CITAX @Airbus

Airbus Operations

Airbus was looking for a tool-supported complete solution for the automated flat-rate taxation of all operational benefits according to § 37b EstG.

We now have the security of being able to handle both simple and complex cases in a tax-compliant manner with a system-supported solution.

Carsten Radau,  Airbus Operations GmbH.

The way to user-friendly,
automated flat-rate taxation of operational benefits
according to § 37b EstG

Airbus is Europe’s largest aerospace corporation. In Germany alone, it employs some 44,000 people at 29 locations and 130,000 worldwide. With its products in the fields of aeroplanes, helicopters, defence and space, the corporation recorded a turnover of approx. 67 billion Euros in 2017.
“We are an unbelievably innovative company,” says Carsten Radau, the person responsible for the implementation of CITAX in the Finance Systems unit of Airbus Operations GmbH. Every year, the corporation invests 2.8 billion Euros in research and development projects, making Airbus one of Germany's ten leading research companies. Currently, it focuses on manned and unmanned urban mobility vehicles as well as electric and hybrid drive systems for clean aviation.

Room for optimisation
In terms of § 37b EStG, the manual processing of non-cash benefits granted at Airbus is no longer up to date. “Partial processes were running good, but overall, we were lacking an optimal coordination of all processes concerning taxation and insurance contribution calculation of non-cash benefits,” says Radau about the reason Airbus went looking for a tool-supported complete solution.

A tight, but fruitful decision
“The head of the German Tax Department approached me with a request for tool-supported non-cash benefits processing. We created a project brief, the CFO and the Director of Labour Relations sponsored the project and the management signed it off,” Radau describes the first few steps of this internal project. Three providers of solutions were found and evaluated by the project team. “We even briefly considered having our IT Department build a custom solution, but the complexity of the initial definition of tax-related requirements and legal changes / ongoing updates convinced us otherwise.”
In a call for tenders, three providers and their products were put to the acid test by the Procurement Department and in a tight race, CITAX and its DCCS were chosen in the end. “With DCCS, we could be sure that their product would work well with SAP. We didn't want to build additional infrastructure, which would have been required with other providers,” says Radau. “CITAX covered most of our requirements, a few functions were added by us, however.”

Challenges overcome
The implementation project started in October 2016. “From the very beginning DCCS knew exactly what we needed, our additional requirements did result in some added complexity, however,” says Radau. He was highly pleased with the project team’s support and performance. “In the even that something didn't work, they analysed the problem together and solved it in a timely manner. Some things had not been specified or requested clearly enough by us and even when it came to implementing change requests, DCCS has proved an extremely fair partner. Cost estimates were transparent and were then met as well,” says Radau.
The project included several challenges such as reducing the roles in the system and the associated automated search for superiors in the HR system. Radau, full of praise: “That's some skills right there!” “Of course, we ran into problems here and there, but overall, everything worked really well.” Radau particularly highlights the fact that all deadlines and promises were kept. “Due to our complex organisational structure, we were hard pressed to also deliver on time sometimes.” The client also praises the provider's flexibility when it came to resources required to solve issues in a timely manner.

Real-world operation and outlook
CITAX started its trial operation in the summer of 2017 with some 30 users. “The system is stable and always available. There are still a few minor things that need to be adapted, but the users’ initial feedback is positive. Users that had previously had to create manual documentation in the interim process, are happy that this process is now technically supported,” says Radau. To facilitate the system's implementation, a road show was held at various locations, a community portal containing system information was built, a support team was set up and employees as well as management were provided comprehensive information. “The first step of CITAX’ introduction takes place at Airbus Operations GmbH and its subsidiaries. The goal is to implement it completely in 2017. For this purpose, hospitality benefits still have to be recorded from the old system. The system is ready to be rolled out to other parts of the company,” says Radau.
Certain special functions are to be added to the system in the future. Non-monetary remuneration values subtracted from travel costs, for instance, are soon also to be considered by CITAX. “Perhaps we can manage to completely connect our travel cost accounting to the system,” Radau hopes.

What has been improved?
In the course of the system’s implementation, a departmental note on handling non-cash benefits was created and rolled out across the company. It defines and accompanies the process of submitting tax and insurance contributions for non-cash benefits.
“Now we have the security of being able to handle both simple and complex cases in a tax-compliant manner with a system-supported solution,“ Radau concludes.

The SAP-based CITAX software solution allows for the effective implementation of the stipulations of § 37b EstG. Operational benefits for corporation staff and external recipients can be recorded easily and processed on a workflow-basis. All relevant data is automatically transferred to downstream systems such as financial accounting and payroll and is then available for tax audits in a transparent manner. In the course of system implementation, we were furthermore able to optimise internal processes and record them in a departmental note.

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