Article | May 01, 2023

Client case: Estee Lauder’s experience with Zanders Transfer Pricing Suite

Client case

Estee Lauder’s European Treasury Center is responsible for managing cash and liquidity management for the group and its subsidiaries over multiple continents by providing intercompany loans and liquidity facilities to local entities. In an effort to continuously improve and automate its internal processes, the American multinational cosmetics company wanted to leverage technology and further enhance the Transfer Pricing compliance of financial transactions. As a result, it engaged Zanders to use its cloud-based Transfer Pricing Suite.

Estee Lauder has been Zanders’ client for quite some years. “We have been working with Zanders before in some projects and that always worked very well. In this instance too”, says Bart Taeymans, Vice President Global Treasury Operations. “They helped to draft and execute the bank selection RfP and restructure our European banking structure, and implemented SAP Inhouse Cash and Bank Communication Management. And recently, they supported us with their Zanders Inside Transfer Pricing Suite."

New OECD Transfer Pricing guidelines

With the release of Chapter X by the OECD, the company wanted to implement a new process in order to comply with its Transfer Pricing obligations in-house, without depending on external parties, Taeymans explains. “In view of the changed regulatory environment, we wanted to increase control of the entire process. Zanders Transfer Pricing Suite looked as a sustainable tool to automatize the process, while maintaining a robust technical methodology compliant with the OECD TP Guidelines’’.

Sophisticated tool

Treasury Director Marc Vandewaeter: “ Zanders’ Transfer Pricing Suite is very sophisticated. In addition, during the onboarding process, Zanders added some additional currencies to the tool that were not there yet for us to cover additional regions. Another important thing for us is that we are able to instantly generate the Transfer Pricing reports – including the supporting documents providing details on the economic analyses.”
Due to the tool’s flexibility, Estee Lauder had a managed transition phase. “It’s challenging to change processes, but the tool supported the transition phase in a controlled manner.”

Timely implementation

Taeymans: “I think it’s been a great integrated implementation. The team was very supportive, providing clarifications where needed and support when required – all to ensure timely implementation of the new procedure, focused on the start of our new fiscal year.”

Vandewaeter: “The challenge of importing the financial data was that it needed to be implemented in the Zanders Inside tool format, which is required to determine a rating. Luckily all financial data from all our affiliates is already standardized. That makes it easier to reproduce and implement this data. That saves quite a lot of time.”

“The benefit we have is that we are on one SAP instance globally”, adds Taeymans. “That helps us to great extent in retrieving the financial information in a structured manner. So once we had the templates to convert to the information required by Zanders, everything went very well.”

The entire process in one user-friendly platform

Vandewaeter has been intimately involved in working with the tool. “We wanted to make sure that Zanders’ tool would provide a consistent approach for all transactions, in line with what we had done before, and that potential differences in the results could be explained. Having all the information in one tool helps us understanding the approach followed and financial information considered for each case. This is important for us as we need to make sure that we fully understand the details.”

Taeymans: “To have that entire process – from the financial information, credit rating analyses, benchmark rates, to the final reports – featured in one tool is obviously what we've been looking for. It's very important to have it all in one system generating a full report on an entity basis. Of course, you need to know what to enter and what to select. But as a web-based tool it is very user-friendly, easy to navigate and well designed. It is quite easy to extract the pricing for a certain loan. And from an operational point of view, it is also useful to do a simulation and it doesn’t take much time to do that. You need to upload all the financial statements, but it is more dynamic and the pricing update is based on current data. In addition, the support received from Zanders team is very good.”