Joep Van Amelsfort (Caseware Belgium & Luxembourg): The art of automating financial statements

Joep Van Amelsfort, the CEO, explains how Caseware helps various types of companies automated high volumes of financial statements. He believes digitization gives Luxembourg the opportunity to graduate from back to middle office.Interview

Can you describe Caseware Belgium & Luxembourg in a few words?

Caseware serves two types of clients. We are the market leader for financial audit firms below Big4 and we are accountants who produce Lux GAAP financial statements. These can be big for corporates like ExxonMobil and CBRE or service providers like Revantage (Blackstone), CSC Intertrust, Apex and many others. As a service provider, you might have hundreds or even thousands of clients. How do you keep these in control? With our Lux FinTax monitor you have a perfect overview of the status of all engagements. So as a manager responsible for a department that produces all the financial statements, you now have the latest, up-to-date information available to all your clients – a comfortable feeling!

How are accountants automating financial statements?

Financial statements are still often manually created in Word or Excel. Do you consider this digital? We don’t. By automating this process, our clients increase efficiency by more than 75%: Four financial statements can be produced per day instead of one. These are also of better quality due to our automated reconciliations and built-in compliance checks. The output consists of a validated XML file for eCDF and a PDF type A with all notes and disclosures for RCS. So, for really going digital, our post-accounting app is a must-have. Corporate Income Tax (form 500 with appendixes) can also be included. All aspects of the engagement (financial and tax) are monitored and can be filtered and queried.

 “Do you consider manual financial statements in Excel or Word digital? We don’t”

How do you see financial technology evolving in the short and long term in Luxembourg?

Well, we don’t have a choice in the digitization of finance. But I see it as a great opportunity: Luxembourg can continue its shift from purely back-office activities – featuring very low-value manual processes – to middle-office with more automation and emphasize oversight and control. Besides our current solutions for financial statements, corporate income tax and monitoring of all engagements, Caseware will soon launch an app for ESG. Our app will be based on the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD). It will include the identification of topics required by ESRS; information collection with our built-in portal; the creation of text modules for the disclosure requirements and XBRL tagging and mapping for digital ESEF filings.