabilitation. To ensure these provisions are calculated efficiently and correctly, Sasol moved to a fit-for-purpose model built in a reporting platform – OneStream. The model is less error-prone and saves time for users and executive management.

Specialized functionality of OneStream

Accounting for environmental provisions is important for Sasol.  Furthermore, calculating environmental and rehabilitation provisions requires a long-term outlook extending 20 to 100 years depending on the expected life cycle of a plant or mine. To accommodate this complexity, 24 individual provisions are modelled in OneStream.

The complex calculation model is custom-built in OneStream. The dimensionality and flexibility of OneStream enables easy development of bespoke solutions based on existing architecture. AIQOS, a key consultancy firm that understands complex integration of financial information as well as the analytical ecosystem was contracted by Sasol to assist in developing the program. “We used the building blocks of OneStream to build a model that is quick, flexible as well as robust and auditable,” says Andreas Nederhoed of AIQOS.

Enabling finance team’s journey with OneStream

The project to automate the provision model is part of a more extensive finance-led initiative within Sasol which aims to have all business processes standardised. Sasol selected OneStream as the central solution for all financial reporting and analysis processes to enable the program. The goal is to work in one integrated system globally, thus reducing workload and risk of errors.

Internal and external scrutiny

As provisions on the balance sheet are monitored closely, both externally and internally by financial and environmental stakeholders it is key that this line item stands up to rigorous scrutiny. Internally, processes and calculations are closely monitored to comply with internal governance regulations as all regions need to comply with Sarbanes-Oxley requirements. The results have to be materially accurate using approved assumptions in calculating the provisions.

Engagement with other departments is crucial and made easier by sharing the calculation’s relevant aspects. “The platform provides the full level of detail required, including the assumptions and calculations used,” says Sihan Wang from AIQOS.

Saving time

The OneStream model streamlines the provisioning process, enhances efficiency and effective auditing. The model saves time at every step of the process. Previously, all assumptions had to be copied into a program and sent to management for sign-off. Every assumption change took half a day to process. In the new model, when certifiers now review the outcome they can rely on the calculations – saving time and effort.  All this has been automated through the workflow and certification process in OneStream.

The new model also eliminates risks encountered with the previous model resulting in the process being less error-prone. Inputs are captured into a central application from all locations in which Sasol operates and are updated instantaneously, so users don’t have to wait for information. Feedback from end-users and management has been positive.

Walking the journey together

AIQOS has been part of the transitional journey from the onset. They partnered with Sasol’s finance team in problem-solving and solution development. Their team as supportive and committed to resolving issues promptly.

Integration in OneStream as part of future vision

The Sasol team is also implementing other financial reporting and analysis processes in OneStream. It has been exciting to see this model automated and how much functionality is still untapped. Once all OneStream solutions are implemented successfully, the team will further integrate various business processes. The ultimate aim is to have to have one set of assumptions with OneStream reporting as the big engine.

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