Case Study

How optimizing the closing process helps drive standardization and global scalability for AstraZeneca


AstraZeneca, a global, innovation-driven, integrated biopharmaceutical company

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Life sciences

Business need addressed

Optimize the closing process for greater uniformity, efficiency, and scalability

Business impact

  • Standardization and simplification
  • Higher customer satisfaction
  • Growth and scalability

AstraZeneca needed to optimize their closing process to reduce process variability, cost, and effort, and support a scalable operating model. Every business unit in each country had a dedicated team, and each team followed its own process.

To remedy these issues, Genpact implemented several improvement initiatives encompassing policy, process, operating models, and technology.

Business challenge

The organization’s existing closing process had several areas for improvement:

  • Country-level processes led to a high degree of variance, such as different closing calendars and working methods
  • Process inefficiency necessitated a significant “stretch” by staff at the end of each month and quarter
  • Manual processes and limited use of technology hindered process excellence and controllership
  • Country-specific staffing for the closing process meant an inflexible and inefficient operating model

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Standardized global closing process

  • Identified process variability across countries
  • Designed and implemented a standard global process incorporating best practices
  • Harmonized the closing calendar across geographies
  • Automated labor-intensive activities by using existing ERP functionalities and point IT solutions
  • Introduced threshold limits where appropriate, such as for manual journal entries

Implemented process improvements

  • Identified process improvement opportunities across people, process, and technology
  • Balanced peak load through activity resequencing to reduce effort and support timely financial close
  • Redesigned processes for efficiency

Instituted a hybrid operating model

  • Conducted a detailed study to identify universal and country-specific activities
  • Designed a hybrid operating model with transactional activities consolidated in a CoE, with controllership and balance sheets owned by the country teams

Business Impact

Within a span of 12–18 months, Genpact and AstraZeneca have:

  • Reduced the total cost of operations by $2.3 million
  • Standardized 70% of the closing process across multiple countries
  • Enhanced process efficiency by 15%
  • Transferred 60% of closing activities to the CoE
  • Harmonized the global Record to Report process
  • Enhanced controllership

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